A stranger in Heaven

I saw an old friend yesterday and it was such a surprise. You know the feeling where you suddenly see a face you recognise but you didn’t expect to see that person. It’s really a special feeling. I wonder what it’s going to feel like when we get to heaven and meet Jesus face to face. Are we going to be surprised at His appearance or are we going to know His face. Is it going to feel like we’re meeting someone we know intimately or are we going to feel like we’re meeting a stranger for the first time? Have you ever thought about it? Let’s look at some character traits of Jesus and see if they are familiar? Some of these verses are out of the Old Testament and were spoken prophetically while other are from the New Testament either being the words of Jesus himself, the witness of His disciples or  words spoken by people to whom Jesus revealed His character. Jesus still reveals His character today to his followers so that we can get to know Him.

Matthew 9:36, But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.

Luke 19:41, Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,

Luke 23:34, Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.

John 15:13, Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Isaiah 11:5, Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.

John 1:14, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 7:18, He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.

Zechariah 9:9, Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!

Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!

Behold, your King is coming to you;

He is just and having salvation,

Lowly and riding on a donkey,

A colt, the foal of a donkey.

Isaiah 40:11, He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm,

And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.

2 Corintians 5:21,  For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Hebrews 7:26-27, For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

Isaiah 53:7, He was oppressed and He was afflicted,

Yet He opened not His mouth;

He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,

And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,

So He opened not His mouth.

Isaiah 53:9, And they made His grave with the wicked—

But with the rich at His death,

Because He had done no violence,

Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

1 Peter 2:22, Who committed no sin,

Nor was deceit found in His mouth

1 Timothy 1:16, However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.

Philippians 2:8-11, And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Would we recognise Jesus from these verses? There are many, many more such references and we could be busy for days just finding them. We need to spend time in the Word to get to know our Saviour so well that we won’t be meeting a stranger in Heaven.

Be ready for these times

We need to be ready for the times that are coming. What times are coming? End times? I don’t know, but I do feel that something is about to happen.

Hosea 10:12, Sow for yourselves righteousness;

Reap in mercy;

Break up your fallow ground,

For it is time to seek the Lord,

Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

Colossians 4:2, Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving

1 Thessalonians 5:6-10, Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.

These verses are warning us and instructing us to be vigilant and to be prepared. But these verses were written 2000 years ago. Are they still relevant for the times we are living in? I believe they more relevant than ever. We are living in perilous times.

The weather is out of sorts and unpredictable. The economy is unstable. Politics is generally a mess. People mostly can’t be taken at their word and churches are emptying at an alarming rate. We have been conditioned be society and by educational institutions to act like the world. Christians are being made fun and ridiculed at universities for their views. In countries where freedom of speech is propagated Christians are being persecuted for daring to propagate and stand up for their beliefs. The bible and prayer have been taken out of many schools and children are being taught unbiblical values.

What are Christians supposed to do? How are we supposed to act?

Let us look at Hosea 10:12. Sow for yourself righteousness. In other words, do the biblical thing. What would Jesus do? Break up fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord. We have to turn and face God. We have to earnestly seek His face and His will. There’s no time to waste or procrastinate. Now is the time to take action and firstly get right with God. Getting right with God shouldn’t take you longer than about 5 minutes. Repent, ask forgiveness and make a commitment to spend more time with Him daily. Then you can start your new journey of getting intimate with God and going to the secret place. There’s no point in doing ministry if you don’t spend one-on-one time with your Father. He is the only one who can give you what you need so that you can break the fallow ground. So that you can go out into the world (your world) and be a fisher of men.

Colossians 4:2 says we have to persevere in prayer and be thankful. Being thankful is such a great game changer. It is the way we change our mindset and overcome all kinds of hardship. Being thankful for what we have allows us to forgive. It allows us to show mercy. And of course as long as we are praying we are communicating with the Lord. Something to remember about prayer is that we don’t just put our side of the story before God and then switch off. We have to take time to listen to what He is telling us too. People often say that they don’t hear God, but the answer is being silent and taking time to listen. His there and He wants to communicate with us.

1 Thessalonians 5:6-10. This passage says that we are in the day. We must not get entangled in things that are done in the dark and that are of the dark. If we have the Holy Spirit living in us it is not hard to discern which things are light and which are dark. We have a warning system that comes with being a believer. We need to pay attention to the times we don’t feel at peace with things. That means that something isn’t right and we can’t be part of it.

No matter what is on the horizon, we need to be ready for it. We have to be clothed in the armour of God at all times and our lamps need to be full of oil. If Jesus comes tomorrow we need to be ready, but if our lives on earth are cut short we also need to be ready. Jesus is the flame and we need to be like moths that are trying to get closer and closer to Him all the time.

Take responsibility, not offence

I read something that someone said about people getting upset about things people do. They said if it isn’t going to make a difference in five years from now then let it go because it won’t be worth making a fuss about. That’s a good philosophy to follow but I started thinking about it a bit differently. I want to ask the question. “Is it going to make a difference when I get to heaven?” and most of the time I’m sure it won’t. What if I turn that question around and ask, “Is this issue going to prevent me from going to heaven?” Sometimes we get so enmeshed in offences that we forget all about our salvation and the matter that is foremost in our minds becomes the most important thing in our lives. What did God say about having other gods before Him? But this issue isn’t a god, it’s between myself and whoever caused the offence. If God is the most important in our lives then we wouldn’t get entangled in these webs in the first place. If you go to bed at night and something that happened during the day is replaying itself in your mind, then you have a problem with letting it go, but if this happens night after night after night, you really have a problem.  You cannot allow offences to influence your salvation!

John 6:56, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”

v61, When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you?

v66, From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.

They thought that Jesus was referring to physical eating and drinking and they were freaked out by it. They didn’t stay and try to understand, they just assumed that they knew. I am sure that the offence these people took at a statement they didn’t understand fully caused them to lose their salvation. We have to realise that we aren’t always going to be given an explanation. Most of the time people say things and they never even know that we have taken offence. They don’t have a clue because they didn’t mean to give offence but we walk away and beat ourselves up and in our minds have all the answers we should have or could have given them but  didn’t. The only one who is hurt and suffering in the process is ourselves.

Matthew 18:7-9, Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

“If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.

This is saying that offences will cause us to lose our salvation.

What if I were to take offence at something someone says to me at church and because of that I decide not to go to church anymore because church is full of hypocrites and I’m better off on my own without all these awful people. Who am I hurting? Me! I am hurting myself and I am in danger of losing my salvation because of the offence I’ve reckoned to myself.

If we don’t know how to speak the truth in love according to Ephesians 4:15, then we have to learn how because nobody is going to pamper us to make sure that we understood them correctly. We shouldn’t be spiritual babies that need to be fed milk. If we want to be warriors who can fight in the front lines then it’s time we stand up and take responsibility.


I have so often heard Christians say that they rather live their lives in a way that illustrates their faith than actually speak about it. People say that it is very hard to speak to others about God or to witness because people might take offense. Some people just say that they can’t do it and that it isn’t their gifting. I was thinking about this when it struck me that our words are the only weapon we have. The enemy is doing everything in his power to keep us quiet because he wins when we keep quiet about Jesus.

Ephesians 6:10 – 20 tells about the armour of God. The different pieces are the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the feet shod in preparation to carry out the gospel of peace, the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation. Now mostly we don’t have a problem with these. They aren’t that hard to attain and we don’t really have to step out of our comfort zone or make waves if we follow them. The last one however, is the sword of the Spirit.

Ephesians 6:17 – 19, And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints – and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.

Even Paul is asking for prayer so that he will be able to speak boldly. If speaking wasn’t a problem then Paul, of all people, wouldn’t ask for prayer to speak.

Mark 16:15, And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”

It doesn’t say you have to show the world how you live, although you really do have to, but you have to preach the Gospel. You have to speak it out loud.

Have you seen what happens in a church when the pastor suggests that people go out and do door to door soul winning? People become really awkward and look at their watches and hide their faces. When confronted they use excuses like they have prior appointments, or the time simply doesn’t suit them. They also say that this isn’t for them. They haven’t been called to do this kind of thing or they just feel really uncomfortable with it. I’ve even heard people say that it shouldn’t be done in this way. Now I’m not going to argue the effectiveness of this method of soul winning but I can say that I have been involved with ministries that use this method and it is probably the act which is the most satisfying. You meet people you normally never would. You see circumstances you never knew existed, and you will be surprised at how many people are willing to say they need prayer and that they need Jesus in their lives. If we aren’t willing to speak we are never going to see this first hand.

Why do you think so many countries around the world are restricting people from speaking about Jesus? It is the plan of the enemy because it is the most effective way of reaching the world with the Gospel. What is more powerful than hearing a testimony of healing or salvation straight from the horse’s mouth? I love reading and I love reading testimonies, but hearing them first-hand is just so much better.

Romans 10:9, that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Revelation 12:11, And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

We have to start standing up for what we believe and we have to start saying what we believe because that is what the bible says. If we were fighting in a physical battle we would be using the weapons available to us because if we don’t we would be defeated. It is the same with the Gospel; if we don’t use the only weapon we have, our words, we are going to be defeated. We need to take out our swords and start practicing to use them so that we can become proficient swordsmen and we can defeat our enemy.


Healed – or not.

I read something today that made so much sense to me. It was in the book, ‘Healing comes by Sanctification’ by Dr Michelle Strydom. It came down to that more non-believers get miraculous healing than believers do. Just think about the prayer lines in churches on a Sunday. How many people actually get healed? How many people get healed at a crusade in Africa where no one has even heard about Jesus? Lots! Blind eyes are opened, the deaf hear, the lame walk. We have all heard the testimonies and seen videos. So why would God choose to heal people who don’t honor Him and who haven’t accepted Jesus as their savior? But people who have been serving Him for years and go to church every Sunday still have multiple medical issues? Just think about it this way: If you’ve never heard the Gospel, never been given the chance to follow Jesus, then some guy from a far away country has a meeting and you go. He calls up everyone who is sick and you go because you have severe arthritis and have been unable to work for the last 10 years. He says some words in a language you don’t understand and suddenly your fingers straighten, your toes and feet come into line, and the pain disappears. You test this newness in your limbs and very soon you are jumping up and down like a child and running around the arena. What is your first question? “Who did this? How is it possible?” The ministry workers tell you about Jesus and you decide that if this Jesus God could do this then He deserves your loyalty. Your family and friends are in awe and they all decide that Jesus is the way to go. You see what’s happening? If non-believers see miracles they become converted. But what happens when a believer is healed? And it does happen. Not much. Hopefully they will become more zealous in their witnessing.


What does the Bible say about healing? Reading through the Gospels it seems like most of the people Jesus healed were not believers yet. Probably obviously because His ministry on earth only lasted 3 years. . The Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts are the spreading of the message of salvation. They are foremost for non-believers. This is about coming to Christ and in these books there are many healings. The Books from Romans to Jude are about sanctification after Salvation. They were written for believers. Psalm 31:10, “For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.”

Psalm 38:3-8 in the Message, “I’ve lost twenty pounds in two months because of your accusation. My bones are brittle as dry sticks because of my sin. I’m swamped by my bad behavior, collapsed under gunnysacks of guilt. The cuts in my flesh stink and grow maggots because I’ve lived so badly. And now I’m flat on my face feeling sorry for myself morning to night. All my insides are on fire, my body is a wreck. I’m on my last legs; I’ve had it – my life is a vomit of groans.”

These are only two of many verses that illustrate how the way you live affects your health.


James 5:16, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” You may think that confessing your sins, or the bad way you’ve been doing things takes a lot of courage, but what it really takes it true repentance. The realization that you are wrong. And we don’t like being wrong. It’s not something we do well. Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is near those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart – These, O God, You will not despise.”

I other words, we have to be brought to our knees by the realization that we are wrong in whatever it is we have been doing and we have to be willing to speak to someone about it so that we can be healed. Have you ever done something that you know is wrong and then worked up enough courage to tell someone you trust what you did? How did you feel once you told them? Way better, right? That’s how it works. Sometimes you only have to confess to God, but you have to confess and you have to sincerely turn away from what you were doing wrong. And you will be healed. Or maybe you won’t but your heart will be healed and that is way more important than your body. God doesn’t work by formulas, He works by love.

Forgive them Father

We wove the crown of thorns
That our precious Savior wore

We weilded the whip
That tore into His flesh

We drove the nails
That held Him to the cross

We lifted the spear
That pierced his side.

They are Your precious sons and daughters
Who will take up Your sword
And fight the enemy

They are Your precious sons and daughters
Who will go into the world
And open the eyes of the blind

They are Your precious sons and daughters
Who will overcome evil
And receive the victor’s crown

They are Your precious sons and daughters
And it is for them
That all this pain I bear.


Preach the gospel

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

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

  • The teaching of the revelation of Christ

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

  • Good News

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