Tag Archives: Bible

Letting Go / travelling light.

It is easier said than done, to let-go when changes occur. Some of these changes are physical, others mental or spiritual or emotional… none the less, there is a pattern that such changes follow that brings about despair or amazing chance.

It has occurred a number of times in my life and is about to happen again: leaving all materialistic stuff behind and starting a new life in a new place, on a new continent, in a new language.

Such change brings about emotional challenges such as saying good bye, excitement of the new, longing to hold on what was, fears of the unknown, and many others. There is a tension between what we consider good and bad feelings, or should I rather say, positive and negative feelings; though if we look at them openly and honestly they are in fact all positive or even neutral in character. They just are. They are normal. They cannot be denied and won’t go away. They might be pushed aside but are not resolved unless you embrace them and live through them.

Such change also brings along physical challenges. Those of starting a new home of leaving behind an old one (even in practical terms… getting a new bed, table, kitchen, clothes,…) of having to adapt to a new season, climate, language, etc pp. Continuing life with less materialistic luxury than you got used to over the past season in your life.

And there are spiritual challenges. Suddenly praying as usual feels different. Suddenly spiritual warfare needs to be dealt with differently and things you stand up for or against change. The calling to the new country can also entail challenges from God, can change your relationship toward Him, can be scary to exciting and could bring along insecurities God allows so you can grow in Him.

When I read in Luke 9:3, Mark 6:8 and Matthew 10:9 about what to take along as followers of Christ, when God sends us; the lists are similar and the symbolism the same… so I will stick to Luke.

Luke 9:2-4a And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing.  And He said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece.” Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city.…

So here we are instructed if we are to leave and proclaim the Kingdom of God. Let us remember that any follower of Christ is called as a disciple and that the above is our core message! It does not need a mission trip, evangelistic event or occasion. We are called to proclaim the Kingdom. So we can know this command is for our daily lives.

Allow me to attempt some interpretation on some of the things:

Take no staff: a staff is a symbol of authority and identity.

When I leave from one job to the next, most of the times, it helps little or even hurts new relationships when I arrive bragging about how great I was at my last post, what authority and knowledge and power I had. I will have a pretty lousy and hard time finding my feet.

Take no bag: what goes in your bag when you leave?

Mine contains memories, rituals of how to do things, own securities in essence that help me to be self reliant, no matter what shape they might take.

Take no bread: this reminds me of the Israelites in the desert. They could only harvest manna for that very day. It also reminds me of how God says we should never worry about what we feed on tomorrow.

If I move from one place to the next, I leave behind a spiritual home. If I take along the methods and habits and rituals of that old home to the possible next, I will start comparing constantly. Comparison kills in most instances. Spiritual food provided by a local church will never look the same when you move to a next place. However God does. His Bible does. And through such HE will feed us.

Take no money: When I take money, I become self reliant…

(I am not speaking of preparing with wisdom even financially.) Money often gives us a false sense of security. And thus when it fails, it leaves us in despair for something it was never really able to give.

Take no two shirts/cloaks: there are certain things that we desire to take out of fear and egoism. They cause excess baggage.

In the days of Jesus, taking a second garment would have meant excess baggage. It was not a usual thing to do either.

When I look at my own suitcase I am busy packing, I find there are things I desire to take, that cause excess weight. I desire to pack them because of the “but what if’s”. They cause an unhealthy focus on me, instead of the providence of God and are caused by a lack of trust in Him.

So why would God cause me to take no bread, no extra cloak, no money, no bag, no staff?

When God sends us on an adventure, we need to prepare. We need to use the brains God gave us. We need to be wise and make provision. However there ARE things we will be wise to do without.

For me these are:

My staff: it doesn’t help if I pitch and show off with who I have been in the past or what I have achieved. It will make building new relationships harder than it already is.

My bag: I need to embrace the fact that most things that create a comfort zone for me now, will change. Holding on to the old ways and trying to be self-reliant, will not be of help in this new environment.

My bread: I will need to find a new spiritual home, even when I will find support from my old one and will even stay in covenant with them. Unless I am open to the possibility of a new packaging to the same Gospel, I will struggle more than necessary and will be prone to attacks from the devil.

My money: For me that is symbolic of my library of books, my guitar, and other ways I self-reliantly learned to cope with emotional stress that help me to NOT rely fully on God. (Now I am not against ANY of these… but they should always bring me into His presence, not prevent me from facing my own emotions and His presence alike.)

My extra cloak: In my desperation and sometimes fear to let go all of the old and start anew, I sometimes embrace things in a manner that you would think they bring salvation. I believe I cannot do without them, it threatens me to let go of them. However if I am honest… I haven’t needed them here in the past season; they will not save me or make the difference hoped for. I hold on to them in my desire to keep the old and in doing so they increase my reluctance to embrace the new (as my arms are filled already and my focus is on ‘poor me’.)

Gods advice and instruction of what to take, applies perfectly to my life and the season I find myself in.

However no matter whether you find yourself in such a season, or just want to de-clutter your life a bit, His instruction will be able to lead you.

You will probably have to adapt the examples I used. You might even have to adapt the symbolism. Just remember that this is not something you should pretend will never apply to you.

I pray you life may be enriched by His presence, by an increased trust in Him and testimonies of His providence and love throughout your process of change.

God bless.

How to interpret the Bible

(the content consists partially of notes I have taken at an STI seminar in Stellenbosch, South Africa)

I have often been asked why it is that we seem to take some portions of scripture literally and others we seem to interpret. It seems random to the onlooker. However there is system and science behind it. This is a blog post that tries to describe the basics in simple words, easy to apply yourself.

There are three types of Bible translations:

1. word for word i.e. literal translations (‘formal equivalents’) [e.g. NASB, KJV, Amplified, ESV, NRSV]

2. interpretative thought for thought translations (‘dynamic equivalents’) [e.g. NIV, HCS, TEV, (NLT)]

3. paraphrased translations (a very loose translation) [e.g. LB, Message Bible]

They are not all used for the same purposes. Bible translations that fall under 1 are best used for Bible study. Bible translations that fall under 2 are used mostly for reading. Those categorized under 3 are sometimes interesting to get a new angle on matters previously read or studied in another translation but are unsuitable for Bible studies or daily Bible reading.

When studying the Bible, all text needs to undergo the same process of interpretation. (At the end of it, some will turn out to be literal, other parts may turn out to need interpretation.)

How to interpret the Bible:

A. The meaning is determined by the context.

1. list all possible meanings

2. historic + literary context eliminates impossible + improbable meanings.

Here an example of how to do that with the word “trunk”.

1. all possible meanings: car boot, suitcase, phone call, tree, elephant nose

Let’s assume it is part of a Jane Austin novel (which play in the 1800’s in England).

2. process of eliminating the impossible:

– trunk call (the phone was not invented then)

– car boot ( they still had carriages)

3. Process of eliminating the improbable:

– elephant trunk (it might be possible as India was English colony, but it is highly unlikely)

The use of the work within the sentence helps us eliminate even more options: “and she folded her clothes carefully and placed them in a trunk.”

  • eliminates the tree trunk and the elephant trunk completely.

This leaves us with only ONE meaning of trunk in this context: “suitcase”.

B. Word study

1. meanings of words change over time (they undergo a historical development)

2. meanings in the here and now might differ from their original meaning greatly

3. etymology of words can help or mislead us.

We need to look at three aspects:

1. history of the word.

2. historical context (author and audience in the original).

3. literary context.

one example: the word ‘nice’ used to mean ‘ignorant’, now it means ‘pleasant’.

If you are required to do in depth word study on a regular basis, getting a good Bible Study Software like ‘Mounces Complete Expository Dictionary of OT + NT’; e-sword software; or Olive Tree, will be a helpful starting point.

When you look at any Biblical text, it has 2 audiences:

the original audience that the author wrote to (there & then),

and the contemporary/modern audience (here & now).

We must always look at the original audience first, before we ponder over the meaning for the contemporary audience.

Any interpretation of the Bible intends to be a bridge between the “there & then” and the “here & now”.

Any good interpretation discovers the meaning and intention of the author in the text. A good interpretation tries to get information OUT OF the text. We call this ‘exegesis’.

Any bad interpretation does the opposite. It imposes the readers invention/or wanted meaning, on the text, i.e. tries to read stuff INTO the text. We call this ‘eisegesis’.

Sources of authority for interpretation are:

1. scripture itself (this is the highest authority and is the only infallible authority)

2. tradition, reason, experience (all these are important for interpretation but are fallible.

The only things that help protect you (besides the Holy Spirit guiding you) from misinterpretation are to remember that you have to

– be conscious of your traditions

– remember that reasoning has limitations

– remember that experience is always subject to interpretation and thus is prone to mistakes.

The blog posts that follow will allow you to try out two different methods of getting the most out of your daily Bible study.

May God bless you abundantly and enrich your study of His word, whilst making you vigilant not to be deceived by wrong teachers of our times.

A thought on why Christmas is special (prophecies fulfilled)

We celebrate Christmas 2013 today. 

If we look to our cities, shops and neighbourhoods it all seems to be about Santa Clause, Christmas trees etc.

However the background is quite a different one. And even though “Christmas” as we know it from its start had pagan roots, Christians all around the world consider it one of their biggest celebrations in the year. So instead of discussing its roots today or ways of celebrating….

When you and I as Christians celebrate this Christmas… let us not only remember the nativity story from Luke chapter 2. Let us remember WHAT was so significant about this man being born. Let us remember the cross of Calvary as well as the crib. Let usremember that he was no ordinary man but the promised Messiah to the Jews that would bring salvation ultimately to everyone who believed in Him. Let us remember how he – until now remaining unprecedented – has fullfilled all the prophecies given about his life. Most of which could not be influenced by himself. Let us remember the power of deliverance, healing, liberty, freedom, peace, love he proclaims and carries within His name.

And Most importantly: LET US PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS OF WHO JESUS WAS AND IS!

The below list is not exhaustive… its just something to start you thinking and researching. It is a quoted list… for details to the webpage please see below.

1 Messiah would be born of a woman. Genesis 3:15 Matthew 1:20 Galatians 4:4

2 Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2 Matthew 2:1 Luke 2:4-6

3 Messiah would be born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:22-23 Luke 1:26-31

Messiah would come from the line of Abraham. Genesis 12:3 Genesis 22:18 Matthew 1:1 Romans 9:5

Messiah would be a descendant of Isaac. Genesis 17:19 Genesis 21:12 Luke 3:34

Messiah would be a descendant of Jacob. Numbers 24:17 Matthew 1:2

Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah. Genesis 49:10 Luke 3:33 Hebrews 7:14

Messiah would be heir to King David’s throne. 2 Samuel 7:12-13 Isaiah 9:7 Luke 1:32-33 Romans 1:3

Messiah’s throne will be anointed and eternal. Psalm 45:6-7 Daniel 2:44 Luke 1:33 Hebrews 1:8-12

10 Messiah would be called Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:23

11 Messiah would spend a season in Egypt. Hosea 11:1 Matthew 2:14-15

12 A massacre of children would happen at Messiah’s birthplace. Jeremiah 31:15 Matthew 2:16-18

13 A messenger would prepare the way for Messiah Isaiah 40:3-5 Luke 3:3-6

14 Messiah would be rejected by his own people. Psalm 69:8 Isaiah 53:3 John 1:11 John 7:5

15 Messiah would be a prophet. Deuteronomy 18:15 Acts 3:20-22

16 Messiah would be preceded by Elijah. Malachi 4:5-6 Matthew 11:13-14

17 Messiah would be declared the Son of God. Psalm 2:7 Matthew 3:16-17

18 Messiah would be called a Nazarene. Isaiah 11:1 Matthew 2:23

19 Messiah would bring light to Galilee. Isaiah 9:1-2 Matthew 4:13-16

20 Messiah would speak in parables. Psalm 78:2-4 Isaiah 6:9-10 Matthew 13:10-15,34-35

21 Messiah would be sent to heal the brokenhearted. Isaiah 61:1-2 Luke 4:18-19

22 Messiah would be a priest after the order ofMelchizedek. Psalm 110:4 Hebrews 5:5-6

23 Messiah would be called King. Psalm 2:6 Zechariah 9:9 Matthew 27:37 Mark 11:7-11

24 Messiah would be praised by little children. Psalm 8:2 Matthew 21:16

25 Messiah would be betrayed. Psalm 41:9 Zechariah 11:12-13 Luke 22:47-48 Matthew 26:14-16

26 Messiah’s price money would be used to buy a potter’s field. Zechariah 11:12-13 Matthew 27:9-10

27 Messiah would be falsely accused. Psalm 35:11 Mark 14:57-58

28 Messiah would be silent before his accusers. Isaiah 53:7 Mark 15:4-5

29 Messiah would be spat upon and struck. Isaiah 50:6 Matthew 26:67

30 Messiah would be hated without cause. Psalm 35:19 Psalm 69:4 John 15:24-25

31 Messiah would be crucified with criminals. Isaiah 53:12 Matthew 27:38 Mark 15:27-28

32 Messiah would be given vinegar to drink. Psalm 69:21 Matthew 27:34 John 19:28-30

33 Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced. Psalm 22:16 Zechariah 12:10 John 20:25-27

34 Messiah would be mocked and ridiculed. Psalm 22:7-8 Luke 23:35

35 Soldiers would gamble for Messiah’s garments. Psalm 22:18 Luke 23:34 Matthew 27:35-36

36 Messiah’s bones would not be broken. Exodus 12:46 Psalm 34:20 John 19:33-36

37 Messiah would be forsaken by God. Psalm 22:1 Matthew 27:46

38 Messiah would pray for his enemies. Psalm 109:4 Luke 23:34

39 Soldiers would pierce Messiah’s side. Zechariah 12:10 John 19:34

40 Messiah would be buried with the rich. Isaiah 53:9 Matthew 27:57-60

41 Messiah would resurrect from the dead. Psalm 16:10 Psalm 49:15 Matthew 28:2-7 Acts 2:22-32

42 Messiah would ascend to heaven. Psalm 24:7-10 Mark 16:19 Luke 24:51

43 Messiah would be seated at God’s right hand. Psalm 68:18 Psalm 110:1 Mark 16:19 Matthew 22:44

44 Messiah would be a sacrifice for sin. Isaiah 53:5-12 Romans 5:6-8

(list quoted from “Prophecies Jesus Fulfilled – 44 Prophecies of the Messiah Fulfilled in Jesus Christ” By Mary Fairchild)

May you spend these days, becoming LOVERS OF CHRIST and allowing that change within you to change all that is surrounding you to bring light to this world.

Blessed Christmas.

Religious Routine or Adventurous Faith?

I have heard comments like “Christians have no fun”, “all the things that are fun happen outside of faith”, “being a Christian is boring” and many more… you too I presume. And sadly often these comments have a bit of truth – but why? And should it be like that?

Well to tell you the truth – NO, it shouldn’t be like that. God calls us to lead a life in abundance. A life FULL of joy and adventure – an adventure that can only be written WITH Jesus in your life.

But how do we get there? How do we go from routine and mediocrity to abundance and adventure in our daily lives on a daily level?

I hope to lead you closer to that.

Step 1:

Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? (Romans 10:9) If not so… or if you are unsure study Romans 10:9 until God helps you understand fully…call upon Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.

Step 2:

Do you believe what the Bible says? I mean… do you believe ALL of what it says?

If so… great. If not so – then let us embark on a journey to help you make a founded and solid decision on the matter using scientific proof (please see blog posts on uniqueness of the Bible or check out provethebible.net; www.answersingenesis.org ; www.josh.org ).

If you are unsure… well then let us embark on the adventure of experiencing truth.

Step 3:

Act upon what the Bible says: i.e.

– if it tells you to spend time with God, do so… it might start out as something you are not used to doing…but will after some while be exciting above all!

– if it tells you to pray for the sick – try it. Do it again and again until God moves and the sick get healed.

– if it tells you to preach the Gospel – by all means please do!

– if it tells you that you need fellowship – then you probably do (remember, God has designed you – he should know)

etc. Just act upon what you come to know to be truth!

Step 4:

Challenge yourself to live radically!

Our own mind sets limitations to what we believe God can do! Challenge yourself to experience God radically… to live for God radically… to love radically…

Step 5:

Spend enough time with God to feel His heartbeat and His desire becoming yours. And spend enough time with the people to know their heartbeat and their needs.

Share of what you have – give all God gives to you to others and experience Gods provisions.

And experience the joy of giving it all you have and are and still being filled to the brim and overflowing.

You will never get bored. Not if you follow wholeheartedly… if you act upon the truths revealed to you and open up to God and allow Him be become Lord over every part of your live and being!

Church will not be a place to which you go – you will be the church.

Faith will not be a separated part of who you aim at to be – it will be the core of your being.

Every day life will no longer stand in contrast to Christianity, but will be an expression of it.

Boredom of Christians will NOT be part of who you are… it will be a thing of the past, that sounds abstract and that has proven itself as completely wrong once you follow Jesus wholeheartedly!

I hope you take the journey and stay on it! I’d love to hear all about it!

 

Finding God

As humans we all, constantly, look for solutions and answers. As a Christian one of the most vital ones seems the answer to where to find God… how to find Him… how to rediscover what it is all about…how to draw near again.

Let’s look at some biblical truth in this matter:

Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Deuteronomy 4:29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Amos 5:4 For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: “Seek me and live;

If anything, it seems that we CAN in fact find God. He wants to be found. However he will be found only in His true nature, when we seek wholeheartedly.

Here some ideas of where to look when you seek God and which ways will lead you astray eventually:

–          The Bible. I’d say the most logical place to look and the safest one if you want true information. For all we know about God will be found in there and in personal experiences, that no matter how personal they are won’t EVER contradict the Bible.

Books by Christians are often much loved and valued, are however never a solid choice. They might add to the picture given in the Bible, but every human depiction of who God is and how He is etc is fallible in itself.

So unless you just want to hype your feelings about what others experience with God, I’d suggest looking at the source of it all: God’s Word (the Bible).

–          Information outside the Bible and outside Christianity will – just like Christian faith – always be colored by a belief system. Thus is not objective, though it might claim to be (e.g. by saying it is scientific – because you find Christian scientists and non-Christian scientist that are thus again part of another belief system).

Though outside sources might support the biblical claims, I ask you to be aware of the fact that every person has a belief system and every statement made is colored by such.

So if you desire to find the Christian God, look at His own work – the Bible, read it.  

Pray – you will be surprised that God answers those that truly seek Him.

Seek fellowship with other Christians – they might in fact be able to guide the way further even though we are all fallible.

May God bless your journey in finding God!

If you are Christian but feel far away from God and want to draw near again:

spend time alone with God!

visit a church (even if it is not perfect – none is. But the Church is God’s choice for a body.)

read the Bible again!

choose to worship and make it all about God and less about yourself!

Trust… God will be found… He wants to be found by you again! You CAN draw near again! God is waiting for you!

And if you like… share your story about finding God with us! Email it to me… or post it as a comment!

Be blessed!

A Christmas idea – how to give

Perhaps after reading my previous blog, you were wondering how you could reach out to others?

Well here is idea number one: if you can, bake some Christmas cookies, decorate them beautifully and put a few of them in small little cellophane bags with a beautiful ribbon.

wrapped cookies1

Then go to Luke 2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”3

Copy this text (handwritten if you can) or a part of it. If you feel like doing something special copy it on a piece of paper you later can fold into a star, otherwise just roll it. Attach a beautiful ribbon and bind it to the cookies.

Then go into town… choose people, smile and wish them a blessed Christmas, whilst giving them a small Christmas gift. And allow God to surprise you.

Blessings!

The Authority of the Bible

The following scriptures and notes are not intended to give an all inclusive or exclusive view on the matter. However it is an attempt to lead you in studying the Word of God i.e. the Bible; and allow GOD to speak to youexplain to you and draw you closer.

My challenge to you is this:

Read 1 to 3 scriptures of these daily and meditate on what they mean, what implications they have for your life and how you could allow them to change your life in a practical way.

(Please take note that though most verses are the same, some verses might shift one or two in numbering as they are taken from a German Bible.)

The Basics:

Matthew 4:4; Isaiah 55:10+11; John 1:1+14; 1 Tim. 2:4;

The Bible is the basis for our faith. Knowing what it contains and what that content means will deepen our understanding…strengthen our convictions… lead us to make decisions, take positions and act upon what we believe.

1. The Word of God is infallible

2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21;

Belief in the Bible and its infallibility gives us a guideline to life.

2. The Word of God is/contains the thoughts of God

Isaiah 55:7-11

The Word of God and God are one. As God never changes, His word does neither. i.e. the authority and timeliness remain.

3. The Word of God has strength and gives strength

Romans 10:17; Hebrews 4:12;

4. The Word of God provides spiritual life

2 Peter 1:3-4; Psalm 119:89+160; Matthew 24:35; John 8:31-32+37;

The Word of God provides us with core values in a time of chaos regarding definite values and morale. From beginning to end it is truth.

5. The Word of God effects:

A. Faith (Romans 10:17)

B. New Birth (i.e. conversion to God) (1 Peter 1:23 describes this experience)

C. Physical Healing (Psalm 107:20; Proverbs 4:20-22)

D. Victory over sin and guilt (Psalm 119:11;) (to answer the question of what Christians may or may not do study: 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17; we find two principles: 1. To do all things to honour God. 2. To do everything in the name of Christ and say thanks to God through Him) (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

E. Victory over Satan (Ephesians 6:17; 1 John 2:14; 1 Corinthians 2:11-12; Revelation 22:18+19)

6. How does God speak to us?

– Personally (Genesis 3:8-9)

– Through prophets (Isaiah 1:2)

– Jesus (Luke 5:1)

7. What do we do with the Word of God?

– Listen/Hear/Absorb (Acts 17:11)

– Understand (Matthew 13:23)

– Love (Psalm 119:47)

– Look forward to it in joy (Psalm 119:16)

– Treasure (Psalm 119:11)

– Trust (Psalm 119:42+74+81)

– Follow (Psalm 119:9)

Revelation 22:18-19

 

Deliverance from sin

The problem often isn’t the one sin as such… it is our relation to sin.

The Bible informs us that there is no big and small sin – there only is sin. Sometimes our focus has been shifted to believe that one sin is greater than another. Likewise a dangerous shift in focus occurs when we start being disgusted only by some sins and not by others.

For many of us Christians (and I include myself) the time has come to pray and open our hearts completely… to be again convicted of the gravity of sin and the mercy of forgiveness. So that iniquity, (no matter whether it is lies or sexual sin) again disgusts us in the way it disgusts God, so that we turn from it and sin no more (for we are ALL sinners)…ALSO, I pray that we start LOVING the sinner with all our heart… and do not judge the person …but hate the sin.

No matter which sin. Sin is sin and it will be punished by death the Bible says. Knowingly remaining in sin or maintaining a sinful lifestyle is open rebellion against God.

However know the good news: JESUS died for the forgiveness of ALL our sins, so that we may stand before God without blemish! When we come to Jesus and repent (make a 180degree turn away from it) and ask for forgiveness, He WILL readily and gladly forgive us.

As for today I would like to speak of one sin amongst many: homosexual relationships.

All I ask is read… and allow God.

I will not tell you what the Word of God says this time… not in respect to sin – for you know it already as you feel it is wrong and you feel convicted. Should you have any questions in regard to that though, please feel free to ask. Let me tell you a bit about my relationship that was that way:

I loved her… I had some months before I got to know her, left my congregation for the sake of another woman… I struggled my but off to leave the congregation but my desire was stronger than my faith. Now 4 months later, I was in love with her. She was not one of those ladies that looked lesbian from afar… she was however what I longed for… she had great humour, seemed self secure, yet was vulnerable and no afraid to show it at times… we talked with open hearts when we did… and we both trembled when we first kissed, knowing this was more. To make a long story short… she was all I up to then had ever dreamed of. I loved her… and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.

At some stage in my relationship, I started to pray. It had been a long while since I had prayed… and I hadn’t opened my Bible in ages it felt. But I started to pray because –strange as it might sound – I wanted to ask her to marry me.  God is gracious and He used that situation to reach out for me yet again:  I had a dream… and in that dream I found a treasure chest… like in the movies… with a great lock in front of it… and in my hand I held the key. On the key it said: “Jeremiah 2:19”. I put the key into the lock and wanted to turn it. In that instant I awoke. The dream still is vivid in me today as I recalled it then. But when I awoke, I did not know what the scripture contained…nor did I care to look it up till late that day in the afternoon (this was in November 2006). When I did, I actually flung the Bible into the corner of my room… such shock did I get. I later checked and found out, I had never before in my life read Jeremiah – which added to the uproar and unravelling I felt inside.

I prayed over the scripture for about a week… but didn’t get any answers. My life seemed perfect – so did my relationship. However even though I had long forgotten about the scripture, my life in general seemed to change. I cannot describe it really… but I remember my friends at university got worried – they thought I was depressed. I knew I wasn’t. I had been depressed before in my life… and this was something completely different – I was dying… from inside out… and it was spiritual. But how could they understand? I didn’t even want to know about it myself. It was December that year that I started to read my Bible again… away from all distractions and to talk to God earnestly. And it was in early January that I ended up in my old church… and came to a point in life where I knew: “I don’t WANT to live without her, but I CANNOT live without God. And to have both is impossible.” And these were truths that were echoed in my spirit and soul so loud I could not deny them any longer.

So after 3 days and nights without sleep…struggling with God about the decision that was upcoming… I called my friends in the middle of the night. Friends from university… telling them what was up and that I couldn’t help but follow God’s call and terminate my relationship to my girlfriend. They had seen me the weeks preceding and admitted that though they couldn’t understand my decision, they supported me fully.

I was ready to fight. And I did. Later that morning after relentless fighting alone with God and my soul, I asked the pastor to assist me in the final step of my choice. His wife, he and I went into a quiet room… they asked me to repeat after them a prayer of salvation. However they included the sentence: “I renounce the spirit of homosexuality.” It took three attempts until I was PHYSICALLY able to say those words into the spiritual realm… but when I did, the spirit left and I was set free.

I will not lie to you… it was only the beginning of the battle. I still had to go home, call my girl friend, split up with her, clean my house spiritually (i.e. I tossed everything that did not honour God into big plastic bags and into the trash it went!) and continue a battle against my body. I split up…and I have never heard or established contact with her again. I threw away music, videos, photos, clothing, jewellery, and friendships that were connected with that life style. I wouldn’t have been able to make the transition otherwise. I mourned my relationship for quite a while as I had loved. And I knew there would be no easy way. But I had come to the conclusion that I loved God more… and that no matter if my feelings would ever change from being homosexual, I would live a sanctified lifestyle and live it to honour God and in complete obedience to God.

I entered a process of filling my spirit and nourishing my spirit again with the Word of God, reading the Bible… going to church, praying regularly with prayer partners who knew the whole story and meeting once a week with an evangelist that worked through deliverance with me. It took 10 months… but then things had changed. I had decided to renounce the lifestyle, no matter if God would change how I feel about women. But HE delivered me completely. I have never since seen in a woman what I have seen in women so many years of my life. I do not feel that kind of love any longer for women… and never have since. Instead I feel that kind of love for men.

What once was, is part of who I had been… it serves as a testimony today, to reach others with the love of God… but does not determine who I am in Christ, for I am a new creation and was fully restored.”

That is my story. Perhaps it will encourage you to share what at this stage you are afraid to share … I have come to know my weak spots spiritually. There are days when I cannot watch movies others take as ‘normal’ … there are books I cannot read at times. I have learned to respond to the Holy Spirit immediately, because if I do not… I trip and fall into sin. So I try to be sensitive to the Spirit at all times… respond as vigorously and immediately as I can fathom and stay as far away from sin as possible. Today I do no longer struggle to maintain friendships even with people who feel they are homosexual. God has given me a powerful testimony and has blessed me with the ability to share it without condemnation.

You have to choose. No one can take that from you. And the choice isn’t an easy one – but the struggle and fight is worth it and you do not stand alone… an army of angels will be right there by your side…and Jesus with them.

I have tried to show what I believe is a problem with many Christians… the fact that we judge too quickly and that we are no longer disgusted by sin itself. We have started to choose which sin may disgust us – but God doesn’t make that distinction… and God loves the sinner and made a way for every one through Jesus Christ.

Likewise I have opened my past, for you to gather a glimpse to see and be a witness that I speak out of love… not condemnation.

I cannot and I will not choose for you. I will pray for you. I will not bible-bash you to decide the one or other way. I have said what I was led to say… and will not pressure you with it. You know my heart and my story now. It might not be yours… for all I know yours might be completely of a different nature… but I pray you will be able to transfer of it what you need to hear.

I am your friend…and I will stay your friend. And I refuse to judge.

Where did I come from?

 

Comparison Christianity and Islam Part 3

The idea behind this post is to educate. Further comparisons will follow in similar fashion.

(Information will partially be taken from: thereligionofpeace.com . That is not to say that I agree with all of their content, but I judge the content in this case as unbiased and a good representation of it.)

Differences Between 
Early Muslims and Early Christians

Muhammad’s Companions…

Jesus’ Disciples…

Lived as warriors.

Lived like harmless hippies.

Slew and persecuted religious minorities.

Were slain and persecuted
as a religious minority.

Emphasis on Jihad (the way of Muhammad)

“He who fights that Allah’s word should
be superior fights in Allah’s cause”
(Bukhari 53:355)

Emphasis on Evangelism (the way of Jesus)

“Go ye into all the world and preach
the gospel to every creature”

(Matthew 15:16)

Attacked and conquered the populations in
parts of 28 modern countries in just the first
three decades following Muhammad’s death.

Did not resort to violence of any sort,
despite tremendous persecution.

Declared holy war on the people of five
major world religions in just the first
100 years following Muhammad’s death.

Went centuries without declaring ‘holy war’.

Plundered and lived off the wealth of others.

Gave away their possessions to those in need.
(Acts 2:44-45)

Captured and enslaved non-Muslim people.

Considered themselves to be slaves of others.

Waged war to keep members from leaving
the religion.  Put apostates to death.

No record of aggression toward apostates.

Muhammad’s own family members quickly
fell into armed warfare against each other.

Jesus’ disciples never resorted to violence
against one another (or anyone else).

First 240 Years:
11 of the first 32 caliphs were
murdered by fellow Muslims.

First 240 Years: 
14 of the first 25 popes were martyred by
pagans (none by fellow Christians).

Caliphs were polygamous and maintained  harems of hundreds of captured sex slaves.

Popes were expected to be celibate.

Islamic mosques sustained by taxes forced from subjugated non-Muslims (the jizya).

Christian churches sustained
by voluntary tithes from Christians.