2015 has been a year of upheaval for me. There have been some major changes. I no longer volunteer to submit to one site because of how they edited an article I wrote which changed it’s meaning. Normally I’d enter a dialogue, but the article in question was my Testimony of a vitally important part of my life and how Christ has carried me and my family through it. For a while the editing came close to driving wedges between me and pretty much everyone who has been a source of Godly support to me in the last few years.
“Put away from you a deceitful (lying, misleading) mouth,
And put devious lips far from you.” [Proverbs 4:24 Amplified]
So I walked away from that door. The representation was misleading and I chose to put them away from me.
After two years of living with my mother – not easy since although I love her tremendously we have a difficult relationship – my wife and I will be moving home next week to our own flat. Close enough that we will see her regularly, but far enough for independence. The decision was easy, but finding a place and actually moving is very stressful. We get through by looking beyond what petty things hit us as we are in the throes of the fight to the very real new home we collected the keys for today.
Registering this ministry officially here in South Africa has been a more complex task than the Government websites on the subject indicated and is taking much longer than I had hoped, but the wheels are turning. God is opening doors I’d not even seen and I trust Him to guide me. I have invitations from several places to travel to minister in their countries through Africa and into parts of the world I had to use Google to locate (I never studied geography at school – I was supposed to but I didn’t!)
Finances are a tricky subject for a fledgling organisation in that perspective. The work of the ministry has already grown beyond what my personal time and effort can cover and I would ask you to consider if God lays it in your heart to support us that way – and from this point forward it needs to be more than just one person involved – please use the “contact” button to email me and we can chat initially about how to pray together and how to fund the next step. The ministry will “Reverse Tithe” any funding that comes in, meaning the work itself, travel for conferences, venues etc will account for 90% of all donations and 10% for salaries. It’s about the Gospel, not profit, but in Paul’s words:
“ So also [on the same principle] the Lord directed those who preach the gospel to get their living from the gospel.” [1 Corinthians 9:14 Amplified]
We do not seek wealth here on Earth. Our true reward is in Heaven when we shall meet face to face and hear our testimonies in person of how we have changed each other by our shared faith. That being said, a harsh reality is that in this world we do have needs. There are churches this ministry wants to commit to support in areas where they have large numbers of orphans and a spirit of poverty grips the nations. I would urge my brothers and sisters from this world to offer time to prepare the teaching materials they have requested and to help us to channel funding to places where their own currency is too weak to be able to afford more than subsistence living so we can provide church buildings and help them establish cottage industry to develop their own strength. Together we can change the world, one heart at a time, one child less who goes to bed hungry. One family less who cannot afford what we take for granted in more developed, wealthier countries.
My heart has changed this year. Personally I have had many major blows to my own health and the health of those I love, but I refuse to give in to the attacks of the enemy. I will not accept anything less than the Victory Jesus has secured for us. Much of my time in quiet moments has been spent thinking of my Grandfather. He was involved in the Normandy landings in 1944, and while he came home safely many of his friends did not. When he passed away in my teenage years I was given his service bible, issued to all the soldiers in the British army, which was worn, well used but well cared for as something of great importance to him. He fought cancer for many years longer than expected, never entering remission but at the same time never giving up hope. Our life as Christ’s followers is like those beach-heads in France. First we reclaim a foothold, then we drive the enemy back – often under extreme resistance – until we have and hold the Victory in our hands.
I’ve always been a fighter, but in the last few years I’ve tried to step back from the fight. I’ve been pounded on like never before as a result. My heart has returned to it’s first calling – Battle. I’ll not rest until I see Victory, just as Grandpa didn’t rest until they arrived in Berlin.
I’ve been challenged in my friendships. My closest friends are all women, and not all Christians. This has brought frowns into my life I could have done without, but in each life it has been my privilege to call a friend I can offer strength and comfort – with the full support of my wife I must add – with no fear of anything ungodly going down. These women are my sisters and I seek to be their brother. I have begun a new life in a new local church, which has been challenging as well. I don’t agree with everything said from the front but I’ve never met any teacher I agreed with 100% of the time. Over the years my most rewarding friendships have been with people I could clash heads with and we could thrash a path to Truth together – iron sharpens iron.
My encouragement to my friends reading this whether in England, Canada, Kenya, Myanmar, Pakistan, Iraq or wherever you are is to look beyond the hardships of the year – no matter how deeply you were wounded by them – and see the Blessings God gave us every day. Look at the year afresh as it closes and see the beauty it held.
And consider what next year can bring!