Tag Archives: spend time with God

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!

Looking back at 2012

Many often ask who I am and what I am doing. So here a recap of 2012 and what I spent my time on doing:

I am 31 years of age, teacher at a local private school and dedicated member and servant in Shofar Christian Church Swakopmund.

At the school I have a grade 5 as register teacher and teach Natural Science as main subject in it. Other than that I teach Physical Education in grades 3-7 and Religion and Moral education in grades 5-7.

Other than that, I lead a small group with teenage girls who I disciple and have the privilege of leading and accompanying into a vivid relationship with Jesus Christ. Also I am part of the intercessory group in my church and lead the Outreach and Missions Ministry.

Here a summary of what went on throughout this year in the outreach and missions ministry.

I pray you enjoy it and am looking forward to another year of serving our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Outreach and Missions presentation for blog

Abundant blessings!

Jessica

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

 

What climbing can teach about Faith.

I recently started climbing and bouldering and am enjoying it very much. However the question that determines most of the things I do is: “What does it teach me about God or my Faith?”

Though the below might not be an all inclusive list…it is what stood out to me:

Dependence is what keeps you alive. Even though society tries to convince us that independence is the ultimate goal, here tied to a top rope you learn to treasure the dependence of another person below. Likewise dependence on God is an absolute essential for life!

You only climb ahead when secured. Equipment to be in good shape and order is essential and secures life. Choosing the right equipment is equally important. When you climb you want to make sure that equipment is in place and in good shape. That goes for every walk of our lives…for when it is not…we suffer the consequences. When thinking of it, the equipment represents the basics you have learned in faith…it is your gifting and the anointing combined with the acquired skills. Climbing without being secured onto a rope (i.e. dependence on God and a congregation) and the right equipment will lead to failure.

The rope is you life-belt. It is quite simple… the rope breaks, you fall and possibly die. The rope is a symbol for your personal relationship with God and what you do to maintain and enhance it daily.

You need to put the weight and emphasis where your foot is. i.e. don’t climb primarily by arms strength or you’ll grow tired! This is a wonderful analogy to mission work and/or growth in the congregation. The foot represents the land you can conquer spiritually; the arms are your outreaches. Only when you have taken a solid stand spiritually does an outreach have a long lasting effect… otherwise it is often comparable to a drop of water on a hot plate.

(Foot)hold is only provided once you put your full weight on it. I have often met Christians who barely take in the land given to them, before they move on… it seems they are only on a journey through. However for the land to remain in your possession you need to STAND on your foot. Feel the ground… rely on it to carry you.

Once your foot can reach, your hand can follow. It is when you have taken the land in a spiritual sense (i.e. foot hold), that your arms and hands can reach out in ministry.

Your foot gets you up… your hand keeps you close to the rock. Your taking the land will allow you to advance… your reaching out will keep you close to the heart of Jesus, the Rock.

Think about where you want to go how BEFORE you climb that part. It is vital to know where you are headed to avoid failure and disappointment as well as burn out (the latter goes especially for spiritual matters).

You only concentrate on where you are at that specific moment – it’s of no avail to think of the top. If you do not focus on where you are at that moment, you are losing momentum, concentration and strength. Though this might seem simple and logical I have seen numerous people and Christians for that matter, that focus too much on the end goal to acquire the abilities/skills God wants them to acquire in the here and now. Likewise they disobey God in not doing what they do wholeheartedly and in love.

It is good to take a short rest and breathe once in a while… even enjoying the view. There is nothing wrong with enjoying what you do, finding rest and regaining strength. That goes for spiritual issues as well!

Technique is best trained when bouldering i.e. close to the ground. Bouldering is done in proximity to the ground… it is done without rope or harness to secure you. Your feet and hands are equally trained with your mind and eyes, to find good hold. The spiritual implication this has is: a congregation is a training ground…it is a place to learn technique and skills.

Falling down is part of the deal, but you allow the rock/wall to challenge you and get up and do it again and try to improve on it. Falling is part of the deal…so are scrapes on your knees and the like… so you get up and do it again and avoid making the same mistake twice. Likewise in faith… you will not lead the perfect life… you will at times fail, backslide, get hurt and scraped… but remember… you can get back up… the Rock (i.e. Jesus) challenges you to do so… in order to grow.

No matter how good you get…you never really excel 100% and are still vulnerable and dependent (on the rock, the rope, the equipment, skills, …). It is good to remember this last point. It teaches you humility and respect. And that goes for faith and daily life especially.

So next time you climb… remember these lessons (or at least some of them) and allow God to teach you more on the matter. Or if you haven’t climbed before… why don’t you go and try it… it might teach you on faith through experience and a good, fun workout.

God bless.

from one desert to another

“What is it with you and deserts, Lord?” We tend not to appreciate the desert times with God that much. Many sermons have circled around them and we so totally miss the point!

Living in Swakopmund and being basically in the Namib Desert here, I felt called to go visit a missionary in the Kalahari Desert in Noenieput, S.A.

But let me start at the beginning:

When I moved from Munich, Germany to Swakopmund, Namibia end of 2010 it was a move from a big European city to a small coastal city that lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Namib Desert. A city that finds comfort and familiarity more essential than rapid service and anonymity. Where roads are made out of salt (which creates a total mess IF it ever rains), the Light House is still the highest building and there are still places where you can come and pay tomorrow – provided you know the owner (which is in fact still very likely). A place where it still possible to know all about every other person you get to know and at the same are deceived by thinking you know them at all.

It was here that I perceived Gods calling to go and spend a week in Noenieput to meet a missionary there. Which I did. I thought I was going there to be blessed by God. I went with this sense of excitement believing God was going to reveal something very important to ME there and that I would be SO blessed through that. He did…but He did so very much different from what I thought. However I went with an arm long list of questions I had for God.

It was a trip full of blessings. A trip full of a silence that is able to still the inside storms. A journey from one desert to the next. But little did I know why I was being sent. But I was about to find out. Arriving there I had two choices…get unravelled about the fact that there was no common electricity, no cell phone reception and only bore hole water, OR I could embrace this fact to get a break from the speed in our lives that sometimes mutes our souls just once to many.

So I calmed…and the presence of horses made it ever so much more easily, as horses do not communicate primarily verbal but with body language. And they allow you to just “BE”.

I spent a week in the beauty of vast open spaces in a desert…coming from another desert and being left with finding: “God does in fact love deserts!”. I met an amazing man of God and his wife (Barrie Burger and his wife Annette) and we talked before the sun came up and after it had long left the horizon to give way to a starry sky. We talked and shared the silence looking into the fire. We prayed together and shared testimonies. We shared the air we breathed and at times that was all that was needed to answer both our questions. For sitting in silence with another person without feeling the urge to talk is something wonderful. And during that week I met more people… I met people of which I now – weeks later – call some friends. And I cannot help but discover that I have changed.

And I too cannot help, but find that I was responding to God’s need for me to be there as a messenger much rather than being only on the receiving end.  Being sent there to accompany another on her way from the cross closer to Jesus heart. To walk with her a while and lead her to a place where she finds that Jesus wants to serve her too. Talking with yet another and being the partner in conversation that was able to exalt Gods glory and His healing power – where he had believed…but now was allowed to witness and see.

In the end… I left with tears streaming down my cheeks. Knowing… I had spent a week in the centre of Gods will…serving others and yet being served… by my glorious Lord and Saviour!

“What is it with you and deserts, Lord?” I have come to love the desert…and I will embrace every one of the deserts I get to be in, knowing… they calm my storm and bring me closer to my Lord and God!

10 Steps, a Recipe or Christianity?

We are human. We love a recipe… for every aspect of life; to cook, to lose weight, to get fit, to escape burn-out, to define ourselves, to success,…

Then we look at the Old Testament Pharisees and we condemn them of giving the Israelites a recipe on how to live life that is pleasing to God. We call it dead religion.

Then comes Jesus. Radical, NON religious as it gets, revolutionist, DIFFERENT from every recipe or 10 step plan mankind knows up to then… and changes it all! He is disgusted by ‘dead religion’, by all the rules set out to please our need for a recipe to fix and do it all and get it all right.

Today, here we stand… and again most of us are stuck with a recipe on how to be a Christian and a 10 step plan on living sanctified lives. We often are no different from these Pharisees… our rules just SEEM different. They sound something like this:

–          go to church on a regular basis

–          don’t smoke, drink, etc

–          don’t watch movies like…

–          do good works for God

–          pray a prayer of salvation and let the pastor affirm you are saved now

–          cleanse your house of anything that might deny God

–          …

And I imagine Jesus standing by and shouting out to get heard through the haze of tradition and religion, weeping because what we follow is a 10 step plan or some modern recipe that is NO different from the Pharisees tradition… but we miss the point. We are to follow HIM.

All we are to do…is get to know Jesus/God more. Know Him more today than yesterday, tomorrow more than today.

How do we do that, if not by our newly created religion? Easy…and difficult at the same time:

Instead of following instructions by people who claim to be Christians (and authors at times, of Christian books)… read the Bible, pray…read it again, pray… and again! Every time you fail to understand what it means, get down on your knees and pray. Don’t give up… continue to pray. Your knees are sore?… then get on your feet and pray… talk to GOD… scream out for Jesus… ask for wisdom (for God promises to give it to us if we ask for it). If you feel you cannot go on, on your own…get a brother or sister in Christ… now both of you… get down on your knees… pray!

Draw near to God! Draw closer to Jesus! Let the Holy Spirit confirm your salvation to you… let Him confirm God’s will to you by allowing you to understand the Bible! Let GOD speak to you!

And many of the things that you would have done out of purely following recipes before, now will follow out of conviction and a relationship to God!

You will not KNOW GOD more by following the religious recipe of Christians! You will miss the point if that is all you do. Even if you do it with an upright heart and devoted soul.

Unless JESUS and a relationship to HIM is the centre of your being… the rest is dead works…and will lead to death… not to the life you so dearly desire.

Change your life today! DRAW NEAR TO GOD!

Hurting to show them you are hurting

I have met many people who inflict injury to themselves … I myself have done it years ago… but why? I have met many people who ask ‘why’ and do not understand. In this article I will not deal with the psychological side of things, as there are others that will do much better on it, but I’d like to look partially at the spiritual side of it.

Have you ever been angry enough to feel like hitting the wall or a door? Have you ever been faced with actions of stupidity that almost hurt? Have you ever wished you could turn an emotional hurt into a physical, because that would be more bearable? Have you ever visited a doctor, physiotherapist, biokineticist … just once more than necessary, just because the attention felt good? Or as a child, have you ever hurt your arm…and it did hurt… but a bandage or sling wouldn’t have been necessary for you – but somehow it felt good?

Well… that is basically the same thing… it comes of the same origin. Though most self inflicted injury has an addictive potential and is much worse, the idea… the need behind it is the same.

It is attention seeking. When hurting emotionally, we feel the need to be noticed… the need for someone to notice our hurting inside. Most people would go and consult a friend (up to the point of throwing a pity party) or talk to a partner. Sadly not everyone has someone in their lives that will understand…so they turn to other means, for their need is real and it feels like it is slowly killing them. For even if a doctor won’t attest their hurting emotionally in most cases, at least he will acknowledge and listen. For even if a wound, self – inflicted, isn’t pretty … it will cause people to ask and be interested in how YOU feel.

But what does God say about it? What is HIS answer to this situation?  In the Old Testament, the Bible tells us of cults in which people cut themselves as part of their cult rituals. And it states clearly that God despises this behaviour. Other Bible verses confirm that a person may hurt but still smile as to hide their true feelings and that people cut themselves during a time of mourning.

But perhaps the question isn’t so much why God despises it (for most people would rather stop it sooner than later, if they found their need met and the addiction to fade), but rather, what does God offer to prevent, heal and stop it.

God never wanted you to feel alone in such a way that your only way out is to be noticed by people using all and any means! He loves you! He had His son, Jesus Christ suffer on your behalf to give you healing – even of this! He promises to be with you even in your darkest moments of despair!

Consult in HIM. Turn to Him with your need. Draw near to Him. Call out to Him… for He will hear you and answer you and He alone can heal your heart and fill it with His unconditional love and peace and joy.

Many people inflicting injury to themselves have been doing so for very long. If that is you, I advise you to seek professional help (there are Christian counsellors and Christian psychologists, who will help you from both: medical and spiritual side). But trust in GOD… He is the answer and the source of healing! It may require you to break away from friends with the same habit and problem… it might require you more will power than you expected… but there IS deliverance and healing.

May God be with you on this path! Be it understanding and praying for those that are affected or being affected yourself.  May HE guide you and bless you! Remember, the answer lies in Jesus! 

 

 

Spending time…

How much time have you spent…

–         working

–         with friends

–         watching TV or in front of the pc

–         eating, drinking, sleeping

–         doing sport

–         on the phone, writing sms

–         playing games

–         complaining, gossiping, bragging

–         dreaming without knowing where to start

–         hoping and despairing

–         envisioning

–         making un-kept promises

–         thinking you are insufficient?

STOP.

When last have you…

–         spent some quality time with friends

–         had a lovely meal

–         a warm bath – just because you can

–         enough sleep

–         looked at nature and been in awe of GOD

–         prayed

–         read your bible

–         spent time with GOD

–         loved like JESUS … like there was no tomorrow but eternity waiting

–         asked forgiveness and said you are sorry

–         repented, eyes full of tears, on your knees before GOD

–         spent a night in prayer

–         told someone about JESUS?

EXACTLY.

I guess you are starting to see where I am heading!

Most people feel, like they are missing out. It is the stuff of the first list, they relate to. Are you one of them? And then they’d laugh about the second list, as they’d agree with some of the stuff and think the GOD-stuff ridiculous.

Well, if you are… feel invited to read on – this is for you!

If you are not… if you are just a Christian who feels he/she hit rock bottom and would just finally need some REST…then this is for you too

The quality of life doesn’t get determined by the things we do or do not get to… it is determined by the perspective we have on it… by the dimension we live in and by our focus and the sense that that focus gives our lives!

Try focussing on things one at a time.

What are you living for? Is it really … are you sure… make sure.

Will this give you peace beyond understanding … joy independent of circumstances… and unconditional love? If so… it is worth it. If not so… then be sure, you will continue longing…it will never be enough.

In case you were wondering who could give the above mentioned requirements… JESUS can.

IF you make him LORD in your life!

Perhaps Jesus is Lord in your life… then as yourself the questions in the second block…they will help you get back on track.

After you found out what you are living for… try to focus… not on the dreams that go with it… but on each single step up the hill that lies before you… upon the flowers and grasses next to the path you take… on the air you breathe and on the beauty that lies ahead.

Then walk it… step by step. But never forget… it is not about the things of the way… it is about the relationship… the focus on the One, that is the centre of it all. It is about knowing Him…seeking Him…feeling his heartbeat and sharing in His mind and heart. It is not about you.

We often make the mistake to make it all about us. It is all about HIM. HE is LORD. HE is JESUS.

You think I’m not speaking the truth… then give it an honest and full-hearted try and experience it for yourself!

The Bible tells us in the book of Romans 10:9 “ if you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.“

Be blessed!