Change Your Mind, Change Your World.

August 2015

Change will happen, with or without us.

Circumstances can so entrench our thinking into accepting what seems to be the inevitable amid the stark demanding facts of life, that a change of mind is out of the question.   But, I ask, what is the use of having a mind, if you cannot change it ?  And every woman in the room will agree with me !
We can change our minds, our thinking, and so to change our worlds.

Change is inevitable when embarking on a road of new discoveries.
The subtle change may begin to happen when we are disgruntled with the status quo, a sure signpost on the road of change.  But more often than not change will first happen on the inside of us. Then as new challenges are explored more will be revealed of what is on the inside.   If we pay close attention, it will become a duel journey of self-discovery, sometimes surprising, sometimes scary !   Change brings with it a moving of boundaries, and that can be so uncomfortable.

It is quite a struggle to change a mindset, especially in the field of dire poverty, whether you are poor, or are working with the poor and needy people in community.  Many are stuck in the mindset of poverty, but this has to change when we develop the mindset of progress, let alone prosperity – which will require yet another mind leap.
Instead of ‘poverty’ being the dominating  mindset, what will happen if we should replace it  with ‘potential’.   In other words not look at the circumstances but at the people, and what’s in the heart of the people.  That will be a rich treasure-find indeed. And then would we arrange our minds, our perspectives, our lives and our service differently ?

Poverty is often invisible, until you go out and look for it.  I happened to be in the “down-town” of Durban, and saw the derelict neglected condition of the buildings, the scattered refuse, and the sight of a poor humanity etching out a living for itself, amid a scene set for crime, corruption and moral decay.   And yet just three blocks up was the wonderful promenade of palm trees, sunny beach umbrellas, ice cream, and happy kids. Row upon row of posh expensive hotels, that are caught up to form the bubble of excellence to impress the tourists.   But lets not be harsh on Durban,  every town has its “down-town” and its “up-town”.  Poverty is rife, everywhere,  if we look we will see it.
And its a huge global condition !  What are we going to do about it ?
So to change poverty to progress we are going to have to change our minds, our perspectives, our goals and  our actions.

The road marked Entrepreneur, such a trendy word on the lips of government, futurists and the unemployed youth, is a long steep journey out of poverty.   But what does it embrace?  What will it require to make the change from community development (giving to the poor) to entrepreneurial development (helping people on to self-help and own development).  In the end, if progress is the goal, then what will be the result of a nation chasing only after economic development, and leaving behind the “rich” wholeness of community – even if its poor and lacking in consumables.   There needs to be a plan for holistic social development alongside the national economic plan, or else all our futures will be lopsided, out of balance with inequality crime and corruption getting the prize of the century… again!
New thinking is required, a new road needs to be followed to see if there is the better future in “progress”,  for poverty is not an option.  We need to put people first, see their potential, which is the key to unlocking great treasures, and we need to  “nourish hope and enthusiasm for creative expression, or simple entrepreneurship”  – words of the writer James Patterson.

If we can only keep our heads, and our values in tack.  Money isn’t everything!
As we progress we must keep a hold on our “ubuntu”, our humanity, our integrity, our wholeness.  For as we have so vividly seen, money and power bring with it greed and corruption, which sadly is the state of our money gobbling global village as we know it today.

I have found it not any easy road, as I have naively begun my small entrepreneurial journey. Often I feel like just giving up.  Someone once said, – ” since I’ve given up hope, I feel a whole lot better” !!   It would be so much easier to just give up.  Really? – but no not just yet.

So CareSA Designs has produced a few new items for the 2015 season.    They are pretty summer  “infinities” or round scarves. They are done in a thin cotton yarn that produces a soft gentle neckline accessory.  I have created new light “shoulder wraps” done in a loose stitch, that can be  worn as a huge winter scarf too.  So two in one, – summer wrap or winter scarf.   I have  done them in textured yarns that make them snug yet light, unique and interesting.  Making a debut is the Bag Range, for the young and not so young.  Done in bright colours, some a shoulder sling bag, some just a handy purse.  Nice for gifts.
Part of the proceeds from the sales go to a fund for community service, especially those who work with the poor and needy in our society.

The trend is Entrepreneurial,  the theme is the potential of creativity, lets see if it brings us on the road to progress…even prosperity ?

What is the potential that lies dormant in your creativity ?  Explore and start your journey of discovery, and be amazed  – change your mind, change your world !

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God calling Moses

11 July 2015

Written by Judy Phohorilla

Scriptures :  Exodus 3:4
Isaiah 28:23

A small shrub called Dictamnus Album may have been Moses burning bush.   This plant gives off a flammable vapour and has been known to spontaneously combust in the desert sun.  Its uniqueness for Moses was that it did not burn up.  It is in Ex 3:4  when Moses takes a closer look that God chooses to call out his name.   God waited for Moses to respond to this extraordinary event.

God may use unexpected sources when communicating to us too, whether by people or experiences and especially through His Word.
Perhaps we need to be willing to investigate doors that the Lord opens for us and be open to His surprises.

Read Isaiah 28:23 and this week “give attention and hear My speech”.

Have an open heart and mind to God’s plans for you this week.

A SAD DAY

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It was, for me, a sad day indeed when I heard that America, the leading nation of the world announced that their Supreme Court had granted their approval on same sex marriages.   I have kept my ears and heart open to hear responses to this “evolved” declaration, and have been surprised by the gentleness on how this has been received. To me, it almost hinges on the catastrophic for the soul of a nation. Sad indeed.

I don’t want to have any kind of theological debate (I know I’ll lose!) Yet my heart has been tugged so hard at, that the least I can do is to write about it, and give my voice to this reluctant discourse.

To my mind, there are the law institutions which hold in themselves the highest law of the land, and society has to abide by it.  This is essential to maintain justice, peace and equality for all.   Society needs law and order, or else there will be chaos, and more injustice.   The Law is essential.    But even the highest law of the land is surpassed by the Moral Law, which is often undeclared, unseen, and unheralded.   The Moral Law is there for the soul – for the invisible justice !  If the Legal Law is broken there can be a shattering of a life, if the Moral Law is broken then there can be a shattering of the soul, – and that of a nation too !   Ignorance of both the Legal and Moral Law holds no excuse, and it must and will run its course, until justice has been performed.

There is no excuse, for we all have the knowledge of good and evil.  It is in our DNA, we all have been wired to know what is good and what is bad.  It is called our conscience ! Some may ignore it, some may deny it, some may be deceived by it, some may turn heaven and hell around to defend it, but when all is told, we know what is right and we know what is wrong.  We may not understand the mechanics of it, or care about the consequences as long as we have our own way with it.   It plays itself out in the choices we make in life !  God has designed us with a free will.  He is Sovereign in all things – all things – but we get to make the choices for our own lives – sometimes in ignorance, sometimes in foolishness, sometimes with calculated risks, and sometimes with graceful wisdom, whichever way… the choice is still ours to make.

Taking another angle on the matter I want to quote a few words  from Alan Webster’s QT 2/7/2015  concerning God’s love and sovereignty and paradoxes :
“God can be all loving but also not always act in a loving way – or so it seems from our point of view.   The latest furore that has been created by the Supreme Court decision in the US is turned around at Christians who don’t agree and castigates them for being unloving.  It is interesting that it is not just marriage that has been redefined, but Love too.    Why do we paint the truth in a rainbow of colours to suit the listeners rather than tell it like it is.   We love the Saviour part of Him, but squirm under His Lordship.  Will we also turn away when confronted by the Truth?”

It seems to me that the world is changing, and rapidly at that, and some of us are being left behind.   What is right has become wrong and what is wrong has now become right and acceptable.  Where have the values that stood the test of time gone – into our fickle human rights ?   Where are the ancient paths to follow ?    It is, for me, a sad day in the history of our times.

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Psalm 57:8  ….. Put my tears into Your bottle.

CARESA CHRONICLES

I am so glad I finally got it – my Chukkit Bukkitt.  Recycling now – doing my bit for the planet.

It happened immediately, when I went with Billy to the Farmers Co-operative Store.   I was told to get up early, so that we could catch the glow of the early morning as we drove the 40 odd kilometers to Umhlali.  There is something special about early morning, you get to see all the “early birds”  –  I’m not one of them.   There was a stream of cyclists riding back from their trip into the rural area.  Runners, probably training for the famous Comrades Marathon from Durban to Pietermaritzburg.  Three or four early morning fishermen who had cast their lines on the Ballito Bay beach – we could see them as the road takes a bend and the beach comes into view.  I also noticed two huge vegetable growing enterprises, one on the slopes of a small hill, and one near Umhlali where row upon row of veggies stretched across the bow of the hill.  What a sight to excite my heart so early in the morning.  Then the little bushes of “curry cosmos” as I call them, brightening up the roadside.  The sky was blue, and the green rolling hills of the Natal sugar cane fields stretched for miles.  It was indeed a beautiful morning, in a beautiful place.  When we finally arrived at the Farmers Co-op my eye immediately spotted the Chukkit Bukkitt –  and I made it mine. !

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The Chukkit Bukkit is a new novelty from the Store.  It is a compost maker, using all the kitchen waste to turn into a fertilizing liquid for my vegetable patch.  Our household is still old school, where we buy vegetables, peel them, cook them and then eat them. Maybe old-fashioned by today’s trends, but there you have it.   However, it means I now get to make good compost for my Care Garden – which forms part of my Care Africa Movement project.  Speaking of vegetables, if you have the time please visit this website  www.goandproclaim.co.za  and view the wonderful vegetables growing through the God’s Greenhouse initiative in the Eastern Cape.  This initiative wants to empower Churches and individuals to grow food for themselves and the Poor and Needy folk in their communities.
May there be many more such initiatives following this example in South Africa, indeed in Africa too.  I believe food sufficiency is the pivotal place of social development.   May the Church lead the way.  The Church is in a sense God’s Greenhouse for the soul, why not for food provision too.?

The secret to growing good healthy vegetables is in the soil.  So composting is essential !
Yay then for my Chukkit Bukkitt !  God has provided all we need through the rich mineral deposits of the soil.  However sometimes the soil needs to be replenished by organic compost.  Our bodies are composed of minerals and vitamins that we get from the food we eat, so our food needs to be grown in rich organic soil.  Makes sense.

Growing vegetables is not always an instant success story.  It is only the beginning of getting to know the science of the soil, plants, water, sunshine and then there are the pests… that are beginning to chow on my newly planted tomatoes !  Thank goodness for Google !   But it is amazingly good to be in the garden, beside my growing spinach, Chinese cabbage, tomatoes and basil.  To make it a little easier to get to my herbs I put a few small pots of parsley and green peppers on a pretty stand outside my kitchen door.  Care gardens don’t have to be big with acres and acres of vegetables – nice if you can do that, and for community gardens, but a Care Garden can be growing vegetables in a container.

Why not join me in my Care Africa Movement project, by growing  some vegetables for yourself – and to share with your neighbours.  Take a photo of yourself in your garden and email it to me, with your name and the region and country you live in.   Also add your favourite Bible verse.  Perhaps we can create a photo blog for Care Africa. Plant some seeds in your soil,  Plant some seeds in your soul by reading God’s Word everyday, – and watch how your gardens grow !   Do your bit for the planet recycle where and when you can, and grow your very own special Care Gardens.    Happy gardening !

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For as the earth brings forth its bud,
As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth,
So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth
before all the nations.                 Isaiah 61:11   

LOOKING FOR … PEACE

 

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What is Peace ?
If I know what I am looking for I might be able to find it.

Before I further explore Peace may I just mind fully state I believe Peace is found on the high mountain tops of the spiritual life.  I cannot do justice to the beauty and magnificence of Peace, and will not even try, I merely want to simplify what a sense of Peace is, what it means to me, and provoke others toward it too.  For we all want Peace in our hearts.

So what is Peace ?
Peace is a sense of knowing that everything is going to be okay – no matter what the circumstances of life dictate to me.  Peace is linked to trust, no fear or insecurities welcome. Trust is linked to faith, faith is linked to Almighty God.   I, for one, need to know that there is something much bigger and more powerful than the I, me and mine. That Power is God, who loves me and has my back!  It’s going to be okay!  So life can throw its diversities and devastations at me, but because of the Peace of God, it’s going to be okay.  He knows, He sees, He cares, and believe it or not, He is in control.  It’s going to be okay!  Peace is knowing and trusting the God who created me.

But where do I find it?  Peace starts in the soul.  At best our souls are in a state of disrepair, empty, often bruised, sorely fragmented sometimes even broken and lost. That is why soul-care is so important.  Don’t neglect the soul – and be mindful of the souls of others too.  Words, said or written, can cause havoc to the soul.  “Sticks and stones can hurt my bones but words cannot harm me” –  is just not true!  Words have consequences !

Peace – wholeness of being, this is good soul health, and good soul-keeping will be required.  So, slow down, less hurry, live simply and simmer in the Scriptures to come to know God ... and the Peace He offers as a gift.
Peace  I leave with you, My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you.        Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.   John 14:27
In other words, don’t worry, don’t be anxious, or fearful because …. everything is going to be okay !

But I need a little help here.  Peace is far more than that.
Judy Pohorille,  a friend from a writing group I attended some years ago, coincidently sent me this message on Peace – so timely, that I need to  include it in this post.  It captures Peace far more eloquently than my technical version of it. She is a remarkable woman, who writes beautiful crisp crackling English prose and poetry.
Judy has seen and known much suffering in her life and therefore I suspect can fathom the depth of Peace far more than many.   Here is her writing :

“There is a part of the sea known as “the cushion of the sea”.  It lies beneath the surface that is agitated by storms and churned by wind.  It is so deep that it is part of the sea that is never stirred.  The ocean floor reveals evidence of having remained completely undisturbed for hundred, if not thousands of years.   The Peace of God is an eternal calm like the cushion of the sea.    It lies so deeply within the human heart that no external difficulty or disturbance can reach it.  Anyone who enters the presence of God becomes a partaker of that undisturbed calm.”

The peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7.

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FREEDOM DAY

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SOUTH AFRICA!

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Today is Freedom Day in South Africa.  It is a public holiday to remind us that twenty one years ago the cloak of Oppression was lifted when all South Africans freely went to the political polls to vote for a new government to rule the country and its peoples. Twenty one years is a short period of time when one thinks in terms of nations.  Liken that to a person, and one can understand that the new South Africa has a long way to go in becoming a full mature, functional and prosperous nation.  At twenty one who isn’t still wet behind the ears, coming through the troubling teenage years with all its rebelliousness, rejections, broken promises and looking to find true identity and purpose. It is not easy, even for the best of us !  The distressing recent xenophobia displays, and rapid peace interventions are perhaps a sign on a maturing process taking place….a getting to know thyself of sorts.  Happy birthday South Africa, may the next 21 years find you firmly engaged in building and planting prosperity and peace on the African continent.

And don’t forget to plant your Care Gardens for the Care Africa Movement project.
Plant some seeds in your yard, for food, and Plant a garden in your heart by reading the Bible every day to feed your soul. Send me a photo with your name or project’s name and help me build a photo blog with your Care Garden on it.

Freedom is not cheap, and Oppression comes in huge forms. Vividly seen from the TV news are evident results of oppressive leaders and governments who are hell bent on holding onto power, position and wealth, in spite of great cost to their own people.  War, mass protest marches, mass migration from nation to nation seems to be a sign that Oppression rules almost everywhere in our Global Village.

But Oppression also comes in subtle forms, often nestles in the soul, and in the family where it is not so easy to detect, yet the outward reaction tells the tale.  And when you think about it, is the soul not the place where the darkness can grow until it reaches  monsterous proportions.?  Eventually it vents itself into further Oppression causing  the cycle of death, demise destruction – creating dark and dingy prisons of sadness, shame, sorrow and mourning –  resulting in the captive soul – and a loss of liberty.  Oppression causes this to happen on the soul, family, national and global level, as history has shown us.   And peace is far off !

The Bible speaks of setting the captives free.  Luke 4 and Isaiah 61 are Bible pieces that depict the human condition.  It brings with it hope to those who are oppressed, depressed and suppressed.  Those who  battle depressions, afflictions and addictions – seekers for peace, but also for those who are the peace-bringers .

       … To preach good tidings to the poor,
            He has sent Me to heal the broken hearted,
            To proclaim liberty  to the captives,
            And recovery of sight to the blind,
           To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
           To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

This is a song for freedom, true freedom, that transcends any tyrant or political system or person, or addiction that can hold us captive.  Its the song of salvation that Jesus Christ sings over us… for He came to set the captives free.  The real day of freedom is the day of salvation, the day of second chances and new beginnings, a freedom that is well worth celebrating.            

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