Tag Archives: You have to decide

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!

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.

Outreach to the wood crafters of Swakopmund

It all started when I had too much time at hand and decided to find out what people really needed. I walked down toward the Mole (that is the beach near the city centre of Swakopmund) and just before arriving there, I stopped at the wood crafters market. The men that work there make wooden souvenirs for tourists to buy and try to make a living of that. Most of them come from Kavango (an area in the north of Namibia), Zambia or Zimbabwe and Congo.

Of course when I arrived I was treated like any customer…asked to come and look at their pieces of art and acknowledge their work. So I did… but not without letting them know that I wasn’t here to buy anything but to talk to them about Jesus.

We talked and shared… about our lives with Jesus. And they voiced their need for Bibles… their need for someone to teach them how to reach out to their (mostly atheist) European customers. I promised to be back.

Next time I went… I brought some Bibles I could get. They wanted me to write a dedication into each one of them. I exchanged cell numbers with Alex (a local there) to keep track of who needs a Bible still and who is to get the next one.

So I went again… and again… sometimes with Bibles (sadly not every time, as I do not have some available every time I go) sometimes just to sit and chat.

One day… Walter (an artist there) invited me…to come on Sunday afternoon and teach them. Spontaneously I said yes. That Sunday after Church I invited JP and Dorette & Leon to come along. All of them were all fired up to the task and we went at 15h to reach out at the wood crafters market.

Inviting people individually we gathered them… and preached on the “Prodigal Son”  – of the 30-40 men and women that came to hear, 8 or more got saved that day!

The Sunday after we went again… teaching on “Why God allows suffering” as that was a topic that came up. We also started bringing our guitars and introduced the song of “Jabulani Africa”. John entered discipleship with Dorette and Leon that day… wanting to be discipled as he is on the verge of being married.

 

The next Sunday we went… we talked about following Jesus. Jesus being LORD and living a sanctified life!  We also talked about baptism. Dominique as well as John decided they wanted to be baptised. We could not agree more. Both do not have a church yet and have a strong faith. So we agreed to go the next Sunday at 12h to baptise them in the sea.

Today is the Sunday of Pentecost and the Sunday of John and Dominique’s baptism. Two men have decided to publicly proclaim their belonging to Christ! Dying to their old self and rising from the seawater clothed in Christ being a new person!

 gathering at the beach   off we go into the water   we baptize in the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

   instantaneously glorifying God after rising from the water.

We will continue to go… we intend to start discipling a group there and to help them to learn how to disciple others themselves (for we do not want this reaching out and fellowshipping to be nonexistent once we do not come). We intend to provide more Bibles… and to teach them how to reach out to their customers as they desire to.

Please pray that we will get more Bibles and to gain wisdom to teach to open hearts and open ears and eyes. That more lives will eternally be changed!

Making a living as a wood crafter is anything but an easy task. Many use witchcraft to gain customers and often therefore the Christians amongst them have a hard time to get round financially. Many have problems with alcoholism and need deliverance that only God can give.

Please intercede for these precious men (and women) of God!

May God bless you! And remember… one person CAN make a difference – by BEing the change!

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!

Decide where you stand

So often we get taught not to go into extremes. And let me tell you I feel that that is a good advice for many areas of life!

However there is an area of life that affects every other area, where I feel this is not the right way to go about.

Let me tell you a story:

There is a guy walking on a high broad wall… taking a stroll during a beautiful summer day and enjoying the landscape around. On the one hand side of the wall there is a beautiful forest… tall conifers, shade underneath and meadows in between the trees. The other side shows a beautiful open area… a fantastic view… open grass areas… an occasional old oak tree. So breathing the summer breezed air, he enjoys every moment of it. Then he comes to a place on the wall…a guy sitting on a rock smoking a pipe on the forest side… an ongoing party on the other. The guy sitting on the rock in the forest seems calm and relaxed. The people having a party on the other side …they are just different. It seems to be a party with joy…I mean true joy, love and peace at the same time. However when they see the guy on the wall, they come over and ask him… almost plead with him to come down off that wall and join them. That seems strange to him, as they seem to have a great time without him already… and he thinks it strange and so he asks the guy on the other side about this: “Why is it that those having a party on the other side plead with me to come and join them and to come off this wall. And you are sitting here all at rest and don’t even feel the need to invite me to come and join you?” The man replies: “I own the wall.”

The bible is very clear that in the heavenly realm there is no grey area. If we do not decide to be FOR God, then we are against Him.

Many people are deceived by thinking a moderate and liberal view on Christianity is the best way to go about. Let me tell you… Jesus wasn’t liberal or moderate. Our GOD is a holy God, a God of love but also a just God. He is creator, so He sets the rules…and they have been set.

You have to decide. No one can decide for you…no one should push you into a decision you don’t want to take…but by deciding not to decide…you are already making a choice.

Decide whose side you want to be on…decide still today…think about it earnestly…be honest to yourself…and when you make a choice…make it wholeheartedly!

Many Christians think they have chosen already… if you are a Christian… look at your life. Has your choice changed your life? Do the people around you notice you are different? Do you fear GOD, or do you fear man? Is your life a sanctified life?

God bless you!