dinsdag 30 december 2014

The coming judgement of God

Isaiah 66:15-16

15 The Lord will come down like a whirlwind with his flaming chariots. He will be terribly furious and punish his enemies with fire.  16 The Lord's fiery sword will bring justice everywhere on this earth and execute many people.

As someone who knows God as loving, kind, gentle and tender. As someone who knows God takes no pleasure in the death of the ungodly and teaches us to love our enemies and overcome evil by good Bible passages such as these are difficult to understand. We could of course try to allegorise and spiritualise this scripture by saying it refers to spiritual enemies such as demons, but the truth of the matter is that verse 16 clearly talks about the execution of people.

We may also think of those who perished in the flood, in Sodom, in Egypt’s plagues or during Israel’s occupation of Canaan and we can no longer deny that God does bring judgement on people and executes many of them or ordered their execution.

Honestly, I find this difficult to reconcile with God’s love for people for whom He gave His son while they were still ungodly, helpless and enemies in order to save and reconcile them to himself (Rom. 5:1-11). Yet at the same time I do understand that God in His love hates the evil that hurts and damages His creation and in particular what hurts and damages the people He created.
I therefore tend to see the judgement of God as a last resort, something He only does when there is no other option left. After all He says in Ezekiel 18:23

I, the Lord God, don't like to see wicked people die. I enjoy seeing them turn from their sins and live.

So therefore God in His love and patience waits as long as possible to bring judgement on the wicked, giving people a chance to repent. This is confirmed in the New Testament when Peter explains why God is waiting with this final judgement talked about by the prophets in 2 Peter 3:1-15

1 My dear friends, this is the second letter I have written to encourage you to do some honest thinking. I don't want you to forget 2 what God's prophets said would happen. You must never forget what the holy prophets taught in the past. And you must remember what the apostles told you our Lord and Savior has commanded us to do.
3 But first you must realize that in the last days some people won't think about anything except their own selfish desires. They will make fun of you 4 and say, “Didn't your Lord promise to come back? Yet the first leaders have already died, and the world hasn't changed a bit.”
5 They will say this because they want to forget that long ago the heavens and the earth were made at God's command. The earth came out of water and was made from water. 6 Later it was destroyed by the waters of a mighty flood. 7 But God has commanded the present heavens and earth to remain until the day of judgment. Then they will be set on fire, and ungodly people will be destroyed.
8 Dear friends, don't forget that for the Lord one day is the same as a thousand years, and a thousand years is the same as one day. 9 The Lord isn't slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost.
10 The day of the Lord's return will surprise us like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a loud noise, and the heat will melt the whole universe. Then the earth and everything on it will be seen for what they are.
11 Everything will be destroyed. So you should serve and honor God by the way you live. 12 You should look forward to the day when God judges everyone, and you should try to make it come soon. On that day the heavens will be destroyed by fire, and everything else will melt in the heat. 13 But God has promised us a new heaven and a new earth, where justice will rule. We are really looking forward to that!
14 My friends, while you are waiting, you should make certain that the Lord finds you pure, spotless, and living at peace. 15 Don't forget that the Lord is patient because he wants people to be saved. This is also what our dear friend Paul said when he wrote you with the wisdom that God had given him.

So let us not take Gods patience and love for granted, thinking that judgement may never come because for all of us it will come one day so let us be wise in how we live.

woensdag 24 december 2014

Christmas 2014

HE WHO follows Me, walks not in darkness," says the Lord in John 8:12. By these words of Christ we are advised to imitate His life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and free from all blindness of heart. Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus Christ.
The teaching of Christ is more excellent than all the advice of the saints, and he who has His spirit will find in it a hidden manna. Now, there are many who hear the Gospel often but care little for it because they have not the spirit of Christ. Yet whoever wishes to understand fully the words of Christ must try to pattern his whole life on that of Christ.

These words by Thomas a Kempis, a Dutch Christian born around 1380 AD in his book the imitation of Christ (Ch. I:I) are as relevant today as they were 6 centuries ago. Following Christ is not a matter of sound theologizing, outward religious observance, evangelistic  zeal or exhuberant worship. Instead it is a matter of faithful following the Good Shepherd in daily obedience. It is not about being charitable and religious around Christmas time but It is about walking in the footsteps of Christ 24/7. We must remain on the way of Christ from the day we put our faith in Him and acknowledged His Lordship over our lives until the day we die in Him. It is the only way to work out our salvation in fear and trembling, keeping our flesh under control by the power of the Spirit of God so that having run our race we may not be disqualified for going off track. Let us therefore firmly focus on Christ and re-commit ourselves daily to obeying Him by loving God & Neighbour and not obeying the desires of our self-centered nature

zondag 14 december 2014

The spiritually mature do not judge by appearances

9 For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. 11 To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; 12 and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; 13 when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.14 I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children.15 For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me

1 Cor. 4:9-15

The Corinthians had been so impressed by eloquence, position, wealth and status of some pretentious 'super apostles' that they started to look down on Paul because of his poverty, his lack of eloquence and his 'weakness'. Paul here invites them to let go of such a worldly way of thinking and look at Paul's faithfulness in the midst of hardship and toil as an example to follow. After all, his ministry was blessed for they had become his spiritual children as they heard the message of Christ from him.

Its so easy to judge by appearances. We have all been conditioned during our upbringing, in school, in the media to measure success in terms of wealth, position, status, beauty and popularity. Like the Lord Jesus he followed Paul had none of these. As the Corinthians Christians were still immature in their faith they were easily impressed by false apostles who according to worldly standards appeared a lot more blessed and successful in life. However, Paul points out that poverty, hunger, homelessness and so on do not mean that someone is a disqualified servant of God, it simply means that God has decided to exhibit our faithfulness this way just as He exhibited Job's faithfulness in the midst of his hardships. Faithfully following Jesus Christ regardless of the circumstances is all that really matters from a spiritually mature perspective. Therefore Paul says 'be imitators of me'.

dinsdag 9 december 2014

Working out your salvation in fear and trembling

12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

Philippians 2:12-16

17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. 18 For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.

Philippians 3:17-19

4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 6and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

Hebrews 6:4-6

When people receive the gospel with joy and become born-again as a first step on their journey towards the wonderful destination prepared for them by Christ, all heaven rejoices. Unfortunately some forget to work out their faith with fear and trembling and are side-tracked by the things of this world. As John Bunyan so vividly described in his work ‘The Pilgrim’s progress’  they get seduced by this world’s vanity fair.  Instead of fearing to wander away from the small narrow road of salvation, instead of trembling at the thought of losing their way, they lust after the things the world does: Status in the eyes of the world, a good career, their own house, a comfortable home, a high salary, nice outings, relaxing holidays…… all good things if God gives them to us after we first prioritize on Gods kingdom and living in accordance with His righteousness and think equally of Gods interests and our fellow humans in how we spend our time, money and energy. Unfortunately the spiritual life in some is overshadowed and eventually destroyed by their own appetite for more for themselves. Their appetite has become their god and they end up indulging in sin and became enemies of the cross. Eventually some wander away so far that they can no longer come to repentance. A very sad fact as their end is their own destruction.

The Calvinist doctrine that once-saved one is always saved may sound comforting but it does not agree with these scriptures. I would think its better to base one's beliefs on what the apostle wrote than on what was written by John Calvin and his followers.

Let us therefore work out our salvation in fear and trembling and not let go of the ideals set before us by Christ himself. Let us continue to prioritize on God and His kingdom, on following Christ and walk in His righteousness.

zondag 30 november 2014

Our persecuted and suffering family members

Today, we stand with all those who because to seek to obey and follow Christ are suffering persecution. some are ridiculed, others are refused unemployment, some are mistreated or lose their jobs because of standing for what is right in Gods eyes. Remember also to pray for God's grace and strength on all the Christians around the world who are in prison for Christ. Intercede for all those who are suffering torture, deprivation, and hostility for Jesus. Ask the Lord to provide for the widows and children of Pastors who have been maimed for life or have been martyred. Pray for healing for those men and women who suffered severe physical and emotional humiliation as their bodies and souls were degraded. Pray for the victims as well as those who are traumatised as a result of witnessing what happened to their loved ones at the hands of their persecutors. Pray especially for the children. Pray for courage and strength for all those who have suffered so they may be able to forgive the perpetrators and let go so that no bitterness may delay their own inner healing and that they may not become contaminated by the hatred and evil that infected their persecutors.  Cry out to God for mercy for His people and also ask Him how you may help! Hebrews 13:3 “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”

woensdag 26 november 2014

Responsible living

1 Cor. 3:10-15

10 God was kind and let me become an expert builder. I laid a foundation on which others have built. But we must each be careful how we build, 11 because Christ is the only foundation. 12-13 Whatever we build on that foundation will be tested by fire on the day of judgment. Then everyone will find out if we have used gold, silver, and precious stones, or wood, hay, and straw. 14 We will be rewarded if our building is left standing. 15 But if it is destroyed by the fire, we will lose everything. Yet we ourselves will be saved, like someone escaping from flames.

Christ reminds us on many occasion that it is our obligation to love all humanity, everywhere in the world. We are responsible for the well-being of our fellow humans, not just within the nuclear or extended family, locally or nationally, but also globally. That is why He said we should be His witnesses globally and help people of all people groups to become His followers. Therefore violence against one human being is violence against us, and neglecting one human being's welfare is neglecting us. We are all part of one family of humanity and if God so loved the World of humanity that He sent Jesus in order to save them from their self-destructive path (John 3:16), so should we who profess to be His followers do all we can to be a positive influence locally and globally.
Of course this can be really difficult. Life in a fallen and imperfect world means that there will always be some stones thrown at us or that we find them as obstacles on your path. The outcome of this depends on what we do with them. Do we use them to construct a Wall or a Bridge? - Let us remember that we are the architects of our lives. Christ is the foundation but its up to us how to build on Him.

dinsdag 18 november 2014

Count the cost

Luke 14:26-33

26 You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot come with me unless you love me more than you love your own life.
27 You cannot be my disciple unless you carry your own cross and come with me.
28 Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. What is the first thing you will do? Won't you sit down and figure out how much it will cost and if you have enough money to pay for it? 29 Otherwise, you will start building the tower, but not be able to finish. Then everyone who sees what is happening will laugh at you. 30 They will say, “You started building, but could not finish the job.”
31 What will a king do if he has only ten thousand soldiers to defend himself against a king who is about to attack him with twenty thousand soldiers? Before he goes out to battle, won't he first sit down and decide if he can win? 32 If he thinks he won't be able to defend himself, he will send messengers and ask for peace while the other king is still a long way off. 33 So then, you cannot be my disciple unless you give away everything you own.

It needs a lot of courage to follow a different script for one's life performance in the theater of every day life and social interaction than the script prescribed by society and enforced by formal and informal sanctions. One has to be willing to pay the price. Jesus calls us to break away from the wealth and personal comfort focused mindset of the world and follow Him by giving away everything we own to Him and allow Him to decide what to do with it. Not keeping our possessions and maintaining our status and popularity but obediently following Christ is The Way He holds out to us. He reminds us to truly make up our minds if we are really willing to pay the price and go The Way all the way!

woensdag 12 november 2014

The aroma of Christ

2 Cor. 2:15-17

For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? 17 For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.

The greatest and often most dangerous opponents of the disciples of Christ are people who go to church but actually mainly strife to become rich, powerful or influential in order to be someone in their own eyes or in the eyes of others. Or because they seek to serve themselves and their self-interest. Our focus on Christ, and on faithfully and humbly obeying Him no matter what, even if it means poverty or hardship, is a threat to their little 'kingdoms'. To hear the truth pains them enough, but to witness the truth of what it means to follow Christ in front of them invites down-right hatred as they do not like to see themselves in that mirror. Its sad but a reality every true follower needs to learn to live with. For some we are a fragrance of life and a living signpost pointing at the Way. For others we will be the stench of death itself. Not a signpost to the right way to live in this world but in their eyes we are a sign of their own condemnation. A signpost they would rather destroy then take serious, let alone follow the Way. Yet it is not us, but their own conscience which troubles them and until they stop their efforts to silence its voice and stop with hardening their hearts they will not know inner peace.

vrijdag 7 november 2014

Knowing Gods love will cast out all fear from our lives

1 John 14:17-18:

17 Love is made perfect in us in order that we may have courage on the Judgment Day; and we will have it because our life in this world is the same as Christ's. 18 There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.

I know this from personal experience. For many years even as a believer I thought that the fear of the Lord is to fear punishment and condemnation. But when I came to a deeper knowledge of the unconditional love of God for all people, sinner and saint, I realized that the fear of the Lord means not to fear Him or being rejected by Him but to fear indulging in sin that separates me from Him. To know Gods love naturally results in one no longer wanting to allow anything to cause one to drift away from its comforting presence. This leads to a hate for sin and a love for sinners. As even the Old Testament records:

Proverbs 8:13 (NKJV) - The fear of the LORD is to hate evil

donderdag 6 november 2014

Harmful family patterns and the counselling of female victims of emotional neglect and incest

Harmful family patterns and the counselling of female victims of emotional neglect

Emotional, physical and sexual abuse and neglect in the home is very harmful for family relationships and all people involved. The same applies to false accusations of sexual abuse in the home. For example mothers who are very insecure may become jealous of their daughters and may consequently seek to destroy the relationship between the (step) daughter and her father, sister and brothers, by labeling their mutual love and interest in another as sexually inappropriate. They may drop hints, if not out rightly accuse other family members of abuse or neglect in order to destroy their relationship and assert their own control over the males in the home. In most cases the males withdraw once the wife/mother starts to subtly or less subtly accuse them of sexual abuse. In other cases she causes the daughter to withdraw from the father by hinting that he has an inappropriate sexual interest in her. In both scenarios the daughter is left without positive male affirmation from her father, making her vulnerable to sexual exploitation and promiscuity later in life as well as the fear of abandonment by men.

In another scenario the mother’s jealous behavior is directed at the daughters whom she sees as competitors for her husband’s or son’s love. Often this occurs when the daughters become teenagers. Instead of seeing them as children who have the need and right to their father’s love and male affirmation, the mother sees them as a threat to her relationship with her husband and/or son. She should deal with the underlying anxiety and related issues in her life but for personal reasons decides not to do so as she fears losing control. Instead she externalizes her fear and self-hatred in the form of anger and rejection and labels her (step) daughters as promiscuous and bad. In order to protect her interests she may now withhold love, care, mistreat them and may try to make them look bad in the eyes of the father and/or brother. She may downplay anything good the daughter does and highlight every tiny mistake and blow it out of proportion. In some cases they may even go as far as making up false accusations. Ironically such behavior may actually have the opposite effect and drive the daughters into inappropriately close relationships with the males in the home. Brother and sister, or father and daughter, who now no longer are treated with love and respect by the wife/mother may in their distress and need for love, affection and affirmation try to find love and emotional fulfillment in one-another and cross appropriate boundaries.

A loving and caring father who emotionally withdrew out of fear from his daughter due the emotional onslaught of their wife may not have done anything illegal as in the case of a father who became in appropriately close with his daughter, but he may not have caused any less harm. The father who for whatever reason withdrew from his daughter has unwillingly communicated that she is not important, not valuable, not lovable and not worth fighting for. He has communicated that she can be abandoned at any time by a man due to the influence of another woman. Even if the daughter herself due to the influence of others feared her father's sexuality, he should have explained his could intentions and not have withdrawn emotionally. In cases he did feel some sexual attraction due to biological factors he should have controlled these feelings but still continued to show love in an appropriate manner and affirm his daughter in her women-hood. Withdrawing emotionally from your (teenage) daughter is also a form of emotional abuse regardless of the reasons. It results in feelings of inferiority, lack of self-love, lack of self-worth, fear of abandonment and inability of forging a deep emotional connection with a man due to these underlying fears. In counselling these fears need to be identified and put in proper perspective. The daughter may need help in forgiving both parents for their errors and be helped to understand that even if her earthly father emotionally abandoned her, he did not do so voluntarily, or because she was not worth it, but because of his own weaknesses. In Christian counselling it is also important to stress that our heavenly Father never abandons or forsakes us and that He values us, loves us and believes in us.

Some pastoral guidelines for responding to post traumatic stress injury

Pastoral Responses to Post Traumatic Stress Injury

The concept of burnout is pretty well known among pastoral counselors but about post traumatic stress injury or post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS) there is still a lot of ignorance. Because the symptoms between a severe burnout and post traumatic stress injury are somewhat similar the two at times get confused but they are not the same. To use a metaphor, a burnout can be compared to a repetitive strain injury in a ligament while a traumatic injury actually involves actual trauma to the ligament for example in the form of a wound. Post traumatic stress injury is an actual psychological wound and just like in a physical sense wounds can come in various forms and sizes. The deeper the wound, the longer the needed recovery time.

Post traumatic injury, just like any physical wound, can have multiple causes but usually it is a major traumatic event in a person’s life which was experienced as a major threat to his/her very existence as a person and emotionally so overwhelming that he/she got deeply hurt and distressed. Persons who were already emotionally weakened due to other stress factors, including physical and environmental factors, are particularly susceptible to major traumatic stress injury.

A seriously wounded person is usually not in full control of his/her emotions and this is equally true for psychological injury. It is common for people to just express their pain without giving much thought to how this affects people around them. As in the case of a serious physical injury following traumatic psychological injury people may be totally numb, confused and depressed. Silence in such a situation is not a sign of the person being in control but indicates deep grief. The victim may also suddenly cry, scream, shout, fight or express their pain in other ways. It is important not to take this personal. The person is in serious pain and overwhelming distress and not in full control of his/her emotions.

Dealing with people who are emotionally out of control is not easy and requires a lot of patience, compassion and wisdom so we do not worsen matters! To tell them that what they do is wrong or evil is not going to help but will act like throwing salt in the wound. To tell a seriously injured person to stop whining, to keep quiet and to stop complaining is counter-productive. Even worse if we shame and blame the person by telling them to stop playing the victim role in order to get sympathy. This is not just unloving behavior, it is downright cruel! Unfortunately I have personally encountered many pastoral counselors who said such hurtful things. The same applies for apportioning blame by telling the person what he/she should have done or should not have done. Who are we to decide such things, do we know all the facts? To do so is not only unprofessional, it is also a sign of arrogance and pride. By saying such things we suggest that we would have done things better in their situation. Such behavior is a serious violation of the Law of Christ which requires us be humble and gentle and to do unto others as we would like to have done to us.

When a person is suffering, wounded and out of control they need our compassion, comfort and competent assistance. One does not tell a bleeding accident victim to stop crying or complaining or tell that he or she may be to blame for the accident. Even most non-Christians would be shocked by such inhumane behavior. Like ambulance workers and medical professionals we must help all suffering people in their distress and give them the best care possible whether we think they are guilty or not! This includes among other things that we:

1. Make sure the person is in a place of emotional safety (a spiritual sanctuary) and away from being exposed to further (verbal/emotional) abuse.

2. Make sure basic needs are taken care of. For example a homeless person or anyone in an unstable life situation cannot focus on healing as their focus is own basic survival.

3. Shield the person from further injury, including well-meaning but incompetent counselors

4. Help the person talk and show empathy and avoid any form of coercion, condemnation or suggesting blame or culpability.

5. Nurse the person back to full health. It is not your task to play the role of judge, accuser, witness who testifies against the victim or be the executioner of some form of punishment. If you feel you need to play a role in psychological/spiritual law enforcement and accuse people of their wrongs and tell them what to do or what not then you have no place whatsoever in counselling.

6. Help the victim talk about their experiences, their feelings and their concerns. Make sure you communicate compassion and empathy, love and concern.

7. Be very cautious in giving advice as it can easily be experienced as you imposing your view and opinion on the situation which gives victims the idea that you don’t take them serious.

8. Only offer advice when requested and even then do so very gently, avoiding adding insult to injury by blaming or shaming the victim. Stress your love for them and your faith in them. Stress Gods love for them and Gods faith in them that with His help they will get through this, not just as mere survivors but stronger and better as God uses all thing for the good of those who love Him.

9. Take note of self-undermining, self-condemning and other self-defeating thoughts and help victims to be more compassionate, forgiving and understanding towards themselves just as God is very compassionate, forgiving and understanding. Very often psychological injury is compounded by spiritual infections such as a low-self esteem, low-self confidence, lack of proper sense of self-worth and self-condemnation. Often these are the result of old untreated emotional wounds. These issues need to be addressed in a loving, gentle but firm manner because if allowed to fester they will hinder inner healing.

10. If in the counselling process the victims become aware of certain things they could have done better or wrong things they have done then do not downplay these but also do not encourage wallowing in guilt and condemnation. Instead they should be allowed to explain what wrong they think they did (confession) and then be helped to ask and receive Gods forgiveness, and turn away from doing such things again (repentance) and work on this area in their lives so that they can grow stronger (sanctification) which may include bringing to light underlying issues that created the vulnerability or temptation.

11. Bringing to light what traumatic events have actually happened and how the victims have interpreted and experienced it is very important.  These things must be acknowledged and validated and not be dismissed as invalid or wrong. We must not conclude too quickly that a person has misread or misunderstood a situation. After all they were there in that situation and we were not. Often it takes time for the whole story to surface and even then some things may be too hard or too painful to express in words. Also victims may still out of a sense of loyalty, fear or concern partially still protect the perpetrators who harmed them. However, even if we become aware beyond any doubt that the victim is misinterpreting some things it is far better to help them reach that same conclusion by asking questions that increase their own insight in the situation than telling them that they are wrong and should adopt our interpretation. From a Christian point of view we better help the person to focus on Jesus and then trust the Holy Spirit to convict people of what is wrong, right, and how to judge/distinguish between these.

These few basic guidelines for pastoral care to victims of post traumatic stress injury are also important for dealing with people who suffer from other psychological (stress) injuries. It is my sincere hope that they will contribute to better and more sensitive pastoral care to wounded people in the church and our community as too many have been left so broken and hurt that they have turned their backs to the church and sometimes even to God who was misrepresented by behavior of the people around them. By providing better pastoral care we may prevent the spiritual death of many.

dinsdag 4 november 2014

Our values

Implicit and explicit values

Most of us have been explicitly taught that the spiritual values of helping others, protecting the weak and downtrodden and doing unto others as we want to have done to us are very important. We also may have been taught that it is important to have a meaningful philosophy of life to live by. Very few of us have explicitly taught that material wealth, and the power, influence and success in obtaining access to it outrank other values. Much socialization in the home and in school in fact teach other values. Nevertheless materialism is nonetheless transmitted to most of our children implicitly as our priorities in life show that materialism is the religion we live by. Even if we confess otherwise with our mouths, our actions, our priorities, our use of time, talents, abilities, resources and energy speak much louder than words. These quietly communicate where our real allegiance lies.

God seeks people whose lives are an act of worship by being in alignment with the Spirit of Christ and the truth we believe and confess. 

maandag 3 november 2014

Materialism, individualism and the decline of social coherence in society

Romans 12:2

Don't be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him.

The culture of materialism is based on the positive meaning given to the accumulation and hoarding of worldly goods primarily for the benefit of oneself and one’s immediate family. It goes hand-in-hand with hedonistic individualism, the quest for personal pleasure and immediate gratification. Materialism is wrongly considered a sign of prestige and living the good life as it in fact demonstrates a very wrong way of life and a mindset which is diametrically opposed to the mind of Christ who He shared his wealth with others and freely opened his home for them. This mindset is also detrimental for society as it leads to an ever widening gap between the have’s and have-not's, leading to suffering, oppression, resentment, anger and social unrest. Left unchecked and uncorrected it will eventually destroy the very fabric of our societies leading to chaos and violence. The values of materialism are simply unable to provide the social cohesion necessary for a stable society.

vrijdag 31 oktober 2014

Testing (charismatic/supernatural) inspiration and messages in pastoral care and in the church

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all;hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.

1 Thess. 5: 19-22 (NIV)

Guidelines for testing (charismatic/supernatural) inspiration/messages spoken on Gods behalf:

- Examine the message ( regardless of the circumstances or the person who is the

- Evaluate the message in light of the teachings of Jesus and his example

- Select whatever  information has passed the test and see evaluate how this can be

- Communicate this information in a loving, humble and gentle manner to the person (s) for
  whom the message is intended

- Keep a record of the information for future reference

Please note:

Spectacular circumstances do not make a message more or less true!
This applies whether a person speaks with authority or confidence or in meekness. The silent voice of a child may at times convey more truth than the thunderous voice of a charismatic figure. Never assume that God cannot speak through a particular person because he is not a committed Christian or because he/she wrestles with certain problems. If God could speak a donkey in the Bible and through pagan kings and an apostate high priest then He can speak through anyone!!! We should never reject a message just because we do not like the messenger or think he is not really fit to be a messenger. God is so much greater than all our human limitations!!!

No-one is immune for deception!
Even if we do like the 'postman '  it should not be a factor. The character or appearance of a person, even if he/she is very friendly, polite and loving, or is full of spiritual authority, does not make a message more or less true. No one is immune to deception by the evil God can use anyone and at the same time . We should always test the message and keep what is good.

It is never about the messenger but about the message and about whether it honors Christ!
God is not a respecter of persons (rom. 2:11). It is never about the messenger but about the message!!! Even if the 'postman ' does great wonders, signs and miracles this does not validate his/her message. Many in the charismatic/Pentecostal movement have been misled by the idea that those who are used mightily by God are immune from error. This is tantamount to blind hero worship and idolatry. We must never be followers of any person. Even if the messenger is well known and famous and has many books to his name; even if the messenger is blessed with wealth and success; even if the messenger has a large group of followers; this does not validate their message. The only validation any message gets is that it agrees with Christ and His explicit teachings!!!

Even the greatest servants of God can be misled!
Even if someone has been mightily used by God in the past, or is mightily used today it does not mean that he/she has become immune to deception. The Apostle Peter spoke one moment full of the Spirit and accepted Jesus as Lord and God but shortly afterwards he was deceived because of his fear of losing his dear friend Jesus and he became a mouthpiece of Satan trying to discourage Jesus from going the way of the cross. Yet he was still the one of whom Jesus had said "on this rock I will build my church."  Peter’s example shows that nothing, not even the greatest miracle, should dissuade us to test everything in the light of Christ and his teachings. He is the Lord who has all authority (Matt. 28:18) and only His teaching is essential for discipleship (Matt. 28:19). Therefore everything, including every thought and idea must be subjected to Him in obedience. So test everything and keep what is good in His eyes!!!

vrijdag 17 oktober 2014

Giving and receiving love

Ways to give love in your relationships

There are many ways that you can give love in your relationships. Here’s a short, but by no means exhaustive list:

* surprise a friend or loved one with an unexpected gift
* inquire after someone who you know is going through a difficult time
* provide emotional support for your friend who is distressed from a life event
* listen carefully to your partner without responding, but making sure you fully understand
* extending yourself for your friend or loved one without the expectation it will be returned
* making a beautiful meal for your loved one or doing something nice for them
* kindly touching someone’s arm, lovingly stroking someone’s hair
* kissing gently on the cheek or giving a warm hug
* remembering friends’ birthdays and making an effort to personally wish them well

There are many things you could add to this list, as we all express love in different ways. While you may already do some of these things in your relationships, some people find many of these things difficult to do, and even feel confronted with the idea.

Common ways people block love in their relationships

There are many different ways that people block love in their relationships - often because deep down they feel unworthy of being loved. Here are the some of the most common things I see:

* deflecting a compliment by changing the subject
* not listening to positive feedback from a friend or partner by moving on quickly
* using humour to move the focus when they receive affection
* physically pulling away when someone moves towards, hugs or kisses
* stonewalling- cutting off or ignoring a friend or loved one
* criticising a friend or loved one
* being defensive when a friend or loved one is taking a risk and opening up
* averting your eye gaze when someone is emotionally reaching out to you

Do you recognise any of these aspects within yourself? I think we all have done or do some of these things to block love in our friendships and relationships with people. Don’t beat yourself up for them, but start to notice and catch yourself deflecting the love that comes your way.

Ways to receive love in your relationships with people

So the next challenge if you are doing well giving love, is to check how are doing with receiving love. It’s much easier to say than do for many people.

Here are some tips for receiving love in your relationships:
1. When you receive a compliment, pause and then literally inhale so that you feel the goodness going inside of you

2. When you hear positive feedback about yourself, sit still and allow yourself to be with it. Then take a moment to feel what is being said- and say thank you.

3. If you notice you use humour to deflect the attention away, experiment with allowing the focus to be on you and experience whatever is there. If you feel uncomfortable, stay with this and continue to be curious about yourself.

4. When someone reaches out to you with a hug or gentle friendly touch, allow yourself to surrender to their touch. Lean into the affection and breathe.

5. Practise feeling loving kindness towards yourself and if catch yourself being self-critical remind yourself that you are special, wonderful and a great person. Turn critical thoughts into loving thoughts.

6. Practice loving kindness towards others- especially those people you don’t like.

7. When someone opens up to you, practise staying still and centred and allow yourself to receive this love, like a warm bath of sunshine.

8. Practise maintaining eye contact with people and notice when happens when you are able to not avert your gaze.

Through becoming aware of your own struggles with giving or receiving love, you can then see where your growing edges are. By working on becoming better in their area, you are opening yourself up to feeling this very important emotion allowing your relationship satisfaction with others to improve.

Adapted from: https://clintonpower.com.au/2011/12/the-power-of-giving-and-receiving-love/

donderdag 16 oktober 2014

Appreciate the people God gives to us

1 Corinthians 3:1-9

My friends, you are acting like the people of this world. That's why I could not speak to you as spiritual people. You are like babies as far as your faith in Christ is concerned. So I had to treat you like babies and feed you milk. You could not take solid food, and you still cannot,  because you are not yet spiritual. You are jealous and argue with each other. This proves that you are not spiritual and that you are acting like the people of this world.
Some of you say that you follow me, and others claim to follow Apollos. Isn't that how ordinary people behave?  Apollos and I are merely servants who helped you to have faith. It was the Lord who made it all happen. I planted the seeds, Apollos watered them, but God made them sprout and grow.  What matters isn't those who planted or watered, but God who made the plants grow. The one who plants is just as important as the one who waters. And each one will be paid for what they do. Apollos and I work together for God, and you are God's garden and God's building.

In the kingdom of God we never should feel threatened by the abilities, character, talents and gifts of other people, even if they are more pronounced or developed than ours. Even if they challenge our status quo and shake us out of our comfort zone. They all belong to us. They have been given to us by God for our healing, growth and spiritual development so we are better equipped to serve Him. Our response should therefore be to thank Him for bringing them in our lives and show proper appreciation to Him and to them for the service they render.

maandag 13 oktober 2014


Dealing with psychological injury

Helping someone deal with emotional and psychological trauma

It can be difficult to know how to help a loved one who’s suffered a traumatic or distressing experience, but your support can be a crucial factor in their recovery.  

Be patient and understanding. Healing from emotional or psychological trauma takes time. Be patient with the pace of recovery and remember that everyone’s response to trauma is different.  Don’t judge your loved one’s reaction against your own response or anyone else’s.

Offer practical support to help your loved one get back into a normal routine. That may mean help with collecting groceries or housework, for example, or simply being available to talk or listen.

Don’t pressure your loved one into talking but be available when they want to talk. Some trauma survivors find it difficult to talk about what happened. Don’t force your loved one to open up but let them know you are there to listen whenever they feel ready.

Help your loved one to socialize and relax. Encourage them to participate in physical exercise, seek out friends, and pursue hobbies and other activities that bring them pleasure. Take a fitness class together or set a regular lunch date with friends.

Don’t take the trauma symptoms personally. Your loved one may become angry, irritable, withdrawn, or emotionally distant. Remember that this is a result of the trauma and may not have anything to do with you or your relationship.

Finding a trauma specialist for dealing with psychological trauma

Working through trauma can be scary, painful, and potentially retraumatizing.
Because of the risk of retraumatization if not done in a sensitive manner, this healing work is best done with the help of an experienced trauma specialist.

Finding a specialist may take some time. It’s very important that the therapist you choose has experience treating trauma. But the quality of the relationship with your therapist is equally important. Choose a trauma specialist you feel comfortable with. Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel safe, respected, or understood, find another therapist. There should be a sense of trust and warmth between you and your trauma therapist.

After meeting a potential trauma therapist/counsellor, ask yourself these questions:

Did you feel welcome and at ease?
Did you feel comfortable discussing your problems with the therapist?
Did you feel like the therapist understood what you were talking about?
Were your concerns taken seriously or were they minimized or dismissed?
Were you treated with compassion and respect?
Do you believe that you could grow to trust the therapist?

If your answer is no to any of these questions then find another specialist.

woensdag 8 oktober 2014

Overcoming Satan

Prerequisites for overcoming Satan: Romans 16:17-20

17 My friends, I beg you to watch out for anyone who causes trouble and divides the church by refusing to do what all of you were taught. Stay away from them! 18 They want to serve themselves and not Christ the Lord. Their flattery and fancy talk fool people who don't know any better. 19 I am glad that everyone knows how well you obey the Lord. But still, I want you to understand what is good and not have anything to do with evil. 20 Then God, who gives peace, will soon crush Satan under your feet. I pray that our Lord Jesus will be kind to you.

There are many books floating around full of new theories and new practices for Christians to defeat Satan. These can be very misleading and often bring divisions in the church so it is far better to look at Holy Scripture. In this passage Paul states that the act of crushing Satan under our feet is not something we can achieve but is something that God himself will do. It is unbelievable how many people proudly assert how they are going to defeat Satan and crush him as if they themselves have the power to do so. They are even blind to the fact that every time they sin, including the sin of thinking too highly of our spiritual prowess, that they are defeated and mislead by Satan. Instead of following the latest 'spiritual' fad we should do all we have been taught by Christ himself rather than what the currently famous 'spiritual' giants teach. Only if we faithfully obey, do what is good and stay away from what the Bible calls evil then God will give peace and crush Satan under our feet. For indeed the battle belongs to the Lord so we better hide under His wings by obeying all He has commanded us: Doing what is good in His eyes and avoiding all evil.

In other words: If we obey Jesus' requirements for discipleship 'to obey everything I have commanded you' we can be sure that His presence is always with us (Matt. 28:19-20) and as He has all power in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18) Satan will surely be crushed.

zondag 28 september 2014

Recognizing a codependent parent

8 Signs You May Have a Codependent Parent

The first thing that comes to mind when we hear the term “codependent” is usually an abusive boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. However, this is not always the case. Believe it or not, most codependent relationships are between a parent and child, not romantic partners. In a codependent parent-child relationship, the lines between overprotective and codependent, over-involved and engaged are often blurred beyond recognition. The caregiver-care receiver nature of a parent-child relationship makes codependency particularly difficult to detect. Here are a few signs to help you figure out whether your parent-child relationship is codependent.

The codependent parent is always plays the victim but is the one who is powerfully in control and victimises others.

1. The codependent parent has a victim mentality.

We all face obstacles in life, but the codependent parent believes that the other people in their life, particularly their children, owe them penance for the wrongs committed against them. Often this manifests in guilt-tripping behavior intended to garner sympathy from the child for negative experiences the parent has been through, with the end goal of altering the child’s behavior in a way that will set things right. This is where the problems begin. Rather than dealing with the traumas and difficulties in their own life through healthy and empowering means such as self-reflection and seeking out therapy, the codependent parent latches onto a child and demands compensation.

Compensation can take many forms. Many times a codependent parent will live vicariously through a child. For example, a mother who got pregnant in her teen years may demand repayment of the burden she faced by putting expectations on her daughter to seize advantages in life that she missed out on. A codependent father may demand that his son excel in sports to make up for his own lack of athleticism in childhood. If the child shows signs of taking their own path in life, the parent will use guilt to manipulate them into compliance.

2. The codependent parent is never wrong.

In normal relationships, one party is right some of the time but never all of the time. In a codependent parent-child relationship, the parent is always right. Even when the child is an adult, the parent will refuse to approach an argument or even a simple discussion with openness to the possibility of being wrong. Instead, they will seek to impose their own view of the situation and “correct” the adult child, as opposed to engaging in a discussion where neither party is presumed right by default.

No or insincere apologies

Even if it becomes apparent that the codependent parent is wrong, they will not apologize - or, if they do, it will come off as insincere. The codependent parent requires absolute dominance over the child, and any admission of wrongdoing on their part would be a sign of weakness and an invitation to challenge their dominance in the relationship.

3. The codependent parent is overly emotional.

People cry, yell and give the silent treatment during the course of life’s ups and downs, but the codependent parent has turned these acts into an art form. When they feel that they are losing control of a situation or the upper hand in an argument, they will resort to crying, screaming and other acts of intimidation to restore the balance in their favor. If called out on this manipulation tactic, the codependent parent will often accuse the child of being callous or insensitive, or feign ignorance altogether.

If the child cries, expresses hurt or anger, the codependent parent may get unusually angry and claim that the display, no matter how genuine, is insincere and being used to manipulate when, in reality, they are upset that their tactic is being turned around on them.

4. The codependent parent never truly listens.

Many children of codependent parents complain that speaking with their codependent parent is like “talking to a brick wall.” In fact, one doesn’t speak with a codependent parent as much as to them. No matter how valid the argument, the codependent parent will not be moved in their position. Instead, even when prevented with irrefutable facts that would cause a normal person to reconsider and re-evaluate their argument, the codependent parent will either refute the facts or move onto a different argument without addressing the point being made.

5. The codependent parent parrots words and phrases.

If the child claims that the parent is hurting their feelings, for example, the codependent parent will, perhaps seconds or even hours later, return with “You’re hurting my feelings!” Whatever concern the child expresses, the codependent parent will find a way to turn it around and regurgitate it as their own, thus reversing the defensive and offensive roles in the conversation. If called out on this behavior, the codependent parent will ignore it, become angry or act bewildered and confused.

6. The codependent parent has mood swings.

These can happen over a couple of minutes or a couple of days, but the codependent parent has the ability to rapidly shift from one mood to another. This is especially true when their manipulation tactics have succeeded in garnering the child’s acquiescence. The codependent parent may be yelling and screaming one moment, but once they get their way, they may be exuberant or, conversely, they may sulk in an effort to rebuff any guilt as a result of their power play.

For example, a mother screaming at her son for not calling often enough may eventually get him to give in and promise to call more. Once she attains what she wants, in an effort to keep her victory and her role as the victim, she may say something like, “No, never mind. I don’t want you to call. You’ll just be doing it because you have to.” Then, the son will not only have to call more, but ensure her that this is what he truly wants to do of his own free will, thus absolving her from any responsibility and guilt.

7. The codependent parent must maintain control at all costs.

Control is the end game of all codependent relationships, whether the means are love, money, attention or anything else. Most codependent parents expect a level of devotion and love from their children that is unhealthy and unnatural, intended to make up for that which they lack in other relationships. Often the codependent parent wishes to garner from their child the love and/or attention they failed to receive from their own parents. This creates a dramatic role reversal of the parent-child relationship and turns it into a vampiric dynamic rather than a mutually beneficial one.

Meltdown shows the true nature of what is in the co-dependents heart

Whatever it is that the codependent parent seeks to gain by controlling the adult child, when it becomes clear that they won’t succeed, a meltdown will often ensue. If the parent controls with guilt by appearing frail and playing the victim card, they may become uncharacteristically venomous and aggressive when the adult child refuses to give them what they want. A codependent parent who controls through subtle manipulation and passive-aggression may suddenly become dominant and plainspoken. It is important to remember that these dramatic shifts in the face of lost control are not a mood swing or an “episode.” Instead, the codependent parent is revealing their true nature as opposed to the façade they must maintain in order to keep things going their way. Once there is no hope of getting their way, this façade will become useless and be easily stripped away.

8. The codependent parent manipulates – subtly.

The most effective form of manipulation is the kind that you can never be called out for directly. Examples include the silent treatment, passive aggressive comments, denial of wrongdoing and projection, among others. The codependent parent will leave the child in a state of confusion, wondering who really is “the bad guy”.

Codependent are not always aware of their manipulation

In many cases, they will be genuinely unaware of their own manipulation. Many codependent parents truly believe that they are doing what’s in their child’s best interest and execute some of the most unsettling control tactics and manipulative power plays with simultaneous mastery and obliviousness. In fact, when called out on their manipulation with specific examples, the codependent parent will often be genuinely, deeply hurt and bewildered.

Codependents do not know how to relate to people they cannot control

In fact, the codependent parent does not usually manipulate because they want to; the codependent parent manipulates because they have to.They simply don’t know any other way to communicate with the adult child who is beyond their direct control. Thus, they will manipulate with finances, emotion, guilt and any other tool at their disposal to maintain the imbalance of the codependent relationship.

Codependent No More - Summary

This is not an exhaustive list but it does cover the basic signs and symptoms of codependency to watch out for. In my experience with my own codependent parent, many of these are hard to recognize but, on closer inspection, they deviate significantly from the norms of a healthy parent-child relationship.

There is no single, quick and easy way to deal with a codependent parent. In some cases, the only thing the adult child can do is sever ties with the codependent parent completely. In others, carefully imposed boundaries, discussion and family therapy can be used to maintain a healthy relationship for both parties. It depends on the individuals as well as the severity of the codependency within the relationship.

Information from: http://lanablackmoor.hubpages.com/hub/8-Signs-You-May-Have-a-Codependent-Parent

vrijdag 19 september 2014

The narrow road to true Spiritual Maturity in Christ


Colossians 3:12

"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering"

Phil. 3:12-16, 18-19

12 I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. 13 My friends, I don't feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. 14 I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done. 15 All of us who are mature should think in this same way. And if any of you think differently, God will make it clear to you. 16 But we must keep going in the direction that we are now headed.

18 I often warned you that many people (in the church) are living as enemies of the cross of Christ. And now with tears in my eyes, I warn you again 19 that they are headed for hell! They worship their stomachs and brag about the disgusting things they do. All they can think about are the things of this world.

God wants us to be spiritually mature, Christlike and wear his spiritual garments. He expects us to approximate our daily condition to our heavenly condition as people belonging to God. He wants us to put off the sins of our old sinful and selfish disposition and put on the disposition of the new man, our new nature in Christ. BUT, we cannot put on the robes of the new man until we have put off the rags of the old man.

It is not befitting a Christian to come to God wearing the rags of criticism and bitterness, of slander and malice. We cannot put on the robes of the righteousness and love of Christ over those rags. We should wear ‘tender mercies’, ‘kindness’, ‘humility’, ‘meekness’ (gentleness) and ‘longsuffering’ (compassion & solidarity). Clothed in these robes of Christ-like righteousness we should strive to live responsible, caring Christ-like lives of doing good to all people whenever we get the chance, particularly to those in the family of God (Gal. 6:10), but also to outsiders, even to our enemies (Col. 1:10; Eph. 2:10; 1 Peter 2:12; Heb. 10:24). It is for this purpose we are in the world as Christ’s witnesses (Acts 1:8; Titus 2:12-14) as we make our light shine in the darkness of this world, and provide the world with a foretaste of the coming Kingdom of God (Mt. 5:13-16, 43-48).

However, it requires that we let go of worldliness and impurity, of everything that hinders us from becoming mature and ready to be used for all kinds of good (2 Tim. 2:21). For us who compared to 75% of the world are rich it means letting go of our arrogance as if we are better than those who are poor. It also means no longer putting our trust in our wealth but in God but instead abound in doing good deeds, being very generous in helping those who have less than us as 1 Tim. 6:17-19 reminds us:

17 Warn the rich people of this world not to be proud or to trust in wealth that is easily lost. Tell them to have faith in God, who is rich and blesses us with everything we need to enjoy life. 18 Instruct them to do as many good deeds as they can and to help everyone. Remind the rich to be generous and share what they have. 19 This will lay a solid foundation for the future, so that they will know what true life is like.

But if we fail to live like this and instead live as enemies of the cross by mainly being focused on worldy things we will not reach the glorious destination God had in mind for us. With tears in our eyes and sorrowful hearts we warn you as Paul did that you are headed for hell (Phil. 3:18-19).

dinsdag 16 september 2014

The life worth living

To reach the wonderful destination God predestined for you, and to experience a foretaste of His kingdom on earth and its fullness of life you need to live in such a way that you can receive His blessing:

3 God blesses those people
who depend only on him.
They belong to the kingdom
of heaven!
4 God blesses those people
who grieve.
They will find comfort!
5 God blesses those people
who are humble.
The earth will belong
to them!
6 God blesses those people
who want to obey him
more than to eat or drink.
They will be given
what they want!
7 God blesses those people
who are merciful.
They will be treated
with mercy!
8 God blesses those people
whose hearts are pure.
They will see him!
9 God blesses those people
who make peace.
They will be called
his children!
10 God blesses those people
who are treated badly
for doing right.
They belong to the kingdom
of heaven.

11 (for) God will bless you when people insult you, mistreat you, and tell all kinds of evil lies about you because of me. 12 (so don't be depressed but..) Be happy and excited! You will have a great reward in heaven. People did these same things to the prophets who lived long ago.

13 (if you live in this manner then...) You are like salt for everyone on earth. But if salt no longer tastes like salt (if you do not live like described above), how can it make food salty? All it is good for is to be thrown out and walked on (religion that is not lived has no value).

14 You are like light for the whole world (that is your task while still on earth). A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, 15 and no one would light a lamp and put it under a clay pot. A lamp is placed on a lampstand, where it can give light to everyone in the house. 16 (so) Make your light shine,(do it for Gods glory) so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:3-16.

dinsdag 9 september 2014

Worship in Spirit and Truth

John 4:21-24

21 Jesus said to her: Believe me, the time is coming when you won't worship the Father either on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans don't really know the one you worship. But we Jews do know the God we worship, and by using us, God will save the world. 23 But a time is coming, and it is already here! Even now the true worshipers are being led by the Spirit to worship the Father according to the truth. These are the ones the Father is seeking to worship him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth.

Worship Him in Spirit and Truth

In response to questions concerning the dispute between Jews and Samaritans where and in what manner God should be worshiped Jesus explains that what God really seeks is people who worship Him in Spirit and Truth. God does not need people to sing his praises or extol His virtues while they themselves are living a lie! All of us can be gradually tempted until we reach the point that our lifestyle does not reflect the Lordship of Christ but rather a service to the idols of this world, whether money, sex, success or power. None of us is immune, even those who serve in Christian ministry can fall in these traps. We need to regularly self-reflect in the light of Christ's example and if we recognize we have gone astray we need to repent and learn again what it means to follow the One who is the embodiment of Truth.

Too many people wear their outward religious masks in church or religious gatherings but in their daily lives they are ferocious wolves that mainly look after themselves without much concern about the needs of others, particularly the weak and powerless. They are not genuine in following the example of Jesus and seek to hide behind a mask of religious ritual and outward religious experiences. Their outward spirituality which can be very convincing is in fact hiding the self-centered evil and ferocious darkness which is hidden in their hearts. Some of them are full of resentment, self-serving pride, envy, or bitterness as they stubbornly refuse to forgive and let go of the evils which were committed against them.  Some have turned to being victims of the destructive work of the devil into becoming his agents as they project their resentment, hatred and abuse on other victims. No better way to hide this darkness by pretending to be in the light. However, even if we succeed in fooling people, God cannot be fooled. He knows those who have learned from Christ to be humble and gentle, forgiving and kind. Those who demonstrate by living a life of doing good even to those who oppose them that they are truly children of the Father.

The genuine followers of the way of Christ are truthful and honest about themselves. They face their weaknesses and faults rather than hiding them.  Confident of God’s loving kindness, forgiveness and abundant grace they cast themselves upon Him. They strive to follow Christ in everything in trust that He will empower them to do so by His Holy Spirit.  Redeemed by Christ and empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit to make the most of every opportunity to do good to all humanity they become living sacrifices. Their loving holy lifestyle of doing good to all humanity, even their enemies, being the kind of religion God seeks: a life of worship to God in Spirit and Truth.

maandag 25 augustus 2014

Christ is the norm

Christ is normal, He is the norm

What we consider ‘normal’ is the result of formal and informal social learning which has resulted in us holding on unquestioningly to ways of thinking and acting that are considered acceptable by the majority in our cultural context. When a person fails to conform adequately to the norms of his or her culture then all kinds of informal and formal ways of punishment will come into play.  Informal punishment may involve being rebuked, being gossiped about, being ignored or even deliberately being ostracized. Formal punishments may come in the form of legal measures such as fines or even incarceration. Punishments, formal and informal, are effective re-enforcers of conformity, not just in society and culture as a whole but even within sub-cultures of companies, religious communities or of organizations. While everyone assumes that the ways of thinking and acting we believe in are normal and therefore normative for everyone, we must accept the possibility that in spite of our collectively accepted norms, we may altogether be just as wrong as the majority of Germans collectively were wrong in their belief in and support of Nazi ideology and the majority of the Caucasian South Africans were wrong about the ideology of apartheid. The early followers of Christ were taught by leaders such as the Roman Jew Paul of Tarsus to obey their respective governments even though these were corrupt and flawed in many ways. At the same time he would remind the followers of Christ that the socio-political and religious structures in society were literally demonic and as such a threat for humanity. They are partially inspired and infused with evil which had to be battled, not so much by the sword, but by the teaching and proclamation of the gospel, the teachings of Christ. Spiritual warfare in a truly Bible-based Christian sense therefore should never resemble an Islamic Jihad or Roman military campaign like the crusades of the Medieval period, instead it is a matter of propagating the teachings of Christ as they believe that He, His example and His teachings are the truth by which all humanity should live in order to reach their full potential. Teaching Christ involves creating awareness that things can be done differently by our very own lifestyles, behaviour, attitudes, action and words. It involves opposing all falsehood and dehumanizing evils, lies and deceit, oppression, aggression, coercion and violence. Instead we promote Christian values of justice tempered by forgiveness and a desire for restoration, truth held and promoted in love, doing what is good and kind to all human beings. It involves giving people a second chance, freedom of choice, compassion, co-operation and the fair sharing of resources. For us Christ is the norm and all He represents so that all humanity can experience life in abundance.

woensdag 23 juli 2014

Dealing with the issue of divorce from the perspective of the Law of Christ

Dear .....

It is so nice to hear from you again after such a long time. I am happy to hear you are doing a Bible major. I am very well thanks be to God.

Concerning your questions about the issue of divorce.....

In as far as divorce or any other issue is concerned, one's view depends very much on one's theological allegiance. Many Christians follow the teachings of John Calvin, John Wesley, or other well-known theologians. Again others follow the theology of their church, denomination or university/Bible College. Although very few of them will admit this, but many of such theologies have been shaped by historical and cultural factors. Since I work with many different churches and people from many different cultures I cannot afford myself the 'luxury' of blindly following a certain theological tradition in judging matters.

So how can I judge matters to be morally/ethically right or wrong? For me the starting point is Jesus Christ. He is the full revelation of who God is. Jesus is Gods self disclosure to us (Hebr. 1:1-3; Col. 1:15-20). In addition He has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18) and God has made Him Lord of all and placed everything under His feet (Philip. 2:9-11; Eph. 1:19-23).

Christ as Lord means that He is the new Law-Giver, one more important than Moses. It means that now everyone everywhere in the world is called to follow the teachings of Christ (Matt. 28:19). These are summarized in  Matthew 22:36-40 :We ought to live a life of love for God (Dt. 6:5; 10:12; 11:13), which is demonstrated in our relations with other human beings by loving our neighbour as we love ourselves (Lev. 19:18).

In His sermon on the mount Jesus explains that the application of the Law of Love goes much further than the law of Moses: Do not murder is not enough, we should not even hold on to our angry feelings towards someone and not talk negatively about others (Matt. 5:21-22). The Law of Moses says do not commit adultery, but Jesus adds that we should not even look lustfully at another man's wife (Matt. 5:27-28).

On the practice of divorcing one's wife when one no longer desired her, which was allowed by the law of Moses (Deut. 21:14), Jesus says: No, you should not divorce your wife unless she has committed adultery (Matt. 5:31-32).

Jesus gives more examples of how we ought to apply the Law of Love and concludes his law-giving with Matthew 7:12 'Treat others as you want them to treat you. This is what the Law and the Prophets are all about.'

Now notice that Jesus does not give us an exhaustive book of Law as Moses did in Leviticus-Numbers-Deuteronomy. He simply gives us a few case studies and shows how to apply the guiding principle of love-for-God and love-for-ones-neighbor & treat-others-as-you-want-them-to-treat-you

Both in Matt. 5:31-32 and in Matt 19:7-9 Jesus is addressing the issue of divorcing one's wife for any reason as was allowed by Deuteronomy 21:14. He is addressing the abusive practice which is still common today that men divorce their wives when they become old and ugly and exchange them for a good looking younger model. Jesus is not talking about every possible instance or situation.

It is up to Gods church, especially the leaders of the congregation to determine what they deem acceptable or not in the light of the Law of Christ. As Matthew 18:18-20 says:

 I promise you that God in heaven will allow whatever you allow on earth, but he will not allow anything you don't allow. 19 I promise that when any two of you on earth agree about something you are praying for, my Father in heaven will do it for you. 20 Whenever two or three of you come together in my name, I am there with you.

And again in John 20:23 If you forgive anyone's sins, they will be forgiven. But if you don't forgive their sins, they will not be forgiven.

For example together with the elders of a church I have allowed a woman to divorce her abusive husband. He would have ended up killing her if we had forced her to stay with him and he was unwilling to change. In such a case treat-others-as-you-want-to-be-treated meant we brought the woman and her children into safety. In this way we showed love to her and her children by protecting them and we showed love to the abusive husband by preventing him from committing further evil.

In another case we allowed the divorce of a woman whose husband kept cheating on her and she had to worry about HIV/AIDS and other STDs.

In my own case my church accepted my divorce as it was imposed on me and I was innocent of the allegations which were leveled at me by my ex in order to justify the divorce. Of course I was guilty of other errors and mistakes but these were not brought up by my ex- nor were they the reason for the divorce.

So in conclusion, whether it is divorce or any other moral/ethical matter, it is to be decided by the leaders of the local church on the basis of the Law of Christ. Not in a legalistic manner, but driven by a Spirit of love for one's neighbor and a true commitment to lovingly treating-the-other-as-they-want-to-be-treated if they had been in the same situation.

I hope this bit of jurisprudence from the righteousness of the Kingdom of God, the applied Law of Christ, will help you in your further intellectual and spiritual development. I trust you realize that it is humanly impossible to live consistently in accordance with His righteousness but thanks be to God it is possible through the Holy Spirit who works in us (Romans.8:1ff) and who gives us all the Love we need to live by the Spirit in accordance with the Law of Christ (Rom. 5:5; Gal. 5:22-23).

God bless,

maandag 30 juni 2014

Follow the way to the destination God has in mind for you

To know that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life is not enough to get to the wonderful destination God has intended for us. One needs to follow the way to get there and not stray from it. Staying on this straight and narrow road entails making Christ a priority in all we say, do and embrace and no-one else, not even our own interests as Luke 14:26 explains: You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot come with me unless you love me more than you love your own life

vrijdag 20 juni 2014

Persecution within the family

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father;

A daughter against her mother

A daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law

A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.

Matthew 10:34-36

It is not easy to be a genuine follower of Christ. With genuine I do not mean someone who is perfectly like Christ in everything, but I mean someone who is genuinely striving to become more like Him in character, words and actions. At the start of this journey one may still behave much like everyone else around so few will notice that you are different, but as time goes on it becomes more and more evident that you are different. To some you will be like a light in their darkness and a guide among the conflicting and confusing ways the world offers, but to others you will become a source of irritation, resentment even hate. Your very lifestyle is experienced as a condemnation of their un-Christlike lifestyle. Your very presence is unbearable, especially to hypocritical ‘christians’ as your very presence reminds them of the fact that they are not true followers of Christ. They may do anything to try and catch you on an error as the religious leaders did in the time of Christ. They will seek to undermine you with gossip, devalue you and slander you, for all those who strive to live a godly life will be persecuted. Sadly enough as Jesus describes above this can happen within your own marriage, family and community. It can even happen in your churches and religious communities. 

Church buildings

When He was on earth Jesus never built a single church building. Instead He did spend most of his time teaching us how God wants us to live and He did so mostly by example in reaching out to the needy. Those who live driven by His Spirit will follow His example and will demonstrate the same priorities in life and ministry.

dinsdag 10 juni 2014

Victims of neglect in the church

 He replied, “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am. 10 Yes, I am glad to be weak or insulted or mistreated or to have troubles and sufferings, if it is for Christ. Because when I am weak, I am strong.

2 Cor. 12:9-10

For several weeks now I have struggled with the fact that as Gods servant I was working for 20 years on a minimum salary in Africa, enduring all kinds of hardship for the sake of the gospel, while at the same time trusting my sending church and supporting believers to be faithful in taking good care of me. Unfortunately upon my return to the Netherlands I found that pension and social security matters had not properly been taken care of and as a result I have no pension and not even old age state-benefits to look forward to when I reached pensioners age. 

Also although I came back with nothing more than a suitcase I got very little practical help and struggled for more than a year to the point of absolute financial despair until a kind couple in church provided me with the opportunity to rent a little more affordable room for me and provided free food.  I found this neglect of Gods servants very unsettling for it shows a lack of proper love. It is a violation of 'do unto others as you wish them do to you'. Surely none of my church leaders and supporters would want to retire without a pension and even without an (AOW) government old age allowance! All I can look forward to is to be at the mercy of government charity (bijstand) in future. A very insecure and unsettling idea. 

Certainly none of them would want to be rewarded for 20 years of faithful service with.......nothing! To be fair. My home church provided a little allowance for my ministry for another year which helped with my ministry obligations, but surely none of them would wish to be treated that way by their employers after 20 years faithful service. Some may argue 'we did not give you an employment contract so we have no legal obligations'. This is true and a lie at the same time. It is hiding behind the law of the land to cover up for the fact that they have violated the law of Christ, neglected Gods servant and did not act in love. It is nothing more than pharisee-like legalism.

Nevertheless, as neglectful as my brothers and sisters in Christ may have been, the above scripture still applies: I only need Gods kindness. His grace is indeed enough for me even if at times it feels like its not enough. So may God help me, and all others who are victims of neglect in Gods church rejoice in the fact that they have been insulted, mistreated and suffer hardship, suffering and pain for the sake of the gospel. For truly when we are weak, He is strong!!!

vrijdag 25 april 2014


Depressed Christians
We are born in a fallen world and are tainted by sin and imperfection from conception. These imperfections are physical, psychological and spiritual. Since the world is a fallen world in which we are affected by all kinds of factors suffering is often unmerited and not equally distributed. One way in which people suffer is through depression. Depression can have many causes both physiological, psychological and spiritual but regardless of the underlying causes it is a serious condition.

Helping a Depressed Person
How to Reach Out and Help Someone While Taking Care of Yourself

Depression: Signs & Symptoms

When a family member or friend suffers from depression, your support and encouragement can play an important role in his or her recovery. However, depression can also wear you down if you neglect your own needs. These guidelines can help you support a depressed person while maintaining your own emotional equilibrium.

Helping a depressed friend or family member

Depression is a serious but treatable disorder that affects millions of people, from young to old and from all walks of life, christians and non-christians. It gets in the way of everyday life, causing tremendous pain, hurting not just those suffering from it, but also impacting everyone around them.

If someone you love is depressed, you may be experiencing any number of difficult emotions, including helplessness, frustration, anger, fear, guilt, and sadness. These feelings are all normal. It’s not easy dealing with a friend or family member’s depression. And if you don’t take care of yourself, it can become overwhelming.

That said, there are steps you can take to help your loved one. Start by learning about depression and how to talk about it with your friend or family member. But as you reach out, don’t forget to look after your own emotional health. Thinking about your own needs is not an act of selfishness—it’s a necessity. Your emotional strength will allow you to provide the ongoing support your depressed friend or family member needs.

Understanding depression in a friend or family member:

Depression is a serious condition. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a person’s energy, optimism, and motivation. Your depressed loved one can’t just “snap out of it” by sheer force of will or by a simple prayer, a spiritual act or a step of faith. 

Do not make the depressed person responsible for his/her depression. Do not communicate guilt, avoid blaming your love done for their condition, directly or indirectly. Statements like ''maybe you did not pray enough....,'' ''Maybe you should do this....,'' ''why are you always so negative....,'' ''happiness is a choice....,'' ''if you had listened to me then....,'' and the like are unhelpful and unfair as the depressed person does not choose to be depressed.

Do not take depression personal
The symptoms of depression aren’t personal. Depression makes it difficult for a person to connect on a deep emotional level with anyone, even the people he or she loves most. In addition, depressed people often say hurtful things and lash out in anger. Remember that this is the depression talking, not your loved one, so try not to take it personally.

Do not deny, hide or minimise the depression and its effects

Hiding the problem, denying it or making it look smaller won’t make it go away. Don’t be an enabler. It doesn’t help anyone involved if you are making excuses, covering up the problem, or lying for a friend or family member who is depressed. In fact, this may keep the depressed person from seeking treatment.

Don't try to fix

You can’t “fix” someone else’s depression. Don’t try to rescue your loved one from depression. It’s not up to you to fix the problem, nor can you. You’re not to blame for your loved one’s depression or responsible for his or her happiness (or lack thereof). Ultimately, recovery is in the hands of the depressed person.

Is my friend or family member depressed?

Family and friends are often the first line of defence in the fight against depression. That’s why it’s important to understand the signs and symptoms of depression. You may notice the problem in a depressed loved one before he or she does, and your influence and concern can motivate that person to seek help.

Be concerned if your loved one...

    Doesn’t seem to care about anything anymore.
    Is uncharacteristically sad, irritable, short-tempered, critical, or moody.
    Has lost interest in work, sex, hobbies, and other pleasurable activities.
    Talks about feeling “helpless” or “hopeless.”
    Expresses a bleak or negative outlook on life.
    Frequently complains of aches and pains such as headaches, stomach problems, and back pain.
    Complains of feeling tired and drained all the time.
    Has withdrawn from friends, family, and other social activities.
    Sleeps less than usual or oversleeps.
    Eats more or less than usual, and has recently gained or lost weight.
    Has become indecisive, forgetful, disorganized, and “out of it.”
    Drinks more or abuses drugs, including prescription sleeping pills and painkillers.

How to talk to a loved one about depression

Sometimes it is hard to know what to say when speaking to a loved one about depression. You might fear that if you bring up your worries he or she will get angry, feel insulted, or ignore your concerns. You may be unsure what questions to ask or how to be supportive.

If you don’t know where to start, the following suggestions may help. But remember that being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice. You don’t have to try to “fix” the person; you just have to be a good listener. Often, the simple act of talking to someone face to face can be an enormous help to someone suffering from depression. Encourage the depressed person to talk about his or her feelings, and be willing to listen without judgment.

Don’t expect a single conversation to be the end of it. Depressed people tend to withdraw from others and isolate themselves. You may need to express your concern and willingness to listen over and over again. Be gentle, yet persistent.
Ways to start the conversation:
-          I have been feeling concerned about you lately.
-          Recently, I have noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing.
-          I wanted to check in with you because you have seemed pretty down lately.

Questions you can ask:

    When did you begin feeling like this?
    Did something happen that made you start feeling this way?
    How can I best support you right now?
    Have you thought about getting help?

Remember, being supportive involves offering encouragement and hope. Very often, this is a matter of talking to the person in language that he or she will understand and respond to while in a depressed mind frame.

What you can say that helps:

    You are not alone in this. I’m here for you.

    You may not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change.

    I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.

    When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold on for just one more day, hour, minute — whatever you can manage.

    You are important to me. Your life is important to me.

    Tell me what I can do now to help you.

Avoid saying:

    It’s all in your head.

    We all go through times like this.

    Look on the bright side.

    You have so much to live for why do you want to die?

    I can’t do anything about your situation.

    Just snap out of it.

    What’s wrong with you?

    Shouldn’t you be better by now?

(Adapted from: The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)

Taking care of yourself while helping a depressed person

There’s a natural impulse to want to fix the problems of people we love, but you can’t control a loved one’s depression. You can, however, control how well you take care of yourself. It’s just as important for you to stay healthy as it is for the depressed person to get treatment, so make your own well-being a priority. If you fail to do this it will affect you and your loved one negatively and you may start becoming resentful or bitter.

Remember the advice of airline flight attendants: put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. In other words, make sure your own health and happiness are solid before you try to help someone who is depressed. You won’t do your friend or family member any good if you collapse under the pressure of trying to help. When your own needs are taken care of, you’ll have the energy you need to lend a helping hand.

Tips for taking care of yourself

Think of this challenging time like a marathon; you need extra sustenance to keep yourself going. The following ideas will help you keep your strength up as you support your loved one through depression treatment and recovery.

Speak up for yourself. You may be hesitant to speak out when the depressed person in your life upsets you or lets you down. However, honest communication will actually help the relationship in the long run. If you’re suffering in silence and letting resentment build, your loved one will pick up on these negative emotions and feel even worse. Gently talk about how you’re feeling before pent-up emotions make it too hard to communicate with sensitivity.

Set boundaries. Of course you want to help, but you can only do so much. Your own health will suffer if you let your life be controlled by your loved one’s depression. You can’t be a caretaker round the clock without paying a psychological price. To avoid burnout and resentment, set clear limits on what you are willing and able to do. You are not your loved one’s therapist, so don’t take on that responsibility.

Stay on track with your own life. While some changes in your daily routine may be unavoidable while caring for your friend or relative, do your best to keep appointments and plans with friends. If your depressed loved one is unable to go on an outing or trip you had planned, ask a friend to join you instead.

Seek support. You are NOT betraying your depressed relative or friend by turning to others for support. Joining a support group, talking to a counselor or clergyman, or confiding in a trusted friend will help you get through this tough time. You don’t need to go into detail about your loved one’s depression or betray confidences; instead focus on your emotions and what you are feeling. Make sure you can be totally honest with the person you turn to—no judging your emotions!

Encouraging a depressed person to get help

Beating depression, one day at a time

You can’t beat depression through sheer willpower, but you do have some control—even if your depression is severe and stubbornly persistent. The key to depression recovery is to start with a few small goals and slowly build from there. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there if you make positive choices for yourself each day and draw on the support of others. Read Dealing with Depression

While you can't control someone else’s recovery from depression, you can start by encouraging the depressed person to seek help. Getting a depressed person into treatment can be difficult. Depression saps energy and motivation, so even the act of making an appointment or finding a doctor can seem daunting. Depression also involves negative ways of thinking. The depressed person may believe that the situation is hopeless and treatment pointless.

Because of these obstacles, getting your loved one to admit to the problem—and helping him or her see that it can be solved—is an essential step in depression recovery.

If your friend or family member resists getting help for depression:

Suggest a general check-up with a physician. Your loved one may be less anxious about seeing a family doctor than a mental health professional. A regular doctor’s visit is actually a great option, since the doctor can rule out medical causes of depression. If the doctor diagnoses depression, he or she can refer your loved one to a psychiatrist or psychologist. Sometimes, this “professional” opinion makes all the difference.

Offer to help your depressed loved one find a doctor or therapist and go with them on the first visit. Finding the right treatment provider can be difficult, and is often a trial-and-error process. For a depressed person already low on energy, it is a huge help to have assistance making calls and looking into the options.

Encourage the person to make a thorough list of symptoms and ailments to discuss with the doctor. You can even bring up things that you have noticed as an outside observer, such as, “You seem to feel much worse in the mornings,” or “You always get stomach pains before work.”

Supporting the depression treatment process

One of the most important things you can do to help a friend or relative with depression is to give your unconditional love and support throughout the treatment process. This involves being compassionate and patient, which is not always easy when dealing with the negativity, hostility, and moodiness that go hand in hand with depression.

Provide whatever assistance the person needs (and is willing to accept). Help your loved one make and keep appointments, research treatment options, and stay on schedule with any treatment prescribed.

Have realistic expectations. It can be frustrating to watch a depressed friend or family member struggle, especially if progress is slow or stalled. Having patience is important. Even with optimal treatment, recovery from depression doesn’t happen overnight.

Lead by example. Encourage your friend or family member to lead a healthier, mood-boosting lifestyle by doing it yourself: maintain a positive outlook, eat better, avoid alcohol and drugs, exercise, and lean on others for support.

Encourage activity. Invite your loved one to join you in uplifting activities, like going to a funny movie or having dinner at a favorite restaurant. Exercise is especially helpful, so try to get your depressed loved one moving. Going on walks together is one of the easiest options. Be gently and lovingly persistent—don’t get discouraged or stop asking.

Pitch in when possible. Seemingly small tasks can be hard for a depressed person to manage. Offer to help out with household responsibilities or chores, but only do what you can without getting burned out yourself!

The risk of suicide is real

What to do in a crisis situation

If you believe your loved one is at an immediate risk for suicide, do NOT leave the person alone.
It may be hard to believe that the person you know and love would ever consider something as drastic as suicide, but a depressed person may not see any other way out. Depression clouds judgment and distorts thinking, causing a normally rational person to believe that death is the only way to end the pain he or she is feeling.

When someone is depressed, suicide is a very real danger. It’s important to know the warning signs:

    Talking about suicide, dying, or harming oneself

    Preoccupation with death

    Expressing feelings of hopelessness or self-hate

    Acting in dangerous or self-destructive ways

    Getting affairs in order and saying goodbye

    Seeking out pills, weapons, or other lethal objects

    Sudden sense of calm after a depression

If you think a friend or family member might be considering suicide, talk to him or her about your concerns as soon as possible. Many people feel uncomfortable bringing up the topic but it is one of the best things you can do for someone who is thinking about suicide. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a person’s life, so speak up if you're concerned and seek professional help immediately!

Bring Your Life Into Balance

Dealing with Depression

Dealing with Depression – You can’t beat depression with sheer willpower, but you can make a huge dent with simple lifestyle changes and other coping tips.

Self-Help and Treatment

Depression Treatment

Depression Treatment – Learn about the many effective ways of dealing with depression including therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.

Antidepressant Medications

Antidepressants – What you need to know about antidepressants, including their benefits and risks, so you can make an informed decision about what’s right for you.

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation Techniques for Stress Relief – When practiced regularly, relaxation techniques can relieve depression, reduce stress, and boost feelings of joy and well-being.


Suicide Help – Feeling suicidal doesn’t mean that you are crazy, or weak, or flawed. It only means that you have more pain than you can cope with right now. But help is available.

Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention – Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.

Of course in all these things one should focus on God in prayer, asking His help, healing and guidance and faith that as we do all we can and draw near to Him, He will also draw near to us and guide us in truth and love.