Why as Christians we should reject every lie from the Enemy and understand spiritual warfare

In my previous blog, I touched on prayer, I challenged my readers and myself to be more intentional about how much time we pray.

Prayer is an essential spiritual discipline for us as Christians yet I don’t think we spend enough time understanding why it is so important that we pray.

Today we’re going to touch on Spiritual warfare so let us consider the following verse:

Ephesians 6:12 NIV (emphasis my own)

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

This verse highlights a few things.

  1. There is more than the physical world that we can see and touch.
  2. There is a wresting taking place, other versions include struggling.
  3. There are unseen spiritual forces of darkness.

So let’s begin here by understanding what spiritual warfare is.

We can define warfare in this way:

military operations between enemies, hostilities, also an activity undertaken by a political unit (such as a nation) to weaken or destroy another. struggle between competing entities conflict.

So if you are still following you will see that there is a fight going on between evil and good. The kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light.

It is vital to understand that there is a healthy response to this as well as an unhealthy one, some people see demon activity in everything and they are obsessed with it they live in crippling fear, while others don’t believe that evil exists and so they live their lives without the fear but in as much danger as those who overestimate the power of evil. We need to have a healthy approach and it starts by acknowledging this truth:

Hebrews 2:14

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil—

The devil is real. He is not some little guy in a red suit with a pitchfork, he has come to STEAL, KILL and ultimately DESTROY.

The enemy is crafty, he knows what each person is weak in mostly because he has a plan. The same way God has plans to prosper us the enemy has a plan to harm us and keep us from the truth.

The enemy uses fear.

Fear is Satan’s primary weapon. It’s a spiritual force that begins inside you, and it is totally destructive because it robs you of your faith and peace. It keeps your focus on circumstances instead of the promises in God’s Word”

Where is your focus as you’re reading this? Do you fear for your family in these difficult times? Are you concerned about finances? Job security? Or just your life in general?

Instead of just moving in fear have you looked at God’s word? What promises do we have? One of them is this…

Matthew 6:25

Therefore I tell you do not worry about your life…

The areas that you worry about the most is the same areas that you trust God the least.

Some days you might have to say the following out loud: “Lord I am afraid, for my future and my life but thank you that your Word says I don’t have to worry about my life, if birds are not having nervous breakdowns because they are taken care of I will also not be afraid or worry”

The enemy is very crafty, he knows exactly what to shake in your life…

“The enemy’s attacks are always wrapped in the packaging of deception, always designed to manipulate the truth about God, and about your value in Him. He desires to lead you into sin so that fellowship is broken between you and God—this way you’ll be disconnected from the Source of true power and strength,”

The enemy will lie to you, tempt you to sin, and make you prideful.

So what do we do? How do we overcome?

We do this by understanding that the most powerful weapon is RELATIONSHIP, real relationship, our spiritual armor and prayer is included in this, for years my spiritual life was just about ticking boxes, I just did things that a good Christian does and thought my mission is to stay out of hell, nothing else, we do not talk about the importance of relationship enough because it’s hard.

Relationships with people that we see aren’t easy, how much more with our Heavenly Father, but the same way we work hard to keep our worldly relationships thriving we should do the same with the relationship we have with God. This is the most important relationship of them all.

What does relationship look like?

For me it looks a little like this. It looks like being honest everyday that I believe in God, I believe that he sent his one and only Son to die for my sins. I believe that it isn’t my good works that qualify me for his goodness, I believe that God loves me more than my mind could ever comprehend and that nothing can separate me from his love. I believe that he has certain guidelines that he has put in place to protect me and that his Word is the most wonderful thing I have ever laid my hands, heart and eyes on and I will spend my whole life navigating through these truths. I believe he is the ultimate authority in my life.

I make honest prayers. I entrust all that I am to Christ. Even when I fail I remember nothing disqualifies me from his love. I am learning to Go to God about everything, even the most ridiculous things. Knowing that he’s a loving father who is crazy about me.

The armor of God:

  1. The belt of truth- Have you read it, do you know it? Do you carry with you in your heart, if not start today. Start by praying and ask God to open your eyes, your spiritual eyes so that you not only see what is written but also believe that it is true.
  2. The breastplate of righteousness- Our righteousness is Christ, without him we fail even before we begin, so knowing this with the help of the Holy Spirit we must pursue right standing with Christ and fill our lives with what glorifies.
  3. The shield of faith- “Faith is the shield of the believer. Trusting in God’s power and protection is imperative in remaining steadfast. When the battle rages, we must remember that God works all things for good. He is always true to His promises.”
  4. Helmet of salvation- “The believer’s helmet of salvation is the most crucial piece of armor for the Christian. Without the indwelling Holy Spirit that enters a believer at the moment of salvation, all other armor is useless. Salvation empowers believers to fight. It protects us in our weaknesses. Without salvation, there is no victory.”
  5. The Shield of faith- “Faith is the shield of the believer. Trusting in God’s power and protection is imperative in remaining steadfast. When the battle rages, we must remember that God works all things for good. He is always true to His promises.”
  6. The Sword of the spirit- The sword is the only piece of offensive armor it is so vital in the battle with evil, the enemy knows this, if Jesus responded with scripture to him in the wilderness how much more should we? However we cannot respond with what we do not know, do you know the word? Do you know it really?

And PRAYER… Not only before meals and before bed but at all times, for those you love, for every situation and no matter what happens.

So much can be said but as you read this I pray your spiritual eyes may be opened, I pray you may be encouraged and remember with Christ we will overcome.

2 Corinthians 10:5

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

So much can be said on this matter. But we’ll end here today.
‭‭

As you read this I pray your eyes may be opened, I pray your spirit may be strengthened. I pray you may always remember that in Christ we have overcome.

Life is Art

What happens when we stop praying?

Hello friends, it has been too long, I have avoided writing for the past few months, even though so much was on my heart, some topics felt too fragile to share, some I realised it was best to leave untouched…

Now back to the topic…

When last did you really pray?

Not the – just before I sleep or eat or get into trouble kind of prayer, when last did you really, truly pray?

I am asking this because it is a question that has been heavy on my heart and I have seen how a lack of prayer has proved to have a negative effect on all the other areas of my life?

What is to pray? Is it only reciting the Lord’s prayer and going about our day? Is it only closing our eyes a few minutes before we eat and thanking God for provision or when we close our eyes in agreement with someone who is praying at church? No friends praying is so much more, more than just what you’ve read above.

“To pray means to communicate with God. That can mean thanking Him, praising Him, confessing something you’ve done wrong, or expressing a need you have. It can even mean just talking to Him as you would to a friend.”

https://www.cru.org/us/en/train-and-grow/spiritual-growth/prayer/how-to-pray.html

Oh that we would realize that prayer is not for the elite and select few, it is not complex or outdated or overly time consuming, it is a language of the heart.

When you are really upset, angry or overjoyed, who do you call? Whose words make you feel all your hearts pieces are coming together again?

What if that person were to be God?

What if you could express everything to him in that same manner and know that instead of only venting which matters yes, but the difference is this time you are taking your case to the King of kings, let us try this, live this and pray for it. Dethrone all others and place Christ first he is always there for you. Always.

All relationships need communication to thrive, to communicate means to not only have a conversation, but to understand, to express ourselves and to listen. This isn’t always easy but we need to learn how to navigate this.

When we AS CHRISTIANS stop praying anxiety is rife, our emotions run the show and all else falls apart, when we stop praying we lose focus of our position in this spiritual fight, we start fighting one another, we start fighting more in the flesh and our growth becomes stagnant. When WE AS CHRISTIANS stop praying we start using our precious words for harm and not good we love to vent and find no solutions only getting more and more frustrated ourselves.

So starting with this simple practice everyday let us open our mouths and thank God for life, for those we love, for his goodness even when we have failed to see it, let us ask for his Spirit to guide us, to help us and guide us. Every morning before you reach for your phone start here again.

Let us reassume our position friends, let us not cower to all of what shakes the world, the God we serve is powerful, he is greater than all of what hunts for us. Let us pray not only when we are in times of crises but in everything:

1 Thes 5:17

Pray without ceasing

Pray for those who are hurting.

Pray for those who are breaking.

Pray for the sick, the ailing the weary.

Pray impossible deep prayers.

Pray when you have no words.

There is an untapped power in prayer.

Let us return to the guarding posts, of our homes our families our cities and pray to the God of the impossible to do what our minds could never fathom. He can.

This here is a reminder an encouragement as well not just for you reading this but for me as I write. To pray and not stop especially in this season.

Life Is Art

The Importance of Positive Self Talk

“Friend my life is a mess”

I say this to my best friend over a phone conversation.

“Why what’s up?”

I go on and narrate a current situation and a fall out I’d had with someone that I really could have handled in a much better way, I tell her how growth feels like 2 steps forward and a sprint 100 steps back.

So after listening to this conversation she responds by saying:

“Friend I feel like you’re too hard on yourself, instead of saying that your life is a mess how about you accept that you have made decisions that were not ideal and that it doesn’t mean your life is in shambles but that you still have certain arrears that you can still work on”

And man this one phrase put a lot of things into perspective.

How do you speak to yourself? You know that voice you’re using to read this, what does it say to you constantly?

Are you constantly saying things like: “Man my life is a mess” or are you saying “Okay this did not go great but how can I learn from this?” “how can I choose better next time?”

It’s funny how life comes with no rules but we constantly think we’re failing at it, we have set up all these mental timelines of where we think we should be, timelines we’ve compiled using other people’s lives, who are in situations that are nothing like our own. Yet we’re always ready to hand ourselves the harshest verdict. I wonder if we would speak to others the way we speak to ourselves, and if you do that’s a blog post for another day.

This blog post is more of a challenge, for us to do the following in 2021:

1.Listen carefully to the internal conversations that you have with yourself.

2. Having done that, ask yourself whether you are your biggest cheerleader or your biggest bully.

3. Ask yourself how you can change the negative statements into positive ones.

4. Wake up everyday an decide to try again no matter how long it takes.

Imagine if you were to spend the next few months being kinder to yourself. Imagine if you were intentional about this particular area of your life.

I am reminded of this story in the Bible:

A Woman Caught in Adultery

John 8:1-11

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

This interaction is so interesting to me, this woman was caught red handed, it wasn’t a matter of he said she said, sis was caught in the act. Now the people were hoping Jesus would condemn her in the worst of ways but what does he say? He says: Neither do I condemn you, condemnation is not ever your portion.

Whatever words of condemnation you speak to yourself were never meant to be encouraged. STOP, yes that’s what I said stop right this minute.

And if you’re not sure where to start in positive self talk I would suggest the book of Ephesians. Ephesians is filled with positive, truth- filled, biblical words that you can use for affirmation.

I hope you make your way there and that you’ll receive the truth that says you’re fully accepted, fully loved, fully forgiven and that you’ve been given spiritual gifts.

Here’s to positive self talk and intentionality in studying scripture.

And as always remember

Life Is Art

How to get through what seems to be another hard year

2020 took us by surprise, we could have never prepared for what hit us. The loss, the hopelessness and this impending feeling of doom.

This year unfortunately doesn’t look any better, in actual fact it seems to be worse. And that is why we need to be better prepared this time around and this is how we’ll do it:

  1. You need to anchor yourself in God’s Word
Psalm 119:105 - Bible verse of the day - DailyVerses.net

Now more than ever,they are so many lies that are rampant, people are so filled with fear and our only response should be the Word. When our fears come pounding hard on the doors of our hearts and minds the only thing powerful enough to calm us, is the wonderful word of God. However reading your Bible once a week wont do, you need to be anchored in God’s word.

  1. Use a Bible app I would suggest the YouVersion https://www.youversion.com/the-bible-app/ I have used this app as well as my Bible. I use my phone for so many things and when I don’t have my physical Bible this is a great alternative. It also has Study plans on so many different topics. I use it because it helps me stay consistent, right now I am doing a study on the books of the Bible and also a study on The names of God.
  2. Try to read the word EVERY SINGLE DAY. I know it’s not always easy , life’s demands are always pulling at us from the one direction to the other but we need to learn discipline here. It is crucial.
  3. Strive to memorize scripture, sometimes it wont be possible for you to be on your phone or to read your Bible but if you have the Word in your mind you can carry it with you everywhere.
  4. Find your verse\ chapter for the year and try to read it every single day. Mine is

PSALM 84

My Soul Longs for the Courts of the Lord

 How lovely is your dwelling place,
    O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints
    for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
    to the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home,
    and the swallow a nest for herself,
    where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
    my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
    ever singing your praise! Selah

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    in whose heart are the highways to Zion.[b]
As they go through the Valley of Baca
    they make it a place of springs;
    the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
    each one appears before God in Zion.

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
    give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
Behold our shield, O God;
    look on the face of your anointed!

10 For a day in your courts is better
    than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
    from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you!

2. Surround yourself with people who love you and spur you on in life

The people you surround yourself with are crucial in your growth in life. If you always find yourself being pulled down, making questionable decision and dishonoring God you also need to look at who you have surrounded yourself with and if it isn’t them it could be you. Look very carefully and what you spend your time and resources on, it will tell you where your affections lie and if you are not happy with it change. A friend of mine recently said something so simple yet so powerful he said “Sometimes you don’t need therapy, you don’t any grand intervention, you need to make the decision to just STOP” that’s it, stop waiting for something big to happen before you change your life course, make a decision today. Then wake up everyday and make that same decision.

We were made for community and with everything going on in the world right now, it’s not possible for many of us, have you considered an online community? I would suggest @tableandtide an online community that I have been a part of for a few months now, I am continuously edified, encouraged, convicted and lovingly corrected. I have found a safe space and man I wish more people would join us.

Also look around at your local online communities, your church might have options, just don’t isolate yourself.

tumblr summer pictures with friends - Google Search | Friends photography,  Best friend photography, Best friend pictures

3. Don’t give up on your dreams

What do you feel your purpose is in life? Where do you feel most alive and what gives your life the most meaning.

Find that out and then live everyday pursuing what that is. I love fashion, clothing, home décor and studying the Word of God so this year I want to throw myself fully in pursuing those passions, I want to write more, read more and not look at the obstacles that are before me. So many people just live from the one day to the next, striving for nothing, dreaming of nothing and man what a bland life, add some color, do what sets your heart ablaze. To the Glory of God’s name.

4. Pray

This one convicts me because I know I lack in this area.

Ephesians 6:10- 18

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 

We need to pray now more than ever dear friends. The enemy will try to silence us in so many ways and we need to stay steadfast and pray like never before. On my next blog I will expound but for now PRAY PRAY PRAY for those your love, for your country, your state of mind and mostly for God to give you boldness to preach the word.

Until next week remember

Life is Art

What I wish for you in 2021

I wish you deep belly laughs and unexpected kind gestures.

I wish you find the people and places that make you feel truly alive and that you stay there the longest.

I wish you and your family good health.

I wish you may endure the hard days, treasure the good days and survive all the in betweens.

I wish you learn to forgive yourself for all your “not there yets” your “could have beens” and your “if onlys”.

I wish you may be flooded with feelings of gratitude.

I wish you learn to be more gentle with yourself.

I wish you replace all your bad habits with good ones.

I wish you learn to always focus on the good.

I wish you wake up in the morning feeling well rested.

I wish you dream of all your favorite places.

I wish that you may stop and rest more often and realize not everything is urgent and that sometimes resting is the kindest thing you can do for your mind and body.

I wish you find new music that you’ll love.

I wish you bravery for any and every hard thing.

I wish you could cease every moment that comes your way.

I wish you learn how to truly invest in yourself.

AND LASTLY THIS IS MY PRAYER…

I pray you let go of all of that which you can’t control and release it to the One who is in complete control.

I pray you may be supernaturally protected.

I pray you dive deep in scripture and find the depths of God there.

I pray that God answers your prayers. Even the prayers that you are too afraid to publicize.

I pray you heal from all that you may have lost.

May God’s peace flow further than the limitations of your mind.

May God’s presence flood your mornings and saturate your nights.

I pray you may have hope that even if 2021 turns out like nothing you had planned you’ll God is not finished writing your story.

Philippians 1:3-6

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,

always in every prayer of mine for you,all making my prayer with joy,

because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
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Happy New Year

Life Is Art

Holiday Looks: How to style a blazer dress

Dresses are a common holiday look, to give them a class elegant twist, Blazer dresses were created. A blazer which is usually more fitting to accommodate a more feminine shape and also doubles as a dress, suitable for both professional and a casual formal look. The trick is finding the right color and size.

I have paired my look with a clutch of the same color, matching it with heels and gold accessories, I turned my charm bracelet into an anklet to create the modern look you see here. Fashion has no rules, so you can style your blazer dress anyway you see fit.

Here are a few similar options:

ZARA always has a few options so does Forever New and The Fix.

Shawl collar blazer dress from ZARA

The Fix has a few cheaper alternatives, going for prices from as low as R450.

The Natural White Blazer dress available at H&M

Have a stylish festive and remember you are ART.

Life Is Art

What is happening in Nigeria and how we can help

196 Nigeria Flag Stock Videos and Royalty-Free Footage - iStock

Nigeria has been heavily shaken by protests that exploded against police violence that have evolved into broader anti-government demonstrations, leading to a deadly clash of civilians and police officials. The movement is also see world- wide.

Young people started a movement as far back as 2017 possibly earlier, mobilizing through social media, staging demonstrations and calling for the removal and banning of the federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which has long been accused of unlawful arrests, torture and extrajudicial killings.

An extrajudicial killing (also known as extrajudicial execution) is the killing of a person by governmental authorities or individuals without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. 

What is SARS:

SARS was a special police unit set up years ago as Nigeria, battled rising levels of crime and kidnappings. Initially, it was successful in reducing cases of violent crimes but more recently the unit had been the very problem that they were assigned to dissolve.

Nigeria's bad governance is to blame for SARS police brutality
https://www.theafricareport.com/

The outrageous actions by SARS officers was caught on camera and the video went viral leading to the nation- wide protests, to make matters worse the man who filmed the incident was arrested, yet the people responsible for the crime were not held to account for their actions.

WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP.

  1. PRAY– Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
  2. Stay informed  As with a lot of online movements, there is a lot of misinformation and misrepresentation of facts around the END SARS movement so it is important to be accurately informed.
  3. Share posts and information so that others may be aware of what is happening.
  4. DONATE if possible.

Our brothers and sisters in\from NIGERIA, we bleed with you, distance cannot keep us from praying and thinking of you. We pray that peace may come, we hope that all those who have lost loved ones may be comforted. Our Continent is in ruins, but even in this we will UNITE we will use our platforms and spaces to raise awareness and we will raise our voices so that people can see just how SERIOUS this is. May justice come, you have all been so brave, refusing to be silenced even at the cost of your own lives. SARS must be brought to an end and those who are responsible must be charged accordingly, our leaders cannot stay silent and look away while we die on AFRICAN streets! Lord hear our cries, our hope is in you!

EndSARS: Nigerian Youth Protest Against Police Brutality

I grieve for AFRICA MY HOME.

Oh Lord have mercy on us.

Please use the following sites to find our more:

https://www.theafricareport.com/

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/ways-to-support-endsars-nigeria-around-the-world/

Life Is Art

WEARING PINK for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer awareness month; you will notice a lot of people wearing various shades of Pink, so on my recent shoot I wore one of my favorite maxi skirts and paired it with a bright pink off- shoulder top.

Breast cancer affects about 27 in 100 000 women in South Africa. The reality is that the incidence of cancer is becoming more common among local women, the number of positive cancer cases is rapidly increasing.

Breast cancer is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control.

Cancer occurs as a result of mutations, or what we can call abnormal changes, in the genes responsible for regulating the growth of cells and keeping them healthy. The genes are in each cell’s nucleus, which acts as the “control room” of each cell. Normally, the cells in our bodies replace themselves through an orderly process of cell growth: healthy new cells take over as old ones die out. But over time, mutations can “turn on” certain genes and “turn off” others in a cell. That changed cell gains the ability to keep dividing without control or order, producing more cells just like it and forming a tumor.

https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/what_is_bc

The City raises awareness on breast cancer | Rosebank Killarney Gazette

A few interesting facts about breast cancer:

  1. It is not only humans who suffer from breast cancer, some animals do too. It is more common in dogs than cats, but tends to be more aggressive in cats than dogs.

2. Men get breast cancer too. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. But breast cancer is less common in men because their breast duct cells are less developed than those of women and because they normally have lower levels of female hormones that affect the growth of breast cells.

3. The left breast is 5 – 10% more likely to develop cancer than the right breast. The left side of the body is also roughly 5% more prone to melanoma (a type of skin cancer).

4. Most women (about eight out of 10) who get breast cancer do not have a family history of the disease.

SYMPTOMS OF BREAST CANCER INCLUDE:

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.

It is vital that you check your breast as often as possible. And to do regular checkups especially after the age of 55.

PLEASE make use of the following sites to find out more.

https://www.roche.com/research_and_development/what_we_are_working_on/oncology/8-facts-about-breast-cancer.htm

https://www.cityofhope.org/blog/31-facts-about-breast-cancer

https://www.onhealth.com/content/1/breast_cancer_young_women

LIFE IS ART

A Christian’s response to FARM MURDERS

New study calculates alarming lifetime risk of death from firearms and drug  overdoses in the US

Our country is currently in a war zone, I mean that in its literal sense and also from a spiritual stand point. There are many current topics I have chosen to contribute my opinion towards and some I have chosen to look away. On my list of non- factors farm murders I’m afraid seemed to top the list. What is the fuss about anyway? A few burglaries? An assault or two? Until recently when I decided to read more about what was happening? As I read I came across images of the crime scenes, I read stories of families, the slaughtering of children, it is repulsive to say the least. Equally shocking is the lack of response from people who can educate and bring about change, I know a lot of people who were like me, who couldn’t be too bothered to care. I hear a lot of silence from churches and I’d like to use this space to maybe educate, equip and hopefully ignite some form of hope and change.

This is my personal story:

A few years ago through a system of events my younger sister and I were adopted by a family of farmers, they farm in timber mostly but I suppose it’s relatively the same, my dad his name is Ralph, one of the wisest people I know, his wife, my mom is Anneke, who I have had a chance to spend more time with, is a prayer warrior and a women I have come to deeply love their entire family as well, this family has given me an opportunity to experience life on both sides, the “white” and the “black”, what I have found is that we do not have many differences, respect, honour and love is upheld on both sides. I have spent lunches conversing on various topics, I have slept over multiple times, I have lived with them as one of their own, I have even had a privilege of being with them for Christmas and various festivities. I have laughed with these people, I have cried with them, I have prayed and they have a very special place in my heart. I know another family the Botha’s also very dear to me, I work with them and many other families like the above two that I have come to love.

At first when I was reading through the various cases, it seemed as though I was reading stories of stranger’s people I will never meet, people who were just characters in a story, but then I read them and I started to see my own family there, I started to imagine what I would feel if one morning I would wake up to a headline about an incident and I would see their blood and I would see their names and it was no longer a stranger, no longer a story no longer something I can conveniently overlook.

Can you predict death? - Telegraph India

The Rabe’s are family to me, if anything were to happen I would be shattered, you might read this and think; well too bad, I couldn’t care less, I have very few people I consider as family that are not within my race and what happens to them affects me in no way. What if I were to tell you that as professing Christians our standpoint cannot be the same, whether we know people of a different race personally or not we are called to stand with everyone, regardless of how we may feel or what we have experienced.

Right now the world is rejoicing, proclaiming that these crimes are justified, celebrating the murder of people, the media is spewing more division and now more than ever as Christians we need to remember that the battle at hand is nothing new, we have a real enemy and his plan is to destroy us whatever the cost.

So today I would like to think I am an Esther of this generation, or John crying out in the wilderness proclaiming to people that they must REPENT…

John 1:23

23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness…

The story of Esther is very close to my heart, like me an orphan girl given a chance to redeem her people. She could have chosen to keep silent and not address the issue, she could have chosen to look the other way, but let’s consider her story for a moment.

We will begin at Esther 3:5 and Esther 4

Esther 3:5

5 When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. 6 Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.

(Emphasis my own)

Esther 4:1-17

When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly. 2 But he went only as far as the king’s gate, because no one clothed in sackcloth was allowed to enter it. 3 In every province to which the edict and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

4 When Esther’s eunuchs and female attendants came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes for him to put on instead of his sackcloth, but he would not accept them. 5 Then Esther summoned Hathak, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.

6 So Hathak went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. 7 Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews. 8 He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told him to instruct her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.

9 Hathak went back and reported to Esther what Mordecai had said. 10 Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, 11 “All the king’s officials and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spares their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”

12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

17 So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.

The story of Esther has a striking resemblance to what we are going through in our country right now, the call of manslaughter on a group of people. The response however is worlds apart, when the Jews heard of what was going to happen they handled the matter with a sense of urgency:

They collectively fasted and mourned. They refused to keep silent. All throughout the Bible we see this, when a nation was brought to its knees by any adversary, when they had no way out of a difficult situation their response that led to breakthrough was fasting, and faithfully God would hear his people and deliver them.

Joel 2:

12“Even now,” declares the Lord,
    “return to me with all your heart,
    with fasting and weeping and mourning.

13 Rend your heart
    and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
    and he relents from sending calamity.
14 Who knows? He may turn and relent
    and leave behind a blessing—

grain offerings and drink offerings
    for the Lord your God.

(emphasis my own)

As the church we should call on a fast and mourn and weep and cry out to the one true God who is able to deliver us, we should intercede for your brothers and sisters and pray that God make a way in all this darkness. Whether we do this as churches, families or individuals we need to call for an urgent fast in our nation. Who knows? The Lord may relent and show us favor.

The second thing I see is:

Esther did not keep quiet, I would like to think I am the Esther of this generation, where people have turned away I will face the problem, when silence abounds I will speak loud, where people have retaliated I will use my small platform to try and bring peace with the word, where pain has been rampant I will spread love.

I am a voice crying out in the wilderness saying yet again REPENT.

You may read this and think of your encounters with racism, I have my own, you may see and hear what is happening and feel that nothing is a miss, but I put it to you that you my beloved sister and brother that you have lost compassion hence the Bible says the following:

Matthew 4:45-46

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…

(emphasis my own)

This is not an easy work trust me, we can only do it with the help of the Holy Spirit. If we uphold the belief that says we can only love those who love us, we are forgetting that there was a time we repelled Christ’s love yet he did not do the same, he loved us when we were least deserving when our actions were deserving of wrath, when we let him down, time time again but his love for us did not waver. You may argue that you are not Christ but you need to strive to be more like him. We need to pray, always, we are commanded to pray not just for our livelihoods but also for those who might never do the same for us.

Romans 5:7-8

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

We are called to love, not only when it suits us, not only when that love is reciprocated, but under all circumstances the command is  TO LOVE. The command is ALWAYS, ALWAYS to love.

I have not always been this person, I have harboured pain longer than what was necessary, I have made jokes that were inappropriate, I have supported statements that were non- Christian, but the Lord has been working on my heart. The Christian life is not about perfection but also about progression, I aim to be a progressing Christian always getting better than I was yesterday, we need to find a way to move forward, to not let the enemy use us in his plan. I don’t know where this post finds you friend, I don’t know what your personal story is but I know Jesus and his transforming power, I know that my hope is not in politics, it is not in the economy and it is not in myself, my hope and my trust is in my Lord and Saviour, who has seen every family, who has caught every tear, he told us of this, he told us that trouble would come…

John 16:33

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The media, politics and all the hatred in all the world cannot drown the light of God in us, I need my brothers and sisters to know that they are not alone, I hope all the churches who share the same stance with their leaders will also raise their voices, the reality is we WILL ALWAYS consider a person’s race usually in a negative light, attaching some form of negative stereotype to it, I think we should start a new culture where WE identify each other with our God first and our race last the bible does say..

Galatians 3:28

28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

But until then we are called to LOVE…

To all those who have been affected by what is happening in our country I say:

My God heal and mend all that has been broken, may he redeem what has been lost, we mourn with you, we break with you, we promise to fast like Esther for the Lord show mercy, we will also pray for your protection for your well- being, for your healing, we could never understand the depth of the pain, we could never know the loss you have encountered, loss of loved ones of property of hope. They are so many of us who are choosing not to look away, who will stand with you, who will fight side by side, not with physical weapons but with weapons of spiritual warfare that we find in Ephesians 6. Our Lord is faithful he will not turn away or leave us, as he did with the Israelites he will hear the cries of his people and he lead us out. Forgive us, my brothers my sisters forgive us. May the Lord have mercy on us all.

Those who read my blog know usually I say LIFE IS ART, it does not feel that way today, my heart is deeply grieved… But may the name of the Lord be praised always, even in this he WORTHY of all our praise…

Nqobile Mdletshe

On Why You Should Make Time To Read Your Bible

Round Clock Natural | Native Decor

I used to follow this lady on Instagram, her stories would always be filled with her “quiet time”, I would look at her posts and get so convicted but at the same I would tell myself “I could never be like that person, I just don’t have enough time”. I do get busy, I juggle work, my sister and various projects…

But if I’m honest, I didn’t have time because reading my Bible just wasn’t a priority, if I did manage to do it, it would fall last on the list, somewhere between brushing my teeth before bed and those times of emergency, the problem was that I had done this so long it became a habit.

A habit is defined as: an established or regular tendency or practice, specifically one that is hard to give up…

A day is made up of small habits that we’ve picked up, things such as how often you use your phone, what you watch on TV, the words that you say, these are all small behaviours that shape your whole day. Most times our habits are not even conscious decisions, but what feels like a natural response to situations, my favourite thing to do is get home, sit on the couch and watch YouTube videos on my phone, I’m currently trying to grow my natural hair so I can spend hours watching videos on different natural hair styles, reviews on products etc., I also have this fashion blogger, who in my opinion, is just the best thing that has happened on the internet. So I can spend a suspicious amount of time on her social media, looking at her outfits, reading her blogs and being inspired by her everyday life. I don’t know what your guilty pleasures are or whether unlike me you have solid reasons to not spend time in the Word, reasons such as… raising young kids, working a 9-5 with multiple demands, managing a business or anything that justifies you lack of Bible reading. But we all wind down somewhere not matter how hectic life gets, whether we have 5 minutes, 20 minutes or an hour we always find time to enjoy a cup of coffee, a quick social media scroll, that 10 minutes sitting in your car before you get into the house or a short walk to clear your mind. We always carve out time to do what really matters or what we truly enjoy.

Habits Of Mind - Habits Of Mind Logo Clipart (#588542) - PinClipart

I’ve seen this every morning when I get ready for work, it doesn’t matter how I slept, when I slept or how I am feeling that particular day, I always make sure I am in my car by 07:05 because if I leave any later I will be late for work. I have lived like that for the past 10 years and have managed to be on time for the most part, but when it comes to bible reading I did not have any sense of urgency, I would do it if I get around to doing it, if I don’t, well then I’ll try tomorrow or the day after that or the day after that day. Of course when I had an emergency I would quickly find a way to navigate to my bible and when things were fine I would conveniently forget. Bible reading felt like a chore and I hate chores, I would feel guilty and tell myself my church involvement was my good deed and since I didn’t have any major sin in my life I was doing just fine. The bible says:

Isaiah 64:6

 … and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Little did I know that I could DECIDE to change my habits, I could make a decision every single day to limit my screen time, to wake up earlier to even go as far as switching of my phone to spend time with Jesus, because Bible reading is more than something you place on a to do list, it is a habit of a relationship, if you love someone you value their words, you want them to stay just a little longer, you take in all of what they are.

The reason we do not want to spend time with God as his word is because, we think it is just about words, that He is just a distant God and we are too caught up in life that we have no place for him.

But what if we started to really pursue relationship with him, what if we don’t wait for our feelings and make a decision to read the Word because it has been personally catered for us, His breath in it, this sword cutting through bone and marrow getting right to the core of who we really are and changing us deeply.

Actually, that's not in the Bible - CNN

I have an interesting testimony about all this. For years I struggled with consistency in how I read my Bible, I would crucify myself about my lack of time management but I did not do anything to correct it.

When I first had it in mind to compile this blog I wanted to condemn people for this, I wanted to list all the reasons you are failing as a Christian when you neglect this area, in hopes that people might be guilty enough to change, the problem with fear and condemnation however is that it subsides and it may work for a day or two but after that it is no longer effective.

Romans 8:1

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

So I won’t do that, I am the worst sinner I know, like Paul I can utter the words that say:

1 Timothy 1:15-16

This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.

I have seen God’s absolute patience when it comes to this area, I have seen him to such a transforming work and when I look back I cannot believe he progress I have done in my life.

I won’t scare into doing better friend but I will pray, for everyone who reads this, I pray that the Holy Spirit will help you find disciplines to help you stay consistent in his word, I pray you will know that it isn’t just about ticking off a box of things to do but it is about spending time with the God of the universe, it has been here that I have been changed, where I have been comforted, where I have been encouraged, I have found God sitting up on my bed (because lying down ended in me falling fast asleep and knocking my face with the bible), I have found him sitting in my car, I have found him in between periods in my class, I have found him standing at a queue, It has been there where I have been convicted of sin where I have grown in the fruits of the spirit, where I have encountered God and have learnt how to overcome the plans of the enemy.

The most difficult part in navigating the Bible has been not knowing where to start, I would read a passage here and there, I would be discouraged because I would not understand and would give up altogether but I read this book and was advised to do the following.

Just start, I won’t say with a verse a day because I know you can do better than that, start with a chapter or three…

Start with the New Testament, read from Matthew to Revelations, with 3 chapters a day, within 3 Months you should be done and then read it a second time, even a third time, having completed this you can then go and read the Old Testament, with any system that works for you.

Start a Bible reading plan, at the beginning of the year I always choose a plan to read the entire bible, I also find Bible plans on whatever it is I need help with in any particular season and I have found this to be really helpful.

The above is just my suggestion, I have read through the Bible multiple times and after each time I have found gem after gem. The Word of God is powerful it is:

2 Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Romans 10:17

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

1 Peter 1:23

Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Acts 20:32

And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

James 1:22

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

1 Thessalonians 2:13

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

Isaiah 55:11

So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

To word lights up our path, helping us navigate life, with lies that are so rampant we need to have something to hold on to, the word of God has the power to sanctify us, to set us apart and make us holy, I hope today can be the day where you make a change.

Dear God,

Thank you for your patience with me, thank you for giving me words that I love so much that I have memorized them and on the worst of days I can call them to my heart and can face anything, thank you that for years you pursued me, even as I fought, even as I ran, thank you that it is never too late to change…

DO a work in us so deep that our lives are never the same, help us to sacrifice our time and efforts in pursuit of you,  thank you that you never send us away, that you never reject or condemn us, let you Holy Spirit lead us closer to you, when we truly encounter you nothing is the same, we can’t speak the same or think the same or even behave the same way, you always calls us out of our shame, you lead us out of darkness, you always lead us closer to you, draw us closer to you, help us resist the enemy and take hold of each and every promise that you have made in your word to us, thank you that even now as we read this you’re doing a great work. Help us to never stop speaking of how good you are, to use our time constructively and to the glory of your name.

LIFE IS ART