Shoes For All

Shoes For All
According to a study by Reuters, the average woman has 19 pairs of shoes. One woman has even been found to have 400 pairs, of which 300 were knee-high black boots! Perhaps we need to get out of our fancy stilettos and stand bare foot for a moment – as this is how thousands of children in our country daily live their lives. This is what a ministry couple, John and Barbara Doyle, in Cape Town have endeavoured to do through their project ‘Happy Happy Happy Feet’.

A ministry for families
John is an ordained Baptist minister and director of Cape Missions International, a non-profit public charity. Together with his best friend and wife, Barbara, they are serving the Lord fulltime. They specifically have a heart for home and family ministry, believing that at the beginning of creation, God intended all families to win the race and bring glory to His Name. In the late 90s, the enemy shot a fiery arrow at the Doyle’s marriage: he wanted to break the strength there was in John and Barbara’s union, for he knew that one may be overpowered, but that two can resist him (Eccl 4:12). John left home and the ministry and moved away from the Lord.

After living apart for over a year, their marriage was gloriously restored (“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Gen 18:14). They started a new life and the Lord used their time of trial to prepare them for ministering to thousands on restoring family values and enriching the covenant relationship of marriage. From their own walk through their trials in marriage, John and Barbara authored two books: ‘Tale of Two Towers’ and ‘Measuring your Marriage’. They have now written a third book, ‘The Formula 1 Family’, on winning the race for marriage and family.

The ‘Happy Feet’ project
Together with a CD called ‘Me and My House’ (containing 11 tracks composed and performed by John and his daughter Jenni), ‘The Formula 1 Family’ is being sold to raise funds for a Godly purpose. For every book or CD purchased, Cape Missions International has committed to place a pair of strong, croc style shoes (suitable for children who have to live in South Africa’s informal settlements) on the feet of a child who needs it.
This project, called ‘Happy Happy Happy Feet Ministry’, is in memory of the Doyle’s daughter, Kim, who went to be with the Lord in 2009. She was part of the first of these missions and as she placed shoes on the bare feet of children, she prayed that they might “walk in the footsteps of Jesus for the rest of their lives.”
The name of the project was inspired by Kim’s final words on Facebook before she went to glory: “Happy, Happy, Happy.”

Resources to help your family
‘The Formula 1 Family’ (the book) and ‘Me and My House’ (the CD) share the formula for building a lasting family and home that can be used for God’s great works. According to John (and the Apostle Peter!), “(God’s) Divine power has given us everything we need for life and Godliness through our knowledge of Him” 1 Peter 1:1-11.
Faith is the Formula 1 vehicle that takes you on your journey with God. There are seven additions, however, to this vehicle:

Virtue is the unleaded fuel that accelerates us to a closer walk with God
Knowledge (the Bible) is the manual that gives us the info we need
Self-control is the brake that is needed to make sure there are no accidents
Perseverance are the tyres that keep us on the road – no matter its condition
Godliness is the oil and water that flows through our engine (it is God’s Spirit – without Him we seize up!)
Kindness is the seating allowing family to be comfortable and benefit from our journey with God
Love is the high performance engine – the driving force and motive that God gives and demands from each member of His ‘Formula 1 Family’.

These seven additions to the ‘Formula 1’ vehicle of faith are also based on the first chapter of 1 Peter: “…make every effort to add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, Godliness; and to Godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.”

If you would like to partner with the Doyles through purchasing their books or arranging for them to speak at your conferences and events, they are available. The ‘Formula 1 Family’ is a handy resource for improving your inter-personal relationships and will bless your family with practical guidelines.

A call for partnership
If you would like to join the HHH Feet ministry in taking shoes to barefoot children, please contact the Doyles. They are open to working through local churches to reach others with the Love of Jesus.  May we always be willing to exchange our shiny shoes for the worn out shoes of another.

Burnout: Tips You Need to Know

Burnout: Tips You Need to Know
When Penny woke up one morning she knew something was seriously wrong. She felt paralysed, exhausted and utterly disillusioned. Penny is suffering from a common condition called burnout – a syndrome of emotional, physical and spiritual exhaustion that often leads to detachment and reduced productivity. Sufferers describe the onset of burnout as sudden, but in reality it develops gradually, even over a period of several years.

Risk factors
Burnout is typically caused by work or personal contexts in which a person is exposed to prolonged and unrelenting stress. Stress often precedes burnout, but these two states are not synonymous. Stress refers to a state of hyperactivity necessitated by too many demands made on a person, whereas burnout is characterised by lack of energy and motivation.

Anyone may be susceptible to burnout in the right conditions, but there are risk factors that place certain individuals in a high-risk bracket. One major risk factor is having a job that requires you to work with people everyday. The high demands placed on care-givers, counsellors, medical workers, teachers and ministry workers leave them vulnerable to burnout.

Perfectionist traits
Another key risk factor that increases vulnerability is being perfectionistic. Perfectionists either strive to do a large quantity of activities very well or zero in on completing one task exceptionally well.

People with the perfectionist personality trait expect a great deal from themselves and others which make them prime candidates for burnout because these expectations are inevitably not met. The result of repeated disappointments of this kind is feelings of being a failure and a cynical outlook on life. It is important to be aware of the warning signs and symptoms of burnout to prevent the development of full-blown burnout.

Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of this condition are diverse and fall into four main categories: emotional, physical, behavioural and spiritual. Ten common signs are:

Feeling tired but unable to sleep
Struggling with aches and pains, including headaches, back and neck pain
Being sick more often with colds and flu
Profound sense of failure and self-doubt
Feeling disconnected from people/God
Loss of motivation and negative outlook
Feeling trapped and alone in the world
Withdrawing from responsibilities and people
Procrastinating and taking out frustration on others
Questioning whether God has a purpose for your life.

A burnout sufferer might also develop depression as part of the burnout syndrome, but usually the depression is linked to the cause of the burnout, and the depression is therefore not a general depression. However if burnout is left untreated, the depression may escalate into major depression and chemical imbalances may play a role.

Recognise signs and take action
It is always preferable to prevent burnout from developing because recovering from it may take several years and moreover in many cases burnout sufferers do not fully recover their prior levels of energy and motivation. Familiarity with the warning signs of burnout enables you to recognise them early on and take immediate action to reverse the onset of burnout. An important part of the reversal will be to learn effective time and stress management skills and to seek the support of those closest to you. You should focus on building your resilience to stress and actively cultivating a balanced lifestyle by exercising, eating well, participating in creative activities and spending quality time with friends, family and God.

If you are already in a fully burnt out state, like Penny, you need to seek professional help in overcoming this condition. People who suffer from burnout are usually self-sufficient achievers who find it challenging to admit that they need help because they associate their need with weakness. Suffering from burnout is not a sign of weakness but instead that you need to slow down and re-establish balance in your life, one day at a time.

Strategies to beat burnout:

Scale down on activities and work commitments because you need time to heal
Seek professional care and enlist the support of close friends and family. This strategy is essential because burnout sufferers tend to slow the healing process by isolating themselves
Reconsider goals and priorities. The presence of burnout signals that something in your life is not as it should be and is an opportunity to re-evaluate your life plan.

Let us implement these strategies and take up Jesus’ invitation in Matthew 11:28: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

The Purpose of Christmas

The Purpose of Christmas
It’s the largest celebration around the world each year. Other holidays get a single day, but Christmas is emphasised for an entire month, one twelfth of every year. During the Christmas season, billions of people set aside their normal routines to decorate their homes, send out greeting cards, buy gifts, go to Christmas parties, attend church services, sing Christmas songs, watch Christmas TV specials, and travel long distances to be with their families.

If you feel that Christmas has become nothing more than a source of emotional and financial stress…if somewhere along the line you lost ‘the reason for the season’…you need to read this article.

Why celebrate Christmas?
If you stop to think about it – it is astounding that the simple, unassuming birth of a peasant boy two thousand years ago in the Middle East has caused such commotion – His birthday even causes traffic jams today in places like New York City, Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro. For many people, getting ready for Christmas seems more of a hassle than a source of happiness; it is a source of stress. Perhaps you feel pressure, not pleasure. You may feel uneasy or lonely, or even depressed during the Christmas season. You may dread spending time with oddball relatives.

Regardless of your background, Christmas really is the best news you could get. Beneath all the visible sights and sounds of Christmas are some simple yet profound truths that can transform your life for the better here on earth and forever in eternity.

God’s Christmas gift to you has three qualities that make it unique. First, it is the most expensive gift you’ll ever receive. It’s priceless – Jesus paid for it with His life. Second, it’s the only gift you’ll ever receive that will last forever. Finally, it is an extremely practical gift – one you’ll use every day for the rest of your life.

Christmas is a time for celebration!
Christmas is a time for salvation!
Christmas is a time for reconciliation! “This is the day of the Lord’s victory: let us be happy, let us celebrate!” Psalm 118:24

Celebrate that God loves you!
The first purpose of Christmas is celebration! “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:10. The entire reason for Christmas is the love of God. He didn’t send an angel or a prophet or a politician or an ambassador. He came Himself. You were created as an object of God’s love. He made you in order to love you! His love is the reason you’re alive and breathing.
Every time your heart beats and every time you take a breath, God is saying, “I love you”. You would not exist if God had not wanted you. Although there are accidental parents, there are no accidental babies.

One potential problem of our annual Christmas celebrations is that many people only think of Jesus as a baby. But the baby born in Bethlehem did not stay a baby. Jesus grew to manhood, modelled for us the kind of life that pleases God; taught us the truth, paid for every sin we commit by dying on a cross, then proved that He was God and could save us by coming back to life. This is the Good News!

Celebrate God is with you!
God came to earth at Christmas to remind you that He is always with you, no matter where you are. It’s no wonder the angel told the shepherds, “Do not be afraid!” You lose your fear when God is near. God’s presence trumps our panic. You may have been abandoned in life – by a spouse, by your parents, by your children, or by the people you thought were friends. Everyone has faced the pain and heartache of being rejected in some way. “God has said, ‘I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.’”

I don’t know where the heat is on in your life, but I do know that whatever it is, God knows about it, cares about it, understands it and is going through it with you.

Celebrate that God is for you
No one wants what’s best for you more than God. No one knows better what will make you truly happy! He wants you to run to Him, not from Him. In fact, 365 times in the Bible, God says, “Don’t be afraid!” That’s one “Fear not” for every day of the year! None of us knows what we’ll face this next year. So where does our fear of God come from? Primarily two sources: a guilty conscience and ignorance of what God is really like. Have you ever noticed that some people get extremely nervous anytime anyone mentions God or Jesus in a conversation? I’ve seen people have an instant visceral reaction at the mention of Jesus. Jesus came to save us, not to scare us! It’s a reason to celebrate.

In our family we have a birthday party for Jesus every Christmas Eve – It is a five-decade Warren family tradition. Each family member takes a turn sharing his or her answers to two personal questions: “What, from this past year, are you thankful to God for?” and, “Since it’s Jesus’ birthday, what gift will you give Him this next year?” These two simple questions have prompted some of the most profound and moving moments in our family’s history.

Because of today’s pace of life, we quickly forget all the good things God does for us, and we move on to the next challenge. That’s why I recommend that you establish an annual celebration.

Jesus came to save you from sin and yourself
The second purpose of Christmas is salvation! “Today… there has been born for you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11. Even when other people cause you problems, your natural response often makes them worse. You trip yourself up far more often than you realise or would like to admit. God never intended for you to go through life on your own power. He wants you to trust Him and depend on Him. That’s why He allows problems in your life that you have no possible chance of solving on your own. So spread the Good News of the purpose of Christmas this December

How Can I Know that Jesus is the Messiah?

How Can I Know that Jesus is the Messiah?
There is nothing wrong with being cautious and careful when it comes to eternal matters. Indeed there is much in the world that we should be skeptical about. We should not be gullible. There is far too much superstition and ignorance in the world. We should carefully investigate and establish what the facts are; we need to have the courage to face the facts. Christianity does not require one to make a blind leap into the dark – false religions require blind faith. Christianity is an intelligent step into the light.

The absence and fulfilment of prophecies
Of the 26 books of the world that claim to be some kind of holy book, specific prophecies concerning the future are glaringly absent. You will not find specific, predictive prophecy in the writings of Buddha, Lao-Tzu, Confucius or Muhammad. The reason for the lack of prophecies is that they require supernatural ability.

The Bible is a unique book in every way. From the Old Testament alone, more than 2000 specific prophecies have already been fulfilled. Most of the 333 prophecies concerning the Messiah were fulfilled in the First Coming of Jesus Christ. The others will be fulfilled at His Second Coming.

Identifying the Messiah
Some years ago, when I was conducting outreaches in Hillbrow, I had a conversation with two Jewish people who claimed that they were waiting for the promised Messiah. I read to them from Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22. Then I asked them who they understood these passages to be referring to. Both agreed that obviously these Scriptures were talking about Jesus of Nazareth. However, one added, “But, that’s from your New Testament!”

“No”, I pointed out to them. “The two passages that I read to you are from your Bible, The Old Testament. Psalm 22 was written by King David a thousand years before the birth of Christ. Isaiah 53 was written by the prophet Isaiah some six hundred years before the time of Christ.” They were shocked. I handed them the Bible so that they could read for themselves and urged them to go back home and look in their own Scriptures to see that this was so.

There are 333 passages of the Old Testament that make predictions about the Messiah. 451 details are given in these passages. They were all fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.

How to identify a false prophet
The Law of God revealed through the prophet Moses declared: “When a prophet speaks in the Name of the Lord if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you shall not be afraid of him.” Deut 18:22

The incomplete Old Testament
The Old Testament Scriptures are the Word of God. However, they were incomplete. The Old Covenant speaks of a King from the line of David, whose Kingdom would never end. It spoke of all the families of the nations of the earth being blessed by the Seed of Abraham. It spoke of a Prophet like Moses, arising from among the people, whose teaching would be unparalleled. It spoke of a Servant of the Lord, whose death would atone for the sins of His people. Of One who would make a New Covenant between God and men.

One who would put the Spirit of the Lord into the hearts of men, so that they could know God personally and have their sins wiped out. It spoke of a Stone, despised by the builders, which would become the chief Cornerstone. It spoke of One like the Son of Man who would receive authority, honour and royal power so that the people of all nations, races and languages would serve Him.

It spoke of a Priest of the order of Melchizedek whom the Almighty would call Lord and welcome to His throne. It spoke of a coming Messiah who would be born of the tribe of Judah, from David’s line, in Bethlehem. He would be despised and rejected by the very people He came to deliver. He would die among wicked men and His tomb would be supplied by a rich man. Yet He would live again, forever, and the Lord’s purpose would succeed through Him. All of this was fulfilled by Jesus! Not some of it. Not much of it. All of it! Prophecies made by many prophets over a thousand years and more were all fulfilled in One historical Person.

The future revealed in the past
“Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things that are not yet done…” Isaiah 46:9-10

“I have declared the former things from the beginning; they went forth from My mouth and I caused them to hear it. Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass, even from the beginning I have declared it to you; before it came to pass I have proclaimed it to you…” Isaiah 48:3-5

After He had risen from the dead, Jesus appeared to some of His followers on the road to Emmaus “and beginning at Moses and all the prophets He expounded to them…the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27

To His disciples Jesus explained: “These are the Words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” Luke 24:44. Again and again in the Scriptures we read of how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. “But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Matt 26:56

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me…if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me…” John 5:39-47

Jesus began His public ministry by reading a Messianic prophecy from the book of Isaiah and declaring: “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:21

In the book of Acts we read that the Apostles taught that Jesus Christ fulfilled the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. “But those things that God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.” Acts 3:18 “To Him all the prophets witness…” Acts 10:43

Festivals fulfilled
The Levitical feasts of the Old Covenant are fulfilled in Christ. For example, The Passover is fulfilled in the death of Christ (1 Cor 5:7). The feast of First Fruits is fulfilled in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Cor 15:23). The feast of Pentecost is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5; 2:4).

Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Jesus
So, what are some of the Messianic prophecies fulfilled in the earthly ministry of Jesus of Nazareth? After the fall of Adam and Eve into sin, God promised a Redeemer, born of the seed of woman, who would suffer but He would defeat satan (Gen 3:15; Gal 4:4; Matt 1:21). The Messiah was to be born of a virgin (Is 7:14; Matt 1:23). The Messiah shall be a descendant of Abraham (Gen 12:2-3; 22:18; Matt 1:1). It is most significant that Jesus is called the Son of Abraham, as He was called to the altar of the Cross.

He is also called the Son of David, because He is destined to the Crown and the throne. The first time He came as the Lamb of God, a sacrifice. God Himself has provided the Lamb: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” The second time He comes, He will come not as the suffering Servant, the sacrificial Lamb, but as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, King of kings and Lord of lords.

The Messiah was to be born of the line of Isaac (Gen 21:12; Luke 3:23,34). So these prophecies identify that the Messiah would come from the Hebrew race and of the line of Abraham and Isaac. The Messiah would be a descendent from Jacob (Num 24:17; Luke 3:23,34).

The Scripture prophesied that the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah (Gen 49:10; Luke 3:23,33). The Messiah would come from the family of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1;Luke 3:23,32). The Messiah would come from the house of David (Jer 23:5; Luke 3:23,31).

So, these prophecies tell us that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, from the line of Abraham, descended from Isaac (not Ishmael), from Jacob (not Esau), from the tribe of Judah (eliminating 11/12th of the tribes of Israel as possibilities), from the family of Jesse, and from the house of King David. Then the prophecies became even more specific as to where the Messiah will be born.

The finest details completed
The Messiah would be born at Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matt 2:1). In Matthew 2:6 the scribes informed King Herod with great assurance that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. It was only fitting that Bethlehem, meaning the house of bread, should be the birthplace of the One who is the Bread of Life.
Other Messianic prophecies included that: He shall be called Lord (Psalm 110:1; Luke 2:11; Matt 22:43-45); and He would be a Prophet (Deut 18:18; Matt 21:11).

It can be noted that Christ and Moses were both delivered from a violent death in their infancy, both exercised control over the sea, both fed multitudes of people miraculously, both mediated between Jehovah and Israel and made intercession on behalf of sinful people. “For the Law was given through Moses, but Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17

The Messiah would also be a Priest (Ps 110:4; Heb 3:1; Heb 5:5-6)
The Messiah would be Judge (Isaiah 33:22; Titus 2:13-14). The Messiah will be King (Psalm 2:6;Jer 23:5; Zach 9:9; Rev 19:16)
The Messiah shall have a special anointing of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2;Matt 3:16-17)
The Messiah shall be preceded by a messenger who will prepare the way in the wilderness (Isaiah 40:3-5;Matt 3:1-3).His ministry would begin in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1;Matt 4:12-17). He would work miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6;Matt 9:35; Luke 7:22)
The Messiah was to be a Stone of Stumbling (Ps 118:22;Is 8:14-15; Luke 20;17-18;1 Pet 2:7). He would be betrayed by a friend (Ps 41:9; Matt 10:4)
He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zech 11:12; Matt 26:15). He would be forsaken (Zech 13:7; Mark 14:15).

The facts confirm what we know

He would be accused by false witnesses (Ps 35:11;Matt 26:59-60). He would be silent before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7; Matt 27:12). He would be wounded (Isaiah 53:5)
He would be beaten and abused (Isaiah 50:6;Matt 26:67). His hands and His feet would be pierced (Ps 22:16; Luke 23:33)
He would be executed with thieves (Isaiah 53:12. He would intercede for His persecutors (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34). He would be rejected by His own people (Isaiah 53:3)
His garment would be gambled for (Ps 22:18; John 19:23-24). Gall and vinegar would be offered to Him (Ps 69:21)
He would cry out: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Ps 22:1; Matt 27:47). He would commit His Spirit to God (Luke 23:46). None of His bones would be broken (Ps 34:20; John 19:33). His side would be pierced (Zech 12:10; John 19:34)
His heart would break (Ps 22:14; John 19:34). There would be darkness over the land (Amos 8:9; Matt 27:45). He would be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9; Matt 27:57-60). He would rise from the dead (Ps 16:10; Acts 2:30-32). He would be seated at the right hand of God (Ps 110:1Heb 1:3).

Jesus is Emmanuel, the Son of God, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Prophet, Priest and King, eternal Judge. He made the blind see, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk. He healed the sick and raised the dead. He was mocked and crucified. Yet He ascended into Heaven. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift
Christmas is the season of giving, but why do we give and receive gifts at Christmas time? After all, it’s not our birthday. We give gifts at Christmas time in honour of the greatest gift ever given. For “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” John 3:16. Freely we have received, freely we must give. It is far more blessed to give than to receive.

Getting versus giving
Yet, we still have many people who have not grasped this most basic truth of Christmas. To many Christmas is the season for getting, not giving. Many have their hands out asking where is their Christmas box? “What do you have for me?” “Gimme, gimme, gimme!” Complete strangers seem to have no shame in demanding some gift for themselves on Christmas Day; we need to remind them whose birthday we are celebrating.

The first ‘Christmas’ gifts
The very first Christmas gifts were given by the wise men from the East. They travelled great distances, across difficult and dangerous terrain, in order to worship the Greatest Person ever born. And they presented extraordinary gifts: Gold for the King of kings; Frankincense for the High Priest of all priests; Myrrh for the sacrifice that would end the need for any other blood sacrifices.

These men from the East were wise. They recognised when the Messiah would be born. And they discovered where He would be born. As they came from Babylon and Persia, where Daniel had served, they were no doubt aware of the prophecies made by Daniel, which clearly identified when the Messiah would be born. And the gifts were most appropriate. They recognised that this was not merely an heir to the throne, a prince, being born! “Where is He who has been born King?” They recognised that gold was most appropriate for the King of all kings.

Frankincense is symbolic of prayers and worship, so in presenting frankincense they recognised that the Messiah would be the High Priest over all priests.

Myrrh was an ointment used for burial. Jesus Christ was coming as the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world through His death.

The Crib, the Cross, the Crown
At Christmas we remember the crib, but we also need to look beyond the crib to the Cross. The wood of the crib should remind us of the wood of the Cross on which our Lord would die, a willing sacrifice for your sins and mine. But the wise men looked beyond the wood of the crib and of the Cross to the gold of the crown. For we no longer worship a babe in a manger, or even a suffering Saviour on the Cross, but a risen, ascended Redeemer reigning on high who will return to judge the living and the dead.

The crib reminds us of the incarnation. Jesus is Emmanuel – God with us. The Cross reminds us of why Jesus came. He lived the perfect life that we should have lived and He died the death that we deserve. The crown points to the return of the King of kings and the eternal Judge. The first time Jesus came as the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. The next time He will come as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah to conquer and to judge.

When will you bow to Christ?
The question is not: will you bow to Christ, but when will you bow to Christ? Will you bow to Christ today in the day of grace when forgiveness is freely available? When the door to Heaven is wide open? Or will you bow on the Day of Judgement, when the door to salvation is firmly closed, when the day of grace is ended? We will either bow to Christ as Saviour today, or we will bow to Him as Judge on that great and dreadful Day of Judgement. As we remember His birthday we should ask: What gift will you give the One whose birthday we are celebrating? What can you give to our Lord Jesus Christ? What gifts would be appropriate for the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Creator and eternal Judge? Our Saviour and Redeemer?

What gift will you give?
Andrew brought a little boy to Jesus and the little boy gave Jesus his lunch – five loaves and two fish. And with that little boy’s lunch, Jesus fed thousands with the food He multiplied. Jesus can do a lot with a little. Similarly, our Lord Jesus pointed out that the widow gave more than all the rest. Her mite may have looked very small in the eyes of those around, but the Lord, knowing how little she had, recognised that she had actually given everything she could.

Gifts others have given
Mary gave Christ the gift of expensive perfume, anointing Him for burial. “Then Mary took a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus feet and wiped His feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume”.
Zachias hosted Jesus and honoured Him by making restitution and donating much of his riches to the poor.  Jesus said; “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” John 14:15. What can you give the Lord Jesus Christ? You can give Him your attention. Study His Word. Learn His Law. Get to know the Word of God and the God of the Word. Meditate on His Word, the Bible. Determine to put first things first. Bible before breakfast. Scripture before supper. Psalm before lunch. Read through the whole Bible this next year. That will only take ten to twelve minutes a day to read four chapters of the Bible each day.

There are 1187 chapters in the Bible. If you read just four chapters a day, you will be able to read through the entire Bible in a year. How can you know His will unless you study His Word?

The sacrifice of obedience
“To obey is better than sacrifice” 1 Sam 15:1-23. Determine to obey God. Dedicate your life to obeying the Cultural Mandate of Genesis 1:28. Care for and improve God’s creation. Plant trees, care for the environment, cultivate gardens. Adopt animals and treat animals with the care and diligence of those who must give an account to the Creator and eternal Judge. Don’t waste food. Think of your pets, wild birds and other animals who can benefit. Do not litter, recycle and be thoughtful and considerate.

Make Christ’s Great Commission your supreme ambition
Make it your goal this Christmas season to re-dedicate your life to making disciples, teaching obedience to all things that the Lord has commanded. Introduce others to Christ. Witness for Christ. Be alert to evangelistic opportunities. Give Christ your love, your devotion, your worship and adoration. Give Him your heart, mind, hands and feet. Devote your time, talents and treasure to Christ and His Kingdom. Use your initiative and energy to advance the Kingdom of God. Be whole-hearted and persevere to the end.

Give Christ all that you have
Does Jesus have all of you that there is to have? Jesus said that the widow gave all that she had. What have you given to God? Have you made promises that you have gone back on? Have you made commitments that you have not honoured? Are there people you need to make right with? Ask forgiveness from? Jesus said leave your gift at the altar and first go and be reconciled with your estranged brother.

This festive season, make that phone call. Write that letter. Forgive. Ask for forgiveness. Do restitution. These would be acceptable gifts and sacrifices of praise to present to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ on His birthday. Wise men seek Christ. What are you seeking? Fun, friends, fame and fortune? Popularity, prestige and power?

Meaningless gifts
Have you noticed the impressive Christmas trees set up in many shopping malls? Have you noticed the beautifully wrapped presents piled up under most of these trees? You will see many children’s eyes widen as they look at these bright, shiny, shimmering presents, often with attractive ribbons around them? You hear little children ask, “What’s in those boxes?” And the answer is: absolutely nothing! They are beautifully wrapped and attractively presented, but the presents under these Christmas trees in the shopping malls are all empty!

The empty promises of the world
The world offers so much, but in the end it turns out to be empty. Over Christmas, stores and advertisers offer you everything you could possibly desire – if only you will buy their product or service. But like those alluring and attractive looking presents under the Christmas trees in the mall, the promises of the world turn out to be disappointingly empty. For those who pursue materialism they will find merry-go-rounds that get them nowhere, mazes that get them lost and dead-end streets that will frustrate their desires.

Hedonism and existentialism prove to be short-sighted, meaningless, empty and purposeless. What are you searching for? What is your purpose in life? What’s in the boxes you have been obtaining from the world?

Do not waste your life on the empty boxes of the world. Do not settle for less than God’s very best. God gives the best to those who leave the choice to Him. “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jer 29:30

Don’t miss the greatest opportunity of  your lifetime
What are you seeking for in life? What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Christmas should remind us of the danger of missing out on what is most important. How must all those innkeepers of Bethlehem feel – that they turned away the Greatest Man ever to be born?

 They had no room for Emmanuel. They couldn’t accommodate the Creator, the Eternal Judge before whom they will have to stand on the Day of Judgement. They missed the opportunity of all time. They could have welcomed the Holy family, but they missed out.  “He came unto His own and His own received Him not.” John 1:11

At His birth there was no room for Jesus in any of the homes or inns of Bethlehem. Today there seems to be no room for Jesus at the U.N. Don’t be like those innkeepers. Welcome Jesus into your home. Don’t let Christmas turn into a time of commercial chaos. Use this festive season to reach loved ones with the Gospel message.

Take Christmas back for Christ
Today there are numerous attempts to hijack Christmas from its Christian origins and to replace Jesus with some secular Santa Claus. The original Saint Nicolas, on which Santa Claus is based, was a dedicated Christian who was generous to the poor. That was the inspiration for Santa Claus. However, today Hollywood has built up a huge mythology of a secular Santa Claus that is far more acceptable to secular humanists and atheists than the Lord Jesus Christ.

Contrasting Santa and Jesus
Use this Christmas time to teach your children and grandchildren about the Lord Jesus Christ. We can contrast Him with ‘Santa’ and ‘Father Christmas’ like so:

Santa reportedly lives at the North Pole. Jesus is everywhere
Santa rides in a sleigh. Jesus rides on the wind and walks on the water
Santa comes but once a year, Jesus is our ever-present help
Santa may fill your stockings with toys. Jesus supplies all your needs
You have to stand in line to meet Santa. Jesus is as close as the mention of His Name
Santa may let you sit on his lap, but Jesus lets you rest in His arms
Santa has to ask you your name. Jesus knows your name and  your address
Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly; Jesus has a heart full of love
Santa says you ‘better not cry’, Jesus says “cast all your cares on Me for I care for you”
Santa needs little helpers to make toys.Jesus Himself gives life, heals wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and prepares mansions for us in Heaven
Santa may make you chuckle, but Jesus gives you the joy of the Lord
While Santa supposedly puts gifts under a tree, Jesus is the greatest Gift and He gives us the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Have a happy, Holy Christmas
Give Christ your time, talents and treasure. Your hands, feet, lips, heart and life. Give Him your worship, obedience, sacrifice, attention and adoration. To obey is better than sacrifice. Be reconciled to your friends and family. Be generous. Be grateful. Recognise the many evangelistic opportunities around you. Give God the very best that you have. And don’t waste your life on the empty boxes of the world.

Don’t settle for less than God’s very best. Whether you choose to celebrate Christ’s birth in December, or not, don’t waste this opportunity to share the message of hope for mankind through the birth and death of Christ. Don’t become so anti-Christmas, that you turn down wonderful moments to bring Christ into Christmas and explain the reason for the Season.

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matt 6:33

From Success to Significance

From Success to Significance
With her trade-mark style and enthusiasm, Dorothy spoke to us about her latest project…

You are a world-renown interior designer. Why did you venture into this industry?
I entered into interior design and decorating out of necessity as a young single parent to provide for and educate my two daughters. Through God’s grace and hard work I won many local and international awards including Worlds Best Classical Interior Design Award and Worlds Best Contemporary Interior Design Award at Royal Ascot, England.

God is the Master Designer. How has He influenced your career?
God is the source of all creation.  We are created in the image and likeness of the Almighty God. Therefore in each of us there is an inherent creativity which is waiting to burst forth. God is my source and inspiration. He is the ultimate creator and all my creativity comes from Him. I start everyday with a quiet time with the Lord and commit each project into His hands.
When the going is sometimes so tough and things seem impossible (the construction industry is not for the faint hearted) my team always suggests “let’s pray”. God works miracles, things happen and we have supernatural favour and each project reflects His Masterstrokes.

God leads, directs and inspires me through thoughts, ideas and His creation in nature. I have been blessed with a gift, that when I walk into a room, I see the completed design. I always seek Him and He inspires and directs me. I am privileged to be in business with my husband Bernard Deeb, who holds BCom CA, MBA qualifications; together we make a great team!

What makes an excellent designer?
Design with Flair and Passion; think out of the box. Maintain professionalism whilst keeping the client in the loop and ensure the design journey remains inspiring.

You have designed for hotels, corporate offices and homes. Now you are partnering with a Christian university. Why?
I have reached a place in my life now, where I would like to give back to others and impart significant wisdom to Christian students – hence the partnership with Cornerstone Institute. I have been blessed with many wonderful contracts in hotels, corporate head offices and beautiful homes. Some of the exciting contracts include a 240 bedroom hotel for Four Points Sheraton in Lagos, Nigeria. Working in Africa is challenging, colourful and inspiring. I love the people of Africa and enjoy the passion with which they live their lives. The names of clients are confidential and many famous and significant people from around the world have graced my offices. I enjoy working with captains of industry and people of influence as they always stretch my creativity. The more I commit my talents to God the more my gifts grow through His favour.

What can one expect to achieve at the Cornerstone/DVR Academy?
Students will receive a two year Higher Certificate in Interior Design and Decoration. The Dorothy van’t Riet Design Academy started 12 years ago when Garden and Home Magazine approached me to write a basic course on design and décor for it’s readers. Little did I know God’s plan for this venture, with in excess of 2 000 students ranging from 18 – 70 years old having done the course. Students included doctors, psychologists, law professors, architects, interior designers, housewives, school teachers, school leavers, domestic helpers and prison inmates. This was a God inspired course which empowered and equipped people to start up their own businesses. Lives were changed and made whole.
The course motto is “unleash the creative ability within you”, and we also ran many seminars to help students succeed from a business perspective. Students came from throughout South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, Zambia, DRC, USA, UK, Europe and Dubai. We also ran a Design Academy in Nigeria. Although this course was secular in nature many people became born-again. The course has undergone many revisions, and is now at the stage where the accreditation from the Department of Education is pending.

God directed me to Michael Louis, CEO of Louis Group Africa and the Chairman of Cornerstone Institute, who invited us to integrate our course into the Cornerstone Institute curriculum. I have desired for over 12 years to start a Design and Décor University and God’s grace has now made this a reality. I believe that the decision to bring DVR Academy under the Cornerstone banner is a move from ‘Success to Significance’, so that God will receive all the glory.

Contact info for the course
To contact DVR Interior Design for your interior project, call 011 786 2028 or see To attend her course at Cornerstone Institute, call 021 671 3506 or  071 192 9933 or

God Loves You Unconditionally

What is wrong with me?” If you are like most people, you have asked yourself that question many times throughout your life. I know I asked myself that for many years and it’s a common question the enemy plants in people’s minds. It is designed to make you feel like you are not what you need to be and to prevent you from enjoying yourself.

Unconditional love
It encourages insecurity and all kinds of fear. We frequently compare ourselves with other people and if we are not what they are, we assume something is wrong with us. There is, however, an antidote for this type of thinking that poisons our life. It is thinking frequently “God loves me unconditionally!” Not only does God love us but He chooses to view us as being right with Him, accepted and blameless.

This all comes through our faith in Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord. So we can accurately say, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ. I am chosen in Christ and in Him I am blameless before God.”

Becoming like Him
This is our inherited position with God through our faith in Jesus and it is not based on our own works of right or wrong, but entirely on faith. God wants us to learn proper behaviour, but He accepts and loves us first and once we are rooted and grounded in the knowledge of His unconditional love then He can begin the work of transforming our character into the image of His Son. The truth is that if you want your behaviour to improve, then your knowledge of the unconditional love of God must be the foundation for the ‘new you’. The more we experience God’s love, the more we desire to do what pleases Him.

Deepening your walk
Knowing God loves us unconditionally is an absolute necessity in order to make progress in our walk with Him. Jesus didn’t die so we could be religious; Jesus died so we could have deep, intimate, personal relationships with God through Him. Religion offers us rules and regulations to follow in order to be close to God. But relationship lets us know we can be close to Him because He has chosen us.

We will not draw near to God if we are afraid He is displeased with us. It is vital that you learn how to separate how important “you” are to God from what you do right or wrong. How can we hope to have an intimate relationship with God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit if we are not confident that we are loved unconditionally?

Having right relationships
Good relationships must be based on love and acceptance, not on fear. All too often we are deceived into thinking that our acceptance is based on our performance, and this is totally unscriptural. We are loved and accepted by God, and made right with Him because we place our faith in Jesus Christ and the work He accomplished for us on the Cross. He paid for our sins and misdeeds.

He absolved us from guilt and reconciled us to God. Now, when we stand before God, we have ‘rightness’, not ‘wrongness’. And we have it because He gave it as a gift, not because we have earned it. Blessed is the man who knows he has right standing with God apart from the works he does.

We need to believe
The enemy wants us to become self-focused by making us try to figure out what’s wrong with ourselves. When we ask ourselves questions such as “What’s wrong with me?”, we are playing along with his plan. God does not want us to be tormented by questions such as these and the feelings that accompany them.

He wants us to know how much He loves us and to understand in the depths of our hearts that we are in right relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ. When we really believe we are right with God and accepted by Him, the enemy will no longer be successful in his attempts to make us feel bad about ourselves.

New Christian University Launched

New Christian University Launched

Statistics show that 75% of churchgoers stop going to church within four years of studying at university. Fortunately South Africa now has a solution…

Cornerstone is the first Christian university in SA. Tell us more?
Cornerstone Institute is a newly established fully accredited Private Higher Education Institution (university) focusing on leadership development in Africa through a combination of contact and e-learning in a variety of academic disciplines, including social, business and Theological studies on different academic levels. The Institute differentiates itself from other universities by its focus on Christian leadership, ethics and values. Cornerstone is fully accredited and registered with the Department of Education and SAQA as a private higher education institution.

You educate students with a Biblical Worldview. Why this emphasis?
Without a well-defined worldview, nothing has context or purpose and the definitions of right and wrong become vague and obsolete. The true purpose of education is to equip and empower students to think and discover a meaningful worldview that will define their sense of success and failure for the rest of their lives. As Christians we believe a meaningful life is one “worthy of the calling we have received” Eph 4:1.

As an educational institution it is our vision to help our students discover their calling whilst learning important lessons about character, integrity, leadership and morality. By teaching learners from a Biblically-shaped worldview students are educated in thinking and living as responsible citizens in the global community, guided by Christian faith, as dynamic and ethical leaders in their respective fields. Many young students fail to define a fitting worldview during their student years and then lose all sense of direction. They often leave their alma mater confused and in spiritual despair. We pray that Cornerstone will continue to be a facilitator of faith.

You offer on site and e-learning. How does this work?
Cornerstone recruits and enrolls students from all over Africa and provides tuition through a combination of delivery modes. We offer certain programmes as full-time contact programmes only, delivered at the main campus in Cape Town. Some students prefer to study part-time while they pursue their full-time careers and are given the opportunity to do this through e-learning.

What courses do you offer?
Cornerstone currently offers the following accredited programmes: Certificate in Christian Ministry; Certificate in Community Development; Certificate in Community Development; Bachelor of Theology in Community Leadership; Bachelor of Arts Honours (Psychology).
We also offer: Higher Certificate in Business Leadership; Certificate in Community Development, Certificate in Christian Counselling and Higher Certificate in Interior Design and Decoration. A certificate in Media and Communication will also be available next year.

Often Christian endeavours are mediocre. How do you train world class leaders?
We are committed to the development of Christian leadership in society. At the very core of this vision lies the belief that South Africa and Africa needs an institution of higher learning for Christian leaders that will defy the general perception that Christians accept mediocrity. We strive to integrate academic excellence and Christian values in such a way that our qualifications are on par with those of any other university.

Feed-back from employers – government, churches and the business sector – confirms that our students are sought after because of their skills, work ethic and character. The qualifications of our faculty members comply with the stringent requirements of international academic institutions. The establishment of a private Christian university providing leadership education in all academic and professional disciplines is an ambitious, inspirational initiative. It cannot be achieved without the assistance and support of partners who share our vision; thus have formed strategic alliances with several international universities and local partners who bring a wealth of new programmes to Cornerstone.

Does Cornerstone only service young students, or can anyone study with you?
No. We are a tertiary education institution and the profile of our students include students from 18 to 64 years old! We have learners from all ages and regions, including seven African countries. Our programmes vary from Certificate level to post-graduate (Honours degree) level.

How does one register?
The next academic year starts in January 2011. Students who plan to study next year, contact us asap. Call 071 192 9933 or 021 671 3506 or go to our webiste:

Motivatioal Gifts: Prophetic Gifting

Motivatioal Gifts: Prophetic Gifting
Every born-again believer desires to serve God and minister to others. When you are born-again, God endows you with one or more motivational gifts – just as when you were born into this world, you were born with a talent (one or more). God has given to each of us the ministry of reconciliation (to win the lost). One of the best ways to discover and use your motivational gift, is to find a place in the Body where you can win the lost and bless others with your giftings.

Discovering your gift
Once you discover your motivational gift, you will notice that you will gain a fresh zeal for God and you will function with maximum effectiveness and minimal weariness.

If you want to be fulfilled as a Christian,in your day to day life, you must find out where your gifting lies and pursue it. As you do this, you will grow to maturity. “For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him” Mark 4:25.

Pursue your gift within the Body of Christ. God says, “I know the thoughts that I think towards you, to give a future and a hope” Jer 29:11. He has a plan for individuals, nations and the Body of Christ.

Developing your gift
You need to develop your motivational gift and ministry in harmony with God’s plan for your life. You have a unique place in the Body of Christ. People often ask, “In such a big church, where can I fit in? Surely they don’t need me.” But if one person is not fulfilling what God has endowed them with, they are depriving the rest of the Body, and the whole Body then lacks. Knowing what your motivational gift(s) are will stop you from moving into areas where you are not called  – in other words, you won’t move out of your God-given calling.

Understanding spiritual gifts
If each Christian properly understood his or her spiritual gift, it would not only motivate him/her to greater commitment and service, but would also bring a whole new excitement and synergy to the Body of Christ.

We all have a spiritual gift
When we were born physically, we possessed certain abilities. When we were born-again spiritually, we received certain spiritual abilities as members of the Body of Christ. “So we, being many, are one Body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them…” Rom 12:5-6.

Joy comes in exercising our gift
The root word for ‘gift’ is Charisma. This comes from the word ‘char’ which means joy. ‘Charis’ is the word for grace which involves God giving us the desire, power and the gift to accomplish God’s Will (Phil 2:13). This is internal motivation.

Personal fulfilment is only possible by developing our gift
Each of us has a desire for meaningful achievement. The ultimate end of this is having a significant part to play. This divine programme is being carried through the Body of Christ by the proper functioning of each member’s gift(s). Don’t get lost in the crowd or overcome with feelings of insignificance. As you use your gift, you will find personal significance.

Each gift is designed to perfect the Body of Christ
Just as there are varying functions in the members of our body, so each Christian has a particular and necessary function in the Body of Christ. Failure to exercise our gift weakens the ministry of the Body of Christ (Rom 2:4-5). We all complement one another. We need to understand other people’s gifting and ministries. We sometimes tend to alienate others because we think that they should have the same gifting that we have. E.g. “She’s so unspiritual because she’s always talking about money and giving”.

If we are to concentrate on our gift as instructed in Romans 12, we must first understand what that gift is. Moreover, if we are to have harmony with others within the Body of Christ, we must understand what their particular functions are.

There are three distinct categories of gifts
It is important at this stage for us to distinguish between the different categories and types of gifts that God has placed in the Body of Christ. We must also not mistake the ‘gifts’ with the ‘fruit’ of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). When we are born-again and walk in the Spirit, then our spirit bears the fruit of our new life in Jesus Christ (John 15:1-8). There are three different groups of gifts given by the Godhead to the Body of Christ:
a)        Motivational Gifts (Rom 12:3-8)
b)        Gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:8-10, 28)
c)        Five-fold Ministry Gifts (Eph 4:11)

The purpose of the gifts
Motivational gifts are given by God the Father to each individual Christian as His unique workmanship. These are seven basic motivations or inherent tendencies at work in all our lives. These gifts are prophecy, serving, teaching, exhorting, giving, ruling and mercy.  Gifts of the Holy Spirit are God the Holy Spirit’s gifts which He distributes to believers as He wills for the work of ministering to people in need. These nine gifts include: a word of wisdom; a word of knowledge; discerning of spirits; faith; working of miracles; gifts of healings; prophecy; diverse kinds of tongues; and the interpretation of tongues.

The ministry gifts are the Ascension gifts of God the Son which He gave to the Church in His Resurrection. These gifts are the five-fold ministries: offices of the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher. Christ gave these gifts that they may equip each member of His Body for practical service and ministry. These leaders are also essential in assuring that all the gifts and ministries are correctly applied in the Body of the Church. We will explore all these gifts in the next issue.

See next month’s issue for the follow-up article in the Motivational Gifts series.