Greetings in Jesus’ name,
At a time when biblical Christianity has morphed to such an extent that one is pressed to recognise the difference between the wicked and the won, the professor and the possessor, how important is loyalty, and what does it mean in our relationships?
Loyalty is an essential part of true friendship. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17). It seems, that the norm is that folk stick around when the friendship helps and leave when they’re not getting anything out of the relationship. Don’t be this kind of friend, be the kind of true friend the Bible encourages.
Our loyalty to God cannot be divided. “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24). Whatever you store up, you will spend your time and energy thinking about. Don’t fall into this materialistic trap, because “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” (1 Timothy 6:10). Can you honestly say that God, and not money, is your master? One test is to ask which one occupies more of your thoughts, time, and efforts.
Your highest loyalty should be to God and his eternal values. We shouldn’t be fascinated with our possessions, lest they possess us. This means we may have to do some cutting back if our possessions are becoming too important to us. Jesus is calling for a decision that allows us to live contentedly with whatever we have because we have chosen what is eternal and lasting.
We can be completely loyal to only one person. “Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to bring strife and division!” (Luke 12:51). In these strange, unsettling words, Jesus revealed that his coming often results in conflict. He demands a response so intimate that groups may be torn apart when some choose to follow him and others refuse to do so. There is no middle ground with Jesus. Loyalties must be declared, and commitments made, sometimes to the point of severing other relationships. Are you willing to risk all for Jesus in order to gain all in Jesus?
The church is doing well, although there are several going through some tough situations. It is pleasing to witness that, in the depths of suffering, brethren are persevering and remain focused on the Lord. What is encouraging is that, in the suffering of others, all are growing as our unity has been strengthened through helping one another both spiritually and physically. We are a happy church and are ever grateful to God for drawing us together.
We continue to preach through 1 Corinthians in our Sunday service. This has been both difficult and encouraging at times, with many traditionally touchy subjects having to be addressed. However, the Lord has been gracious, and attitudes are changing.
Our Wednesday evening Bible study has shifted its focus, in that we are now having three groups gathering simultaneously—a children’s, men’s and ladies’ group—after which we have our usual adult meeting. The community children have responded well to an appeal to parents to allow attendance. We are still working on the parents. Please pray with us.
The monthly Saturday morning ladies’ meetings are well attended, with quite a few new faces. These meetings are held in various homes, with the host bringing the teaching. This is a huge encouragement, as a year ago many would not have had the courage to lead or even host.
Marlin and Yasmine have started gathering the youth in their home. Please pray that the youth in the community attend. Marlin has also availed himself to a youth soccer initiative where he will be involved in teen lives.
We had a collective evangelism walk, where we hit the streets as a church. We split into small groups and went in different directions proclaiming the gospel to all that we came across. I was encouraged to see the boldness of the most timid.
We are still investigating the possibilities of another meeting place. Although the school where we meet has not officially given us notice, our activities do not have the freedom we once had.
Ministry Opportunities and Involvement
I continue to teach in the Christian Leadership Programme of BISA. The students are diligent in their studies and have been applying the techniques learnt in their local context. Please pray for these students.
The two ministers that I meet with has now grown to four. These are men that are struggling with the liberal nature of their denomination. Please continue to pray for these men.
The Cramer Family
The family is doing well. We celebrated Baby Rae’s first birthday and await the arrival of Bjorn in June, God willing. I have not been healthy over a number of months now and have had tests done that have confirmed some irregularities. I seem to have a number of issues, diabetes being the major problem. The doctor has me on a strict regimen of medication and diet, which already has me feeling much healthier.
- that our hearts will continue to be grateful for all God’s mercies;
- that we will apply the biblical truth that we learn to our lives;
- that our activities in the community will continue to grow folk toward Christ;
- that we will experience godly growth;
- that a central building be found for gathering;
- that we remain safe during our outreaches;
- that a gospel peace will saturate our communities;
- that God will show kindness to our community, where gang violence is a reality/norm in specific areas; and
- that those who are sick among us will be strengthened.
We praise God for his protective hand upon our lives.
Thank you for taking time to read my report and for praying for us.
Yours in Christ,
Coastal Bible Church
Muizenberg, South Africa