Someone I know had tried very hard to arrange a special occasion but unfortunately there had been a sequence of events that caused a few things to be less than perfect. It hadn’t been a disaster and on the whole everything went off well. But she felt bad because she had put in so much effort. I told her, “Don’t worry. You win some, you lose some. That’s the way of life”. And it is, there isn’t even a faint chance that we will always do everything perfectly, even when we have experience and we know what we’re doing. I remember cooking a dinner for my 50th birthday, and the veggies just didn’t want to cook properly. Why not? I still don’t know and it’s by no means the first time I cooked. I had been driving for years when I accidentally bumped another vehicle while parking. There are so many things which just ‘happen’. I suppose if we were more careful and vigilant we would make fewer mistakes. If we never make mistakes, we would be perfect, and that has problems all of it own. Just imagine if you literally never make a mistake; how awful would the day be that you actually do make a mistake? I shudder to think of the amount of self-condemnation that would follow.

Only Jesus was perfect, so I don’t think we should beat ourselves up about little things that go wrong.

James 1:2-3, Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. (NLT)

We see here that James says we need to view troubles with joy. So do we need to view the loaf of bread that didn’t rise with joy? The golf putt we didn’t sink or the test we failed? How can we look at things like that, which were possibly our own fault, with joy? Shouldn’t we go and look for the cause and then meditate about it and do some self-talk so that we won’t make the same mistake again? Oh yes, and practice harder and study harder? I suppose we need to know what the cause of the problem was so that we can avoid it in future, but we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it. In any case there are usually enough other people who are going to make us feel bad about not being perfect.  But, yes, we should be joyful because, as James says here, our faith is being tested and it’s an opportunity to grow.

Romans 5:3-5, We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

If nothing else, making mistakes and having a good attitude towards them is going to grow great character in us.

I just want to qualify that I’m speaking about genuine mistakes when you have been doing your best and something just went wrong. Not when someone was slacking or didn’t care about what they were doing. But you know what? I believe that on the whole people are doing their best. It’s very easy to judge people when we are standing on the outside looking in. We need to know what the circumstances are and why people act or react the way they do. Most of the time we decide much to quickly about things which are merely perceptions and not facts.

I think we need to pray and really consult God and ask to discernment in all circumstances.

Also we need to calm down and accept that we are going to make mistakes even when we are trying hard and that if we go through our trials with a good and teachable attitude we are going to come out the other side better people than what we were.


How often have you heard people say that they don’t go to church because churches are full of hypocrites. They say that there are many people who go to church and ‘sit in the front row’ and really look like they have bought into the whole Christianity thing, but the rest of the week their behaviour doesn’t agree with what they see on Sunday. This is an extremely sad state of affairs but unfortunately has been true for hundreds of years. I was reading a book that described these people as ‘those who think they are Christians, but don’t have a genuine relationship with Christ.’

Colossians 3:2-25, Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work. (Message)

If we say that we are Christians we always have to do our best in whatever it is we are doing. We cannot be lazy and think that God’s grace will cover it up. That really isn’t being a good ambassador on earth.

Colossians 3:23, And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, (NKJV)

If we go to church on Sunday and we get involved in the worship and the service, but we do not have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, we have to ask ourselves what we’re doing in church? Are we there to please people? Maybe our spouse or parents or children? Or are we seeking the truth?

We cannot judge people who are outside the church, people who are non-believers, but we are supposed to judge, or rather to help, people inside the church.

1 Corinthians 5:12-13, or what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”

Romans 16:17-18, Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.

Now this does not mean that we must walk around gossiping about church members who are doing things that aren’t right. There is a way that is has to be done.

Matthew 18:15-17, “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”

If there are people in the church who are giving the church a bad name it is the duty of the leaders and the true believers to gently reprimand these people. Only once every avenue has been explored can the person who is misrepresenting Jesus be put out of the church, but people who are not behaving according to scripture have to be confronted.

1 Corinthians 12:12, For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

Every one of us has a place in the body of Christ, in the church. We are supposed to complement each other. We should use our gifts to edify others and to help each other. We have to be like cart horses who pull the cart together. We shouldn’t be working against each other, each one seeking his own glory. The only way we are going to get the church to look the way God wants it to look is if we put Him at the head and follow in humility.

Sow the Seed

Yesterday we visited one of our staff members in hospital. She had been involved in a motor accident and was injured. I prayed for her for a speedy recovery. I hope she took the prayer to heart and will accept that God wants her to be healed. I cannot make her accept the prayer and once I have prayed it is not going to be for me to keep worrying if she is going to be healed or not. God is the healer, not me. If I tell someone about Jesus and His saving grace it is just the same. I can tell them everything I know but I cannot force them to believe.
1 Corinthians 3:6-9, I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters has one purpose, and each will be rewarded by his own labour. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
Here it shows that if we carry out the Word but do not see the results immediately, it doesn’t mean there aren’t results. It only means that along the line, in time the seed might begin to grow when it gets watered and then it might be harvested by somebody else. We must never think that our efforts are worthless. We must not stop sowing the seeds because we cannot see the results.
I have often heard the story of the Chinese bamboo seed which takes 5 years to sprout. You plant it and keep it watered for five long years. Then, once it sprouts, it grows 24 meters in just six weeks. Isn’t that just amazing. If you stop watering it because you think it’s not growing, it’s never going to sprout. You just have to have so much patience!
Mark 4:2-8, Jesus taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among the thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty or even a hundred times.
This parable has been such a revelation to me. We very easily look at preachers and evangelists and judge their success by the number of converts they have. That is probably a normal thing to do. But here Jesus illustrates that we should not be judging the seed. The farmer did not have bad seed. All the seed he had was the same. He also didn’t scatter different kinds of seed in the different places. All the seed that he had was exactly the same. The soil that it fell on was different. So we cannot judge the seed. If someone is preaching or having an evangelical conference and only a few people are converted it doesn’t mean that the seed is bad. Likewise, if there are many converts but some of them grow cold in a few weeks or months it is not the fault of the seed. The soil is the problem. If we sow the seed we don’t have a way to know if the soil is good or if the soil is shallow, rocky or filled with weeds. We also don’t know ahead of time if the birds are going to eat the seed before it can germinate.
We have been called to sow the seed, that’s all. We have also been called to water seed and reap a harvest, but not necessarily the same seed that we sowed. Ultimately all we can do is be obedient and sow wherever we can and whenever we can and pray that the harvest will come it when it is ready.


Romans 1:16 is a beautiful verse in which Paul says that he isn’t ashamed of the gospel of Christ because of its power of salvation. In Verse 17 he says the famous words, “The just shall live by faith.” That phrase was first said in Habakkuk 2:4, – “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by faith.”

Then I read verses 18 – 32 and they contain some of the scariest stuff in the whole bible. Paul begins by saying that God’s wrath (anger, exasperation, fury, indignation, ire, passion, rage, temper) is against people who know the truth about Him, but suppress it. The Amplified version makes it very clear: ‘For [God does not overlook sin and] the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness of men who in their wickedness suppress and stifle the truth, because that which is known about God is evident within them [in their inner consciousness], for God made it evident to them.’ I read the verses that follow and it looked as if it meant that people who fail to acknowledge God are given over to all kinds of wicked behaviour, and it may well be so, but Chapter 2 starts off with the word ‘Therefore’. Therefore (for that reason; consequently; accordingly), a wonderful word that tells us to look at what went before. Romans2:1 “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.’ Ouch!! We are very good at judging and drawing conclusions about people’s behaviour, but whatever people are doing is not our business. It is our job to love people, not to judge or condemn them.

Matthew 22:37 – Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang the law and the prophets.” Let us start practicing to love people with the same love that God shows us. 

Right or wrong – or is it?

Recently there was an incident at a Spur steakhouse where a white man threatened a black woman because their children had a fight in the play area. According to a large sector of the white community at large the incident wasn’t handled correctly by the management of Spur and they decided to boycott the restaurant. Instead of a matter of general decent manners it has been turned into a race issue. I have seen the slogan ‘Spur must fall’! I am not even going to try to debate who was right and who was wrong. It really doesn’t matter because if we are going to fall into the trap of judging every incident as right or wrong we are going to make ourselves very unhappy.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). It is so easy to influence and manipulate people by what you say. You justify actions, you do the guilt trip thing, you do whatever it takes to make people do what you think you are justified in doing. Before you know it you have a large following and you are acting like a politician. So what are the implications if Spur does fall? A whole lot of people lose their jobs and maybe some families don’t have any employed members anymore and maybe crime escalates. But you are justified in what you are doing so you don’t care.
What would Jesus have done if someone had taken the Spur incident and all it repercussions and put it before Him? Would he have judged right and wrong? Or would He have said what he said to the woman caught in adultery – “Go and sin no more.” He said that the one without sin should pick up the first stone. Which one of us is without sin?
When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well He knew that she was living with a man she wasn’t married to. “for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband;” Jesus never told her that she was bad and that it was wrong to live with a man if you aren’t married to him. He never condemned her actions at all.
What about Zaccheus? (Luke 10:1-10) He was the chief tax collector at Jericho and he stole money from people by demanding more taxes than were rightfully payable. He was working for the government and cheating people. Does that sound familiar? Well, Jesus didn’t sit him down and tell him how bad he was, and neither did he ignore him or make him understand that he would not associate with a criminal. Jesus had dinner at Zaccheus’ house! By loving him, Jesus caused him to realize his wicked ways. He repented and paid back everything he had stolen and more.
Then, of course there was Mary, who poured out a jar of expensive perfume over the feet of Jesus. His disciples were indignant because Mary was a woman of ill repute. (John 12:1 – 8) Jesus never condemned Mary for being a prostitute.
Looking at all these incidents which had judgement potential I am seeing a pattern. I am seeing that Jesus never condemned people. He loved them. And because He loved them they changed. Are we able to do the same? Is it really necessary to incite people over social media to join your negative protest? Jesus says in Matthew 7:1 – 2, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
I would hate to be judged on the sins I commit. Can you imagine? Every thought and every word – I shudder to think. What did Jesus die on the cross for then? A few years back everyone was wearing those bands that said WWJD? Well, What Would Jesus Do? Would he condemn our actions or would He love us?


What about love and peace instead of judgement?