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.

…and give you peace

How often don’t I hear people saying, “I trust my instincts,” or “I trust my gut feel,” where they should actually be saying, “I trust my God.” I do realize that God does give us a feeling of peace when we trust Him for something, but the peace is not what we should be trusting. We should be trusting the God who gives the peace. Peace is such a precious commodity yet it is so overlooked and not given the status in our lives that it should have. How often can we claim to really have peace in our lives?

Numbers 6:24-26,  “The Lord bless you and keep you;

The Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,

And give you peace.”

Psalm 4:8, I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;

For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 119:165, Great peace have those who love Your law,

And nothing causes them to stumble.

Isaiah 26:3, You will keep him in perfect peace,

Whose mind is stayed on You,

Because he trusts in You.

These verses tell us that God brings peace to those who belong to Him. I have often prayed about decisions I had to make and that I wasn’t sure of, and God has led me with peace. One thing I do know is that if I have to make a decision and I have an uneasy feeling about it, I definitely must not do it. It took me a long time to realize that and as a result I have made some really foolish decisions in my life. Sometimes we pray about something and feel peace and go ahead and do it, and it doesn’t work out the way we envisioned it. Does that mean that we had a false sense of peace or that God changed His mind about it? I don’t think so because we aren’t always going to just have good times. Sometimes there is a lesson we have to learn when things don’t go exactly our way. Something I have learned is that when we trust God through trouble we grow in character and we get much closer to God than if we had just had it easy.

What I do know is that even in the worst of times, if we hold on to the promises and if we hold on to the love of God and if we never forget that Jesus died for us, we are going to have peace. Look what Acts 16:25-26 Paul and Silas did when they were in prison.

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

Even though they were in prison they were singing hymns. You don’t sing if you don’t have peace.

The kind of peace that they had is the kind of peace we should seek. The kind of peace that leaves you calm when everything is collapsing around you. When sickness threatens to claim a loved one’s life; when you are overwhelmed with debt; when relationships are torn apart; when crime is rampant; that’s when you have to look to Jesus and remember that He died for all these things. He has already taken all the pain that these things cause and the Holy Spirit came to comfort and guide us through all the trouble.

God is our source. Our source of sustenance, our source of comfort, our source of wisdom, our source of life and our source of peace. Nothing that can happen in this world is so bad that we cannot overcome it if we look to God as our source. The peace that He provides is all we need to be able to function. We have to trust Him at all times with everything we have and with everything we are because He loves us and He will never leave us or forsake us.

What rights do Christians have?

When my children were still living at home they were free to help themselves to whatever was available. If they were hungry they could open the fridge and find food to eat, or cook themselves something if that was their choice. Their friends that visited didn’t have the same freedom, just as my children didn’t have at their friend’s homes.  I’ve often heard sermons that say that’s the same with God’s children. We should have access to everything that God has because we are His children. We aren’t visitors who have to ask permission to get something. So I started questioning what we are entitled to as children of God.

The first thing that comes to mind is security. As children of God we do not have to fear. In fact, we aren’t allowed to fear. We do not have to fear people, we do not have to fear being attacked or hurt because God said so.

2 Timothy 1:7, For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Romans 8:15, For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Psalm 23:4 Yea, 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.

Deuteronomy 20:3, And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them;

We have the absolute right to walk in freedom. God said so in His Word.

We also have the right not to worry. Worry and fear aren’t the same thing even though worry is most often motivated by fear.

Matthew 6:31 – 34, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

We also have authority. Just like our own children have authority in our houses, we have authority in our Father’s house.

Romans 8:14 – 17,  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

We have authority over the devil and his demons, but we do not just have this authority, we have the responsibility to use this authority. It doesn’t help one bit that we have authority but never use it. It’s like having a car and keeping it parked in the garage for one day. When one day comes the battery will be flat and we will have forgotten how to drive.

In verse 15 of Romans 8, it says we can call out “Abba, Father.” We therefore have the right to intimacy with God.  Abba is the term for father in the Aramaic language which Jesus spoke while on earth. In English it would be Daddy, and is not only used as a child-like term but an intimate name for a father. We can approach our Father the way a child approaches a loving dad here on earth; with confidence that we won’t be rejected.

We have the right to healing.

Isaiah 53:5, By His stripes we are healed.

I realize that not everybody is healed when they pray for healing and I really can’t explain it, but I do believe we have the right to be healed.

The last right I am going to touch on in the time I have available is peace. Peace is a fruit of the Spirit and is also mentioned many time is the Bible.

Psalm 29:11, The Lord will bless His people with peace.

Philippians 4:6-7,  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

This verse also touches on anxiety and fear. Our greatest enemy is fear. The devil wants us to live in fear so that we don’t claim the rights God has given us. Let us start to exercise these rights and become confident children of the living God.

The rhythm of God

At our cell group the topic of discussion was joy. We had a really lively, joyful discussion. I have realized that in the past few weeks I have received a new rhythm in my life. A new peace, a new joy amid the chaos in the world. And it works for me. I and not frantically running around trying to get everything done. I am not thinking that I have to finish everything because I won’t have time if I don’t hurry. When I recognized that something was happening I said to myself that I found a new rhythm and I suddenly wondered if it sounded very new-age? I mentioned it to a friend and she sent me Matthew 11:28-30 which reads

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.”

But she sent it to me in the Message version which says:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

The unforced rhythms of grace. It sounds so peaceful. It sounds like being totally at peace and not under pressure. It sounds like a holiday by the sea, watching the waves rolling onto the beach and seeing the tides changing without fail and knowing that the sun will rise every morning and set each night. Everything in nature has rhythms. The earth rotates on its axis at a set time. The moon and the stars have set paths that they follow.

Psalm 8:3 – 4 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?

God cares so much for us. He made the moon and the stars, and everything else, will care that I am under pressure and show me a better way of living. That is such overwhelming knowledge.

Psalm 139:1 – 6

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.

You know my sitting down and my rising up;

You understand my thought afar off.

You comprehend my path and my lying down,

And are acquainted with all my ways.

For there is not a word on my tongue,

But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.

You have hedged me behind and before,

And laid Your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

It is high, I cannot attain it.

Here David spells it out perfectly. God cares so much for each one of us. We are like ants or specks of dust in the greater scheme of the universe, but He cares. He knows the number of hairs on our heads. He knows what’s going on in our minds and our hearts. He knows and He cares. What reasons can we find for not loving a God such as this? What reasons can we find for resisting the call He is putting out to us?

Revelation 3:20  Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

How can we not accept that call and how can we not share it with everyone we meet?


I have discovered that I need a little more balance in my life. Not a big surprise really. my husband and I own a takeaway shop which operates from 6am to 9pm, seven days a week. We have 12 employees because except for the actual takeaways, we also manufacture our own pies which we sell in the shop and wholesale. When we did an upgrade to our point of sales, we also got a new back office computer.  the admin program is on that computer and for a few months I was doing the admin at home but still spending a lot of time at the shop. I got to the point where I was getting palpitations just thinking about doing the admin. I also realized that because there was work for me to do at home, I felt guilty relaxing or doing anything I enjoyed. So, this morning, in the rain, I moved the computer back to the shop. The desk in my office looks like the cockpit of a Boeing with all the screens, but I don’t really care about the aesthetics. My peace of mind is much more important. Now I can do what I enjoy doing while I’m at home. My house can be my sanctuary and happy place once again.

Psalm 16 speaks of peace:

The Hope of the Faithful, and the Messiah’s Victory

A Michtam of David.

1 Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.

2 O my soul, you have said to the Lord,
“You are my Lord,
My goodness is nothing apart from You.”
3 As for the saints who are on the earth,
“They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”

4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god;
Their drink offerings of blood I will not offer,
Nor take up their names on my lips.

5 O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You maintain my lot.
6 The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Yes, I have a good inheritance.

7 I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
8 I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
11 You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Don’t make a plan

I was trying to work out this morning how to solve a problem that I had prayed about, when it struck me that not only must I not worry about things I’ve given to God, I must not try to make plans. I’ve heard that it says, ‘Do not worry’ 366 times in the bible, but I haven’t actually looked it up. I don’t doubt the figures at all and I try not to worry, but it just became so abundantly clear to me that instead of worrying, what I often do is try to work out a plan. We are not called to work out plans. I’ve often heard people say, “While you pray, I will make a plan.” Those plans are the plans that don’t work because they are born out of desperation and often end up making situations worse than they were to start off with. I know, because I’ve made many plans in my life. Plans to try and keep things together, plans to keep people happy, plans that have no Godly source.

A friend reminded me of Matthew 11:28 – 30 , “Come to me, all 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.” and 1 Peter 5:7, “casting all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.” If I do what those verses say, I mean really do what they say; If we give all our cares and troubles to Jesus, why would we feel the need to keep looking for a solution? If we really trust him enough we would realize that we don’t need to make a plan. I think it comes from our culture that we have to be in charge, and we have to be responsible, and we have to take ownership and so on.

We need to really and truly learn from Jesus. When Lazarus got sick, Jesus didn’t rush to be at his side to cure him. He stayed another 2 days in the place where he was. He obviously listened to what God was telling Him to do. John 8:28, “So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.” If we can truly reach that point where we are able to take the Yoke of Jesus on us and give all our burdens to Him, we can live in peace. We will be able to truly believe that He does have everything under control. Just picture this, you have a really big problem, and you pray and give it to Jesus. Then you can pick up your bible, and instead of frantically looking for verses that you can memorize which will help you overcome the enemy, you can read the bible with peace in your heart. Then you can do what Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Maybe while you’re reading the answer to your problem will come to you. But maybe while you’re enjoying an unscheduled picnic lunch with your family, and you can because you aren’t worrying, the answer will come to you. Who knows, when you’re sound asleep, and you can be because you’re not worrying, your answer might come in a dream? There is a place for spiritual warfare and all night praying and fasting, but there’s also a place and a time to be at peace and to let the Lord fight the battles for you. Isaiah 26:3-4, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” Philippians 4: 6-7, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

There you are. We pray and we tell God what the problem is, and then we leave it with Him, we don’t take it back, we don’t frantically run around looking for solutions, we don’t revert to plan A, B or C. We receive that peace which He is offering us and we trust Him.

Choices – Living purposefully

I was driving and listening to a gospel CD. There’s a song called Outrageous Grace, by Robin Mark and the first verse is:

There’s a lot of pain but a lot more healings

There’s a lot of trouble but a lot more peace

There’s a lot of hate but a lot more loving

There’s a lot of sin but a lot more grace.

The chorus says: Oh outrageous grace, Love unfurled by heaven’s hand,

Oh outrageous grace, Through my Jesus I can stand.


These words are so touching and so comforting. They are also about choices. We can choose how we want to live. Life is about choices. We choose daily between getting up or staying in bed, having cereal or eggs for breakfast, driving to work or taking a bus. The last one is wishful thinking on my part. Our town is so small, I would choose between driving or walking. But you get where this is going. We have to choose all the time. We should be more aware that we are making choices and not just being swept by the tide of life. We have to think clearly and positively. Philippians 4;8 truly has become my favorite verse. “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.” And next to it, 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.”

We have to be so aware of what enters our minds all the time. How do we handle stress? Do we sit and worry about it or do we give it to Jesus like we should? Have you realized that sometimes you’re in a stressful situation and you pray and carry on with your life. One day you realize that the situation has been resolved but not at all in the way you thought it would be. Looking back you sometimes can’t even figure out how it all worked out. it seems like some situations can be solved without your intervention. We love to think that things can only be solved the way we want them to be solved. We manipulate and struggle and stress but we forget that we are not God.

The song says ‘there’s a lot of pain but a lot more healings.” The main thing that has to be healed is our minds and the way we think. We need to pay more attention to our thoughts. If we do that we aren’t going to hurt those we love. We aren’t going to drive away well-meaning friends by putting up walls around our hearts. We are going to have to learn to trust God with our problems while we can sit back and think good thoughts. Just imagine this, you have a big problem. It’s been weighing you down and you have no peace of mind. You can’t sleep at night and you can’t imagine that this problem will ever be solved. You’ve considered going to a psychiatrist but you don’t actually have the cash. Spending money you don’t have is only going to make your problem worse anyway. You are at the end of your wits so you decide to take God at His word and try to apply what the bible says. You see that you can be transformed by the renewing of your mind. So you cast all your burdens on Jesus. Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat of what you will drink; not about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” Now you’ve given all your worries to God and you sit down in your armchair, relax and start thinking good thoughts. You find that you can relax totally and soon get sleepy. You go to bed and fall fast asleep. You sleep for a solid 8 hours and awake the next morning feeling like a brand new person. You can’t believe how good you feel. You see everything through new eyes even though nothing has changed. You keep this up for a few days and suddenly, because you have changed the way you think, you see what the solution to your problems is. I know this sounds very simplistic, but I urge you to try it. Try taking God at His word. Try savoring His outrageous grace and start living your life purposefully.


Be still and know

I have a coffee mug with the words “Be still and know that I am God” on it. I have heard and sung those words so often that they have almost become a cliché. Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” As I was pouring the boiling water onto the teabag (I have tea in a mug), I looked at the words again. 

Be – to exist, to live, to become, remain, continue 
Still – at rest, motionless, quiet, calm
Know – to have a clear and certain perception
These three words are the crux of the verse. I see it this way – My existence must be rooted in and at peace with the clear and certain perception that God is who He says He is. When God makes a promise He keeps that promise. When God says that He will never leave me or forsake me, then He won’t. Here are a few verses telling us how we can trust God:
Exodus 14:14  – ‘The Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace.’
Isaiah 40:31 – ‘But those who ait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.’
Isaiah 51:12 – ‘I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid of a man that will die, And of the son of man who will be made like grass?
Luke 12:22 – 23 – ‘Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about your body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.’
I believe that God doesn’t want us stressed out and rushing around like a dog trying to catch its own tail. He needs us to be calm and at peace. We must not look at our circumstances, rather we must see life as a journey and the Kingdom of Heaven as our destination. Everything that is here on earth is temporary. The only thing that we have that is of eternal value is our faith. We have to have the kind of unshakeable faith that Jesus had while He walked on earth. It’s not easy, and the Bible never tells us that following Jesus is going to be easy, but the more we read our bible and communicate with our Heavenly Father, the easier it becomes. We have to learn to take the Scriptures at face value and not overcomplicate things. Just be still and know.