A stranger in Heaven

I saw an old friend yesterday and it was such a surprise. You know the feeling where you suddenly see a face you recognise but you didn’t expect to see that person. It’s really a special feeling. I wonder what it’s going to feel like when we get to heaven and meet Jesus face to face. Are we going to be surprised at His appearance or are we going to know His face. Is it going to feel like we’re meeting someone we know intimately or are we going to feel like we’re meeting a stranger for the first time? Have you ever thought about it? Let’s look at some character traits of Jesus and see if they are familiar? Some of these verses are out of the Old Testament and were spoken prophetically while other are from the New Testament either being the words of Jesus himself, the witness of His disciples or  words spoken by people to whom Jesus revealed His character. Jesus still reveals His character today to his followers so that we can get to know Him.

Matthew 9:36, But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.

Luke 19:41, Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,

Luke 23:34, Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.

John 15:13, Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Isaiah 11:5, Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.

John 1:14, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 7:18, He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.

Zechariah 9:9, Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!

Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!

Behold, your King is coming to you;

He is just and having salvation,

Lowly and riding on a donkey,

A colt, the foal of a donkey.

Isaiah 40:11, He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm,

And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.

2 Corintians 5:21,  For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Hebrews 7:26-27, For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

Isaiah 53:7, He was oppressed and He was afflicted,

Yet He opened not His mouth;

He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,

And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,

So He opened not His mouth.

Isaiah 53:9, And they made His grave with the wicked—

But with the rich at His death,

Because He had done no violence,

Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

1 Peter 2:22, Who committed no sin,

Nor was deceit found in His mouth

1 Timothy 1:16, However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.

Philippians 2:8-11, And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Would we recognise Jesus from these verses? There are many, many more such references and we could be busy for days just finding them. We need to spend time in the Word to get to know our Saviour so well that we won’t be meeting a stranger in Heaven.

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.

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.

War zone

Imagine you are entering a war zone. It is a place where battles are fought and won or lost on a daily basis. There is an unseen enemy which attacks with great cunning and never lets up or retreats. There are allies who are supporting you but you cannot see them and you may or may not know how to mobilise them. You have very effective and powerful weapons but it is your own responsibility to learn to use them. By far the greatest number of battles are fought inside your own head. Sound tough? That is what happened when you signed up to be a Christian. That is the change that occurred when you accepted Jesus as your personal saviour.

You see, you used to be part of the darkness. Your father was the devil. Whether you were a good person or a bad person doesn’t matter at all. If you aren’t 100% sold out to Jesus you are living in the enemy camp. That person that told you that you should give your heart to Jesus to solve all your problems and to live an easy life, was lying though his teeth. When you become a Christian you are joining the army of Christ. There are no guarantees of an easy life and of peace. The only guarantee you have is that when you die you are going to heaven and not to hell. That might be slightly simplified, but that’s the bigger picture.

When we join the holy army we turn our backs on our old life and we become the enemies of the devil. Because he doesn’t really like what we’ve done, he sends his demons out on assignments against us. We are spirit, we have a soul and we are housed in a body. The easiest part of us to attack is our minds. We have between 60 000 and 80 000 thoughts daily. If our enemy pushes a few in here and there we easily accept them as our own and possibly act on them. The stronger the attack the more thoughts are downloaded into our minds, the more likely we are to pay attention to them. If someone does something nasty to us and we have a thought like, “How could he have done that? I have to get him back,” we can be quite sure that the thought comes from the devil. We have to be so discerning. That is where our weapons come into play. We have a very powerful sword and it’s called the Bible.

2 Corintians 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.

By taking every though captive, by not entertaining every thought, by rejecting negative thoughts we are using our weapons. We often hear of Christians saying they have to do some warfare, but in fact Christians have to be continually engaged in warfare in order to win the battle. The war has already been won.

John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

This is what Jesus said. When He was crucified He went to hell and took the keys of death and hades from the devil.

Revelation 1:18, “I and He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

So why do we have to fight these battles if Jesus have already overcome the devil? The only way we are going to overcome sin in our lives is by beating the devil. The only way we are going to build character and become more like Jesus is by beating the devil. How would you feel about receiving a gold medal in the Olympics without having taken part in any events? God’s love is unconditional and He accepts us as we are. We do not engage in warfare in order to win His love. Nothing we do can earn what He has done for us. We engage in warfare for ourselves so that we can be worthy of our calling and so that we can be the best ambassadors and soldiers that we can be.

A deep darkness

We had a power cut most of yesterday. Our shop still functions because we have gas and a generator. The reason for the power failure was apparently a giraffe that had been struck by lightning and had then fallen onto the power lines. This is quite an unusual situation but if you live in Africa anything is possible. The town looks strange without street lights, there are lights here and there. Mostly just darkness.

Genesis 1:2-3, The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

Psalm 107:10-14, Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, Bound in affliction and irons – because they rebelled against the words of God, and despised the counsel of the Most High, therefore He brought down their heart with labour; they fell down and there was none to help.

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness, and the shadow of death, and broke their chains in pieces.

Isaiah 60:2, “For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people, but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.

Ephesians 5:8, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.

Whenever the bible speaks of darkness, it is overcome by light. There is no darkness that can’t be overcome by light. Darkness cannot exist where there is light. If there is a candle burning in a room the only way that room can become dark is if the candle is extinguished. If a room is dark it immediately becomes light if a candle is lit. Darkness is only the absence of light. Darkness isn’t a thing by itself. It’s more of an abstract concept. You can’t make darkness like you make light.

Now spiritual darkness cannot continue to exist if there is light. If the light of Jesus comes into a dark situation it must change. Wherever there is darkness and God comes into the darkness, it dissipates.

John 3:19, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world , and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Ephesians 5:11-14, And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

First of all we need to be wide awake so that we don’t miss a single opportunity to spread the Gospel and secondly we need to be there when people to awake out of their slumber and need guidance and discipleship. That is what we were born for.

Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

We have to be the light in the darkness. We cannot allow the enemy to deceive us into thinking that people will be offended if we speak about Jesus and the bible. We have been commanded to bring light into the darkness. We can’t listen to the world anymore when they say the way to get ahead it to only associate with positive people and to be around people who are in the positions we would like to be in. These are New Age ideas that have spread into everyday life and into the vocabulary’s of Christians.

We do not have to do what the world says. We have to do what Jesus is telling us to do and He is telling us to be the light in a dark, dark world.

The onslaught

I have a few friends who are really tired of struggling. They are asking what more they can do to get some favour. What can they do to get a break. The economy is tough, the political situation isn’t ideal and it looks like the devil has launched a full on assault against believers.

John 1:14, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as on the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus is the Word, and the Word as we know it is the Bible. And a word is something that is spoken or written. When God created the world he spoke and the things He spoke come into being. Jesus was the form that God took when He manifested on earth. The Word in human form.

Ephesians 6:17, And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

We need to put on the armour so that we are protected against the onslaught. It also says that we have to use the sword of the Spirit. That is the Word of God. The Scriptures. But the scriptures don’t help us one bit if we don’t have a relationship with Jesus, the Word. The Word of God only has power when we are walking in a relationship with Jesus.

Psalm 119:105, Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path.

We need to be guided by God’s Word, by the things that are written in the Bible. I realise that everything in the Bible is old. Very old. Thousands of years old. But in all these thousands of years human nature has not changed. The issues, challenges and the questions that people have are still the same. Cain was jealous of Abel; People were so lawless that God got Noah to build an ark and destroyed everyone in a flood; Abram lied about Sarah being his sister and had a child by someone other than his wife; Jacob cheated Esau; Joseph’s brothers sold him to slave traders. That’s just the first 37 chapters of the Bible. Doesn’t it sound a lot like every other soapie on TV? Believe me, the bible really does have all the answers.

John 10:10, The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.

The devil is our enemy. There is no midway when it comes to good and evil. The devil is bad and he wants us dead. He isn’t going to be nice to us when we get into his territory. We cannot afford to be Sunday Christians and then run our lives and our businesses like the world on the other six days. If we aren’t totally sold out to Jesus, we are going to be easy prey to the lies that the enemy is whispering into our ears. He wants to steal our families, our money and our integrity. When he has all those things he is going to try his level best to kill us. We simply have to turn away from everything that is evil and cling to Jesus because that is the only way we are going to have eternal life.

Proverbs 18:10, The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and they are safe.


Jesus is the name above all names and when we are in any trouble we need to call out to Him. If we have questions about how to live He is the one to ask. If we have trouble we can expect Him to give us the best advice.

I would like to sum it up as follows. The way we can fight the devil is by using the Word. We have to confess Scriptures over our situations. We can expect victory. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11) He overcame the enemy with words from scripture. We have to follow His example and find verses in the Bible that are relevant for the situations that we are in and we have to speak them. Spoken words have so much power and the spoken word is the power that we have been given over our enemy.

Find your verses today and start speaking them!




I saw a little boy with his mother in the bank yesterday. He was really small and maybe two years old at the most. He was smiling at everyone and trying to clean the windows with a little cloth he had with him. His joy was evident for all to see. If I look at children who are so happy and trusting I wonder where it goes to as we grow up. I don’t see many adults being openly joyful all the time. Most people we encounter are very serious and even sombre. How does life become so bad that it is difficult to smile? I’m not talking about a fake smile or a courteous smile; I’m referring to a genuine bubbling over with joy smile. I don’t know if a saw one adult all day who could lay claim to that.

Are we supposed to be joyful? I think so. At least the Bible keeps referring to joy.

Psalm 16:11,  You will show me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 30:5 and 11, His anger is but for a moment,

His favor is for life;

Weeping may endure for a night,

But joy comes in the morning.

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;

You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,

Isaiah 12:3, Therefore with joy you will draw water

From the wells of salvation.

This verse is so descriptive. I can just see someone bending down to scoop a bucket of joy out of the well of salvation. Jesus is our source of joy. Regardless of our circumstances we must always be able to find Jesus among the busyness of everyday life and go to that secret place where we can connect with Him. Martin Luther is quoted as having said, “The less I pray, the harder it gets; the more I pray, the better it goes.”

He also said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”

What if we tried that instead of saying, “I have so much to do I have no time to pray.”? God has a way of doing things that seems to be totally opposite of the way the world does things. In His kingdom things just work differently. Who would have thought that by giving away money and possessions you would actually receive more? Who would have thought that it is actually good for you to love your enemies and pray for them? Who would have thought that judging people who are not Christians would be a bad thing to do? Only in the kingdom of God that’s the way it is. Where is the kingdom of God? Right here where His children are who are living according to His Kingdom principles.

Matthew 6:9-10, Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come.

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

If we follow what Jesus teaches us in the Gospels we are going to allow God’s kingdom be manifest on earth. We must remember that the things we are taught in the Bible are for our own good and should be embraced with joy. We shouldn’t be rebelling against them like school boys against school rules. The consequences of not following the principles and statutes given in the Word are the punishment we receive. God doesn’t stand like an old style teacher with a stick to beat us if we don’t listen. God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us, why would He be doing things to punish us. If we go through hard times with perseverance and with joy it grows our character and our faith and it makes better people of us. Who would not want to be a better person?

Let’s practice drawing joy out of the well of salvation so that the world can see we have Jesus in our hearts.

A new handbag

I just took a good look at my handbag and I think I need a new one. I don’t have a few bags, I just have one and I use it till I decide it’s paid its dues and then the search for another one. This time I don’t have in mind what I want so it will be a bit of a search. I will know when I see the right one. My handbag isn’t so much a fashion accessory as a utilitarian item. It must be big enough to carry my wallet, diary, kitchen sink… But not so big that I can’t comfortably carry it around. You get the idea; it must be just right, it must suit my lifestyle.

I wonder sometimes if people aren’t looking for that kind of religion too. Something that suits them just right. Something that doesn’t require any effort from them so that they can carry it around comfortably. The right size and shape and it must make them look good too. They don’t want to be confronted by it and they don’t want to be taken out of their comfort zone. They would like the Gospel to be according to their own wants and desires. They only want to acknowledge the pieces of the bible that suit their lifestyle.

But Jesus didn’t come to make life comfortable for us. He did say, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28–30. Note that He said we have to take His yoke on ourselves. He didn’t say that we wouldn’t have a yoke.

1 Peter 4:12-13, (Message Bible) Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.

The definition of a yoke is: a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plough or cart that they are to pull.

Note that the yoke is put on two animals and that they pull the cart or the plough together. A yoke is not meant for one animal by itself. We must take the yoke of Jesus, in other words we are in the yoke with Jesus by our side pulling with us. He doesn’t leave us all alone and give us all the hard pulling to do. No, He is with us every step of the way. So instead of trying to miss out of having hardships and accepting the yoke that He offers us, we have to welcome and embrace that yoke that He is offering us. If we do not, then we are going to be all by ourselves, handling our burdens by ourselves and trying to muddle through life in our own strength. That is not a good place to be.

Matthew 28:19-20,  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Hebrews 13:5, Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Romans 8:38-39, For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:15-17 in the Message Bible is just so beautiful, This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!

Let us embrace and welcome the yoke that Jesus gives us and let us wear it with perseverance and with gratitude for everything He has done and is doing for us.

Build and altar

The most awesome part of yesterday was very early in the morning. I woke up and went to the window. I looked outside and saw that there was no wind and the sky was absolutely clear with a million stars. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude because that is the sign that God gave me several years ago telling me that everything is going to be all right. It looked exactly the same as that night all those years ago. I praised God quietly for His love and His grace and went back to sleep.

I think every one of us needs a sign. Something that is going to let us know that God remembers us. Because we have very small minds that easily forget. We can of course make a sign for ourselves. When God has provided extraordinarily we should remember it. When God has saved us from desperate situations, we should remember it. When something has happened and we really don’t want to forget it we should make sure we remember it. I collect stones and I write on them. I like to think of it as building an altar. It isn’t a physical altar as such, more of a spiritual altar but with physical reminders.

God’s people, the Hebrew nation, were very good at forgetting things and this is said over and over in scripture.  God also tells parents to tell their children and their children’s children about the great and good things that He has done. When we’re in a difficult situation we often suffer from amnesia and fall into doubt and worry. We get desperate and don’t believe that God will save us out of the situations we find ourselves. If we remember the things God has done for us in the past and the situations He has rescued us out of it serves to strengthen our faith. We are able to find solid ground to stand on and we can praise God for what He did in the past and that in itself gives us a better hold on our emotions.

Psalm 103:1-2, Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:

Then David goes on to list all the benefits of serving God, but he says don’t forget the benefits.

Exodus 12:14, So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.

Once again it’s about remembering. This was the initiation of the Passover. See what happened when Israel crossed the Jordan into the promised land:

Joshua 4:20-24,  And those twelve stones which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. Then he spoke to the children of Israel, saying: “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; for the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.

This is meant not only for the Jews to remember what God did, but also for other nations to remember so that they can see what God is capable of doing. We have the opportunity daily to speak to people who don’t know God and we can tell them first-hand about what God does for us.

1 Peter 3:15, But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

We should really be shining lights in this dark world. Like the stars that were so bright in the dark night sky. We have to stand out as being different, and as this verse says, as having hope. When things look dark we have to light up the situation and people have to see that we are different. We simply can’t be like everyone else. We also have to devise ways of remembering the goodness of our loving Father so that when there are difficulties we can rise above them.

Be like a child

What if Jesus came down to earth physically and stood right before you? Right now. Would you be able to look him in the eye with a clear conscience? Would you fall down and worship Him? Would you run and try to hide? I don’t think any one of us knows exactly what our reaction will be if it should happen. What is the point of my asking this question? The point is that a lot of the time we act as if God can’t see us and doesn’t know what we’re thinking. We do and say and even think things that are so totally not what we profess to believe in that it’s a bit scary. I don’t think that we should be looking over our shoulders all the time in fear of what God will think of us though. I think we need to get to a place where everything we do will reflect Jesus in our lives. We should be praising our way into heaven when we die.

But now we live on earth and we live with all kinds of people who don’t share our faith or our point of view. We are being constantly accused by the devil in the courtroom of Heaven. I try to remember that it’s only Christians who are going to be accused. The devil is definitely not going to be accusing his followers. And his followers aren’t only Satanists, anyone who isn’t a Christian is a follower of the devil.

John 8:44-47, 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 speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

Here Jesus is speaking to the Jews who wanted to kill Him. Not to Gentiles or Heathens. As far as I am concerned there are two kinds of spirits on earth that can influence us. There is the Holy Spirit who comes from God and there are the demon spirits who assist the devil in his mission to draw us as far away from God as he can. Therefore if we aren’t under the influence of the Holy Spirit, we will be influenced by the devil.

John 14:6, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

There aren’t any other ways to God. No other religion serves the living God. If they think they do then they have been deceived by the enemy.

Revelation 12:10-12, Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”

At least there is light at the end of this tunnel. We will one day live in Heaven with Jesus, and God and the angels and it’s going to be really, really wonderful. But first we must overcome the world. We can do it if we are aware of the challenges and if we are willing to give our whole heart and our whole life to Jesus. Every teeny weeny little bit of it. Even the bad and embarrassing bits, especially those bits. We must become like children. A child loves unconditionally and trusts unconditionally. That is how we have to be.

Matthew 18:3-4,  “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Our faith must be pure and simple and we mustn’t try to complicate things. If Jesus comes and stands before us we must be able to do what any child would do to the one he loves and give him a huge hug.