Grace to overcome

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Poem of Azola Dabula in English

Poem of Azola Dabula in French

Poem of Azola Dabula in German

 Testimony of Sibusiso Mbelo in English/isiZulu

 Testimony of Sibusiso Mbelo in French

 Testimony of Sibusiso Mbelo in German

 

Introduction Sibongiseni Khumalo

We welcome all who have come to sit at the feet of the Lord Jesus and to listen to His word. Let us remember some things in prayer this morning. The prophet, Jeremiah said, Oh that my head were waters  and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night   for the slain of the daughter of my people! Jeremiah 9:1. We weep for those who have been put to death in our country, the innocent, unborn babies who are slaughtered on a daily basis. There are many euphemisms used to soften the deed – abortion, termination of pregnancy – but it is simply the killing of an unborn child. The Bible says we should speak up for those who cannot defend themselves. Let us remember those in prayer who are arranging the March for Life in our country. Let us also remember CYPSA in prayer. Sometimes our government passes laws that are contrary to God’s laws. Let us also remember the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ because there are many attacks on the church and slanderous accusations against people who carry the Bible.

Testimony of Azola Dabula of CYPSA
I come from Umtata in the Eastern Cape. I came here for my life to be changed and to no longer be a slave of alcohol, drugs or satan. I want to express my thanks with a poem I have written:

Reverend Stegen, I salute
Your heart is as beautiful as your voice and actions
Your holy power has made a great change
Without segregation, pride, standard and racism
The voice of the Lord is loud in your heart since 1966.
Actions speak louder than words
You are a spiritual legend
Reverend Stegen, our father, I salute you.

You stood firm, calm and obedient until this far
You began from one nation of Zulus
Into multiples of different races and cultures.
No pain-no gain
Many provinces came
Many races came
Many heartbroken people came
And out of KwaSizabantu Mission drugs, alcohol, human trafficking, prostitution and many more evil things have collapsed.
Reverend Stegen, I salute you.

You began from mud animal shelters and tents.
A witch was saved because of your holy words.
The auditorium was not there but the power of the Lord was within you
As things increased bit by bit.
Uneducated children became educated
You fed the nations with what was in your heart.
You employed five people and more till this far.
Those who were drunkards and smokers,
You changed them with your daily prayers
Impossibilities became possibilities.
Our tears have pain have changed into tears of joy
We are here for our dark mist to be manipulated
And have a holy life and strength.
We love our Father Stegen.

Our hearts are bleeding for peace and a great future
because time wasted will never return.
Without fear, without returning to the dark lifestyle
We will change as we are changing.
May God bless your hard work and may you live a long time.
We love you.
I salute you, father.

Testimony of Sbusiso Mbelu of CYPSA

My home is in Durban, Newlands West. I am thankful for this opportunity to magnify the Lord for what he did in my life.

There is nothing more pitiful than a person who comes from an impoverished home and then spends his life in drug abuse. I was raised by my uncle but when I reached high school I forgot all his sacrifices to raise me. I joined bad company and became involved in drugs which spoiled my life. I tried to continue with my studies but how can one learn and study while using drugs?

One day at school a fight broke out between my friends and other learners where we caused a lot of damage. We disrupted the education of many who were not involved. The governing body met with the parents to try and resolve the issue and we were all called together to the meeting. I had an okapi knife with me and I pulled out the knife and began repeatedly stabbing one of the learners we were fighting with, the knife handle eventually broke off. Things went from bad to worse. I no longer attended school but stayed at home where I drank alcohol and used drugs.

I was a real troublemaker. When I was drunk at taverns I would get into brawls and stab people. I would get home angry, fight with my aunt, pull her by her hair, beat her up and throw her out. She often had to stay with neighbours or friends. My uncle asked the social workers whether it was not possible for me to attend a different school. I did, but things did not come right, things instead became worse as I started using whoonga.

I became involved in crimes I never dreamt I would be involved in. One day my friends and I tried to commit a robbery but it failed. My friend was shot three times and taken to hospital. I was arrested. It was the first time I was in jail. I realised that my lifestyle would lead to death. I pleaded with my uncle to bail me out. I promised I would not return to my old lifestyle but within a month I was rearrested. In jail I joined the notorious 26 gang to survive.

One day in my life I will never forget, it was when the community got hold of me after I had stolen electric power cables. They beat me almost to death when I was saved by three older ladies who threw themselves on me, laying down their lives for me, a young child. When I got up from there, wounded, bruised and swollen, I still returned to my drugs. I could no longer sleep at home because the police were after me. The only place I could find refuge in was the chicken coop.

An older friend of mine with whom I used to take drugs had been at KSB Mission and received help. He told me that I did not have to live this kind of life and I could get help. I scraped together a few cents and I eventually I arrived here. I was told that they had no medication to offer me, only Jesus Christ who could change my life. Even though I did not actually grasp what they were saying, I said that if this Jesus could change my life I wanted to try it.

One day as I was seated in the service, the Word of the Lord penetrated my heart. I found hope in Jesus Christ. I sat down with one of the counsellors and poured out my heart to her – with tears I could unburden myself. Jesus changed my life.

I had a desire to return to the people against whom I had sinned and whom I had harmed – and my uncle who had sacrificed so much. They forgave me.

Because of my drug abuse, I was unable to complete my education. But at the mission I was given the opportunity to complete my schooling. At the age of 22 I started with Grade 10 and eventually received my matric certificate. I then started with my tertiary studies and am almost finished with a qualification in criminology. In all of this I have learnt that what is impossible with man is possible with God. People tried to change my life by beating me up, by throwing me in jail but all to no avail. Jesus was able to transform my life. I thank God and I thank God for all His servants whom He used, those who allowed themselves to be instruments in His hands that could change my life.

Jabulani Dube

I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I like history so I am going to share a little history. Where did our road begin with Reverend Erlo Stegen? I got to know him in 1963 when he pitched a tent at Maphumulo. He did not know Zulu well at that time and he just put some phrases and sentences together. Mr Khwela interpreted for him. He was 28 years old and I was about 13 and a half years old. Since the time I have known him, he has never changed. He has been the same throughout.

There are many allegations that have been made on the internet which lead people astray. People who believe lies will easily be deceived. In Zulu, the word is “led astray” when somebody deceives you in taking the wrong turn. People who used to stand here in this pulpit are now telling stories about Rev Stegen which deceive people and lead them astray. In Galatians 6:7 we are warned, Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. Through the things people say, they mock God and they will reap destruction. They take the word of God and twist it. They think they can destroy this work but instead they pour oil on the fire. People who get their information from the internet and look for evil messages about the mission, believe everything. They fail to discern.

There are those, black and white co-workers who are holding up the hands of Reverend Stegen, as Aaron and Hur did for Moses. His family support him. We say, Reverend Stegen, do not grow weary but go forward and by God’s grace we will hold up your hands.

Rev Stegen once travelled by car from his family farm to Port Shepstone. There was very little petrol in the vehicle. People of my colour put their hands into their pockets and gave him money to reach his destination. When he arrived he pitched a tent and stayed there. He had only very little money. He survived on mealie meal, beans and potatoes. At that time a chicken came into his tent and laid an egg there. He told the next-door neighbour that her hen had laid eggs in his tent and he returned the eggs. The woman said that if her hen laid eggs in his tent, the eggs belonged to him.

In 1963 he came to Maphumulo. My father was an alcoholic and he used very strong drink, pure spirits. On a Sunday, after Reverend Stegen was finished with the services he would visit us at home. He also wanted to see how our farming was going. He taught us how to farm. He is a fantastic farmer. He was not only a spiritual leader but he also taught people practical skills. On this particular day he found my father drunk on the road. He asked my father how he was and he answered that he was unwell. Rev Stegen asked, “Mr Dube, would you mind if I prayed for you because you say you are unwell.” My father agreed. He prayed for my father who was very unsteady on his feet. During the prayer, the bottle of spirits that he had been hiding in his jacket, fell to the ground. Rev Stegen did not say, “You see what my God can do to you.” He asked, “What is that?” My father said, “It’s just water, pastor. When I’m thirsty I just take a sip.” He said, “Oh.” Do you see what type of a leader he is? At home one of my father’s friends, Mr Mhlongo, was there and he offered him the drink. When Mr Mhlongo drank from the bottle, he vomited. My dad took a swig but he also vomited. Mr Mhlongo said, “There is something wrong with this booze.” My father said, “I deceived a white man and he prayed and now Jesus is inside this bottle.” From that day both of them stopped drinking. Do you see how God works? God works just as He wishes to work. The Bible says, the Spirit blows where it wills. From that day our family was transformed. My father had been infamous for his drinking. He would sleep at different places because he could not get home when he was so drunk. When he stopped drinking, everyone got to hear about it.

Eventually the work began here at this present place. It was just wattle plantations and sugar cane fields. Reverend Stegen ploughed the fields using a tractor. We used candles and paraffin lamps for lighting. Many people have arrived in subsequent years with all the luxury of electricity and that is why it is easy for them to give it all up. That is why they can say all the things they do on the internet. I do not know if they get paid for it but they did not have to suffer for this work. One cannot grasp that people can utter such blatant lies and nonsense.

22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:22

Peter said do not be like a dog that returns to its vomit, after sinning you return to it. The Bible uses a dog as an example. Look at the behaviour of a dog when a car drives past. The dog will chase the car as if it can catch it. Any moving vehicle, a motorbike, a bicycle, it will chase. This is exactly what people are doing who are trying to destroy this work, they are like that little dog chasing the car. It will have to give up the chase. It cannot achieve anything.

How can you stop different people from so many different churches and denominations from coming here to see what God is doing? So many young men who are coming for help. We do not even have to pray and ask the Lord to bring the people, they are just coming. Please don’t be upset with me if I share with you this history. I’m just explaining to you what kind of person Rev Stegen is.

At Swayimane, near Dalton, a young man gave his testimony. He had entered someone’s home through the window when he heard a noise outside and realised that owners had arrived. They came into the house and he tried to hide but was unsuccessful. They caught him, beat him and threw him into a bag which they tied closed so that he could not escape. They put him into a car and drove off with him, having fun. The police then stopped the vehicle which looked suspicious to them. They found the bag and pulled it out of the car and then discovered there was a human being inside. God rescued this man otherwise he would have probably landed in a dam somewhere. He came to the Mission, his life was changed and now he has a job. What more should you be told about the work of God here? I feel pity for people who believe what is published on the internet. It will deceive them and lead them astray. In Proverbs 17:11 we read An evil man seeks only rebellion, and a cruel messenger will be sent against him. Once evil enters into the heart, there is backsliding. These people are cruel and treat others cruelly. They have no pity. They can only destroy. If a person has an evil spirit in their heart, they say anything.

Let’s turn to God’s word. I was blessed to hear how often Jesus would say, “Verily, verily I say unto you”. Some people take offense if things get repeated but Jesus often said, “Verily, verily.” Many people left Jesus at one stage and only the twelve disciples stayed. He asked them whether they did not also want to leave. Do not be shocked if people leave, even Jesus experienced this. Peter answered, “Lord where shall we go, for You have the words of life?” How can we forsake this precious gospel that has given us life and continues to do so. Of those who were there in the beginning there are three left: Baba Khwela, myself and my sister and Reverend Stegen. We pray that by God’s grace we may never turn our backs on the light we have received because if we do so we will walk in darkness. Take note of the anger the people have who have left, their wives even begin wearing pants and earrings.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self[a] was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free[b] from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.  Romans 6:1-10

God does not give us grace to continue in sin but to stop sinning and to overcome sin. If you always return to your sin, do you think you will receive grace? When a person confesses his sin, he dies to that sin. That sin should no longer live in his life. So what is it that causes that sin to come back to life if you have died with Christ? You say you are a child of God but every now and again you go back to that bit of pornography which you know you will confess afterwards. Jesus did not die two or three times but only once. You need to overcome that sin because you have died with Christ. As Christ died and was buried, so we also must die to that sin. We must be buried and that sin must be buried forever so that we can rise as new creatures with Christ. If I have drunk alcohol or smoked in the past and I have confessed it, how can I return to it like a dog to its vomit? Will I get angry and shout at someone and afterwards just confess it? Will I flirt with a girl, enjoy it and then afterwards, confess it? If this is the case, I am not dead to sin, those sins are alive in me. If I have died to sin I will see women as sisters and men as brothers.

When a person asks me to delete pictures from his phone it does not affect me because I have died with Christ to those things. Doctors who treat patients are dead to those things too, even if they see nakedness. As a child of God you need to be dead to those things. If things go well with you, be careful that pride and arrogance don’t return and draw back all those sins.

The old self has been crucified. The old things for which people used to know you, ought to be dead. They must see that the old person has died. Ask yourself whether the old self has died in you. Maybe you cannot forgive a person who has treated you badly. That man’s sin has been covered in the blood of the Lord Jesus but now you roll up your sleeves and dig out that sin from under the blood of the Lord Jesus. All the old things that you had experienced return again. Yet we have been raised with Christ. If we live for Christ in that manner, our lives will bring glory to his name.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[b] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[c] In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[d] with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Colossians 3:1–10

Taking care of the things that are from above. If we are children of God, we need to seek the things from above. How do we do that? By spending time in prayer, reading God’s Word, pondering and meditating on the Word of God. We share with one another a word that was a blessing – husband and wife, children and parents, those in your dormitory. It is unnecessary, brothers, to preach, you can just share a word the Lord has blessed you with. Seek the things of Heaven, not earthly things. Some people do not seek the things that are above but the things on the internet is what they believe.

We ought to seek Christ while we are in this world, not after death. Now is the time where we need to find out how God speaks. We need to learn to hear His voice.

When we have died with Christ, our life is hidden with Christ in God. Then you see a family who respect one another, where the wife is submissive to her husband and the children respect their parents. People are amazed by such a life. Your life is hidden with Christ in God. The treasure that we have received through the Gospel is hidden with Christ in God. The way in which you dress will testify that you are a child of God. When people look at the way you dress and move about, they wonder where you attend church. They are attracted by your modesty because your life has been hidden with Christ in God. We no longer live for ourselves, Christ lives in us.

In 2 Corinthians 5:18 God has given us a ministry of reconciliation. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; A person can ask for forgiveness from someone else. A husband can apologise to his wife, a wife to her husband and children to their parents because God has given us the ministry of reconciliation.

Let us put off the old self, put on the new self and no longer lie to one another. If people have not been saved they speak about one another or they add more details and it is no longer the truth anymore. If we have died with Christ, lies will end. A person will no longer want to look at pornography. His cell phone becomes a stumbling block in his life of service to God.

What happens young man, young woman when you are alone in the bathroom or in bed. You may be busy with the wrong thing. Do not say that you are a child of God if you have dark secrets in your life. Do not say that you cannot help yourself, it happens automatically, this demon whispers in my ear. No, resist the sin, fight it and overcome it. For how long will you continue in that sin? It is such a disgrace and a shame. What would happen if God should return at that very moment you are busy with that sin, living the life of Sodom and Gomorrah?

In Romans 1 we are told that 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:18,21 The wrath of God came down on those who knew Him but did not thank and praise Him as God. If you fail to thank God, if you fail to worship and honour Him as God, you become futile in your thinking and your heart is darkened. It is in such a situation that you are given over to the sins such as homosexuality where men sleep with men and women with women. Why? Because you failed to honour God as God. God gives you things, maybe money or some other gift but you do not thank God for it and God will hand you over to sin.

How can sin rise to life if it has been buried? How can you go into a shop and steal? A child of God? How is it possible? How can you break into a house and call yourself a child of God? How is such a thing possible? It is not surprising that things are in the state they are in where a girl kills her boyfriend and vice versa, a mother is killed by her children. Why? People have not honoured God.

When you die to sin, you also die to discrimination. Call it apartheid, discrimination, racism, it is visible in a person who has not died to it. If this has not ended in your life and Jesus returns, what will happen to you? Cry out to Jesus like that blind man, Bartimeus, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus had mercy on him. If there is any sin that still reigns in your life, that still troubles you, cry out to Jesus and ask Him to set you free. When you confess your sin do not generalise and say that you have had bad thoughts and this and that but you confess the thoughts you have had, why you had them. You explain your jealousy, of whom you are jealous and why. Do not just chop off the branches of the tree, instead of digging out the roots. Your sin will still be in your life if your confession is superficial and shallow.

Rocket

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