The Ancient Hebrew Feasts and Jesus

We encouter the concept of typology in many places throughout the Bible. One good example of this is the Hebrew system of feasts (the type), recorded in Leviticus 23 and Deuteronomy 16, on which rested the entire Jewish calendar. Like many of such typological cases, we find that Christ was the unltimate fulfilment (the antitype) of even those feasts.

I recently had a chance to make a study on the Hebrew feasts and how each of them connects with Christ.

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The Hebrew year comprised of two calendars of about 6 months each, that overlapped with each other: The religious calendar also known as the sacred year, that began around march/april, and the civil calendar which began around september/october.

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In today’s time of course, we use the Gregorian calendar (which was introduced by pope Gregory in October 1582). It consists of 365¼ days, but we usually keep three 365 day years followed by a leap year with 366 days every fourth year, to compensate for the quarters. It is a solar calendar – Our calendar days are perfectly in sync with the rotation of the earth around the sun.

The Jewish calendar on the other hand was a lunar calendar – It was based on the cycles of the moon. The word ‘month’ actually stems from the word ‘moon’.

The difference between the two calendar systems is that the Jewish year (360 days long) is actually shorter than the Gregorian year (365 days long). The Hebrew system compensated for this with the 13th month, the second Adar, which was added to the calendar once every number of years (7 times every 19 years; with years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 19 of the cycle being leap years).

We find the seven feasts in Leviticus 23, Deuteronomy 16 and other parts of scripture.

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The first three feasts took place in the spring, followed by pentecost around late spring/early summer time, and the last three took place in the fall/ autumn.

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Without A Wedding Garment

This post deals with two parables. One is found in the gospel of Luke and the other in the gospel of Matthew – They are told differently, but carry a very similar message.

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Luke 14: 16 – 24
16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.                                                                                                  19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

Matthew  22: 1-14:
And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Some of Jesus‘ parables are very hard to understand indeed, but as for these two quoted above, the message is pretty much right on the surface.

They both reiterate the biblical saying that, “the first shall be last and the last shall be first“.

The parables give a brief summary of how the gospel invitation was first extended to the jewish nation, their rejection of the message, and how that call was finally extended to the gentiles, who welcomed it with open arms.

We read about how roughly some of the invitees treated the king’s servants, how they even murdered some, and about how the king as a result sent forth his armies to destroy those people and burn up their city.

This was also fulfilled in the history of the Jewish nation, we know that they persecuted many of God’s servants and even killed some like Stephen and James. We also know that because of their continual rejection of the light, their city Jerusalem later got destoyed.

What about us today? Are we taking enough care to make sure we do not shut out the light of God from our lives? Are those of us in the church today making sure we remain committed and faithful  to our high calling in order not to find ourselves replaced in the kingdom of God by others in the world who may not have seen the light yet,  but will receive it much more whole heartedly than us once it finds them?

                                 I find that the parable in Matthew goes somewhat  deeper than the one in Luke, – It also outlines the entire plan of salvation.

It shows that there is a particular effort and a particular preparedness that must be found in the outcasts themselves. They must put on the wedding garment.

They didn’t even need to spend any of their own money in buying it! It was freely given by the king!

But then, this other man is found to have neglected to put on his wedding garment and as a result he is cast out. He had taken things for granted and didn’t take enough care to please the king by doing that which was required of all guests.

How does this relate to us?

The same imagery is found in  Revelation 19: 7-9, It reads:

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.

So the wedding garment is that fine linen spoken of here in the book of revelation. Meaning that in order to find oursel ves places in the kingdom of heaven, we need to possess the spotless character of Christ. Because, without a change in our characters, just like the man who was thrown out of the banquet, we will also find ourselves missing out on Heaven.

As a human being, I understand just how it is like to strive so much to be right with the Lord, only to fall at the very moment when you think you have attained your goal.

How can I receive this wedding garment for myself?

We need to know that, Just as the king in the parable did, Christ also gives his righteousness freely to us, through our faith in Him. It is a gift!

Isaiah 64:6 tells us that; “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags“: Meaning that, we are completely hopeless without Christ.

So let us bring it home;

Yes, We may never win the battle without Christ, but, we will definitely win it with Him.

This means, we aught to allow Christ to come into our lives, and into our hearts and live out HIS own righteousness in us.

However, it also requires that we let go of the stirring wheel!

In her  book Steps to Christ, page 47, one of my favourite authors Ellen Gould  White, writes;

„Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in your life. By yielding up your will to Christ, you ally yourself with the power that is above all principalities and powers. You will have strength from above to hold you steadfast, and thus through constant surrender to God you will be enabled to live the new life, even the life of faith.“

So I would like to encourage each and everyone of my readers to‘‘let go, and let Christ‘‘.

In this coming week, let our prayer be for Christ to take over our will, our affections, our thoughts…

Because the governing power over our lives is our will, let us then allow him to have power over each and everyone of our decisions and choices.

God bless you!

Pic cred.; Goodsalt.com

Prayer – The Breath of the Soul (A Sermon)

 

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I count it a privilege to be able to expound on the word of God.  It is something I have not always done, until very recetly. He has His own ways, and does everything according to his perfect will. And that is why I count it a privilege. First, He prepares us – which can sometimes take a while, and then, when we are ready for the mission field, He puts us to work. We begin by crawling and then we walk and eventually, we run – baby steps.

With preaching, most of us would be quick to admit it’s not our call. I for one have always believed it is not necessarily my spiritual gift. In the past I would get way too much stage fright. I would be literally terrified to the point that I would fail to express fully, that which God had placed on my mind, so I chose to distance myself from preaching. But even though I still have a long way to go, I believe the Lord has always been preparing me, albeit unbeknown to me. We cannot always fully understand the mysteries of God.

When Moses was 40, he thought he was ready to lead the children of Israel, but it didn’t work out as he had had hoped. The Lord had to lead him to the desert of Median, unlearn him of all he had learnt at the Egyptian schools through nature and a humble life and then send him back to Egypt when He himself felt that Moses was ready. As a matter of fact, when the time finally came for Moses to go back, Moses was so humble to the extent that he didn’t even feel qualified for the task because of his lack of eloquence and slowness of speech. But God was like, Go!

Because I still am and have always been very much aware of my fear, I have approached God in prayer that He may use me according to his will. And I believe by Him giving me opportunities to speak and so on, it is a confirmation of the fact that he has answered that prayer in his own time.

Actually, over time, prayer has become very central in my life. It continues to unlock many blessings and to open many doors for me. Thus, as I learn to depend on God, I find it imperative to share about this subject of prayer.

When we open our bibles to the book of 1 Samuel, we are met in the first chapter by what I consider to be one of the most classic prayers of the bible. We are introduced to a woman named Hannah and the bible says she was married to a man by the name of Elkanah. However, in verse 2 we are told that this man had another wife, Peninnah, and that she had children, but Hannah had none. We learn that, every year, Elkanah and his family would go to Shiloh to worship and sacrifice.  Shilloh was at that time, the central place of worship in Israel, before it was moved to Jerusalem.  The bible continues to tell us that during this time, Elkanah would divide the sacrificial portions among his wives and children. But that unto Hannah, he would always give what the bible defines as a “worthy portion,” because of his special love for her.

Actually, this reminds me of the story of Jacob, and how much he loved Rachel, despite the fact that she could not bear him as many children as Leah. Which prompts food for thought; we tend to love the beautiful, shiny things in life, and they are always very attractive to the eye, but they are not always as fruitful, are they?

Anyway, as we continue down the chapter, verse 6 states; “And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb.” And the bible says that Peninnah did this to Hannah, every single year, and that it pained Hannah to the very core. And we can understand why.

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9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the Lord.

10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore.

11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.

12 And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli marked her mouth.

13 Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.

14 And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.

15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord.

Prayer; The breath of the soul 

Whenever I have to speak or give a devotional, Prayer is almost always the first thing that comes to my mind. Because really, it is the most basic thing one could possibly share with fellow Christians. If we want revival, the answer is to pray, whenever we want peace, the answer is to pray, when we want a solutions, the answer is prayer, and so on…!  Prayer offers an indispensable channel that allows us to truly experience God.

The bible tells us that in the beginning, our parents used to commune with God face to face. However, sin has since separated us from Him and we are not able to do that. But He still hears each and every prayer of ours. In turn, He speaks to us through nature, through His word and by the influence of the Holy Spirit through many avenues.

After reading the whole of Samuel chapter one, we can deduce that Hannah’s prayer ended on a very happy note. The Lord answered her prayer and gave her a child; Samuel, one of the great men of God in the bible.

There are many similar biblical accounts of how God’s people prayed and how He came through for them. We could spend all day analysing each one, but I guess what I want to do is to bring the subject a little closer to us. I want to share about how we can each personally experience power in our own prayer lives.

What is prayer???

In her book: Steps to Christ, EG White writes that prayer is the opening of the heart as to a friend and in another book entitled In Heavenly Places, she says, “prayer is the breath of the soul. It is the secret of spiritual power.” One may ask, why do we need to pray if God already knows what is going on in our minds? And the answer is obviously the fact that we have a relationship with God, and just like any other relationship, it needs to be nurtured. And communication is the key! God communicates with us in various ways, as I have already mentioned, and we communicate back with him through prayer. The aim of prayer is not necessarily to bring God down  to us, rather it is to elevate us up to Him, as EG White says in the book steps to Christ.

But of course, just like any other form of communication, there is a system to prayer; there are underlying protocols and conditions that we should observe in order to have effective, vibrant prayer lives.  First, we need to sense our need for God. There is no point in going to a hospital if one does not need a doctor. There is no need to even go there if they are not sick. We must realise that by ourselves, there is nothing much that we can do. We are mere mortals and we are limited in our abilities and capabilities, and therefore, it is good for us to depend on God.

This is very clear when we look at Isaiah 44:2-3: Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear  not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.

Furthermore, in Matthew 11:28, Jesus invites those of us who are weary and heavy laden to come to Him for rest. Thus, an acknowledgement of our need for God is vital and would help us come closer to God.

We also need to realise the fact that God hates sin. We need to let go, and surrender every secret sin to God.  As 2 Chronicles 7:14 states; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

This in no way means that we should feel the need to let go of all the sin in our lives before we can approach God, rather we are told in His word, that we ought to come as we are.

Isaiah 1:18:“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

However, we have to be willing to heed the bidding of the Holy Spirit and let go of those sins that separate us from God.

One other thing vital for a powerful prayer life is faith! In Mark 11:24, it is written; Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

This is also echoed in John 14:13:  And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Yes, it is not always easy to have faith and trust God. However, we ought to think of faith as a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger you become. Overtime, God completely wipes away all the doubts you may have.

In the Lord’s Prayer, there is one common line we always risk taking casually: “forgive us our trespasses, just as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Matthew 6:12.  It is sometimes very easy to utter these words in our prayers without reckon, but we have to always search deeply within ourselves and see if we are really being honest with God and ourselves. Do cherish a begrudging spirit? Do we refuse to forgive other people while we expect God to forgive us? An unforgiving spirit is a great hindrance to prayer.

Another principle is persistence and perseverance in prayer.  The word of God does not reveal exactly how many years Hannah had spent praying before she got her answer. But it does reveal that she never gave up. Not once did she stop he supplications.

God does not say, Ask once, and you shall receive. He bids us ask. Unwearyingly persist in prayer. The persistent asking brings the petitioner into a more earnest attitude, and gives him an increased desire to receive the things for which he asks. Christ’s Object Lessons, page 145.

So basically, as we continue to pray and wait on the Lord, we are changed. We become more earnest. And of course, God eventually answers. But when He tells us to wait, we wait and carry on praying.

Finally, we need to have a grateful spirit. We have to consciously decide to adopt a spirit of gratitude. The second chapter of 1 Samuel records Hannah’s thanksgiving and praise to God: And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord.

We ought to constantly adopt an attitude of gratitude, even while we are still waiting for an answer to our prayers (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me.”Psalm 50;23.

And in conclusion, I would acknowledge that there are times we pray and we don’t get answers, or sometimes we do get answers but they do not come in the manner in which we had hoped.  When such times come, be encouraged to pray even more and develop an intuitive ear to hear what the spirit says.  Romans 8:26 expressly states that we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, and confirms to us that in everything the spirit itself makes intercession for us.  We have being encouraged to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and it is in our best interest to make it our custom to have devotions and secret time with the Lord every single day.  We should, also, make every effort to form partnerships with our friends for prayer – It can even be over the phone. Because, the bible tells us that whenever two or three gather together to pray, God himself indeed joins them; Matthew 18;20. In order to claim this promise, we should therefore be encouraged to attend prayer meetings and other events of such nature at our churches and in our communities.

It is also of benefit to write down all bible promises you can find, and read them out loud to yourself repeatedly. Furthermore note all the blessings and the many ways in which God has lead you in the past and thank God out loud for each and every one of them.  We should also adopt the habit of encouraging others, and sharing with them about all that God has done for us. In her book life sketches; EG White wrote; “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has lead us in the past”.  Instead of constantly focusing on the negatives, let us dwell on the positives, keeping on the sunny side of life. Pinning all our hopes on the God of heaven, earth and the entire universe.

Picture Cred.: http://simplydivinelove.blogspot.cz

The Fall of Lucifer – A Quick Summary

The fall of Lucifer

How did evil arise?

1)The root cause of all the evil we see on earth today is because of Lucifer/Satan’s rebellion against God, which has led to a universe-wide conflict.

  • Satan was created perfect, but he became proud and wanted to be equal with God. He challenged his authority. Ezekiel 28:12-18, Isaiah 14:12-20
  • The conflict began in heaven. In his rebellion, he managed to deceive a third part of the angels, and they were all expelled from heaven with him. Revelation 12:4,7-9

2)After he was cast out of heaven, Satan came down to earth and tempted Adam and Eve to join him in his rebellion.

Their fall changed earth from a paradise to a battlefield.

  • When Adam and Eve followed Satan in rebellion, all of mankind became tainted by sin. Genesis 3
  • Sin has since distorted the image of God in mankind. Romans 1:18-32

Our Great Hope

3)In His mercy, God came to our rescue;

  • God sent his Son to save us from evil because he loves us. John 3:16, Romans 5:15-21
  • Jesus was always willing to die for us, even before we were created. 2 Timothy 1:9, Tit 1:2, Rev 13;8

4)How will the great controvercy end?

In the end, all the universe will see that God’s way has always been right and Satan’s way wrong, and God will be vindicated as the only just ruler of the universe.

  • Every knee will finally bow to Christ. Philippians 2:5-11
  • All will acknowledge Christ as worthy of worship. Revelation 5:11-14

Read Further;

Seventh day adventist 28 Fundamental beliefs, no. 8:The Great Controversy

All humanity is now involved in a great controversy between Christ and Satan regarding the character of God, His law, and His sovereignty over the universe. This conflict originated in heaven when a created being, endowed with freedom of choice, in self-exaltation became Satan, God’s adversary, and led into rebellion a portion of the angels. He introduced the spirit of rebellion into this world when he led Adam and Eve into sin. This human sin resulted in the distortion of the image of God in humanity, the disordering of the created world, and its eventual devastation at the time of the global flood, as pre­sented in the historical account of Genesis 1-11. Observed by the whole creation, this world became the arena of the univer­sal conflict, out of which the God of love will ultimately be vindicated. To assist His people in this controversy, Christ sends the Holy Spirit and the loyal angels to guide, protect, and sustain them in the way of salvation.

Also read;

EG White, Patriarchs and Prophets, Chapter 1:  Why was Sin Permitted?

https://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Book&bookCode=PP&lang=en&pagenumber=33https://text.egwwritings.org/publication.php?pubtype=Book&bookCode=PP&lang=en&pagenumber=33

Picture cred.; Paul Gustave Doré

My Namibian Adventure: A guest Blog by Michael Mogamisi

The first time I travelled to Namibia, I had been quite young – only 12 years old. Back then, my experience had been for the most part through the eyes of the adults around me; through the influence of their tastes. But still, I remember how much I had been particularly enchanted by the ocean; that great and mighty expanse of water that albeit pleasant to see, terrified me to death. I do vividly remember being in awe of its massive waves, that crushed with such heaviness at the shore. Yes it is still fresh in my mind, even the feel of the cold stinging waters that chilled me to the very core. My mind still evokes memories of when I had sat at the beach and admired the brave folk who were ever so fearlessly surfing the waves. And that is almost just about it.

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Of course it cannot go without saying my uncle had made a huge impression on me: I can never forget how much my uncle had looked forward to experiencing the sun set. He had rubbed that off on all of us. Yes indeed, I can still remember how I had excitedly watched him point out at the horizon, to the point where the sun touches the sea, while explaining – rhetorically of course. That day, I learnt that the horizon is indefinite blah blah, and that it can never be touched or reached. That; although we can see it – what we see is basically the end of our line of vision and that, no matter how much one may try to approach the horizon, it can never be reached, because in essence, it does not exist.

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My brain like a porous sponge had tried to absorb as much as it could as he went on and on to explain many things about the earth; its round shape; its apparent flatness to the eye; its separation from the sky and how the two never meet even though they sometimes seem to meet. He had gushed on how beautiful it was to view the horizon at sea, without bushes or buildings in the way of one’s vision. After that lesson we had all stood still and gazed out at the sea, as the sun sunk into the waters. That beautiful slow dipping and sliding motion of the sun as it sets at sea!

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The following day I had woken up to a mighty hiss and feeling cold to the bone. The weather had completely changed; the sea was angry, like very angry. We could all hear its hiss from where we abode, and we were told (the children) not to dare go anywhere near. All we could hear was its mighty waves slap and crush at the shore, as it sent out a ghastly cold breeze that bit into our bodies. I had been shocked and extremely disappointed by the sudden change.  Even worse, it was decided (by the adults), that the trip was to be cut short. I was devastated.

On our way back I remember noting down all the names of the villages we drove through until my uncle had asked to find out what I was writing, only to be dismayed, for he had thought I had been calculating the distance we had travelled or doing something more clever……! “Sigh..!”

Fast forward 16 years later, and I sought to revive my memories. This time, having been invited by a friend to tug along.  We had planned to leave Kanye, my home town, around 0500, strategically aiming to avoid traffic. However, we ran half an hour behind time – my fault – leaving around 0530. We then drove for about 3 hours, covering roughly 300 kilometres, until we reached a village called Kang where we had hoped to top up our fuel, only to be told, “there is no petrol!”  Village things..! Not that we needed fuel that desperately though.

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Fortunately, the next service point, in Namibian lingo – because in Botswana we refer to petrol stations as filling stations – had petrol. While there, we warmed our bowels with a nicely brewed cuppa tea, served at the service station.

We then continued on to cover another three hundred or more kilometres. Along the way, we enjoyed a view of wild ostriches. There were plenty of them in pairs and some grazing solely but never in groups of more than three – I wonder, if it was just coincidental or whether there is a logic to it…

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The birds were so beautiful; some at the sound of approaching vehicles would crane out their long necks, and whenever we tried to slow down to take pictures, would take off lazily as if warming up for something boring. I kept wishing I could see them suddenly flap their wings wide out, curl their feet and just take off into the air.  Foolish, I know!

I also found the strength of an ostrich’s long feet somewhat fascinating. The way its legs sort of support its entire body mass while its neck runs long and away from the body. It’s amazing! Right? This makes one wonder how long it takes food to travel down its long stretch of an oesophagus and exactly how many peristaltic contractions would be involved.

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What I missed though, were the ostrich chicks; I remember that when I was younger and travelling that very same road, I had seen them trail behind the adult ostriches in an amazing straight line. Then, with the mind of a child, I had imagined them to be good students. I thought it was amazing how they could take instructions so well and order a perfect straight line.
We saw many other wild animals: guinea fowls, warthogs, impala and so on…..

The car was agreeable and naturally, we pressed down on the gas pedal, until just before we reached Charles’ Hill, we ran into the traffic police who gave us a ticket for over speeding. We were devastated but warned! Cautious not to repeat the same mistake again, we kept to under 120km/hr for the rest of the journey.
When we reached Charles’ Hill town center it was around noon. We stopped to fuel up again and had a short lunch break.  With regard to food, we had carried plenty.

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The drive to Mamuno border post from Charles Hill is less than five minutes. The crossing was quite smooth, save for one rather grumpy immigration officer who seemed to want to be pushed to do his job.  Under the impression that we were done we drove out, only to hear someone shriek, “o ya kae?!” (Where do you think you are going?!). Though tempted to break into laughter, surprised at being told off in Setswana, on Namibian soil, we held ourselves. Recalling it is still funny though. Apparently, we had to have paid for a road permit…!

By 1PM we were well on the Namibian road. The landscape isn’t much different from Botswana. It is just as dry and arid and with a hot, blazing sun.

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I could feel the sun streaming into the car through the window.  About an hour later, at Gobabis we stopped a young boy riding a bicycle to ask for directions, and he was like “askies…… Oh, that way” pointing out at the right direction. We found his tone and brief precise answer quite hilarious. So much, so that for the rest of the trip we adopted ‘askies’ (excuse me) as a new, fun word in our vocabulary. Not that the word was new to our ears, but it had been unexpected and made up for a funny memory to be kept.

In about two hours we passed through Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia. The architecture appeals to the eye – The city is sort of nestled in between hills, so the roads wind in and out. Though a bit more compacted, in comparison to Gaborone, we found Windhoek far much nicer.

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Once again, we had to stop for directions and were immediately out of the city.

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Just outside the city we encountered a police road block, where an officer pulled us over to search and inspect our car et cetera et cetera. I thought he did it with such a stern bravado. I remember thinking, ‘does he even want visitors in his home country?’ The way he went about his job was just…. I wonder what he had hoped to discover.

We then resumed our journey and went through Okahandja. Just before you enter the town, there is a new settlement there. More like a squatter camp. The houses are made of corrugated iron sheets which shine in the afternoon sun. But the place is just too littered and dirty.

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We drove on, passed Karibib around 5pm, and my friend Bo-at (short for Boatametse) thought of switching on the radio. We tuned into a local station, Radio Wave which played really good music, I thought.  The radio sort of provided some good entertainment while giving us a little insight into Namibian current affairs. The female co-host claimed to have a friend whose mother in law is bothersome to the extent she invades her family space. The friend did not know what to do, she said. One listener called in and said that she as well, had once been in a similar situation. However, she then discovered her mother in law was allergic to cats and her problems got solved, she said. She decided to rear up 3 cats! We had a little chuckle to this. One has got to take the hat off for that innovative sister.
By the time we arrived in Swakopmund, night had set in and the road had gotten crowded by trucks. Some straddled the road, making it almost impossible to overtake them and some had drivers who were kind enough to keep the hard shoulder and allow other cars to pass. We continued along the coast, but in darkness, we saw nothing of the coast but the road ahead. After a good 17 hours on the road, we finally checked into our lodge at around 9 pm, at night. It was a nice place in the affluent area of Walvis Bay, run by a German couple who had apparently just received their Namibian citizenship after 10 years.

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Our cottage was very impressive. From the front door there was a little kitchenette that opened into a living room with white armed sofa chairs decorated with blue cushions, giving way to four comfortable looking single beds spread out at the corner of the room. I then quickly showered, flipped through the channels on the TV and having found nothing worth watching, reclined to bed. I slept soundly.
The next day we stepped out of the cottage into cold weather. We had of course checked the weather forecast before and all websites had predicted a partly cloudy weather. So, we had never expected to be met by full clouds!

The drive into town took less than 3 minutes. In fact we only turned two streets and we were on Sam Nujoma Avenue, a very long street. According to Bo-at, the town’s architectural style is significantly European. He happened to be more of an experienced traveller, so we used him for reference, “askies”.We also liked the fact that there was paving everywhere, which is a striking contrast to our dusty towns in Botswana.

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As Bo-at carried out the business he had come to do, we traversed the streets and did some window shopping. In one of the shops we met a really good Herero sales lady who made us feel at home at their store. She answered almost every enquiry we made on the products. At one point she asked about our nationality, to which we responded “Batswana…!” And she was like, “o yeah. That explains it. If it were some of our neighbours they would have said ‘ah my friend! Discount! My friend…!” We thought she was hilarious, especially the way she tried to mimic the different accents. With that in mind, later, when we went back to the shop, we did remember to ask for a discount! One has to learn the tricks of the industry…..

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We had lunch at a Pakistanese restaurant and enjoyed some of the most flavoursome Indian curries. I for one had some lamb; it was just so tender, and melted in my mouth. Bo-at being vegetarian, had a chick pea curry served with paratha bread. The food was so filling. The service was also great, even though it took a while for the food to arrive.

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Eventually, we wrapped up our business in town and went around the lagoon to see flamingos and the pelicans. We had hoped to also see seals but were told, for those we would need to take a boat trip and leave very early in the morning. But it was so cold and we dared not go into the sea waters, so we settled for watching the flamingos; with their long pinkish legs peeping out of the waters and their heads bowed down as if in reverence to the sun. They stood perfectly still; totally motionless. Not once did any fly off. I still don’t understand what could have been going on in their heads at that time, an evening prayer session maybe?

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Constrained by time, we then decided to go and feast our eyes on the world famous Dune 7. Bo-at had raved on about how it is the tallest sand dune in the whole wide world, so one could just imagine our excitement when we got there – the sight of the wind carrying up small billows of dust up and lining them into neat piles with sharp edges and straight sides… Beautiful!

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With Dune 7 done with and dusted, we returned to the cottage to get ready for our return.

The following day we left as early as three am and made several wrong turns in Swakopmund on the Sam Nojuma Avenue, until we had to approach an ATM security guard for directions. By dawn, we had approximately covered a good three hundred kilometers. Since we were travelling east, we could see the sun come out – a massive scarlet ball in the east. It emerged from behind the hills in all its majesty and illuminated the entire world before us.

The clock on the dashboard read 6:45, so Namibian time happens to be one hour behind, relative to Botswana time.

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One can imagine our excitement after we randomly caught Tirelo ya Setswana Namibian broadcast while flipping through the radio stations. Naturally, we squealed in excitement. It was nice to experience a little bit of home while away from home. We had never expected it. Over and above, we had tuned into the radio station just when the guest preacher was sharing on Romans 12: 1-2:

I beseech you brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (king james version)

She admonished against intemperance, with more emphasis on ill dressing. She urged that, before we go anywhere else or out into the world, we should be absolutely sure that our bodies are well covered and thus, show that indeed our bodies are the temple of God. She went on to caution against letting our bodies to be hosts for the devil by failing to keep them sanctified.  Listening to that radio station was a real pleasure. More especially that it was a Friday. The music kept us both delighted, particularly because they played Setswana songs.

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On our return journey, not once, did we get stopped by anyone. Except occasionally, by cows and jackals crossing the road and sometimes antelopes strolling on the side of the road.

We arrived in Kanye around 4am the next day. I definitely look forward to more of such adventure………..until next time hasta la vista and God bless………………………!

 

Thou Shalt Be Perfect!

Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God; Deuteronomy 18:13.
But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 1 Peter 1:15-16.

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But is it not a common phrase that “nobody is perfect”? Then, what is the bible saying, What is God trying to say really?

I have been alive for about a quarter of a century now, and I have had my fair share of ups and downs. I have had times when I really strove for perfection with God in all aspects of my life. But there have also been times when I really fell short.

What is it? What is perfection? How can I attain it for myself?
To be quite honest, I have my own answers to all these questions. I have my own ideas of perfection but that is just for me, another person’s ideal perfection may be completely different from mine, it may exceed or fall short of it. That is just it! Some of us want more, and some of us are content with little. It is a completely relative thing, although for the most part we do want the same things in life. We all long for happiness and succes. But what does God want for us?

It is very clear throughout the bible, from Genesis to Revelation, that God wants only that which is best for us. In his word it is very easy to see that all he ever wanted was for man to be happy and successful. We are the ones who have always limited him. We always keep him back from taking our lives to the greatest heights in terms of potential.

In Genesis we read of a God who creates this perfect world and places man right in the middle of it to keep and use it for his best advantage, under a set of principles. However, man rebels. He chooses his own way and opts to give allegience to the devil, a cruel master, and the most bitter enemy of God.Man loses his perfect nature and finds himself bound for death. The Lord does not let him go however. He loves him dearly, and promises to make the greatest sacrifice ever in order to buy him back from his new master. To save him from emminent death. Genesis 3:15. He comes to earth and dies in his place under the most debasing conditions on a cross. And through that cross, man is finally able to regain his lost perfection.

It is a shame however, that we quite often reject the merits of the cross. Unfortunately, the path of rebellion always seems more attractive for us. Prime evidence of this is shown through his experience with the children of Israel.
The bible tells us of how He delivered them from slavery in Egypt with great power and how He guided them through the wilderness to this beautiful place He had prepared for them to inhabit. With the working of great power and miracles He gave Israel victory over all their enemies and provided ample evidence for His presence in their lives. He also gave his ideals for their lives and revealed His desire for them to be a perfect nation. However, they chose instead to complain and rebel, all the way until they reached Canan. This brought a lot of drawbacks and difficulty along their path, and it all emanated from a lack of faith and trust. 

God had meant for them to become a very prosperous nation through which other nations could have learnt about this all mighty God called Jehovah, who provided for the deepest needs of the soul; Isaiah 56: 1-8. Even the central positioning of their country in the then known world, shows that God had indeed planned for them to be a beacon of light to the sin sick region that surrounded them. But they rejected this plan and became a very closed society. The sharp distinction between Jew and Gentile was constantly emphasised. And they failed even to recognise the son of God when He went to dwell among them, murdering Him in the process.

We all know how the history of ancient Israel came to an end. God chose to remove his scepter from them and passed it on to the Gentiles. He hates sin and He can only bear with spiritual immorality for that long. In the end Jerusalem was destroyed by Roman armies under General Titus in AD 70, and a lot of the Jews were killed, some remaining to be scattered all over the world as slaves and refugees.

How often I reject God from my own life. How often I choose to stray, to have my own way… And it always ends badly!

The Lord wants us to be perfect individuals in whose characters His image can be fully reflected. The bible gives plenty of evidence that we do not really have to face life on our own. What we need is complete faith and trust in Him. That is the only way we could ever reach the spiritual heights he hopes for us to reach. Proverbs 3:5-8.

Picture: bingeeatingtherapy.com

How To Catch a Bird

 

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There are many ways to catch a bird, I could go on and on about how to do it.

But the classical method is the box method.

Basically, you attach a long string to a stick and support it vertically under a box with a little bird food there, such that the box is raised by the stick at one end. Once the bird walks in, you just pull the string and the box falls over the bird and covers it.

When I was a child I would spend hours and hours trying to catch birds that way. I would wait and wait until I gave up with no success because, birds are very clever animals. Unless it is your lucky day, no bird would just walk into a trap just like that.

So in order to fool it and lead it in, you have to place a long trail of food from a long way off and all the way into the trap. The bird would start picking on the food from where it thinks it is safe, and it would blindly sing, dance and eat its way right into the box.

By the time it reaches the trap it cannot even notice that it is in danger because it is just too absorbed in the food and it is not looking around.

Why am I writing about birds, what has that got to do with lifestyle?

Well, it is because, the same way we catch birds is exactly the same way the devil puts us in bondage. No christian would willingly allow themselves to be lost, but the devil is cunning, and he uses little things to blind us until we are lost

Many times you would ask yourself, how did my life get to this point? I used to be much stronger than this…

And the truth is, you start falling long before you even notice it.

What I’m trying to say is, as Christians, we ought to be watchful. We have to pay attention to the kind of music we listen to, the kind of movies we watch and sometimes, even the kind of people we associate with and the kind of foods we consume.

Our thoughts determine the kind of people we become, so we must closely guard what goes into our minds.

“Do not see how close you can walk upon the brink of a precipice and be safe. Avoid the first approach to danger. The soul’s interests cannot be trifled with. Your capital is your character. Cherish it as you would a golden treasure. Moral purity, self-respect, a strong power of resistance, must be firmly and constantly cherished. There should not be one departure from reserve; one act of familiarity, one indiscretion, may jeopardize the soul in opening the door to temptation, and the power of resistance becomes weakened.” EG White, Adventist Home page 404.

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation

Pic by National Geographic

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