I think

I’ve been thinking a lot about thinking. What makes someone think the way they do? Is it genetic or is it learned or is it environmental? Because I’m not a psychologist I can’t really judge, but I can see what the Bible says.

Proverbs 23:7, For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

This verse is quite clear. If you think negative thoughts you will be a negative person. If you think sad thoughts you will be a sad person. If you think happy thoughts you will be a happy person, etc etc.

Matthew 21:22, And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

What does believing have to do with thinking? Believing is thinking. How else would you believe? There isn’t a special part of your body that believes, while your brain is not believing. Does that make sense? Let me try to illustrate. If I am sick and I go to an elder to pray for me and once he has prayed, I tell myself in my thoughts or even out loud that I am going to get well, then I am believing. It takes place in my brain. The prompting to believe might have come from the words of the elder or it might have come from a positive affirmation that the Holy Spirit placed in my heart or my mind. It doesn’t matter where the thought originated, if I believe it is what I am thinking. Unfortunately most people tend to listen to and believe the negative thoughts which enter their brains. Those negative thoughts either come from their learned toxic way of thinking, or from the devil. Even though the devil is lying, when someone listens to and acts on what they hear from him, they start believing it. How many of us have been trapped by the belief that we aren’t good enough? That is probably the biggest lie that the devil tells and most common lie that people believe. Once the enemy has convinced you of this you start changing your thinking patterns to incorporate the lie into your being. Everything you do is based on the lie that you aren’t good enough. Every decision you make and every word you say is centred around you not being good enough. Everything you say and do changes and the very person you are changes. Just because of the way you think. You were destined for greatness but some stupid incident caused you a bit of rejection and the father of lies came in and hijacked your thoughts so that you now believe you have something to prove and nothing you do is ever going to measure up.

How can you change it? Can you change it? What if you’ve been thinking this way ever since you’ve been a child?

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.

This is the key. This verse tells you that you can start to think differently. You can renew your mind. When you accepted Jesus as your saviour, you renewed your spirit. Now you have to renew your mind because your mind is holding you back from what God has planned for you. The problem isn’t your parents, your spouse, your boss or your environment. Your problem is what you are allowing to go on in your mind. So how do you do it?

Philippians4:8, 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.

You have to start thinking good thoughts.

1 Cotrinthians 9:24, Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

1 Thessalonians 5:6, Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13, Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

We have to do it by using self-control and by constantly being aware of what we think, and by selecting the thoughts we choose to keep according to 2 Corinthians 10:5. And when we do this we are reminded that God is always there to help us. He will show us the way we need to walk, and think if we just allow Him to. Starting today, let us start pushing out the negative thoughts and putting in the positive ones until we are totally renewed in our thinking.


The festive season

It’s Christmas. The festive season. The holidays… whatever people choose to call it. In South Africa we are slap bang in the middle of summer and because we live close to the coast many holiday makers drive through our town to get to their destinations. We are grateful for any money they choose to spend here because we don’t live in a financially prosperous are and there is a lot of unemployment and poverty. If we were a holiday destination things would be different, but as I already said, we are basically one of the little towns on the way. I think to some vacationers we represent an irritation because they have to slow down while passing through.

To Christians, Earth is a bit like our town. It is not a destination, but if you don’t stop over in (or on) it, you are never going to reach your destination, which is Heaven. Now, if heaven is going to be on earth, or somewhere in the sky, I have no idea. All I know is that it isn’t going to be anything like earth is at the moment.

Revelation 21:1-7, Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

That doesn’t sound like life as we know it now but what a wonderful thing to look forward to. We are on earth, we live on earth but we are merely passing though on the way to a better life. That is, if we fulfill the requirements and they are to have accepted Jesus Christ as our Saviour.

Romans 10:9-10, that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

We cannot be saved by doing good works. We cannot be saved by adhering to the law. We can only be saved by confessing Jesus to be our Lord. But what about all the hard times we go through while we are here on earth? What about all the unfairness and all the hate, crime, wars and suchlike? They are the trials that the bible says we are going to go through. We are going to be persecuted and we have to accept it. It is not going to help to get upset about it. I know that it’s easy to talk about it, but not that easy when it happens to us. I know the feeling of getting really indignant and hurt when someone unfairly slanders you. I also know what the right response is.

Matthew 5:43-48,  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

That is the right way to handle it and there is no easy way out. We have to keep this in mind and always remember that we are travellers of a journey to a better life.

Trust and green beans

Trust and green beans

Have you noticed how life sometimes can be all marshmallows, donuts and chocolate cake? Everything goes smoothly and there are very few bumps in the road. Words and phrases like ‘blessings’ and ‘God is good’ easily flow from your tongue. It’s sunny season and everything is going well. Then at other times it seems to be broccoli, spinach and green beans. I actually like broccoli and spinach, but green beans just don’t tickle my fancy. What I’m getting at is that sometimes everything is veggies and no dessert. If feels like whatever can go wrong does go wrong and nothing you do makes the least bit of difference. Your speech is littered with words like ‘attacks’, ‘bad luck’ and ‘everything happens is threes’. Recognise it? That is how life seems to work. You might even think that God has forgotten you while everyone around you is going back for second and third portions of dessert, you are still stuck with the first plate of rapidly decaying green beans.
The good news is that God has not forgotten about you.
Deuteronomy 31:6, Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave of forsake you.
Isaiah 41:10, fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am you God; I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
While you are going through the hard times, God says that He is right there with you. He is strengthening you.
Psalm 46:1-3, God is our courage and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
These verses are speaking of much worse things than a plate full of veggies. To me it sounds like volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. Disaster and destruction.
Psalm 23:4, Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
God’s rod and staff speak to me about His commands and His ordinances. The rules we have been given to live by. We follow the rules and we know that God will come through for us. In the New Testament we have the example of Jesus. Jesus died for us so that we can be saved. We hold onto Him and we know that we are going to be saved. There is no doubt.
Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
We must not disregard the Old Testament and all the encouragement it gives. Everything works together as a whole toward our good.
I just want to come back to Isaiah 41:10 where it says God will strengthen us. Vegetables might not be everyone’s favourite food, but they are vital in every diet. We get so many essential vitamins, minerals and iron from vegetables that it will be very naive to think we can exclude them from our diet and still be healthy and have the same benefits as those who regularly eat them. The same goes for hard times. There’s a regularly quoted line that says, “you grow in the valleys, not on the mountain tops”. It is so, if we don’t go through the valleys of life and learn from them we are not going to grow in character or in faith. We need to experience hard times so that we can die to our own wants and start relying on God and start listening to, and following His voice.
Just think of that plate of veggies. If you don’t just eat the green beans and empty the plate, it’s going to be staring into your face for a long time. Let us just face the hard times the same way. Face them with the right attitude and with faith in God so that we can gain their benefits and get on with life.

Give yourself grace

I read this meme (at least that’s what I think they call it) by Elizabeth Gilbert:

Love the one in you who is sad.

Love the one in you who is scared.

Love the one in you who is angry.

Love the one in you who is lonely.

Love the one in you who hates herself.

Love all the ones who you are,

And then you will know how to love the world.


Now, I understand that Elizabeth Gilbert is probably not a Christian and this piece of writing is also  not particularly Christian. But the line that says, “Love the one in you who hates herself,” just struck a chord with me. Dr Michelle Strydom, who is an outspoken Christian, says in her book, “Healing begins with sanctification of the heart,” that self-hate is one of the main causes of disease.

Ephesians 5:28-29, So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church

But is this true all the time? I think that we out ourselves under undue condemnation when we are rejected, or even when we perceive that we have been rejected. Sometimes there are situations that we find ourselves in where we make stupid choices and we wish we had acted differently. Sometimes there are situations that keep presenting themselves and we often repeat this behaviour over and over again instead of going to the Lord and receiving freedom.

Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God loves us before we are saved, while we are full of insecurities and sin and all the stuff that goes along with it. Now, if God can love us while we are unsaved, why can’t we love ourselves when we are saved. And you know what? We don’t always love all the facets of who we are. We like to fool ourselves and others by pretending that we are perfect and there’s nothing in our lives or in our past that is embarrassing, or hurting us, but we can’t fool God. We think we can, but we can’t. Sometimes there is just one little thing, you know like that straw that breaks the camel’s back. One little thing that we think we are never going to be able to overcome, and that little thing is the thing in our lives that is causing all the grief.

Maybe you and your dad never got along and he passed away before you could reconcile. Or there was a man who left you standing at the altar and you still feel that pain. You have put it away in a deep, dark, secret place but it threatens to appear at inappropriate times. You know that your mother didn’t want another baby, but you were born. You might feel guilty because of an accidental circumstance that claimed someone’s life, or you are addicted to cigarettes and you only smoke in secret. I can go on and on. No matter how well we hide things, God knows about them but the devil also knows about them and we know that he is the father of lies and that guilt comes from him. So, now, here we are feeling guilty and basically hating that part of our life. Self-hate is very real and very, very dangerous to your health.

What to do? We have to forgive the people involved and ourselves. That’s the easy answer. That’s the right answer. But what if we can’t find the way to forgiveness right now? Grace. We need to give ourselves grace and lots of it because we definitely aren’t perfect. What Elizabeth Gilbert says is, “love yourself,” love every part of yourself, even the imperfect parts. Give the imperfect parts of our characters more grace because once we do that we aren’t going to feel the guilt and the need to keep them hidden from God anymore. Once things are bathed in God’s light we will be able to approach them differently and start to get rid of the power they wield over us.

Let’s make it our goal to start giving ourselves grace.


My comfortable cat

I have a cat. I really love her and take good care of her. I’ve had her ever since she was a kitten. Her name is Camille and she believes that the whole world, including myself, exists to please her. When she wakes from a nap and I’m around she will meow to attract my attention and then go to her food bowl where she has also come into the habit of being brushed. If I walk in the front door she demands attention. She will even scratch at my bed in the middle of the night because she wants to be brushed. Needless to say she loves being brushed. I don’t always pay attention to her but she never tires of believing that I have been created to pander to her needs. She lies around sleeping all day and then decided when and how she wants attention.

We do that with God too a lot of the time. It works something like this:

Me: Hey God, I want to ask you something. I really need you to fix the problem that I’m having at work with my boss, and while you’re about it can’t you please tell him that I need a raise because I can’t live comfortably on the salary I get.

God: That’s interesting. What does my Word say about relationships with your employer?

Me: Uuuuum…I don’t know.

God: Okay, so what does my Word say about your finances?

Me: Well, I think there’s something I heard once about giving to the church.

God: Good. So do you?

Me: I’m still looking for a church that suits me. You know the last one I was in was just full of hypocrites and the children always made a noise during the services.

God: Oh I see, hypocrites you say. Interesting. So when last did you read my Word.

Me: You see, it’s really hard to make time because of this terrible job I have. And the Bible is a bit boring sometimes if you don’t mind me saying so. I really struggle to get into it.

God: You have time to watch TV though.

Me: Yes, but that’s important. I need to be up to date with the news and with a lot of other things so that I can talk to my friends. We need to have things in common you know.

God: I seem to recall there’s something in my Word about going out into the world and telling the world about my Son.

We are just like Camille. We sit around wasting time and when we have a crisis we call on God. We think that God is there solely to look out for our interests. We do everything that the world does but when we need help we expect God to jump up and serve us and help us out of the trouble we put ourselves in. I’m not saying that God isn’t going to help us but I do think the least we can do is bring our side too. We aren’t the centre of the universe and God doesn’t exist to please us.

1 John 2:15 – 17, Don’t set the affections of your heart on this world or in loving the things of the world. The love of the Father and the love of the world are incompatible. For all that the world can offer us—the gratification of our flesh, the allurement of the things of the world, and the obsession with status and importance—none of these things come from the Father but from the world. This world and its desires are in the process of passing away, but those who love to do the will of God live forever.

We are here because God chose to create us. We did not make ourselves, we do not have any power in ourselves that means anything. We need God, God doesn’t need us. We mustn’t be like a cat who is just in her own comfort zone and believes that the rest of the world is there to serve her. God loves us so much that He gave His only Son to die for us so that we won’t go to hell. We are less than nothing without God. We have to look ask ourselves and ask God what it is we can do to bring honour to His name. Then we are starting to get on the right road.

A Jesus Season

There was a song playing on the sound system. And old song called, “Seasons in the sun,” and it speaks of joy and fun and having had a season in the sun. It’s so true, we definitely go through different seasons in our lives and some of them are in the sun, while others lean sharply towards winter. There are also dry, hot seasons where everything seems to be dying. I am reminded of the seed that has to be put in the ground and die before it can grow.

John 12:23 – 26, He replied to them, “Now is the time for the Son of Man to be glorified. Let me make this clear: A single grain of wheat will never be more than a single grain of wheat unless it drops into the ground and dies. Because then it sprouts and produces a great harvest of wheat—all because one grain died.

“The person who loves his life and pampers himself will miss true life! But the one who detaches his life from this world and abandons himself to me, will find true life and enjoy it forever! If you want to be my disciple, follow me and you will go where I am going. And if you truly follow me as my disciple, the Father will shower his favor upon your life.

When we decide to make Jesus the Lord of our life, we undergo a change – a huge change – something so big that the very person we were before disappears. We basically die and are reborn as a new person. A new greatly improved version of your old self. And then you are perfect forever. If only…

That is when the work begins. Once we have experienced the love that the Holy Spirit pours our into our hearts it feels like we are going to be walking on this glorious cloud forever, but once the initial euphoria wears off we enter an entirely different season. A season of learning and growing and questioning, but still a very good, if somewhat confusing season. We are confused by the attitudes of some seasoned Christians speaking of attacks and dry places. We don’t understand how they have lost the joy that is so obviously part and parcel of a Christian life. Most of the time we only see glimpses, although there are others who do live life to the full and seem to be invincible. Very confusing.

Then the next season hits. This is the season of attacks and as far as I can discern, this season never passes. It fluctuates between difficult and a lot more difficult. We are attacked from all sides and if we can’t stand strong in our faith we are in danger of losing it altogether. This is where the dying of the seed comes in. To be able to stay standing we have to die to self all the time. What does that mean? That means that the devil operates through people and people hurt. They hurt where it hurts most. We have to be able to put our own feelings and our own egos away and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us. We cannot take offence every time someone says something hurtful. We cannot retaliate every time someone lashes out at us. We can not! This is when we have to follow the example of Jesus and forgive and forgive and forgive some more. Not for the sake of the other person, but for ourselves. We have to strap on the armour of God early every morning before the devil wakes up. We have to be armoured plated and bullet proof. Dying to self allows us to do this because when people say things we cannot take them to heart. We are to be hidden in Jesus. We have to love our enemies and pray for those who use us. We can do all these difficult things because we aren’t who we used to be. We are now new creatures and we are under the blood of Jesus. No matter what season we are in, we have to make sure it’s a Jesus season.

Love your enemies -all of them

Do you think that when you go to bed at night and there are all kinds of thoughts running through your mind, especially things that happened during the day, especially negative things, that it’s just your over active mind? Not at all. It’s an attack from the enemy. The enemy does not want you to have peace under any circumstances and every chance he can get to disturb your peace, he will.

Yesterday I spoke to a friend about an incident that had happened. I had actually decided to put the whole thing behind me because it is negative and I don’t need negative in my life. But because she had been away I told her. Last night I couldn’t sleep properly until I had broken off soul ties…….again!! These spirits are very powerful. I think I have enough experience to know that it isn’t just my mind wandering. This was such an attack.

We have to keep our minds and our hearts clean we cannot allow the enemy one millimetre of ground. The spirits that are all over are always watching and take the opportunity wherever they see a door open. It has to be just a little bit open, just a crack is enough.

Even thinking about the wrong things is dangerous.

Philippians 4:7, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

This verse is so profound. It just says it all. Look at the preceding 3 verses:

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

And then of course we have verse 8 and 9 of the same chapter:

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 learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

This is such a wonderful instruction not matter what the circumstances. Firstly, we must rejoice, and be gentle, always. Then we ask God for the things we need, with a thankful heart.  By making a conscious decision not to be anxious, God is going to bless you with supernatural peace. And then we have the instruction to keep our minds free from anxiety by thinking about things that are positive and uplifting. It’s as easy at that! Well, when you say it fast it sounds very easy. It is an ongoing process to keep our minds and our hearts free from stress. It is a very conscious decision we have to make.

Every single time we are offended by another person, every time we are falsely accused, every time we are lied to and every time we take exception to something, we have to realise that we are in danger of stepping into enemy territory. That door is opening just a little and we are inviting emotions in which are not lovely or honourable. We are playing with the devil’s toys and very soon we might be inviting his minions into our mind.

Matthew 5:43-48  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

If this is what Jesus did and tells us to do, who are we to do any differently?

Our good Father

Chris Tomlin sings a song called, You’re a good, good Father. These are the lyrics simplified.

I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like

But I’ve heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night

And you tell me that you’re pleased

And that I’m never alone

You’re a good good father

It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are

And I’m loved by you

It’s who I am,

I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide

But I know we’re all searching

For answers only you provide

‘Cause you know just what we need

Before we say a word

You’re a good good father

It’s who you are

And I’m loved by you

It’s who I am,

Because you are perfect in all of your ways

You are perfect in all of your ways to us

Oh, it’s love so undeniable

I can hardly speak

Peace so unexplainable

I can hardly think

As you call me deeper still

Into love, love, love

You’re a good good father

You are perfect in all of your ways

It’s who you are,

And I’m loved by you

You are perfect in all of your ways

It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am


I really love this song and I looked up some versed which tell of the goodness of God our Father.


Psalm 103:13: “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.”


2 Samuel 7:14-15: “I will be a father to him, and he’ll be a son to me. When he does wrong, I’ll discipline him in the usual ways, the pitfalls and obstacles of this mortal life. But I’ll never remove my gracious love from him.”


Psalm 32:7-8: “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”


Proverbs 4:11-12: “I will guide you in the way of wisdom and I will lead you in upright paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered, and when you run, you will not stumble.”


1 Corinthians 8:6

yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him


Isaiah 64:8

But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand


Jeremiah 3:19

“Then I said, ‘How I would set you among My sons And give you a pleasant land, The most beautiful inheritance of the nations!’ And I said, ‘You shall call Me, My Father, And not turn away from following Me.


Psalm 68:5

A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation


Matthew 6:26

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?


Luke 12:29-31

“And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. “For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.


I’d like to encourage you in your walk with this good Father.
Ephesians 3:14-19

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.