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Pregnancy Cravings and the Spirit-Filled Life

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It was midnight, as I parked in front of the Safeway Grocery store. I was here to purchase a box or two of pancake mix. I’m grateful, the local store was open into the wee hours of the night. Why was I here?

The story begins when a couple of months earlier, my friend had introduced us to the pancakes at IHOP. Having recently arrived in the United States, my pregnant wife and I had never tasted the delicious stacks of IHOP pancake goodness. As soon as my wife tasted the syrup drenched pancakes, she was hooked. We became regulars at IHOP. As her pregnancy progressed, so did her desire for pancakes. However, our meager financial resources could not sustain this new habit. So, we resorted to purchasing pancaking mix and making our own pancakes at home.

Late into the night, one day, my almost 9 months pregnant wife asked for pancakes. I went into the kitchen, only to realize the pancake mix box was empty. I told my wife I would buy more pancake mix in the morning. A few moments later, with teeth clenched, she blurted, “I want pancakes, right now!” I could sense the seriousness of the situation. I know better not to mess with a pregnant woman. I complied and drove to the grocery store, a midnight.

Most pregnancies cause unreasonable or rather, uncommon cravings. That which is inside the woman’s body leads the woman to have an insatiable desire for something that she never used to crave. This common phenomenon can have a spiritual significance. Holiness, being spirit-filled, can lead to cravings for prayer, Bible reading, and spiritual experiences. The Holy Spirit, who indwells us, causes us to crave the eternal. We find ourselves hating the old lifestyle and all its vices. Suddenly, the things that used to matter have no meaning anymore. The spiritual exercise and ceremonies we used to despise become more meaningful.

Are you Spirit-filled today? What are you craving? Is it spiritual? Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Ask God for a desire for the holy, the sacred, and the eternal. Even during the darkest times of your life, you can seek the things which satisfy your spiritual hunger and thirst.

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Quotes by Me

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  • Until we understand the depth and seriousness of sin, we can never appreciate the generosity of God’s grace.
  • Worship is not just about the perfect articulation of descriptive Biblical phrases and theological terminology. Worship is the sincere expression of our adoration of God from a sincere, broken, contrite, and humble heart.
  • Church: image maintenance and outward appearance OR brokenness, a contrite heart, honesty and vulnerability. Which do you choose?
  • Learning is an act of humility. The heart of the arrogant, know-it-all has no room for learning.
  • Some people are eagerly awaiting your demise, keep them waiting!
  • Speak against every derogatory, condescending, ignorant or racist word said in your earshot. Shut them up so they know you don’t condone they ignorant prejudice.
  • What good is wealth when it’s not shared? Bless others with your wealth, and watch God multiply it. Don’t be stingy with God’s wealth.
  • Leverage your success to encourage, uplift, and open doors for the underprivileged.
  • Stay focused. Low and slow intentionality beats high sprint every time.
  • I am driven. I want to be successful at whatever I do. I do not tire or shy away from aiming for the highest in my faith, love, work, education, life. Aim high.
  • Growing up in #Zimbabwe, I learned the value of hard work, the importance of a good education, and the joys of a big, happy family. These are values which have shaped who I am.
  • What matters to me? Love for God; family, ministry/work, and everything else.

The Passing of a Legend

Early Wednesday morning, I received the news my uncle had been Promoted to Glory! My heart is aching. I cannot begin to describe the impact my uncle had on my life. He is the man who took me in when I needed a father and a mentor. He is the man who led our Salvation Army Highfield Temple Band, where I found solace, refuge and comfort during my dark, painful teenage years. His influence, wise advice, and encouragement have shaped who I am as a man, father and Christian leader. He will forever be in my heart. Though he is no longer with us, his legend will live forever! These words come to mind as I reflect on his life: Compassionate, empathetic, loving, caring, reliable, dependable, trustworthy, ethical, man of integrity.

 

Rest in Peace our bandmaster, mentor, leader, father, grandfather, uncle, brother, friend. Till we meet again. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” – 2 Timothy 4:7-8

 

Please pray for me, my family, and all those who are hurting today. Many people are experiencing difficulties and untold heartbreaks. It’s incumbent upon us all as Christians to lift each other up, encourage and support each other. I need you, you need me, we all need each other. Send an encouraging note, phone call, letter, email, Social Media message/post to someone today. You will make their day.

Fresh Water is Life

Read: “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” Proverbs 19:17

Reflect:

Many people in western cultures will find it challenging to fully grasp what it is like to be without such a basic need as clean water or understand the painful repercussions of having only dirty water to drink. Unfortunately, this experience has been all too real for me.

“You grandma is no more.” Those are painful words to hear. Grandma was a loving, caring, sweet, wise woman. Grandma loved to spoil her grandchildren. She made it her goal to dispense her wisdom to her grandchildren and she wanted to leave a legacy to us. I will forever cherish her wisdom.

A few days before grandma’s demise, mom had warned grandma to never drink the water from the tap but to only drink the purified water that was in the refrigerator. Grandma must have forgotten to heed this advice. One day, overcome by thirst, grandma had filled a glass of cold water from the tap. Moments later, grandma’s tummy started to hurt.  Over the following days, grandma got sicker and sicker. She lost all appetite and developed a terrible fever. Grandma had contracted cholera after drinking contaminated water. One glass of clear looking tap water had led to her untimely death.

In developing countries, many people suffer and die from preventable waterborne diseases in areas where there is no immediate access to fresh, purified water. As Christians, we must act to save the lives of our brothers and sisters in the developing world. Yes, we can do something. What can we do? Following my grandma’s death, my wife and I have raised funds to build freshwater wells in Zimbabwe, our home country. I miss my grandma, but I am proud that my wife and I have built a well in my grandma’s village, providing dozens of families with access to clean water. You too can do something. You can support The Salvation Army’s work providing clean water to communities by freely giving to World Services through self-denial. A human being armed with love and compassion can accomplish much.

You may not think that you can change lives, but you can. As you consider the blessings you have freely received from God, choose to freely give and meet essential needs.

Apply: Many around the world lack access to essential needs like clean water, food, clothing, and safe shelter. This week, challenge yourself to a “no spend” week and instead give generously to Self-Denial.  

Pray: Dear Lord, give us a compassionate heart for missions. Thank you for the many blessings we have. May we hold loosely to the things that we own and be generous with all that we have. Amen.

 

Consider Others at Christmas

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I have written this blog as the acronym of the word C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S. This Christmas, let’s remember to do the following:

Cheer, compliment others. Everyone is fighting a battle. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” – I Thessalonians 5:11

Help. Random acts of kindness. Do dishes, buy coffee, carry stuff for people. “Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” – Philippians 2:3-4

Rise to the challenge. Don’t cower away or give up. Don’t give up. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

Invite someone to church, to your sit with you, eat with you. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 28:19

Serve others. Serve at home, corps, Social Services. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10

Tell others about Jesus. No one can argue against your testimony. Your story matters. “Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.” – Psalm 66:6

Minister to others. Be present. Listen. Be available. Visit the hospital, nursing homes. “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” – Romans 12:10

Ask God in prayer. Appeal for God’s grace and mercy on behalf of others. There is power in prayer. “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.” – Colossians 1:9

Support the ministry financially. Support the ministry through giving of your time, talents, and treasures. “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

 

Silent Night

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One of my most favorite Christmas carols is a song which was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO, in 2011. This Christmas carol is “Silent Night.” According to tradition, this popular Christmas carol was composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in the small town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria. Below are the lyrics, please be blessed as you sing along to these poignant, powerful words:

Silent Night – Song by Celtic Woman

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
‘Round yon virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from heaven afar;
Heavenly hosts sing Al-le-lu-ia!
Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born!

Christ the Savior is born!

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, oh, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth

Songwriters: Traditional

Silent Night lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Spirit Music Group

Check out Mariah Carey’s rendition of this beautiful song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tl9sYzsZNE4

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I Am Thankful For…

Proclaim!

Happy Thanksgiving North America! It’s that time of the year where we celebrate the holiday known as Thanksgiving.

Over the last month or so the kids have been learning about American history, touching on the origins of the holiday. Retail stores and other businesses have been getting ready for the best sales season they will have all year. Consumers have been preparing to…consume as the name suggests. Others have been preparing to either travel for Thanksgiving or hosting family and friends at their own home, with a little trepidation added for good measure. In The Salvation Army, we are already knee deep in the Red Kettle season. It’s Thanksgiving!

75412208_10156477000260248_3635788656146382848_o “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever” – 1 Chronicles 16:34

I have been telling people that our Thanksgiving is going to be “low key” this year as we are gathering together with a…

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