Tag Archives: Truth

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!

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What if … ?

“What if…” – a standalone phrase that we say all too often. I want to challenge you to not brush it off this time…but to let it sink in and to allow it to revolutionize your life.

Let me state before I start, that this post is directed specifically for Christians.

So let us be honest with ourselves… let us pray in advance:

“Dear Lord, I love you and I want to remain teachable in response to your Spirit. I pray that the parts of this post that are applicable to my own life will stand out to me, and those that simply to not apply, will not condemn, but simply fall away. I trust and I believe in your unconditional love and I invite only you, Holy Spirit, God to work within me today. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.”

Now, read through the post, even if you didn’t pray…perhaps you feel like it later, if not, then not. Allow me to ask some bold “what if – questions”.  You might want to read them as though they are questions you pose toward yourself.

What if…

… I believed every word the Bible contains?

… I believed that God truly loves me unconditional and always has my best in mind?

… I believed that God is judge and that there is a hell?

…  I believed the punishment for sin is eternity in hell?

Would I live differently? Would I then act differently? Would I stop to fancy sin? Would I fear God?

What if…

… I believed that there was a heaven?

… I believed God doesn’t want to see ANY person end up in hell?

… I truly believed that Jesus has died for every sin and is willing to forgive ALL my sins?

… I believed I am being forgiven in the same measure that I forgive others?

… I believed the Bible is a love letter from God to me?

… I believed that the great commission was given to me?

Would I read my Bible more? Would I love more? Would I forgive more? Would I share the Gospel more?

What if …

… I believed God truly knows the depths of my heart?

… I believed God is the same: yesterday, today and tomorrow?

… I believed submission to leadership is from God?

… I believed that there lies immeasurable power in prayer?

Would I allow God to purify me? Would I trust in His provisions more? Would I believe in miracles? Would I submit more instead of gossip and moan? Would I PRAY more?

As a Christian we answer to all these “what if’s” that we do. However does that reflect in our behaviour?

EVERY person on earth ALWAYS acts on what they TRULY believe.

(If you believe it will rain any second, you will not go outside the house unprepared – right?)

FAITH is only true and honest faith, if we act on it.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IN?

God bless you!

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

 

Normal life with a mission

Many times people have asked me what I actually do – being in Africa, working as a teacher … and if there are chances to evangelize, and work for God too. This time, let me tell you how exciting an ordinary week of mine can be – especially with God.

I am a teacher…at a private school in a small coastal town called Swakopmund in Namibia (a country in southern Africa). I teach 33 lessons a week – most of them sports (Grades 3-7), Religion and Moral Education (Grades 5-7) and I have my own register class (a grade 5) where I teach Natural Science and Mathematics as well. Most learners of that private school come from wealthy households and people might think they need less attention as they surely lack less. They do not know HOW MUCH they are mistaken. Every day, I come across learners that desperately desire to be taken seriously, be listened to earnestly, be heard, be loved and that seek who they are with every inch of their being.

So here is a typical week:

I get up daily at 04h50 to spend an hour in prayer for my learners (for otherwise I would not make the day)…then get ready for school…and cycle 4km from my flat to school. There I encounter friendly and challenging faces, moods, colleagues and learners. They all are in need for someone to honestly ask how they are, and they all need to be served with loving kindness that only Jesus can grant sufficiently – but to be honest many do not want to hear that part.

When teaching I encounter questions from learners that allow deep insight into their souls. They are looking for a reason to live… a reason to form values and morals, they are in need for a better reason to continue learning than a short answer of how it helps in later life… they struggle with their peers, are saddened by fights among class mates… are terrified of test results (because they get measured too often only by performance results)… and struggle to understand adult behaviour and choices at times.

They get told what to do when, where to perform how and many times sit next to someone they dislike in their class – just because it helps keeping them quiet. They sometimes have been given up… their dreams have been demolished and they seek for a place and world where they can just BE who they at that stage hope to be.

I started a project in my RME classes last year. I made them write a letter to me (or rather an imaginary diary that would then answer them) talking about what moves them inside and inviting them to ask questions (primarily) on faith that they have. They were allowed to do so, using an anonymous name. I started it with my register class of last year… this year continued it with all the grades 5-7 of my school. And the results are shocking, moving to the core, heart breaking … they make you laugh and cry… hope and despair… and they call out for a change!

Here are some typical questions and needs that come to light through these letters:

– How can I deal with my friendship challenges (fights, disagreements, …)

– I cannot concentrate in school because I am so concerned for my mom – how can I help her?

– I get bullied by … what can I do?

– I hate my life… and I am thinking of committing suicide.

– There are so many accidents happening – why can’t people just drink responsibly?

– I want to be good again – how can I do that?

– I have been to my hometown. There is great poverty. What can I do to make a change?

– My parents are not living together any longer. I struggle with that and sometimes I wonder if it is my fault. Can you tell me what I can do to fight my sadness?

– I get mad so often…but I don’t even know why?

– Why does God love sinners?

– How do I know God is real?

– Why is there so much violence because of religion?

– What does nothing look like?

– Who created God?

– How does God communicate with us?

– Did Jesus really die for us?

– Why are we here on earth?

– Religion says God created the moon, however science says something else. How can I know who is right?

– I think I am gay… what now?

– Can I be a Buddhist AND a Christian?

– I smoke and drink…and no one notices.

– No one seems to have time for me.

– I want to spend eternity with Christ. HOW CAN I BECOME A CHRISTIAN? Please tell me how!

There are so many more things they tell me… they ask… and some are funny and humorous, other shocking and state more severe need to interact than even the worst one’s above. I answer every single one of them… in letters – handwritten. I offer for them to continue writing. Some take me up on that offer. And all I do… I pray… I ask what really moves them and what questions they still have… and the results are honesty beyond words, questions that I feel need to find a place at home but quite apparently don’t (for whatever reasons). I do not judge… I listen. And I allow their pain to be displayed in full force and I bring that to the cross of Calvary.

Besides that I teach them… about healthy living, team work, the miracles of our body, core values and morals; about Judaism, and Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and African Cults in comparison to Christianity, the Bible, the person of Jesus, Christian worship and Christian persecution. We discuss who we are… the ‘self’, the community we live in… matters of life and death such as abortion, artificial insemination, death sentences, euthanasia, medically assisted suicide and many more.

And when the school day ends after 8 lessons of teaching every day… I go home… and do the work only teachers know of really. Then I come before God… and I prayfor grace when talking to parents that are desolate of ideas to help their child, for patience and other fruit of the spirit when dealing with my learners, for ideas to teach curriculum and syllabus appealingly…and so much more. And I thank God… for loving me… for granting wisdom… for giving hope and a future… and for placing me, where I admittedly sometimes dislike to be…but know I am at the centre of His will for the meanwhile.

So if you ask me what I do… I might just as well answer… I am a servant of the Most High God! … and I need your prayers and His grace daily!

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.

Comparison Christianity and Islam Part 1

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 
Islamic Teaching and Christianity

The Qur’an

The Bible

External sources (the Hadith and Sira) necessary for translating the Qur’an

Historical context contained
within the text of the Bible

Must know Arabic in order to “fully understand” the Qur’an (according to Muslim apologists)

Universal.  Can be translated into other languages without excessive commentary.

Chronological progression of the
Quran is from peace to violence.

Chronological progression of the
Bible is from violence to peace.

The words ‘torture’ and ‘punishment’ appear six
times more often than in the New Testament.

The word ‘love’ appears five times more often
in the New Testament than in the Qur’an,

Contains not a single original moral value.

The ‘Sermon on the Mount’ and others.

Suffering is an excuse for violent revenge
and establishment of Islam by force

“And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]…and fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.” 
(Qur’an 2:191)

Suffering builds character

“We also rejoice in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering
produces perseverance; perseverance,
character; and character, hope”

(Romans 5:4)

Emphasis on this World

“And Allah has made you heirs to their land
and their dwellings and their property”

(Qur’an 33:27)

Emphasis on the Next

“Mine is not a kingdom of this world”
(John 18:36, see also Luke 14:33)

Kill, convert or subjugate Christians and Jews.
(Qur’an 9:29)

Share one’s faith with gentleness and respect.
(1 Peter 3:15)

Martyrs as Killers

“Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain”
(Qur’an 9:111)

Martyrs as Martyrs

“As it is written, For thy sake we are
killed all the day long; we are
counted as sheep for the slaughter”
(Romans 8:36)

Killing Apostates

“They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them”
(Qur’an 4:89, also Bukhari 52:260, 83:37…)

Letting God Judge Apostates

“For we know Him that has said,
‘Vengeance belongs unto me, I will
recompense,’ says the Lord.  And again,
‘The Lord shall judge his people'”
(Hebrews 10:25-30)

Punishment

“Let not compassion move you
from carrying out God’s law…”
(Qur’an 24:2)

Mercy

“Love is patient.  Love is kind…
It keeps no record of wrongs”
(1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

Charity and Non-Believers

Mercy toward fellow Muslims – ruthlessness toward unbelievers.  Muslims are warned not to befriend those outside the faith.  They must even ensure that their charity tithe (zakat) does not go toward the needy of other religions.
(Qur’an 48:29, 3:28, Sharia)

Charity and Non-Believers

Christians are specifically told that even
those who hate them are entitled to
kindness and charity.  They should be loved
and cared for as surely as any fellow believer.
(Mark 10:25-37)

The Qur’an does not command husbands
to love their wives, but it does give men
permission to beat disobedient women.
(Qur’an 4:34, Sahih Muslim 2127)

“Husbands, love your wives and
do not be harsh with them.”
(No permission to beat women)
(Colossians 3:19)

Explicitly allows Muslim men to rape their female slaves, even those already married.
(Qur’an 4:24, 70:29-30, 23:5-6…)

Tells masters and slaves to serve
each other as if serving God.
(Ephesians 6:7-9)

Muhammad is the messenger
of Allah. And those who are with him
are ruthless to the unbelievers”
(Qur’an 48:29)

“Do good to them that hate you”
(Luke 6:27)

Allah wills those that stray and are lost
(Qur’an 16:93)

God wants all people saved
(1 Timothy 2:4)

Warns Against Questioning Faith.
(Qur’an 5:101-102)

Welcomes Intellectual Challenge.
(1 Peter 3:15)

Violence as Virtue

“Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye
dislike it.  But it is possible that ye
dislike a thing which is good for you, and
that ye love a thing which is bad for you.
But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”
(Qur’an 2:216)

Violence as Sin

“Do not take revenge, my friends, but
leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written:
‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy
is hungry,  feed him… ‘”
(Romans 12:19-20)

Hell for unbelief.
Good deeds count for naught
(Qur’an 18:102-107)

Hell for bad deeds and the
failure to do what is right
(Romans 2:6-8, Matthew 16:27, Matthew 25:41-45)

Judging

“Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites!  Be harsh with them…”
(Qur’an 9:73)

Judge Not

“For when you pass judgment on another person, you condemn yourself…”
(Romans 2:1)

Taking wealth from others

“Allah promiseth you much
booty that ye will capture…”
(Qur’an 48:20)

Working for and giving wealth to others

“The thief must no longer steal but must
work hard and do what is good with his
own hands, so that he might have
something to give to the needy.”

(Ephesians 4:28)

Calls down Allah’s curse on Christians
and those of other religions.
(Qur’an 9:30)

Calls down God’s blessing on
those who curse Christians.
(Matthew 5:44)

Arrogance & Privilege

“Ye are the best of peoples,
evolved for mankind”

(Qur’an 3:110)

Humility & Servitude

“If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.”
(Mark 9:35)

“O you who believe! do not take My
enemy and your enemy for friends:
Would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the truth?
(Qur’an 60:1)

“Love your enemies…”
(Luke 6:27)

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!

The truth about Halloween

Halloween is a much known festival in Germany today. But where did it originally come from?

On the night of October 31st, people dress up as ghosts, mummies, witches or demons.

This tradition comes from an ancient Celtic pagan’s festival known as Samhein. People thought that the ghosts of the dead come back to visit the living and haunt them on this day. They believed the ghosts could kill them, make them sick or bring bad fortune to their families. To calm Samhein, the god of death, witches and fortune-tellers went from house to house and demanded an offering, sometimes even a human sacrifice for Samhein.

They carried animal masks and lanterns with candles made from the human fat of prior sacrifices. The beet represented the ghosts that cursed the living. If people didn’t give a sacrifice, they cursed the house and marked it with the blood of an animal.

From this belief originated the slogan `trick or treat´. This means, that either you give something to please the person, or they play a trick on you.

When this tradition came to America the beet was replaced by the pumpkin.

October 31st also is the New Years Day of the witch calendar and one of the most important witch Sabbaths. During this night, still today, human sacrifices are made in the US and Australia.

Halloween is more than a spooky fun festival. It is still today a demonic ritual.