The Pure Milk

…desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,  if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious – 1 Peter 2:2, 3, NKJV

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I remember when I was still breastfeeding, how on one occasion, my son was crying because he was hungry.  When I held him in my arms and he latched on, I saw his eyes close as he nursed.  Instinctively, he desired the milk and when he received it, he eagerly drank it until he was satisfied.

This is how we should crave God’s pure and unadulterated Word.   We don’t want any watered down version or truth mixed with error.   We need the pure milk of God’s Word for our spiritual growth.  Just as breast milk does wonders for a growing child, so does God’s Word do wonders for a growing Christian.

Milk is important for our bones and overall health.  The simple truths of God’s Word is important for our overall spiritual health.   And if you have indeed tasted/experienced the graciousness of the Lord, you ought to make it a habit to daily and earnestly receive His Word as a baby receives his/her milk.

Janco’s Story (Part Two)

kult_model_Geoffrey_Camus_209688Five years have passed since I took Nata to the shelter for street children.  A lot has happened within that time.  I’m still handing out tracts but now I’m a Youth leader in my church.  My Mother is back home and she hasn’t touch a drink since she checked into the Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centre.  She is working part-time at a bookstore.

My brother Jacquan is out of prison, a completely changed person.  After my first visit to him, he read the tract I left and was curious to learn more about God and this Jesus who would die for him.  I took other tracts on my next visit and then I learned that the Prison Ministries department had a programme with the prison where my brother was.  Volunteers visited the prisoners, mentor them and study the Bible with them.

Jacquan accepted Christ as his Savior and when he left the prison he was baptized in our church.  Mama and I were there.  He got a job working in the warehouse of a distribution company while studying to become a pastor, believe it or not.  It goes to show you that with God nothing is impossible.  In his free time, he shares his story and the Gospel with kids living on the streets, prostitutes and drug dealers.  Some of them listen and invite him to go again while others curse and threaten him.  He also visits the prison where he had spent ten years of his life to mentor, pray and study the Bible with the inmates.  I never thought I would ever be proud of my big brother but I am.  He was dealing drugs and now he sharing the Gospel.  He was a prisoner and now he’s going to be a preacher.  All he needed was a second chance and God gave it to him.  Now he could spend the rest of his life doing good.

Nata stayed at the shelter until she graduated from high school.  I was there for the ceremony.  She didn’t return home but went to live with a cousin and her family.  While she was at the shelter, I visited her as promised and was relieved to see that she was happy there.  She is going to Wits University now and studying Computer Science.  Good for her because this has been a male dominated field of study all over the world and Africa needs more women computer scientists.

I am no longer working at the grocery store.  I got a job as a Social Media Coordinator at a Christian organization and love every minute of it.  And my work as Youth Leader keeps me busy.  I look forward to teaching Sabbath School, worship, fellowship, our weekly meetings, outreach and recreational outings.  I am in charge of a terrific group of young people.  I learn as much from them as they learn from me.  Tomorrow, is Youth Ministry Day and I have invited Nata to come.  The youth are in charge of entire day’s programme.  I am nervous and excited.  The only thing I am responsible for is introducing the speaker who is none other than my brother, Jacquan.  My best buddy, Gidea offered to do the special music.  He has an incredible voice.  After the service there will be a fellowship meal which I’m sure everyone is looking forward to.

Right now, I’m meeting with the group participating in the service in my flat.  We are going over the details and making sure that everything is in order.  Lesedi has bravely volunteered to teach Sabbath School.  I have no doubt that she will do an outstanding job.  She has the making of a leader.  I am considering making her my Sabbath School Superintendent.  One of these days, I will discuss it with her.

After the meeting is over, I pray and then they leave.  The flat seems very quiet now that they are gone.  I head back into the living-room and turn on the television.  I was about to watch 3ABN when my doorbell rings.  Did one of the youth forget something?  I hurry to the door and look through the keyhole.  It’s Nata.  I quickly open the door.

She stares up at me.  She’s wearing a black top and denim skirt and a red scarf on her head.  “Hi,” she said.  nata

“Hi,” I reply, wondering what brings her to my neck of the woods.  I lean against the door.  I can’t get over how pretty she is.  “I wasn’t expecting to see you until tomorrow.  Have you come to tell me in person that you can’t come?”

She shook her head.  “No, I will be there.  I just came by to thank you in person for being so kind to me and to ask you if you would study the Bible with me.  We don’t have to do it now or here.”

My face brightened.  “Sure, I would be more than happy to study the Bible with you.  We can do so on Sunday in the park just around the corner from here.  Tomorrow when I see you we can decide when and where we will meet.”

She nodded.  “All right.  Thanks, Janco.  I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Have you been in touch with your parents at all since you left home?”

She shook her head.  “No.”

“Nata, at some point you need to face them and deal with the issues you have with them.”

She lowered her eyes.  “I’m not ready to do that yet.”

“Okay,” I said.  I didn’t want to push her.  “It’s best to do it when you’re ready.  It’s getting dark, you’d better head home now.  Do you have far to go?”

“No.  My cousin is a twenty minute bus ride from here.”

“Would you like me to walk you to the bus stop and wait with you until the bus comes?”

She raised her eyes to look at me.  “You don’t have to,” she said quietly.

“Wait here,” I said as I leaned away from the door.  I went inside, turned off the television, grabbed my keys and went back.  I closed and locked the door.  “Let’s go.”

We walked to the bus stop and waited for the bus.  There were a couple of other people waiting there.  “Do you still live alone?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“So, you’re not married then?  I don’t see a wedding ring on your finger but I know that most Seventh-day Adventists don’t wear jewelry.”

“No, I’m not married.”

“What about a girlfriend?”

“No, I don’t have a girlfriend.” I was about to ask her if she had a boyfriend but just then the bus arrived.  Lousy timing.  “See you tomorrow, Nata.”

“Good night, Janco.”  She smiled up at me before she turned and joined the small line to board the bus.

I saw her sat beside the window and look out.  She waved as the bus pulled away.  I watched it until it disappeared before I returned to my place.  I was looking forward to seeing her tomorrow.

Saturday came and I was up and about early, anxious to get the day started.  I had a light breakfast, showered and put on a new suit.  Yesterday I had gotten a haircut.  I looked sharp.  I smiled at my reflection before I grabbed my Bible, wallet and keys and left the apartment.  It was a beautiful, sunny day.  I put the top down on my car and enjoyed the half-hour ride to church.  Already, the parking lot was filling up.

As I made my way from the parking lot to the front entrance of the church, I was greeted by church members and visitors.  I spent some time chatting with people before I went down into the basement and into one of the rooms to meet with the youth and have prayer with them.  At the back of my mind I was hoping that Nata would come.

Everything went exceptionally well.  I was so proud of my youth group and the special music by Gidea was a sermon in itself.  And speaking of sermons, Jacquan’s message, Set Free, brought tears to my eyes and I saw other people dabbing their eyes.  At the end of the service, many people came up to me and told me how much they enjoyed the program.  I was very pleased and I shared the positive feedback with everyone who participated.  I hugged Jacquan and told him that I was very proud of him.  When we parted, we were both in tears.  My mother came and whisked him away.  As I was about to leave the reception area and head down to the fellowship hall to have something to eat, I saw Nata.  My heart leapt in my chest.  I was so happy to see her.  I went over to her.

“You came,” I said.  She was wearing a yellow jacket over a floral dress with splashes of yellow in it.  For the first time since I knew her, she wasn’t wearing the red shawl on her head.

“I told you I would,” she said.  “And I’m happy I did.  I was truly blessed.”

“I’m thrilled to hear that.  Are you going to stay and have something to eat and meet some of the youth?”

She nodded.  “Sure.  You look very handsome in your suit.”

I smiled.  “Thank you.  And you look very pretty.  Let’s head on down now.”

We went downstairs to the fellowship hall which was buzzing with lively conversation.  It settled down when the pastor announced that he was going to say a prayer.  He offered thanks and a blessing of the meal and then people were helping themselves to the different delicious looking and smelling dishes.  Nata was in front of me in the line.  After we finished helping ourselves to the food, we found a couple of seats and sat down.  For several minutes we were alone.

“In case you’re wondering, I don’t have a boyfriend,” she said suddenly, startling me.

I felt my face get hot.  “That’s good to know,” I managed to say after a while.

She smiled.  “So, there’s no reason why you and I can’t go out with each other.”

“No, there isn’t.  Are you free this evening?”

“Yes.”

“We can go bowling and then have pizza afterwards.”

“That sounds great.”

Just then several youth joined us.  I introduced Nata to them.  We had a great time, socializing.  By the time we were ready to go our separate ways, Nata had been invited to our next outdoor activity and to attend church the following week.  I dropped her home and I told her that I would be back at six-thirty to take her bowling.

Our first date was a blast and it led to other dates.  We have been dating for almost a year and today we are riding in a cable car to the top of Table Mountain where I will propose to Nata.  I’m nervous and excited but I have no doubt that this is God’s will for my life.  The Lord has opened His hand and poured out so many blessings on my life.  I am so thankful to Him for His love and goodness not only to me but to my family and Nata.  True to my promise, I studied the Bible with her.  Two months ago, she answered the altar call and accepted Christ.  Now she is a baptized member of my church.  Yes, God is good.  He has turned so many lives around.

Sources:  Crossroad Prison MinistriesUPMI; SDA Church; The Conversation

Angels Are Real

d13tyf9-4279988a-cd1e-4e15-a777-4211886cc6e6There was a time when I didn’t believe that angels were real although I grew up in a Christian home.  But something happened to me five years ago which changed my mind.  It was on a Friday evening and I was on my way to my apartment.  I took a shortcut through a street that was not very well lit.  Soon, I regretted my decision when I passed a couple of guys and they whistled at me.

I ignored them and kept walking.  And then to my horror, they rushed up behind me and one of them shoved me to the ground, knocking the wind out of me.  As I lay there stunned, I felt hands dragging me and I yelled as loudly as I could, struggling wildly.  I was afraid that they were going to take me to some dark alley and rape me.

“Shut her up!” one of them yelled.

One of them clamped his hand over my mouth and I panicked.  In my head, I screamed, “God, help me!”

I heard a man’s voice shout, “Leave her alone!”

I saw the expression of fear on their faces before they dropped me on the ground and one of them said, “Let’s get outta here.”

“Are you all right?” the man asked me.

“I’m all right now,” I replied.  I was so grateful to him for scaring off those guys.  I shudder to think of what would have happened if he hadn’t shown up.

“Are you able to stand?”

“I think so.”

He reached down and helped me slowly to my feet.  “Next time take the long way home.”

I stared up at him in surprise. “How did you know?”

He smiled.  “It is my business to know everything about you.”

Just then, people came running over to us. “Are you hurt?  Do you need help?”

“I’m fine,” I assured them.  “I’m just very shaken.  If it weren’t for this kind and brave man, I would probably be in lying some dark alley.”

“What man?” one person asked. 1962570

I glanced around but there wasn’t any sign of the man who helped me.  How could he have disappeared so quickly.  “He was right here talking to me before you came.”

“We didn’t see anyone with you,” another person said and the rest agreed.  “You were alone.”

“Are you sure you don’t need to go to the hospital or to the police station?”

I shook my head.  “I’m fine.  Thank you.  I just want to go home.”

“Do you live far from here?”

“No.  Just a block and a half away from here.”

“Run along now.  And next time, take the long way.”

I promised that I would never come that way again and after thanking them for their concern, I hurried the rest of the way.  When I let myself into my grandmother’s modest apartment, I breathed a sigh of relief and thanked God for sending help.  I’m convinced that it was an angel who came to my rescue.  It explains why those guys were scared stiff and ran away.  They knew that they were in the presence of a supernatural being.

And now, I like to read personal stories of people who have had angelic encounters and I bought myself a Bible which I read everyday.  Angels are God’s messengers whom He sends to us to help us when we are in trouble.  They protect us from danger.  I learned from my encounter that angels are not the spirits of dead people or phantoms.  They have forms and bodies.  And we all have guardian angels.  I met mine that night.

For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways – Psalm 91:11

Like a Serpent

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He is like a serpent.  He can both enthral and repel with his unusual, piercing eyes.  They seem penetrate deep into a person’s heart with its hidden secrets.  I can’t stand him yet I’m attracted to him.  I’ve tried so hard to resist him but I can’t.  Sometimes, I wish I’d never met him.

54 Words

 

This was written for the Weekend Writing Prompt by Sammi Cox. For instructions, click Here.

 

Winners and Losers

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It’s eight o’clock on a Saturday morning.  I’m on my way to buy groceries when my cell vibrates.  I stopped and I pull it out of my handbag.  It’s him.  He’s texting me.  Tonight still on?

I reply, Yes.  See u at 8.  I slip my cell back into my bag and continue walking towards the supermarket.  It’s a nice, mild morning.  I try to ignore my conscience which is telling me that what I’m doing is wrong.  I’m not a bad person.  I’m a nice person who gets along with most people and I go to church every Sunday.  Yet, why doesn’t it bother me that I’m sleeping with my friend’s boyfriend?  It should but it doesn’t.  Am I a heartless woman?  Have I ever stopped and considered how I would feel it the tables were turned and Wanda was sleeping with my man?  I guess I haven’t.  Love can be a powerful thing and it can blind you too.

Yes, love.  I’m in love with Jose.  If I weren’t I would be with him.  I never expected to fall in love with him.  Before him, Wanda dated other men and I wasn’t attracted to any of them and even if I were, I wouldn’t have done anything about it.  Wanda was my friend and I would never ever hurt her by hooking up with her boyfriend.  That was my mantra until I met Jose.  I was instantly attracted to him but I tried to fight my feelings  for as long as I could.  It wasn’t easy at all, especially when I realized that he was attracted to me too.  We sneaked looks at each other and when we were alone, he would touch my hand or slip me a note for us to get together.

The first time we crossed the line was when he and I “accidentally” bumped into each other at a nightclub.  He was there with his friends and I was there with mine.  Wanda was out of town at the time.  She had gone to visit her sister in Tampa.  Jose and I were careful how we interacted with each other but when he offered to give me a ride home, I readily accepted.  On the drive over to my apartment, we talked about different things but the air was crackling with sexual tension.  At one point, he reached over and rubbed his knuckles against my arm, making me tremble.

When we got to my apartment, he saw me to my door.  We could have said goodnight then and parted company but I invited him in.  As soon as the door was closed, we were all over each other.  In between frenzied kisses, we tore off each other’s clothes and then we were on the sofa making love.  Afterwards, we showered and had something to eat.  He left after one in the morning.  While Wanda was away, he came to my place ever evening and sometimes stayed over.  When she got back, we couldn’t see each other as often but we texted and called each other everyday.

Last night when we were together, he told me that he loved me.  I was thrilled to hear him say that because I loved him too.  I know that he doesn’t love Wanda and I think that he should break up with her.   I know that it won’t be easy for him to end a five year relationship but he has to do it.  It’s no use prolonging the inevitable.  Wanda will be devastated and it will be the end of our friendship.  It’s unfortunate but that’s how life is sometimes.  It throws us a curve-ball.  And in Wanda’s case, she couldn’t dodge hers.

“In love there are no winners or losers, there are only those who are hurt more or those who are hurt less” – Thai Proverb

 

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Love and Forgiveness

She sat there at the bottom of the steps leading up to the flat she shared with her older sister, her arms wrapped tightly about her as the tears ran down her face. He was engaged! Why didn’t he tell her last night when they were together?

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“What’s the matter?”  Caspian asked Denny, his younger brother when he walked into the drawing room and he noticed the troubled expression on his face.

“I just spoke to Pearl and she sounded like she was upset about something.”

Caspian stiffened.  “You two are still in touch?” he asked tautly.

“Yes.”

“I didn’t think you would still be in touch after the breakup.”

“We decided that we could still be friends.”

“So, there’s no chance of the two of you getting back together, is there?”

Denny shook his head.  He studied his older brother.  “You sound like you don’t fancy the idea of us getting back together,” he remarked.  “Do you dislike Pearl that much?”

“Where did you get the idea that I dislike her?”

Denny shrugged.  “It’s just how you react whenever I mention her.”

“You mentioned that she sounded upset,” Caspian said, changing the subject.

“Yes, she sounded very upset and told me she had to go and then hung up.”

“And you have no idea of what has upset her?”

Denny shook her head.  “I can’t imagine what I said that would have upset her.  We were talking and she sounded fine.  She mentioned that her cousin Sharon was getting married next week Sunday and that she would be flying to Tampa on Sunday evening.  She was all excited about being a bridesmaid for the first time.  I teased her about meeting a guy at the wedding and she laughed.  Then, I mentioned that you were engaged and it was shortly after that she told me to hang on.  She went off the phone for a few minutes and when she came on again, she sounded upset.  I hope she didn’t get bad news or the wedding didn’t get called off.  I will call or stop by and see her later.”

Caspian rose abruptly from the chair and walked over to the fireplace.  His back was turned to Denny.  He knew exactly why Pearl was upset.  Last night when they were together he should have told her that he was engaged but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it.  She looked so happy.  He didn’t want to ruin that or their evening.  They were at his flat.  He had invited her for dinner.  Unknown to Denny, they had been seeing each other since the breakup.  He hadn’t intended to get involved with his brother’s ex-girlfriend, a girl half his age, but his attraction for her was so strong that he couldn’t resist.

On the evening of the break-up, he went to see Pearl at the flat she shared with her sister.  Her sister wasn’t there.  She was in Tampa with her fiancé.  So, Pearl and he were alone.

As soon as he went inside the flat and she closed the door, he asked, “Why did you break up with Denny?”

“I like him but as a friend.”

“So, it wasn’t because of another boy?”

She shook her head.  “No.”

He ran his fingers through his hair as he expelled his breath.  “You have no idea how relieved I am to hear that.”

She looked surprised.  “You are?” she exclaimed.  “Why?”

Muttering under his breath, he reached for her and pulled her against him, making her gasp.  Her eyes widened when she stared up into his face and her lips parted not in protest but in acquiescence as he lowered his head to kiss her.  The feel of her soft lips drove him mad and his moved hungrily, ravenously against them while his fingers dug into the small of her back, pressing her tightly against him so that she could feel how much he wanted her.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back.  For a long time, they stood there kissing wildly and then, she broke off the kiss and grabbing his hand, she took him to her room.  As soon as they got there, they stripped and got under the sheets.  She cried out in pain but it soon passed and she was clinging to him as he made love to her.  When they were done, he made it clear that he wanted to be in a relationship with her.  They had been seeing each other since then.  And now, his relationship with her was in jeopardy because she knew about his engagement.  He had to sort this out.

“Caspian!”  Denny’s voice jolted him.  When he turned to face him, he demanded, “Didn’t you hear me calling you?”

“Sorry, Denny.  I was thinking about something.”  He brushed past him.

“Where are you going?”

“I have some business to take care of.  Tell Mother that I won’t be back for dinner.”  And he was gone.

Pearl was curled up on the sofa with a box of tissues next to her while the television played.  She was dressed in a pair of pajamas and her hair was pulled back in a ponytail.  She had been crying all day.  Her eyes were red and her nose was sore from the constant blowing.  She must look like a mess but she didn’t care.  Nothing mattered anymore.  Caspian was getting married to someone else.  She closed her eyes as fresh tears fell.  They opened again when the doorbell rang.

At first, she didn’t move.  Perhaps whoever it was would think no one was home and go away.  But, when the bell rang insistently, she quickly wiped her face, got up and went to answer it.  Her heart ached when she saw that it was Caspian.

Slowly she opened the door.  He looked so handsome.  She wanted to throw herself into his arms but then she remembered his fiancee.  “What are you doing here?” she asked.  “Shouldn’t you be with your fiancee?”

His expression grew pale.  “May I come in?”

She was tempted to slam the door in his face but she moved aside for him to go in and then she closed the door.  After locking it, she turned toward him.  “What are you doing here?”

“I had to see you.  Pearl, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you that I was engaged.”

“Didn’t you think I deserved the right to know that the man I’ve been sleeping with is engaged to someone else?”

“I wanted to tell you but I was afraid that you would end our relationship.”

“You’re right.  I would have ended it.  I can’t be with someone else’s fiance.”

“I’m sorry.  I should have told you.”

“Well, you’ve said what you had to say.  Now, I’d like you to go.”

“You’ve been crying.  Pearl…”  he reached out to touch her but she recoiled.

“Please go…”

“I’ll go now but I’ll come again.”

“Go to your fiancee.”  Her voice broke when she said the word, “fiancee”.  She leaned against the door as the tears trickled down her cheeks.

He pulled her to him, his grip tightening as she tried to push him away.  “I don’t have a fiancee, Pearl,” he muttered tightly.  “That’s what I came to tell you.  I broke off my engagement.”

“Why?”

“Because I love you.  I want to be with you.”

“You’re not engaged anymore?”

“No!  I’m not engaged anymore.  I know that right now you’re angry and upset with me. I’ll understand if you don’t want to have anything more to do with me but I hope that you will find it in your heart to forgive me and give me a second chance.”

Blindly, she reached up and touched his face.  “I love you, Caspian,” she whispered.  “And I forgive you.”

Groaning, he turned his head and pressed his lips into her palm before lowering his head to kiss her.

I believe forgiveness is the best form of love in any relationship. It takes a strong person to say they’re sorry and an even stronger person to forgive – Yolanda Hadid

The Forced Sale

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Photo Credit: Joy Pixley

“You sold your land to Marjorie Reynolds?  Why would you do something so stupid?”

“I was planning to sell it anyway,” he lied.  “I don’t want to be tied down anymore.”

“You could have sold it to anyone but her.”

“She offered me cash.”

“What’s she got over you, Wade?”

Wade turned away to hide the expression on his face.  “Nothing.”

“Are you still in love with her?”

Wade swung around.  “No!” he cried.  “My feelings for her are dead!”

“I know that woman.  Somehow, she seems to get dirt on people and threaten to use it unless they do what she wants.  She’s very dangerous.  One of these days she’s going to mess with the wrong person.”

Wade didn’t answer.  June was right, though.  Marjorie had something on him.  Somehow she had found out about his affair with the county sheriff’s teenage daughter.  She even had photos of them together.  In exchange for the land, she gave him the photos and the negatives.  He burned them.

“Well, I hope you don’t live to regret this,” June said before she left.

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Marjorie opened the safe where the negatives were.  I’m not through with you yet, Wade Bartlett.  I’ll ruin you.

200 Words

This was written for Sunday Photo Fiction hosted by Susan Spaulding. For more details visit Here.  To read more of the stories based on this week’s prompt, visit Here.