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Testimony of Jude Martin in English/isiZulu
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3He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:3
18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. Matthew 21:18,19
8 He is like a tree planted by water that sends out its roots by the stream and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:8
Our country is covered by a dark a cloud. Foreigners’ businesses have been looted and they have been attacked. Such evil is unacceptable for us as a church. Today the President has requested prayer for foreigners. Women’s month has just taken place in August, but there are numerous reports of violence against women, of kidnapping and murder. As a church we say to the men, “Enough is enough! Too many women have died in our country.” I doubt that we have reached the peak of this violence. It will worsen. Be careful young girls where you go. Never go alone. Parents, take care of your children. It is evil if women are attacked and even more so if it is by those who ‘love’ them. It is also evil of people to write things about others and hide themselves behind another name. They hide the way they live but the day will come when all these things will be exposed.
The number of cases we read about are, in fact, few compared to the reality of what is happening. Two weeks ago, we were in Pretoria and Johannesburg visiting schools. We met children who could not even verbalise what they had experienced at home or school. Children are expected to attend school or university and pass but they fail to study because they are raped daily. When these children are given an opportunity to unburden themselves, there is an immediate change that takes place in their hearts and even on their faces.
At one school we went to, a young man came to my window saying he had recognized us and just come to greet. He said that he was a product of KwaSizabantu Mission and he wanted to thank us.
At another place, after one service, a young teacher spoke to me. He asked about Reverend Erlo and Heino Stegen and several aspects regarding the youth services. He said he’d been converted many years’ previously after a message: “Repent totally. Cut off the past.” He said that it was this gospel that had made him what he is today. He added that after his wedding, he showed his wife photos of the ladies at the mission and told his wife that he wanted her to dress in a similar fashion.
Testimony of Jude Martin from CYPSA.
I was raised in a Christian home but from a young age I lusted for the world. I completed my schooling in 1993, left my parents and went into the world. My life was a mess which was humiliating and painful. I lived in sin for 20 years and tried to fill the void with different things but all the time I sank deeper into sin. After many self-help attempts, I heard the message of CYPSA. I registered under a different name because I was ashamed of my life. The man who took the service reminded me of Caleb, a man who stands firm and unwavering in the Lord. That man was Rev. Stegen. I felt that I must be in the right place. I was introduced to counselling and I was willing to make my life right. Things became clear and I could see God’s will in my life. I am free from drugs for the longest time in 20 years. My brothers came to see me because I have changed so much. I thank God for the Mission and the people here. I thank the Lord for His great mercy and grace.
CYPSA has been blessed with a new 23-seater Sprinter this week from Rev Stegen. We thank God for what He is doing through him.
My theme for today is the spiritual garden of the heart.
Before you plant, you need to analyse the soil to find out exactly what is lacking. There are procedures to follow in order for a successful crop. Too much fertilizer may destroy the plant.
I once prepared a field and planted cabbage and spinach. I added manure. After a few days I inspected the field and noticed how good the first few rows looked. I told my wife how good the plants looked. A few days later when I added more fertilizer, I noticed that some of the plants were dying. In some places it looked as if the plants had been pulled out of the ground. I was advised to check for cutworm. On investigation, I found the worms. These worms look harmless. It is difficult to believe they can do so much damage. A little bit of insecticide will kill them. The worm is hidden but it causes much damage. After eating the bottom of one plant, it moves onto the next. A small insignificant worm may have already destroyed much in your life. You may look good and healthy but underneath there is a little worm gnawing at the plant.
In Matthew, the Lord walked past a fig tree and He wanted to eat a fig but when He got there, there were only leaves. When the Lord came to you this morning, what did He find? Maybe He came to look for love but He did not find it. The devil has entered your life and slowly eaten it away and when the Lord looks for fruit, He finds nothing. Things that used to be precious to you, the love and fervor you had for the Lord’s work, are not there anymore because the worm has eaten it. Maybe He did not have to say anything because when He came to you, you were already dead. Slowly but surely the devil has destroyed you.
The Lord often used parables in his teaching. You are like a tree planted by the water. The life of a tree is not in its leaves but its roots. The heart is the root of the matter. If you are dying inside you will never hear what God is saying because of the condition of your heart. If the worm has eaten away you will be unable to hear even if people shout into your ears and if God Himself speaks, you will not hear.
If you allow the cutworm into your life in spite of warnings, you will find yourself in a serious condition. Death does not take place suddenly, it begins slowly. The worm does its job and after sometime you find yourself dead. You cannot hear God’s word anymore. When you hear God speaking to you, react immediately lest the worm enters and does its work… you criticize, gossip and allow others to spill their filth out on your life. When someone speaks about a child of the Lord, you also add your bit to the conversation. In the beginning, you were of great worth but because of things that have happened and people you have allowed into your life, you have lost your worth.
When a young man flirts with a girl he tells her many things and makes many promises. These things consume the girl and she feeds on what the young man has said. That worm eats at her life and eventually the girl falls into sin. Your cell phone can affect you like this. You see and hear things which work in your heart. You swallow whatever you read on the internet. It enters your heart and you lose your life because of it. A cutworm destroys you and returns to look for another plant. A diseased plant affects the health of other plants. Have you been diseased by diseased people who have influenced you?
When you began at the school, college or the workplace, you have a good testimonial. You were humble and prepared to do anything but now you want to be the boss and tell others what to do. When you started, you zealously made your life right so that there was never anything between you and the Lord. Is it still like that today? You might be at the Mission, in the water, but your roots have been eaten away. You said that you have a calling on your life; you preached fiery sermons; you preached about revival but today you have faded away and things have crept into your life. You used to deal with your children but now you cover up for them and protect them. You say we do not want to lose our young people but today you have lost everything. The Lord taught you how to be a good wife to your husband, however, slowly but surely things have gone wrong. What was wrong in the past is now acceptable. When you are with God’s children, you behave in a particular way but when you are on holiday, you do things that are not right. In the beginning unity was important but you now differentiate between race. You respected God’s place and His word. You were careful about what you did but today you do not look after things as you should. You were concerned about unity with the children of God but today you are one with people who stand against this gospel. The fruit that you had in the beginning, that drew others, is no longer there. A cutworm has entered. The love and care that you used to have is no longer there, people meet up with anger and thorns. Something has changed in your life. You are a tree covered in leaves. There is no fruit. You are no longer a sheep but a wolf.
The Lord expects fruit. Is it sweet or bitter? In your home what fruit does He find when you are with your children? It is devastating to hear the Lord say, “From now on no more fruit will be found on this tree.”
Seek the Lord with all your heart so that you will be found at the water again. If the worm has entered through your eyes, ears or mouth, there is still time to come to Lord. He can heal. Return to what you did in the beginning. Go to a counsellor, make your life right as you did in the past and the Lord will be able to heal you.
People leave, not because there is something wrong with this place, but because there is a worm in their own lives. This place remains the same. God has established this place and it will stand by His grace. Leave others to go their way. Do what God has put on your heart, make your life right. You know what to do. There is no confusion if you know the truth. Do not say, “Whom can we trust today?” If you have eyes to see and ears to hear you will discern what is from God and what is not.
The Lord came out of season and required fruit. Test your life. Take note of what is happening in your heart.
Conclusion Dietmar Joosten
This is a must in our lives. The Lord expects things of us. If you do not have what the Lord expects in your life, even if you think you cannot do it, the Lord says, “You do it.” Maybe the Lord wants you to fill a certain gap – that’s the fruit He wants in your life. May there be nothing too difficult for us to do. The world seeks fruit because they are eating rotten stuff. The world wants something of quality which we have been given. May people get it from us.