“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.”
Psalms 17:8 NIV
in the morning when I rise, give me Jesus
TODAY IS A GREAT DAY! Instead of shout-preaching from the church 3 blocks away, or the call to prayer from the mosque behind our house, or the clamour of traffic, I woke up in a different city, at 04:30 (my usual wake-time) with the chirping of birds and a cool breeze coming through the window.
This may not seem like much to you, reading this, but here’s the confession: I’ve had to work on my attitude. And my posture.
This week we’re in the city. “Ministry” looks different this week, and I’ll be honest — at first I didn’t have a good attitude about it.
Sometimes we’re in physical circumstances that aren’t ideal, even when they’re by no means uncomfortable, and if you’re like me (a very opinionated 8w7), it’ll take some effort to bin the attitude and honour those who lead you because that’s part of team, and it’s part of ministry, and frankly — it’s part of life.
This past Sunday we listened to a podcast sermon by Eric Gilmour — oh, boy! What a conviction!
Ministry and life begins with LOOKING AT THE LAMB.
The more you look to Him, the more you become like Him.
If you’re unhappy with your life, your relationships, or your physical circumstances, it’s probably because, at some point, Jesus was replaced (or added to), and our problems become amplified by losing sight of Him!
He is the Name above all names. He is the Name above all things. He is the Name above all Nations. He is the Name above all sickness and disease. He is the Name above all sin. He is the Name above all ministries and peoples and opinions.
“After this I looked, and behold, right in front of me I saw a vast multitude of people — an enormous multitude so huge that no one could count — made up of victorious ones from every nation, tribe, people group, and language. They were all in glistening white robes, standing before the throne and before the Lamb with palm branches in their hands.”
Revelation 7:9 TPT
If you show up and there’s no one to minister to, MINISTER TO HIM! Is that not what we’re called to do as Priests?! There is no higher ministry than going low before God. He is the uncontested Pinnacle.
So, this week, I’m not out in the Bush for ministry. I’m in the city. And “ministry” is different from what I expected it to be. I’m on the other side of a bumpy, lengthy bus ride (motion sickness to boot) for the fourth time in two weeks. But we’re staying in a very comfortable guest house in the city, surrounded by trees and chirping birds and I’m working on my attitude — and more importantly, my posture before Him.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
I want to encourage you — don’t allow the enemy to steal your joy!
Happiness depends on circumstance, but joy is a constant state of wellbeing drawn from His presence.
The enemy will always try to disturb your peace ’cause it leads to a loss of joy that shifts your focus from the Kingdom to everything that does not seem to go well. Dig a well and drink deep from the joy of His presence!
It’s so strange to me how believers don’t want to do something because it “feels” fake or not authentic, especially in the realms of praise. To me it’s a simple matter of obedience.
My obedience is never led by feelings. Obedience can never be fake or inauthentic. If He says “Shout for joy”, I’mma shout loudly! If He says “praise His name with dancing”, I’mma lift my feet high! If He says “clap your hands all you people”, I’mma make sure my hands are red and hurting 😆😆😆.
My dignity WILL be sacrificed on the altar of praise 🤩. Dignity is nothing more than self preservation and self preservation is good fodder for fire on the altar of praise.
HE IS WORTHY TO BE PRAISED IN THE WAY HE LIKES IT MORE THAN IN THE WAY I FEEL IT! 🙌👏🙌👏🙌👏🙌👏🙌👏
This is something I’ve been meditating on: what does it mean to be postured before Him?
If we truly believe that His Word tells us what to do, and how and when to walk in His ways, we have to obey EVERYTHING He says, and not only the parts we like or agree with, or the parts we feel like doing. Walking in a relationship with Him requires radical obedience. I’m constantly challenged to pursue that more — to not have delayed obedience in my walk with Him.
One of the Hebrew words for “to WORSHIP” is SHACHAH. It literally (physically) means “to bow down before” and comprises three Hebrew letters: SHIN (a picture of a tooth), CHET (picture of a wall or barrier), and HEH (picture of a man pointing something out).
So, put together, the letters spell out something like “to cut off the barrier of seeing”.
In other words, according to the Hebraic understanding of SHACHAH, the action of bowing down (a physical and spiritual posture) is integral to understanding and perceiving the other person correctly.
“I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God— this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
— Romans 12: 1&2
Therefore, posturing ourselves before God as an act of worship allows us to see Him as He truly is by correcting our perspective, focussing our attention, and renewal of our mind (spirit and soul/heart).
Seeing Him as He truly is, allows us to walk in reverent fear of His holiness, keeping His commandments (and commands — because this includes the New Testament and not only Exodus), and keeping Him as the focus and object of our worship, and our obedience.
“All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of god’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man.”
There are times in life where we’re “stuck” in the in-between.
One of the toughest lessons I’ve had to learn is to actively wait while I’m in the in-between. As Westerners, we’re conditioned to be time-conscious — not to waste time, but to save it and steward it. What I’ve learnt is that ACTIVE waiting is very different from PASSIVE waiting. The in-between is a time for growth. A time for stewardship, for cultivating, for digging deeper wells.
In the desert, there is no commodity more valuable than water.
When you don’t know what’s next, or even if you know, and you’re waiting for the release, don’t pop up an umbrella and camp out under the palm trees of the oasis. Now is the time to break through the hard ground, to dig deep, to be filled with Living Water that flows out of your belly.
He promises that this will bring healing to the Nations.
“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” — Zephaniah 3:17 NIVUK
When Paul wrote this passage he was in chains, having suffered multiple beatings, stonings, starvation, and FELT persecution.
His suffering went far beyond people saying mean things on social media or spreading rumors.
It wasn’t a motivational quote he uttered as he posted a selfie at the top of a mountain.
“I know what it means to lack, and I know what it means to experience overwhelming abundance. For I’m trained in the secret of overcoming all things, whether in fullness or in hunger. And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty. My heart overflows with joy when I think of how you showed your love to me by your financial support of my ministry.For even though you have so little, you still continue to help me at every opportunity. I’m not telling you this because I’m in need, for I have learned to be satisfied in any circumstance.You’ve so graciously provided for my essential needs during this season of difficulty.”
— Philippians 4:10-14
May this be your anthem in times of trial but also in times of victory — that God strengthens and supplies you in every circumstance!
Lorsque Paul a écrit ce passage, il était enchaîné, ayant subi de multiples coups, lapidations, famine et RESSENTI la persécution.
Sa souffrance allait bien au-delà de ce que les gens disent sur les réseaux sociaux ou répandent des rumeurs.
Ce n’était pas une citation de motivation qu’il a prononcée alors qu’il affichait un selfie au sommet d’une montagne.
« Je sais ce que cela signifie de manquer, et je sais ce que cela signifie de vivre une abondance écrasante. Car je suis entraîné au secret de tout vaincre, que ce soit en plénitude ou en faim. Et je trouve que la force de la puissance explosive du Christ m’infuse pour vaincre chaque difficulté. Mon cœur déborde de joie quand je pense à la façon dont vous m’avez montré votre amour par votre soutien financier à mon ministère. Car même si vous avez si peu, vous continuez à m’aider à chaque occasion. Je ne vous dis pas cela parce que je suis dans le besoin, car j’ai appris à être satisfaite en toute circonstance. Vous avez si gracieusement répondu à mes besoins essentiels pendant cette saison difficile. »
— Philippiens 4:10-14
Que ce soit votre hymne en temps d’épreuve, mais aussi en temps de victoire, afin que Dieu vous fortifie et vous approvisionne en toutes circonstances !
There are so many things I could say to describe this past week of fellowship at Overland Missions’ R14 base, but I’ll stick to this: He keeps His covenant to a thousand generations – Deuteronomy 7:9
But because the Lord loves you and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know, recognize, and understand therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, Who keeps covenant and steadfast love and mercy with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations,
Relationships are fluid, but covenant is eternal.
This past week I soaked up some quality team time (with quarentine and social distancing protocols in place) at our annual African Staff Conference.
So many good Words were spoken, but Liezl (pastoral care team and veteran missionary to Zambia) brought such a powerful message in saying that covenant is always relational – with God and other people, and that it’s the interwoven nature of covenant that protects us and keeps us upright when we have to weather storms.
Californian redwoods grow more than 110m in hight, and they’re 1000s of years old, yet it’s not the depth of their roots that keep them upright, but the fact that they are surrounded by other trees like them.
In covenant we have the opportunity to grow and walk together in times of growth, and in times of pruning. In covenant love covers our shortcomings and encourages us to be conformed to the likeness of Christ in who’s image we were created.
I find it extremely difficult to be transparent and vulnerable, especially when I feel something particularly deep. Yet it is within family, and team, that we are healed from isolation and hurt. And I guess after a year of being separated from the team (thanks, Rona) this week has been tiger balm.
Covenant is meant to strengthen our lives, and our lives are meant to be sown.
So, let us be seeds that are buried to die to ourselves, to grow into trees that’ll bring healing to the Nations.
This, friends, is what Moses saw when God showed him the Promised Land. It’s extremely hazy, I know, but to the left you’ll notice the Dead Sea, toward the middle lies the Jordan, and directly opposite, the land overflowing with milk and honey.
My first impression was probably the same as yours — how can this be paradise? However , over the next few weeks I discovered that there are many treasures to be found in the Promised Land.
If crossing the wilderness has taught me anything, it is to be uncompromisingly obedient to God, and to fully trust in, and rely on Him to show you the path to take.
— C. G
Abraham, Moses, Joshua — they’re some of my favourites from the Old Testament.
How often does it happen that we hold on to the promises, and not the Promise Keeper?
Whatever wilderness you’re in, and whatever challenges lie ahead, I hope you have the courage to step out in obedience to whatever He calls you to.
May you see beyond the haze and the desolation of the wilderness, and may you see the promise hidden in the unknown.
Just keep your eyes open, my love.
“AND MOSES went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land–from Gilead to Dan, And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah to the western [Mediterranean] sea, And the South (the Negeb) and the plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palm Trees, as far as Zoar. And the Lord said to him, This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, I will give it to your descendants. I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” — Deuteronomy 34:1-4
Have you thought this during a challenging season?
We have all experienced some form of ‘waiting’ in our lives. It can riddle our minds with anxiety, worry, and doubt.
To wait involves a delay to action until something occurs. To be patient involves accepting a delay without becoming angry.
I hear countless stories from family, friends, and strangers about the uncertainty in this current ‘waiting’ season. There is confusion, frustration, anger, pain, and strife. We are longing for consistency with school challenges, daycare options, job security, health concerns; the list goes on.
This is a temporary season of change. Though it may feel it is lasting a long time, remember we are being molded, sharpened, and etched into a new creation. A plant only flourishes after it is first rooted in the ground. So it is that we are seeds of light rooted in the foundation of Jesus Christ. So, do not be discouraged when we grow during sufferings because God is at work for our good and His glory.
Romans 8:18 tells us, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (ESV).
“Time spent in the in-between, a transition from one thing to the next, can often be frustrating, but it is NEVER time that is wasted when it is WAITING, as an act of OBEDIENCE.”
We shall look forward to our future glory that is to come because when Christ returns, we will step into our Heaven-given inheritance. Let us focus beyond the frustrations of this season for God surpasses any struggles we face. God provides splendid liberty and justice for all. Have firm hope in the Holy Spirit who intercedes on our behalf to the Father. For the Spirit shares in our burdens. You are not alone.
Wherever God has you in this season, you are to bloom where you are planted.
I pray you would allow His restorative love to strengthen your heart. Be encouraged that God has a perfect plan for your life. Remain patient, for the best is yet to come.
As a young believer, I attended the local Every Nation church (an international church family that I still consider to be ‘home’), and I remember Pastor Celeste beginning every sermon she shared with a faith confession:
“This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I can do what it says I can do. I believe it is the Truth. I believe in the power of the spoken Word of God. I will consult it in tribulation. I will speak it in season and out of season. I will use it as reference. I will not be silent. I read it with a wiling heart. I am guided by the Spirit. I will do mighty deeds in the Name of Jesus. The enemy shall flee before me and the Sword in my hand. I will use it to guide and disciple. And I will follow His guidance, step by step.”
Pastor Celeste Nel, Every Nation Faith City
You see, this was not simply a rhyme or empty prayer to declare, but a reminder, a deep-rooted conviction that God is who He says He is, and that I therefore am who He says I am.
As believers, and non-believers or sceptics, one of the issues we most often grapple with is simply this: Who am I? What is my purpose? Why am I here?
I think it was Oswald Chambers who famously said, “We exist to know God and enjoy Him forever,” and though this definitely lays the foundation for doctrinal discussion, I think Who Is God and therefore, Who Am I, are questions that can be answered in this: by knowing who He truly is, we discover who we truly are.
“In the Kingdom, function does not determine purpose. Understanding your purpose will determine how you function.”
It’s been 16 years since I embarked on this faith journey: having a relationship with God, and not simply living under the yoke of religion, and though there is still SO MUCH MORE to discover and learn, one of the things that has been integral to my relationship with God is learning and understanding His character, the I AM of which Scripture speaks.
Understanding who God is, and understanding why he created Man in His image and likeness, unlocks our Identity, purpose, authority here on earth, and adds a deeper level of intimacy of our relationship with Him.
Hardus, one of the students who attend our virtual Bible study shared this testimony with our group last week, and I asked whether he would be willing to share it with the world.
As you watch this video, may you be encouraged that He is the God who is who He says He is, who can do what He says He can do — who created you in His image and likeness!
We try to save time, to make time, to stop wasting time, to find time, to be on time, to be in time.
We connect time to our understanding of wealth, to our sense of accomplishment, and we connect it to our sense of failure.
I’m reminded of that sinner on the cross next to Jesus. At the last moment, his destiny was changed.
There still is time.
Our happiness is not intrinsic to time-things. You’re not too old to start something new, or to make a career change. It’s not too late to forgive or make your peace. You’ve not wasted time — you’ve learned valuable lessons.
He is faithful to complete the Good Work He started within you.
And that takes time. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Be honest. Be kind. Work diligently. Grow from failure. Keep dancing.
I’m turning 30 in a couple of months, and though there are things I might’ve approached differently if I had a do-over, I’m thankful for every sun spot and wrinkle and gray hair because it’s evidence of BEING ALIVE.
2020 has been weird, but let’s not let the past hold us back from what the future may hold.
2020 has been weird, but let’s not let that keep us from living LIFE.
“I shall not die but live, and shall declare the works and recount the illustrious acts of the Lord.”
— Psalm 118:17
About a week ago my sister, who is 8 months pregnant, was in a car accident. In this video I share their testimony, and some encouragement about the rhythm of life, our purpose in the Kingdom, and the fellowship of believers.
“In the Kingdom, function does not determine purpose. Understanding purpose will determine how we function. This is the Gospel of Identity.”
— Cornelia Grace.
Our testimony will ALWAYS be LIFE and not death — let this be our declaration: God is the Author of Life!
« Jésus dit: « Père, pardonne-leur, ils ne savent pas ce qu’ils font. » Les soldats tirent au sort pour savoir qui aura ses vêtements. Puis ils les partagent entre eux. »
Bonne Nouvelle selon Luc 23:34
Trahi par des amis, accusé bien qu’innocent, torturé jusqu’à être cloué sur la croix – les injustices que Jésus a souffert ne pouvaient pas être pires. Et en plus de cela les gens autour de lui se moquent de lui et l’humilient. Dévêtu, Jésus est mourant sur la croix avec ses blessures. Il y a personne pour lui offrir de la compassion. Bien au contraire, les personnes présentes cherchent à le briser avec des paroles accusatrices et ignobles. Tous les yeux sont rivés sur lui.
“While they were nailing Jesus to the cross, he prayed over and over, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” The soldiers, after they crucified him, gambled over his clothing.”
Lorsque Jésus ouvre enfin sa bouche pour répondre, personne ne s’attendait à ces paroles : « Père, pardonne-leur ! ». Ce que Jésus a enseigné dans son sermon sur la montagne à propos d’aimer ses ennemis, ces paroles sont démontrées avec la manière la plus incroyable.
Je trouve difficile de ne pas rétorquer et de ne pas me défendre, alors que je me sens victime d’une injustice. Bien sûr, je sais que dans le fond c’est pour mon bien que Jésus me demande de pardonner. Lorsque je porte une rancune à l’égard des autres, avant tout cela pèse mon cœur, mes pensées et mon âme. Jésus nous montre comment être libres de ces fardeaux. Je souhaite être guidé par cet exemple bien plus que par les choses négatives dans ma vie.
Tourne ton regard vers ton cœur. Qui est responsable pour les plus grandes blessures dans ta vie ? Qui est la personne envers qui tu as de la rancune ? Pour en être libéré, commence à prier pour cette personne pendant trois minutes. Le ressentiment ne va peut-être pas disparaître immédiatement, mais persévère dans la prière et laisse-toi inspirer par le manière que Jésus a de prier pour ses ennemis. Voilà où se trouve le premier pas vers la liberté.
“Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.
And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.
Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.”
— Romans 5:3-5 AMPC
As always, I invite you to let me know how I can pray for you!
This morning I’d like to share an excerpt from Capturing the heart of God for the Nations with you!
It is still true today that the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few (Matthew 9:37-38). Today, as we ride out the effects and affects of Covid-19, I ask you to orient yourself to the harvest that lies beyond.
While our ability to go out, and preach that the Kingdom is at hand may be limited right now, we can prepare for the harvest that is yet in the field, praying and asking God to send laborers into His harvest.
Moreover, won’t you be as bold to ask if He wants to send you as one of those laborers?
Love in Christ, Cornelia 🇨🇩
OUR MISSIONS RESPONSIBILITY
And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
The torch for world missions began with the primitive Church. In obedience to the supreme commission entrusted to them, these early apostles were dispersed throughout the nations, eventually dying as martyrs because their message of Christ would be unacceptable to the religionists and the lost of their day. One of the major figures in launching world missions was the Apostle Paul, whose missionary journeys took him from Antioch into all of Asia and then to Rome toward the end of his life. Through the obedience and passion of these firebrands, the gospel fires blazed in many nations.
From generation to generation there has always been a remnant that has remained loyal and passionate to continue to grow the Church and pursue the lost. These determined followers loved not their lives unto death and sacrificially went to the regions beyond. This fire of God for the nations must once again be kindled in our hearts.
In his book, The Passion for Souls, Oswald Smith wrote about Dr. Alexander Duff:
“Dr. Alexander Duff, that great veteran missionary to India, returned to Scotland to die, and as he stood before the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, he made his appeal, but there was no response. In the midst of his appeal he fainted and was carried off the platform. The doctor bent over him and examined his heart. Presently he opened his eyes. “Where am I?” he cried. “Where am I?” “Lie still,” said the doctor. “Your heart is very weak.” “But,” exclaimed the old warrior, “I must finish my appeal. Take me back. Take me back. I haven’t finished my appeal yet.” “Lie still,” said the doctor again, “You are too weak to go back.”
But the aged missionary struggled to his feet, his determination overcoming his weakness; and with the doctor on one side and the moderator on the other side, the old white-haired warrior was led again to the platform, and as he mounted the pulpit the Apostle Paul, whose missionary journeys took him from Antioch into all of Asia and then to Rome toward the end of his life. Through the obedience and passion of these firebrands, the gospel fires blazed in many nations.
“When Queen Victoria calls for volunteers for India,” he exclaimed, “hundreds of young men respond; but when King Jesus calls, no one goes.” Then he paused. Again he spoke. “Is it true,” he asked, “that Scotland has no more sons to give for India?” Again he paused. “Very well,” he concluded, “if Scotland has no more young men to send to India, then, old and decrepit though I am, I will go back, and even though I cannot preach, I can lie down on the shores of the Ganges and die, in order to let the peoples of India know that there is at least one man in Scotland who cares enough for their souls to give his life for them.” In a moment young men, all over the assembly, sprang to their feet, crying out, “I’ll go! I’ll go! I’ll go!”
For years handfuls of people have gone, prayed, and given to the harvest, but most today remain disconnected from this call. Many Christians will give more money to buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks than they give to missions. Some will spend thousands of dollars to keep their pets healthy and strong while giving next to nothing for the sake of world missions. Their out-of-balance lives and their misplaced priorities need to be addressed.
Without a vision the people perish… Without a vision the people will not carry the gospel torch.
In developing nations, missionary zeal burns white-hot, with believers carrying the gospel torch despite their meager resources. There are nations being visited by the same Holy Spirit that blasted into the upper room and transformed a handful of trembling disciples into world-changing, dynamic soul-winners. Asia is experiencing tremendous church growth, with thousands coming to Christ each day. In Africa, believers boldly carry the gospel torch on trains and buses, and in the markets you will always find at least one zealous Christian busy about the Father’s business.
Anyone who has ever taken a short-term missions trip to a Third World nation has been impacted by the success of the gospel, as thousands are seen responding to the message of life. This gospel must be preached to all nations before the return of the Lord Jesus. We need to see the lost reached in the nations but also those all around us.
Every Christian should carry the gospel torch in this nation and to the ends of the earth through intercession, generous missionary offerings, and short-term missions trips. Some believers may even end up being called into a long-term missionary lifestyle.
“Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.”
Oswald J. Smith, 1889-1986, Canadian missionary statesman and pastor
— Dr Leon Van Rooyen; Capturing the heart of God for the Nations
So, while we are all facing physical restictions in some form, we look toward the future with expectation; eagerly waiting for the go-ahead so that we can run to those who have not heard, who have not seen, so that every tribe and every tongue may come to know Him!
I know that for many of you, this season of quarantine or lockdown has taken a heavy toll on your emotional wellbeing, but I want to encourage you with this text that I recently sent to a friend: nothing you lay down in pursuit of the kingdom will ever make you less than what He created you to be. Sacrifice isn’t meant to be easy. But it’s not without reward.
Therefore, whatever sacrifice you make, or whatever challenge you face, may you endure it for the joy set before you, so that He might be made known, so that His Name may be glorified, and that all might taste and see that He is good!
Today many buildings where the Church gather are empty — and so we also celebrate the empty tomb! He is risen! 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻
Mag die krag van Heilige Gees wat Jesus uit die dood opgewek het, vandag en elke dag in jou en deur jou werk om te getuig dat Hy leef!
May the resurrection power of Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, work in you and through you, today and every day, to testify that He is alive!
Que le pouvoir de résurrection du Saint Esprit qui a élevé Jésus des morts, travaille en vous et par vous, aujourd’hui et tous les jours, pour témoigner qu’il est vivant !
Mag die liefde van Vader, wat Sy Seun gegee het om namens ons met die aanklag en prys van sonde af te reken, saam getuig: tetelestai — dit is volbring!
May the Father’s love, who gave His Son to settle the accusation and price of the debt of sin against us, testify: tetelestai — it is finished!
Que l’amour du Père, qui a donné à Son fils pour régler l’accusation et le prix de la dette du péché contre nous, témoigne: Teteelastai, c’est fini!
Mag die Woord, wat die dood oorwin het, lewendig en kragtig in jou werk; jou daaraan herinner dat jy vir Hom, en deur Hom geskep is, dat Hy jou afvaardig om saam met Hom te regeer, en dat Hy weer terug sal kom.
May the Word, that defeated death, work in you with power and might, reminding you that you are created by Him and for Him, that He has ordained you to rule with Him, and that He will return.
Que la Parole, qui a vaincu la mort, travaille en toi avec le pouvoir et la puissance, te rappelant que tu es créé par Lui et pour Lui, qu’Il t’a ordonné de diriger avec Lui et qu’Il reviendra.
“Mais il leur dit: « N’ayez pas peur! Vous cherchez Jésus de Nazareth, celui qu’on a cloué sur une croix. Il s’est réveillé de la mort, il n’est pas ici. Voici l’endroit où on l’avait mis.”
I’m currently working my way through The God Ask, by Steve Shadrach.
In one of the illustrations on asking in faith, the author shares a story about Emperor Napoleon who after a long and particularly brutal battle, conquered a highly prized Mediterranean island.
Afterward, while he and his generals were sitting, drinking, savoring the victory, a young officer approached Napoleon. When the revered general asked the man what he wanted, he replied, “Sir, give me this island.”
The soldier’s answer to Napoleon’s question prompts the other generals to break out in laughter, mocking him for this ridiculous request. That is until Napoleon asks for pen and paper.
To their amazement, Napoleon wrote out a deed to the island, signed it, and handed it to the lowly, bold, soldier. “How could you do that?” one of the generals asked — knowing how costly the hard-won island had been obtained. “What made this man worthy to receive a great island after we fought so hard to win it?”
Napoleon replied, “I gave him this island because he honoured me by the magnitude of his request.”
One of the notions I’ve recently been stewing over is the idea that we best honour God by agreeing with Him about the Truth. If He says it, it’s true.
May we run the race in such a manner that we honour Him with the magnitude of our requests — our prayers and our lives that reflect Him as He truly is.
Jésus a dit : “Et moi, je prierai le Père, et il vous donnera un autre consolateur, afin qu’il demeure éternellement avec vous, l’Esprit de vérité, que le monde ne peut recevoir, parce qu’il ne le voit point et ne le connaît point ; mais vous, vous le connaissez, car il demeure avec vous, et il sera en vous.”Jean 14.16-17
Jésus a envoyé le Saint-Esprit pour qu’il soit éternellement avec nous. Il demeure avec vous et il est en vous.
L’Esprit Saint désire être…
Votre confident. Il est Dieu le Saint-Esprit. Vous pouvez lui parler, lui faire connaître vos craintes, vos questions ou vos sujets de reconnaissance. Il vous connaît parfaitement et il vous aime.
Votre consolateur. Il peut vous consoler et ranimer votre âme. Sa présence est comme un baume bienfaisant sur une plaie.
Votre conseiller. Il veut vous diriger et vous donner la sagesse. Écoutez-le car il désire vous parler personnellement.
Le Saint-Esprit est là, tout près de vous et en vous. Soyez ouvert(e) à Sa personne. Expérimentez Sa présence miraculeuse en ce jour.
Jour 2: Écoutez la voix du Saint-Esprit
À plusieurs reprises dans la Bible, on peut voir Dieu s’adresser à son peuple, notamment par la voix de ses prophètes.
Ésaïe a annoncé la venue de Jésus et a prophétisé sur l’œuvre salvatrice que notre Dieu accomplirait des centaines d’années plus tard. Le prophète nous livre une information capitale sur Jésus : “L’Esprit du Seigneur est sans cesse avec lui, l’Esprit qui donne sagesse et discernement, aptitude à décider et vaillance…” (Lire Ésaïe 11.2.)
Autrement dit, Jésus serait toujours inspiré par le Saint-Esprit, et toujours sensible à sa voix. D’ailleurs, ce que nous lisons dans les Évangiles nous le confirme : chaque action de Jésus et chaque décision qu’il a prise sur Terre étaient parfaites et divinement inspirées.
Le Saint-Esprit habite en vous (lire 1 Corinthiens 3.16), le saviez-vous…? Il est votre ami, votre fidèle conseiller. Et il vous parle, croyez-le…! Laissez-moi vous donner ce petit conseil, si vous “entendez une voix dans votre tête”, si une pensée traverse votre esprit, comme une flèche acérée. Cette voix…
Vous apporte-t-elle la paix…?
Vous inspire-t-elle la solution à vos problèmes…?
Alors, c’est certainement le Saint-Esprit qui vous parle…!
Au contraire, si “cette voix” vous accable, vous fait douter, vous attriste, soyez certain(e) que c’est l’ennemi de votre âme qui vous parle… sans oublier vos propres pensées, bien sûr, parfois négatives.
Et si vous décidiez d’être plus sensible, réceptif(ve) et attentif(ve) à la voix du Saint-Esprit…? Il ne demande qu’à communiquer avec vous pour vous conduire vers la victoire, vous éviter des embûches et vous apprendre tout sur le cœur du Père…
Recevez de lui “sagesse et discernement, aptitude à décider et vaillance”, alors que nous prions ensemble : “Saint-Esprit, j’ouvre mon cœur et je fais silence… afin de recevoir les directives du Père… Je veux t’écouter et me laisser guider par toi, dans tous les domaines de ma vie. Au nom de Jésus, amen.”
Toute la journée, et tous les jours, restez attentif(ve), car le Saint-Esprit désire communiquer avec vous…!
« Vous êtes le temple de Dieu, et l’Esprit de Dieu habite en vous. Vous ne savez donc pas cela? »
Première lettre aux Corinthiens 3:16 PDV2017
Jour 3: Invitez le Saint-Esprit dès le matin
Un matin, durant mon temps de prière et de méditation, alors que j’étais au calme, une colombe est venue se poser près de moi. Cette douce “apparition” m’a fait réfléchir une fois encore sur l’importance de la méditation. Pourquoi…? Parce que c’est là où TOUT peut arriver. Où Dieu vient nous rencontrer pour nous parler.
Parfois, nous n’y prêtons pas attention, ce que souligne Job ici : “Dieu parle cependant, tantôt d’une manière, tantôt d’une autre, et l’on n’y fait pas attention.” (Lire Job 33.14.) Et ce matin-là, il a utilisé un moyen stupéfiant et inattendu : cette colombe.
Dans la Parole de Dieu, la colombe est un symbole fort qui représente le Saint-Esprit. Lors du baptême de Jésus, l’Esprit de Dieu se manifeste sous la forme d’une colombe. Le Saint-Esprit est la personne de la Trinité qui est constamment avec vous, à vos côtés. C’est Dieu qui vous accompagne, qui vous parle, qui vous réconforte.
Quand le Saint-Esprit descend sur vous, vous pouvez alors entendre ce qu’il a à vous dire, pour garder précieusement ses paroles et les noter dans votre journal intime.
En ce jour, je vous encourage à :
Inviter le Saint-Esprit à se révéler à vous
Laisser la colombe de l’Esprit se poser sur votre vie,
Lui remettre ce qui vous semble lourd,
Vous laisser envahir par sa paix surnaturelle.
Je vous invite à prier maintenant : “Seigneur Jésus, que ton Esprit Saint me guide chaque jour dans tes voies et me transforme à ton image jusqu’à ton retour. Je te remercie d’avoir fait de moi ton enfant bien-aimé. Dans le nom de Jésus, amen.”
Que l’Esprit de Dieu vous accompagne tout au long de votre vie…!
Jour 4: L’Esprit Saint désire vous métamorphoser !
Saviez-vous que le Saint-Esprit désire vous transformer ? La Bible dit :
“Ne vous conformez pas au monde actuel, mais soyez transformés par le renouvellement de l’intelligence afin de discerner quelle est la volonté de Dieu, ce qui est bon, agréable et parfait.” (Romains 12.2)
Le mot grec “transformé” est (en grec) “metamorphoo” qui a donné en Français “métamorphose”. L’Esprit Saint peut et veut vous métamorphoser c’est à dire vous transformer puissamment.
Alors que vous méditez la Parole de Dieu, par exemple au travers de “Un Miracle Chaque Jour”, que vous priez, que vous chantez des louanges, l’Esprit de Dieu se met à l’œuvre dans votre vie.
Si vous laissez le Saint-Esprit renouveler votre intelligence, vous allez voir et vivre des choses extraordinaires.
Comme le dit le Pasteur Paul Goulet : “Le Saint-Esprit impacte votre intelligence, votre intelligence impacte vos émotions, vos émotions impactent vos choix, vos choix impactent vos actions et vos actions impactent votre destinée.” Tout commence avec l’Esprit de Dieu. Même dans la Bible, regardez dans Genèse 1.
Demandez au Saint-Esprit de toucher votre intelligence aujourd’hui. Demandez lui de vous parler en ce jour. Il va tout transformer, tout métamorphoser.
Jour 5: Voici le miracle de l’Esprit Saint
“Vous recevrez une puissance, le Saint-Esprit survenant sur vous…” (Actes 1:8) La Pentecôte est une fête qui célèbre la venue du Saint-Esprit sur les apôtres de Jésus-Christ et les personnes qui étaient présentes avec eux. La Pentecôte est arrivée cinquante jours après la Pâques (d’où le nom penta – 50). Le récit est rapporté par le livre des Actes des Apôtres. Cette fête tire son origine de la fête juive de Chavouot, la fête des moissons ou fête de la récolte.
Le jour de la Pentecôte a vraiment donné naissance à la première “mega church” de l’histoire de l’église. Ce jour là, 3000 personnes environ ont reçu Jésus comme sauveur et se sont fait baptiser. C’est un de mes passages préférés de l’écriture : 3000 en 1 jour. Ça c’est un beau miracle !
Le Saint-Esprit peut faire ce que nous ne pouvons absolument pas faire. Il peut souffler, enflammer, multiplier, distribuer des dons extraordinaires. Le jour de la Pentecôte, le miraculeux de Dieu s’est manifesté. Les disciples ont commencé à parler dans des langues inconnues pour eux, mais connues pour tous ceux qui visitaient Jérusalem pour Chavouot. Quel miracle !
Voici ma prière pour vous : Qu’aujourd’hui le Saint-Esprit souffle sur votre vie et qu’un miracle se produise pour vous et par vous!
Jour 6: Et si vous vous laissiez conduire par l’Esprit Saint ?
De toutes les voix que vous pourriez entendre, celle du Saint-Esprit est sans nul doute la plus douce et la plus forte, la plus céleste et la plus profonde.
Lorsque l’Esprit de Dieu vous parle, cela transcende tout ce que vous êtes, tout ce que vous avez connu.
La voix du Seigneur est la plus aimante et ses voies sont les plus sages.
Se mettre à l’écoute de Jésus c’est choisir la meilleure des voies, prendre les meilleures décisions.
Le Saint-Esprit vous parle, il vous parle même tous les jours :
Par des rêves
Par vos lectures quotidiennes
Par des prédications
Par un(e) ami(e)
Lorsque vous écoutez le Saint-Esprit, c’est alors que vous vivez le miracle, que vos limites humaines volent en éclats parce que vous recevez la sagesse du Dieu Très Haut, son conseil et ses directives.
Ma prière et mon invitation sont que vous puissiez écouter et obéir à la douce voix de Celui qui vous aime, de Celui qui vous a vu(e) naître et désire votre bonheur et votre épanouissement plus que tout.
Jour 7: Viens Saint-Esprit, viens !
“Que ta volonté soit faite sur la terre comme au ciel.” C’est ce que Jésus nous enseigne dans Matthieu 6.10. Savez-vous que c’est l’Esprit Saint qui amène le ciel sur la terre ? Il est la plus belle expression du ciel, puisqu’il est Dieu lui-même. Il est aussi au cœur d’une promesse de Jésus qui dit : “Vous recevrez une puissance, le Saint-Esprit survenant sur vous.” (Lire Actes 1.8.)
C’est le désir de Dieu de vous remplir de son Esprit. Nous pouvons lire ceci dans Jean 20.22 : “Après ces paroles, il souffla sur eux et leur dit : Recevez l’Esprit Saint.”
Vous vous demandez peut-être comment l’Esprit Saint se manifeste lorsqu’il vient sur les enfants de Dieu…? Il le fait de différentes manières.
D’ailleurs, les apôtres racontent ici sa descente extraordinaire le jour de la Pentecôte :
“Tout à coup il vint du ciel un bruit comme celui d’un vent violent, qui remplit toute la maison où ils étaient assis. Des langues qui semblaient de feu leur apparurent, séparées les unes des autres, et elles se posèrent sur chacun d’eux. Ils furent tous remplis du Saint-Esprit et se mirent à parler en d’autres langues, comme l’Esprit leur donnait de s’exprimer.” (Lire Actes 2.2-4.)
Voulez-vous expérimenter maintenant le souffle de l’Esprit Saint sur votre vie ? Je souhaite qu’il vous touche intensément.
Après ces paroles, il souffle sur eux et il leur dit: « Recevez l’Esprit Saint. »
— Bonne Nouvelle selon Jean 20:22 PDV2017
Invitez-le très simplement :
Remerciez-le d’avoir fait de vous son temple.
Demandez-lui de descendre sur vous, avec vos propres mots.
Demandez-lui de vous remplir de sa présence, de vous renouveler, de vous rafraîchir.
Puis, concentrez-vous sur la présence de l’Esprit de Dieu.
Que votre esprit reste connecté avec l’Esprit du Dieu vivant…!
« Tout à coup un bruit vient du ciel. C’est comme le souffle d’un violent coup de vent. Le bruit remplit toute la maison où ils sont assis. »
A while ago, I read a quote by Charles Spurgeon that was something along the lines of, “If ever you come across a piece of Scripture you can’t face, read it until you can.”
This simple statement changed the way I read Scripture.
You see, there are many passages I avoid — no, not drawn-out lineages, rules for the building of the temple, or ‘scary’ things I don’t understand — but passages that CONVICT me.
It’s often easier to avoid the things from Scripture that convict us, rather than to work through them, asking Holy Spirit for fresh revelation, and fresh grace so that we might continually grow in relationship with Him.
You don’t have to be a Scholar to read and understand Scripture. If teenage fishermen were entrusted with this Message, and we have the Holy Spirit, it shouldn’t be hard to read, understand, and apply the FULL teaching we have through Scripture.
Nowadays, we have various options available to us — beautiful hardcopy, leather bound editions in many languages, or digital easily-accessed apps which give us the Bible on multiple devices. But this is not how Scripture started out. Most of the New Testament was written as letters to new believers to the many new churches that were found across the world. The Old Testament is made up of chronicles, stories, laws, prophesies, et cetera!
There is so much more to the Word than black and white (and red!) letters which provides us with a manual to living a God-filled life.
The Word is living and powerful and active!
When you’re offended by something, view this as the perfect opportunity for God to renew your thinking, for Holy Spirit to establish a new heart within you, for you to grow into the likeness of Christ. Don’t change Scripture to fit your convictions. But align your convictions to the Truth of the Word so that you might discover and grow in the fullness of all that God is, and who He is in you and through you!
There are a lot of people these days who are “cherry picking” scriptures which support their lifestyle choices, while they often ignore the context, as a whole, from which those scriptures are drawn.
This first verse here in Romans 8 is one of those scriptures. For, these people assume they are “in Christ Jesus” merely because they made a profession of faith in Christ, or merely because they made some acknowledgment as to who he is as the Lord, the Christ, the Son of God. Or, perhaps it was because they repeated some words after someone in a prayer where they were then congratulated that they are now in God’s family.
But, is that all there is to it to be “in Christ”? Or, is there more to it?
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life…
[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]. Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also. Only let us hold true to what we have already attained and walk and order our lives by that.
“I was once young, and now I am old, but not once have I been witness to God’s failure to supply my need when I had first given for the furtherance of His work. He has never failed in His promise, so I cannot fail in my service to Him.”
William Carey 1761-1834; British missionary to India
Everything God gives us has two purposes:
seed to sow
food to eat
God provides us with seed. We are to plant this seed where God directs us. It is foolishness to expect a harvest where no seed has been sown. You only receive when you give.
In the right environment, a small seed has the potential to become a powerful tree. We see this in Isaiah 55:10-11 explains this, illustrating that when God’s Word enters our hearts, the seed of faith brings us to Salvation; and now that we are saved, we are to share the Good News of Salvation with others so that they too might know their Saviour.
We are not called to be consumers, but farmers.
Every truth and endowment that God has given you is for your benefit, but it is also destined to bless others.
As Believers, we often think that giving is limited to tithing — if that, and rarely do we give as if we serve a God whom we cannot out-give. He is able to supply abundantly according to our every need, yet we often live as if we’re not convinced that He will.
Be willing to share what God has given you — finances, skill, time, resources, relationships.
“I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you.”
Freely you have received, now freely give — this is the heart of Missions.
GIVE: your prayers, your material resources, the Message of the Good News, your giftings and anointing.
“Heal the sick, cleanse the leper, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”
click here if you’d like to give to World Missions.
“The world asks, ‘what does a man own?’ Christ asks, ‘how does he do it?'”
Andrew Murray 1828 – 1917 South African pastor and author
When Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt, they left with all the wealth of Egypt and disappeared into the desert with it. Why did God place a great wealth into the hands of a people who would have nowhere to spend it?
Moses knew the answer to this question, but his brother Aaron did not.
The purpose of the wealth was to build God a tabernacle so that He could dwell among His people in the wilderness. When Moses went up the mountain for 40 days, the people grew restless, and urged Aaron to provide leadership. Because he lacked vision and understanding of wealth, Aaron instructed them to bring their gold, and they made a golden calf to worship.
If we don’t understand the purpose of wealth, Christian leaders today also run the risk of building idols. So, what is the purpose of wealth? We are blessed to be a blessing, not to squander it on ourselves.
We can build larger churches, but without fervor for the lost, they simply become temples to Man’s glory, rather than places to disciple the incoming harvest of souls.
Someone went, someone was sent, someone was finances, and someone had been praying.
They got there because Jesus died for their sins, and charged His faithful followers to go to the ends of the earth.
Someone plowed. Someone seeded the fertile soil. Someone tended the field. Someone will bring in the harvest.
1 Corinthians 3:6-7
Each member of the Body of Christ has a part to play in God’s World Harvest Team.
Some are called to go to the nations and some have a part to play back home — one is not more important than the other. Collectively, we have the power to change the eternal destiny of entire nations.
Every believer is called to the harvest. The task of world missions is the responsibility of every Christian; there is no one exempt — it is the responsibility of every pastor, the nursery worker, the sound engineer, the worship leader, the child, the mother, and the father.
If we rise up and take responsibility to do something, we would reach our generation.
“We must be global Christians with a global vision, because our God is a global God.”
– John Scott, 1921 British Pastor and Evangelical leader
Recognizing God’s appeal in this vision, Paul’s ministry took a drastic turn and he went to Macedonia.
Vision turns us toward the purposes of God, and for some, this heavenly touch will activate us into reaching the nations.
Vision is defined as the ability to see into the realm of the Spirir and thus be awakened as to what God has implanted in you for your life and ministry.
Without vision it is unlikely that we, as creatures of habit, will change course.
When we hear God’s appeal for labourers to go into His vineyards, our lives are changed to live sacrificially so that His vision can be fulfilled.
Paul was thrown in jail because he cast a demon out of a young woman, but he found great solace in the knowledge that he had been faithful to that which God called Him to.
All Christians agree that the Great Commission should be a priority, but few regard this as a personal mandate. Although you may give mental assent to the Great Commission, you will never accept it as a personal responsibility without vision.
Vision without corresponding action will cause frustration, and destiny will be denied. One man said that he would rather die doing the will of God, than live outside of His plan. When someone asked Hellen Keller what was worse than being blind, she said, “to have sight but no vision.”
Do you have a dream?
Do you have sight but no vision?
There is a Macedonian call coming to the hearts of those that are hungry for God.
It is the cry of the neglected, the abused, the sick, and the broken.
In Matthew 14, we read of John the Baptist’s execution.
The disciples brought this news to Jesus, and He withdrew in a boat to a solitary place. Crowds of people followed Him, and when He saw them, He went ashore, had compassion for them, and cured their sick.
Later in the chapter we also read about the miracle where Jesus used a couple loaves and two fish to feed the multitudes.
His cousin had just been murdered, and normally it wouldn’t be too much to ask for a quiet moment alone, but rather than being offended, Jesus was compassionate.
Compassion will propel you beyond your natural resources and your comfort zone; it prompts us to look beyond our own needs and pain, and urges us to respond to the move of Holy Spirit.
One of the ways we express love is by showing compassion.There are multiple verses from Scripture that attribute compassion to God’s character. As much as He is Love, and Good, and King, and Just, and Kind, and Fair, He is compassionate — slow to become angry, and abundant in mercy.
Compassion is deeper than sympathy in that it urges us to take action.
Merriam-Webster’s definition of Compassion.
Here are the Scriptures we’ll be looking at in this Devotional:
Compassion will propel you beyond your natural resources to access heaven’s resources; prompting you to look beyond your own needs, desires, and pain, as it urges you to respond to the move and unction of Holy Spirit.
Compassion has power because it’s God’s own power that is at work in us, and through us. Compassion calls you out of the boat, beyond your self-imposed limitations, beyond your comfort zone, into the uncharted waters where the glory of God dwells.
We must ask God to revive a heart of COMPASSION within us — to feel what He feels, to see through His eyes, and to respond with His heart, and His love.
In 2010 I had a dream in which I was standing on a balcony, and I was browsing through the stars in much the same way that you would browse through Google Sky Maps.
I remember that the galaxies I saw before me seemed thick and soupy and I couldn’t resist the urge to dive in. So, I jumped over the balcony rail and I started swimming through the stars.
As I swam, I came to a white house with Grecian pillars framing the front door. I wanted to knock, but before my knuckles could reach the door, a woman with long dark hair opened the door, and she spoke to me in Hebrew, saying “I know why you are here. You have come to find the one they call Yeshua.” And then she invited me inside. Up until this day I have no idea how I was able…
the sons of God are lead by the Spirit of God || Romans 8:14
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Yeshua . For the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yeshua has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what was impossible for the Torah —since it was weakened on account of the flesh—God has done. Sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as a sin offering, He condemned sin in the flesh— so that the requirement of the Torah might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Ruach . For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Ruach set their minds on the things of the Ruach . For the mindset of the flesh is death, but the mindset of the Ruach is life and shalom . For the mindset of the flesh is hostile toward God, for it does not submit itself to the law of God—for it cannot. So those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Ruach —if indeed the Ruach Elohim dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Ruach of Messiah, he does not belong to Him. But if Messiah is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the Spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Ruach of the One who raised Yeshua from the dead dwells in you, the One who raised Messiah Yeshua from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Ruach who dwells in you. So then, brothers and sisters, we do not owe anything to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Ruach you put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live. For all who are led by the Ruach Elohim , these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall again into fear; rather, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Ruach Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. And if children, also heirs—heirs of God and joint-heirs with Messiah—if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
I recently sat down to review some of the work I’ve been doing over the past few months, and, as most of you will probably know, I’m finishing up a couple work-things as part of the final preparation before leaving for Zambia.
Anyway, as this review came up, I was reminded of my last “working day” of 2018.
I was still in Mahahe, Namibia, and I had 8 hours to go before getting on the bus to Zambia (via Zimbabwe and Botswana — yes, things don’t always go as planned but that’s part of the adventure).
I was writing about John the Baptist, as part of the series of stories I’m doing for Online Church, and consulted my friend Hugo about the Theology of baptism.
Obviously, this is an important subject to write about. I wanted to be extra careful to write the Truth, and to not sound preachy while doing it.
These children’s stories are available free of charge online — that’s a rather large audience, and, of course, I don’t know these kids’ knowledge or background regarding baptism. And, aside from the children, there will be parents watching and hearing and processing this too. How do I write the Truth without involving Theology?
Rather than advising me about what to write, Hugo suggested that we should pray about it. Which we did. And then I wrote what Holy Spirit lead me to say.
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This extract from Psalm 23 is part of those writings.
As I look back on the adventures of the last few months, and the craziness of the last few weeks, I’m drawn closer to times of prayer — leaning in to the voice of the Good Shepherd.
Psalm 23 is probably one of the most well-known Scriptures, right along with John 3:16&17, and 1 Corinthians 13, though I doubt we take the time to dissect this passage, and to pray over it.
The past few weeks and months have presented various challenges and difficulties, but as Hugo reminded me, when we face a problem — physical or spiritual — the best thing we can often do about it, is to pray.
David, when he wrote this song, was a young shepherd boy who lived in the field with his flock. There was nothing famous or important about him, but he knew how to hold on to and grasp revelations of Truth.
Just as David was taking care of his sheep, he knew God was also taking care of him.
As a kid who grew up in the lush green that the Northern Drakensberg had to offer, I’ve always imagined Psalm 23 to resemble the rolling foothills of Kwa-Zulu Natal.
However, upon visiting Israel in October 2018, I came to know the bitter truth — the green pastures David spoke of look nothing like the paradise of my childhood.
The reality of the Psalm 23 in which David’s praise-song was set, was rugged and harsh desert landscape, just outside of Palestine.
But, the more I looked around, I noticed that it was in fact not just rocks and desert, and a hot wind that scorched your skin. There is some grass! And the modern-day shepherds, just like the shepherds of old, I’m sure, knew where to find the good stuff.
They weren’t following the flock from rock to rock, but they were walking in the front, with the sheep following them, leading them from one patch of shade to the next, providing shelter and food as they went along.
The Shepherd does not only ward off danger, herding the flock together, He walks in front of the sheep and He shows them the paths of Life. He provides for the body, and for the soul.
When we’re confronted with difficulty, we should draw near, and not shrink back, from Him who restores our souls and gives us rest.
Is there any better approach to solving a problem than asking the Shepherd who knows all things how to approach it?
In Him we always have more than enough.
This gives me the courage to press forward, even if the future seems unstable and uncharted.
I’ve been living out of a suitcase for 126 days, and each in-between-suitcase-day has been absolutely worth it. I’m looking forward to the suitcase living and planned (and unplanned) adventures that lie ahead!
I don’t know exactly how things will turn out, but I trust the Good Shepherd, and that’s more than enough! All in pursuit of the Kingdom!
Cornelia’ version of Psalm 23
The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. I always have more than enough. The Lord gives me a place to rest — I am safe in His love. The Lord makes me whole, and gives me new life. He shows me the paths of life, and leads me to walk in His ways. By walking where He guides me, I bring honour to His name.
Lord, when your path takes me through valleys of darkness, I will not let fear be my master because You take care of me. You remain close to me, and lead me all the way!
In your presence, I am strong, and my heart is filled with peace. Your love comforts me, and takes away my fear. I will never be lonely because you are always near!
You anoint me with your Holy Spirit, and you fill me until my heart feels like it will burst!
I am not afraid of the future because Your goodness and love is always with me — all the days of my life.
And afterward, when all my days have been lived, I will enjoy your presence — forever with You!
God watches over us. He takes care of us, and gives us everything we need. In His presence we are safe and fully loved.
“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”Psalm 23:6
It’s a one syllable word. And a perfectly simple one at that. Right?
If you look up “vision”, the OED will tell you that it means a) the ability to see, b) the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom, c) a mental image of what the future could be like, and Vision also happens to be a Marvel superhero. (There are other definitions too, but this is not a vocabulary lesson.)
In other words, to have vision implies looking at something with faith and hope. Now, why does that sound so familiar? Oh yes, of course: Jeremiah 29:11.
This morning I spent nearly three hours raking the leaves in my garden into heaps and pulling the weeds out of the lawn as I went along. Winter is hard work. Anyway, I had my iPod playing while I eagerly started out my task. Soon enough a hymn came across the playlist: Be Thou My Vision. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. It has a really catchy Irish tune. If you, for the moment, forgot how it goes, check out this cover by Noteworthy.
So, anyway, the song stuck with me, and I went looking for the scriptures that inspired this hymn.
Something I’ve been thinking about a lot this week is that scripture in Matthew 14 where Peter sees Jesus walking on the water and Jesus tells him (Peter) to get out of the boat and come to him. Peter starts out great, but soon enough he starts sinking. Because he took his eyes off Jesus.
I think it’s easy to loose sight of God. Not because we’re distracted necessarily, though that can sometimes be the issue, but often simply because we have our own agenda.
When Peter got out of the boat his goal was to reach Jesus. That was what he was focused on and what he was going for. Now, I’m pretty sure there might have been waves spraying into Peter’s eyes and he might have been afraid, but the minute he stepped out of the boat, he walked in faith. Yes, he started sinking and he cried out to God to save him. Jesus said, “you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
When I think about “little faith” I’m reminded about Matthew 13, just one chapter earlier, where Jesus says in v31:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
And this hymn reminds me of that — to live with heavenly perspective. He is my battle shield. His Word is my sword. He is my strong tower. He is my delight.
I pray that you might see Him and have the courage to step out of the boat. Yes, it’s scary and sometimes the waves are pretty big and the wind blows strong and throws you off balance.
But keep your eyes on Him.
Act in obedience and walk by faith, not be sight.
Stepping out in faith is not knowing that Peter walked on water. Faith is getting out of your own boat, whether you’re wearing a life jacket or not, and whether you’re knee deep in the water and surrounded by a storm or not, to still trust that God has plan for your life; knowing Holy Spirit will guide you; knowing Jesus will reach out to catch you; knowing Father will embrace you; and doing the impossible because God is a God of wonders.