Load shedding…again

Oh joy! Loadshedding started again today. For any non-South Africans, that is when the power supply company, Eskom, puts off the power for a couple of hours every day (or multiple times a day) when they can’t supply enough electricity. It is really inconvenient and also unproductive for businesses. Some businesses and especially financial institutions simply close their doors for the duration of the power cut.

I think that when we don’t spend enough time in the Word and in prayer we also get to a point where we need to do some load shedding. We close down because we don’t have enough input. We run dry. It’s not a good place to be, but I believe it happens to everyone once in a while. You know that place where you feel you can’t give anymore. When someone speaks to you about a problem you don’t even want to listen. If a friend asks you to pray for them it feels like a burden. Then you know you are in load shedding mode. That’s the time you need to take our an hour or two and just switch off all technology and be quiet. Read some scripture, speak to your Father and sit and listen. This is also the time when the devil is going to remind you of the dishes that haven’t been done, of the laundry that’s piling up and of all the weeds in the garden. This is the time that your mind is going to start going around in circles and you’ll feel sure that you aren’t cut out for this kind of thing and you’re never going to hear a word from God. But persevere. It is going to be worth it; if not this time, then next time.

Luke 5:16, So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.

Jesus is our example for doing this.

Matthew 14:22-23, Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.

Luke 6:12-13, Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles:

After Jesus prayed he could make wise decisions. How often do we consult God in earnest prayer before we make a big decision? Or do we decide to do something and then ask God to bless our decision? Then we are very surprised when there is no blessing.

Mark 6:30-32, Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.

After Jesus ministered to people and was spiritually depleted He took time off to be restored.

Mark 7:24,  From there He arose and went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And He entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden.

Jesus also at times did not want interaction with lots of people. Why is it that people think pastors should be available 24/7 to meet their needs if Jesus took time out?

And of course before He was crucified, Jesus spent a night in prayer as preparation.

Luke 22:41-44, And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

We need to follow the example of our Master and take more time out. We can call it whatever we like, load shedding, prayer, time-out… it doesn’t matter, just as long as we do it.

Pray for each other

Last week in our cell group we were given an assignment. Each one had to choose a piece of folded paper which had the name of one of the members of the group. We would pray for the person whose name we chose and find a scripture for that person. It was a very simple sounding exercise, but it had far reaching effects.

What does it mean to pray for someone?

James 5:16, The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

James 5:16, for tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a godly believer! (The Passion Translation)

This verse says so much. Tremendous power is released. What a statement. When we pray for someone we are representing that person before the throne of God. We are saying to God, “please bless Mary; please give her wisdom; give her the ability to do the things which are difficult for her; give her the grace to be able to put behind her the things that are holding her back; let the power of the Holy Spirit manifest in her life; put ministering angels around her and protect her from harm.” We have been given the power to represent someone else before God.

Romans 1:9,  For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,

Ephesians 1:15-16, Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:

Ephesians 3:14-19, For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

If we are constantly praying for our fellow believers in this way and they are praying for us, we won’t even need to pray for ourselves! It is such a blessed state to be in, knowing that someone is carrying you in prayer. There’s a war going on and we have to cover our fellow believers.

John 17:20-26, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

This is such a profound prayer that Jesus prayed for every one of us.  He poured out His heart before God on our behalf. And because you cannot take words back once they have been spoken, these words that Jesus uttered are still resounding in the universe. Just think about it. Jesus prayed for you and me before He died. Why would we want to resist the call to follow Him if that is how much He loves us? And if Jesus prayed for us who are we not to pray for each other?

We have been granted an open invitation to have an audience with the King whenever we wish. Let us use our time wisely by praying for each other.

God’s Strategy

I’m listening to a song called, ‘Jesus, Lover of my soul’. The words say,
Its all about You, Jesus, and all this is for you Lord, for your glory and your fame. It’s not about me, as if you should do things my way, You alone are God and I surrender to your ways.
I have discovered that the best way to live is to say, ‘Let Your will be done.’ It’s not the easiest, but it’s definitely the best. When I don’t know how to handle a situation I really do my best to give it to God and ask Him to guide me and give me a strategy. And He does, and it works. Sometimes I only realize afterwards that what I did was what God had led me to do. Unfortunately He doesn’t send an email, or speak with an audible voice. The solutions He has to problems are normally nothing at all like anything I would think of. I remember a number of years ago I was operating the computer for the overheads and music at a church. We bought a new program and the salesman came and demonstrated how to use it. I watched carefully but I didn’t make notes. Big mistake. Always make notes! During that week there was a prayer meeting and I had to display the words on the screen. I went to set up a day before time just to make sure everything was working properly. To my disgrace I didn’t have a clue what to do! Needless to say I prayed. Hard. That night I dreamed exactly what to do. In full colour. With the right terms and everything clearly presented. When I went to the church it was child’s play. I knew exactly what to do. I believe that dream was from God. I had known that immediately. But He doesn’t always do things that directly. I have been battling with something big for a while now. I had prayed and prayed and prayed some more. I wasn’t getting any answers. Then, on Saturday morning I opened up my Bible and my eyes fell on two verses I had underlined long ago. I read them and immediately they sat right in my spirit. It was like the seed that fell on fertile soil. I did not realize that it was actually the solution for my situation until I had thought it over for a few days though.
I am just wondering what kind of stress people go through that don’t bring their troubles before the King. Just like the Israelites in the desert brought their complaints and disputes before Moses daily, we have to do the same. Only we go straight to God, we don’t have to go through an overseer.
Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Don’t put your confidence in your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path.
Proverbs 16:3, Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.
Psalm 37:4, Delight yourself in the Lord; And he will give you the desires of your heart.
1Peter 5:7, Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
Psalm46:10, Cease striving and know that I am God, while I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
This last verse says exactly what we must not do. We must not strive. The dictionary gives the meaning of ‘strive’ as follows:
1: to devote serious effort or energy
2: to struggle in opposition.
Too often we are struggling in opposition to God’s plans when we are adamant that our own ideas are the best and that we know better.
When Job questions God’s actions, God answers him and one of the things He says is:
Job 38:12-13, Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it?
If we can claim to have done that, and all the other actions of Job chapters 38 to 41, then maybe we don’t have to acknowledge God and we can follow our own plans, but I’m guessing there isn’t anyone who can make that claim. We are all going to be better off if we just rely on God and not ourselves.

Your function

I met a group of tourists from the Czech Republic and the tour leader told me that on TV in his country South Africa is portrayed as being a very dangerous country. He asked me if it was safe where we are. I told him that even though we have had a few burglaries and an armed robbery, I do not feel unsafe. I will not allow criminals to keep me hostage by getting extreme security measures and by being afraid. I also told him that I’m a Christian and if I die I will go to heaven, and that really isn’t anything to be afraid of.

Should we be allowing criminals to dictate how we live our lives? In most of our country it is plainly clear that our first priority is security. Even the smallest town has a security company which offers burglar alarms which are coupled to armed response. Insurance companies won’t cover properties which aren’t secured with fencing and alarms and burglar bars.

What is the problem? Why have we become such an unsafe place where criminals dictate our lifestyle? Aren’t the police effective enough? Isn’t the justice system doing its job properly? Or is it the politicians that are to blame? None of these. The problem is the church. And before you shoot  me, take a minute to listen. What is apparent is that there is too much crime, but our problem is a spiritual problem.  There are people who have spiritual authority who are praying over our country, breaking curses and releasing blessings. But that is not enough. Each believer should be praying for his or her area daily. We should be getting up in the morning and be speaking blessings over that place we live. We should be speaking only positive words about our neighbourhood, our neighbours and our families. We should be speaking blessings over the businesses in the place we stay.

We should not be compromising when it comes to what we believe in. If we believe something is wrong we should be willing to stand up and defend that thing. If we believe that wearing conservative clothing is what we should be doing then we should do it, no matter what the people around us are saying about it.  Jesus never tried to fit in. He did what God told Him to do and did not compromise. When He and His disciples were plucking and eating heads of grain on the Sabbath, the Pharisees kicked up such a fuss. He didn’t let is worry Him. Matthew 12 :1-8. When He healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath it was the same story. Mark 3:1-6. But Jesus kept doing what He believed was right.

I believe that if we start with the small things and do what we believe God expects from us, we will have more confidence in doing the bigger things when they come along. If we haven’t ever prayed for our own children how can we expect to be praying for nations?

Zechariah 4:10, For who has despised the day of small things?

We should not ever look at the things which we are doing for the Kingdom and compare them to the things other people are doing, whether they are more or less. God has called each one of us by name and He has a purpose for every one of us.

Isaiah 43:1, Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.

I believe that when we find the purpose God has for us we will know it and we will be satisfied knowing that we are serving Him the way we should be. If we find that we are looking at what others are doing and thinking that they are doing more important and bigger things and we wish we were doing those things, it means we haven’t discovered our function yet. We need to pray and ask God what our function is and ask Him to reveal it to us and to prepare us for it lead us towards it so that we can do it in His perfect timing.

So what does this have to do with crime in South Africa? I believe that there are people who have the anointing and the calling to be praying for cities and countries. Intercessors who can stand in the gap.

Ezekiel 22:30, So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.

We need to ask the Lord to show us what our function is, and we should be willing to start small with whatever it is we have to do. If we don’t start, we’ll never get to the place God has set aside for us.

Prayer 101

I’m gathering Scriptures which can help strengthen my faith. Obviously all scripture can be used to that, but in certain circumstances different bible verses have different purposes. That’s what is so amazing about the Bible, it is a living breathing book that can serve so many purposes.

Firstly, before I look for specific scriptures for my situation, I need to know whether I can pray, how I can pray and what it means to pray.

2 Timothy 3:16 – 17  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

What gives us the right to go to God and ask him for the things we need?

Hebrews 10:19 – 22

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Ephesians 2:13

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Luke 23:45 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.

In the Old Testament only the high priest was allowed to go through the curtain into the Holy of Holies and into the presence of God. There is nothing standing in the way of a believer to have access to God. We can speak directly to Him, we don’t need a priest to intercede for us.

1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

We can’t have a proper conversation with God while we are being dragged down with worries. First of all we have to give Him our cares. We have to really give them to Him, not just for the duration of our prayer time. We have to leave them with Him. They now become His possession, they no longer belong to us.

We can also pray anywhere, anytime. And we should be praying much more than we actually do.

Ephesians 6:18

praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication

What can we pray for and how?

John 14:13 – 14

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

Matthew 21:22

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.

John 16:24

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

John 15:16

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

These verses say that we should ask in the name of Jesus. I understand this to mean that we have the right to ask if we have accepted Jesus as our Savior. And we did not accept Jesus out of our own, God drew us towards Him first. If we are in Him and He is in us we can approach the throne and we can ask for what we need. We have to pray in accordance with scripture and with God’s will. We can’t pray for the downfall of fellow Christians. That is not in God’s will.

John 15:7

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

We should stay in the Word and we should not only pray when we’re in trouble. Prayer should be a daily, hourly, minute by minute conversation. God’s words should always be foremost in our lives. And we have to pray with faith. We must not  have doubts that God is hearing us and that He will answer our prayers.

Mark 11:24

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

God wants us to speak to Him. He wants to give us what He has for us. We have to be willing to trust Him and always believe His promises.

Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

This verse says it all. God gave us His own and only beloved Son so that we should not be lost. Why wouldn’t He give us everything else we need, and more?

Answered prayer

I receive prayer requests daily, as I am sure most people do. Some of them are not even legitimate. There are fake reports that have been going around the internet for years and every so often keep cropping up again. I will whisper a quick prayer to some requests and for others I will take time and intercede. I am just wondering, when I see how many prayer requests there are, if people actually pray, and if they do, do they believe that their prayers will be answered. Do we believe that our prayers are powerful or do we just have a faint hope that maybe God will hear them? Here are a few facts about prayer:
Our prayers are precious to God.
Revelation 5:8, And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
Revelation 8:3, Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of the saints, on the golden altar before the throne.
God commands us to pray.
1 Chronicles 16:11, Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.
Hosea 14:2, Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him, “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.”
Matthew 7:7, Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the body is weak.
Luke 18:1 Then Jesus told His disciples a parable they should always pray and not give up.
This is the parable in Luke 18:1-8 The parable of the persistent widow.
John 16:24 Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete.
Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 pray continually.
James 5:13 Is any of you in trouble? Let him sing songs of praise.

Did you notice that James 5:13 said ‘sing songs of praise’? If prayer is speaking to God, then surely singing praises to God is also prayer. Communication with God is prayer. It is just in another form. There are worship leaders who sing out the most beautiful prayers to God spontaneously. Whatever form our prayers take, we have to pray.
If you read through the Old Testament there are so many examples of prayer that was answered. Moses, Gideon, Hannah, Samuel and Solomon, to name but a few. In the book of Acts there are many examples of answered prayer.
Acts 4:31 After they prayed, the place was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
In Acts 3:1-10 is the account of Peter and John healing a crippled man. Acts 5:12-16 tells of many people being healed by the apostles. In Acts 12 Peter miraculously escapes from prison.
Luke 11:9 So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
John 15:7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
As we can clearly see, the bible is full of accounts of prayers being answered, and also of commands to pray. God wants us to communicate with Him. He wants to have a relationship with Him. If we believe this, then why do we so often doubt that our prayers will be answered? We pray and then we allow doubt to creep in and that’s how the enemy subtly steals our faith. Before we know it, we’ve stopped praying, stopped believing that prayer is going to make any difference at all. It’s so sad. Perhaps we’ve been so badly let down by the people that we trusted to make a difference in our lives that we put God into that same category and don’t want to trust Him either.
Psalm 37:5 Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Psalm 118:8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
I would like to put a challenge out there. Start praying with faith and trust. Believe that God is going to provide what He promises to. Don’t doubt, and see what the Lord is going to do.

The elders will pray

Because of the ridiculously long hours running a take-away shop demands, I try to take off one day a week which is a Tuesday. I don’t always succeed but I try. This Tuesday I woke up feeling so sick. It didn’t take long to realize that is was a tummy bug. The kind that leaves you feeling like a washed out rag and you wonder if you will ever return to normal. My first reaction was, “This isn’t fair, why do I have to spend my day off feeling so bad?” Obviously feeling bad for one day isn’t going to have a major influence on my life and there are many people who feel much worse than I do every day. Not that that’s what I wanted to hear or even think. I stumbled my way through the day and at least I’m starting to feel a little bit more human.

Sometimes we’re in a position of helplessness and that’s how I felt today. I didn’t have the presence of mind to even pray for myself. James 5:14, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins he will be forgiven.” My day of sickness wasn’t serious but I think sometimes when we are sick the sickness just totally overwhelms us and we are unable to think straight. That’s when we need to call for the elders to pray for us. By elders I think we can include serious Christians whom we trust to pray for us. I read about a woman who had cancer and was just so terribly unwell. A friend of hers told her to just do whatever it was she had to do and that she would cover her with prayer. She recovered completely. How awesome to have a friend like that.

To pray for your friends is such a privilege. I often wonder if we really pray the way we say we do. There are prayer worriers who make their life’s mission prayer and they are a group of unselfish dedicated people who seldom attract much attention. They are the people who can shift atmospheres and who you can rely on come wind, rain or shine. I do think that we should pick our prayers though. We should have a clear vision of who and what we are willing to pray for. Most of us receive all these social media requests to pray. Some of them are hoaxes and have been travelling around cyberspace for years. Others are of people we have never heard of and we aren’t even sure of where and when they originated. The problem with the internet is that anyone can post anything and it may be real or it may not. Then I don’t even want to go to the posts which say things like, “If you love Jesus, type Amen.” That’s just rubbish. Surely you don’t have to prove that you love Jesus by typing a comment. Or the others that tell you if you don’t forward this post you are proving that you actually love the devil and you’ll have years of bad luck. Makes me want to scream out loud.

Let me return to what I want to say. We should decide who and what we need to pray for and do a good job with that. We obviously pray for our families and the ones who are nearest and dearest to us. We also need to pray for our church and the area we live in as well as the government. In his letters to the churches Paul says that he prays for them. Philippians 1:3-5, “I thank my God in all remembrance of you, always in every prayer for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” And then of course we are commanded to pray for our enemies. Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” These two prayers directly oppose one another. The one is prayer for those who are in accordance and the other for those opposed to you. I just think that it has great value to pray for those who are opposed to God because they are the ones who need prayer. I don’t want to say that people who are serving God and can pray for themselves don’t need prayer, but if you pray for your enemies and they start serving God as a result of that prayer, what a victory! At the end of the day each one of us has to decide who they are going to pray for but we should try to have a list which isn’t so long and overwhelming that we feel like giving up before we even begin. May your prayers go directly to the throne room of God and be answered.

He shall direct your paths

I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer lately. Especially about crisis prayer. That kind of prayer when someone is badly injured and all of a sudden people who never pray start praying. Nothing wrong with that. Prayer can never be bad. So everyone prays and the injured person gets better and everyone says hallelujah and everyone stops praying because the crisis is over. Not? Really? Of course they stop because, after all, that’s what prayer is for isn’t it? For God to listen to us when we need something and then give it to us. At least that is what a lot of people seem to think. Why would we speak to God when everything is going well? What would we say?

We find the answer in Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

And lean not on your own understanding;

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He shall direct your paths.

In the Amplified version it says:

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart

And do not lean on your own insight or understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge and recognize Him,

And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].

If we trust in the Lord with ‘all your heart’, it means that every part of our lives must depend on God. Not just the parts that are convenient to us, or the parts that we choose. Every little part. The impatient part, the addicted part, the lazy part etc. We can’t decide from day to day what we are going to trust God with. “lean not on your own understanding…” Means can’t say, or tell ourselves, that we are trusting God, but we are still taking certain matters into our own hands by manipulating people and situations. Praying also doesn’t mean that we tell God what He must do and then sit back and wait for Him to do it. What if He doesn’t do it? Then we say prayer doesn’t work? The very first step is to give every little part of our lives, even the parts we aren’t so proud of, to God. Revelation 22:17 is an invitation to all, “Come! Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Whosoever means all of us. Not just the perfect and holy ones.

The next line, “In all your ways acknowledge Him,” says to us that we have to sit down and tell God what we are busy with. We have to let Him know what is going on in our lives. The fact that He already knows each little detail of our lives only means that He already has the perfect solution to all our troubles. He loves us so much that He desires a relationship with us. As we all know, relationships need words. So we have to use our words and tell our loving Father what is going on in our lives. Even the parts that embarrass us. No-one is so bad that God is going to reject a relationship with him. In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke we find the story of the woman who had an ‘issue of blood’ which made her unclean. Despite this she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and was made whole. The laws of that time meant that while she was menstruating she was not allowed to touch anyone. Because this problem had been going on for a very long time she became desperate and broke the law in order to be healed. Sometimes we have to break self imposed ‘laws’ in order to become whole. We have to change our way of thinking and even our way of seeing ourselves. We are not going to be rejected by God just because people might reject us. 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.” I wish I could put a whole row of smiley faces in here. This is the crux of it all. We accept Jesus as our Saviour, invite Him into our hearts, and because God then sees us through the holiness of Jesus – through the blood He spilled for us.

“And He shall direct your paths.” We come to God, redeemed from sin by the blood of Jesus, and tell Him all about our lives. We don’t go around making our own plans to overcome our problems (we really trust Him) and He will lead us to do the right things. Just picture this: we are in trouble, irrespective of whether it is of our own making or not, and we put it before God, we can be secure in the knowledge that He will handle that trouble. He will give us the solution to the problem, and we will have peace of mind. The peace that passes all understanding (Philippians4:7) will belong to us. He will prepare a table in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23:5) and goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives (Psalm 23:6). It doesn’t mean that nothing bad will ever happen to us, but we will have the assurance that whatever happens, when we bring it before God, we can have the peace of mind that He will handle it.

Like and share

Sharing a post and forwarding a message has become the order of the day. On any given day you are likely to receive at least one request to either forward or share some information. Ranging from the ridiculous to some very serious and even potentially dangerous messages, some people just keep sharing without discerning the content. The message that Angus Buchan sent out for the prayer gathering in Bloemfontein was shared by thousands upon thousands of people and the meeting was extremely well attended. Social media is very powerful and is a wonderful tool to create awareness.

In April thousands of people prayed with ‘Oom Angus’ and he seems to have become a national treasure to the Afrikaans speaking sector, which I think is great. He is very English and to be accepted and respected by people in all walks of life from multiple cultures is no mean feat. People who attended the meeting came back saying that they believe prayer can change South Africa. The next serious call was Black Monday where everyone was asked to wear black in remembrance of the murdered farmers. It was also very well supported.

What’s bugging me though, is that the same people who said that prayer is the only way forward, are now sharing messaged asking for petitions to be signed so that President Donald Trump can do something to stop the farm murders. Seriously? He has that kind of power? And what happened to praying? Is President Trump more powerful than God now? Just wondering.

Zuma must go – or must he?

“Zuma must go! Zuma must fall!”

That’s what we’ve been hearing for the last month or so. There have been marches, peaceful protests, petitions on social media and old ladies with petitions in supermarkets. It has been the topic of discussion at every opportunity. It has even surpassed the weather in farming communities. Of course no-one is giving a working alternative. Who will be the successor? Will the person who follows be better? … or not? I saw a Facebook post this morning that mentioned a possible successor to our president and my blood froze. Seriously? Maybe we should just be happy with the devil we know.


There are prayer meetings being arranged to pray for peace in the country. Excellent! Praying has never been bad. But what are the motives? I’ve heard people say (or ask) that God will (or please should) change things because we have suffered enough. Really? There are farm murders and there is crime and violence. It isn’t safe to walk alone in certain places. There are parts of cities where you surely will get mugged or robbed.


We can go to church without being persecuted. We can speak our minds without being thrown into prison. We aren’t being persecuted like people in some countries who are not allowed to say a word which is contrary to the beliefs of the state. There are many places we can enjoy which are very safe. We have a free market system. Yes, there are fears, and I believe most of them are very real fears that the situation could become worse.


I’m just wondering if people are (going to be) praying because they are afraid of being out of their comfort zones or if the prayer is going to be about really seeking God’s face and His will for our country? I remember the little verse about the teabag that only produces a beverage when it is soaked in hot  water. What if we can’t grow spiritually without a bit of suffering? What if we need to be pushed a bit to discover some hidden talents and some compassion and mercy? Maybe, just maybe, we have to get outside of our comfort zones so that we can reach our full potential. So that we can become what we were meant to be. So that the tea bags of our souls can do what they were made to do.



Photos courtesy of TS Photography