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Msindisi Newsletter # 94

June 2, 2012

SALVADOR & DIANNE’S MSINDISI MONTHLY

NUMBER: 94 June 2012

PO BOX 1481
VRYHEID 3100
KWAZULU NATAL
SOUTH AFRICA

+27 (0) 728311008
+27 (0) 815836288

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,

We finally have news about Salvi’s application for permanent residence though not about Di’s extension of Visa application. Salvi’s application for relaxation of criteria went all the way to the top, to the minister of Home Affairs, Mrs Nkosana Dlamini Zuma, the ex-wife of the president of South Africa himself. She declined Salvi’s application for relaxation of the criteria as he did not fit the criteria for application. However as soon as we received the news we realized that we should have already put in the application for Salvi’s extension of visitors permit on that day as his current visa expires on the 21st of June. Amazingly we were able to get all documentation together over twenty four hours and we had Salvi’s application submitted by the end of the week. God gave favor. We have never been able to submit an application that quickly before.

At the beginning of the month Di taught the kids at care bear preschool in Vryheid. Di used the shapes that they had been learning in the preschool to teach different aspects of the gospel message. The kids love the guitar and they will stiffen their left arms like it is a guitar neck and then furiously strum the air with their other arm. It is most hilariously cute to watch them. But we trust with the clever repetition Di employs of Gospel themes throughout the diverse lessons that those truths will remain with them throughout their lives till the Lord will quicken them to accept the gospel.

At the beginning of the month Phumlani went to visit Zimbabwe with Jonny, a member of our cell group. They were visiting a cell based church (a church that stress the importance of the cell group more than sunday attendance) to see how they run their church system. It was Phumlani’s first time out of South Africa and first time on a plane. Jonny is a farmer in and around where we live. He is a dairy farmer cum chicken farmer who also grinds mealie (corn / maize) and farms some sheep with his wife Kim. Jonny went to Zimbabwe to be a support and encouragement to Phumlani and to make sure that Phumlani managed to make it to the plane. They both stayed in a township in Harare and were looked after by the leading elder there Ngoni. Here is a short report Phumlani wrote about the trip:

__________________________________

PHUMLANI’S REPORT FROM THE ZIMBABWE TRIP

MY JOURNEY TO ZIMBABWE

I would like to thank our brothers here, Salvi and Di, those who prayed for me to go to Zimbabwe and God who made our trip to be possible and safety. We met our brothers there at Zimbabwe. We had a nice fellowship. We spent about five days and we visited their cell groups. The first night Ngoni, the elders of the church, show us how they do their meetings on the cell groups. They share the word that was preached on Sunday. They let everyone on the group share what he/she learned on the message and how are we going to apply it in our lives. Their emphasis was on the book of James 1:22-24. Their focus was more based on the cell groups because their church was big in numbers. Then Ngoni the elder said cell groups help him to not hold all the work, i.e individual questions, individual problems. Ngoni said the leader of the cell group is going to help those people who mare with him. I asked Ngoni about how many cell groups are there? He said it is about 14. The next two days he shown us the cell prayer. All pray one and the same time for different things. All cell groups meet at 6:00pm-7:00pm during the week and during the day we visited some members of church. We encouraged them by God’s word and we prayed with them and Ngoni asked me to lead Bible study. I did the book of Jude. Our last day was Sunday. Ngoni gave the children opportunity to share God’s word on the meeting.

______________________________________

While Phumlani and Jonny were away, we helped Jonny’s wife Kim on the farm and with their selling to the local communities. Jonny and Kim do an amazing service to the local community in selling the products at a reasonable price. When they sell out of food the people are full of complaints stating that they are going hungry. A common question we were asked when we didn’t have tomatoes or maize meal for sale was “What are we going to eat?” There were some Zulu guys who bought a shop in the nearby community who were selling but we were told that they were charging 3 times the price Jonny and Kim sold for. All this makes us marvel that there has been so many land claims on farmland. When farmers are pressurised into selling their farms and then the farms are put into the hands of the community the farm might produce for up to one year if that but then the farm comes to a stand still. As we helped out on and off for a few days Salvi got opportunity to witness to one of the farm workers.

Di also did a couple of clinic runs this month. Her literacy classes with Tholakele this month, though stop start have seen much improvement in Tholakele’s reading. We reckon that Tholakele will start reading the bible within a few months. Di’s shoulders have not been good for a while and they have been throbbing. The doctor said that Di has a torn ligament. Di has been trying to rest her shoulders as much as possible and not doing any of the heavy lifting which is not always possible when Salvi is out. She has received some magnesium product that originates from the dead sea in Israel and she has noticed a marked improvement. We are set to book her an appointment with the physiotherapist in Vryheid on monday. The last time Di called in to her office the physiotherapist was out running a marathon!

Salvi has finished the Israel studies with Alpha and now they have started a survey of every book in the bible. We hope that this survey will enable them to understand the bible when they come to read it, to give them a framework of the whole scripture. Salvi also fixed up the fencing for Di’s garden to stop the cows from coming in. He was not impressed of being lacerated by the barbed wire constantly – he really needs to harden up – which was practice for doing the fence at Florence, a lady whom we had a garden built for. The cows were reaching over the fence so Salvi put a couple of lines of barbed wire over the top to stop the cows from eating her fresh growing veg.

Bethany Baptist Church very kindly donated a lot of clothes and tinned food to the mission. We have given the food to the poorest in our church but also to three families. One of which the mother was recently widowed and the other house hold the man, Veli had recently lost his brother. His mother had passed away a while ago and it is just him and his younger sisters. Most of the clothes have also been given out.

Salvi has continued witnessing in Ngenitsheni and one older lady has expressed desire for further bible study. We are not committing but going to test the waters. People can be quick to say that they want to study the bible to please you. Salvi is going back next week to preach there. It is quite amazing that for the last couple of weeks it has seemed that hardly a person would come out and Salvi would be preaching to the air. But then nearer the preaching time three or four people would come out besides the small number of children who always seem attracted to the guitar and singing.

In the third week of May we went to visit our brethren in Stanger that are part of Mark Van Niekerk’s church pastored by Calvin Josiah. Mark’s family are the only white members of that fellowship, everyone else being South African Indians. We stayed with Calvin for the first time and had much discussion and fellowship. We were there to help Calvin do a tent outreach to the Zulu settlement near where his church meets. Salvi was asked to preach over the four meetings as he can preach in Zulu. This was in the hope of establishing a church plant. The messages were hard hitting but firmly gospel orientated and seeking to separate those who are serious about getting to know the Lord from those who would be looking to play games. The meetings went very well. It was Calvin’s first time doing a crusade like this. Salvi also preached a message for the church in English based on Hosea 5. Mark had just returned from New Zealand where he had spoken in Di’s home church among other places of the heresy of replacement theology. Mark has an extraordinary love for the salvation of Jewish people and conducts short term mission trips to Israel to witness concerning messiah to Jews and Arabs in the land. If anyone would like to obtain a copy of Mark’s message in New Zealand please email us and we will send you the necessary details. On the last two nights of being in Stanger we stayed with Mark and Marianne and had wonderful fellowship with them. It was wonderful to hear what the Lord had been doing through Mark in New Zealand and how very timely as Stephen Sizer had gone to New Zealand with his replacement theology. Many, many churches in New Zealand are replacementist but thanks be to God, the Lord used Mark to touch quite a number of people there to have a heart for Israel.

For those who are interested there is a website with three audio messages uploaded that concerning the building of the Church and having a Zeal for God’s house. These messages were recorded in Port Elisabeth, South Africa 2011. http://www.sermon.net/msindisi

VISA update. We still have not as yet got any news concerning Di’s application for extension for Temporary Residence Permit. Her application is in process. Please pray for the Lord to guide our applications according to His will.

We thank you all for your prays and support, may the lord richly bless you as we labour together in His work.

Shalom

Salvi and Di

P.S Please don’t forget to look at Salvi’s petition concerning ecumenism in the Lausanne consultation for Jewish Evangelism which has been signed by several people including Jacob Prasch and others from Moriel ministries and Jackie Alnor among other people. For more information please visit http://www.lausannecje.wordpress.com and for the petition please visit http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/lcje . Salvi is hoping to have it sent or delivered to the members of LCJE in the near future so please sign it if you have not done so already and also feel strongly against ecumenism infiltrating the evangelical camp. We just need 4 signatures to reach the target of 100 people so that we can present it to members of LCJE. Please pray that the Lord might lead some helpful people across our path to present the petition and corresponding articles to members of LCJE.

ELIJAH AND ELISHA
THE SONS OF THE PROPHETS BUILD A PLACE
PART 15
2 Kings 6: 1 – 7

Elisha has done numerous miracles. And now we are coming to the end of Elisha’s miracles that the scripture has recorded. Elisha may have done other great works but the scripture has recorded these miracles because they talk of something that we would see in Messiah. In fact three of the miracles we have read directly mirror miracles that Jesus did in His earthly ministry. Raising a boy from the dead, feeding many people from a little food and curing a leper. In the last session we looked at the healing of Naaman and the cursing of Gehazi, Elisha’s servant. There were huge parallels in that narrative to the truth of the partial hardening of Israel. The way parallelism works in the bible is that a story will bear some resemblance to the truth or to the New Testament person it is portraying. We take someone like Joseph and we see that there are many parallels with Jesus in his first coming but he will not parallel Jesus in every way. The reason for that is that if he did so he would be none other than Jesus Himself. So the way we understand parallels is through the clear teaching of the New Testament itself. This is what some people call Midrash. Midrash is looking at the spirit of the Law and not just looking at it in terms of what the actual words mean. A classic example of Midrash is Jacob Prasch’s message, ‘The living, the dead and the priests of the Lord’ where he looks at Leviticus 21. Historically and grammatically it has nothing to do with us as believers. It is purely about the handling of dead bodies by priests. However because the New Testament speaks of us as being priests, believers as being alive in Christ and unbelievers as being dead in their sins we see that there is a New Testament application for us. However, doing this kind of interpretation does not negate the historical and grammatical mode of interpretation. There must be that literal interpretation in place before going onto the other interpretations. The historical and grammatical method only speaks of what the text meant to the people who were involved or to whom the text was written. However, we do not live in that day. We need to transfer that meaning into our own lives. Thus on top of the historical and grammatical approach we need other interpretations which are based on the former. Other interpretations are, interpreting what this teaches about how we should act in our day and age, how we should think, allegories of larger biblical themes, and pictures of prophecy demonstrated in the biblical accounts. And there are many parallels in the Old Testament which Paul makes note of in 1 Corinthians 10: 11 speaking of the narrative of the Exodus. Now all these things happened to them as examples: and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

2 Kings 6:1 – 7 BUILDING A PLACE

For many people this narrative is merely given to show Elisha’s care for something as mundane as recovering a borrowed axe head. The point being it was for someone who was concerned about not being able to return it to its owner. This interpretation should in no wise be minimized as restitution is of major importance in the Old Testament and is a principle we should hold to. However there have always been many debtors. Why does the Bible make special mention of this one? I believe that it speaks of the preparation of Israel for the judgment that God would bring through Hazael. Elisha is not only an agent of grace but is also an agent of judgment. We saw this two fold aspect of his ministry in the session that dealt with him taking Elijah’s mantle. To the people from Jericho he was a source of salvation but to the young men from Bethel he was a source of judgment. What we see in this passage is that the sons of the prophets gathered or lived in a place that had become too small to contain them. We are either talking about a communal home for the prophets to live in or we are talking about a place where they gathered to sit and hear God’s instructions and teaching. The word for ‘dwelling’ or ‘living’ is the Hebrew word ‘Yashav’ and it is the same word that is used to say that the sons of the prophets were sitting before Elisha in 2 Kings 4: 38. So most people would say that they were looking to build a meeting house, rather than build a communal living house. But why did they want to build a bigger place?

In this we see that God had blessed their number and caused them to grow. The sons of the prophets did not have an agenda to build a big and expensive place in order to impress people. The reason they wanted to build a bigger place was out of necessity and not out of desire. Notice we are not dealing with a rich bunch of people. They did not ask for cedars of Lebanon or for stones of marble but contented themselves with what was within their means of provision. Simple trees from the Jordan. Contrast that to 21st century Churches that seek huge building projects and brow beat their members to give finances so that the best materials can be bought. They may use passages where the Bible speaks of the building of God’s temple, and they may say that God only wants us to give the best. Yet they twist the truth because the temple of God is not a man made building anymore, but it is the people of God. Secondly, God does not expect us to give the best, but He wants us to give OUR best. Thus the widow that give 2 small coins gave more into the temple treasury than all the others. She gave her best. When it comes to meeting places, we must shed ourselves of the boastful pride of life that seeks to create something big. We must build when there is the necessity of building and according to our means.

The necessity was there because the place had already become limited. The word ‘limited’ in Hebrew is the word ‘Tsar’ and it literally means that the place had become too pressed in. It had become too tight or too narrow. Thus is linked to the Hebrew word, ‘Tsarah’ which means trouble or affliction. Thus the meaning of affliction or trouble is something that presses in on you. The same thing happened between Abram and Lot. They were grown so large that the land could not sustain them. (Gen 13: 1 – 11) In this context God used the affliction, the pressing in, to separate Abram from Lot. And then God could reiterate His promise to Abram.

The sons of the prophets were in a place that had become too narrow for them. It had become an affliction for them and thus they were forced to leave and build elsewhere. God may use affliction for a number of reasons but one of the reasons that God uses it is to get us to move to the place where He wants us to be or to get out of a place where we should not be. This is both figurative and literal. Figuratively it may be to do a task that God wants us to do or to get us to a certain place spiritually. Literally it may be to move you out to the physical place He wants you to go. This is what is meant by the phrase ‘stirring the nest’. A young eagle is not meant to sit in the nest all through its life. The eagle is meant to fly and if the mother eagle does not do something, the baby eagle will just stay in the nest and die there. So what she does is she stirs the nest. She takes out all the fir lining, all the stuff that makes it comfortable so that there are just irritating sticks. And if the baby eagle still does not get out of the nest she will start to destroy the nest. That is an amazing use of affliction to get someone out of where they are. Sometimes God will bring affliction into our lives in order to purify us and to bring into our lives the fruit of patience and perseverance. At other times God brings affliction in order to move us from where we are to the place that He wants us to be in. This said we may say that the sons of the prophets had a legitimate reason to move place.

Secondly, they did not leave simply on their own initiative. They sought for confirmation. They asked Elisha if he would let them go. Sometimes it is hard to know God’s purpose of affliction in our lives. For some of us, our immediate reaction to affliction is to run away from it. Even when there was a need, and the need was legitimate, they still waited on the Lord. They sought wise counsel from one who walked closely with the Lord. Not only this, but they asked Elisha to go with them. They did not simply want permission but they sought to remain accountable in the building work that they undertook. What an excellent example for us. It was God’s will for them to leave but they were not simply content to rest in the knowledge of that. They wanted God’s hand to be with them all the way. If we have the same mind as these servants then we will place ourselves within a protection from the pride of the flesh. If there is no accountability then there is a danger that we can veer off the path onto our own agenda. He who separates himself seeks his own desire. There is submission, there is order, and there is accountability.

RAISING THE AXE HEAD

The next aspect of this narrative concerns the prophet who was felling a tree and his axe head fell into the water. The problem with this was that the axe head was not his own but belonged to another. In other words he had requested it or begged it from someone. This is a poor group of people. It was not big business being a true prophet of God. You do not make a lot of money by preaching the Truth. If that was their desire they would have fared better by being a prophet in the court of the king. Therefore there was a problem because this prophet would have had to return the axe to the master. There is no talk of, ‘well it was an accident. He will just have to bear the loss for the sake of the kingdom of God.’ How different to the stories that Pastors sometimes give to their flock. There is a lady I knew who went to a word of faith church and believed the lie that God would return it hundredfold if she gave more money in the offering. When it did not happen she waited out side the pastor’s house for an explanation. He did not want to see her but his answer was, it was either lack of faith or some unconfessed sin in her life. He put the blame on her. Of course her money was not returned. As Ronald Dunn wrote in his excellent book, ‘Faith Crisis’, ‘one of these days someone is going to sue God because of breach of promise.’ But this prophet does not resolve to say to the owner of the axe, ‘You cannot get the axe back because of your lack of faith or some unconfessed sin in your life.’ If the prophet promised that the man would get the axe back he knew that he had to do it. Thus the prophet was in a debt to the owner of the axe.

Elisha cuts a stick and throws it in the Jordan. This makes the axe head float so that the guy can take it and thus get out of the debt he was in. In Deuteronomy 20: 19 and 20 we read that when Israel were besieging a city they were not to use their axes to cut down fruit trees but only trees that they knew were not fruit trees. John the Baptist took this theme and expounded it in the New Testament in speaking concerning the judgment of Israel. Just as these prophets were cutting down trees at the Jordan, so John the Baptist, at the Jordan, prophesied of the cutting down of trees that did not bear fruit. Mt 3: 7 – 10. There would be a judgment of fire against the trees that did not bear fruit. John was the greatest prophet under the Law and he epitomized the purpose of the Law which was to convict hearts of sin. Thus the baptism of John was a baptism of the confession of sin. It was a baptism of repentance. The cutting down of the trees with an axe, symbolized a judgment against those who would not repent. Thus in Romans 3: 20 Paul explains that the Law of Moses cannot justify a Jew because through the Law comes the knowledge of Sin. The purpose of the Law is not to save but to bring someone to the knowledge that the axe is at the root of the tree. It can only lead as far as repentance but no further. So in Romans 7: 10 Paul said that the Law that was to produce life in him resulted in death for him. We see that Israel, at the time of Elisha had not repented and this cutting down of the trees symbolized them being under judgment.

However there is one problem with this analogy concerning the narrative in 2 Kings 6: 1 – 7 and that is this. The wood that was cut down was not there to be thrown into a fire but would be used to build a meeting place for the sons of the prophets to sit under the teaching of the Lord. However in 1 Corinthians 3: 10 – 15 anything that is built of wood will be burned with fire. The fire does not come immediately against a church but at a time appointed by God. So with Israel as the people of God, they also would not experience the judgment immediately though it had been decreed. They had been judged already as far as God was concerned but the timing of the actual judgment had yet to arrive. God still persevered with Israel because of His grace and caused His prophets still to reside within the house of Israel if perchance Israel may repent and be saved. Yet the writing was on the wall. 1 Kings 19: 15 – 18. Here we see that God had already decreed the judgment. Though Hazael was spoken of first, Elisha was anointed first. Elisha would fulfill the commission of judgment given to Elijah on Elijah’s behalf. Elisha would anoint Hazael and Jehu. Thus Elisha was the main vehicle of judgment. But what would Hazael do to Israel? 2 Kings 8: 12. I do not want to go into this verse in any detail as we will return in the future to it but we see that Hazael would do 4 things, the first of which would be to set their strongholds on fire. This would be a foretaste of what Assyria would do to Israel. Thus we see that Elisha as an agent of grace was also an agent of judgment. The Law of God that was to give life results in death. So the judgment had been signalled with the cutting of the trees but there was no fire sent yet as God still continued to cause His prophets to dwell in the House of Israel because of His lovingkindness and faithfulness to His covenant.

But Elisha does not get rid of the debt by getting rid of the axe and calling the owner to forget about it. He simply throws in a stick to raise it up and to have it restored. The word for stick in the passage is the Hebrew word ‘ets’. Ets literally means tree. Just as Moses threw a tree in the water to make the waters sweet, so Elisha throws in a tree in order to raise the axe head. See the picture. Jesus did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it. He does not get rid of the debt by simply cancelling it. He does not say ‘Well you messed up, it does not matter. Let us call it quits because I can see you are sorry.’ He meets the righteous requirement of the Law and cancels it by the restitution of the cross, of the tree. God cannot forgive us simply because we ask for it. There has to be a basis of forgiveness. God’s anger against sin, and His judgment needs to be satisfied. That is why Jesus had to suffer and spill His blood on the cross. ‘Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary we establish the Law.’

So in applying this to us let us ask some questions. Is God bringing affliction in our lives, is He causing things to press in on us? Is He doing it to bring about perseverance or does He want us to leave the nest? Are we waiting on the Lord for His timing? And if we are to go somewhere or do something are we doing it off our own backs or are we being accountable? Are we servant minded or are we empire minded? Are we obedient to God’s voice or are we disobedient? If we have been disobedient, there is a way that can be put right by turning to the cross of Christ. There was once in our lives where we turned to the cross and died with Christ. But Paul also says, ‘I die daily.’ In the scripture it says concerning Babylon, ‘Come out of her my people that you do not share in her sins and partake of her plagues.’ In Jeremiah 51: 6 it gives a similar warning at the time that judgment was about to fall. In other words, it is not too late to turn until it is too late. It is not too late to turn until the judgment has fallen. The house is still standing at this point. Do not carry on in your own ways. When God shows you the time, when He tells you, come out from among them so that you do not share in her sins and partake in her judgment.

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