How to have a happy New Year — Michael Cassidy

windowontheword

A monthly column by Michael Cassidy, evangelist, author, Christian leader and founder of African Enterprise whose ministry in Africa and the world has spanned more than 50 years.

On January 1st this year, multiplied millions of kisses were planted on unlikely cheeks as we all wished one another a happy New Year. But in the other cheek, we had our tongue. To kiss someone with your tongue in your cheek and at the same time wish them a happy New Year would seem a feat more befitting a contortionist than ordinary folk like us. Yet I submit that this is a feat most of the world perform annually. For we know that happy new years are as elusive as clutching the morning mist. So we either wish people a happy New Year thoughtlessly and glibly, or else we try to be genuine about it but keep our tongues in our cheeks!

Take 2017 as an example. It opened with the traditional festivities, good wishes, hopes and resolutions. Most Presidents and Prime Ministers probably felt their countries were going to plod along happily and they probably said on television or radio, “This is going to be a better year”. I wonder if they really did believe it.

Anyway, whether they believed it or not, events this year have taken their own unpredictable courses. Europe and Britain looked reasonably ok but then Brexit came along. President Hollande thought he would win the election, but then Mr Macron came to town. Mrs Merkel thought she would walk the German elections but only just squeaked in. President Trump thought he would “make America great again” in two months but now the world wonders more than ever if America will ever be great again! Mr Mugabe was quite sure he would live his life out in the Presidency, and that’s why he fired Mr Mnangagwa, but now Mr Mnangagwa is President and Mr Mugabe is Africa’s biggest has-been. In South Africa we were sure that things couldn’t get any worse, but Mr Zuma has insured that they did!

So much for the leaders. What of the led? Everywhere the man in the street was hit with considerable cost of living spirals, absurd, through the roof fuel costs, plus daily newspaper and radio reports bringing word of terrorists, violence, hi-jacking, unemployment, famine, racial antagonism and international confusion. Countries like our own increasingly have an apocalyptic feel about them and the whole thing adds up to a picture of almost unrelieved gloom about our planet and where it is headed.

In the light of all this, how can one possibly write on how to have a happy new year? The answer is that one can, provided the happiness one has is not based on the external circumstances of the world around us. Our happiness, our peace and our security must be within. And our true hope must be beyond the temporal and transient in the eternal. Our ultimate life and loyalty must be discovered in God Himself and in the Lord Jesus who is the same yesterday and today and for ever (Hebrews 13:8). Says the hymn “Change and decay in all around I see, O Thou, who changest not, abide with me.”

Beyond the internal peace Christians can know in Christ, there is also the objective, external fact which we hold onto that our God is sovereign over history. He is the one in charge. He is at the beginning of history and He will be at the end of history. Thus John the Apostle reports in the book of Revelation, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’ (ie the beginning and the end), says the Lord, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty’ (1:8). Beyond that, if our Jesus is in charge of the beginning and the end of history, it also means, and what a comfort this is, that He is in charge of everything in between. That means the times we are living in with all their tumultuous happenings. This means we can rest in peace, experience happiness and serve creatively to help make a difference in all the pain and sufferings of the world.

This is not to call for an ‘other-worldly’ escapism, but simply to insist that the ultimate meaning to life and history lies in that which transcends life and history. Indeed the Christian’s hope is set on a God who is also sovereign over history. Not only did He invade history in Jesus Christ, but He will consummate history in Jesus’ Second Advent. The struggles of people and nations, their rise and fall, their failures and follies will not defeat the purposes of our God. Indeed in the home-straight of history, when wars, violence, persecution, moral collapse, famine and natural convulsions will all contribute to human despair and confusion, Jesus’ Word comes even then to the Christian: See that you are not alarmed for this must take place (Matthew 24:6).

With one’s soul thus anchored in the peace, power, provision, and purposes of God, is it any wonder the Christian rejoices that he can still wish the world a happy New Year — but only in and through Jesus Christ our Lord.




Nigerian Primate predicts positive future despite ongoing violence

Archbishop Nicholas Okoh predicts a “year of optimism and happiness” for Nigerians.

Originally published in Anglican Communion News Service

The Bishop of Abuja, Nicholas Okoh, has used his New Year Message to predict a “year of optimism and happiness” for Nigerians. Archbishop Okoh, the Primate of All Nigeria, made his comments in a New Year’s Message as it emerged that 17 churchgoers were shot dead as they left a midnight Eucharist service at a church in Omoku, about 90km north-west of Port Harcourt, in southern Nigeria’s oil-rich River State. The attack has been blamed on one of a number of armed gangs which are active in the area, mainly target multi-national oil companies in the region. The local Anglican Archbishop of the Niger Delta, Ignatius Kattey, and his wife Beatrice, were kidnapped by one-such gang in September 2013. They were released unharmed a short time later.

In his New Year Message, Archbishop Okoh said that Nigerians would experience “the power of the Almighty God” despite the challenges in the country, the Vanguard newspaper reports. “I want to assure you that such problems that have consumed a colossal amount of our money such as electricity supply, unemployment, political situations, Boko Haram, Herdsmen palaver, medical and labour issues, had made some people to feel like giving up already.

“Do not be frustrated or unhappy, do not take it on anyone, avoid being vengeful for the Lord is working out a miracle for you.” He said that while there might be “difficulties along the path”, people would “reap the fruits of their labour in 2018.”

He called on his fellow Nigerians to “have faith and allow God to be their guardian in all endeavours who would resolve all their personal and national problems”, according to Vanguard.

Details of Monday’s shooting remain sketchy and confused. The Agence France-Presse news agency quotes an un-named police source as saying: “14 persons died on the spot, while 12 who sustained gunshot wounds were rushed to the hospital and are receiving medical attention.”

The General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, condemned the attack, saying: “People who were worshipping, starting anew, celebrating and reflecting on a new year, have lost their lives. We condemn this senseless violence. Let us strengthen our resolution to pursue peace and justice for all, dignity for all, the freedom to worship safely for all.

“We mourn for the families of the victims, and for the church family that lost so much so quickly,” he said. “God, we seek Your mercy.”

The Rev Yakubu Pam, a regional chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, an ecumenical group which includes the Anglican Church of Nigeria, commented: “What we see today is not encouraging especially the hardship in the land; unless a proactive measure is taken, we will witness downturn in our quest to recover fully from recession,” the Vanguard reports.

“The government must end all forms of insurrections and wanton mayhem being visited on innocent villagers by terrorists; the government must step up security and restore hope to the people,” he said. “The war against the insurgents must be seen in all the light of safety to our teeming population, which have become vulnerable to attacks.”




Looking forward to 2017 and 5777

mariantitle
As we draw to the end of this year 2016 but more importantly as we have already entered into the Hebrew year 5777 we must be cognisant of what lies ahead in the Spirit.

Paul writes and encourages us to be wise and prepared for that we may face. Jesus’s ministry was one that is painstaking in detail and demanded that we should be well prepared.  If one looks at the current situations we are facing here in South Africa and on a global scale daily there is no doubt we will have to have strength and boldness to overcome much.

gold-rain

Gold rain, Marian’s chosen picture for South Africa and the picture of revival.

Boldness to overcome fear
This means that we are going to have to get brutally honest with the Lord and face our fears in His presence. If you do the study of the Hebrew calendar 5777 you will find that there is ample allocation and invitation for the bride/church to enter into God’s presence and rest. (Hebrews 4:7-10) Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.  There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from His.  Hearing the voice of the Lord will bring great rest.

Life of Christ made manifest
From this place of rest and intimacy the life of Christ can and will be made manifest. The life of Christ will be made manifest through His word.

The symbol for Zayin (Zayin is the number 7; it also means sword or sharp weapon).
The sword is a weapon that cuts and separates. The word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12. As you spend time with the Lord so He will reveal the precise word that your situation has need of. The revelation of His written word will be astounding. It will set you free from your bondage and give you the wisdom you require to advance.

chuck-pierce

Chuck Pierce is used by God as a prophetic voice. (PHOTO: Revival Magazine)

According to Chuck Pierce; “This is the Year of the Sword of the LORD Opening up Portals of Vision! This is a year the SWORD of the LORD WILL CONTEND for the WELLS of REVIVAL in the Earth! The year ahead is a year of War and Worship! This will be an incredible time of understanding the conflicts and strategies of triumph that will impact the remainder of this decade. This is a time of completing purposes and bringing them to fullness. Be one of those who attends and receives revelation that will help direct us for the next several years.”

Time of great revelation
We are entering into a time of great revelation. As a thousand years is as a day to the Lord and a day to the Lord is as a thousand years (2 Peter 3:8) so it will be Yeshua revealing His end-time bride.

There is much truth that Holy Spirit wants to reveal. A time when the blueprints for the Church will be revealed. It’s a time for the wisdom of the true Apostolic working together with the Prophetic.

Supernatural favour, greater divine connections
A time for supernatural favour and greater divine connections than in the past. This is Kingdom set up. It is a divine network that began years ago and is being set in greater place for bigger work. New partnerships will form and deep connections will emerge for Kingdom work.

5777

Chuck Pierce “the year 5777, the year of the ruling sword”.

Revelation of God’s provision
A time for revelation of His provision as He delights to bring increase and order to the downtrodden brokenhearted and disappointed. Provision will be made available where God directs. The banqueting table will be well laid.

Increase in giftings for God’s glory
A time of the Lord using all of our giftings and causing an increase in these areas for His Glory. The Apostolic will emerge in order to facilitate the number of souls coming into the Kingdom, the Prophetic will work in unison with the Apostolic in new fields for the harvest.

Looking for gold in each other
Finally as we position ourselves with Christ, we will see others through His eyes, we will feel His heartbeat for them, think His thoughts, dream His dreams and interpret His dreams for the pharaohs of this world, look for the gold in each other for the days of digging in the dirt are done.




2016/2017: Prophets see victory, character-building in tough times

Godspeaks
marianandkate

A monthly prophetic perspective from Marian and Kate Fitz-Gibbon

Winston Churchill once said: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity: an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Our economic situation is bleak, especially if you are in debt. Our Rand is devalued, we are having one of the worst droughts recorded with the highest temperatures ever, but we are in the best country poised for those who will hear a word from the Lord as to what to do with their lives. It’s the time for entrepreneurs, for worshipers, for the prophets, for ministries to arise; it’s a time for God to break through, it a time for faith to arise.    

God has promised He will never leave nor forsake us. His love for us is so great. However this does require that we should seek Him out, knock on the door. Spend time with Him and He will gladly answer. God is not deaf that He cannot hear, neither is He blind that He cannot see the plight of our nation.

We have scanned the Net for leaders who have been in the presence of the Lord, people who have good reputations and bring you their contributions: They are groups of prophets both locally and internationally. It is not the full number of prophets, but just a small group.

2016 and 2017 promise to be years of great victory, a time of character building, a season when the Spirit of the Lord can and will move mightily. A time when we will hear the voices of the youth rise up in the name of the Lord, where old men will dream dreams, where new songs will be heard and songs of deliverance sung. Where mothers will arise in the night to pray for their children and children’s children and the power of the Lord will fall again in meetings as has been promised years ago, a time where a great and mighty move of the Spirit will happen. A year of ‘suddenlies’, a year where God breaks through and has His way in the impossible.

dougaddison

Doug Addison.

Doug Addison
If you look at what Doug Addison writes in his 2016/7 prophetic word, he speaks about the move of God in relation to the Jewish calendar. In his prophetic word for the body of Christ he starts by quoting from Psalm 24:7: “ God is moving quickly and opening up some ‘gates and ancient doors’ which are spiritual gifts, callings and lost assignments. This will usher in God’s presence in unprecedented ways. These are the five things God showed me that He is doing in the next two years: All of them are based on the number 24, which symbolizes new leadership and authority. He highlighted 24 hours, 24 days, 24 weeks, 24 months and those who are 24 years old.

  1.  24-hour promotions. We are going to have dramatic overnight accelerations with sudden promotion, blessing or advancement.
  2.  24 days to advancement God spoke to me that there would be promotions that would start for many people within 24 days of Yom Kippur (which ended on Sept 23, 2015).
  3. 24 weeks to radical change. Many people are going to see a major change in their lives 24 weeks after Yom Kippur, which is March 9, 2016.  This group will gain an extraordinary amount of revelation over the next 24 weeks that will position them to advance suddenly in March 2016.  
  4. 24 months of amazement. The entire timetable that I was shown was from September 23, 2015 going for 24 months, which ends September 23, 2017. During this two-year period we are going to see things move at an accelerated pace. Many people who have thought they had missed God’s greater calling on their lives will be strategically realigned for accelerated advancement. What would have taken many people a lifetime to achieve will be accomplished in less than two years.
  5. 24 year olds encountering God. They were born in 1991–1992. God will be speaking to this group and over the next two years they will have encounters with the Lord and sudden advancement

[See http://dougaddison.com/2015/10/prophetic-word-strategy-for-the-next-24-months/ for full transcript]

Lana Vawser

Lana Vawser
Then if we look below at what Lana Vawser from Brisbane, Australia has to say – it certainly lines up with what Doug Addison says:

“2016: The Year of the Slipstream.

“I felt the Lord say that 2016 would be a year of the greatest demonstration of divine rest of heart, mind, soul, and body for many, but also the greatest demonstration of acceleration that they have ever seen. It will be a place of shaking off the shackles of driving and seeing Him break off and bring deeper healing to any parts of the soul, which will cause a ‘pushing forward’.

“This invitation will require a greater trust in the Lord and His timing and ways. These ‘slipstreams’ are going to go in different directions in some ways to how many have anticipated He is going to move and ‘when’, but as the people of God allow the wind of the Spirit to carry them in this slipstream, there is going to be greater ground taken, greater manifestations of His power and Spirit, greater fruit for less effort.”

She goes on to say: “Abundance, provision, and manifested blessing are going to break through in 2016 in exponential ways.

“In this slipstream, great acceleration will come into the lives of God’s people, but it’s coming from a deeper rest in the Lord’s timing and ways. There are divine surprises that are going to come in the slipstream; there are dreams that will be awakened in the slipstream; there will be giftings that will be activated in the slipstream; there will be new horizons to see and mantles to receive.  Isaiah 22:22; Luke 2:49,

“In the year of 2016, a great vindication is coming over the pioneers. It will be like Joseph, when there was great favour over his life and it was evident that the Lord was with him as all he touched prospered. Genesis 39:2-4.”

She goes on to say:  “I saw the Lord ‘changing the time’ on a clock over the pioneers in 2016. He was accelerating time, and a season of double divine suddenlies is being ushered in over the pioneers. In the testing of the heart, testing of obedience, and the strengthening of character and intimacy with Him, the Lord is ‘adding to’ the pioneers in time, resource, breakthrough, and refreshed vision.”

[See the transcript at https://lanavawser.com/2015/12/2016-the-year-of-the-slipstream/]

Ryan Le Strange

Ryan Le Strange

Ryan Le Strange
Ryan Le Strange of Abingdon, VA, released a word titled “I Am Raising Up the Unlockers!” 

He says: ‘Prophetic Keys and Timing

“I hear the Father saying that He is raising up the ‘unlockers!’– those that have been given keys of: authority, revelation and assignment. They are being released to unlock plans and purposes in regions and territories. They have been commissioned by the Spirit of the Lord.

“As they move into their assigned places, there is divine ability in them to bring release of things in the Spirit that have seemingly been locked. These things have not been locked away from the children of God but reserved for the children of God.

“Isaiah 22:22 And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

“I see prophetic keys being given to the servants of the Lord in this hour. I see key revelations being provided that access realms of deliverance and breakthrough for the people of God.”

[See the transcript at http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=15554 ]

cindyjacobs

Cindy Jacobs

Cindy Jacobs
Cindy Jacobs from Generals International has released the early summary of the round table of prophets.  We have taken the liberty to give you the synopsis of the message delivered at Trinity Church Cedar Hill TX 

“This is the year the rain will fall. This is the year the tide will turn.

“Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Contend for greatness.  We are a supernatural people. He is the King of Glory and He makes the difference. Don’t let past disappointments determine your future.

“This year angel armies will be released to see the purposes of God revealed. Angels will be released over nations.

“God’s leaders will connect on a global scale on each mountain of society to see the Kingdom of God made manifest. Something is happening worldwide, it’s not just America.

“Leaders will rise up that understand Biblical economics.

“Leaders will arise in their leaderships in their societies and will connect globally to bring about global solutions to the 7 mountains in society.

“We will see even nations turn to the Lord and rise up. A sifting between the sheep and goat nations will occur.

“The flood of violence planned globally can be averted with prayer – the Church must arise in prayer.

“There is a great awakening coming like that of David Wilkerson and Nicky Cruz.  God will be found in the schools and universities. We are in a Jesus movement time. It will be like the days of Phillip. 

“This is the year the tide turns.” 

The full transcript from the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders for 2016  will be released in mid-January by Generals International.

janet bran hollis

Janet Brann-Hollis

Janet Brann-Hollis
Janet Brann-Hollis of Ruach Ministries in South Africa says: “As we have spent time and reflection, the word from Haggai 2:6. Haggai speaks of the promised glory of the new house; people are His greatest and most valuable resource to establish His kingdom purposes.”

“Verse 4 ‘Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the lands, declares the Lord, and work. For I am with you declares the Lord Almighty.’

“God has a future hope and great plans for the church as they intentionally deal with and address these issues of hidden agendas and compromise. A need for agreement and unity of the Spirit, in the midst of the diversity will propel the church forward into the next season that lies ahead.

“Haggai chapter two speaks into the building and establishment of His Church in order that our labor would not be in vain. 

“I see a new wineskin amongst the Leaders of the church. God is preparing you for greater responsibility, for sanctification and holiness. I see the scripture:  1 Thessalonians 4:4 – … One of you should know how to possess his vessel unto sanctification and honor. There will come stricter judgment on leadership in the church in these coming days.

“God is not pleased with the CELEBRITY SPIRIT, which is pervading the church at this time.  As leaders we are called as SERVANTS of the most High God, not called to parade wealth, status and position in the Kingdom. Greater emphasis must be on how to serve God’s people better in this time, in order that Christ would be formed in themRomans 1:1 – Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.

“To those who have been faithful, I see many more signs and wonders being released through the Church in this next season, as a hunger for God’s presence continues to grow. Many will be healed in the presence of God, through the corporate anointing.

“I see Jesus being enthroned in His church, and a great outpouring/revival amongst the youth, as God creates a hunger and thirst within them for something new and something real. Leaders, begin to prepare youth for this outpouring.  I see youth in their hundreds/thousands beginning to worship and praise God, as they gather together in stadiums and large corporate gatherings.  Youth leaders from around the nation will gather together as they prepare for these corporate gatherings….  Many of the elder generation will be left speechless as they witness the outworkings of the Spirit of God through the youth in this time. 

“I see a remnant of God’s people rising up, watching and waiting for the next season that He will take the church into. They are eagerly expecting Him to move, they will be counted amongst the five wise virgins, amongst the three hundred of Gideon. God is building His church. He is releasing a Kingdom mentality and a Kingdom mandate upon the fivefold leaders of His church. Church will look far different in the future, as a body rises in the earth, taking on their heavenly Kingdom assignments.”

[See transcript at http://www.sabacktogod.co.za/prophetic-word-for-sa-2016/]

Suggested action
We suggest you read all the full transcripts for yourself, discern carefully and respond in accordance with the Word of God in love. Remember, none of us has the full answer when seeking the Lord for the future; we are only given a part of the answer. Learn to hear the voice of the Lord for yourselves. Do not neglect the gathering of the saints and encourage one another as you see the day of the Lord approaching. Fall in love with the Lord Jesus and His Word like never before and spread His Word to all you meet.

We are full of faith and hope for South Africa. We know that God has His hand on this country and is going to do marvellous things. Far greater than we can imagine. He will do a sudden work. His name is great and greatly to be praised. We wish you and your families a Blessed and God-led 2016.

 




Thankful year-end reflections

Godspeaks

A monthly prophetic perspective from Marian and Kate Fitz-Gibbon

So the year is almost coming to a close and most days it feels like it couldn’t come sooner.

Goodbye 2015! Please do come in 2016.

Perhaps many of us feel the same way. It has been a hectic year on so many levels, and the heat and general exhaustion can leave us feeling a little down and ready to pack our bags and head into the next season.

Big thanks to God
Before we do, we want to thank God, and thank Him big time. Right now it may feel like we just want to wipe the dust off our feet and forget about this year’s trouble, but actually God has done so many amazing things this year. If we were to count them all it would take us until February next year.

We’re choosing to purposefully reflect and thank God for the big breakthroughs, the small ones and the ones we are still waiting for. Especially the ones we are still waiting for.

As we looked back to be thankful and reflect, we realized all the little things really added up. Even when it felt like maybe we hadn’t achieved a lot, the opposite was true.

One of the greatest lessons we learnt to count the impact you’ve made in the spiritual far more than anything you see in the natural. Our heavenly victories weigh far more than our earthly ones. Even though many of them do materialize in the natural at some point, even if they never do or take a really long time to, what is stored up in heaven is way more valuable.

Maybe you’re looking at your year and wondering what you have really achieved, or maybe you’ve achieved some really big things. Either way God knows how you are feeling right now and what you are hoping for next year.  

Sowing and reaping
For many 2015 was a year of sowing, and even the years before that. Just know that a time of reaping will come. If this year was a winter season, just know spring always has to come.

The best thing we can do is enter the New Year thanking God for who He is. We need hope that doesn’t defer going forward. And hope that doesn’t defer is hope based in the nature and character of God. And of course we want to remember faithfully and truly everything He has done for us, because there are so many things.

We want to thank God for all the lives He touched this year and for every accurate prophetic word that has been spoken over lives to bring encouragement, hope and direction.

Just last Sunday in Thokosa we had young girls and women lining up to get healed from various illnesses. We knew God was going to do much more than just heal their bodies, and each of them as they heard the first words that Father God spoke to them about who He says they are, tears just streamed down their face and as they shook under the weight of His everlasting love and covenant with His girls. Years of trauma, abuse and disappointment just fell off them and they began to radiate His identity for them. To us, that’s miraculous.

Light of hope
A group of young mothers stayed for hours last Friday to hear what Father God had to say about them, nervous at first to see if the secrets of their hearts would be exposed by prophets in the room. But no, their heads were lifted high and God shone a light of hope so bright that they were renewed and energised, relieved and restored.

Every Thursday a group of staff at Helen Joseph gather to drink in what God is saying about them. They are absolutely determined not to miss learning about who He says they are. They’ve been healed, set free and are on fire for God.

This year young children – as young as 5 — were trained to hear God’s voice and they were prophesying a few hours later.

Walking into a church in Paarl we were specifically instructed not to prepare a message, and an old passport photo of Noel (our dad and husband) is lying at the back of the rental car, one that is impossible for it to be there, and the Lord says, talk to them about their identity. People are prophesied over and destinies called out and to this day the church has said they have experienced incredible transformation.

Uganda good news
In Uganda people lined up to receive salvation, healing, and get filled with Holy Spirit. For some of them not even a day after receiving the Lord they were prophesying words of encouragement over each other. The church which was only two weeks old is so full there now they have to build a bigger place.

People from all walks of life were touched by hearing the Father’s heart for them. The guy on the street, the ladies behind the tills, people in hospital beds, drivers, singers, dancers, CEOs, finance guys, musicians, housewives, young children, youth, MBA students, the elderly, painters, writers, accountants, doctors, cleaners. These all happened just by hearing God in the moment on any given day or place and saying: “Yes, I’ll deliver that message. I’ll love that person. “

So many people healed from diseases of the body, but also from broken hearts and broken dreams. SO much hope infused, and God’s timing is always perfect.

These are literally just a few glimpses of this year and there are hundreds more stories from this year alone.

Most of the moments were happening in our country and that’s something to really be thankful for.  

Treasures to take into next year
What are your stories? We all have them. We want to encourage you to count them all as your precious treasures to take with into next year, and know they are your tokens of His nature and goodness.

We’re sure you each have your list of things you would like to thank God for but here are some to add:

  1. Prophetic words over your life
  2. Meeting new people
  3. Being a Christian
  4. Revelation
  5. Character growth
  6. Trials that bring out the gold
  7. When we mess up and God’s love picks us up again
  8. People who challenge us because it makes us become firm in what we believe
  9. Getting healing in our hearts
  10. Your past being bought on the cross so you no longer have to have shame
  11. The good little habit changes that have become so ingrained we forgot we had to fight for them
  12. That we get to love people
  13. Those who have gone before us and laid foundations we can stand on
  14. That we can do the impossible because of Christ

Merry Christmas and be blessed in your most meaningful new beginnings with handfuls of treasures.




A New Year’s Revolution

windowontheword

A monthly column by Michael Cassidy, evangelist, author, Christian leader and founder of African Enterprise whose ministry in Africa and the world has spanned more than 50 years.

Revolutions seem to be the “in” thing nowadays. And one is certainly needed in South Africa.  So why not be part of the fashion and have a revolution too – your very own?  And if you want an accomplice, Jesus would be happy to help!  But He wants it not just for you personally, but for our bewildered country.

Actually He has always been in the revolution business.  He started with a few unlikely people and then left them to keep it going.  And they did.  Just a matter of years after Jesus’ death, the citizens of Thessalonica, in reference to the Christians, were moaning “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also” (Acts 17:6).

It was the same wherever they went. Cruel people were outlived and out-loved by them.  Brutal governments tumbled before them. Barbaric practices disintegrated around them.The early Christians were revolutionaries of love and song, of compassion and justice. They infiltrated Caesar’s own household within a few years and beat the Roman Empire to its knees in a few centuries.  Neither persecution nor death could check them.

Indeed, as Tertullian recognised, the blood of the martyrs became the seed of the church.

How did they do it?
How did they do it? It was not by bombs or bullets, protest marches or pickets or random violence of the ISIS sort. It was done by the unquenchable and effervescent proclamation of a living Lord, Jesus the Revolutionary, who changes individuals, and can change countries.

Although He was revolutionary He doesn’t appear that way today. But that is our fault. As Dorothy Sayers observes “The people who hanged Christ never accused Him of being a bore. On the contrary they found Him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround Him with the atmosphere of tedium…To those who knew Him, however, He in no way suggested a milk-and-water person. In fact many objected to Him as a dangerous firebrand…

“He insulted respectable clergymen by calling them hypocrites. He referred to King Herod as “That Fox.” He showed no proper deference for wealth or social position. When confronted with neat dialectical traps, He retorted by asking disagreeable questions that could not be answered with a rule of thumb.  But He had ‘a daily beauty in His life that made us ugly, and officialdom felt that the established order of things would be more secure without Him. So they did away with God in the name of peace and quietness.”

New creations
That was when things really got going. For right after that the disciples met the Risen Christ. Then they swept forwards like a Prairie fire. The revolution was underway – a revolution which happened one life at a time. And one society at a time. One of the first to experience it was Saul of Tarsus, who later commented “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away. Behold all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

John Masefield, the English poet, articulated the same revolution centuries later:

“O glory of the lighted mind,
How dead I’d been, how dumb, how blind.
The station brook to my new eyes,
Was babbling out of Paradise:
The Waters rushing from the rain
Were singing Christ has risen again:
I thought all earthly creatures knelt
From rapture of the joy I felt.”

Temple Gairdner of Cairo after his conversion put it this way:  “That sense of newness is simply delicious. It makes new the Bible and friends and all mankind and love and spiritual things and Sunday and Church and God Himself. So I’ve found.”

So too can you and I. In searching for and finding Christ we can have our very own revolution.  In turning to Him in true faith our lives can be changed and redirected. Surely such a possibility deserves our serious attention, both personally and nationally. 

What poor old SA needs
So then, should we not let our New Year’s Resolution be a New Year’s Revolution of New Testament revolutionary Christianity? And for sure this is what poor old South Africa needs. Most South Africans are worried sick about where our country seems to be headed. Thus, anxious books now proliferate.  Alex Boraine’s book is entitled:  What’s gone wrong? (On the Brink of a Failed State).  Community leader, Social Scientist and academic, Paulus Zulu, calls his book A Nation in Crisis (An Appeal for Morality). Celebrated historian R W Johnson’s compelling classic is called How Long Will  South Africa Survive? The Looming Crisis. 

These realities in our times in this country should call us,in the manner of the Wesleys in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, to pray down and work for a revolutionary revival which will transform our nation into one of love, tolerance, justice, greater equality, and compassionate action.

Could this really happen? I believe it could, if every believer would check in with his or her revolutionary Lord and receive His marching orders.




Giving it all that you have got

windowontheword

A monthly column by Michael Cassidy, evangelist, author, Christian leader and founder of African Enterprise whose ministry in Africa and the world has spanned more than 50 years.

A New Year is upon us. What a challenge! What a moment! What a privilege! What an opportunity! And especially is it an opportunity to give it all you’ve got. Doing your bit as wholeheartedly as you can will not just bless you, but it will bless many others. You have something to bring to society, to the Church, to your family. Won’t you bring it with all you’ve got. And then watch what happens!

I am told that once upon a time there was much excitement in an Indian city for the rajah of the province was to pass through. Among the excited citizens awaiting his arrival was a poor beggar who made his way early that day to the street along which the rajah would ride on his great and gorgeously apparelled elephant. 

Festive spectators were soon giving the beggar handfuls of rice as was the custom. His rice bowl soon filled up. “These people are only giving me rice”, lamented the beggar to himself, “but if I can catch the rajah’s eye, he may give me some gold.” 

The rajah finally arrived. “My bowl, my bowl. See my bowl,” yelled the desperate beggar, “out of your bounty and charity, please give me something.” The elephant was halted. The rajah looked down at the pitiful figure and said, “You give me something first.” 

The beggar was incensed and frustrated. How could he, a poor, penniless creature, give anything to a great rajah, rich beyond all telling? Angry and disappointed and with very poor grace, the beggar picked from his bowl a single grain of rice and handed it to one of the rajah’s attendants for presentation to his high and mighty lordship. 

The procession moved on but as others cheered, the beggar sat weeping in the dust staring dejectedly into his bowl. Suddenly in the bowl he spotted a piece of gold the size of a grain of rice. “Oh, fool, fool, fool that I am,” he wailed, “if only I had given ALL I had.” 

Life is much like that. We get out what we put in. We can either stumble in disgruntlement through life like Shakespeare’s schoolboy, “creeping like a snail unwilling to school”, or we can throw ourselves at life and give it all we’ve got. 

By tactic number one we get little from life, just a few nuggets which fall from the banqueting table of meaningful existence. By tactic number two, or giving all we’ve got, we find ourselves curiously exhilarated and borne up on the wings of joy. We become rich in fulfilment. 

Christ
Nowhere is this so true as in our relationship to Christ. Give Him a little grain of the rice of your existence, and you’ll get a nugget back. But give Him all and He gives back in lavish and divine abundance. This is true in spiritual terms especially. Said Jesus, “He who loses his life for my sake (i.e. surrenders it to me) will find it” (Matthew 10:39). 

It is also true materially, emotionally and psychologically. The person who sees all his financial resources, talents and time as Christ’s will know God’s faithful provision in all those areas. Jesus put it this way, “Give and it will be given to you; good measure; pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back” (Luke 6:38). God is no person’s debtor, whether spiritually or materially. 

Extension
To give, whether in care, compassion or material help is, of course an extension and expression of giving to Christ. Jesus said and meant it when He adjudged, “giving more blessed” than receiving. That’s not just a pretty idea. It’s a law of life. 

Giving all you’ve got to life, to Christ and others, is the way to end impoverished living. Otherwise you’ll end up only with, “If only’s”. 

So come on. Empty the bowl!

 

 




Peace to you this Christmas, New Year

lionGateway News taking seasonal publishing break

Whew! I am sure I am not the only one looking forward to some time out after a busy year. I do wish you and your loved ones a joyful, restful Christ-centered end to 2013 and beginning to 2014.

Please note that our final Gateway News weekly newsletter of the year goes out tomorrow (Friday, December 20, 2013) and that we will start posting news again on Monday, January 13. Our first newsletter of the year will go out on Friday, January 17, 2014. While we won’t be manning the office during our break, you are welcome to email us at news@gatewaynews.co.za. We will respond when we start up again.

While working on today’s news I skimmed through our archives of this year’s Christian news reports. The footprints of the evil one in our world are evident in various accounts of persecution, injustice, violence, bondage, deception and disaster. But the evidence of Christ’s redeeming work, restoration, goodness, power and wisdom shine through the news more brightly. Jesus is the hope of people, of cities of nations. He is indeed more active and more newsworthy than the defeated devil — and we trust that next year we will have even more opportunities to tell our readers about the great things He is doing.

With Christmas just a week away at the time of writing, let me close this short note by pointing to a great prophesy delivered by Isaiah some 740 years before our Saviour was born in Bethlehem. What good news that He personally carries the weight of our world’s present and future  condition on His tireless shoulders and that he is zealous and relentless in extending His glorious Kingdom. We have a partnering role to play. But He is absolutely focused on finishing the job well.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
— Isaiah 9:6-7 (NASB)