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Msindisi Newsletter #81

June 6, 2011

SALVADOR & DIANNE’S MSINDISI MONTHLY

NUMBER:      81.       June 2011

PO BOX 1481
VRYHEID 3100
KWAZULU NATAL
SOUTH AFRICA
+27 (0) 728311008
Email:  msindisi@gmail.com ,
salv.di@gmail.com

KwaZulu Mission Website: http://www.kwazulumission.com

Personal Website: http://msindisi.googlepages.com

 

Dear Friends and family,

 

What a joyous month of celebration with Phumulani and Thabi’s wedding. Friends coming to visit fromSouth Africaand from theUK.  The birth of our friend’s first child and the baptism of Tholakele.

 

There is much to tell and I’m not sure where to start. Jacob Meads from Di’s home church inNew Zealandis still with us until mid July. He has settled in well and has formed good friendships with many people. He has picked up a few words of Zulu, greetings and farewells, along with the odd words. His warm personality draws people and much laughter is heard in the communication process. The Lord is stretching him with the study of His word but he continues to press in. This month he will be ready to share a message with the bible study and the church. He has already shared at the Care bear pre-school at the start of this month and played his piano accordian at kids club where he will share later in the month. He was a huge help with the preparations of the wedding. Such as killing a cow and cutting it up for meat, the cow was given as a gift from Phumulani boss. We have been fetching water everyday as the rainy season has finished and with the many visitors and the garden now planted water is needed often. Di’s veggie garden was extended and fenced thanks to Jacob and Sal.

 

Much of the month was taken up with the preparation for the wedding. We witnessed a real outpouring of generosity from friends within and outside ofSouth Africa. Everyone wanted to help in some way, so the pulling together of pots, dishes, tents, flowers, video camera, vehicles, finances for hair, cake and food etc made it an extra special day for them both. Many many thanks to you all.

 

Before the day we had the pleasure of Clayton (Allen and Sue’s son) and his fiancée Jessie coming to visit us from theUKfor a night and two days. They also are making wedding plans for their celebration back in theUKin August. Jessie got to sleep in a “real Zulu hut” while Clayton and Jacob slept in a “real South African tent” which was pitched on a lean. Stories from “Truth for Youth” were shared and a general good catch-up was had. It is wonderful to see how the Lord has lead Clayton with his work, meeting Jessie and now his position with the youth atBridge Lanechurch. May the Lord continue to lead them as they prepare for their own wedding.

 

The Friday before the wedding we were blessed to catch up with Allen, Brenda and Tayla  McKensie fromPort Elizabeth. They were passing through to see their daughter inDurban. This turned out to be an opportunity for them to also meet Kim and Leanie from the bible study group as we all met up at the hut before going of to decorate the hall for the wedding the next day. That same night we had the arrival of our friends Bernard and Mabel with baby Nvobo and Doctor. Sadly Mujuru, Clayton and Abel were unable to attend as Rachel was very unwell. Our friend Hendrik kindly helped out with collecting Thabi from Khambi.

 

The wedding started true African style, very relaxed and very late. 

We were blessed to see Zulu, African’s, Indian, Kiwi’s, English, Shangaan and Pedi all sharing in the celebration. There was much loud cheering, clapping and dancing when the bridal party (which Sal and Jacob were apart of) entered one at a time dancing Zulu style. The guys had been practicing getting into the Zulu rhythm leading up to the day. This has been captured on video… thanks to Belinda. (Copies maybe ordered lol)

 

Pastor Bongenkosi Zakwe preached the word and shared the gospel. Bernard shared a wonderful message welcoming Phumulani to fatherland. It’s a term used once married in the Zulu culture because you are no longer seen as Umfana (boy) but  now Ubaba (Father). Bernard spoke on the authority of God above all cultural issues when they go against His Word. There are no official invites to a Zulu wedding so anyone in the community can attend. This means that a huge supply of food is needed to be prepared for the celebrations. The mother of the bride does not attend as is common in the Zulu culture. After photos Phumulani and Thabi returned to the kraal.  The family of Thabi returned her to their home later that night were she wasn’t released till Monday after Phumulani and Sal went to speak to the family. The family won’t fully accept that Thabi belongs to Phumulani until the ancestors are appeased. Phumulani and Thabi will not be involved in this ritual but for now Thabi is able to stay with Phumulani. Please pray for them. Because Thabi is related to the chief of the area there is much pressure on them to be seen doing the traditional ancestor sacrifice. Although Phumulani family also follow this tradition, Simon, Phumulani older brother spoke out saying “ they are married now she just needs to come and be with Phumulani, it is finished it is over”. Continue to hold them in Prayer over this.

 

With so much traveling to and fro into town with preparations, discipling was missed for a week however the bible study continued meeting and going through Revelation. Two videos were watched, “Messages from Heaven” and “The Daniel Project”.

A young lady called Joanne has just started attending the group; she gave her life to the Lord earlier in the year and is now very zealous for the word of God.

This month we also had the Baptism of Tholakele, it was a very cold day and she had a serve toothache. This however did not deter her. We praise the Lord for her. Sal is discipling her each week with Jabulani and Mkulu. We were able to help her with dental work as her two teeth needed to be extracted.

Along with sharing at the ladies craft group in Louwsburg and preaching much was done around wedding planning.

 

Sal spoke to Mujuru this month and it looks likely that he will be going to Zim in August, we are not sure if Di will be able as her visa has still not arrived from Home Affairs, she is on a temporal visa until they have it sorted.

 

 

 

Finally, please note that our website address is now www.kwazulumission.com which contains our newsletter and has the facility for you to leave your comments and questions. Many thanks for all your emails, prayers and involvement in our lives and ministry.

 

The Lord bless you and keep you.

 

Shalom aleichem baShem Yeshua, Salvi and Di

 

 

 

ELIJAH AND ELISHA

GOD’S PROVISION

PART 2

1 Kings 17: 2 – 24

 

 

We have started a series of teachings looking at the ministries of Elijah and Elisha. In the last session we looked at the first verse of 1 Kings 17 and basically saw that Elijah, like Moses and John the Baptist came out of obscurity to lead up to the ministry of another. Where as Moses was a law giver, both Elijah and John the Baptist were calling the people back to repentance. Malachi 4: 5 – 6 shows us that the ministry of Elijah is a ministry of restoration. Elijah’s ministry was brought forth with great signs and wonders. When he spoke to Ahab concerning the rain being stopped, he did not say, ‘thus saith the LORD’ but he gave the message simply by swearing by the Lord’s name. The rains would come back by the word of Elijah. This necessitated humility and an attitude of servitude. One of the main lessons from the last session was the fact that Elijah was servant hearted and as such was in a position where God could have used him in such a powerful ministry without Elijah going apostate, taking glory for himself.

 

In this session we will see God’s provision for Elijah and for the widow who he lodged with. We will look at chapter 17 in three sections. Firstly we will look at Elijah by the brook Cherith. Then we will look at the mutual provision of Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath and lastly we will look at the death and resurrection of the widow’s son.

 

V 2 – 6            The provision of God at Cherith

 

So Elijah has confronted Ahab boldly and told him that there would be a drought. Now this was a literal drought but there is a spiritual application of this physical sign. Isaiah 32: 15 (& 44: 3) uses rain as a picture of the Holy Spirit bringing life and vitality to a barren land. We do not need to turn to the scripture to remember that in the book of Acts Joel was quoted as saying that God would pour out his spirit on all flesh and we see this typified by the pouring of the early and the latter rains. But what do we read in Deuteronomy 32: 1 & 2? God’s words are also likened to the rains. Again in scripture we see a link between the Word and the Spirit. So that in withholding the Spirit, God also withholds His prophetic Word. In fact Jesus is the actual Word of God and the reason we have the similarity between this aspect of rain and God’s words dropping from heaven is seen in John 1: 4 which says, ‘in Him was life and that life was the light of men.’ Again in John 6: 63, Jesus says, ‘My words are spirit and they are life.’  Now when God sends a sign or does a miracle it is not there to titillate our curiosity. God does not do magic shows but rather He uses the miraculous to teach us something about the truth of His word. For example I will look at one example from the gospel of John. In John 5: 1 – 9 we have a pool with five porticoes, water for healing and that healing brought about through the agency of an angel stirring the waters. We have a man who is unable to procure the healing through his own efforts and he has no one to help him. He strove and strove. What does this teach us? Water teaches us about two things in scripture. Living water is a symbol of the Holy Spirit but this is not living water but standing water. Water teaches us also about the word of God. The word of God in this context must be entered in through 5 porticoes, and what five things do the porticoes relate to? It must be the 5 books of Moses for a few different reasons. Firstly, just as this pool promised healing, so the Law of Moses promises life to those who keep it. (Leviticus 18: 5). This Law was ordained through angels. (Galatians 3: 19). However the man was powerless to get the healing through his own efforts because we are of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. (Romans 7: 14) Jesus comes and heals the man on the Sabbath because Jesus gives us rest from our working and He gives us eternal life. Jesus tells the man to get up, pick up his pallet and walk. That is those who have received eternal life are told to take up their cross and follow Jesus. The fact that he was carrying his pallet on a Sabbath does not mean he was working. The Jewish leaders saw it as work but for the man this was nothing compared to his condition of striving for many years to get healing. It depends on how you look at it. If you know you were a sinner and were striving to get right with God, taking up your cross is not working for your salvation. It is only when you do not know the lostness of your own soul that the Christian life will seem hard and feel like a work you HAVE to do to be saved.

 

That is just one example of how God brings about a miraculous sign to teach spiritual truth, but what of this drought inIsrael? What is God teachingIsraeland throughIsraelteaching us? Please turn to Amos 8: 11 – 13. Basically the physical drought is a parallel to God taking away His word in judgment. Sometimes it is only when something is taken away from us that we then realize the value of it. 2 Thess 2: 11 & 12. We see that because the spirit of lawlessness is on the rise, the restrainer will be taken away and then the man of lawlessness will deceive with a ministry of signs and wonders. The antichrist, though his coming is in accordance with the activity of Satan, is sent by God as a judgment. God sends a deluding influence on the people so that they may believe the lie. The taking away of the word is a judgment and this is what Elijah was demonstrating in the declaration that there would be no rain except by his word. Therefore in verse 2 the Word of the LORD, which is Jesus Christ Himself, visits Elijah and in verse 3 tells him to hide himself. The words ‘to hide oneself’ here mean to ‘secret oneself’ or to ‘conceal oneself’. Just like the prophecy in Isaiah 29: 9 – 12. Elijah was not necessarily hiding to be protected from Ahab. There was a real threat but that is not the main reason here. The main reason that Elijah was to hide himself was because the hiding of Elijah was the real judgment for the apostasy that we looked at in the last session. Now there is real drought inIsraeland we will see in the next session of this message that this drought extended even to the areas outside ofIsrael, evenLebanon. The hiding of Elijah is also a type and picture of the hiding of Jews for three and a half years in the wilderness during the second half of the tribulation when the Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel but that is another matter altogether.

 

So how will God sustain Elijah through this time? Elijah is told to go to the brook Cherith east of theJordan. Though there was a drought of the Word Elijah still was visited by the Word of God. Now notice that the brook was supposed to provide drink for Elijah. Now the word brook in Hebrew is ‘Nachal’ and it can also mean flood or river. However I do not believe we are referring to a river but a stream. If we were dealing with something big we would be able to find it on a good bible map or in a bible encyclopedia. It seems that no one knows where it was. There might be someone that knows but I have not been able to find him. It must have been something small. Here in is a big lesson. In the midst of a great judgment, in the midst of such darkness and in the hardest of times God chose to use the small and insignificant to meet the needs of Elijah. God has used the feeble before. He used a boy with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish to feed 5000 people. Jesus used a handful of fishermen to spread the gospel into the world. Now this becomes an important truth when we consider the problem of persecution. It is easy to talk about it here in the comfort of the west where no threat is over us in that sense. But this truth is the truth nevertheless. Daniel 12: 1 – 3. There will be great distress. The antichrist will overcome the saints. According to Revelation 12: 17 it will not only beIsraelwho the antichrist will persecuted but also believers in Jesus. The time will be hard and we will not be able to have open ministry. We will not be able to stand on street corners to preach. But what does Daniel say? Those who lead the many to righteousness will be like the stars forever and ever. We will still be able to lead people to righteousness in the midst of that. We will be weak, impotent, ineffectual but God will still use us and probably use us more powerfully. Surely the brook would be one of the first to dry up! We do not know where the brook got its water supply from. Maybe it got it from a hidden source in a mountain if there were any mountains round about. But whatever the physical source, the real source was God Himself. He made the difference. That is the testimony of people in persecuted lands. They are used powerfully by God despite being in weakness, being hidden in secret, being ineffectual.

 

But it was not only the river but also through ravens. A raven is an unclean bird. Not kosher, so why would God ordain such a thing? Firstly, desperate times call for desperate measures. God is able to use the ungodly for his purposes. Secondly the whole debate about kosher foods is only in regards to the consumption of kosher foods. Elijah was to get his food from the ravens but was not to eat the ravens. But thirdly this is an Old Testament picture of how God will use Gentiles to look after his people. We only have to look at the Holocaust and the memorials to righteous Gentiles. These were Gentiles who helped Jews or saved Jews from being killed or taken to concentration camps, with no benefit to the Gentile and even to their own harm. Schindler is said to have lost a lot of money in his protection of Jews through the factory that he ran. These ravens were scavengers. Where did they usually take their food to? To their own young, but where did they bring the meat to? To Elijah.

 

V 7 – 16         The mutual provision for Elijah and the Widow at Zeraphath

 

The brook dries up. Elijah is moved from one place to another. Notice Elijah’s attitude and character in all this. Never, never does Elijah complain; not even once. When God tells Elijah to go here, he goes here and when God tells Elijah to go there he goes there. How different we are. We get comfortable in the place where God brings us so that we complain if he moves us on or we hate the place he brings us into in the first place. Look at Elijah’s diet. If you had to eat bread and sausage every single meal for a year you would go out of your mind. But Elijah did not even get any bread! How boring! How awful but what was Elijah’s attitude? Perfect obedience. But the brook dries up. Why does the brook dry up? Why do those people who have been a source of comfort, cease to supply that comfort? When Dave Royle left our church ‘Cornerstone’ in theUKto go to pastor inSouth Africa(late 1990s) people really felt a loss. There was one couple that told Dave that he was not hearing from the Lord and that it was a wrong move. What about churches that were once sound and preached the word that have gone into error? What about churches where people really cared about each other that now show no concern about anybody? Why does God allow it? 2 Corinthians 1: 3 – 7. It is God who comforts us. God may use people and situations but the source of that comfort or provision is God Himself. God dries us the brook to keep our eyes on Him as the well and spring of our comfort in life. Elijah’s attitude is amazing because Elijah has absolutely no control. Sometimes, and I can see it in myself, we would rather dry up the brook ourselves rather than have it taken away from us. Elijah was just obedient and was willing to do whatever or to go wherever the Lord wanted.

 

So Jesus, the Word of God, visits Elijah again and tells him this time to go to Zeraphath. Where is Zeraphath? It is inSidon. Who came fromSidon? Read 1 Kings 16: 31. Out of all the places God sends Elijah, He picks Jezebel’s homeland! Now Elijah could have been provided for by people withinIsrael. In the next chapter you will see that Obadiah hid 100 prophets in a cave and provided bread and water. You thought Elijah’s diet was bad! So if God could have used Obadiah to hide Elijah then why would God turn to a Sidonian widow? Remember Romans 11.Israelrejected God’s word and so God turned His grace to the Gentiles. Then after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in God will turn His grace back to the Jews. This is exactly the case with Elijah. God uses the judgment ofIsraelas an avenue to reach a Gentile woman, the church after 365 AD till recent times. God commanded a widow to care for Elijah. This may not necessarily mean that she audibly heard a command. Remember Isaiah speaks of the king Cyrus being God’s servant even though Cyrus did not even know the Lord. But it means that God’s hand was in this situation and God had prepared the lady to do His will. We cannot understand how God works His will in this way but we know we are capable of compelling people to accomplish our will. I am not talking about deception. But when we know people, we know what motivates them. How greater God is at compelling us because He knows us, inside and out. He knows who is ripe and what they need to hear. A man’s heart plans his way but the Lord directs his steps.

 

Now notice how Elijah deals with this situation. We could learn a lot from this, I could especially. Elijah has been told specifically about this widow. God showed him. So what does Elijah do when he sees the widow? Does he go up to her and ask ‘Are you a widow? Well God has told me you must provide for me!’ No, he does not do that until later. First of all Elijah tests the widow just like Abraham’s servant did with finding a wife for Isaac. If only we would not be presumptuous and test things first, even when the Lord does actually specifically tell us something! This is not the same as doubting the Lord but it is to test to see if this is the specific fulfillment of God’s promise before diving into the situation. Firstly Elijah asks the lady for a jar, or cup of water. That is Elijah wanted to see if the lady was worthy of sharing in the reward of a prophet. (Mt 10: 41 – 42) But then he asks for the widow to bring a piece of bread in her hand. The widow protests with the answer that she is down to her last handful of flour. This is her last meal, she has given up hope and is resigned to the fact that after this meal they can only face death. She has held her responsibility of providing food in the most upright way. She has not given up to the point of saying, ‘what’s the point of cooking this last meal, we are going to die anyway!’ But she has held out until the end. But now the end has come! How can she therefore be a source of provision to this prophet? 2 Corinthians 4: 7 – 10. Paul had a thorn in the flesh once and prayed three times for it to be taken away. But God’s answer was that His grace was sufficient for Paul because God’s power was perfected in weakness. The surpassing power must be from God. If we have the ability and the power sometimes the waters become cloudy and we get confused as to which is from God and which is from ourselves. Sometimes we tell people that it is all from God though we might secretly believe we had our hand in it but we say it anyway because it is the right thing to say.

 

So when the widow says this, Elijah knew that this was the widow God wanted to use. His answer was soft, not harsh. It was not, ‘Well lady, you better give me some or else you will lose your blessing and God will be angry!’ He says to her, ‘Don’t be afraid, make it for yourself and your son.’ He was not asking her to give away all her food but that Elijah should have a share and the first portion. This is not a rule for everyone to give to the ‘man of God’ as some TBN preachers claim. It was a specific promise for a specific lady. If there is any principle to be taken from this it is the principle of Galatians 6: 6 which says that the one who is taught the word is to SHARE all good things with the one who teaches him. It does not say the person taught is to merely give away and it does not specify money. It is sharing, not giving away and when a person has less, then that sharing will be less in man’s eyes, but in God’s eyes it is all the same if not more; it is sharing. He also gave the widow a specific promise that God would provide. My grandmother inPortugalhad this experience of God’s provision. She had no money and 7 children to feed. Every morning when she came into the kitchen every morning there was a full chorizo sausage hanging up for the family until the morning when money came in and then the sausage was used up. But notice this provision was made with my grandmother when she was in the most desperate of situations. So with this lady, she was at the bottom of the barrel; that is when God steps in. But let us move on to the last section.

 

V 17 – 24       The death and resurrection of the widow’s son.

 

What is worse than facing death? Facing the threat of death and being saved from that threat only to find that death comes anyway. Raised hopes which are then dashed are always hard to live with. God saved the widow and her son, only to find that her son dies anyway. Not only does her son die but because she is a widow all her future hope of someone to look after her dies with him. He was her welfare, he was her retirement plan, he was her old age home. Without him, she had nothing. What does she do after this death? She blames Elijah. Just as Elijah had brought judgment onIsraelbecause of her sin, she had thought that he had come to pray judgment on her because of her sin. Here we can see why God brought this sickness unto death, which through the eyes of faith we can see was not ultimately unto death. This is because God is a Holy God. We cannot host God in our lives without Him exposing our sinfulness to us. Just like Jn 3: 19 – 21 shows us. God meant more than provision for this widow. If God only sought provision for life’s necessities then everybody would be a Christian, but because God goes deeper and wants to deal with sin, many do not want to commit to him. So what was Elijah’s reaction? How did this bold, hot-headed prophet reply? With a soft answer to turn away wrath. He knew that she was emotional and grieving and therefore he did not argue or try to help her understand the situation. He simply asked for her son. 1 Peter 3: 7 tells husbands to live with their wives in an understanding way as with a weaker vessel and to give her honour as a fellow heir. Often women want to be able to share their problems without the husband trying to give all the answers, they just want to be listened to, understood and loved. There is a joke about a man who says to his wife ‘Only come to me with a problem if you want a solution. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for!’ Elijah did not have that ethic. He just listened and took the issue to the Lord. He took the boy to a room away from the widow who was distraught and sought God fervently for the restoration for the lad. Look at verse 20. Elijah asks if God’s real intention was harm to the widow. Notice Elijah does not ask why. Sometimes it is not worth asking why. The why comes later. We need to know what God’s will is and to accept it. As Jesus told His disciples after washing their feet, ‘What I do you do not realize but you will understand hereafter.’ But Elijah prays for the life of the lad to return to him. But Elijah does not only pray; he does something unusual. He lies on top of the lad three times while calling to the Lord. It is like, if Elijah could, he would pour his own life into the lad. This is the attitude that the Apostle Paul had. Paul expresses this to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 12: 15 in that he would be gladly expended for their souls. In Philippians 2: 17 he speaks of being poured out as a drink offering and in 1 Thessalonians 2: 7 – 9 Paul shares his example of being a nursing mother, working night and day so as not to be a burden to them. Elijah was willing to pour out his life that this boy might live. Are you, am I willing to live that life of sacrifice so that our prayers may see an answer? Notice that it is not Elijah’s prayer that revived the lad though his prayer accomplished much. Back in verse 22 the life came back after God heard the prayer. What did prayer accomplish? It moved the One who put the stars in space, who made heaven and earth. God heard and he answered. And the result was that the salvation of God came to the woman. She really knew he was a man of God. She already had accepted him as a prophet but now she knew that what he said was the truth. She had confessed her sin and trusted her dead son into God’s hands. Her cry was heard and now she knew the Truth that the God of Israel is the true God in contrast toIsraelwho were of two opinions that both Yahweh and Baal were equals. What an indictment on the northernkingdomofIsrael, that a Gentile woman recognizes the supremacy ofIsrael’s God whileIsraelis blind to it.

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