Testimony of Bongeleni Khumalo of CYPSA
I thank God for what He has done for me. He took me out of the miry clay, out of a pit and put me on solid ground. I was like a scrap car that was only good for the scrapyard.
I was brought up as an only child. Our family was well off and they hoped that I would become what they wanted me to be but I was disobedient and drifted from their love. I do not blame anyone but myself. I was enslaved by wanting to please people, yet they did not care about me. In high school I wanted to be seen as a person who could smoke. When I began smoking, it was as if I started a fire in my life and I had to keep it burning. Then I smoked dagga and started looking for drugs. I pickpocketed people for money. I went in and out of prison. Because I was a spoilt child I got everything I wanted anytime I wanted. Then things changed. Nobody wanted me anymore. When my dad got remarried he did not invite me to the wedding because I would shame him if I was present. I was drinking. I was uncontrollable. My mother loved me and cared for me but she passed away because of me. Although I never killed anyone, people came to my house looking for me because of the way I lived. The community beat me and I was imprisoned. The death of my mother did not open my eyes. After her funeral I was sent to live with my uncle in Johannesburg but after a while I got into trouble there too. I returned home and continued what I was doing.
One day something happened. I was with friends and I had a lot of money. I was giving everyone drinks. I was like a hero being worshipped. My uncle had come down from Johannesburg. He was a breadwinner and the leader in the home. Our home was better because of my uncle. I had lived as the only man in the house, and I came home drunk that night to find my uncle at home. He was very disappointed in me and then the community sent me away. I stayed in jail for many years. People hoped that I would be changed. But after a few months I continued as I always had. I then stayed with my father because I had no place to stay. My friends only liked me when things went well. People can say it’s all over for a person, but that’s when God starts. As a last resort I came to the Mission where I was told no matter what has happened in your life, Jesus can change you. I made my life right, confessed my sins and I saw the change happening. Since 2010 I had been running. I could now return home and apologise. They told me that they could see the change in my life. If I had come to my family as I was before I would not have received forgiveness. Other people could not recognise me because God had changed me so much. If this place did not exist, I would be dead by now. Thank you to Revered Stegen, Aunt Lydia and the people who pray for us and support us. The end of my life matters. I have received my reward for the life I have lived – I was rejected. What will be the end of what you are doing? God has helped me and so I can help those at home. I wish to put God as my leader and I just follow Him and to not look to the left or right.
Testimony of Rafiq Ismail of CYPSA
I am here to thank you for all that you do for us. Thank you for your love and prayers for us. Aunty Lydia and Aunt Eunice thank you for your love and care for our spiritual and physical lives.
In Amos 5:4 we read that Amos was a shepherd which is a lowly job. He was from Tekoa in Judah. The Lord called him to preach in the northern kingdom where he was a missionary. There was peace at that time. King Uzziah was the king of Judah and Jeroboam, the king of Israel. There was prosperity, security and religious piety – everything seemed to be going well. When God looked on His people, His heart was pained and He used Amos to speak. His message was 4 words: Seek me and live.
No matter how much wrong you have done or how much your love has grown cold because of prosperity, seek me and live. This is for you and me. This is the word of God.
I want to testify about the life I have experienced in the past month during which I did my practical teaching at DSS. I experienced life there. I thank the staff and learners, especially my Grade 8 learners. God is working in their lives. They apologise when they have done wrong. I was taking a walk to the dam when I met a group of boys who were training. One of them saw me, left the group and asked me for forgiveness for the life he had lived. He asked me to help him. Another asked for an opportunity to speak to his class because his life was not up to standard and God had showed him this. This is the spirit of revival at school. God’s way of revival has no compromise. Seek me and live. No matter how long you have been a Christian. Uncle Philip Joosten spoke to me on the Sunday before the Lord took him. He greeted me and told me to hold on. Hold on and keep on holding on.
Albu van Eeden
How does one get a calling and how do you keep the calling? Some points I will just touch on and you can study further and deeper. It is critical that every Christian should have a calling upon his life – not to become a big well-known preacher or leader in the church – just be an ordinary soldier in the army of God. To have a calling to be an ordinary soldier is more challenging than a prominent calling.
So often a person gets converted things go well but when it turns out that he will be an ordinary soldier, his calling evaporates. Through the years, people who have demonstrated a tenacity and a determination to be faithful to what God has called them to be have just been ordinary soldiers. Sometimes people in the secular world are an example to Christians. The most famous Caesar of the Rome was Julius Caesar. Allow me to tell you about one ordinary soldier that fought in his army. In a critical battle against Pompeii they were losing ground. The enemy encircled them from all sides. They got people from all over to defend the camp. This soldier, Caius, was left to guard the horses to ensure that the enemy did not capture them. When the enemy realised that he was the only man there, they turned their anger on him. No one could be called to assist him because everyone else was fighting for their lives. Finally, the Romans won the battle and then they searched the corpses. They remembered the man who had guarded the horses and they found him still standing, guarding the entrance. He had been so violently attacked that he had lost his one eye which had been slashed by the sword. He was stabbed right through his right shoulder and through one of this thighs. He was still holding his shield in his hand. There were 119 or 121 holes in it. He was an ordinary soldier who had a calling. He did not look for recognition. He defended the horses with his life. He did not refuse to do the job because it was lowly. How many Christians are so committed to the calling to be a soldier in the army of the King of kings?
21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16:21-23
Jesus began to speak to His disciples about something terrible He had been carrying. He had said it many times before but they did not click what He was talking about. Maybe they did not understand what the Son of Man was going through and the burden he was carrying so He kept quiet about it most of the time. Jesus had to carry this burden up to a few days before He was killed. He did what He was supposed to do because of the reward that was promised Him which was the souls of men. He was preparing a place and opening the gates for the souls of men to enter Heaven. After this He would enter Heaven to prepare a house for those who would respond to His call.
In this text, He could not keep quiet about it anymore. This time they understood what he was saying possibly because the atmosphere was loaded. Peter reacted in response to Jesus’s words. Peter did not bother to examine and test whether he should say what he did. Peter knew that his basic principle was a godly one – “I care for Him. My basic principle is a godly principle of love. I love the Lord Jesus.” He was so sure of the rules that he did not bother to examine his heart and check whether he was up to this, whether he could bear this and be faithful? He reacted out of an obvious Christian principle of love and concern for his Master. Be careful of becoming relaxed about the Biblical principles and you simply apply them without praying and asking the Lord what you should say or how you should react. Peter was off tune, he was off the station. A person can act in a godly, Christian manner but be totally off the station. Peter did not realise that the heart of Christ was one of self- sacrifice. The purpose of Jesus coming to the world was one of self-sacrifice. It did not apply to this incident and the occasion when He would sacrifice Himself – it was the heart of His mission to the world. Peter did not realise how deep the self-sacrifice went in the life of Jesus. Peter missed the Lord’s calling and he did not understand his own calling.
What are you and I called to? The place where I am willing to die to myself, but not in a carnal way. Do I become grumpy and grudging because of the person the Lord Jesus us using in my life to sacrifice myself for His kingdom. You have a grudge because of what someone had done to you – you are missing the point, you are off the station. You will end up with raw hatred in your heart towards the person whom God is using in order to help you die to yourself. When you die to yourself, it must bring life to you and to those around you. If it does not bring life then you are not dying to yourself the way God wants you to. It is not something that happens at the beginning, you get used to and feel you are a Christian and you know how things are done, you start living for yourself and relying on the good name you have with people. The devil took advantage of Peter’s weakness, his confusion and ignorance because Peter did not realise what Jesus’s life was all about.
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons…” 1 Timothy 4:1
In another place in this chapter, Paul says that people will become proud about what they have attained to. God’s word says that a person who stops dying to himself is departing from the faith. If you allow pride in your life, you are departing from the faith and devoting yourself to deceitful spirits – the teaching of demons. This is the time in which we live. Because people have become proud they will devote themselves to deceitful spirits and follow the teachings of demons.
This is how we get our calling, as an ordinary soldier or not. God has His ways in which He tests you to see what your calling is and whether it is a true calling. One example from the life of David: When David sinned with Bathsheba, he called her husband home from the battle field and invited him to his palace in order to cover up his sin. Uriah refused to sleep in his own house with his wife. What is wrong with you, Uriah? The king said you can go to your house. Uriah’s response was, “How can I live in luxury if the children of God are fighting on the battlefield?” This is what it is like when you have a calling.
When David played the harp for King Saul, he had to regularly visit the palace but he was a shepherd. He did not tell his father that he had an important job at the palace and that his father should find another shepherd. No, he was called to care for the sheep and he moved from the palace to the sheep. God tests us to see whether we have a calling from Him or not.
Firstly, you must be willing to die to yourself. Secondly, do not look for a calling if there is sin in your life. Sin is desperately evil. You will not hear God’s voice calling you to where He wants you to be. Stealing here and there. Jealousies. Anger and short temper even when it is only on the inside. Coldness of heart – you are not on fire for God’s kingdom. You are cold. Sin will block God’s voice. Hypocrisy – making out to be something or someone that you are not. Sin must be brought into the open. Sin cannot be forgiven when it is hidden. It must be exposed at the foot of the cross. This is where we can be washed in the blood of the Lamb.The Christian life is one of dying to self. The voice that tells you to spare yourself and go soft on yourself is Satan’s voice. The voice that tells you to please yourself is Satan’s. Self-denial is the way to God’s calling. We must be more eager to promote the well-being of others. Watch out that it is not your own idea of promoting their well-being, that was Peter’s error. He had the well-being of Jesus in mind when he said, “God forbid, Lord.” It was not right way to respond because he was using human logic.
There are two things that will keep you from reaching your calling:
The first one is long toes. If Peter had long toes he would have reacted in this way: Is this how Jesus treats me after I have stood with Him and taken His side for three years? He calls me a Satan! I have never said anything against Him. I complimented him. Is this how He thanks me? I did not want to do anything bad. I just saw things differently to that way in which He saw them. Is it really necessary to call me a Satan? Peter could have gone to another counsellor and complained about the way he was treated. This would have been a human way of doing things. Peter could have had long toes. But friends, I do not think this is the reason for Peter’s reaction. He really loved the Lord and could not bear the thought of Him dying. He did not realise the mystery that Christ was on His way to die to Himself. Jesus was intolerable to Peter’s attitude. Why was Jesus so firm and intolerable? Not because He hated Peter, nor did He want to get rid of Peter. Jesus knew you cannot have a person in the kingdom who lives for himself. Jesus will not tolerate anyone who lives for themselves. If our spiritual fathers and mothers appear ruthless, it is because they do not tolerate it in their own lives. They will not tolerate it in your life. They will not be soft on you. We should not tolerate small sins. If we do, it will be the end of the revival and we will have a church like any other. People can leave here and say there is legalism but there is not legalism. We know that Jesus does not tolerate this. Peter tried to be kind but he did it carnally, he listened to his emotions and did not walk in the Spirit. We are expected to walk in the Spirit. If we live a carnal Christian life, we are living in sin. If I live a carnal life the revival will die in my hands. God does not want that. He wants to continue working in our midst.
So friends, if Jesus turns around and calls you a Satan, do not walk around with long toes. Do not be offended. Bow accept as Peter did. He did not have long toes. He was not the kind of man who said, “Oh my goodness, I have walked with the Lord for three years and I still cannot distinguish between what is godly and what is satanic. I’m giving up. I am sorry. I have tried my best and it was not acceptable. I will never learn how God’s will works. I will never learn to hear God’s voice.
Peter accepted it. It was humiliating. He did not understand the harshness of Jesus but he accepted it and in the process he died to himself. What happened then? He got a calling from God on his life. This is how people get a calling on their lives. God will test us over and over to make sure that we are still in the calling He has in mind for us. Have I designed the calling that I have for myself? I started well. I thought I knew how God works and in the end I thought I know it, I have my calling, I do not need to humble myself. If we must die to ourselves a thousand times, let us do it because in that way we will keep our calling and bring life to those around us – not bitterness or grudges – but life. Thank God that Jesus did not allow Peter to take him off the track. Thank God that Jesus did not say, “Listen, I cannot do this to this man. I have got to change the calling that God has shown me in order not to hurt this man.” The Bible says He set His face like flint to Jerusalem. He went on and through and He died on the cross. Like the seed of grain that fell in the ground and died, His life and death brought forth much fruit – all the souls that will be with Him in paradise.
I want to be faithful. May God be merciful to me. Keep your eyes on the Lord. Do not be distracted from what the Lord has called you to. You have heard the testimonies of the young men-this is how your life brings life to other people. Don’t you want to be part of it? I do.