Perfect Order

Someone wanted to borrow money from me so that they could buy a non-essential item and then they would pay back the money over the next three weeks. Now I’m asking the question, “Why not just save for three weeks until you have enough money to buy it yourself?” There is so much of this back to front business going on. People want things and they want them now. They don’t want to wait until they can afford them. The banks lend money to people and then charge interest and in the process the articles cost way more than they originally would have. Children demand items of fashion clothing and technology and parents put themselves into debt to provide. Instead of working for money, people steal cars and television sets and computers. There is no self control, but above all, there is no order. In chapter one of Genesis the creation of the earth is described. First of all God created light, then he separated the light from the dark. Next was the expanse which separated the waters under and above the expanse. After that dry land appeared and then came the plants and vegetation. On the fourth day the lights came on. The sun, moon and stars were formed. After that the fish and birds were created. On the sixth day God created animals and man.
Everything was made in order. There was no surprise or mistake. Everything was made the way it was supposed to be made because there was a reason. There couldn’t be animals before the plants were made because then they wouldn’t have anything to eat. And so God didn’t and doesn’t leave things to chance and He doesn’t do things haphazardly.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells that there is a time for every matter under heaven. In other words there is order. Christians often speak of seasons in their lives and I have experienced it to be so. You can’t go back and have the same experiences you had 10 years ago. That time was for that time and fulfilled a purpose in your life. Sometimes we go through long dry seasons and other times there are joyful and profoundly productive seasons. We cannot force these seasons and we cannot accelerate or retard them. If we interfere with the work of God we reap the consequences.
In the New Testament we read of the life of Jesus. He was born the same as any other baby, went through the growing up process and started His ministry at the age of 30. It was a process and even though He might have been ready for ministry five or ten years before, but Her waited until God released him into his ministry. When he was baptised and the Holy Spirit descended on him it was the sign that he could go forward and do what he had to do.
How many of us are willing to wait? We want to be like Achan who took robes and gold from Jericho despite strict instructions not to do so. He saw these things and coveted them and wanted them. He hid them and as a result he and his whole family were killed. It must have been beyond heart breaking. He couldn’t wait for the next victory, which was over Ai. When the Israelites defeated Ai, God allowed them to take the spoil. But Achan hadn’t known that would happen and he decided that because he wanted something now he would take it now. And it wasn’t something he needed, it was just greed.
If we look around we can see how we are being, not so subtly, encouraged to buy this and that and the other thing. Advertising is constantly telling us that we need to have a new car, or clothing or cell phone so that we can compete with the Joneses. And the sad part is that we don’t stand up against it. We borrow the money, apply for the loan, get the finance we need and then we have to work even harder to pay back the interest we are being charged.
We need to look to God and seek His perfect order for our lives so that we can live in peace and contentment. We need to seek the unhurried rhythms of His grace so that we can live the way He created us to live.

Perfect Christians

Are you supposed to be perfect if you’re a Christian?

Ephesians 4:21-24, Assuming that you have really heard Him and been taught by Him, as [all] Truth is in Jesus [embodied and personified in Him],  Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion;

And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness.

This paints a picture of a perfect person, a perfect Christian. Your old sinful life is behind you and now you are brand new and none of the old dirt is on you. So you surely have to be perfect now. Don’t you?

I cannot even imagine trying to be that perfect person. I would be such hard work!

1 John 1:6-10, If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Clearly, we will never be perfect, which is really quite a relief, because we cannot do it in our own strength anyway. This passage is extremely consoling as we have the promise of God’s forgiveness and His grace.

I often hear criticism that people who are in ministry have faults. I have been guilty of that myself. How can so-and-so be leading a church or be an evangelist or a prophet when they do whatever. The answer is that God uses imperfect people to do His work, and not the obvious one’s according to worldly standards.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31, Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God. (The Message)

And why doesn’t God use ‘perfect’ people? Just picture this. You belong to a church and the pastor is perfect. I mean 120%, head and shoulders above the rest, immune to all temptation, never puts a foot wrong, perfect. Everyone will love him so much and he will have the biggest congregation… because he is perfect and people are going to worship him, and they won’t need God. I think we should be very happy that our leaders aren’t perfect because we are going to need to pray for them. Perfect people don’t need prayer. The more time we spend in prayer the better for us. It also gives us hope because if God can use someone who has faults that we can see, He can also use us.

So, Christians aren’t perfect, they never were and they never will be. They are imperfect people who have been saved by grace and God uses them because they love Him. That’s all that is expected from them. If we ever thought we needed to be perfect we can give up on that idea straight away and use the time we spent worrying about it, worshipping and loving God.

Take responsibility, not offence

I read something that someone said about people getting upset about things people do. They said if it isn’t going to make a difference in five years from now then let it go because it won’t be worth making a fuss about. That’s a good philosophy to follow but I started thinking about it a bit differently. I want to ask the question. “Is it going to make a difference when I get to heaven?” and most of the time I’m sure it won’t. What if I turn that question around and ask, “Is this issue going to prevent me from going to heaven?” Sometimes we get so enmeshed in offences that we forget all about our salvation and the matter that is foremost in our minds becomes the most important thing in our lives. What did God say about having other gods before Him? But this issue isn’t a god, it’s between myself and whoever caused the offence. If God is the most important in our lives then we wouldn’t get entangled in these webs in the first place. If you go to bed at night and something that happened during the day is replaying itself in your mind, then you have a problem with letting it go, but if this happens night after night after night, you really have a problem.  You cannot allow offences to influence your salvation!

John 6:56, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”

v61, When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you?

v66, From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

They thought that Jesus was referring to physical eating and drinking and they were freaked out by it. They didn’t stay and try to understand, they just assumed that they knew. I am sure that the offence these people took at a statement they didn’t understand fully caused them to lose their salvation. We have to realise that we aren’t always going to be given an explanation. Most of the time people say things and they never even know that we have taken offence. They don’t have a clue because they didn’t mean to give offence but we walk away and beat ourselves up and in our minds have all the answers we should have or could have given them but  didn’t. The only one who is hurt and suffering in the process is ourselves.

Matthew 18:7-9, Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

“If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.

This is saying that offences will cause us to lose our salvation.

What if I were to take offence at something someone says to me at church and because of that I decide not to go to church anymore because church is full of hypocrites and I’m better off on my own without all these awful people. Who am I hurting? Me! I am hurting myself and I am in danger of losing my salvation because of the offence I’ve reckoned to myself.

If we don’t know how to speak the truth in love according to Ephesians 4:15, then we have to learn how because nobody is going to pamper us to make sure that we understood them correctly. We shouldn’t be spiritual babies that need to be fed milk. If we want to be warriors who can fight in the front lines then it’s time we stand up and take responsibility.

Live in the moment

Yesterday I had a lot of different things that I had to get done and it involved a lot of different people with different needs. I suddenly doubted whether I was able to do everything efficiently as some people were getting impatient while others were being deliberately slow. That was my view, but I suppose from a different point of view there can be a very different interpretation. That’s not the point though. As I was about to get into a flat spin and start panicking, the words, “live in the moment” came to me very clearly. I have obviously heard this phrase before but it took on a whole new personal meaning to me.

The definition I found of “Living in the moment” is very apt:

To live in the moment, or now, means being conscious, aware and in the present with all of your senses. It means not dwelling on the past, nor being anxious or worrying about the future. When we concentrate our attention on the present we focus on the task at hand

I had to remember to focus only on the thing I was doing at that moment. I couldn’t think about the next customer or dwell on a remark made by the previous customer. I had to be aware of things that I still had to do, but they couldn’t influence my behaviour while I was doing the thing I had to do at that moment.

John 14:1-4, ” Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

This verse says we mustn’t let our hearts be troubled. I don’t think that even one person can boast about never having had a troubled heart. I remember my heart feeling like it was physically sore from being troubled. Trouble can constitute worry, stress, grief and pain of any kind. Those are all the things that Jesus took on Himself when he was crucified.

I have been thinking about what people say about Christians just being sojourners here on earth. A sojourner is someone who stays temporarily in a place. We should see our life on earth as temporary, but not as that of a visitor with a better place to go to. We have to make the most of our lives here and work on our character and our attitude, without becoming one with the world. Without assimilating the habits and characteristics of those who are not children of God.

1 John 3:10, In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.

This is plain, if you don’t have love you are not of God. And it is not selective love. God loves everyone irrespective of what they do and of how they live, but this doesn’t mean that everyone is going to be saved. Only those who accept Jesus as their saviour will be saved. Even if you are on your way to hell God will still love you. He doesn’t make a distinction when it comes to loving people. We are also called to loved people but we cannot approve of the evil things they do and one of the reasons we cannot approve is that they are hurting themselves.

We need to use every hour to its full potential. Whether we are working, worshiping, playing or resting. Every part of our existence should be purposeful. The Bible warns against idleness.

Hebrews 6:11-12, And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Even though I think I get a lot done in a normal day, I have realised that it isn’t about how much I do, but it is the purposefulness and the attitude with which I do things that really matters. Let us start living in the moment and make every moment count.

End times or not

I was so shocked once again today by blatant insubordination of an employee. I think the term is gross insubordination. Being an employer is not at all glamorous or something that is to be envied. I know that the Bible says in the end times there will be lawlessness.

Matthew 24:9-14, Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

We might say that because there is a lot of lawlessness we can assume that the end times are on us and there’s nothing we can do about it. But we don’t know when the end will be.

Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”

We could well say that even though we do not know when the end will be, we might as well accept that these are the end times and that we can just shake our heads in disbelief and let it run its course. We cannot leave people who seem to be acting according to the end time prophecies. We still have to continue with the great commission until the very end. Every soul that can be won for Christ is worthwhile.

Romans 4:7-8, “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,

And whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”

There’s the parable of the workers who got hired at the eleventh hour to work in the vineyard and they got the same remuneration as those who had worked all day. (Matthew 20:1-16) The workers who had worked all day were very upset about this, but the employer reminded them that they had agreed to work for what they received. It is our duty to continue to spread the Gospel and in that way not only add win souls but also have more people who will spread the Gospel. And of course, those who accept the free gift of life will become new people and therefore better people. That means that it will be slightly easier to live in the world. Am I making any sense?

We tend to condemn people very easily when we are personally affected by their bad manners and their bad behaviour. How do you as an employer handle bad behaviour of employees? I have heard a few times already that because I am a Christian I cannot judge the bad behaviour of my employees. That is just a lot of nonsense. Firstly, every employee has a contract which they have to sign in order to be employed. If the contract is violated there are certain procedures to be followed. Every person who call himself a Christian should treat all people with respect regardless of whether they are family, friends, employees or people in the street. I have heard so many non-Christians condemn Christians for doing things which are perfectly lawful according to scripture, but because they have a twisted view of what Christianity is.

Maybe we are in the end times, and maybe we aren’t. It doesn’t matter one way or the other. We shouldn’t let people stop us from what we should be doing. We should be the light and the salt. We should be the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth. We should be doing what Psalm 119:15 and 16 say: I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.

We have to be faithful first of all to God and the rest will follow.

Stand your ground

What a day I had yesterday. There was a video I watched, and some discussion with people, and some more discussion. It was one of those days that doesn’t really have a beginning and an ending that is clear and concise because my mind was trying to process everything and make good sense of it. So let me start at the beginning.
Genesis 1:26, Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
This verse gives man physical authority over the earth. Over the fish, birds and animals, over the environment. In other words, your cat or dog is not your boss. In the next three passages Jesus is giving spiritual authority to believers.
Luke 9:1-2, And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.
John 14:12-14, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name I will do it.
Mark 16:17-18, And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.
Therefore we have physical and spiritual authority over the earth. Then why is everything in the state it is? Why do we keep hearing things like, “where was God?” and “How can a loving God allow this or that to happen?” If God gave us, as believers dominion and authority it means we haven’t been doing our job.
A lot of us have been brought up either outside of church or in churches where religion was more important than biblical truths and the power of the Holy Spirit. When you are brought up to believe certain things it’s not a small thing to turn everything over that you have seen as the truth. When I look at these verses it is plain to me that if I am a believer I have received a certain amount of authority and also the means to be able to use that authority. There are numerous examples in the Gospels of how Jesus used His authority to cast out demons and heal sick people. Then the disciples followed what Jesus did so did Paul. As soon as Paul speaks in tongues, heals the sick and casts out demons, I believe all arguments that people have about things being for that time and not now, are refuted. Paul was not a disciple and never sat under Jesus’ teaching. He might have lived in the first century but other than that he was no different to you or me.
We have been given authority, yet we ask God nicely to heal us or others. I believe we have to command healing. Isn’t that what someone in authority does. We are in a spiritual war, which makes us soldiers. I think we are more than soldiers though, we are generals. And when generals give a command things happen, and they happen quickly. Are we unaware of our power, or are we afraid it might not have any effect, and therefore we don’t use it?
The state of the world right now is to be put at the feet of the believers and it is only the believers who can make any difference at all. We can’t blame criminals, other religions, other races or God. We are here, we have the authority and we have to start using it.

Heavenly Character

How often don’t we speculate about how things are going to be in Heaven. What is it going to look like? Will there be animals? Will we still have relationships with the people we were close to? People write books about their near death experiences where they were given glimpses of Heaven. We ask these and many more questions all the time, but do we ever wonder what we are going to be like in Heaven? Obviously we are going to have a new body after we have been resurrected from death. There are many references to our glorified bodies in scripture.
1 Corinthians 15:44, It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. It there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
Having established that, does the Bible say that we are going to receive wonderful, pure characters once we reach Heaven? Does is say that our prejudice and bad habits will be supernaturally washed away after we die? No, it doesn’t. We have to work on our character now while we are on earth because I think this is the only chance we are going to get. I think so because there are so many references to Godly character in scripture. If we didn’t need to be as much like Jesus as we could possibly be, why would good characteristics be emphasised so much? Why would there be fruit of the Spirit if they weren’t absolutely necessary?
Galatians 5:22-23, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;…
We have to admit that the person who constantly manifests these traits is pretty near to being perfect. Very close to what Jesus was. But how many of us can claim that we walk our daily walk clothed in these?
Then in Romans 5 there is talk of rejoicing in our sufferings. This is hard and our natural reaction to suffering is that it is not fair, and if God loved us He wouldn’t allow us to go through all this hard stuff. But look what it says:
Romans 5:3-5, Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
James 1:2-4, Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:12, Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.
If we look at suffering and hardship as something that is going to make much better people of us then we are able to endure it with a good attitude. We shouldn’t see hard times as being unfair or as a personal attack.
2 Timothy 3:10,You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness…
Paul is emphasising these characteristics for a reason. If they weren’t important to have he wouldn’t have mentioned them. We don’t just need these good attributes so that God can pat us on the head and say we’ve passed a test and now we can go to Heaven one day and sit around worshipping Him all the time. I truly believe that we are going to need these qualities to be able to function after we leave earth. There are hints throughout the Bible of the time to come.
1 Corinthians 6:2-3, Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life?
We are being prepared for something much higher and holier than what we are experiencing on earth at the moment, and we need to put our full weight behind our efforts to live a life that reflects Jesus.

Load shedding…again

Oh joy! Loadshedding started again today. For any non-South Africans, that is when the power supply company, Eskom, puts off the power for a couple of hours every day (or multiple times a day) when they can’t supply enough electricity. It is really inconvenient and also unproductive for businesses. Some businesses and especially financial institutions simply close their doors for the duration of the power cut.

I think that when we don’t spend enough time in the Word and in prayer we also get to a point where we need to do some load shedding. We close down because we don’t have enough input. We run dry. It’s not a good place to be, but I believe it happens to everyone once in a while. You know that place where you feel you can’t give anymore. When someone speaks to you about a problem you don’t even want to listen. If a friend asks you to pray for them it feels like a burden. Then you know you are in load shedding mode. That’s the time you need to take our an hour or two and just switch off all technology and be quiet. Read some scripture, speak to your Father and sit and listen. This is also the time when the devil is going to remind you of the dishes that haven’t been done, of the laundry that’s piling up and of all the weeds in the garden. This is the time that your mind is going to start going around in circles and you’ll feel sure that you aren’t cut out for this kind of thing and you’re never going to hear a word from God. But persevere. It is going to be worth it; if not this time, then next time.

Luke 5:16, So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.

Jesus is our example for doing this.

Matthew 14:22-23, Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.

Luke 6:12-13, Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles:

After Jesus prayed he could make wise decisions. How often do we consult God in earnest prayer before we make a big decision? Or do we decide to do something and then ask God to bless our decision? Then we are very surprised when there is no blessing.

Mark 6:30-32, Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.

After Jesus ministered to people and was spiritually depleted He took time off to be restored.

Mark 7:24,  From there He arose and went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And He entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden.

Jesus also at times did not want interaction with lots of people. Why is it that people think pastors should be available 24/7 to meet their needs if Jesus took time out?

And of course before He was crucified, Jesus spent a night in prayer as preparation.

Luke 22:41-44, And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

We need to follow the example of our Master and take more time out. We can call it whatever we like, load shedding, prayer, time-out… it doesn’t matter, just as long as we do it.

Bound in chains

I encountered a woman whose contractor friend had done some work for a relative of mine. The whole thing had an unsatisfactory ending. The work done was below par and the contractor was dismissed. This woman obviously didn’t know all the details but had information which was one-sided. When I greeted her she spewed hate and told me that I should be ashamed to greet her after what my relative had done to her friend. I was so shocked. I didn’t say a word. About 10 minutes before this incident I had heard the Holy Spirit say the following to me, “Just observe, don’t say a word.” I realized that it was meant for this situation.

I looked at the woman’s expression and wondered what she must be feeling like every day walking around with this hate inside of her. I prayed that God would forgive her and also reveal Himself to her. If she perseveres in this frame of mind she is going to get really sick.

Titus 3:3, For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, lining in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

The wonderful part of becoming a new person is that it is free. We are given the gift of salvation freely because God loves us while we are ungrateful, stinking, dirty wretches. He loves us even though we hate, lie, steal and cheat. While we are really, really bad and disobedient God loves us so much that He sacrificed His only Son so that we can have the chance to be redeemed.

People don’t easily believe the idea of getting something for nothing. They are used to paying their way and they know that everything has a price. People can’t see the logic behind someone loving them even though they have been really bad, and then giving them the chance to repent without payment. They think things like, “I have to be good first. I have to change my bad habits first. I have to stop drinking first,” then God will accept me. They can’t believe that God gave His son as the sacrifice, as the payment so that they will not pay a cent. There’s no cash on delivery, no catch.

All they have to do to receive complete freedom is to know that they are sinners and to accept Jesus as their Saviour so that they can be renewed inside and out and start living a brand new life.

This new life is what everyone craves. The freedom in knowing that someone else has our backs and we are actually commanded not to be concerned about our future. The freedom of knowing that every atrocious act is forgiven unconditionally and the knowledge that we have to forgive those who hurt us so that we can stay free. It sounds like a fairy tale. Like a happily ever after. It sounds like that and in a way it is. There is the assurance that whatever happens Jesus is with you. Day in and day out. There is also the other side of the coin that says we will go through hard times and we will be persecuted.

John 15:18 – 20, If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.

So, we aren’t going to have a fairy tale, bed-of-roses life, but we are going to be free from the cares that weigh down people who don’t know Jesus.

And we have been given the commission to spread the source of this freedom around the world. Our job is to present this freedom to people who have been bound in chains and kept in dark cells. We are the light and we are to bring the light of Jesus to others. No condemnation. Only Jesus.

Dragons Breathe Fire


Yesterday we had an amazing church service. The visiting preacher is a businessman who spoke about how he learned not to worry while his business was in dire straits. It was an interesting topic for me because it has been something that the Lord has really placed on my heart lately. I am inspired and motivated by what he said. Something he mentioned was that God gives us enough grace for today. He gives us what we need to handle today’s problems, we must not be concerned about tomorrows problems. I like to know the how of things but even more than that, I like to know the why of things. Why shouldn’t we worry about tomorrow? Just because God says so? I asked the Holy Spirit to show me why, to paint a picture for me in a way that I can understand. And He did.


Let’s suppose you are a traveller who is taking a trip to a distant place. You are riding a horse and you have a precious cargo to deliver. This was a long time ago, like a once-upon-a-time story. You know that there is a dragon in a cave about a days journey away, and that cave is on the road that you have to take. You don’t know of any other road to get to where you have to go. You don’t have any weapons and your horse isn’t trained to be calm around dragons. Dragons breathe fire and eat people and horses, so you have a problem. I forgot to add that you are a Christian and you do have a relationship with Jesus.


You pray and ask Jesus to keep you safe on your journey, and you feel the peace that He really is listening to you and is telling you to go ahead, but you still worry about the dragon and you start to make plans to avoid it. You find out from someone you meet on the way that there is a very steep, dangerous footpath you can take to bypass the dragon cave. Your horse won’t be able to take that path so you will have to travel further by yourself and also carry whatever you have. You decide to take the detour and you have a very difficult journey. You run out of water and food and by the time you reach your destination you are sick and have to spend a long time recuperating.


What you did not know is that if you had prayed and left your journey in God’s hands this is what would have happened:


You ride your horse right past the dragon’s cave and as you pass the cave, you hear a great commotion. Your curiosity gets the better of you and you quietly creep closer and take a peek inside the cave. As you are looking a knight in shining armour comes staggering out of the cave with a sword covered in green goo. (Apparently dragons have green blood) He killed the dragon but was injured in the process. You cover his wounds and let him ride your horse while you walk alongside. When you reach the next town you are both welcomed as heroes and he shares with you the reward he gets for killing the dragon.


Now in the first scenario you made your own plan because you did not totally trust God. In the second instance you said, “God, I know there’s a dragon, but because You told me to trust You and not worry about tomorrow, I am going to listen to You.”


Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.


We have to learn to trust that God has already made a plan for tomorrow. We also have to remember that even though we might think that we know what is going to happen tomorrow, we do not. We have to take tomorrow and leave it in God’s hands. In this story God had already made a plan for tomorrow, a brilliant plan in which you were the winner, but you forgot that wherever you go, He has already been. He is not going to give you His plans for tomorrow. He gives you enough grace for today, enough courage and strength and patience and peace for today. Tomorrow’s share comes with tomorrow. If you make your own plans because of all your anxiety you mess up His plans and He cannot give you what He planned to give you!


So we HAVE TO stop worrying about the future because it doesn’t belong to us, it’s God’s and it’s in His hands. He loves us and He is making it good for us.