Wednesday, October 31, 2012


During December 1997, for reasons of His own, God brought me back to Vanderbijlpark, South Africa.[1]

South of Johannesburg
I hoped to live among Christians, desiring to enjoy meaningful fellowship, whilst awaiting clarification on why He had me return to the country of my birth.[2]
Previously, whilst residing in Israel, although for the most part living apart from one another, and being a decided minority, genuine born again believers gradually got to now one another through meaningful fellowship[3] and, for the most part, looked out for the best interests of their brothers-and-sisters in the Lord.
In South Africa, my experience with Christians had been very different.  Although professing serving and worshiping God, most Christians are in reality in pursuit of their own agendas and goals having adopted a “bless me” attitude towards the God they claim to know and love.[4]
Brotherly love[5] is something believers here displayed on a Sunday, from a respectable distance, or perhaps sometimes in their meetings, scheduled once or twice midweek, but rarely (personally, and) on other occasions.  In fact, it still is unusual to see many Christians meet on grounds other than that which had been pre-arranged (or when, God forbid, there is a crisis, urgently needing concerted prayer).  It disrupts their neatly arranged lives in which they reign supreme.  (Unfortunately, in my experience, almost 16 years later, not much has changed.)
An Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) pastor, whom I had randomly contacted towards this end, recommended that I get in touch with a family who “let rooms to students.”  They were members of his congregation.  Incidentally, living as I do falls way outside the paradigm of most Christians, and is often frowned upon, but this was not the practice/experience of New Testament believers, such as Paul and others.[6]
The pastor seemed indifferent and not particularly helpful, but I phoned them nonetheless.  They could temporarily accommodate me, I was told, for no more than two-and-a-half months, at R500.00 per month.[7]  It was summer holidays and the students they domiciled were only expected to return towards the middle of February, the following year.
They owned a small three-bedroom house in a smallish yard, facing the freeway between Vanderbijlpark and Vereeniging.  It is situated around the corner from the (then) local "Vaal Technicon" or College.  It was a working class home with all the bedrooms next to one another along a narrow passage, leading straight from the front door, through the sitting room, onto the main bedroom.  The bedroom assigned to me was furthest from the main bedroom, adjoining the drawing room.

Cornwallis Harris home
(location of washing line circled)
White students lived inside the house.  The cramped servant’s quarters had been reserved for a black student.[8]
A small section of the fridge had been allocated for my personal items.  For breakfast, a table was generously set everyday (which the lady of the house provided).  Dinner usually consisted of a slice of bread, late at night, when the owners had retired for the day (so I would not disturb their privacy or them needing to use the kitchen at the same time as I did.)
With nowhere to store the few groceries items I bought (no space had been allocated to me in the kitchen), I stocked it in my clothing cupboard, carting back and forth whatever I needed to concoct something to eat.[9]  To purchase these items I travelled by black taxi or minibus to the town centre and back.[10]
Not owning a lot of clothes, I soon needed to do some washing.  When the landlord and his wife went shopping one morning, I took the opportunity to quickly chuck my clothes into their washing machine, not wanting to disrupt them whilst at home.[11]
Having forgotten something, the owner returned and almost had a heart attack.  He was furious that I dared using their facilities.  He wanted to know who was going to foot the electricity bill.  Then, totally unfounded, he deemed it fitting to reproach me, accusing me of undermining, almost usurping, his "man of the house" authority.
I was stunned and horrified, to say the least.  As an adult, no one has ever accused me of anything even remotely as nauseatingly humiliating as this.  “How did he,” I stood there wondering, “expect me to do my washing?”  There were no laundry facilities in town.  I had nowhere else to do my washing.  Clearly, given his outburst, a different set of rules applied to me.  Perhaps I was to attend to legitimate, normal everyday needs outside the house, under a tap, preferably in a portable basin (that I was to supposedly cart along with me wherever I traveled).  I had no idea how, in his eyes, I was to accomplish such a simple, regular activity.
I took the abuse without saying a word.  However, I can assure you, at times like these, and there had been many throughout the years in my walk with the Lord, I have, on occasion, wished I had been back in business for my own account.  Living in the lap of luxury, in the best neighborhoods  with the best money could buy (as I had been accustomed to virtually all my life), not having to put up with people like this (be they Christian or not!).[12]
It dawned on me that they took in students merely to supplement an inadequate retirement income—definitely not because they were loving or caring!
After his malicious verbal attack, I desperately wanted to get off his property.
A childhood neighbor  now in her late thirties, lay bedridden in an old age home, debilitated by progressive multiple sclerosis.  Knowing Jesus had made provision for her healing,[13] and having already spoken to her about it, I decided to, once more, head in her direction to find a way in Him, on her behalf, to counteract/deliver her from all the torment she had been experiencing.[14]
Whilst talking to her it began to rain, so I decided to wait until it subsided before heading back to my room.  As I eventually crisscrossed the sopping wet streets, I thought, "Now even the washing I had hung out will be soaked."
Winding my way through the suburbs, it became apparent that the downpour had been exceptionally heavy and widespread.  Even though I was still somehow hoping my washing had escaped the deluge, I soon held out virtually no hope of such a prospect.

Distance from the Retirement Home to my rented room
Walking down Cornwallis Harris, the (long, straight) street in which I resided, it became apparent that likewise it had experienced a cloudburst.  Approaching the house, I noticed it had not escaped the rain either.  By then I was convinced that all my clothes were going to be sopping wet.  Located on the other side of the house, the washing line was obscured from view.
Nearing the property gate, I observed something amazing.
Wherever I had walked, it had been sodden.  Even standing in front of the house everything was drenched, but a few yards further, the rain had suddenly stopped, leaving a “line” across the tar road.  The one side was saturated, the other bone-dry.  Usually rainwater runs off a slightly convex tar road making it impossible to determine where it actually fell.  What I was now looking at was totally different, unlike anything I had ever witnessed before.  It was as if the rain had deliberately not fallen beyond a certain point.
When I eventually got to my washing (hanging on a circular washing line), I discovered that, to my utter amazement, the rain had stopped, not reaching the laundry line, again leaving this side soaking wet; the other as dry as can be, as if it had not rained at all.
Not a drop of rain had fallen on my clothes.  From where I had set out, a distance of several kilometers  it had rained heavily—all along the way—but it all ceased inches from where my clothes hung and not a driblet had fallen from that very point onward.
I was flabbergasted and instantly knew that this was the doing of Almighty God. 
From the Scriptures I was aware that He alone causes it to rain (or not).  Moreover, that normal rainfall depicts God’s blessing and the withholding thereof His curse.[15]  God speaks via “nature.”[16]  Rain, among many other natural elements, is often used by Him towards this end.[17]  (Unfortunately, many are totally oblivious to it or, for that matter, the many wonderful other ways in which He continually speaks to us.[18])  Although still damp from having been washed, I had no doubt that His hand had restrained the rain from falling on my clothes.
Living in Israel during 1994, Oraleigh Bligh (at the time a 92-year old believer from New Zealand, who has resided in Israel for many years) once shared a telling incident.  After having washed her clothes, she too hung it on the washing line and then left to stock up on a few items at the Jerusalem suq, the local market.  Upon her return, she noticed it had rained on both sides if the washing line, without a single drop having falling on the entire length of the line—leaving all her washing bone-dry.
Inexperienced in God’s ways and word, I had my reservations about what she had shared at the time.  Here I was now being confronted with a similar situation.
Not only was God showing me how graciously He had dealt with Oraleigh, He was addressing and correcting my skepticism and perception of Him.  Moreover, it was His way of letting me know that He had witnessed the events earlier that day; aware of what had transpired.[19]  I encountered Him in an unusual manner that day, as others throughout the centuries had; knowing factually, that He alone determines where the rain falls, as Scripture so clearly records/teaches.[20]
I did not even bother to share what had happened with the landlord, his wife, or anyone else for that matter.  As I wrote this, I briefly wondered if they perhaps had observed the same miracle I did.  I seriously doubt it.
Self-centred,[21] self-serving individuals (whether one lays claim to being a born again believer or not) rarely experience God’s awesomeness and are not aware (or doubt) when or how He acts towards, via, or on behalf of those called to serve Him.[22]
As a believer, one always reveals the Jesus one knows to others.  One may lay claim to being born again, to be a child of Almighty God, but if one is still impoverished in one’s mindset and conduct, one truly does not know Him at all; it will always reveal itself in one’s deeds and/or actions towards others.  (1 Jn 2.1-6)
He will reveal one’s inner poverty not only to oneself, first and foremost, but also for everyone else to see, now matter how hard one tries to conceal it or pretend otherwise.  One may think that others are unable to discern the condition of one’s heart, but neither they nor God is fooled about one’s true state before Him.
One day, when we stand before the Judge of all mankind, we will come face to face with the living God, the One revealed to all of us through the Scriptures, whom we encountered (or not) and served (or not)—and receive (or not) the just rewards for all our actions.[23]
May we all seek and frequently experience Him prior to this event in His multifaceted awesomeness, and may such encounters radically and irrevocably change us, causing us to bear fruit eternally for His pleasure and to His glory.
Blessed be His wonderful Name forevermore.

[1] One does not always know beforehand why God leads one somewhere, e.g. Ge 12.1, “Now the Lord had said to Abram:  “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you ....”
[2] Unfortunately, the reasons therefore, although significant, cannot be dealt with here.
[3] “…  [we] bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship [is]  with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” (1 Jn 1.2-4, annotation and emphasis mine)
  Believers, not actively engaged in fulfilling their destinies in Christ are, in my experience, seldom have meaningful fellowship.  Their faith is mostly impersonal, centred on dogmatic issues, which is what they will mostly convey or try to “share.”  Unfortunately, many consider this fellowship.  I do not.  One cannot have meaningful fellowship with another believer, unless one has meaningful fellowship, first and foremost, with Him.  Fellowship, in the aforementioned Scriptural context, is to be intimately involved with a Person.
[4] They either want God to do something for them or desire to do something for Him—they rarely walk out what God had preordained for them, all the issues of Life flowing out of His Being, unfolding as, how and when He pleases.
[5] Scripture teaches: “… love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Jn 13.34-35); “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us …” (Ep 5.2); “concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.” (1 Th 4.9).
   When tested by “a lawyer” as to “which is the great commandment in the law,” Jesus responded by saying “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and then added something astonishing, by saying, “and [the] second [commandment—on par with the first—i.e. exactly] like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Mt 22.34-39).  He emphasized it by adding, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  (Mt 12.40)
  In other words, everything all the prophets throughout the centuries have spoken and everything the law may possibly teach, is summed in a single sentence, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
  James does not even refer to loving God, when he cites this command as the “royal law according to the Scripture!”  (Jas 2.8)  One would have thought loving God is far more important—but the two are of equal importance! 
  Jesus gave practical meaning to the term love. 
  James’ and Paul understood Jesus’ words in the overall volume of Scripture.
  The reason for all of this is beautifully dealt with by Paul in the book of Romans, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if [there is] any other commandment, are [all] summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  The next verse tells us why, “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love [is] the fulfilment of the law. “  (Ro 13.8-10)
  All of this is should not surprise any born again believer because God Himself is love personified, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”  (1Jn 4.8) (All the aforementioned Scriptural annotations and emphasis are mine.)
  Christianity, and the behaviour of its adherents, cannot be substantiated apart from all of the aforesaid.
[6] I even had someone recently refer to me as a “drifter,” not reflecting my walk (or track record) with God at all, but his perception of my “lifestyle.”
[7] In today’s money terms this amounts to R 5,380.63 or $ 621.03, assuming a compound growth rate of 15% pa over the period (and a R 8.664/$ 1.00 exchange rare at current levels), all of which I presumed, erroneously as it turned out, included reasonable usage of all their facilities (other than the land line), including water and electricity, washing and ironing.
[8] Although South Africa has had democratic elections the previous year, racism still prevailed in the hearts of people—even born again believers!  (The author subsequently lived in similar servant’s quarters (although spruced up in order to earn the owner a far better income!) in Muizenberg, for a while, renting a room from a lady owning a double storey property, which she had hoped to convert into an upmarket guesthouse.)
[9] Since I did not feel at liberty to do so, I never cooked a meal whilst residing there.
[10] Disallowed under apartheid and (still, in many instances) frowned upon by whites.
[11] Which, mistakenly/presumptuously, it turned out, I thought I was entitled to use.  (Please refer to footnote 6 for more information.)
[12] Be that as it may, if one is committed to one’s destiny in the Lord (and understand the importance thereof) situations like this always works to one’s favour (Rom 8.28).  Nowhere does one better learn to produce the fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control,” particularly longsuffering and self-control, all of which reflects the very character of God, but in situations where one is unrighteously and wrongly accused of something.  (Ga 5.22; Ex 34.6)  No serious believer will divert his/her set course in the Lord merely because someone decides it appropriate to kick up a dust storm!  Besides, Scripture declares, “A fool’s wrath is known at once …;  A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.; Do you see a man hasty in his words? [there is] more hope for a fool than for him; A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips [are] the snare of his soul.”  (Pr 12.16; 29.11; 29.20; 18.7, emphasis and annotations mine.)
  The hallmark of a fool is someone who is wise in his/her own eyes.  (Pr 1.7)  Normally, one wastes one’s time to even share Godly truth with them.  (Pr 26.4; I will let you, for your own edification, contemplate the seeming contradiction of second portion of this text!)
[13] “But He [was] wounded for our transgressions, [He was] bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace [was] upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”  (Isa 53.5.  See also 1 Pe 2.24) In her personal bible, I noticed, all the healing passages had been marked by a friend, who had shared the significance thereof with her, but who had now moved, residing elsewhere.  Even so, she had not yet accepted Jesus as her Saviour or embraced His wonderful provision for her healing.
[14] During the course of our conversations, I learnt the man she had hoped to marry reneged on his commitment to her, and this, I am convinced, led or contributed to her physical condition and mental torment.  Even though I insisted that she forgave him, she absolutely refused!  I was sure Matthew 18.21-35 was relevant in her situation, as well as passages such as Matthew 4.24 and Luke 6.18.
  I have subsequently dealt with one other case of multiple sclerosis and the person was equally bitter.  In her case, her husband had been electrocuted at work and, although remarried, she blamed God for her misfortune!  She even turned against me subsequently, even though I tried to help her escape her dreadful condition!  (Personally, I believe they were both demonically bound.)
[15] “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, 4 then I will give you rain in its season …” (Le 16.3-4.  See also Dt 11.13-21; 28.12; 28.64; Am 4.7-8; etc.)
[16] “Then He shall speak to them in His wrath.”  (Ps 2.5)
[17] “I also withheld rain from you, when there were still three months to the harvest.  I made it rain on one city, I withheld rain from another city.  One part was rained upon, and where it did not rain the part withered.  8 So two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water, but they were not satisfied; yet you have not returned to Me,” says the Lord.”  (Am 3.7-8, emphasis mine)
[18] For My thoughts [are] not your thoughts, nor [are] your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,  so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater,  11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;  it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] for which I sent it.“  (Is 55.8-11, emphasis mine.)
   Once, sitting in a church service, I suddenly saw, in an inner vision, rain pouring from heaven.  My immediate thought was, “Wherever this downpour is falling things are going to grow like crazy.”  The pastor ministering were calling out people to whom God had already spoken personally regarding their destiny in Him, speaking to them prophetically, exactly depicting the truth of the aforementioned text!
[19] We know He is omnipresent, but to experience it is something entirely different.  Shortly thereafter, He divinely moved me to another Christian home, which although far more pleasant, presented another set of challenges! 
[20] Subsequently, I have encountered Him via rain in other equally astonishing ways.  Of course, some scientific “experts” will disagree with Scripture and what I have shared, but then their own forecasting and track record often make me, in turn, question their expertise!  Besides, there are many specific details regarding natural phenomena that simply cannot be explained by science.  Even if it can predict reasonably accurately, if one continues to question their theories, one often find that they can seldom fully account for it scientifically.
  For example, just yesterday I asked, in this instance, a medical specialist if it is true that “…the life of the flesh [is] in the blood …” as Scripture declares in Leviticus 17.11.  Although not a Christian, this cardiologist said it was true.  When asked, she briefly explained her hypotheses.  However, many medical professionals whom I have questioned concerning this in the past would totally disagree with her (and God’s revelation in this regard, I may add).
  Another example: a medical specialist with whom I discussed the spiritual causes of diseases (to which he was oblivious, not having been taught the significance thereof at University, despite God referring to Himself as “the Lord who heals” i.e.  Jehovah Rapha (Exodus 15.26), said (in trying to justify the enormous advances in medical science, negating spiritual issues), “We now what causes down syndrome.”  He then proceeded to name a specific gene, but when asked what caused this gene to malfunction, he was unable to answer me.  (To further complicate matters, a German physician, who has just returned from Germany where his father almost died from advanced Alzheimer’s, informed me today that chromosome 23 actually is the culprit.  Apparently, an extra chromosome is produced, in addition of the normal two.  When I asked what causes that he told me they know but as one, in turn, investigates that [and so on], eventually one arrives at a place where science has no answers [and therefore, in my opinion, unfortunately, no solution either].)  In practical reality therefore, the source of it is still a mystery and so is God to many in the medical profession, specifically regarding what He has to say about sickness, diseases and infirmities.  (Incidentally, the German doctor is sadly, despite all his scientific knowledge, unable to even be of value to his own father.  I related to him a particular instance where God had completely healed someone from this condition [after he had been delivered from demons].  Although listening with interest, he shrugged it off by saying he believed his father’s problem to be too advanced, i.e. beyond reversal.  When I began to relate Scriptural and contemporary instances of creative miracles, his whole demeanor changed.  He did not believe it was possible. 
  In order to help all of us, I invited him to a crusade I am planning to hold in the near future in Gugulethu, a huge area in which many deprived blacks reside, to witness—and verify— medical miracles personally.  He immediately backed off.  The area was way too dangerous for him to potentially risk his life!)
  God help us!  Without God, medical (and all other science) is woefully incomplete and as powerless as the men and woman putting their trust in it.
[21]But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”  (Jas 3.14-16, My emphasis)
[22] “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  (Ro 8.28, NIV)
[23] “You render to each one according to his work” (Ps 62.12)  “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”  (Mt 7.2)   “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward [is] with Me, to give to every one according to his work.”  (Re 22.12, annotation mine.)

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