Jesus and politics

We were having a conversation which turned quite political and touched on human rights, fairness, apartheid, and all the accompanying issues. Someone was saying that people who never had power over others also want to experience it and the racial roles of the past need to be reversed, and that there needs to be revenge. Obviously it was a conversation which could be held in perpetuity and no solution will be found. What people don’t seem to understand is that all pain stems from the heart and the more people concentrate on hurts of the past, and in this case, perceived hurts. It was a young person who had never experienced apartheid who was repeating what had been told to him, and what the politicians are saying.

I told him that if I was given five hundred million dollars, and I wasn’t spiritually free, it wouldn’t even help me one little bit. If I don’t have Jesus in my heart, and if I am not free from bondage money and possessions is not going to help me feel better about myself or my circumstances. Earthly possessions are not the answer that the world is seeking. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only answer. It is the only thing that can make a difference. When Jesus was born the Roman appointed king of Judea was Herod the great and he killed the baby boys born in Bethlehem in an attempt to kill Jesus. He was a tyrant. Then there was the next Herod who was in charge when Jesus was crucified. He allowed an innocent man to be killed. It was hardly an example of a fair government. The Jews lived under Roman oppression, yet Jesus did not fight the rulers or the system of the time. He came to give the world the one thing that every human being craves above all else and that is spiritual and emotional freedom.

We have to understand that no matter what is happening here on earth it is and will only be temporary. The one thing we can be sure of is that things are always going to change. Sometimes change is for better and sometimes it is for worse, but nothing ever stays the same. Whether our circumstances change, or whether we die and move away from our earthly dwelling, we can be very sure of change.

In the Bible there are many verses which refer to people who mourn. You are very sad when you mourn and Jesus came for people who mourn and who are broken hearted.

Isaiah 61:3, To console those who mourn in Zion,

To give them beauty for ashes,

The oil of joy for mourning,

The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

That they may be called trees of righteousness,

The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

Matthew 5:3-10, Blessed are the poor in spirit,

For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,

For they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,

For they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

For they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful,

For they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,

For they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

For they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,

For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The Beatitudes tell exactly who Jesus came to earth for. People with broken hearts, people with pain and people who are longing to experience freedom. Jesus knew that freedom in your heart is so much more important than physical freedom. Paul wrote such inspirational letters when he was in chains in prison. He didn’t lament the fact that he was unfairly detained. He rejoiced in the freedom that he had in Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:37-39, Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 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.

As far as I am concerned Jesus and the Gospel He brought is the answer and that is what we as Christians are called to declare to the world. If we want to live in a country that is pleasant and safe we need to start doing what we have been called to do.

Heart of stone

A friend was sharing with me about a friend of hers who is extremely sick, and she said that she senses God is dealing with a whole family in this situation. God does that. He doesn’t cause sickness and tragedy but He uses it for our good. Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” So God takes the bad things that happen and uses them to work in our hearts. It doesn’t matter if those bad things happened accidentally or if they were self inflicted. Sometimes tragedy strikes and our hearts are broken, but not only because of what happened now, often old hurts are exposed and then everything just seems so much worse than they should have been. God can then start to heal those old wounds that have been exposed.
Psalm 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.”
These verses are so true. We just need to allow God into our hearts and into our pain. When we are hurting and suffering He is doing His best work. When we get hurt and don’t allow God in, we build walls around our hearts, and then no-one can get in. We do it as protection but we are not protecting ourselves, we are harming ourselves. We are stopping the healing oil that God wants to pour onto our wounds from healing that hurting heart. We are also blocking blessings that we could have been receiving because we just aren’t open to receiving them. Our attitude of rejecting help from God also rejects people and we become bitter and nasty. You know the saying, ‘hurt people hurt people.’? That’s exactly what happens. Because we have shut down the loving, soft, humble and gentle parts of our hearts (those parts that get hurt so easily) we push away people who try to get close to us. It’s really sad but it happens all the time.
Ezekiel 26:36 says, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh, and give you a heart of flesh.”
I think that God doesn’t just heal our hearts, He gives us a brand-new heart. When we are so hurt that our hearts have turned to stone, He can take out that stone and replace it with a new heart.
Isaiah 43:25, “I, I am He who blots our your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
Matthew 6:14 – 15, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will you Father forgive your trespasses.”
So God forgives us and doesn’t remember our sins, and He expects the same from us. I have often heard that people say they can forgive but they cannot forget. I often have to forgive people, and I make a point of not doing it in my own strength. If I allow God to work in that situation He not only helps me to forgive, but also to forget. I know that the incident isn’t easily forgotten, but it’s the hurt that must be forgotten. There are in fact incidents that I have forgotten. How does God do this? He gives us new hearts when the old ones are hurting too much. We just have to ask Him and invite Him and allow Him to do his healing and renewing work in us. We have to allow the Holy Spirit to do what He is so good at doing.
Isaiah 11:2, “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”
The same Holy Spirit that was with Jesus and that is prophesied in Isaiah is the Holy Spirit that lives in every believer. He has been sent to be our helper, comforter, guide and advocate. How can we refuse the help that is available? All we have to do is allow Him to work. There’s no special ritual we have to go through, there aren’t special prayers. We just have to surrender our hearts to Him and let Him do the rest.

Hurt steals our fight

A very precious friend who is like a daughter to me, has been through more than any person should be allowed to go through. Her daughter was kidnapped by a family member and she is still struggling the law system to try to get her back. That’s a long story and not mine to tell. But what is happening now is that the enemy is accusing her of failing her daughter. I told her that she must remember it’s the enemy trying to distract her from what she’s supposed to be doing and keeping her from having faith. She acknowledged that but said that even though she knows, it still hurts. That’s when I realized that the enemy wants us to hurt, because when we’re hurting we can’t fight. When we’re hurting it takes up all the energy we’ve got.

According to John 10:10 the devil comes to kill, to steal and destroy. Yes, he does want to see us dead and up till that time he will try to steal every good from us that he possibly can. He will steal our joy, our faith, our peace and our health. He will try to destroy families and marriages. He hates unity and love. The things he steals and destroys are meant to cause pain. Isaiah 53:4. “Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Jesus took all our pain onto Himself. He died for us so that we could live in victory. Matthew 8:16 – 17, “when evening had come, they brought to him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities, And bore our sicknesses.”

We are supposed to give Jesus our hurts and our pain. We should just be able to let everything go and trust Him with the things that are troubling us. Even though we know that we should be doing this we often don’t. We either think that we can handle things ourselves, or we don’t realize that a lot of the bad stuff that’s happening to us is the work of the enemy. The enemy is devious. He will not say something to you like, “Hey, Alex, I am a demon, and I want to tell you that I want you to believe you are worthless.” No, not at all. What you’re going to hear is, “I am worthless.” Just pay attention, you sometimes have thoughts that might coincide with something that’s going on in your life and it feels like you are thinking these things. Whether the thought comes from yourself or from the devil, do not allow it to linger. We often invite these thoughts in, give them a comfortable seat and entertain them with tea and biscuits. Then we give them a room with a comfy bed and let them sleep over. Once they become comfortable we are going to think they belong to us and then we are really going to start believing them. We don’t have to be possessed by a demon to do the enemy’s bidding. It’s as easy as acknowledging a negative thought. Once that thought is there it is going to start causing pain. Let’s say there was an incident at school with your child and you felt a bit guilty about what happened. The thoughts about being a bad parent are going to come along. Sometimes not only thoughts, sometimes people speak these things out loud. You accept them and soon you’re a wreck in need of therapy because you believe you’re a bad parent, and whatever else the enemy can make you believe.

So how do we get rid of all this baggage? Well, give it to Jesus. Pray, beg if you have to, but make sure you are sure you’ve given it to the Lord. Then start to fight. Put on the full armor, Ephesians 6:13, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” And then start praising, and keep praising until you feel the victory in your soul. Remember this is not about circumstances. You must look up and rise up above your circumstances.  Psalm 30:11-12, “You have turned my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”

To forgive …

I am at the shop and my plan was to get my admin up to date. I have a cup of coffee next to me, Jesus Culture playing on the computer and my mind is everywhere, except where its supposed to be. I started thinking about what forgiveness is all about  so I wrote a poem. . All of us, at various stages of our lives have issues with forgiveness. Here it is, please give me feedback about your own experiences with forgiving.



Holding onto the past is what I do

Remembering every word and deed

Going over it every day

It soon becomes a great, ugly need


The alternative is unthinkable

How can anyone, most of all God, expect

Me to let go of what hurt me so much

As if nothing was ever there?


How can I say it’s all over?

How can I live without the pain

That has been part of me for so long?

How? I ask you how is it done?


I cannot even start to think where to begin

How do I start to leave it all behind?

My life will be emptied of all the grief

But will there be anything at all left behind?


Will I not then be just an empty vessel

Making a lot of noise?

The pain has sustained me and I thought,

Given me good reason to be alive.


“Take My hand my child and turn your back

On all the pain and hate,

Take my hand and follow Me

I bore it all for you on a cross on Calvary”


My body is trembling at the words I hear

My voice is breaking,

The fear of letting go is too strong but

My heart is crying out for the freedom I need


Father, You say I must forgive

But how? How can I say its all OK?

They hurt me so bad, I never was the same

Life is not fair, I did not deserve the pain


“Follow Me,” I heard it again

I listened to my heart.

I needed to be free and not caught up

In this trap of fear and hurt


Here I am Lord, take me just as I am

Ugly and broken and full of scars

Lonely and hurting with my life in a mess

I sob till the tears wash the mud off my face


“That is the only way I ever could.

You are now ready to be washed clean

With My precious blood

Just like all those who are weary.”


I have forgiven those I thought I never could

I have put the past where it belongs

I have become a new creature

The kind of perfect imperfection Jesus wants


My sins are forgiven, my life is empty

Of all the hate and grief and mud

I am a person proud to call

Jesus my Saviour and my Lord


All the ugly has been purged

And even though I thought emptiness

Would be the replacement

I’m all filled up with love