Grace In This Present World

November 17, 2012

Temperate or Tempting?

Filed under: General — Corli Hall @ 8:27 am

From a very young age and through various,  different  channels, girls are made to believe that their appearance defines and validates who they are,  and that it can determine the “level of success” they will achieve in this world.  Trough television programs, movies,  magazines, as well as their peers, they’ve been convinced that “beauty” guarantees acceptance and that “flaunting” will grant them the favour that they have  come to deem so very necessary.

Sadly enough, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. Sometimes even Christian girls/women battle to separate themselves from the pressures of this world and to stand on the love and acceptance they have through Christ. You may be a Christian, but have to admit that these “worldly” ideas on dress and appearance  have filtered through into your heart and mind. Please look with me again to see what the Bible teaches regarding these things:

The Bible says in Proverbs 31:30 that “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised”

First of all, we see that “beauty” (according to the world’s standard)  is not important to the Lord.  It is vain – empty, profits nothing.  On the flip side, it can generate pride,  jealousy, self-centeredness and keep our focus in the wrong place.  The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:3″ Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. The focus of this verse is not that of prohibiting jewelry etc., but that of discouraging conspicuousness and encouraging meekness and modesty.

In 1 Timothy 2:9 the Bible also says:  “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel…”.   Here is a good definition of modesty I found on the net:  “It is the quality of being free from vanity and boastfulness and also regard for decency of behavior, speech and dress.”  Decent, modest clothing is important to the Lord!  Perhaps you were under the common misconception before that decent, discreet clothing was just for “certain churches”, “certain age-groups,”  “old-fashioned  gals” or simply not that big a deal, but  I hope you are starting to realize that this is not just a flippant idea!

So……Is modesty really that important?

Well, it is always important to obey the Word of God, but there is also a practical side to this and it is imperative for us to grab hold of it if we want to make the right “dress decisions”:   We need to  help men, especially our Christian brothers, to have pure, clean thoughts.  They are on a battlefield ladies.  Let us not ignite the fire of their lust.  The Bible says in Matthew 5:28 “But whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hat committed adultery with her already in his heart”.  One lady said ” God calls us to walk in this world as a candle among gunpowder”   Sobering thought!!!  Am I  helping them to succeed morally, or am I  a stumbling block?

We may get that confidence we think we want in our provocative clothes, but we need to realize that we are provoking men or  another woman’s husband to lust after us and commit adultery in his heart.  We may love the attention when all eyes are on us, but what we need to realize is that we may be arousing a man who tries to be faithful to his wife, especially in his thoughts.   This world teaches us that if you’ve got it, flaunt it,  and you’ll be praised for your looks! The Word of God teaches the opposite!  We are to cover up!  Some of the most beautiful and classy women I know are not those who expose their bodies, but those who dress decently.  The Bible says that beauty is vain –  it comes and goes, but a woman who feareth the Lord, she shall be praised!  A God-fearing woman radiates inner beauty.   She possesses kindness, patience, love  and  she is meek and gracious. Who doesn’t appreciate such a woman?

If you are a Christian who struggles with this, please consider again, that you’ve been bought with a price, the blood of Jesus Christ!  Your body belongs to your Lord now.  He is Lord over all, even your dress standard. You are no longer of the world, but now have a heavenly home.  How are you representing your heavenly home? Romans 2:12 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God”.   

You may not feel loved and accepted by the world, but please consider that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8  Before you did anything to gain acceptance, when you were just an unclean sinner, He already loved you……just as you were.  I don’t know about you, but that is the kind of friend I want in my life!!

In all we do, let us do it as unto the Lord  and not unto men. (Colossians 3:23)

June 12, 2012

Special Family

Filed under: General — Corli Hall @ 12:49 pm

Today I am requesting prayer for a very special lady and her family.  They have been serving the Lord for years, both on an off the mission field.  In Spite of the very challenging tests and trials they have endured over the past few years, they have continued serving the Lord, and are today, a prime example of grace, faithfulness and humility.

It now appears as if they are facing new health challenges and I would really appreciate if you could remember our friends in your prayers.

I know of very many people who’s lives have forever been enriched through the sincere love, care and friendship this family offers to all they meet.  They are gems, they are  a blessing!

Please pray for our friends!

May 19, 2012

Mother’s Day Meeting

Filed under: Ministry — Corli Hall @ 6:35 pm

This year we had a wonderful turn-out at our combined,  annual,  Mother’s Day meeting.  Much progress has been made and this year our ladies conducted nearly the entire program themselves.  We had around fifty ladies attend from the three different churches and we had a wonderful time of learning and fellowship.

This is Mama Vooi.  Her presence lights up any room, but when she teaches God’s Word she is serious about it.  She is part of the faithful, core group at Madiba Bay Baptist Church.

This is Mama kaPamela.  She is one of sweetest, most tenderhearted ladies you will ever meet.  She gave her personal testimony and how the Lord has helped her as a single mother. She is also part of the core group at Madiba Bay Baptist Church.

Here  is Mama kaRandy.  This year she was the program conductor and did a great job at it!  She impressed us all when she handed out programs that she put together and printed herself!

Our food table with cookies and sandwiches!

April 18, 2012

Casting Stones

Filed under: Devotional Thoughts — Corli Hall @ 8:14 am

John 8: 3a “And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery;” 

5 “Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?”

 7  “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

 

What are our actions and reactions when a person falls into sin or when they behave themselves in a unseemingly  manner or when they do not bridle their tongue and speak foolish, hurtful and damaging words or in general  do something that we just don’t agree with?

We often react with frustration that soon leads to anger and a condemning attitude if we continue to dwell on these “faults” and “offenses”  and do not gain proper perspective.  Isn’t is easy to judge and be angry with another s faults and failures but justify or forget our own? Most all of us have been guilty of this, myself too often,  as a matter of fact, just the other day.

I am thankful for and in great need of Jesus’s example here in John chapter 8.  According to the law, this woman who fell into adultery would have been stoned to death, but Jesus dealt with it very differently, He said;  “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” and then people, when realizing that they were not as justified as they thought, started to leave the crowd.  Wow, here we have the real “Christian” example of how to deal with each other in our faults and failures! We are to restore and not condemn!  We are to build and not tear down!

As we work with people in the ministry or try to reach others wherever we are, it is imperative for us to learn that judging and condemning is not effective but loving, helping and building can make a world of difference.  Apart from that we need to stay conscientious of the fact that we to have faults and failures in our own lives and really have no right to be casting stones.

I do not want to be a stone caster anymore!  May the Lord remove those stones from our hands and teach us to love, restore, rebuild others and remember that by His grace alone we are what we are!

March 22, 2012

Thoughts For New Missionary Wives

Filed under: General — Corli Hall @ 3:20 pm

My prayer is that this will be a help and encouragement to someone!  It is not an in-depth list but rather a few simple thoughts to ponder on.

Purpose:

It is possible that the  missionary wife at some point or time may deal with the idea  that she is in a way  just dragging after husband to fulfill his calling and dream of serving the Lord in a country that she has no desire to go to so that he can have a ministry that she does not feel like being in.  This may sound dramatic, but it’s reality for some.     Why should  we follow our husbands to the missions field, give our lives to it  and invest most of what we have into that ministry?        The reason is:  Jesus.

Let us remember the One who died that we may have life.  Let us remember the blood that was shed for our salvation.  Let us ponder the price that was paid and the request that was made….let our lives not be our own!  Give it wholly to Him dear wife.  Follow Him even more than you follow your husband and soon you’ll find yourself standing beside your husband and not behind him!  When our focus is that of serving our Savior even leaving behind that which we love and are most comfortable to us, can be the start of a sweet journey. I know many wives that can share such a testimony.

Plan:

Remember that the Lord has a plan, not only for your husband, but for your life as well.  As He made you uniquely you,  there are individuals that He will bring across your path that you can reach and teach more effectively than perhaps another.  He wants to use your life to!

He will reach some through your loving kindness or caring heart or He may use your talents to pull others.   He can take your devotion to your family and teach women new principles  that change their homes, brings their husband to Christ and alter  the future of the next generation. Only God knows all that He has set out to accomplish through you, so yield yourself to His plan today.

Privilege:

Keep in mind that you get to be a missionary wife and not just  have to be one.  Serving the Lord in the capacity in which you do, is a privilege, not a problem.  We can only bow our heads in humility and say thank you Lord that I am allowed to be here.

Priorities:

I am thankful for a  husband who reiterates my first and most important priority – my family.  He encourages me to spend adequate time with our children, never expects me to juggle too much or do anything that takes time away from our family and home.

As missionary wives we may feel  a great amount of  pressure to fulfill all kinds of ministerial duties, but we simply have to remind ourselves that our children are our first disciples and it is okay if we put some things off in order to spend adequate time at home. I would easily get side tracked if my husband did not help and remind me to keep my priorities straight.  Others may criticize, but the proverbs 31 woman who looked well after the ways of her household was called blessed by her children and praised by her husband.

Preparation:

There is much I can say but In short:  You need God’s Word,  grace, power, help, guidance, peace, calm and wisdom to sustain you!   Pray, pray, pray and  stay at His feet!

–  Perfection is not a requirement.

When we first started in our field, I for a while,  lived with the overwhelming idea that much of what took place in our ministry would be determined by my level of input,  my level of  expertise, my level of resourcefulness,  my constant involvement,  my  talents (which are few)  my communications skills, my language learning skills, my cross cultural adaptation abilities,  overall people skills,  hosting skills, cooking skills, teaching skills and  being perfectly able to juggle our home (with its never-ending cleaning and cooking needs), our new-born baby (or more) and my hubby’s needs all mixed in with 7 hours of language school a day!!  Are missionary wives not mysteriously perfect anyways?

Needless to say that my spiritual and emotional well-being as well as my ability to properly care  for my family  drew thin under the pressures of being “super-woman”.  I could never get everything just right (of course not) and wondered if I could ever be fit for the position and if I could ever really be used to make a difference,  after all,  I wasn’t measuring up so  great to  super-woman?  (I know some of you are smiling : )

In time however, The Lord graciously and patiently revealed to me the error in my thinking.

I learned that If I possessed all the ability in the world, If I had all the talents in the world, even if I was close to perfect,    not even this could guarantee to be used of the Lord.  For the truth we need acknowledge is this:  that apart from Him we are nothing – without value !!!  I am nothing Lord, but If you would, please use me, please be seen, known and heard through me!  Love through me, give through me, help through me, teach through me, reach through me and then O Lord, my life can make a difference!  Not because of me Lord, but all because of You!!  I’m not able but you are!

Please Remember:

Small things that make a big difference!

–  Different does not mean inferior:   Keep in mind that a superior attitude is like a bad odor that one can smell from a distance.  A superior attitude is  unpleasant and unwelcome.  Be careful not to communicate such a message.

–  My way is not the only way:    We all know that people do things differently in different parts of the world, but simply because you are used to a certain method does not mean all else is taboo.  Pray for flexibility and enjoy learning from your new friends about new ways to do things.  Of course, boundaries apply if “stepping out of your box” condones traditions or culture that violates Scripture.

Love can break down  walls and cross many bridges.  If you are going to share the love of God, people want to see love in you.  Ask the Lord to let you fall in love with the people you get to minister to and He will knit your hearts together in a way you never imagined!

March 6, 2012

My Hero

Filed under: Family — Corli Hall @ 7:40 am

Today we celebrate eight years of marriage!

Words cannot express how thankful I am for my husband!

He is an outstanding example of integrity, humility, grace and patience!!! Outside of my Lord and Savior, he has been the most influential  person in my life and I’m thankful that I get to learn and grow from his exceptional example.

He graciously leads our home, us following and submitting because we respect who he is, can see the working of the Lord in His heart and life and want to stand behind this man we admire so much.

What makes him so much to me, is how little he makes of himself – not seeking his own glory, not serving to build his own name, not doing anything unto himself, but pouring his life into others through giving, loving, helping, building, teaching, leading and serving – just sincerely desiring God to get some glory from his life – what a man!!

I don’t deserve this special man, but I sure do count it an honor to be his wife!

I love you Kev,

You are my Hero!

March 5, 2012

Intlanganiso Yamantombazana/ Young Ladies Discipleship

Filed under: Ministry — Corli Hall @ 9:56 am

I am thankful for the number of young ladies the Lord has added to Madiba Bay Baptist Church over the past year.

We meet twice a month and at this point our meetings consists mainly of digging in the Word, finding answers to those questions that are relevant to young Christian  women in this present world.

Due to funerals, schooling and exams we had about 7 who were not able to make it this past week, but here are a few pics of those who could:

Form left to right:  Sweetie, Sinazo, Ziyanda (Sunday School Teacher for pre-primary class), Sino, Amanda and Kelly.

Kelly, Pretty and Randy

Every now and again we have a “surprise draw”.

Please pray with me for these dear, young ladies!

February 28, 2012

When I Am Afraid

Filed under: Devotional Thoughts — Corli Hall @ 12:18 pm

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.  Psalm 56:3,  KJV

I remember that as a young child, nothing could calm my fears like my mothers comforting words and comforting touch.  She had a special way of saying everything will be all right and in trusting her, my fears would dissolve.

As my thoughts turn to our Heavenly Father today, I am encouraged by the comfort found in His Word and the hope found in Him:

In Psalm 56:3 King David says that  “what time I am afraid, I will trust in thee”. I appreciate the order of  words here, not:  because I trust in thee, I am  never afraid, but when I am afraid, I will trust in thee.   I  believe that God  is in control, yet  sometimes when a crisis or uncertainty arise, I still experience an initial onset of fear, but this leaves me with a choice:   will I be overcome  with fear, or will I respond by choosing to trust Him and then entrust the situation to Him entirely.

My mind goes back to Job who was faced with some very real challenges such as  death of his loved ones, loss, grief, health issues, unbelief of family members, cruel “friends” and uncertainty to name a few. These were frightening situations, no doubt, but Job kept his faith.  If He gave in to his circumstances , the final outcome could have been much different, but we read in Job 42 that the Lord was pleased with Job and gave him twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10)  Job did not know how long those trials and burdens would continue or what the final outcome would be and neither do we, but in the Lord there is a place of refuge – a shelter in these times of storm:  Psalm 46:1a, KJV (emphasis mine) “God is our refuge and strength, Psalm 57:1b, KJV:   “In the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.”  – what a precious thought!  Just as my mother held me close to comfort me when I was little, the Lord embraces me with His mercy and peace as I take refuge under His wings.

There is hope in times of trouble! If we put our eyes on the Lord, choose to trust Him and then entrust our troubles to Him entirely, we can know that peace that passeth all understanding and like David know that the Lord is our rock and fortress, our strength!

Lord please help me to trust you more.  When troubles come, may I take my fears to you and leave them with you! Amen.

February 22, 2012

Of No Reputation

Filed under: Devotional Thoughts — Corli Hall @ 9:35 am

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:” Philippians 2:7 KJV (emphasis mine)

I have the privilege of knowing some amazing ladies, who have impacted my life in many wonderful ways! Though some of them enjoy a life of different achievements (which the Lord granted and blessed with), it is not their accomplishments that draw me to them, on the contrary, it is their humble spirit and servant hearts.

I’m thankful for the example I have in these dear ladies and for the ultimate example found in Christ. We are to study Him and pray for grace, strength and help to be like Him. In Philippians 2:7 we are reminded that as Christ’s followers humility should be at the forefront of our being. Contrary to popular believe that we are to build our own name, we are to make ourselves of no reputation! More than often, it is pride that fuel our drive and admiration or applause that motivates us to work.  We have all in some way dealt with the evil of our pride however for Christians, there is victory over pride as we choose to die to self and live for our Savior!

I think of my husbands words: “The Christian life is just the opposite of that which the flesh desires and the world teaches – In order to live – we have to die (to sin and self), in order to get – we have to give, in order to go up – we have to go down: In order to be more like Christ I am to be less of myself  (nothing like myself!)

Our accomplishments, work, efforts, good deeds and things similar will not always be acknowledged, admired or applauded by others……and that is well. When there is no gain for me, may I be content to serve just the same!  Jesus made himself of no reputation, may I accept and be wiling to do the same!

Lord, please create in me a humble heart.  May nothing I say or do be for personal gain but may I serve to honor and glorify You only!

February 14, 2012

Wise Words

Filed under: Devotional Thoughts — Corli Hall @ 1:33 pm

How thankful I am for the perfect, enduring and infinitely wise teacher our Heavenly Father is!  One of the important lessons He has been teaching me over the last few years is that in regards to my words.  The Bible reveals much about the power of our words and the capability of our tongues! My learning has been twofold – that which I shouldn’t say as opposed to that which I should, but often do not say. I am by no means a perfect student, though I want to keep pressing forward to become more pleasing to and more  like Him.

I am thankful for the wise advise and warnings we find in verses such as Proverbs 10:19  “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise;   Proverbs 17:28 “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace , is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”;   Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”;   Proverbs 21:23 “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.”;  Proverbs 3:13 “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.”;   James 3:6a “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity”;  Proverbs 12:18 “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.”; Proverbs 27:15 “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.”;   James 1:26 “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.”

From these verses and experience from my own failures,  I have learned that it is imperative for me to either count my words or refrain from saying something at all for my words, whether angry,  foolish, sarcastic, gossip,  rude or complaining, can be a great stumbling block to my brother or sister causing a world of strife, problems, discouragement and heartache.  As a child of God, I deeply desire my life to please and point to Him and therefore it is of utmost importance to bridle my tongue. As I walk in close companionship with Him, His Holy Spirit will guide and direct to bring in effect the “watch before my mouth that keep the door of my lips” Psalm 141:3

On the other hand, something that is sure to honor and please the Lord, is that of giving praises to Him!

I think of Job who in the midst of utter misery “did not sin with his lips (Job 2:10)”  Perhaps in our minds he had a legitimate reason to complain, yet He would not doubt the Lords sovereignty  and let Him be Lord of his Life in spite of all He’d been going through!  I want to be a “praiser” instead of a complainer.  I want, everyday and at every opportunity to proclaim the Goodness of God and tell of His love and mercies even in the midst of hardships. All the days of my life are not enough to give Him the praise and honor that is due Him! Psalm 9:1 “I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.”

Lord help me to honor You with my words, teach me to be a “praiser” and not a complainer.

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