Faithful Obedience

Not too long ago, when I watched the sunrise from my bedroom window, I experienced a great sense of thankfulness and could say with the writer of Psalm 19:1: “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” We don’t ever have to wonder if the sun will rise. We read in the second part of verse 5: “…like a strong man, runs its course with joy.” The Lord’s creation is true and obedient; as God commands them, they do!

We can learn so much when we study creation. But we can also see how we fall short in obedience and submission to His will. We are the crown of His creation – special because He gave us our own will – and when we give our hearts to Him, it also means submitting our will. Creation doesn’t deviate from the commands of the Lord, but because He, in His love for us, gave us our own will, we are called the crown of His creation. Therefore, it is so important for us to submit our own will to His perfect will when we give our hearts to Him. He doesn’t force us to do anything; He wants us to do it out of love so that ultimately, we become like Jesus. The power of obedience lies in the great influence of Jesus’ personal presence. Only when we love Him and want to please Him, we can practice obedience in our lives. He, even though He was the Son of God, learned obedience through suffering (Heb.5:8). As long as we study His will through books or people, we will fail spectacularly!

The basis of obedience is humility – it is impossible to be obedient when you are full of your own opinions and points of view because then you’ll always think you know better. Christ humbled Himself by taking on the figure of a servant and was obedient until death (Phil.2:8) – He, the Son of God. Jesus himself said that He only does what the Father tells Him. He was the image of obedience.

One of our respected predecessors once said during a service that he studied the fruit of the Spirit and wondered why humbleness isn’t part of the fruit. The Father showed Him that humility is the root from which the fruit grows. Without humility, you cannot be obedient. The greatest honor to God is obedience.

I recently read something that might be of value to the reader. The person spoke about Israel who got instruction from the Lord to enter Jericho. They had to walk around the city of Jericho for 6 days – in total silence! If they were allowed to talk, they could’ve influenced each other – and then the experts and builders would’ve said to everyone around them: “Look how thick and high the walls are, and not even a crack! Look at all the guards with their spears, look at the archers – we are going to die here!” If they were allowed to talk and influence each other with fear and pettiness, their hearts would’ve failed! On the other side of this: can you imagine how intimidating and ominous it had to have been for the residents of the city to see thousands of people walking around the city in silence and not knowing what their plans were? And the next day again – and the next day, for 6 days! It also had to be quite nerve-racking for the Israelites! But they were obedient and look at what great victory the Lord gave them!

How many times have you prayed about a serious problem and after a few times stopped praying because it just seems impossibly big and, in the end, suffered defeat? You can, through obedience and persistence, achieve great victories and experience wonderful prayer breakthroughs! That is what happens when we, like Abraham, are fully convinced that He has the power to do what He has promised (Rom.10:20-21). This is a fact: if we love Him and have a personal relationship with Him, we would want to be obedient.

Obedience is the constant dependence of a day-to-day living with God in an intimate relationship, to listen and see what God says and does. Our Lord therefore usually compared His relationship with the Father with our relationship with Him, as well as with the Father through Him.

Like He was obedient to His Father in every way, He also wants us to be. It is a wonderful experience to hear His voice which clothes us with joy and mercy through true obedience. When we learn to surrender our will to the Father, He will strengthen us accordingly, and then we will better understand that the submission of our will is nothing more than fully trusting God to manage our lives.

A great example of this is Hannah. After she, in humility, pleaded Samuel from the Lord and promised to dedicate Him to God, she obediently fulfilled her promise. She reaped the fruit by receiving more children – 3 sons and 2 daughters – because the Lord healed her infertility. She also experienced the blessing and honor to see her precious firstborn become one of Israel’s biggest prophets!

Then there was Abraham, the hero of faith, who, in blind obedience left his country without knowing where he was heading. Can you imagine yourself in such a situation where you have to leave your house, belongings, country, and people without knowing where you are going? That truly is faithful obedience… I can understand why the Lord bestowed honor on him by calling him His friend! Not even mentioning his obedience of offering his only child! His walk with God cultivated such a deep faith in his heart that he didn’t for one moment doubt that God was able to return his son to him from the dead.

We must always remember that we serve a God and Father who watch over us and leads us. One who is busy forming our character so that we will fit in perfectly in heaven and eternity. As we strive to become like Jesus (adopt His character), we must submit our will completely. It requires the humility to be obedient and have faith – and for that, we can only ask and pray. God will never disappoint us if this is the true desire of our hearts.

Monica Bippert, Jatniël

JABES (Jatniël Care for the Elderly)

In 2020 the Lord led through the Holy Spirit that JABES be called to life to ensure that all faith home residents who served the Lord in the faith homes all their lives are still looked after in their retirement. The focus is specifically on the older residents (60 years and older) who is residing in Jatniël. Currently there is 112 residents who is 60 years and older.

JABES’ vision is to enable older residents to keeping functioning in their current environment for as long as possible, to make them feel safe and wanted (that they are still contributing to society).

We realise that the older residents are insecure and afraid of the future and their deteriorating health is also a contributing factor. Therefore, we want to establish a support system for them in the form of JABES, and that is why it is essential that we move forward together to combat these fears and uncertainties about the future.

JABES already provides TLC services to the older residents in the form of:

  • Taking them to town;
  • Drawing their SASSA pension if they request assistance;
  • Arranging activities – arts & crafts, as well as Bible activities;
  • Bi-weekly prayer meetings specially for the elderly;
  • Sport: Pinbola, golf lessons at a driving range close by, chairobics exercises;
  • Outings: e.g. Monkey & Bird Sanctuary, Krugersdorp Botanical Gardens, Jasmyn (Hartebeespoort) and a potjiekos day at Bethanië with their elderly, as well as Eersterus’;
  • We also had a “Spoil a JABES lady for a month” in April in which members of our congregation participated and so they spread joy in some of our elderlies’ hearts. Diamore van Staden also spoiled some ladies with manicures and pedicures and this act of love brought joy to both parties, as the elderly could testify to her about the Lord’s goodness while she treated them;
  • Blood pressure and blood sugar levels will also be tested on a monthly basis. The first aid team of Jatniël assists with this;
  • Patients are transported to hospitals, clinics, dentists and doctors when necessary;
  • Home visits are done on a regular basis;
  • Support is given where necessary.

In future JABES wants to render the service of preparing our older persons for a comfortable retirement. This can be done in the form of a service centre where essential services can be rendered to our elderly. It will also be essential in protecting our elderly, promoting their rights, preventing abuse (in whichever way), but above all to empower them with knowledge and skills. They have to experience retirement with security and dignity, not just in our church community, but also in the surrounding community. This includes reaching out to our neighbouring elderly facilities and/or schools and children’s homes in the area. To break the stigma surrounding growing older, interaction is necessary and we as church / Christian organisation can also live out the gospel in this way: Christ in us and through us.

It is our vision to start a home care facility with trained nurses so that we can keep the elderly in their safe and known environment for as long as possible. Our elderly will still be able to function independently, but we offer preventative care and, if necessary, preparatory care should the need arise for them to move to a care facility (old age home). We by no means want to replace Emmanuel Old Age Home – Emmanuel is an entity on their own, but we want to work with them should 24/7 care be needed. We also aim to provide a service of where we look at the emotional and spiritual needs/care of the elderly by making use of the qualified social workers and counsellors, and by doing so also give support to the elderly and their families.

Our plan is to make JABES so attractive that other, younger people would want to join, regardless of their age!

JABES falls under the Covenant of Hope-umbrella. Covenant of Hope is a registered NPO and is dependant on donations, whether it is financial, material or your time. You are welcome to contact us for more information.

We trust in the Lord’s provision for this ministry by praying 1 Chronicles 4 verse 10:

“Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border,
And that your hand might be with me,
And that you would keep me from harm
So that it might not bring me pain!”

André & Eleanor Stemmet