How do you know there’s been an elephant in your fridge? Remember that one? The answer is: “There are footprints in the butter.” All they’re really saying is, “There is evidence.” How do police solve crimes? Evidence. How do I know if someone is a South African citizen? He has his SA ID document as evidence. How do I know if someone is a Christian? He says so? That seems to be the common consensus. If I say anything about someone not acting like he’s a Christian I hear, “but you can’t say he’s not a Christian. He says he is so he must be.” It seems like evidence is need for just about anything except for your faith. I just don’t understand how there is apparently no criteria to measure whether someone is a follower of Jesus or not. Or is there?


Matthew 7:15-20, “Constantly be on your guard against phony prophets. They come disguised as lambs, appearing to be genuine, but on the inside they are like wild, ravenous wolves! You can spot them by their actions, for the fruits of their character will be obvious. You won’t find sweet grapes hanging on a thorn bush, and you’ll never pick good fruit from a tumbleweed. So if the tree is good, it will produce good fruit; but if the tree is bad, it will bear only rotten fruit and it deserves to be cut down and burned. Look at the obvious fruit of their lives and ministries, and then you’ll know whether they are true or false.”


This is quite clear. Look for the fruit. It speaks here of false prophets, but I don’t think it just applies to prophets or the five-fold ministry for that matter. It certainly applies to each and every person who calls himself a Christian. What are the fruit?

Galatians 5:19-23, The cravings of the self-life are obvious: Sexual immorality, lustful thoughts, pornography, chasing after things instead of God, manipulating others, hatred of those who get in your way, senseless arguments, resentment when others are favored, temper tantrums, angry quarrels, only thinking of yourself, being in love with your own opinions, being envious of the blessings of others, murder, uncontrolled addictions, wild parties, and all other similar behavior.

Haven’t I already warned you that those who use their “freedom” for these things will not inherit the kingdom realm of God!

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions:

joy that overflows,

peace that subdues,

patience that endures,

kindness in action,

a life full of virtue,

faith that prevails,

gentleness of heart, and

strength of spirit.

Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.

That is the fruit. If you look at my life and there is no love, joy or peace can I call myself a Christian? Will I have any credibility? What about patience and self-control, or gentleness? As far as I’m concerned gentleness is a fruit that is overlooked most of the time. It is also often mistaken for weakness. What is more heart-warming than being with a person who is gentle of spirit? It makes you feel safe and accepted.

Matthew 11:29, Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me.

Jesus is gentle and humble. But people in today’s society think that the way to get ahead in life is by being controlling and harsh. By looking out for their own interests above all else. Being gentle does not mean you have to let people walk all over you and it definitely doesn’t mean you are weak. Gentleness is like dew on dry grass, like a butterfly touching down on a flower, like a bird slowly gliding on an air current. Gentle has power.

We don’t need to judge others, but we do need to ask ourselves daily whether we live up to these criteria. Does the Spirit of God dwell inside of us and are we bearing appropriate fruit? If we are doubtful of the answer we need to ask ourselves some very serious questions and decide what to do about it. Remember, God is waiting for us to start speaking to Him. It’s easy and He is gentle and He loves us.

The joy of the Lord

A customer came into our shop last night who was so friendly. He asked how we were and was smiling and just being generally happy. It struck me that people who are like that, attract people. It is like the saying about catching more flies with honey than with vinegar. How often don’t we see other Christians who are really sullen and sometimes even seem to be depressed. Why would this be?

Nehemiah 8:10, Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Jerusalem had been conquered and many of the people had been carried away to Babylon. Most of the middle and upper class people were taken to Babylon and only the poor people remained. Nehemiah was one of the exiled Jews and was the cupbearer for the king of Persia. He heard that the wall of Jerusalem were broken and could not function because of grief. The king gave him a leave of absence in order to rebuild the walls. There was quite some opposition but eventually the walls were repaired and rebuilt. Ezra read the law and the people realized the weight of their guilt and started weeping. In the next verse the Levites say, ”Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.”

Nehemiah 9:17 (b), But You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness, and did not forsake them.

This was about the Israelites in the desert. Even though they were really disobedient, God forgave them.

Let us look at this from another angle. Every one of us is like or has been like Jerusalem with her walls broken down, and that is really the best way to be so that God can build us up again. When our walls are broken down we are vulnerable. We can’t defend our hearts anymore. We can’t pretend anymore. We have reached the point where we are at the mercy of whoever we choose to trust. If Jerusalem was a person she would be trusting Nehemiah to rebuild her walls strongly and solidly. We need to choose the right one to rebuild our walls. How many times haven’t we heard about people coming out of a broken relationship and then entering another one and it ends badly and they are left even more broken than before. We need to call out to Jesus at this point and just give ourselves and our brokenness completely to Him. It doesn’t matter what we have done and where we have been, God wipes the slate clean and allows us to start over as many times as we need. We need to keep giving ourselves to Jesus. I know a Christian who says that he will walk alongside anyone who tries. It’s all about our hearts. God looks at the intentions of our hearts. He doesn’t judge us the way the world judges us.

The Levites said, “be still, for the day is holy.” The day that we give our broken selves to God for Him to rebuild our walls is a holy day. It is also a day of rejoicing because it is the beginning of our recovery. We can be broken for so many reasons, but God doesn’t judge us on what is behind us, He knows the future and He has determined our futures. We have good futures.

Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

God knows that if we allow Him to rebuild our walls they are going to be beautiful and strong and solid. He is going to use the scars and in the places where those scars are we are going to be stronger than ever. Those trials we went through are going to be our strengths and we are going to be able to do as Habakkuk says and “Walk on our high hills”. We are going to triumph above our circumstances.

Whatever the reason there are Christians who look depressed, God is able and He can change even the most desperate circumstances. He is the only one who can change your mourning into dancing and exchange your robes of heaviness for a garment of praise.



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.

Preach the gospel

The Gospel isn’t a dead historical account. It is a living, vibrant account of the Good News of Salvation

This morning I started reading thee letter Paul wrote to the Romans and I noticed something very interesting. In Chapter 1, verse 8 Paul says that he thanks God for them and that their faith is spoken on throughout the world. I take this to mean that this group of believers is strong in their faith and therefore a solid church. Then he goes on to say in verse 9 to 11 that he always makes mention of the Romans in his prayers and that he is asking that God make a way for him to visit them again in order for him to impart a spiritual gift to them so that they may be established. This seemed to be a little inconsistent because if everyone is speaking of their faith surely they are already established. But when I read verse 15 the penny dropped. Paul says that he is ready to preach the Gospel to them. I realised that it doesn’t matter how established a church or a believer is, it doesn’t matter how spiritually mature you are, it doesn’t matter if you are a graduate or a street sweeper, you can never get enough of the Gospel. I looked up ‘gospel’ in the dictionary and in short it says:

  • The teaching of the revelation of Christ

  • The record of Christ’s life and teaching in the first four books of the New Testament

  • Good News

So! We are never too good or too spiritual to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. What a wonderful thought. Don’t try and complicate things. When you are searching and you feel that God is far away, go back to the Gospel. Read the book of John where the life of Jesus is clearly portrayed. David says in Psalm 51:12 “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.” Let us spread the Good News that Jesus brought. Have a blessed day.