Sanibona! First we would like to take the opportunity to apologise for some of the last posts, these have been posting themselves, without having been completed articles. We did set a few to be published for future date, just incase something happened to the authors. But we have turned this futures posting off, so we will be publishing the usual dates, 1st and the 15th of every month. Nobody likes spam, and we apologise for spamming your mail boxes. Sincerely.
Now this here article we will look closer into times in our Scriptures where people seem to be in a tight spot, having little or claiming they only have this thing or that specific object. And when each person find themselves in these often dire circumstances asks for help, and remember they are under the impression that they have little or nothing.
SoNiNi asks them, what do you have? As with Moses, SoNiNi asked him point blank, what is that you have in your hand? In each case SoNiNi asks the question of what do you have - we see that He takes what you already have and multiply what little you thought you had and forming it into exactly what you needed and or plenty more than you asked for.
We want to make a point of the fact that we are not talking about finance or economic gain here. If any person is praying for finances or how to get by, they should seek to give as much as they can to others rather than praying for ones own self increase. There is enough of that mindset in the western capitalism, and now its being introduced into African minds as it has done the European. Do not let Mammon be found in your thoughts. Instead think of the mindset of John the Baptist, whoever has two coats/blankets/Tunics should give to the one who has none (Luke 3,11). So the full article title here should have been, what do you have and what can you afford to give?
If a genuine wish for others becomes your daily hope and prayer then SoNiNi will certainly reward you. The rewards/blessings we are talking about is an inwardly reward, like a multiplying of good human traits. Characteristics in people we admire, such as compassion and love for your fellow human being, many different types of righteousness - like the one found only in a person standing their ground through a persecution (a certain strength), helping your neighbour financially even if it is your last cent you still support them with a smile and not a curse, the patience of a nursing mother, preaching the Gospel to repenting hearts, knowing and sharing the wisdom of the Nature of SoNiNi, letting go of debt and forgiving people of their sins against you and their sins against SoNiNi.
So with that in mind, Lets dive into this !
Now, we have noticed in Deuteronomy where it says, when you do come before The Almighty to celebrate any of the Feasts - Do not come empty handed... (Deuteronomy 16, 10-17):
10 Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to SoNiNi naNiNi by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings SoNiNi has given you. 11 And rejoice before SoNiNi at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites in your towns, and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows living among you. 12 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and follow carefully these decrees.
13 Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. 14 Be joyful at your festival—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. 15 For seven days celebrate the festival to SoNiNi at the place He will choose. For SoNiNi will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.
16 Three times a year all your men must appear before SoNiNi at the place he will choose: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles. No one should appear before SoNiNi empty-handed: 17 Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way SoNiNi has blessed you."
In proportion to the ways he has blessed you, let that sink in... As we will get back to this further down. But before we do let´s look a little deeper into the concept of offering - before going through the instances where SoNiNi takes something you have and turn it into something you always needed. Now we know that SoNiNi asks for an offering, three times a year. Now what is an offering? Now this is what is a free will offering, although it should be something of value to you. Like something you enjoy, but you should not be doing (not necessarily sin), like a person interested to much in sports should consider giving up his time spent of watching to much sports to pursue better things, to get closer to SoNiNi. Now in this offering or gift you have the choice of the weight of the gift, what you are offering up to SoNiNi. So what do you have?
The text tells us that the offering should be in proportion to the Blessing we have received, that is very up much for interpretation, kodwa if SoNiNi has blessed you with children should you give your children to Him? (offer them to Him?) The question is, If you have been given the freedom of mind that is in the Gospel that saves, how do you repay Him? Though questions, where brutal honesty will prevail and the answers will perhaps become few if at all, when asked in sincerity around your Bible study campfire.
Regardless of the gift, you must bring this gift in your worship, with joy and a you must also have a cheerful face when you give it. And always remember from where He gathered you and to where He has led you, count your blessings as they say.
Now an other thing when the Scriptures (old ones like KJV) uses old English words such as Solemn Festival, it should really be translated as a "giddy" occasion, meaning it should be a time of specific dances and celebrations (ululatings, beads and African traditional dances are in order!). These spectacles, looking and feeling to a non-African something like a old school rave without drugs and focus solely on SoNiNi - this kind of devotion can still be found only in the African cultures. You will not see anything remotely giddy going on in the dreaded dryness of the Levant.
Keeping in mind the Zulu festivals with their kicks, we see further in Scripture that if these Festival times are kept and offerings are given, SoNiNi promised to bless your increase and in all the works of your hands. Now SoNiNi does not like to taken for granted, as with the gifts you give, those will be the same you will receive. If you give stingy, you will receive stingy, if given with a grudge, you will receive with a grudge. Is our Father happy with us when we give gifts in such a manner? Giving to people, of your wisdom and time, is essential. Be there for your brother and sister, and go the extra mile for your neighbour. But, have the wisdom to see when people simply are out to take advantage of you. Let SoNiNi hide you from evil, and give to you the hand and mind of the truly needy. Now giving to this person or people, is what tithing is, giving to the assembly or people of SoNiNi. Not giving your hard earned living away to people that will only run off and spend it on their pleasures. So then how much you give will reflect how much SoNiNi is in you. Reflect how much SoNiNi has blessed you and think of how much He wants and already has blessed you.
So when you give, give with joy, don`t get sad or mad when giving. It should be a celebration, because when you give you are actually worshipping SoNiNi. Its not a debt it is a giving or donation to someone that perhaps are totally dependent on your charity. It is not a loss, but a gain.
Remember Acts 20,35:
35 I always showed you that you should work just as I did and help people who are weak. I taught you to remember the words of Immanuel: ‘You will have a greater blessing when you give than when you receive.’”
So remember do not come before SoNiNi empty handed, do not come before Him without having given. How will you receive?
We mentioned in the introduction that every time SoNiNi asks someone in Scripture what do you have, things worked out well for the individual or group of people that answered when He called. He multiplied what they had or whatever you gave. Lets see some examples:
The Staff of Moses
The example we are going to focus on is obvious, seen as it was just a shepherds staff or a mere walking stick that Moses had with him when shepherding sheep for Jethro. Now when Moses saw the burning bush, SoNiNi asked him, what was that in his hand (Exodus 4,1-9:
4 Then Moses said to SoNiNi, “But the Israelites will not believe me when I tell them that you sent me. They will say, ‘SoNiNi did not appear to you.’”
2 But SoNiNi said to Moses, “What is that you have in your hand?” Moses answered, “It is my walking stick.”
3 Then SoNiNi said, “Throw your walking stick on the ground.” So Moses threw his walking stick on the ground, and it became a snake. Moses ran from it, 4 but SoNiNi said to him, “Reach out and grab the snake by its tail.”
When Moses reached out and caught the snake’s tail, the snake became a walking stick again. 5 Then God said, “Use your stick in this way, and the people will believe that you saw SoNiNi, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”
6 Then SoNiNi said to Moses, “I will give you another proof. Put your hand under your robe.” So Moses opened his robe and put his hand inside. Then he brought his hand out of the robe and it was changed. His hand was covered with spots that were white like snow.
7 Then SoNiNi said, “Now put your hand into your robe again.” So Moses put his hand into his robe again. Then he brought his hand out, and his hand was changed. Now his hand was good again, as it was before.
8 Then SoNiNi said, “If the people don’t believe you when you use your walking stick, then they will believe you when you show them this sign. 9 If they still refuse to believe after you show them both of these signs, then take some water from the Nile River. Pour the water on the ground, and as soon as it touches the ground, it will become blood.”
Boy oh boy ! As we read this we realised we should have included the quote about Moses hand turning into quick raw flesh (white skin) in our Descendants of Naaman article. We will include it in another one we are planning as a follow up. Anyways, Now here is an example of SoNiNi taking mundane and quite ordinary things, and making them into wonders. So black skin turning white in an instant, hidden through an ordinary cape or blanket, now that was a wonder for peoples eyes back then, and it would be a wonder today. Black man turning white for a minute or two. And not to mention a stick turning into a snake, should turn some heads. But we know from Scripture that these signs was not enough for Pharaoh, and his heart was hardened.
Now seeing examples like this should remind people what SoNiNi is capable of. Changing the fabrics of reality on the spot. Now is not the Son of Man the persons that intercedes for us with SoNiNi? Is He not able to bring us closer to our Father? Was not Him and the Father One? Then by all intents and purposes we should be able to preform many miracles and wonders in His name. Now if we offer generously, not being stingy or giving with two minds, with an attitude of what am I able to give, not what do I have to give or how much I have to give? So we should be trusting SoNiNi with our income and give as He prompts us to give. Imagine how much Moses gave? How much did The leader Moses give up to be trusted by SoNiNi to the extent that he was?
Now lets use the sign SoNiNi showed Moses with the snake being the patron cobra worship which was prevalent in Lower Egypt. They even had schools that gave venom for better immune systems and drinking of snake blood. Egyptians had it all and we see some of these practises being done by elite governments, there truly is nothing new under the sun and indulging in these deep and sinful things ONLY brings ones soul farther away from the truth. But the snake was the symbol of Moses taking the whole empire by the tail, Egypts royal emblem of power and authority, the Serpent. The Pharaohs of old had a golden serpent on their head garments.
Now Moses was a former prince of Egypt, we must not forget. Who was reduced to the life of a simple shepherd. SoNiNi told this Shepherd to pick up the snake, which Im sure would be something like the Puff Adder in terms of reputation among locals (South Africans will know this snake). Pick it up by the tail... Now this is perhaps the main thing you should not do to any snake, as it will bit you and put its venom into you bloodstream. The most dangerous place to pick it up would be the tail, but Moses listened to the Most High and he did pick it up, by the tail, knowing SoNiNi would keep him safe. Showing complete trust in His Fathers voice. After he picked it up it turned back to a wooden staff. And so the humble Shepherd did seize Egypt as he seized the staff (Snake) by the tail.
So we see SoNiNi can take the simplest of things in our lives and turn them into instruments of unimaginable power, all to achieve His will. Now Moses goes on to use this staff to unleash Biblical miracles that goes beyond all reasoning to the logical mind. After the plagues of Egypt had set in, Moses took his staff and lead his now newly formed flock out of Egypt. His People, Israel.
Now see what SoNiNi chose to do through someones wooden stick. Nothing special about a staff, but when Moses wielded it to split the seas, we so SoNiNi meeting man, and choosing to use us where we are. And whatever is at hand, SoNiNi can use it. We see that in the example of healing powers with Peters shadow in Acts 5,15-16, the same with Pauls facecloth in Acts 19,12. SoNiNi has no limits to what He can use or whom he can decide to make holy and servant. And extension of Himself and all His might and Power. We see the wooden stick of Moses, becoming the staff of SoNiNi.
SoNiNi does not ask for something you do not have. His question to us, is the same as to Moses, what is that you have in your hand? The same question goes to the poor widows that was threatened by the debt collectors and Elisha asked what do you have in your house? (2 Kings 4,2). All she had was a jar of oil and Elisha prayed and the jar overflowed.
Whatever you have in your hand now might be something quite ordinary to you, you might even deem it worthless. But to SoNiNi, nothing is worthless. And look at the parables of the sower, the man that received one talent, he dug it down and did not produce fruit because he compared himself to the others who got more talents. Do not deem what little you have as of little worth. It truly is how you manage it, how you cope with little. Now your talent might be doing your share of the daily grind. Repetitive as it may be, it needs to be done.
In our travels we have met many workers, and especially in public lavatories at filling stations. They will (most of the time) be hazardous places not fit for any visitors at any time. But sometimes you will find and gent or a lady that keeps them clean. Imagine this line of work now, cleaning up the places after humans have been doing their deeds. One man said, my toilets are the cleanest in all of Africa. And he may have been right, as it was said with a certain amount of rightfully owned pride. So its not the job, its the guy doing the job. Do not be unsatisfied with your talent, do not be unsatisfied with what you have, use the situation to the best of your ability. This is not fortune-cookie stuff, it is the golden rule we should all obey. Do unto others as you would have them do to you. So try that, and know you don`t need money or grand resources to accomplish things, be faithful in your duty and things will fall into place.
Now when we do our work, and if we do it with to much of a cavalier attitude or even sloppy, we dishonour SoNiNi. We also give men the opportunity to speak less of us, if we take shortcuts. So do that thing you thought about just skipping, even though no one is looking you will know yourself. And do not go the extra mile just because people are looking or you want to be applauded. If you seek a promotion, a blessing or a bettering in life, if you are sloppy then why should SoNiNi bless you? If a man is not trustworthy with small things, he will not be trustworthy with big things. Lets say you get promoted while you are indifferent or have some deficiencies in your character, slackness or even carelessness. Why should SoNiNi bring you up on high, for you to fall down and ruin the whole thing with these character flaws that will certainly come to the surface. So then, as SoNiNi to prepare you before He gives you the blessings.
Now few people will try their utmost to do their best. If you try it, you might find people standing in your way wanting to limit you or tell you to slack. We know SoNiNi blesses people with gifts, a different variety of talents and abilities. Now you will find often the people with talents and abilities become victims of pride, or they might become self-sentered (with a feeling of superiority). Now these bad traits will often serve as a balance or ankle weight for the person to fall, and they fail to use their abilities for good. The blessing given to the person falls victim of the sins and ways of the world. Now many people will see the gifts bestowed upon other, and envy them and even talk about the lack of ones own talents... We all know and have heard the lines that come next. For they will say "if only I had that or this, I would do this or that". Meanwhile they do not do to much in their lives, not making use of the talent they may possess. They make excuses on behalf of themselves, but give no excuse to others. Making no use whatsoever of what they have, other than the ability to complain.
Many a times in our prayers, we have been praying for funds to build a Temple again here in South Africa, or just a mere place of worship where SoNiNi could be worshipped as He should. Now that may or may not happen, beit are we truly prepared for all that comes with this task? Now its easy for us to be praying and saying this, "If we only had the funds, we would build a Temple worthy Him". This falls in line with the dreamer, the person who will get to it Tomorrow. But the doer, he gets at it today. So our prayers may be heard, but perhaps it is our children that will erect these places of worship again. Time will tell, but we do not complain about the state of things. We simply keep on spreading the good word and showing people the Mighty works of SoNiNi.
However, one can certainly fall into other thoughts like, if we only had the ability to Preach like the characters in the New Testament (like Steven) we would accomplish great things for SoNiNi. Its easy to think like this. But Now, just for a moment imagine the hardship and fate that comes with an outpost like that.
For we know it says in Book of Wisdom (6,8) - and do remember this is an Apocryphal book and you will find it in Catholics Bibles (does not mean you are a Catholic reading or using one), but there are great old sayings there like:
For the lowliest may be pardoned in mercy, but the mighty will be mightily tested.
So we should not seek to be mighty. If you yourself became mighty, would you handle it? So Be yourself and make the best of yourself. If you seek to be mighty, you will be judged harder and off course more is expected of you. So it is of no glory for you to lament or complain about people, and envy other people for their many talents. You are you. When facing these facts of older age, you start to make use of what abilities SoNiNi has bestowed upon you. And if you accomplish anything it is because of what SoNiNi has given you, things you already have or possess. So make the best of what you have. You cant dance like a Zulu, don`t worry, in Heaven you might be the best dancer there is. You want to make children but cannot? Do not worry, in Heaven there are joys better than MANY children. You only have one thing you are good at? Well, make us of it, what if that one talent you have is what can make you one of the greatest in the world? Time spent in thinking over why someone is greater or worse, is a waste of time. Lets improve what is already there. Work on it.
And lets not forget that a human being is capable of doing SoNiNis miracles on earth. That means GREAT or even unlimited potential. And we are not talking the physical, eyes, hands, raw strength and mind - the will power - if you believe in that. Because even thought these physical abilities can be taken to extremes and then some. We are talking about the Spiritual world, that moves mountains and gives blind people their sight back. Heals the lame and cleanses the lepers. A man like this, when taught and developed, will expand into something very different from what he was. The Blessings of SoNiNi comes to those that believe in these things. But be patient. Good things come to those that believe. Adding to that, the good things might even be coming in the next life, not necessarily in this. Still, we must develop oneself. Work on the soul. Give it instructions while the mind is still young.
So let us then gather some more examples from Scriptures, and see from where we should be drawing our aspirations and inspirational stories.
If we continue in our Scriptures, we see that there where times when Israel was in trouble, like then time when The People was being oppressed, The Philistines had taken both sword and spear, even armour was taken. We find Shamgar, that did not have much to fight with. He fought without spear or sword, no shield and not helmet. The Philistines were coming and something had to be done. And he used an oxgoad, which may have looked something like one of the tools in the Shepherds hands in the image. It was the only thing that Shamgar had, along with courage, determination and faith. Now Shamgar killed 600 men with an oxgoad and He delievered Israel (Judges 3,31). So The Promised Land and its People, again, delievered by a mere simple Sheperds tool. I wonder what will deliver it this time? An Assegay? Doubtful... For the Pen is mightier than the sword.
And we all remember what weapon that fell the Giant Goliath, a home made slingshot with a few carefully selected stones from the river. David went regardlessly with unshaken faith in SoNiNi, courage in spades he slew the giant man. And The Kingdom was delivered. What will it take this time? To Bring the people back to their heritage? Will it take a slingshot?
And so many more times in Scripture we remember where Immanuel fed over 5000 people with 12 baskets of leftover from the 5 loaves of bread and two fishes given to him from a boy (John 6,1-14).... What about the Widows olive oil jar that was multiplied to pay her debts (1 Kings 4,1-7). And what about the lady and her son that gave their food to Elia The Prophet and SoNiNI multiplied their food so they never ran out (1 Kings 17,8-16).
And what about Samson, that only had a jawbone, he did not complain even though that was all he had. He to possessed courage, determination and faith. One could say faith trumps all of these. We know from Samsons story that SoNiNis Spirit came mightily upon him and he killed a thousand of his enemies and the rest ran away. We can learn from all these examples that the Spirit of SoNiNi will make you mighty. Chew on that one for a bit. If it enables one good man to kill a thousand...could it enable a former evil man to save a thousand? Off course. And more to that.
Even if you have little to give or if your ability is small, or the time is short, or the opportunity never presents itself... Do not fail to use what you have. Make the best of the situation. Use what you have. Now again, what do you have !? Whatever the answer is, use it. Don not fall into the trap of telling yourself, if only I had different surroundings or born with a silver spoon, or if only I was located there it would change everything. The question to ask is, Are you giving it your best where you are now? If you can change your environment, then make all effort to do so. If not, you must make the best of what you currently have. It`s easy to think and dream, if only I had the ideal conditions I would be a doer... although this is but a dream. Your success is totally dependent on you and not your preordained conditions. Develop the soul then you will master your environment, do not let it master you. And like our fathers thought us, do the best you can and make the best of the situation. There is always a way to succeed no matter who the enemy is. For if SoNiNi is for you, who can be against you?
Now in closing, lets eat some more Scriptures....
9 Honour SoNiNi with your wealth and the first part of your harvest.10 Then your barns will be full of grain, and your barrels will be overflowing with wine.
If we give Him the first and best, he will do the same for us...
And remember Malachi 3,10, where SoNiNi says test me.... :
10 All-Powerful SoNiNi says, “Try this test. Bring one-tenth of your things to me. Put them in the treasury. Bring food to my house. Test me! If you do these things, I will surely bless you. Good things will come to you like rain falling from the sky. You will have more than enough of everything
Wherever you tithe and whomever you support, doing this will enable you to receive blessings from SoNiNi. 1/10th he says. Where should one you give? He will show you. Pray to the Father and He will tell you in Spirit where to give. And no matter how generous you think you might be, you will never give more than SoNiNi (Luke 6,38).
Now we read the last one as something for us in this work of writing and spreading of the Good news that is the Gospel. As we are very much involved in the planting of seeds, and in the opening and closing of doors. We find great strength and comfort in these words from Galatians 6,8-10:
8 If you live to satisfy your sinful self, the harvest you will get from that will be eternal death. But if you live to please the Spirit, your harvest from the Spirit will be eternal life.9 We must not get tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time. We must not give up.10 When we have the opportunity to do good to anyone, we should do it. But we should give special attention to those who are in the family of believers."