Monday, 23 February 2015

Practice what you preach

We need to start taking life to a new level. It is time for us to rise up and be on our front foot and not on the defense. It is so easy to read our Bibles and spend time with God, but then get swept away by the motions, thoughts and habits of daily life and people. What we read, is what we should speak and what we speak, is what we need to exercise daily. Our thoughts need to be in line with the thoughts of God. We have His Spirit, but our minds need to be renewed, so that we can live and think according to His Spirit and not according to this world.

For example, we can’t read the Bible and then say that we are ill. We cannot be ill, because we are new, reborn creations in Christ Jesus and He has died for every illness that we can ever have. So we can never be ill. We can feel the attack of an illness and then we have a choice, allow it or rebuke it. Sometimes it takes longer to rebuke than other times, but just because we are being attacked and we feel the physical symptoms, does not mean that God’s word is not true and that we are now ill. If you feel ill, then say that you are fighting an illness, but do not start believing that you are ill. At the end we receive what we believe. Our thoughts are in line with what we believe and we speak according to our thoughts and we receive the physical manifestation of our words. Therefore be careful of the words which you speak, they will build or break your future. Your words are seeds, sown into your future. Decide today what future you want to have and start sowing those words as seeds.

The message might sound very harsh, but it is actually just the glorious truth of how Jesus has died so that we can live in His peace, His shalom (nothing missing, nothing broken). He has given us so much and we need to take back what is legally ours. If you haven’t been believing, thinking or speaking in this way, then don’t feel condemned. His mercies never cease and they are new every morning. Every day you have a new slate and every day is a new opportunity to put your faith in action and expect the miraculous!

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” - Lamentations 3:22-23

“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” - 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 

“who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” (healed in Greek meaning to cure, heal, to be made whole) - 2 Peter 2:24

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Don't be ashamed

“And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” – Genesis 3:8

I read this passage again yesterday and I just noticed the specific wording used here, “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord”. Everyone would agree that you are silly when you think that you can hide from God, because He is all seeing and all knowing. Nothing happens without His knowledge and Adam and Eve knew that God already knew what had happened. That is why they didn't just hide from Him, they hid from His presence. 

I just realised that so often in life the devil convinces us to feel ashamed or guilty about our actions or behaviours and even though we know that we cannot hide from God and that He knows everything, we still avoid and hide from His presence because of how we feel. 

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10

Jesus brings life and the devil is on a constant mission to steal this from us. By stealing or destroying our times in God’s presence, the devil succeeds to steal from us the joy, peace and love that we receive so freely in His presence. There is never any reason for us to be afraid to step into God’s presence. Jesus has made the way clear and has received any punishment on our behalf. We are free to enjoy God even if we feel like we do not deserve it. Guilt and shame should not stop us from running to His presence, on the contrary, it should encourage us to run to Him, because it is in His presence where guilt, shame and lies carry no weight and where mercy, grace and love abounds.

“Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.” – Genesis 3:21

Adam and Eve hid because they realised that they were naked and they used leaves to cover themselves up. The realisation of nakedness came due to their disobedience, but God is His grace made them tunics out of skin to clothe them. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, we can wear His robe of righteousness and we never have to feel naked again.

God does not bring guilt, shame or condemnation; these are the works of the devil. Don’t let these steal from you! Don’t hide from His presence and create a big white elephant in the room, rather run to Him, tell Him what is on your heart and thank Him for what Jesus already did so many years ago. 

Picture credit:journeyintothespectrum

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Generosity changes the heart

There are not many things as powerful as generosity. It doesn't just bless the person receiving, but it also changes the heart of the giver. It is not a surprise that Jesus says it is better to give than to receive!

Being able to give your time or money is a privilege. An act of selfless kindness changes our hearts and our capacity to love and be loved. We were not created to function alone, but to find joy in community and helping each other. It gives us an opportunity to escape from the world of me me me and see the world from someone else's perspective. It forces us to leave our stress and worries at the door and focus our attention on the needs of someone else.

Then why is it so hard for us? Maybe it's due to our overcrowded schedules? Thinking we can do more and fit more in. When will we stop and think about quality of life and not quantity?

Maybe we think that giving will drain us or if we start giving our time that people will take advantage of us?

Maybe we should make more time to find a need of someone close to us and help? Maybe make a commitment or a random act of kindness? But I am convinced that somewhere in our week we can find a need and fill it. Listening to a friend for 30min, babysitting or making a meal for a stressed friend or even volunteering an hour a week somewhere.

Generosity is not charity, it's seeing the need when no one else does.

I recently read an article about being happy and living longer and this is what it says about giving:

"One of the most counterintuitive pieces of advice I found is that to make yourself feel happier, you should help others. In fact, 100 hours per year (or two hours per week) is the optimal time we should dedicate to helping others in order to enrich our lives.

If we go back to Shawn Achor’s book again, he says this about helping others:

…when researchers interviewed more than 150 people about their recent purchases, they found that money spent on activities – such as concerts and group dinners out – brought far more pleasure than material purchases like shoes, televisions, or expensive watches. Spending money on other people, called “prosocial spending,” also boosts happiness.

The Journal of Happiness Studies published a study that explored this very topic:

Participants recalled a previous purchase made for either themselves or someone else and then reported their happiness. Afterward, participants chose whether to spend a monetary windfall on themselves or someone else. Participants assigned to recall a purchase made for someone else reported feeling significantly happier immediately after this recollection; most importantly, the happier participants felt, the more likely they were to choose to spend a windfall on someone else in the near future.

So spending money on other people makes us happier than buying stuff for ourselves. What about spending our time on other people?

In his book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman explains that helping others can improve our own lives:

…we scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested."

Also the following was very exciting for me to read:

"The Terman study, which is covered in The Longevity Project, found that relationships and how we help others were important factors in living long, happy lives:

We figured that if a Terman participant sincerely felt that he or she had friends and relatives to count on when having a hard time then that person would be healthier. Those who felt very loved and cared for, we predicted, would live the longest. Surprise: our prediction was wrong… Beyond social network size, the clearest benefit of social relationships came from helping others. Those who helped their friends and neighbours, advising and caring for others, tended to live to old age."

So it is scientifically proven that being generous and helping others will make us happier and live longer. Maybe it's time to put our fears aside, jump into action and discover the joys of giving!

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give - Sir Winston Churchill

Picture credits: misadventuresblog and stewardship
Article credit: thespiritscience

Friday, 20 June 2014


It is highly likely that at some stage during your life you have experienced betrayal, maybe even more than once or twice. I have experienced three different kinds of betrayal and I’ll give simple random examples to explain each one. The first is when someone has betrayed your trust by doing something, which you won’t approve of, behind your back. For example cheating on you or abusing your finances. The second is when you feel betrayed because someone did something which you did not expect or even approve of. This does not mean that the other person actually did something wrong, but only that their actions left you feeling betrayed. For example when two of your friends go out and don’t invite you. What they did is not wrong, but you might feel betrayed because they did not invite you. The third one happens really often but many people don’t even recognise it as betrayal. This is when you betray yourself. Betrayal can be when you have an expectation of someone and they let you down and this person can even be yourself. For example a friend of yours is being mocked in a conversation, you expect yourself to stand up for the person, but instead you just keep quiet. You have betrayed yourself. Afterwards you will probably even feel the need to justify why you did not stand up for the friend.

In all the above mentioned examples the feeling of betrayal will be present. Feeling betrayed can be one of the hardest emotions to process and almost always results in anger. When we do not deal with an underlying emotion (betrayal), another emotion (mostly anger) rises to the occasion depending on your personality. We often display anger when we feel hurt, vulnerable and experience emotional pain.

If betrayal is not dealt with, it can grow into an ugly emotion called bitterness or resentment. This is so dangerous, because it will damage your heart and other relationships even if the person is not in the picture anymore. Someone with bitterness or resentment in their heart will struggle to experience joy and love fully and might start believing that the world is “out to get them”. Thus it is definitely in your own interest to deal with the emotion properly.

The key to dealing with betrayal is forgiveness, but you might need a few steps before you get there and the time frame will be different depending on the type of betrayal. So how do we start the healing process? Validating the emotion of betrayal is a good start, admit to yourself that you feel betrayed and hurt. Talk about the situation, if you cannot speak with the other person involved then speak to a trusted friend. The most important thing is that you start dealing with the emotion.

If the person is still in your life, it is important to start building the trust that was broken again. It is definitely not impossible, but it is a journey and forgiveness is crucial. You cannot have a healthy relationship with someone if there is unforgiveness in your heart. Forgiveness is often a decision and you have to act on it even if you don’t feel like it. Ask God to help you forgive, even if you feel like you can’t. He can open your heart again and heal the wound. Your emotions will eventually catch on and follow your heart and mind’s decision to forgive. During betrayal the wall of a relationship cracks and it needs to be rebuild in places. Keep your focus on rebuilding the wall with forgiveness and this will stop the wall from cracking through to the foundations.

Forgiveness is so worth it! Not just for you, but also to free the person on the other end, especially if that person is you! We so often forget to forgive ourselves and show ourselves the kindness and grace that we deserve. Even if you think that you do not deserve forgiveness, it’s a lie. You deserve it because you have the righteousness of Christ and Jesus has already paid the price for anything that you will ever do wrong. Beating yourself up would nullify the price that He’s already paid and steal your joy.

Free yourself today by forgiving and if you struggle, just ask God for help. You do not deserve to walk around with a wounded heart. Rather choose the path of healing and growth and fill your heart with all that is good. The bible says that whom the Son has set free, is free indeed! Don’t let anything take that freedom from you!

Picture credit: Pinterest

Tuesday, 6 May 2014


Every relationship is different. Personalities and preferences differ from person to person and thus no relationship will be 100% the same. We then can also not expect that our relationship with God will look the same as someone else's. God speaks to us all in different ways and the important thing is not HOW He speaks, but that you HEAR Him. A relationship needs communication and God is no different.

All healthy relationships also have some kind of agreement of what is acceptable and what's not. For example, some men might not want their wives to work late hours at work and prefer a wife that is home in the evenings. Other men might have no problem with their wives working long hours. Others might prefer a spouse who drinks no alcohol during the week, where another doesn't mind. This can be applicable to anything from playing video games to socialising. Different relationships, different 'rules'. At the end you choose which relationship you want and what your preferences are according to the life that you want to live and what's important to you.

As you grow in your relationship with God, you will see what the 'rules' in your relationship are. God might ask me not to drink alcohol for example, because I don't know when to stop and it hurts our relationship, because I feel ashamed the next day. He might never speak to you about alcohol, because He doesn't mind that you have a few drinks and it doesn't hurt your relationship. Whatever He asks you to do, you can know for sure that it is the best for your relationship and that it will always benefit and protect you.

The most important thing is that we know that it is personal. It is my relationship and your relationship. I can't tell people not to drink alcohol, because God asked ME not to do it. They should do what God tells THEM to do. If I force people to do what God has told me to do, then I just burden people with a bunch of rules and they will end up feeling condemned. Too many people follow other people's 'rules' for their relationship with God and end up feeling unhappy and burdened. They have no grace to live according to those 'rules' and they thus bring no life to them. Your relationship with God will bring life and joy to you and you need to grow in that relationship on your own. It's between you and Him and it's special and wonderful. Don't let other people tell you what your relationship with God should be like, only that a relationship with God will always include a foundation of love, peace and joy. Spend time with Him, grow with Him, enjoy His freedom and discover the greatest friend you'll ever know.

Photo credit: stockarch

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Selfishness, you sneaky thing!

Oh the terrible evil! Let me make one thing clear first. There is a difference between selfishness and putting yourself first. In our lives we need to put ourselves first in certain areas to ensure that we are emotionally stable and healthy. We need to look after our bodies and our hearts, if we don't, then we'll lose a part of who we are and we would be less able to successfully support and help someone else. We become thinly spread and at the end drained, tired and unable to motivate ourselves or others. What you need to do to stay emotionally healthy will be different for each person and will need to be a discussion between you and the Holy Spirit.

Selfishness comes in when we put ourselves first at the expense of others. When we become self consumed and blinded to the needs of others. Selfishness is so sneaky, it creeps in so slowly and then before you know, it's all about me and in that moment you see yourself as the victim. If you recognize this behaviour, then a red light should be flashing.

As soon as you start seeing yourself as the victim, everyone else's actions will be amplified and any negative reaction from someone might be experienced as an attack. When selfishness increases, your grace for others start decreasing and soon patience and kindness go out the window. In short, selfishness does not make us more satisfied, it actually makes us unhappier, because it creates an insatiable desire which nothing and no one can still.

So how do we manage the fine line between selfishness and putting ourselves first? Let's ask God to help us define our boundaries clearly and prompt us when we overstep boundaries onto other peoples’ lives in selfishness. Imagine your life as a field, if you keep living on other peoples’ fields then you are stealing from them and being selfish, but if you keep letting others steal from you by allowing them to pitch their tents (needs, desires, opinions) on your field, then you are not looking after yourself enough and you might be burdened and too thinly spread. Ensure that you live comfortably on your field, allowing time for God, loved ones and lots of time to give, love and be loved.

Picture credit:

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Have some fun!

Give yourself a break and have some fun! Give yourself a break from whatever keeps you busy, even if you are the one giving yourself a hard time. We can so often become slave drivers to ourselves, not allowing for mistakes to be made or sufficient time to rest.

We cannot be the best version of ourselves, if we do not look after ourselves. It is not selfish, it is our responsibility. We need to look after our bodies and emotional well being so that we can be the best version of ourselves at work, socially or to our families. Sometimes we care so much about work, other people, our kids or our spouses that we forget to take time out for ourselves. At the end we become drained and a terrible version of ourselves and in actual fact, we only have ourselves to blame.

It might seem selfish to you if you do something relaxing like read a book, go for coffee with a friend or watch a movie by yourself, but in actual fact you are just giving yourself the reboot needed to be the best version of yourself for the rest of the week. In this way you feel appreciated and loved by yourself. It is surprising how much love we can show other people, but how little we sometimes show to ourselves.

It sounds strange, but it's true. We need to show love to ourselves. You need to show yourself that you matter, that you are loved and appreciated. God made to you to live life and life to the fullest. This does not mean that life is just a constant party, but that rather that His joy is available to us in all circumstances. Take some time out and you will find that the joy of the Lord is your strength. Go and find some fun, whatever it means to you, and God will meet you there!

Picture credit: relatablegifs