WHERE ARE YOU, GOD?

“I am reminded of the query made about man’s inhumanity to man in the concentration camps. The question was asked: At Auschwitz, tell me, where was God?

And the answer came: Where was man?

For it was men alone who did this evil. Not God or religion or men acting in the name of God or religion. But simply men.”
– Glenn Meade

I read the above a few weeks ago and it has stayed with me.

There have been numerous times in my life when I have cried out “Why God? Where are you God? Why aren’t you intervening in this situation, God?

The first time I recall crying out to God to intervene in a situation was when I was twelve years old and my parents announced they were getting a divorce.  I prayed and begged God to keep the family intact.  He didn’t…and the result was that I turned my back on Him till I was in my mid-twenties.

In hindsight there was absolutely nothing that God could do about the situation.

He gave my dad and mom freedom of choice, just as He gives each one of us the same freedom, and because of this He does not intervene.  If He did, we would be no more than little robots doing exactly what He has programmed us to do.

In Genesis 1:26 & 27 God said Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

God created us and gave us dominion over ourselves and the earth.

We are the ones who have chosen to destroy it.  We have introduced insecticides and pesticides into the earth, artificial hormones into animals, pollution into the air, deforestation, overexploitation of the seas and the earth…the list is endless.

We have brought famine, illness, destruction and wars upon ourselves – God is not responsible.

I marvel that this God who created a beautiful world and who made man and woman in His image has watched us, through the ages, destroy everything He gifted us. And…instead of turning His back on us in disgust, He sent His Son to die on a cross so that we would be able to spend eternity with Him. What amazing grace. What an amazing gift.

“The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you. There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you’ll reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.”
― Frederick Buechner

Maybe we should start thinking less about our circumstances and what we are going through and more about God’s gift to us and the gift we can give Him – our acceptance that His love can and will carry us through anything, even death.

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COVID-19 POSITIVE AND QUARANTINING FOR 14 DAYS WITH YOUR SPOUSE!

“Marriage, ultimately, is the practice of becoming passionate friends.”

Harville Hendrix

A few weeks ago our entire family tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.  We went into quarantine immediately. For 14 days my spouse, myself, and our three daughters along with the dog were not allowed to set a foot outside our garden. It was quite an experience.

As one daughter commented, “It’s a good thing we all like each other!”

The first week was tough as we all felt quite ill but by the second week we were starting to recover and it was actually a good time. My husband and I listened to sermons online, spent more time in prayer and reading of the Bible, and talked about life.

In the weeks since we have recovered, I have been reflecting on this time, on the concept of marriage and doing life together.

My husband and I have been married for 28 years and he truly is my best friend. He says I am his best friend as well! We love spending time together. We also value the fact that we read God’s Word together and pray together on a daily basis at a set time but we also continue to pray throughout the day. It is a habit we have formed over the years. A beautiful habit.

In having said the above, I have a confession to make. At the beginning of lockdown and during our time of quarantine, I found myself getting really upset and irritated. Because I work part-time I am at home far more than my husband so the house and cooking are basically my responsibility. We were, however, both staying at home now, and yet he was not helping me around the house. I started to feel a huge resentment. These feelings festered, as they tend to do, and I eventually exploded. The poor man’s response was “But why didn’t you just say something earlier, of course, I will help. Tell me what you need to be done?”

Because it wasn’t his norm he hadn’t thought about what I was doing.

Ironic really—that after 28 years of writing and speaking about how vital communication in marriage is, I still fail hopelessly at times in communicating my feelings to my husband!

Our relationship now is a result of a stormy beginning, discussions of divorce in the earlier years, a huge amount of compromise and forgiveness, and the immense blessing of both of us having a good sense of humor. I am so thankful that we never threw in the towel but persevered with the marriage.

So many Believers lose hope in their marriages, in God’s power to restore lives . . . we did. It was only after seeking outside counsel and prayer that we could start seeing a glimmer of hope in the beginning years.

I read the Scripture below and thought how amazing it would be if we could learn to pray this scripture for our marriages during the challenging times. God’s word never returns to Him void (“…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” —Isaiah 55:11) so we have the absolute assurance that when we prayerfully quote Scriptures God listens and works on our behalf.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.  His love endures forever.”
(Lord, I thank you for my marriage, I thank you that you will fill my heart with a love that will endure forever towards my spouse.)

“…Cry out, “Save us, God our Saviour;”
(God, I cry out to you now, save my marriage.)

“…Gather us and deliver us from the nations”
(Gather my husband and I together Lord and deliver us from our hurt and un-forgiveness)

“…that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise.”
(We praise you Lord for restoring our marriage.)

1 Chronicles 16:34-35

Pray for your marriage, pray for your spouse, pray for yourself.

“True intercession involves bringing the person, or the circumstance that seems to be crashing in on you, before God, until you are changed by His attitude toward that person or circumstance.”

Oswald Chambers

Originally written for and published on Start Marriage Right, https://www.startmarriageright.com/2020/10/covid-19-positive-and-quarantining-for-14-days-with-your-spouse/

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CHOICES…

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“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise our Father in heaven”.  Matthew 5:16

We are called to be Jesus’ disciples here on earth, to follow His example of living, to be a light to the world.  When we commit our lives to Jesus, we become members of the family of God.

We become His earthly representatives. Or as Mother Theresa puts it, we become God’s love letters to a hurting world.

In practical terms it means that you have to choose your attitude every morning.

Choose whether you are going to let things upset you or whether you are going to let them go.  Choose whether you are going to be joyful and thankful or miserable and ungrateful.  Choose whether you are going to forgive others and yourself or whether you are going to hold onto un-forgiveness and hurt.

We live in the world, so we don’t have much power over things that happen around us and to us, but we do have the ultimate power of choosing how we will respond in any given situation.

In other words, it’s not what happens to you that matters it is the manner in which you react that will determine a positive or negative outcome.

There is always a split second before we react when we have the chance to choose.

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom”.  Viktor Frankl

Neurologist and psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War.  He suffered greatly and was stripped of everything.  This included his wife, parents, brother, career and his human dignity. Yet, he discovered the following:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way”.

As Believer’s we need to choose to live and respond to everything that happens to us in a Godly way.  We have to step out of our comfort zone and be willing to learn to change.

You are Jehovah Mekoddishkem, the Lord who sanctifies us.  We pray that you would sanctify us. That we would find favour in your eyes and in the eyes of the world.  That we would emulate your very nature and that our light will shine brightly at all times drawing people to You. Amen.

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COVID-19, JESUS AND BEING A HERO

Our daughter is a nurse and at the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak, the hospital that she works at set up a Covid Tent for testing. Doctors, nurses and administration staff willingly walked through the tent doors every day, risking their own lives, in order to help those who were sick.

The Covid tent was taken down this week and staff who worked in the tent and in the hospital were presented with ‘COVID-19 HERO’ medals.

My daughter does not see herself as a hero.

I see her as a hero.

In fact I see the majority of us living today as heroes.

The ones who serve others or work and contribute financially to help others, and the ones who are sick or destitute who wake up every morning with a smile and a sense of thankfulness and gratefulness – we are all capable of being heroes at different times in our lives.

When our youngest daughter was five years old she had to dress up as her hero for a day at school.

I explained to her that a hero was someone who is admired for their courage, kindness and care towards people, animals and the environment. Someone who will look after you and protect you if you are in danger or hurt or are just feeling sad.

I then asked her who her hero was and she replied ‘Sarah’. So she dressed up as Sarah for school.

Sarah is her older sister, now a nurse, who doesn’t feel like a hero.

Heroes are everyday people who live in our homes. Who serve us in shops. Who we meet on the street.

A hero is just an ordinary person who does something extraordinary” – Philip Zimbardo

The founder of the Heroic Imagination Project (HIP), Philip Zimbardo, believes that heroism can be taught.

His HIP programs are designed “to instill in the present generation — and in future ones — the notion of heroism not as something reserved for those rare individuals who do or achieve something extraordinary, but as a mind-set or behavior possible for anyone who is capable of doing an extraordinary deed.”

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the ultimate hero.

Jesus, who chose to come down to earth from heaven, chose to live as a human being for a period of time, chose to die the most horrific death by crucifixion -what a hero.

Jesus, who chose to be whipped, spat upon and cursed – what a hero.

Jesus, who knew that the sacrificial giving of His life would not be accepted by all but still chose to sacrifice Himself – what a hero.

Jesus, who bore our sins upon His body – what a hero.

Jesus, who suffered and died and rose again in order that we would be able to spend eternity with Him. Jesus who forgives us our sins – what a hero.

Jesus embodies every single characteristic of a hero.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 

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DON’T SEPARATE WHAT GOD PUTS TOGETHER

In today’s society where ‘freedom of expression’, ‘being your own person’, being ‘independent’ is strongly advocated, marriage is often seen as a loss of freedom, a loss of one’s individualism and too many people enter into a marriage with the thought that nothing will change and that if the marriage does not work out there is always divorce.

This is not what marriage is about. Marriage is a partnership. A commitment. Two people entering together into the same activity – marriage. Forever and ever and ever…till death you do part.

Marriage for Christian believers is also totally different compared to marriage for non-believers. As Christian believers, your marriage is based on the Word of God. Every instruction and guidance needed to create a happy marriage, an everlasting marriage, is in the Bible.

Divorce should not be an option because God has given us the Holy Spirit.

When you have an argument with your spouse:

Acts 2:38 declares, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” With the help of the Holy Spirit, you will be able to find a solution to the argument.

When you feel discouraged and lose hope in your marriage:

Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” With the help of the Holy Spirit, you will find new hope for your marriage.

When you are not sure what to say or do or how to behave in your marriage:

John 14:26 says, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” The Holy Spirit will be your advocate and guide you on how to behave.

When you fall out of love with your spouse:

Romans 5:5 reminds us, “…God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” The Holy Spirit will show you how to love again.

“The institution of marriage works better when there’s a spiritual connection. If you’re marrying just for the sake of the woman (or the man), then you may lose interest in each other very soon. When we marry in the interest of the Holy Spirit with the intention of serving God and humanity, then it gives a much larger perspective.” ~A.R. Rahman

The Irish have a beautiful Gaelic phrase Mo Anam Cara’– my soul friendAnam is the Gaelic word for soul and cara is Gaelic for a friend.

A soul friend is someone you don’t have to pretend with. The friendship is deep and abiding and it cannot be wounded or broken by distance or words.

The Irish author and poet John O’Donahue puts it so succinctly:

“A friend is a loved one who awakens your life in order to free the wild possibilities within you.  The one you love, your anam cara, your soul friend, is the truest mirror to reflect your soul.  The honesty and clarity of true friendship also brings out the real contour of your spirit.”

Your anam cara can be a friend, a companion, or a spiritual guide.

Your spouse needs to be your anam cara.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” ~Mark 10:7-9

Just as your bodies are joined together as one flesh in marriage, your soul is joined together as well.  God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are what completes and binds a marriage between Christian believers.

Originally written for and published on Start Marriage Right, https://www.startmarriageright.com/2020/07/dont-separate-what-god-puts-together/

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THE BLESSINGS OF HAVING COVID-19

There are five of us in our family. We all had Covid-19 at the same time.
It’s a good thing we like each other because we were quarantined together for 14 days.
Even the dog was in quarantine.  No-body could fetch him to take him for a walk because he was covered in our Covid-19 germs!

During the past few weeks we have had so many questions asked about Covid-19 that I thought I would share our experience!

We had all thought that if we did get Covid-19 it would be because of our eldest daughter, who is a nursing sister at Victoria Hospital, Cape Town and had been assisting with a lot of Covid-19 theater cases.

We assume, however that we got it from our youngest, when she returned to school.
I fetched her from school on Monday, the 15th June, because she was vomiting and we just thought she had a gastro bug so we were careless in the house and didn’t isolate her or wear masks around her. I believe that if we had taken precautions in the house at that time there is a good chance we would not all have contracted Covid-19.

Our middle daughter started to run a high temperature on the Thursday and had an itchy throat.  We started to take precautions then, but it was too late.

On the Monday my husband came home early from work, got tested on Tuesday, and miraculously got his test results back at midnight stating that he had tested positive for Covid-19.  By Wednesday we were all showing symptoms, got tested, and on Friday heard we were all positive.

Our symptoms differed from each other as you can see below:

Youngest daughter – vomiting, diarrhea, bad cough, headaches, night sweats, chills, sore throat, extreme fatigue, loss of smell and taste
Middle daughter – high temperature, itchy throat, coughing, headaches
Husband – high temp, slight sore throat, body aches, extreme fatigue, loss of smell and taste
Me – spikes in blood pressure, headaches, diarrhea, fatigue, loss of smell and taste
Oldest daughter – body ache, fatigue, nausea, loss of smell and taste

The first week and a half was really tough, with all five of us being sick at the same time.

However, for me, the blessings, love and care we received outweighed any illness.

At the beginning when I got ill God gave me the following verses and I meditated on them and found that it is possible to sing in the shadow of God’s wings.

“On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night, (we all spent a lot of time in our beds!)
Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings, I cling to you;
Your right hand upholds me.” (Psalm 63:6-7)

I fully believe that it is only because of the prayers of God’s people that we came through this relatively unscathed.

The prayers, love and practical support of His people sustained us and aided in our healing. Our minister and members of our church, Trinity Presby, supplied meals and constant prayer.
Friends and relatives supplied shopping, food, chocolates and prayers.

A friend of mine is a granny in her late 60’s and believes that Eucalyptus oil is vital for the healing of breathing issues and she was determined to anoint us with oil.
So one very wet, stormy and cold day she took a taxi from her home in Retreat to Wynberg.  Walked to two different pharmacies to find a bottle of Eucalyptus oil, then caught a taxi to Kenilworth and walked quite a distance to get to our house.
Because we were in isolation she anointed our gate post and then left the bottle for us on the door step, walked back to Kenilworth in the pouring rain and returned home by taxi.

James 5:14 and 15 says:  “Is anyone among you sick?  Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.”

God certainly healed us and raised us up.

Literally, not a day went by when food and treats were not delivered to the doorstep.

We were brought a humidifier and someone else included treats for our dog when they delivered a meal for us.
I slept for a whole Sunday and when I woke up in the early evening and walked into the kitchen the table was overflowing with food and cakes and we could hardly get the fridge door closed it was so packed.  Apparently, we had had numerous deliveries during the day.

Hebrews 13:16 says:
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased”

God must have been overjoyed with the people around us.

One delivery!

A friend of mine asked me telephonically during this time whether I wasn’t scared of having Covid-19, scared of dying.
I could honestly say that I had no fear and I was not worried.  I have no fear of death because I know where I am going, I know I will be spending eternity with God and my loved ones.
“If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.  So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord”. (Romans 14:8)

We do not need to fear getting Covid-19. It is not pleasant and you can die from it, so we do need to take as many precautions as we can BUT we can rest in the knowledge that God has gone before us, He holds us in the palm of His hand and no matter what happens, if we have committed our lives to Him, He will see us through everything.

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A CARING SEED

Almost 25 years ago I held a tiny new born in my arms.
I watched her play dress up and grow older.
I now watch as this same child, now a beautiful woman, comes home at the end of a day exhausted, tired, and often hungry because she hasn’t had time to eat, feet aching.

This child is now a nursing sister dressing up in COVID 19 protective equipment…

I came across this quote recently and it reminded me of this child of mine.

“Way back before you were born, God knew there was a need. So God picked your fertile heart and planted a caring seed. Then He waited and He watched. Knowing before too long, the desire in you to help others would continue to grow strong.” – Edwin C. Hofert

In two months’ time her Community Service year at one of our Government Hospitals will be coming to an end and as she prepares to send out her CV to various hospitals in South Africa, I can’t help but reflect on this year.

There are so many stories and experiences and tears and heartache and pain and joy and hope and desperation that she has shared with us over this year but there two memories that are embedded in my heart.

The first was something that she shared her first week of nursing and the second memory is something she shared yesterday.

She had been nursing for two days when I received a WhatsApp from her telling me about a young woman in her early twenties who had HIV and gastro, was in an isolation room and was dying.  Sarah had gone into the room in the morning and had just known that this young woman would die that day.

She prayed and asked God that she could be there when this woman died…that she wouldn’t have to die alone.

I received a WhatsApp later in the morning saying “God answered my prayer”

She was in the room holding this woman’s hand, stroking her hair and praying with her when she took her last breath.

Yesterday evening as she was leaving after her shift she came across an old man with one leg who was lying on a stretcher in the theater corridor. She stopped beside him and asked him if he was okay and whether she could bring him a blanket.  They started to talk and he told her that he was there to have the other leg amputated.  When asked if there was anyone at home to look after him he confided that there was only his wife, who was suffering from severe depression, and it was going to be very difficult.

She said she felt so helpless and hopeless, nothing more she could do for him, so without words… so she asked him whether he was religious.

He said yes, he was a Catholic and she asked whether she could pray with him and he said yes – and so she prayed.

Way back before she was born God saw this young woman with HIV and gastro, this old man without a leg, waiting to lose his other leg and countless more people and he planted a seed in her heart that He knew would grow and grow and grow.

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” Colossians 3:12

https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/covid-19-frontline-workers-nurses-share-stories/

https://www.africa-newsroom.com/press/coronavirus–south-africa-president-pays-tribute-to-nurses-on-international-nurses-day

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COVID 19, LOCK DOWN & THE BIBLICAL JOSEPH

The man resembling a bandit in this photo is my minister.  I whatsapped him the photo with the caption “Looks like a robbery in progress” and he responded:

“Lols, taking back enemy territory for Jesus”

I love that my minister has such a wonderful sense of humour and that His love of God is portrayed in very practical ways.  This is the time of COVID 19 and he and other Believers have been doing a major food drive. The result is that food parcels are being packed and taken to families, who are literally starving, on an ongoing basis. This photo captures the helpers taking the food parcels from the church to vehicles for delivery.

Satan, via COVID 19, has succeeded in closing church buildings down but in doing so he has opened doors for God’s love to be poured out, via His people, to each other and to a world in desperate need of that love on a scale that has never been seen before.  Added to that, Believers are spending far more time in God’s Word, encouraging others and gathering for ‘cyberspace’ services with their families on Sundays. One of Satan’s tactics to harm God’s people is breaking up the family unit.  Because of Covid, families have no choice anymore – they have to work on relationships as they spend day and night in each others company because of a worldwide lock down.

Covid 19 reminds me so much of the story of Joseph found in Genesis.

Joseph was the beloved son of his dad – we are the beloved children of God

Joseph’s brothers first planned to murder him but then sold him into slavery – Satan attempts to murder the faith of Believers and keep them in slavery to addictions…fear, worry, alcohol, drugs…the list is endless

Joseph was sold to Potiphar, one of King Pharaoh’s officials, and he soon rose in authority to become head of Potiphar’s estate – many Believers find favour in their work places, and God blesses their businesses and families in abundance

Potiphar’s wife took a fancy to Joseph and tried to seduce him. When Joseph refused her advances she falsely accused him of trying to seduce her and he was thrown into jail – many Believers lose material things and positions because they take a stand for God and won’t compromise or give in to temptation

Instead of blaming God, feeling sorry for himself or becoming bitter and angry Joseph interpreted the dreams of other prisoners.  Two years later, when Pharaoh had a dream that no-one could decipher, someone mentioned Joseph.  He correctly interpreted the dream and Pharaoh appointed him second-in-command of Egypt.

During this time of Covid 19 many Believers have lost their jobs, their businesses and some of them have lost their lives.  Instead of blaming God, feeling sorry for ourselves or becoming bitter and angry we need to start cultivating a deeper faith in our God. So that, we too, can say to the evil one what Joseph said to his brothers on being reunited with them over twenty years after being sold into slavery:

“Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.  So then, don’t be afraid.” Genesis 50:19-21

Lord, we pray that during this time of Covid 19, we will draw closer to You despite our circumstances. We ask that you will grant us faith, courage and joy during this time when the world as we know it, is in such turmoil. Amen

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PREPARING FOR THE GROOM by Teubes Prinsloo

The past few weeks I have received various words from God, which I am prophetically praying over, making sure I understand the context for myself.  Since lock down started I, (like many I am sure) have been asking Him how all this fits into my understanding of the “end” times?
I went with what scripture says and then encouraged my family with the one thing I felt Jesus say:

“I AM COMING BACK BUT THE TIME DOESN’T MATTER”

It was a reminder that He is the Bride Groom and He will come for His bride.

I started praying into the accounts that referred to Him coming as a Bride Groom. I read about the 5 wise and the 5 unwise virgins  – Matthew 25:1-13.
I read about a Father sending invites to all to come to a wedding reception but nobody accepted His invites. I read that he took those from the streets to join in the celebrations. I read of gnashing of teeth and cries of those outside, hard times for those who rejected the invite – Matthew 22:2-14.

In my own heart I started feeling Jesus speak to me about each story. I felt the Holy Spirit say “you see many people are like the 5 unwise virgins, they are running around, enjoying life, saying they know the Bride Groom will come.  Every time I warned them they just laughed, they never learnt to trust Me when I told them they are running on empty, they never filled their ‘lamps’ with oil.  They never looked to Jesus as their sole provider because life was good, but now that the difficult times are on them, they run to those who are like the 5 wise virgins. They are all asking “give me some of your oil , your peace , your hope , your understanding?” But those, like the 5 wise virgins, can`t share what they  have accumulated.

I believe we find ourselves in times where people are “running” after any solution, looking for answers from friends, the government, church leaders, other religions instead of running to HIM who IS the solution. And when He says “I AM THE WAY” they get offended, they scoff at the idea that He can and will supply their needs. They will rather look to man instead of just trusting His word. I believe many find themselves in a position where they thought they knew God, while living a life far from Him. Now they find that they have no solid foundation, they are not cemented on Him as the Rock and the storms are about to break their lives into pieces.

The words Jesus spoke  “For I do not know you” rings loud in many ears who thought they “knew” Him because they “did” all the “good works” which only inflated their ego.  It was never done for Him. We must not try and find solutions for every problem people bring to us, we must refer them to Jesus. They must fill their “oil”from Him personally. The “oil” you have is now not enough to sustain them also. They need to fill their oil now before the real storm hits. These times, I believe, are like a Spiritual Tsunami, the big swell is still coming. People need to learn how to “float” on Him so that when the swell overtakes those that try to run they will be “in” Jesus on top, relaxed in the knowledge that He is in control.

I write this as an encouragement to all of us to lead our friends and our family to the feet of Jesus. Be bold when they ask for help. Do what Peter did in Acts 3.

“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him”

“Gold & Silver I have not”…but I have Jesus..and Him I give to you.

People may look to you for help. Please share and help where God leads, but don`t forget to give them Jesus.

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GO DEEP by Bill Webster

“Put out into deep water” (Luke 5: 4)

What the church desperately needs are people engaged in Christ’s service who are prepared to go deep with God. Where are you in your life and service at the present time? Exhausted, frustrated, dispirited, angry? Maybe you look back to the start of your Christian service and remember your enthusiasm, your keen sense of calling and your vibrant optimism. People were going to hang on to your every word and lives were going to be transformed. You were going to help build up the body of Christ and mobilise believers to evangelise the world.

But the years have gone by and the stark reality of the difficulties and frustrations of service have set in and you have become disillusioned by the church hierarchy, difficult and fractious members and the constant demands of serving others.

A colleague in pastoral ministry recently said to me, “People don’t realise how demanding ministry is. Sometimes I just feel like walking away from it all.” Perhaps you feel that way, too.

Is there an answer to dashed hopes, spiritual lethargy, lost vision and fruitlessness?

Put out into deep water!

Simon Peter and his fishing partners had spent the night in fruitless fishing. They had toiled long and hard and hadn’t caught anything (Luke 5: 5). Jesus told Simon to put out into deep water and let down their nets for a catch (v 4). Maybe Simon thought, what does Jesus know about fishing? After all he is a carpenter, isn’t he? Maybe just to get Jesus off his back, he reluctantly agreed. Of course, we know the rest of the story – two boats so crammed with fish that they began to sink.

I want to encourage you to put out into deep water into:

God Himself – Romans 11:33-36.
God’s love – Ephesians 3: 17-19.
Prayer – Psalm 42: 7 (read the whole Psalm).
God’s Word – Colossians 3: 16.

Ezekiel, the Old Testament prophet, pictured water coming out from under the threshold of the temple. As the water flowed, it got deeper and deeper, first a trickle, then ankle – deep, then knee – deep, then waist – deep, then deep enough to swim in. The water symbolises God’s life, and the blessings that flow from His throne. Most of Ezekiel 47 is a picture of life, fruitfulness, large numbers of fish, nourishment and healing. Isn’t that what we long for?

“O God, I’m so dry and disillusioned.  Take me deeper into you, heal me and bring new life into me and my service, through Jesus Christ our Lord”. Amen

Readings:  Luke 5:1-11 and Ezekiel 47:1-12

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