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Mamma, kinders en ’n manual

Dis weer Moedersdag en skuins na 05:30 word daar al in die kombuis gewerkskaf. Jy sien die ding staan so. Mamma moet ontbyt in die bed kry. Dit is die tradisie in ons huis.

Om en by 06:30 word daar met groot lawaai in die gang afgestap. Elkeen wil iets dra en Pa sien hier kom moeilikheid, maar elkeen wil iets dra. Met ʼn groot gesukkel kom die hele spannetjie in die kamer. Slegs ʼn koffie blerts hier en daar en een repie spek wat in die slag gebly het. Dis onvergeetlik om die twee gesiggies te sien wat vir Mamma met oorgawe vertel hoe lief hulle haar het en dat hulle nie eers baklei het terwyl hulle kos gemaak het nie.

Die interessante deel kom egter wanneer hierdie bord kos dan in die bed geniet moet word. Die kinders is definitief meer opgewonde as Ma en Pa oor hierdie abnormale eetposisie.

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Wonders of winter

Much of South Africa transitions into a winter wonder land from as early as June. Winter is a time when the trees which once strutted an explosion of colour in their leaves turn bare and brittle. Flowers become droopy as they hang their heads to slumber one last time. A state of dormancy has commenced. However, something quite spectacular, silently takes place. Roots begin to stretch their long slender fingers deeper within the earth – preparing for growth that will take place in the Spring. (Strong, courageous character is essential for withstanding the storms which rage during the season of growth.)

The seasons of nature are often reflected in the seasons of our spiritual life. Therefore, a spiritual winter is a natural cycle. These periods are called desert times and can be accompanied by feelings of abandonment and despair. 

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Mother tongue

I live in the Winelands! Now, however strange a statement that may sound, you will fully comprehend my sentence once you read the following fact. I am English. Let’s just say that I have a lot of British blood coursing through my veins. Those who have visited the agricultural town of Wellington, will know exactly where I am going with this.

Once the proverbial penny has dropped you shall understand the pickle that I am so often in and may wonder how I landed-up between the ‘sticks’ in the first place … I will leave that story for another time over a steaming cup of English tea.

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Thread of grace

Like a golden thread weaving through the tapestry of life, Jesus Christ was our ultimate thread of grace and glory on earth. He is the reason why we can have a fresh chance at redemption and freely embrace new beginnings. God graciously gave each one of us an opportunity to start over when His Son was crucified. Jesus Christ became our Saviour, a direct lifeline to God. We were once prisoners snared by sin, engulfed in darkness. Jesus swooped us up and declared, “I give you life!”

John 10:10 (The Message)

“Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So, he tried again. ‘I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for – will freely go in and out and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.’”

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Om soos ’n kind te glo

In die Bybel lees ons dat ons soos kinders moet glo as ons die ewigheid wil beleef. Ek dink dit is met ʼn rede, want wanneer kinders glo, is dit sonder voorbehoud en pretensie. Hulle maak geloof absoluut deel van hul daaglikse lewe. Hulle leef wat hulle glo en hulle glo wat hulle leef.

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PAARL-GEMEENTES REIK UIT NA MSINGA

Met Bybels, pamflette en ʼn gewillige hart, het verskeie gemeentes in Paarl die Julie-vakansie deelgeneem aan ʼn gesamentlike uitreikgeleentheid. Die bestemming was Keats Drift, Msinga: ʼn plattelandse gebied geleë tussen die klowe van die Tugela- en Buffelsrivier in die ruwe, natuurskoon landskap van KwaZulu-Natal. Dit is een van die armste streke in Suid-Afrika en die Zoeloe-gemeenskap wat hier woon staar verskeie uitdagings in die gesig: werkloosheid, gebrekkige onderwys, MIV/Vigs, asook maatskaplike kwessies soos alkohol- en dwelmmisbruik. Tog is die Gees van God kragtig aan die werk deur plaaslike gemeentes en bedieninge.

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Etiquette at the kingdom table

It’s difficult to resist the temptation to pig-out when my in-laws come to visit. My father-in-law is a maestro in the kitchen – a culinary Leonardo da Vinci with inventions so delicious it could even make the reserved Mona Lisa smack her lips. And what better way to enjoy great food than to do so with the people you love? The company of family and friends compliments a meal like a creamy white sauce with your pasta or a glass of red wine with your fillet steak. The July holidays are over, but the fond memories created around the dining room table will forever be stored in the photo album of my mind.

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The ABCs of Positive Change

I’m unsure who was most nervous as I tried my best to keep the car on the road and avoid an accident. I saw the sweat forming on his face as he yelled animated instructions from the passenger seat. It hardly helped. I continued to press the brakes too hard when stopping and my lack of clutch control caused the engine to stall repeatedly. Each time we took off the Toyota Corolla roared and shook like a wild beast. We both survived the ordeal, but I will never forget taking driving lessons from my dad as a teenager!

Thankfully driving has become much easier and a lot less stressful. It has developed into a habit, an automated action that I hardly have to think about.

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Freed … by the God, whose promises give hope

The Reformation – 500 years

On 31 October 1517, according to tradition, a young Roman Catholic monk, Martin Luther, nailed a protest document with 95 theses against a door of the Wittenberg Castle Church in Germany. With this dead of protest, Luther intended to begin a discussion about what he perceived as malpractices of the church of his day. His main concern was the so-called ‘indulgences’ – a practice by which a person could buy his or her redemption or decrease of punishment in the hereafter. Luther regarded this practice (which was based on the idea that you could buy God’s favour) as directly contrary to the message of the gospel and he strongly disputed the fact that the church could proceed to enrich itself at the cost of the poor. No, Luther would henceforth undoubtedly argue, God gives us our salvation, by grace alone and solely based on our faith in Christ.

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Why New Year’s resolutions gets broken

I always start my year with the best of intentions: be more productive at work, exercise regularly, try to be happier and spend more quality moments with friends and family. Yet these dreams inevitably seem to end in frustration. It feels as though I’m a juggler having to manipulate too many props in the air. Sooner or later I’m bound to drop one of the balls and watch my life spiral out of control.

This year I decided to try something different. I decided not to write down any new goals, but to look at the reason why some of my past resolutions failed to materialize.

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The way God sees you

Somewhere in our past, we have all been a victim of discrimination. Maybe classmates teased you at school; maybe you were treated unfairly because of the colour of your skin or perhaps someone judged you because of your cultural background? Whatever the case may be, it is awful feeling rejected and inferior because of any form of stereotype. Knowing how hurtful discrimination may be, is it not strange that we make ourselves guilty of the same destructive behaviour towards others?

During November, Christian Literature Fund wants to focus on a particular group of people that are often discriminated against – people with disabilities. It coincides with National Disability Rights Awareness Month that is commemorated from 3 November to 3 December (http://bit.ly/2eqrPTu). This initiative allows South Africans to reflect on and help address the common challenges facing persons with disabilities. I recently attended a youth event at our church where a person with a disability gave the following testimony:

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Helena Croukamp: Author of the Prayer Power Series

Helena Croukamp is the author of the Prayer Power Series. This inspirational series is published by Christian Literature Fund and comprises two publications. The first is The pregnancy prayer book – a guide that empowers parents to pray for favour and protection upon their child's life during pregnancy. This book is followed by The toddler prayer book where intimate prayers guide you through birth to about six years old. We sat down with Helena to discuss her background and motivation in writing these prayer guides.

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A marriage made in heaven

Recently my wife and I had the privilege to attend the wedding celebration of two of our dear friends. I still remember the ceremony vividly. The bride looked beautiful and radiant as she entered the hall amidst the excitement of friends and family. Her eyes searched eagerly for those of the bridegroom standing in front. He was a nervous wreck, but as soon as he saw the vision of his bride in her white dress, those feelings dissipated. Tears flowed as they read their vows and promised to love each other for the rest of their lives.

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ʼn Vrou na God se hart

Die 70-jarige tannie Johanna Swart is ʼn inspirasie vir haar gemeenskap. Sy bedryf ʼn kleuterskool en sopkombuis in ʼn informele nedersetting net buitekant Kaapstad.

Ons sit op twee plastiekstoele voor haar nederige rooi baksteenhuis. “Meisie, bring ʼn bietjie water, ons het gaste,” roep sy en beduie met haar hande – krom en opgeswel van die artritis – na een van die helpers by die kleuterskool. “Die lewe het al draaie met my geloop my kind,” sê sy asof sy my gedagtes kan lees, “maar die Here is ongelooflik goed vir my”.

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Pragpublikasie, Die avonture van Maria en Braam, bekendgestel

Die boekbekendstelling van Christelike Lektuurfonds se pragpublikasie, Die avonture van Maria en Braam, het Woensdag 8 Junie plaasgevind te Markplein, NGK Stellenberg.

Die boek is geskryf deur Tinus van Zyl en handel oor twee maats, Maria en Braam, wat met behulp van die geheimsinnige Oom Storie, ʼn verdeelde gemeenskap inspireer om met nuwe oë na mekaar te kyk. Die kinders word deur die verhaal bewus gemaak dat elkeen, ongeag hulle verskille, deel van God se storie is en moet leer om saam te staan.

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Christelike Lektuurfonds stel nuwe slimfoon-toepassing bekend

Christelike Lektuurfonds is beide trots en opgewonde oor die nuwe slimfoon-toepassing (toep) wat in Junie 2016 bekendgestel is. Hierdie nuwe ontwikkeling gee aan Christelike Lektuurfonds en ons vennote die geleentheid om die Evangelie van Jesus aan ʼn onbereikte geslag lesers te bring – persone wat om welke rede uitgesluit was om die boodskap van hoop asook die krag van die Here in hulle lewens te ervaar.

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Why is South Africa in the state it is?

It’s a tragedy that many children in South Africa are growing up in dysfunctional families. These children spend their formative years living in an environment where parents are absent, or the relations between parents become strained and abusive.

And when the fabric of healthy, loving families begins to unravel, its ugly symptoms become rife in our communities: alcohol and drug abuse, emotional and physical violence and crimes such as vandalism, theft and murder. Here is a story of the abuse suffered by a young boy who later became a member of a street gang in Cape Town.

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Bid vir Suid-Afrika: Dag 40

’n Nuwe lied!

Skrifgedeeltes vir nadenke: Mat. 5:3–12; Open. 5:8–14.

Ons is aan die einde van ons veertig dae van gebed! Watter voorreg en watter vreugde was dit om saam met kinders van die Here Bybel te lees en te bid, oor ons land en sy probleme te praat, om oor ons roeping as bedienaars van versoening na te dink – en om aan te meld in diens van die Here, die God van vrede en geregtigheid. Môre gaan, op verskeie plekke in ons land, mense byeenkom om die Here in gebed aan te roep. In Soweto, in die Orlando-stadion, verwag ons ’n hele skare.

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Bid vir Suid-Afrika: Dag 39

“Ek sal hulle sonde vergewe en hul land herstel”

Skrifgedeeltes vir nadenke: 2 Kron. 7:12–1; Ps. 85.

Op my boekrak staan ’n AK47-patroondoppie wat oopgesny is en waarvan ’n klein kruisie gemaak is. Elke keer as ek daarna kyk is ek in my gedagtes terug in Porto Alegre, Brasilië, by die volvergadering van die Wêreldraad van Kerke. Dié dag het aan die Ortodokse Christene in die Midde-Ooste behoort, wat vir ons vertel het van die aanhoudende verwoestende oorloë in hulle gebied. Die Christene kry veral swaar. Hulle word gedurig geteiken en vervolg en as die bomme bars en die koeëls fluit het hulle geen plek om heen te vlug nie. Maar ná elke veldslag gaan hulle die slagveld binne om die gewondes te help versorg – en om die patroondoppies op te tel. Die doppies word oopgesny en daar word kruisies van gemaak. Dit word uitgedeel om vir die wêreld te verkondig dat selfs in die bloedigste gevegte Jesus die Vors van Vrede is, dat Hy aan die kruis gesterf het om die stukkende wêreld heel te maak.

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Bid vir Suid-Afrika: Dag 38

Die kerk, God se proeftuin

Skrifgedeeltes vir nadenke: Joh. 13:12–17; 34–35; 17:20–23; Rom. 12:10; Rom. 13:8–10; 2 Kor. 13:11; Gal. 5:13; 1 Tess. 4:9; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 Pet. 4:8; Jak. 2:8; 1 Joh. 4:20–21.

Die aand voor sy dood het Jesus met sy dissipels oor die kerk gepraat, oor hoe sy liggaam wat Hy op aarde sou nalaat, daar moes uitsien. Wat die kerk anders as die res van die gemeenskap sou maak, was hulle liefde vir mekaar, dat hulle mekaar se voete sou was en dat hulle ten alle koste die eenheid wat Hy hulle gegee het sou koester en bewaar. Hulle moes één wees, nie net ter wille van hul eie voortbestaan en ter wille van die integriteit van die boodskap wat hulle die wêreld sou indra nie. Meer nog: die eer van God was op die spel! Die dissipels van Jesus was ’n interessante uiteenlopende groepie: Petrus wat sy mond gedurig verbygepraat het, Jakobus en Johannes, die “seuns van die donder” met hul vinnige humeure, Tomas die twyfelaar, Matteus die tollenaar en Simon die Seloot, die vryheidsvegter. Maar Jesus het hulle aanmekaar gebind, hulle gelei om hul verskille te oorbrug, om saam hulle verantwoordelikheid te aanvaar, en om die boodskap van sy liefde uit te dra.

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