Turn your face

I know a lady who some years ago who was diagnosed with breast cancer. She took some time off work, went away on her own to a quiet place for a week and spent that time praying and fasting. She didn’t get any treatment and she’s still alive and cancer free today.  I knew another lady who was diagnosed with liver cancer. She hadn’t been particularly sick, just a niggling pain that she decided needed checking out.  Within two weeks she was hospitalized and less than three months later her family buried her. It was so sad. Both these ladies had been given a potential death sentence. One accepted it but the other one did not.  One saw the negative side and believed what the doctors told her. The other knew that there was a positive side and believed what God told her. How would you react to that kind of diagnosis? King Hezekiah was sick and near death. The prophet Isaiah went to him and told him to set his affairs in order because he was going to die. Now I don’t know about you but if a reliable and tested prophet of god tells me I’m going to die, I’ll believe it. Hearing something from Isaiah was like hearing from God Himself. If god tells me I’m going to die, I think I would definitely get my affairs in order. Do you know what Hezekiah did?

2 Kings 20:2-3 “Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the lord, saying, ‘Remember now, o lord, I pray, how I have walked before you in truth and with  a loyal hear, and have done what was good in Your sight.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly.”

Isaiah hadn’t even left the palace, when god told him to go back to Hezekiah to tell him that God had heard his prayer and that he would heal him. He would live another 15 years and the city would be saved from the onslaught of the Assyrians.  Isaiah told the physicians to put a lump of figs on the boil that was causing the inflammation and three days later Hezekiah had to go to the temple. But that wasn’t all. Hezekiah asked for a sign from God to prove that he would live and that the Assyrians wouldn’t prevail over them. I’m thinking, “seriously Hezekiah? It was like, Okay Lord you said you would heal me, now prove it.”  Verse 9 – then Isaiah said, “This is the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing which he has spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees or go back ten degrees?” And Hezekiah answered, “It is an easy thing for a shadow to go down ten degrees; no, but let the shadow go backward ten degrees.” So Isaiah the prophet cried out to the Lord, and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down on the sundial of Ahaz.

God told king Hezekiah he would die and he decided not to accept the diagnosis. As simple as that. It wasn’t a doctor who told him, it was the Creator of the universe!  Instead of running away from God and seeking a cure someplace else, he turned his face to the wall and spoke to God. That’s exactly what the lady with breast cancer did. She didn’t accept what the doctor told her. She turned to God and spoke to Him. You may ask but what if God hadn’t healed her? She would have gone to heaven, and is that such a punishment?

Psalm 103:2-3 : “Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:  Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.”

But what if it’s god will that I must die? I would say that even then you should never give up. If you have the chance to raise a petition to God, then do it. If you have the chance to strengthen your faith then do it. I am not saying that doctors don’t know what they are doing by any means, I just know that we are far too credulous when it comes to the opinions of medical professionals. If the doctor says so it must be so. But what does God say? Hezekiah didn’t even take God’s word.

Proverbs 18:21 –“ Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”  As difficult as it may be, don’t be tempted to speak negative things over yourself. Speak life. And don’t allow others to speak death over you. Not even a doctor. Stay positive. Stay close to God. If you are a child of God and you’re in the position where you have been diagnosed with a potential death sentence, and it doesn’t sit well in your spirit, then it’s time to turn your face towards the wall.

Reject the enemy

Philippians 4:8 – “Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are  noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.

The things which you have learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Romans 16:20 – “The God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, Amen.”

 

Why does the bible tell you to think about good things? So that the God of peace will be with you, and He will give you victory over the enemy. We need to crush Satan under our feet because it is Satan that lies to us and causes all kinds on bad things to happen to us. Maybe not entirely true. Satan lies to us and we believe him and then we think negative thoughts that cause bad things to happen to us.

Proverbs 23:7 – “For as he thinks in his heart so is he.”

This verse tells you that what you think about is what you become. If you keep thinking that you aren’t good enough you probably won’t measure up, even if it’s to your own standards. If you think you can’t do something I can almost guarantee you that you will not be able to. One of the biggest lies the enemy tells is that you aren’t good enough. Very few people haven’t felt that way in some stage of their life.

 

John 8:44 – “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie he speak from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

 

2 Corinthians 11:14 –  “ And no wonder! For Satan transforms himself into an angel of light.”

 

1 Peter5:8 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

 

Therefore, if you think negative thoughts, you will become negative in your heart, you will speak negative things and you will be a negative influence on everyone you come into contact with. If you keep thinking these think negative thoughts you are playing into the enemy’s hand. Conversely, if you think positive, pure and good thoughts the God of peace will be with you. When the God of peace is with you Satan will be crushed under yout feet! That’s a victory! If thinking positive thoughts is all it takes to put Satan under your feet that’s not so hard. It’s easy! But is it? If you have been thinking negative thoughts for so many years how can you change now?

 

Romans 12:2 – “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

 

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 – “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of god, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”

 

Once again, Proverbs 23:7 – “For as he thinks in his heart, so he is.”

What if your circumstances are really hard? What if your spouse cheated on you? Or there’s no money in the bank? What if your doctor gives you a deadly diagnosis? What if the thought that comes into your head is one that says you should get hold of a gun and blow your brains out, or take a whole bottle of sleeping pills so that you do not have to go through the pain? What then? Recognize that thought as one that doesn’t come from God. Take it captive. Isolate it. Reject it immediately.

James 4:7 says, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you..”

Resist the devil, in other words, do not entertain that thought. Don’t allow it to take up space in your mind. Do not invite it in, it has no place in your life. Those kinds of thoughts do not come from the Holy Spirit. They are straight from the pit of hell and if you take heed of them that’s where you are going to end up together with the one from whom they originate. Please do not even contemplate that God will put thoughts like that in your mind. He is a loving and merciful Father and He loves you. He does not want to harm you in any way. He went as far as allowing His only son to die so that you can have everlasting life. John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Be aware that every thought that you have that will cause harm to yourself or to someone else does not come from  God. Look for good things to think about. Start a gratitude journal and list things you are grateful for every day. Surround yourself with positive people. Just remember that there will always be difficult circumstances but they will change. The only thing that will never ever change is God and the love He has for you.

Stand up for what you believe

Are Christians allowed to stand up against the government? 1 Timothy 2:1-4 says, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the truth and knowledge of Him.” Here it says pray for the government and you will have a peaceful life. We are commanded to pray for the leaders and we should, but what if the laws are against what the bible teaches? What if there are rules that forbid us to worship God? What about abortion? May we protest about things that are biblically incorrect and which are taking away our freedom of religion? If the laws say that we aren’t allowed to meet for a church service, what then?

What did Daniel do when there was a decree that all petitions were to be made to the king and no God or man except him? Daniel continued to pray to God and made it even more evident by opening his windows. The result was that he got thrown into a den of lions. God protected him and he was unharmed. (Daniel Chapter 6)  Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were supposed to bow to a golden statue of KingNebuchadnezzer but they refused. This is what they said to the king in Daniel 3:17 – 18 “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be know to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will be worship your gods, not will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” They ended up in a furnace and also were totally unharmed.

Peter and John were told not to speak the name of Jesus, Acts 4:17, “But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.” This is what Peter and John answered, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard,” In Acts 5 Peter and some of the other apostles were imprisoned because they continued to teach about Jesus and then rescued from the prison by and angel. After that they were severely beaten for preaching. Acts 5:42, “And daily in the temple, and in the house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”

These people stood up against the rulers of their time. Therefore we can deduce that we can do the same. We just have to remember one thing, we have to be willing to face the consequences of our resistance honorably and joyfully. If there is a bad outcome to our protest, to our passive resistance, to whatever action we take, we have to have the conviction of our beliefs to be able to take it and take it standing. We cannot whine and complain because life isn’t fair. We have to know what we believe. We have to be convinced of what we believe. Don’t sign a petition if you aren’t willing to back up your signature with action. Don’t join a group which stands for something if you aren’t convinced that you are 100% aligned with their beliefs. Social media is a very effective way of drumming up support but don’t be caught in the trap of letting an emotional plea change your mind. Be sure you have built your beliefs on a firm foundation. Be bold by all means, but if you stand up for your Christian beliefs be warned that you must be willing to die for those beliefs.

Woman’s Day

Today, August 9, is Woman’s Day in South Africa. Here’s something for all the women out there.

As women we are know by many different names. Ma, Mom, Mommy, Ouma, Granny, Sussie, Stay-at-home-mom, Career Woman, Spinster, Widow, Somebody’s wife, Somebody’s mother or Somebody’s daughter. There’s names aren’t always positive or upbuilding and we so easily allow these labels to stick. In the Bible there was a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. Her accusers were holding stones ready to stone her to death when Jesus came to her rescue. Even though she was set free she is only remembered as the woman caught in adultery. Her label stuck for more than 2000 years.

 

How often we allow something we did to label us for the rest of our lives. Something we’re ashamed of can hold us back from reaching our potential. Why? Because we believe the lie that it defines and limits us and we allow it to. Have you ever done something your’e not proud of? Have I? Of course the answer is yes! We have all done the wrong thing and not only once either. We have also allowed that single act to give us a label. Some labels are private and some are displayed for all to see. Sometimes we are the ones who label ourselves and them we allow that label to determine the outcome of every choice we make. Other times people label us as accept that label and start living by it.

Labels like, “you had an abortion; you’ll never amount to anything; you’re stupid; you’re just like your mother; you’re too fat; you’re ugly; stop dreaming, get a job and settle down.” Then there’s the label that most of us have worn at one or other stage, “you’re not good enough.”

Why do we accept these labels? Because we believe the lies of the devil. 1 Peter 5:8 – “Be alert and of a sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The enemy comes to attack your mind. And your mind is what is holing you back from reaching your potential. It’s not people and its not your circumstances. It’s your mind and what you allow into it that is holding you in the position you are now.

What is the solution: Very simply

  1. Don’t entertain any negative thoughts. Be aware of and analyze every thought. Do no invite negative thoughts in for coffee and biscuits and for goodness sake don’t let them stay overnight.
  2. Find positive things to think about. Find things that make you happy and think about those things. Make it a habit.
  3. Find your purpose and set goals. Your purpose might change as you go through different stages of your life but make sure that you have goals even if they start short term. Make a list which is easily attainable.

I have decided that I will not be labeled and I will not allow my circumstances to define me. The only label I will accept is that I have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and only God will define me. Then I can face all the challenges that come my way and I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

Kim Walker Smith – You Define Me

Just Start!

Quite a few weeds have spring up after the rain. I don’t have much time so every time I go into the garden I pull up a few. When I saw how many were still left I wondered if it was worth the effort, but it struck me that the weeds I had just pulled up wouldn’t grow again. At least they were gone. It’s like the little boy on the beach throwing stranded starfish back into the sea. When someone told him he would never be able to rescue them all, he said that at least the one’s he threw back would be fine.

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Life is like that. We can’t help everyone. We can’t rescue everyone, but we can still make a difference, even if it’s a very small difference. Giving one homeless person a meal does make a difference. Telling one person that Jesus loves them does make a difference. Mentioning to the cashier at the supermarket that she has a lovely smile does make a difference. Just smiling at a stranger does make a difference. Praying for someone that God puts on your heart does make a difference.

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There may be a lot of things in your own life that you would like to change and maybe it’s so overwhelming that you don’t even know where to start. Just start – anywhere. Every little change makes a difference. If you have a bad habit that you know is a problem start working on it today. It’s never too late to start and before you know it you’re going to be working on the next thing.

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Start by changing the way you think. Take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). Don’t allow your mind to become a breeding ground for toxic thoughts that can poison your whole system. Philippians 4:8 tells us what we should be thinking about. Everything that is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, has virtue and is praiseworthy. Now if we fill our minds with those things we surely can’t sit around feeling sorry for ourselves. Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Matthew 6:33 – 34, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. If we take Jesus at His word we won’t need to worry about our circumstances.

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Worrying isn’t going to add one day to your life. In fact, there are so many diseases that are caused by stress that it is going to take days away from your life. Start by reading the Bible and believing what it says. Start looking for the promises God is giving you and own them. Start today. Tomorrow may be too late.

We think

Instead of taking God at His Word, we think. We think that there are things God says that we can and should do, that we really can’t do.

God says, “Go out and preach the Gospel.” We think that’s not for us, it’s only for certain, chosen people.

God says, Lay hands on the sick and they shall be healed.” We think that was for the Bible times, we have doctors and medication.

God says, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” We think we’re too busy and God doesn’t hear us anyway.

God says a lot of things in His Word that he expects us to take heed of, but that we are afraid of. We think that we will be ridiculed and embarrassed and we will make fools of ourselves. We don’t want to offend people. We have a long list of “What if’s”.

What if God physically turns up one day while we are chilling in our living room watching a soapie? What will we think then?

God says He will never leave us or forsake us and He also says He will never let us be ashamed. So, today try doing just one thing that God says and see what happens.

Your mercies are new

Renovations at our shop have been going on now for almost 2 months. It feels like two months going on for two years. The pressure of working in less space has been getting to me. My desk has been shoved behind a Coca-Cola fridge in the back corner of the shop. The seating has been moved out to accommodate the equipment that has come from the part that’s being worked on. The whole shop is going to receive a facelift and a lot of much needed TLC. It’s going to be really awesome when it’s done, but right now everything is a mess. At the end of last week I thought I couldn’t take another week of building!

Lamentations 3:17 says, “You have moved my soul far from peace; I have forgotten prosperity.” We feel like that sometimes. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of believing things are never going to change.
Then I realized that I was living under the circumstances and not above them. Psalm 121 says, ‘I lift my eyes to the hills…” Obviously help doesn’t come from the hills, it comes from God. But if we don’t lift our eyes off of the circumstances we aren’t going anywhere. We will never see the forest if we keep staring at the trees. We need to step back and realize that everything is temporary and leads to the next thing. We don’t need to know what the next thing is, only that there is a next thing. Lamentations 3:22 – 23: “Through the Lord ’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.”
His mercies are new every morning. We just need to remember that. Every new day brings new challenges but it also brings new mercy, new grace, new opportunities.
I undertake not to live under my circumstances but to look above them, to lift my eyes and see what the Lord has for me. To see the mercies that every new morning brings.

Forgive them Father

We wove the crown of thorns
That our precious Savior wore
FORGIVE THEM FATHER
THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO!

We weilded the whip
That tore into His flesh
FORGIVE THEM FATHER
THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO!

We drove the nails
That held Him to the cross
FORGIVE THEM FATHER
THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO!

We lifted the spear
That pierced his side.
FORGIVE THEM FATHER
THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO!

They are Your precious sons and daughters
Who will take up Your sword
And fight the enemy

They are Your precious sons and daughters
Who will go into the world
And open the eyes of the blind

They are Your precious sons and daughters
Who will overcome evil
And receive the victor’s crown

They are Your precious sons and daughters
And it is for them
That all this pain I bear.

FORGIVE THEM FATHER
THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO!

Greater is He

Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,
II Peter 3:11 NKJV
This is one of the most confrontational verses in the Bible. Is my conduct fitting a believer and a child of God? Do I look like a follower of Christ? Do I have what it takes? The answer is no. Not on my own or in my own strength. But because I have the Spirit of God living inside of me, I am worthy and I am able to stand in the face of adversity. God is for me and if God is for me who can be against me? The devil of course, but because the Spirit that lives in me is greater than the spirit that lives in the world I am able to resist and overcome the plans that the enemy is making.

God says “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord , And whose hope is the Lord . For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7‭-‬8 NKJV
I choose to live in the knowledge and with the conviction in my heart that God loves me so much and so deeply that He will always stand by me and never leave me or dismiss me.
Have a beautiful day.

Dry bones will live

I was so inspired by the message I received at the cell group last night.

Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord !
Ezekiel 37:4

If we pray life into situations and people those situations and people will be changed by the words we offer in faith. God hears our prayers. I believe that we should pray in faith and believe the promises God has made to us. Never doubting and never looking back at what is behind us. We must cut off the bad things of the past, the hangups we have that are keeping us from serving God and from living a life that is full and productive and happy.

There are people who think that if you’re a Christian you are (or should be) leading a very boring life. But serving the only living God is all but boring. He has promised us power and life in abundance. God’s only son, Jesus Christ, died for me, and for you, so that we will not perish but have everlasting life.