dinsdag 1 december 2015

Away from narcissism

Romantic partners of narcissists often suffer post traumatic stress disorder, or suffer some form of breakdown in a long term relationship. Partners of narcissists have to live with the projection of the narcissist's inner world that is an environment of bitterness, suspiciousness, meanness, self absorption, reality manipulation, aggression and pettiness.

Partners are often reported to living with resulting feelings of self-guilt, self-reproach, self-recrimination, self-punis...hment, and self-denial, all which eventually cause a partner to collapse in some shape or form. Narcissists typically try to "educate" or mind-control their partners from a compulsive, incessant, harsh and critical position.
The effect is to erode their partner's reality and self esteem, to humiliate, create reality dependence, to intimidate, to restrain, control and isolate the partner. Narcissists often labour on the "sacrifices" they make for the partner, invoking guilt instead of accepting that such actions are just part of their adult responsibility in relationship.

Ex-partners of narcissists take time and often trauma therapy or counselling to recover their reality after living in such a chaotic hell with such a "loved one".

Many authors believe it is better to move away from a Narcissist than try to change them, manage them, bargain with them, or partner with them, in business or in a romantic sense. For many of them compromise is weakness in their reality, and they will punish and seek revenge as routine, if they can orchestrate that through others. You are only in a narcissist's life for as long as you have "utility" or value for them, as life is all about them, not you.

Read more here: http://energeticsinstitute.com.au/narcissism/

In contrast the love God gives us (Romans 5:5) is genuine and deep and is unconditional (1 Cor. 13) and shows itself in a life of self-sacrifice, compassion and goodness (Romans 12:1-16a).

donderdag 19 november 2015

Christian Jihad

Christians are also called to fight a Holy War. Only for us it is a war of love and not one of earthly terror. It is a war to save people from wrong beliefs inspired by evil spiritual influences that inspire wrong behaviour and evil actions that cause harm to people:

10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (Bible: Ephesians 5:10-12)
3We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 6And after you have become fully obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient. (Bible: 2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
Jesus (Bible: Matthew 5:14)

"Love your enemies..."
(Bible: Luke 6:27)

In contrast:

"If then anyone transgresses
the prohibition against you,
Transgress ye likewise against him"
(Qur'an 2:194)

"Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye
dislike it. But it is possible that ye
dislike a thing which is good for you, and
that ye love a thing which is bad for you.
But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."
(Qur'an 2:216)

"I will cast terror into the hearts of those who
disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads
and strike off every fingertip of them."
"Allah" (Qur'an 8:12)

"O you who believe! Fight those of the
unbelievers who are near to you
and let them find in you hardness."
(Qur'an 9:123)

So how do we respond to this as followers of Christ?

We do as He told us in Matthew 5:42-45

43"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' 44"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous

woensdag 28 oktober 2015

Victory over demons

Christ is Victor

In much of contemporary charismatic demonology we often come across a learned helplessness which results from focusing so much on the power of the demons who may be trying to influence us that people feel they are unable to resist them. Instead of feeling part of the victorious procession of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14) they feel victimized by the devil and anything he may have done to them in the past or still may be doing in their lives, Whether this is a case of trying to shift responsibility for past and present sins to the devil 'who made them do it' since they were 'helpless victims' or whether it is confusion caused by false teachers who put themselves forward as deliverance experts, this approach is not in agreement with the word of God. We are exhorted by the true apostles in the New Testament to focus on the far superior power of Christ who has already defeated and disarmed all of the demons. Christ is the truth by which we ought to live. Not just any Christ as he may be presented by some, but Christ as revealed in Holy Scripture in the writings of the apostles and prophets. Our faith should be build on Christ and His teachings as a strong foundation as laid by the apostles and prophets. We should not allow anyone, no matter how impressive his or her credentials, to lead us astray from simple trust in our victorious Lord. Christ is victorious over the powers and He has disarmed them (Colossians 2:15). The well-known church father St. Augustine understood this well when he described the demons as dangerous but limited in power: They are like fierce barking dogs already put on a chain. As long as we do not deliberately go to them they cannot bite. So why be intimidated by their barking? Lets trust in the One who lives within us and who has all power in Heaven and Earth. He should be our focus for in Him we find all the strength we need to resist even the prince of demons, the devil himself (Matthew 28:18, Eph. 6:10, James 4:17-18).

donderdag 8 oktober 2015

To follow Christ means to seek global justice

To follow Christ means to seek global justice

In 2014, Oxfam reported that the 85 wealthiest individuals in the world have a combined wealth equal to that of the bottom 50% of the world's population, or about 3.5 billion people. More recently, in January 2015, Oxfam reported that the wealthiest 1 percent will own more than half of the global wealth by 2016. What is our response as followers of Christ to such an injustice in the world where billions suffer because some hoard an immorally big amount for themselves? Through His prophet Isaiah God tells us that when such things happened in Israel that He hates injustice and He hates it when no-one does anything about it (Isaiah 59:15-16). He will bring judgement on both evil doers and those who collectively condone it (vs 17-19). But for those who repent and change their way and led by His Spirit stand for what is right there is salvation (vs 20-21). Those will follow God the way He has instructed in Isaiah 58:

6 I'll tell you
what it really means
to worship the Lord.
Remove the chains of prisoners
who are chained unjustly.
Free those who are abused!
7 Share your food with everyone
who is hungry;
share your home
with the poor and homeless.
Give clothes to those in need;
don't turn away your relatives.

8 Then your light will shine
like the dawning sun,
and you
will quickly be healed.
Your honesty will protect you
as you advance,
and the glory of the Lord
will defend you from behind.
9 When you beg the Lord for help,
he will answer, “Here I am!”

As James repeats in the New Testament:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (James 1:27).

So let us cleanse ourselves from the pollution of this world and its selfish desires, its never satisfied lust for more and more, and its boasting of earthly achievements, possessions and popularity in the eyes of humanity:

15Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever (1 John 2:15-17).

donderdag 24 september 2015

True friendship

A true friend loves at all times (Proverbs 17:17).

Many are the good weather friends and plenty are the other consumers who happily use your time, energy and resources when you are popular, successful and prosperous. But it is in times of hardship, loss, suffering, weakness and failure that false friends will turn away from you and true friends remain. The process is painful but the relationships that remain are like the gold that remains after the fire has burned away all that was not gold.

maandag 14 september 2015


Christian stewardship is a biblical theological concept that influences our lifestyle, our choices, and our contribution and involvement in Gods Mission of Salvation to the World. It poses the question to us: "To whom does it belong?" The answer in Scripture is clear: "Whether He entrusts us with man or with few 'talents', It all belongs to God." All we enjoy on earth is a gift from God.

Christian stewardship is Theocentric: God Himself is our example: In love He gave us everything we needed, even His own Son for our salvation. It is also Christocentric as we look upon Christ who invested everything, even His very life in obedience to God and for our salvation. It is Holy Spirit centred too, for the Spirit encourages us to live a life of love in accordance with the law of Christ and pours out Gods love into the hearts of those who belong to God (Rom. 5:5). The Holy Spirit points us at Christ and His teachings concerning faith and money and encourages us to apply it in our daily living: "How much money, time and energy am I able to give faithfully as a spiritual response to God and all He has done for me?"

Our stewardship of all that God entrusted to us is a litmus test of our spiritual growth. It helps us to see to what extend are we living selfishly to please our flesh or selflessly to please our Lord. It is part of life-long spiritual growth. As stewards of all that God put at our disposal we are called to use every opportunity to do good for all people and so doing make Christ and the love of God visible in a needy world.

maandag 7 september 2015

Satan's ways are not unknown to us

Genesis 3:1-8

1 The snake was sneakier than any of the other wild animals that the Lord God had made. One day it came to the woman and asked, “Did God tell you not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden?”
2 The woman answered, “God said we could eat fruit from any tree in the garden, 3 except the one in the middle. He told us not to eat fruit from that tree or even to touch it. If we do, we will die.”
4 “No, you won't!” the snake replied. 5 “God understands what will happen on the day you eat fruit from that tree. You will see what you have done, and you will know the difference between right and wrong, just as God does.”
6 The woman stared at the fruit. It looked beautiful and tasty. She wanted the wisdom that it would give her, and she ate some of the fruit. Her husband was there with her, so she gave some to him, and he ate it too. 7 Right away they saw what they had done, and they realized they were naked. Then they sewed fig leaves together to make something to cover themselves.
8 Late in the afternoon a breeze began to blow, and the man and woman heard the Lord God walking in the garden. They were frightened and hid behind some trees.

The Word of God reminds us that Satan's ways are not unknown to us. In Holy Scripture we see how Satan deceives and destroys starting here in Genesis 3 when he misled humankind into sin and into opening the door for all the horrors we have suffered ever since.

Genesis 3 shows how Satan gets a hold on our minds by making us doubt the Word of God. He sows distrust in our hearts and minds so that we start questioning whether God is truly all good and perfect. All sin starts with doubting God and His good intentions for is. Satan loves it when we no longer fully trust God for it affects our relationship with the Lord. Once a sheep starts distrusting the Good Shepherd he/she will start to wander away and ultimately become an easy prey for Satan who seeks to destroy.

However, the righteous will live by faith. Once we learn to fully trust God and His love and good intentions then change will occur. We will be made righteous by Him. Let us therefore resist every lie from Satan which makes us doubt Gods love, goodness, justice, fairness and good intentions for us. Let us believe Him who is the way, the truth and the life:
11 I will bless you with a future filled with hope—a future of success, not of suffering. 12 You will turn back to me and ask for help, and I will answer your prayers. 13 You will worship me with all your heart, and I will bless you (Jeremiah 29).

vrijdag 14 augustus 2015


Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 you have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter (James 5:1-5).

The rich 25% of the world enjoy their lifestyle at the expense of the poor. Their life of wasteful affluence and arrogant selfindulgement can only be sustained by structurally underpaying the global poor. Surely many servants of Mammon fatten themselves up for slaughter at the day of judgement. May the One who knows our deepest thoughts and aspirations, intentions and motivations judge us to be different.

maandag 3 augustus 2015

Being witnesses

Our lifestyle, attitude and action are the most important aspect of being witnesses. That is why it says in Acts 1:8 that when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be my witnesses.....It does not say "you will be witnessing".

The Holy Spirit empowers and transforms us so we bear the fruit of the Spirit, that is the character of Christ becoming visible as we are changed from glory to glory from the inside out. It is not anything we can achieve for it is His work in us which we receive by grace and not because of our own efforts. Therefore no-one can boast. All we can do is to receive it with gratitude as we continue to trust Him. Therefore it is Gods work in us that speaks of His greatness and glory. In response to this wonderful work of God one cannot but speak about His greatness, not as a duty but simply out of a heart full of awe, gratitude and love for Him.

donderdag 23 juli 2015

Gods wonderful destiny for you

God loves you and wants to give you a great destiny

God loves us and therefore His desire for us is to have happy lives, happy not only for the short-time we are here on earth but for eternity.

But God also knows that because of our sins and disobedience to Him we are actually often very unhappy and unfulfilled deep inside.

Therefore John 3:16-17 tells us that God loved us so much that He send His own son so that we could be saved.

Many are the people in this world who want to control and use us, some use seduction, others use violence, others use manipulation and even some use religion to control us and exercise power over us so that they can exploit our money, our energy, our abilties or even our bodies. But really they are thieves for they want to take from us by stealth. But Jesus is very different. He says in John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Jesus did not come to take from us but He has come to give us life, fullness of life


He has not come to bring a new religion with more rules and regulations trying to force people to change. The Bible makes it clear that people are so flawed by nature, so affected by sin that no law can force people to live in a way that meets Gods Holy demands.

Rules and laws are based on fear and threats of punishment but even the threat of painful death cannot change who we are inside!!!

Besides Gods demands are much higher than the rules people impose on other people. God wants that we live holy and without sin, full of love for all human beings, even to the point of loving our enemies and forgiving and doing good to those who persecute us.

This no human being can ever achieve, no matter how much pressure we put them under.


You see sin is more than an act of disobedience to God for it is also like a spiritual and moral disease that cripples us. We are morally and spiritually so affected that it is simply impossible for us to live as healthy spiritual and moral beings.

“No one is righteous, not even one…” .we are all morally sick and inclined to sin as Romans 3:10-12 reminds us.  We are all so affected by this moral and spiritual disease that all of us are unhealthy. In fact the Bible even calls us spiritually death because it is a progressive disease that goes from bad to worse until we end up spiritually death and destroyed in hell, eternally separated from God like a body wasted away by disease until it ends decaying buried in the soil.


This is not the destiny God has in mind for us. He has a cure, a way to save us. But the cure does not consist of all kinds of religious and moral commands, church rules or cultural and societal regulations…..

Such rules characterized by "do this, don't do that" do not have real transforming power. In fact they add to our burden with guilt, shame and their threat of punishment, rejection and social isolation. It may force us to try hard to be morally and spiritually healthy but we will sooner or later fail for it does not cure us! Often all it does it encourage us to pretend to be morally healthy and deny or hide our sins and errors. At most it helps us cope with the disease but it holds no hope for healing.

The cure God has is to give us a new heart, a transformed heart, to bring us to live spiritually. This was foretold more than 2500 years ago by the prophet Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 31:33-34

33"But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34"They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

And this became reality when in His love God send His son Jesus 2000 years ago to become the cure for our disease.


Jesus lived a sinless life and yet he died on the cross to take the punishment for all our sins and moral flaws away so we no longer need to live under condemnation, in shame and guilt.

But He did more, He rose from death in the power of God and then send His Holy Spirit to dwell within us so that we are transformed in our hearts into people that live morally and spiritually healthy.  Not under the threat of punishment by law-enforcers but prompted by an inner law, a law of love, a law that gives life and motivates us to eagerly do what is good.

For this all we need to do is come to Christ and abide in Him who is the life-giver.

It starts with trusting Him and putting your faith in what He achieved by dying on the cross and by overcoming the power of decay and death when He rose from death in his resurrection.

Let me summarize it in 5 main points:

1) Trust Gods word where He says that He loves the whole world and does not want anyone to perish in their sins

2) Trust Him that His sacrificial death on the cross is enough to take away the punishment for all your sins

3) Trust Him that His sacrificial death on the cross is enough to cleanse you from all your sins

4) Trust Him that He will give you his Holy Spirit when you ask for it

5) Continue to focus on Jesus and trust Him to inspire, prompt and empower you to live right, out of love and not out of fear of punishment. Trust Him to continually transform you into His likeness as you focus on Him.

Really my dear friends, Jesus is trustworthy and His promises are reliable and in Luke 11:11-13 He says:

11"Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12"Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 13"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"

Let us trust God and turn to Him

Let us stop pretending that we are good morally healthy and flawless people and instead admit that in our own strength we cannot cure ourselves. We need God’s forgiveness, we need im to wash away our guilt and shame and we need Him to give us a new heart, a transformed heart, a heart full of His Holy Spirit so that Christ lives in us and we can truly be His followers and instead of going from bad to worse we change from glory to glory and find the happiness God had in mind for us all along.

2 Cor. 3:17-18

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

If you want this to happen in your life put your trust in Jesus, for the forgiveness of your sins, for inner cleansing and healing and for giving you His Holy Spirit so you will be transformed into His likeness.


woensdag 22 juli 2015

Living without condemnation

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone.

Mark 10:18

18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Romans 7:18-25

I often have been called a good man, a good father, a good friend and so on. There also was a time in my life that I thought so low of myself that I really tried to do anything as long as I would appear good and acceptable (read worthy of love, care and respect). As a natural people-pleaser this was not that hard to do but the truth remains that no matter how well people may think of us, by nature no-one is fully and consistently good. No human being, not even one is truly good and without flaw. We are all contaminated by evil as Romans 3:12 reminds us. Ever since Adam took from the tree of good and evil both have been present in us. We are truly a mixed bag of sin and righteousness. This means that at times we suffer what Paul describes here in Romans 7:18-25.

We try so hard to be good and set ourselves high and lofty standards of good behaviour or worse allow others to set these for us. But no matter how hard we try sooner or later we run out of energy and fall down hard in all kinds of sin. The truth is that Jesus is right: No-one is good, only God.

So what then is the solution? How do we avoid going from bad to worse and change from glory to glory? It is when we admit our own failings, our own inability and look upon God to change us. It is when we fix our eyes on Jesus in faith and drink in His love, praying and expecting Him to inspire us from within to live right that this happens:

17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

2 Cor. 3:17-18

God wants to set us free from trying so hard in our own strength to be good, worthy, acceptable and lovable. He wants us to accept the fact that although by nature we are flawed and unable to e good all the time, He loves us and wants to help us grow in righteousness. This happens when we look upon Jesus with the eyes of faith, hope and joyful expectation that where our own strength fails, He is our strength amidst our weakness. Not only doe she bring forgiveness and healing to our hearts, but He also makes us grow into His likeness: As we look upon Him more and more in faith, expecting it only from Him and not our own strength, then our lives start to reflect Him and radiate with His glory as by faith we allow His love to fill our hearts (Romans 5:5).

Then we will experience what Paul exclaims in joy in Romans 7:25 “Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord….”

And we may live in the wonderful liberty that Paul describes in the next chapter knowing that our sins have been forgiven and done away with, not once, not twice but continually for in Christ there is no condemnation. He is always our advocate before the father.

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.

1 John 2:1 (ESV translation)

Clothed with His righteousness we are given a brand new start every day:

1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Romans 8:1-2

No more living under external laws that bring condemnation and punishment but living out of the law of love which he puts into our hearts. Now we can live authentically, being good because God is good and He lives within us by His Holy Spirit, filling us with His love and goodness.
Then truly the word of the prophet Jeremiah 31:33 is fulfilled in us:

33"But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34"They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

zaterdag 11 juli 2015

Worship or entertainment?

21“I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
    your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
    I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
    I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
    I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river,
    righteousness like a never-failing stream!

(Amos 5:21-24)

Praise and worship for whose benefit?

If we feel empty inside, depressed and disappointed with life participating in praise and worship may help us forget our sorrows, distract us from reality, make us feel good and increase the production of endorphin in our brains — the brain's "feel-good" chemicals so we feel happier for the moment. The better the praise and worship is designed in style, professionalism and entourage to give us a good experience, the more endorphin is produced and the more satisfied we will feel for the moment.

In contrast those that intimately know the Lord and are overflowing with His joy and happiness coming from deep inside. They do not need exhilarating experiences, professional musicians and great music to feel happy. Their happiness is already ever present inside even in their darkest moments for led by Gods Spirit and empowered by Him they live right and just lives in accordance with the Law of God. For them the love, peace and joy of the Kingdom of God is an ever present reality and so their praise and worship is just one of the many means by which they express what is already a reality in their hearts. Their worship is not an attempt to self-soothe and self-comfort for the Lord is their strength and comfort and He already has lifted them up. Consequently heir praise and worship is focused on God in gratitude and awe and not on self-gratification.

woensdag 8 juli 2015

Beware of false prophets and teachers in your life

A false prophet/teacher can be anyone in a position of spiritual authority over you. Of course their authority is not truly spiritual in a biblical sense but they are in a position where they seek to influence your emotional and spiritual well-being in such a way that they can benefit. Sheep are concerned with following the Good Shepherd and trust Him to provide for their needs. Wolves on the other hand look at the sheep and how they can feed of them. Wolves can be in an influential position in church but also in the family or in marriage, or at your workplace. They can be found anywhere, prowling round looking for whom they can feed off emotionally, financially , sexually or otherwise. They are not truly interested in obediently following Christ, they are interested in themselves and their needs and are willing to manipulate, coerce, flatter, seduce and deceive to get what they want. Wolves rarely attack other wolves, but rather avoid them and go after sheep.

They bring destructive teachings and lies into the church, often, by telling people what they want to hear (cf. Jer. 23). They provide layers of truth mixed with error, but even a broken clock is right twice a day. The wolves are often very aware of what the sheep need and want to sheep to listen to them and depend on them for their needs. Once the wolves have successfully isolated the sheep by seducing them from depending on the Good Shepherd to depending on them, they will start feeding off the sheep until there is nothing more to gain. Then they will abandon the carcass, the emotional shell that’s left of the exploited sheep.

We must teach people to be rooted in Christ, to understand His enormous love for them and His desire to provide for them an abundance of life so that they eagerly follow Him and joyfully obey all His teachings in the sure knowledge it is good for them (Matt. 28:19). So we should courageously preach and teach, rebuke and encourage people to follow Christ alone!!!!

In 2 Timotheus 4:2-4 Paul says:

2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Jesus warned us, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits" (Matt. 7:15-16b). It is the daily lifestyle out of sight, out of the limelight that will reveal the true nature of the wolves. This is why many wolves tend to operate away from the supervision of spiritually mature leaders and prefer to start their own church or ministry that is not accountable to anyone except maybe a token board of flatterers.
The wolves Jesus talks about do anything to avoid detection and try to "look" like sheep. They copy godly behaviour and speech but inside they are ferocious wolves only out to get what they want. They often look the same as everyone else and appear sincere in faith but when they get the chance they will subtly challenge the authority of the teachings of Christ in Scripture, or they may add to His teachings, or subtract from it. Most of all they want to put themselves forward as a spiritual authority as they want people to depend on them and not be independent followers of Christ. They often adopt titles to profile themselves such as apostle, prophet, bishop and so on. One must belong to their in-group, society, Institution or Church in order to be a good Christian. This is a false gospel.

Jesus encourages His followers to be fruit inspectors. Get to know people personally, watch their lifestyle, listen to those who know them intimately!!! Do you see Christ-like behavior, attitude and actions? One of the ways to find out how someone truly is, is to see how they deal with people who disagree with them. Also how do they relate to people who are needy and dependent, people whom there is nothing to get from? Do they favor the rich, famous, powerful and neglect, ignore or worse insult and oppress the poor and needy?

Peter says, "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 1:16). And then he says the false teachers exploit you "with stories they have made up" (2 Pet. 2:3). So the true teacher sources what he says from the Bible. The false teacher relies on his own creativity.  For the true teacher, Jesus Christ is central. "We have everything we need for life and godliness in Him" (2 Pet. 1:3). We don’t need less than Jesus as revealed in scripture and we don’t need more. For the false teacher, Jesus is at the margins: "They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them" (2:1).

Notice the word secretly. It's rare for someone in church to openly deny Jesus. Movement away from the centrality of Christ is subtle. The false teacher will speak about how other people can help change your life, but if you listen carefully to what he is saying, you will see that Jesus Christ is not essential to his message but that he/she puts himself in the centre as Gods mouthpiece.

Also consider in what position will their messages/prophecies leave you? The true Christian "escapes the corruption in the world caused by evil desires" (1:4). Listen to how Peter describes the counterfeit Christian: "They promise ... freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity, for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him" (2:19). The true believer is escaping corruption, while the counterfeit believer is mastered by it.

Consider what kind of character their messages produce? The true believer pursues goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (1:5). The counterfeit Christian is marked by arrogance and slander (2:10). They are "experts in greed" and "their eyes are full of adultery" (2:14).  What result does the message have in people's lives? The true believer is effective and productive in his or her knowledge of Jesus Christ (1:8). The counterfeit is "like a spring without water" (2:17). This is an extraordinary picture! They promise much but produce little.

Where does their message ultimately lead them and those who go astray after them? Here we find the most disturbing contrast of all. The true believer will receive "a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1:11). The false believer will experience "swift destruction" (2:1). "Their condemnation has long been hanging over them and their destruction has not been sleeping" (2:3). Jesus tells us that there will be many who have been involved in ministry in his name, to whom he will say, "Depart from me; I never knew you" (Matt. 7:21).

See also "7 Traits of False Teachers" by Colin Smith: thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/03/19/7-traits-of-false-teachers

donderdag 2 juli 2015

The normal need for intimacy

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11).

Most parents although they are far from good in the light of God's goodness still know how to give good gifts to their children, but God wants to give us so much more. This also applies to the area of love, relationships and intimacy.

However if we were, or felt neglected, unseen or misunderstood as children (and this can happen regardless whether we had 'good' parents or not) we may have been brainwashed to think deep inside that we are unlovable, unworthy of love or somehow hardwired to lose love every time we found it.

Also if we were mistreated as children by siblings or peers we may have a hard time believing that someone could really love and value us. The negative feelings we developed toward ourselves in our early years, became so deeply embedded in us that it is now part of who we think we are. Therefore, when someone is loving and reacts positively toward us, we experience a conflict within ourselves. We don’t know whether to believe this new person’s kind and loving point of view of us or our old, familiar sense of our identity.

So, we often react with suspicion and distrust when someone loves us, because our fear of intimacy has been aroused. Unfortunately by questioning their love and treating them with distrust we hurt their feelings and push them away so that our suspicion and distrust become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Although deep down we all need and crave intimacy we undermine it by distrusting and devaluing it and in the end fail to experience the deep satisfaction true emotional intimacy can give. We may then settle for promiscuity, sexual addiction, thrill seeking, religious ecstasy or other ‘addictions’ to soothe ourselves but deep down we will remain empty and unfulfilled.

We need to re-evaluate ourselves, our value and our concept of self in the light of Gods enormous love for us and find our fulfillment in intimacy with Him. This ultimately will enhance our ability to enjoy intimacy with people too in friendships and with a partner in marriage. For love for God and love from God in our hearts (Rom. 5:5) will ultimately result in greater love for ourselves and for people. The fruit of the Spirit will become increasingly manifest in us and this fruit is predominantly relational in nature (Gal. 5:22-23) and so our capacity to love and receive love is greatly enhanced

dinsdag 30 juni 2015

Are you really born again from above?

John, a Manchester United fan finally succumbs to the persistent pleas of his friends who are all Manchester City fans and decides to join them. He gets rid of all his MU paraphernalia and symbols that showed he was part of the MU in-group and now adopts those of MC. His friends are elated and John himself is also elated receiving so much attention and affirmation now that he has become part of the MC fraternity. He enjoys a sense of ‘homecoming’ and a happy feeling of belonging. He quickly learns all the club songs and adopts the club culture and its mannerisms. Any thoughts of his former MU allegiance are quickly suppressed and all evidence is removed from his house. He is now a committed MC member and makes it a point to make it clear to everyone, in particular his friends.

Unfortunately many people tend to think that being-born again is a similar process. You leave the non-church in-group and join the church-in group and break with all that is part of your former life and try hard to fit in. The church in-group surrounds you with attention and affirmation and now considers you as one of them. All you need to do is mouth the right confession of faith and learn the church songs, adopt the church’s culture and all the mannerisms that come with it. In some churches adult baptism is a determining factor to show that you truly belong, in others it is speaking in tongues, in others it is displaying an excessive love for Israel and again in others it is something else. Now you are considered truly born-again, a new person in Christ…..but are you really?

Biblically speaking being born again refers to a deep inner transformation whereby our hearts are cleansed from selfish desires, sinful indulgence, bitterness, envy, mistrust, unforgiveness, suspicion, hatred and other evil things that come from within and undermine and defile our lives and our relationship with God and people. Being born again refers to a total inner transformation whereby our hearts are totally cleansed and Gods love is poured out within them so that we deeply learn to love God, ourselves and our fellow human beings. It is an inner spiritual renewal that results in our lives being characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. No longer do we adopt all kinds of laws, rules and regulations to keep us moral, because now the love of God in us becomes our moral compass. He has truly written His law into our hearts so that we do not even want to sin. Are we then also free from the sinful impulses in our body and mind? No, these will still seek to tempt us, but deep within our hearts is a love-powered impulse to do what is right in Gods eyes towards ourselves and towards other people. The love and joy, peace and strength this transformation brings far surpasses the initial but quickly fading elation of being initiated into a new in-group or the joy of belonging to a fraternity that does not bring true freedom but puts us under the law of constantly trying to perform to people’s expectations so that we may not be rejected. Being born of above gives us the power to even stand alone against the tide because we know ourselves deeply loved by God and in communion with Him. At the same time we greatly appreciate and value fellowship with those who with a similar transformed heart follow in the footsteps of Christ regardless of their church or other affiliations.

maandag 29 juni 2015

What is really hidden in our hearts?

Matthew 12:33-36

33 "Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.

Here Jesus states some important truths in his discussion with the Pharisees. The fruit, the effects and results of our behavior and the words that come out of our mouths show what we are really like deep inside.

Like the Pharisees whom Jesus at one stage called whitewashed graves we may successfully indulge in reputation management and fool many people into thinking that we are actually good people. Maybe we can even almost convince ourselves. But when we no longer have the energy to suppress what is truly inside of us. What if the storms of life shake our existence? What comes up from deep inside? Bitterness? Hatred? Or is it love, compassion, forgiveness, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control through the Holy Spirit?

We can thank God for the trials and the storms of life for they bring out of us what is truly inside of us. For some it will mean a deepening of their faith as they stand in amazement at what God has done in their lives, for others there is the opportunity to stop the (self)deception and repent and seek God and ask Him for a new heart. A heart in which Gods love is poured out. A heart in which His law of love is written.

zaterdag 13 juni 2015

Does religion cause war?

Atheists are quick to point out that religion causes war, but is that really true or are they simply assigning blame on religion as it suits their antireligious agenda? The Bible comes with another explanation. It says that people are the problem: "no-one is righteous, not even one....they are quick to shed blood" (Romans 3:10-15). Religion does not create wars, people do. People can use anything to justify their evil, political ideologies, religion, nationalism, tribal allegiance and so on. That is why Jesus says follow me and obey all I commanded you. The only true peacemakers in this world are those who truly follow Jesus' teaching of loving one's fellow human as much as we love ourselves and doing unto others as we would like people to do to us.

maandag 8 juni 2015

Everybody lies - 2

Lets start by being honest about one thing: None of us likes to be lied to. All of us need the security and safety of being able to rely on someone and to be able to trust someone at their word. However, many people still resort to lies, even within the Christian community.

Now apart from the deceitful sociopath or the pathological liar who just can't help him/herself there are other reasons why people may lie to us. I am not saying that these are valid excuses for we should have nothing to do with anything that comes from the father of lies. Instead we must walk in the light which means truthfully and transparent. However understanding why some people lie or hide the truth from us may help us to relate to them differently.

 1. They don’t want to hurt your feelings.

Some people genuinely but mistakingly believe it is better to sweettalk with lies than to upset someone's feelings with the truth. Often these is encoded in their family or community culture and hard to unlearn unless they tackle it mindfully and seriously out of a desire to obey Christ more than culture.

In other cases the underlying reason is that they feel they need our love, affirmation, support or help and they truly fear that if they are totally honest with you that we may reject them. Often this goes hand in hand with a low selfesteem and fear of abandonment.

This is certainly wrong, disrespectful, counter productive and manipulative. However, it may be good to look at ourselves too! If we tend to overreact to our partners mistakes and get upset easily or respond very emotionally then we teach them that honesty is very costly. Or if we get all dramatic or even aggressive when someone tells us a truth we don't like then we are essentially conditioning them to say what you want to hear to keep the peace.  Its a common occurance to see such kind of lying out of fear in children who grow up with patents whose tempers are volatile. At best people may resort to sugarcoating or avoiding a volatile subject.  At worst, it’s a straight up lie to avoid drama, waterworks or verbal/emotional violence (or worse).

Are such the responses of the weak, of cowards? Maybe they do really feel vulnerable, disempowered or threatened. Besides, how do we know how it feels to be at the receiving end of our anger or drama? Its easy to point fingers at those who cower in fear and lie in order to appease us or avoid conflict but maybe we may also need to have a look at the log in our own eye. After all, why would someone be straight and honest with us if it simply leads to anger, rejection, harsh words or other negative sanctions? If not telling the truth seems harmless enough and being honest will just cause drama, heartache and grief for both parties, why would someone want to do it? Of course lying remains wrong but we should also avoid doing anything that makes it hard for people to be honest with us.


Another reason why some people lie is because they want to impress us.

Some people don’t feel they are “good enough” without lying or putting up a front.

In a way we could almost feel flattered when in a relationship our partner is trying to impress us in that way. However the problem is more than the lie he/she tells us. They believe a bigger lie that they are not “good enough” to get/keep us.  It’s not a compliment - its lack of faith in themselves, in us and in God when it comes to the relationship. Not only is it insecure behavior, but it also prevents that real and strong foundation is build for the relationship to develop beyond the superficial.  They must be encouraged to take a step of faith and choose to be honest regardless of the consequences, trusting God rather than their clever lies.

We can help them by affirming that we still want them if they are “real” with us. Or better, that we will want them more. Until they reach that point where they dare to trust our love they may continue to lie to avoid conflict for fear of losing us.

We are called to walk in truth and love. Real love is honest and truthful and those led by love do not walk in lies of commission or ommission.  They respect the other enough to build open and honest relationships.

Most of us are also acquainted with people on the other end of the spectrum and are brutally honest all the time. Those kinds of people go beyond being brutally honest and are often brutal to be around.

But tactful, well delivered honesty is crucial as the foundation for a real and lasting relationship. Unfortunately it is a tall order to expect from most people. Sad, but true – the best you can do is encourage tactful honesty from them and give them time to show they love you enough to do so.

When someone is honest with you, they are trying to do the right thing and respect you – this is part if true love. The best response you can give them is to thank them for their honesty and let them know how it hit you without drama.   It takes emotional maturity and life experience to be able to show people that you can handle and appreciate tactful honesty. But when you do, people will be honest with you

Pride and humility

When we think of pride we quickly think of boastful or or arrogant people who have a better-than-thou attitude based on their looks, wealth, achievement or popularity.  Certainly such pride is sinful and unloving for when we exalt ourselves we automatically put others down and no longer treat them as respectful as we treat ourselves. The Bible reminds us that God himself will oppose the proud but gives His grace to the humble (James 4:6).

However, humility is not the same as a low self-esteem. A low self-esteem is a non-verbal complaint to those who don't value us. Its a cry "affirm me", "value me", "look at me, I am also in need of love, care and affirmation". This cry is in itself legitimate for God created us with those needs so we would turn to Him for fulfillment. Yet, if we seek to build our sense of self-worth and self-esteem on people's approval or opinions of us then we do the same as the arrogant boastful people of this world do. Not only is this idolatry but it can easily lead to becoming self-absorbed, self-obsessed and self-centered in the process. As a result we may end up forgetting the emotional and other needs of those around us including our partner and our children. Instead of trying to bolster our sense of self and sense of worth by drawing attention to ourselves, we are to die to self, and instead focus on Christ, find our fulfillment in Him and help others do so too. It is when we loose ourselves in Him that we find ourselves as He pours out His love into our hearts (Rom. 5:5).

God gave us worth when He created us in His image. He reaffirms our worth when He purchased us at the highest price possible so we can be His own (Ephesians 1:14). Because He values us how anyone lesser than Him values us is irrelevant. His authority is above all. When we build a healthy self-esteem on Him, we will value ourselves enough to not become involved in sin or worldliness that enslaves us and ends up exposes us to treatment below our true worth in Christ. Instead, we focus on conducting ourselves with humility, thinking of others as better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). Finally Paul reminds us in Romans 12:3 “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Let us not exalt ourselves above others, nor humiliate ourselves below others, but value ourselves soberly as God values us: Once sinners, enemies and useless by nature but now bought at a high price, loved and valued by the One who truly matters.

zaterdag 6 juni 2015

Glitter and glamour in our praise and worship shows


Hosea 6:6

For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

John 14:23

Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.

Romans 12:1

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship.

In many churches today a lot of attention is given to praise and worship. At times there even seems to be a competition between churches of who has the bigger and better worship performance. Yet the emphasis on outward perfectionism, status and performance reflects the spirit of the world and not that of Christ.

The worship God seeks has nothing to do with music styles, musical performance and outward show. God delights in loyalty, that we know Him intimately, and live a life of humble obedience to the teachings of Christ. In that way our lives are a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. That is proper worship.

maandag 25 mei 2015

Growing up

1 Corinthians 13:11-13 (NIV)

11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

The ability to trust (have faith), have a positive outlook on life (hope), and to be able to give and receive love by being committed to treat oneself and others as innately valuable with respect, care and kindness is a sign of true maturity, both emotional and spiritual.

Unfortunately we live in a world where not everyone who becomes an adult also becomes mature.

It is a normal part of growing up when young children entertain fantasies of unlimited success, popularity, superior power and unequaled brilliance. Also the books they read and cartoons they watch cater for this fantasy. Underlying these fantasies is the child’s awareness of his/her dependency and vulnerability and desire for survival by becoming a strong ‘grown up’. Often the biggest heroes are the children’s own parents whom they may idolize.

Adolescents having become more aware of their parent’s failures and shortcomings will project their need for a ‘grown up’ role model on heroes who somehow represent the success, popularity, power or brilliance they crave. At this stage preoccupation with bodily beauty or sexual performance also starts playing a role, or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion.

Some children and teens take it for granted that they are unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people. Those with a low-self esteem may want to associate with special, unique, or high status people in order to boost their self-image through association.

Preteens and teenagers require excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation while at the same time given clear boundaries. It is a transient phase that eventually makes way for self-regulation and a sense of inner worth based on conviction and self-confidence instead of being based on an external supply. Through the process of socialization, young adults learn the benefits of collaboration and acknowledge the innate value of each and every person and not only of self. They develop empathy and respect for the boundaries, needs, and wishes of other people.

Some people actually never reach this stage of maturity and remain dependent on others for their self-esteem and self-confidence. They are fragile and fragmented and thus very susceptible to criticism, even if it is merely implied or imagined. Like toddlers, they still demand automatic and full compliance with their unreasonable expectations for special and favorable priority treatment. They are "inter-personally exploitative", i.e., use others to achieve their own ends. They are hardly able to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others.

Such immature adults like young children are envious of others and sometimes seek to hurt or destroy the causes of their frustration. They may behave arrogantly and haughtily, feel superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, "above the law", and so on. They may resort to rage when people do comply with their demands or when their ideas or plans are frustrated, contradicted, challenged, or confronted.

In order to legitimize such child-like conduct with its underlying infantile mental world some adults actually refuse to mature: They do not fully take responsibility for their lives and to grow up and always blame others for their failings. They usually have very unrealistic expectations of life and demand a worry-free, responsibility free and unrestricted life without being held accountable and responsible for what they do to themselves and others. Unfortunately this behavior eventually alienates those who refuse to grow up as people, even the strongest and most patient and emphatic among them, are unable to carry the burden of toddler-like behavior from adults for a prolonged period of time. They will either withdraw themselves or fail to live up to the excessive demands of the adult-child and be punished for their failure and pushed away.

The sad truth is that the adult-child is actually a victim of unresolved trauma, either due to spoiling and smothering or due to (emotional) violence and abuse in early childhood or early adolescence. The refusal to grow-up and the regression to toddler-like behavior when faced with challenges or the demands of life is actually an infantile defense against abuse and trauma. The inability or unwillingness to grow up is therefore inextricably entwined with the abused child's or adolescent's emotional make-up, cognitive deficits, and worldview. Inwardly they are tortured children, suffering themselves from the internalized abuser and making others suffer by externalizing their anger, frustration, fear, loathing and insecurity.

vrijdag 22 mei 2015

Renouncing lust

Thoughts on lust

Sexual lust does not agree with the Biblical command to love your neighbour as you love yourself. Love nurtures, cares, gives and protects, lust takes.

Lust is different from feeling physical/biological attraction or involuntary sexual arousal. Lust means that we consciously view another’s body mainly an object for our own self-gratification. It is selfcentred and disrespectful as it dehumanizes. It fails to define the person fully as a human, created in the image of God to be cared for, protected, nurtured and respected. Instead it objectifies the other as a means or thing to be used for our own pleasure.

Even within marriage lust is a sin and can lead to marital rape, infidelity and other forms of sexual sin. To feel sexually attracted to our partner is normal and healthy. To desire to express our love and appreciation for them by pleasing them romantically and sexually is healthy as is evidenced by a whole Bible book devoted to the celebration of this theme (Song of Songs). However, if we mainly appreciate how our partner can please us, sexually and otherwise, then we fail to respect and love them fully as human beings and treat them less than they deserve.

I have written about sexual lust for someone’s body but it applies to all forms of dehumanization. For example to lust for someone as a source of attention, affirmation and our happiness is just as wrong. Or to lust for someone because of the stability, wealth, lost innocence, youth, worldly or spiritual status they represent is just as wrong. Even as employers the lust for money can make us dehumanize our workers and treat them with less respect and care than we should. The same happens if as artists or politicians or even pastors fail to view and treat people as more than an audience to boost our fame and coffers. It means we predominantly see them in terms of what they can mean for us and not so much as human beings equally deserving of our care, attention, respect, nurture, love, kindness, protection and so on. This we ought to repent from for we owe it to people that we love them ( Rom. 13:8).

Love comes from God and is well described in Gal. 5:22-23 and 1 Cor. 13. If we view, approach and treat people from this perspective we do what pleases God. However, if we lust then we are allowing ourselves to be dragged along by evil self-centered desires of our flesh which leads to harm to ourselves and others:

But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15).

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12).

donderdag 21 mei 2015

Do not break Gods Holy Law

Many adults shake their heads when they hear teens putting other teens down for not having the latest Nike or I Phone. However, the competitive “Teen” culture in which some seek status at the expense of others really is a reflection of a sick adult culture which does exactly the same, albeit usually a bit more subtle. The difference is not in mindset but in the kind of status symbols adults use to put themselves above others. A bigger car, a nicer house, a higher paying job or nicer holidays. One can only be different if one breaks free from the matrix of this evil way of life based on a narcissistic mindset of considering ourselves entitled to a larger share of the world’s wealth and resources than the ¾ other citizens of the globe. Love does not show favoritism James reminds us (James 2:1-13) and God has chosen those who are poor in the eyes of this world to be rich in faith and to enter the kingdom of those who love God. But if we insult or mistreat the poor and kiss up to the rich we do not live in accordance with the righteousness of the kingdom of God. Instead we will be lawbreakers of Gods Holy Law of love your neighbour as you love yourself.

dinsdag 19 mei 2015

A long march to freedom

Following Christ is not a matter of ‘buying’ the right ticket and get in the right bus so we are comfortably taken to our destination by the Holy Spirit as the driver. Nothing is further from the truth. Following Christ is a matter of daily turning away from the temptation of the world to live selfishly and its focus on wealth focuses and status in the eyes of man. It requires a daily decision to remain focused on Christ no matter what happens and follow in His footsteps step-by-step. This road is narrow and often uncomfortable and full of peril and requires us ro remain close to the Good Shepherd. For we must go through  many hardships before we will finally enter the Kingdom of God and reach the destination planned for us by God (Acts 14:20). It is not a comfortable and easy ride but a daily march in which we must choose to listen to the inner prompting of the Holy Spirit and throw of all that hinders or side-tracks us and live in a manner that emulates Christ and glorifies God. It is indeed a long march to freedom, eternal freedom in which ultimately even our bodies will be set free from the decaying power of sin and death.

maandag 11 mei 2015

Everybody lies

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices
Col. 3:9

Many people, including Christians will agree with Dr. House's assessment in the series House MD: "everybody lies". To communicate a falsehood, paint a wrong picture or mislead people either by keeping them ignorant, hiding information or communicating misleading information is something all human beings do by nature. For some people living in dangerous or oppressive situations communicating the truth could mean severe punishment and in order to survive they became such experts in hiding and evading the truth that lying has almost become natural. Often they do so without giving it much thought. Unfortunately even when they are no longer really need to lie for sheer survival. Although they no longer need too they struggle to stop lying. Even when they turn to Christ they often keep struggling to get free from this trap of the devil who is the father of all lies and a murderer. After all persisting in living a lie eventually brings destruction as well as spiritual death to oneself and the people in one's life. To lie is not only disrespectful to them but it is very unloving for we are deceiving them while they trust us. Not only does this undermine our own self-esteem and self-love it also brings us under Gods judgement as we are breaking His royal law of love. So how to repent and to break free? The best way of dealing with lies in our lives is to admit that we are not living rightly and need to change course 180 degrees. We also must recognise that underneath the lies there is often a hidden fear of being abandoned, rejected or hurt.

This fear can only go if we firmly decide to trust God for if we trust in His love, protection and care for us we will not feel the need to protect ourselves through lies. Unfortunately lying has a lot of evil brothers and sisters. For example it encourages more fear such as the fear of being found out and exposed. It also causes us to mistrust and fear others as we fear they may also be as deceitful as we are. There is only one way out: Make a firm choice to from now on tell the truth and nothing but the truth, trusting that God will protect and help us deal with the consequences. Secondly come clean to your loved ones about past lies so that they do not continue to undermine the relationship. You will be surprised how many of your "convincing" lies were never that convincing and caused them to have doubts in you. In fact the more we lie to someone the more we undermine trust and kill intimacy. However, people who really love you will be quick to forgive you and will be happy to hear that you decided to change your ways. Those who will reject you after coming clean they are themselves in need of repentance. Finally remember that when God says "do not lie" it is for your own good. Lies are an open door for the kingdom of darkness in your life and will ultimately destroy your relationship with God. It also hurts your loved ones and even yourself for deep down you will know that what you are doing is wrong and lose respect and love for yourself and so in the end hurt yourself too. The father of lies is an evil taskmaster, so be courageous and break free with Gods help and start living in accordance with the truth.

vrijdag 8 mei 2015

Let us be humble and considerate of others

Philippians 2:3-5 3 Don't be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. 4 Care about them as much as you care about yourselves 5 and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought: 6. Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God.7 Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us.

Christ himself is our example in considering others and their needs as more important than our own comfort. He had it good, comfortable and secure but in obedience to the Father He put it all aside to serve and save us. No servant is higher than his Lord and with acknowledging Christ as Lord comes responsibility to serve the Father by caring as much about others as we care for ourselves. It is a great honour to walk in His footsteps and sacrifice comfort, security and our material resources in order to serve Him by serving people in need.

8 Christ was humble.

He obeyed God

and even died

on a cross.

9 Then God gave Christ

the highest place

and honored his name

above all others.

dinsdag 28 april 2015

A Christian perspective on the death penalty.

In spite of the death-penalty having been abolished from (civil) legislation in many countries, society uses the death penalty as soon as a martial law is declared or during a situation of war. It is acceptable under military law for a soldier who defends his/her country to kill an invading soldier whose intend is to kill him. Under civil law it is also acceptable for a policeman to kill a criminal who is trying to kill him in a shoot-out.  The same is the case when a civilian is attacked by another civilian which could result in being killed and then in self-defense kills his/her attacker. However, is it acceptable for society to defend itself against a habitual murderer who intends killing some of its citizens by killing him? My answer to this question would be ‘no’. Death is final and there is nothing we can do to compensate the victim for his or her death if later on more evidence is discovered and he/she turns out to be innocent.  From a Judeo-Christian perspective I believe in the value of all human life and that this translate in the ethic that no human life should be terminated unless there is no other less harmful alternative. Christ teaches that we should live according to one supreme law and that is to love our fellow human as we love ourselves. The theologian-philosopher Paul who stood at the cradle of European Christianity stressed that this is our prime obligation from which all other laws are derived (Romans 13:8). In his writings he explains that such neighbourly love is expressed in respect, practical care, solidarity, brotherhood as well as equal and just treatment. The off-chance that we may be accidentally be executing someone who later turns out to be innocent of the crime therefore makes the death-penalty unacceptable in the light of this supreme moral obligation. In human history it has happened too many times that an innocent person was executed for a crime and even large amounts of money given in compensation to the bereaved families do no not rectify such injustices.

Now in the case of a soldier defending his country or a policeman shooting in self-defense both find themselves in a me-or-him scenario and they have very few (if any) other options. The Biblical principle of ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ here puts one in a fix for one has to protect his own life too as well as the lives of those one is tasked to protect. In this scenario the life of the soldier and policeman doing their duties, or an individual protecting his family during an assault is more important than that of the enemy soldier or of the violent criminal as he represents more than just himself. Ethics demands that if we have no other choice but to choose between saving one or saving many, we must choose the latter.  However, as soon as a soldier is captured or a criminal is caught the dynamics change. They are now fully at our mercy as a society which brings responsibility for us to execute justice. It is no longer a life and death crisis scenario but there are suddenly many more options. Killing them is no longer an urgent necessity and incarceration is to be preferred so that we do not take the risk at all to kill an innocent man or woman. At the same time I do believe that the government does bear a grave responsibility to society to ensure the well being of all its citizens. From this perspective an unrepentant (mass) murderer who is still a danger to society should never be allowed out on the streets again. I am therefore both against the death-penalty but also against limiting a life-time in prison to only 20 years. There have been too many incidents of murderers being released from prison after serving their sentence only to murder again shortly after. By releasing unrepentant murderers into society we are actually indirectly exacting the death-penalty on unsuspecting victims. So based on my belief in “do unto others as you would like to have done to yourself” my conclusion would be that if I were a (mass) murderer I would rather be incarcerated for a lifetime than being killed.  However, on the basis of doing unto others as I would want to have done to me I cannot expose society to people who are likely to murder someone as I would not want my loved ones or myself to be exposed to such people. To lock them up forever then seems the least harmful solution for all involved, including the perpetrator unless it can be guaranteed that they no longer pose a danger to society. This means for example that if a murderer gets infirm due to old age or paralyzed due to a disease and no longer is a danger to society he/she should be allowed to leave prison and go to a nursing home.

Sometimes the argument is given that giving criminals the death penalty is much cheaper. This off course is true as incarceration is expensive. Not all societies are able to fund proper prison facilities which guarantee that criminals can’t escape and pose a threat to society. However, the death penalty is not the only way to cut costs. Some nations resort to banishment of long-term prisoners to penal colonies where they have to work for a living but cannot leave the region/island. In other situations prisons cut costs by providing basic but decent shelter, clothes, beds and meals but for any extras prisoners are expected to work in factory facilities in the prison.  As long as the state ensure that this does not become slave labour or exploitation it may be acceptable from a Judeo-Christian perspective to take such measures.

Finally some extremists will point at the Old Testament’s use of the death penalty as an argument for using it today. However, to do so would be ignoring the fact that Christ in His sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) makes it very clear that He stands for a different kind of justice than that of Moses and the Old Testament. He stands for a kind of justice which goes beyond retribution and states that we ought to love our enemies. Loving our enemies does not mean aiding them in their evil or allowing them to do as they please but it does include treating them humanly with respect, kindness, care and fairness. Treating them as we would wish we were treated in their place. In conclusion the death penalty does not comply with the kind of justice Christ promotes.

donderdag 23 april 2015

Let no one Lord it over you for only Christ should be your Lord

If someone gets angry, irritated or starts sulking when you do not take their advice or share their opinion they demonstrate a lack of respect and love for you as a person as their behaviour shows their true intention was to dictate to you what you should do or believe. The same applies to those who respond with manipulation using guilt and shame and blame tactics. Or those who use sabotage or quiet subterfuge, gossip or resort to other over and covert methods to make you comply with their demands. Let no one be your master. The only obligation you have is to love your neighbour as you love yourself as Gods word tells us in Romans 13:8-10. The yoke people try to put on our shoulders is harsh but His yoke is light

So why allow others to Lord it over us and place burdens on us? After all, if the Lord of Heaven and Earth whose will is perfect does not force us to comply but humbly invites us to follow Him for our own good, who is "greater" than Him that he/she can lord it over us?

woensdag 22 april 2015

Let us stop playing church

Well maybe soon I won't be invited to preach anymore as I talk about things that people don't like to hear. However Gods people need to hear Gods truth before they go astray too much and the last bit of spiritual life in them dies out as their love grows cold.

1 John 3:14-23

14We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.

16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

19This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 

20If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 

21Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 

Too many of us do not get what we ask from God because we are unfaithful in how we use the resources God has entrusted to us. We use them for ourselves rather than for ourselves + others. If we do not obey our Lord by properly loving our brothers and sisters who are in material need because they are orphans and widows in distress, are homeless, refugees or work full-time for the gospel and as a result earn little then how can the love of God remain in us.

Old Testament tithing example

Already in the Old Testament tithes were predominantly used for taking care of people in need and of those who served God full-time.

The New Testament 

In the New Testament God calls us to go beyond the law and be generous and share.

We are reminded that looking after orphans and widows in distress is the religion God seeks and that our faith should be shown in works of kindness towards the hungry and needy. How can we live in our comfortable houses, drive our nice cars, enjoy expensive holidays and spend more money on personal luxury than we spend on helping people in need? How can Gods love remain in us? No we are not talking about our basic needs and obligations, I am talking about all that money each of us spends on top of our basic needs. God commands us to love your neighbor equally and not just think of our own needs, wants and interests!!!

That includes looking after those who have given up everything to serve Christ. It is not their personal hobby but they work on Gods behalf and they work also on your behalf, that is if we are truly part of the body of Christ and Christ's love in us has not totally died.

The New Testament also decrees that those who work for the gospel may live from the gospel and it is the responsibility of Gods people to look after those who are in full-time ministry.

Our spiritual poverty today

Yet today we find churches with fat bank accounts but missionaries and evangelists go without pay or very little. Some have to scrape a living together both at home and abroad and can hardly do the work they have been called to do. Some need to spend a lot of time otherwise spend for the gospel to make ends meet by doing piecework or other income generating activities.

Are our churches really churches in the Biblical sense of caring communities of faith who together do Gods work, or are we simply religious clubs that worship in a location we call 'church' where we confess Christ loudly with the mouth so that we feel good but we hardly show obedience in deed so that we become Christlike, Gods love remains in us and we can be truly full of His Spirit of Love?

Today’s "church" often spends most of its money for personal comfort in the Sunday services, for buying nice instruments so we have nicer outward worship, nicer materials for our children and on other things that may benefit us but hardly benefit those in need.

How can the love of God remain in such a community of believers if those with whom Christ identifies (I was hungry, thirsty, naked, in prison....) are systematically neglected?

How can Christ give us our much needed revival when His word is willfully disobeyed by us?

Jesus is very clear: If you are not faithful in handling a dirty, unrighteous thing as money, you can certainly not be given more valuable things to handle:

Luke 16:9-11

9"And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings. 10"He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. 11"Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?

Stop being proud, repent!

So instead of being proud about the crumbs you give from our table to the needy we should weep and mourn. By not having been faithful stewards of the resources God entrusted to us we have failed to store up treasures in heaven and have prevented God from entrusting us with true spiritual riches.

How can the Holy Spirit work in our midst when we grief Him by the way we treat the needy parts of the body in which we are baptized by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13)?

Jesus says to His disciples who worked full-time in His service the following in Matthew 10:40-42

40“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

It is time we do what 1 John 3:18 says: Start loving the needy with actions and not just with words!!!

dinsdag 21 april 2015

Faithful stewardship

My child you want a greater understanding and experience of my love, you desire spiritual experiences and miracles. But my child, did I not tell you that unless you learn to be faithful in handling earthly things such as money and material resources I will not entrust the more important things to you.

9"And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings. 10"He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. 11"Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? (Luke 16).

If you are not faithful in loving God and in loving and taking care of your neighbour's needs as you love and take care of yourself in the way how can I give you more of my things to handle? If you cannot even properly handle the unrighteous wealth, how can I give you holy things to handle? You pray 'enlarge my territory' but you are not faithful in small things, so why would I do so? I know that those who are unrighteous in handling earthly things will be equally unrighteous in handling things of eternal value. So instead of asking 'why God do you not reveal yourself more to me and why don't you entrust us me with much' you should repent of your unfaithfulness to me in the way you handle 'your wealth' which actually is not yours at all, you are just a steward of these things. But if you repent and become faithful in handling earthly goods, then the Father will entrust you with more and more.

Remember faithful stewardship in my divine economy is gathering treasures in heaven and not increasing wealth on earth.

zondag 19 april 2015

Dealing with immature adults

Helping emotionally immature people

Insecure and emotionally immature people are often bullies and employ many techniques to get their way. Bullies and harassers have the emotional age of a young child and will exhibit temper tantrums, deceit, lying and manipulation to avoid exposure of their true nature and to evade accountability. How does one respond? The worst thing one can do is to become their apologist. To accommodate and cover up their wrongs and pretend they are not there. You do not help them grow up if you help them avoid the consequences of their behaviour and allow them to do as they please. They may be happy if you do so but deep down they know that their behaviour is wrong and they will resent you for facilitating it.

When Jesus says "let no one call you father for you have only one Father in Heaven" he is addressing the human tendency to become someone's parent, taking away part of their responsibility and allowing them to remain irresponsible and use you and others. Usually the fear of being alone or abandoned causes us to be weak in this area. We need to be needed so someone doesnt leave us. However God wants us to be guided by faith and His love, not fear of being abandoned for irresponsible persons will use it to manipulate us.

God want all people to be responsible for their own lives and not be dependent on people but live in healthy interdependency as brothers and sisters who share responsibility for eachother while depending on God as our parent. So do not give in to their dysfunction, whatever it may be. It does not help them grow up. They won’t attempt to change their ways until they are faced with no other choice because right now, they are getting by just fine manipulating, bullying etc. Why change if it works for them? Remember, you can’t change a person. But remember only they can change themselves.

We cannot make people grow up but what you can do is to learn how to say “NO”. But do it in a respectful and firm manner. Work on your self and protect your boundaries. Change how you interact with them and do it only on your (adult) terms, not their (childish) terms. Don’t react to them if they are being irrational. Develop an arsenal of phrases like, “Look, I don’t want to discuss this anymore. Let’s talk about it another time when we’ve both calmed down.” or “Sorry, I’m not comfortable doing that.” or “It’s clear we don’t agree but we aren’t communicating effectively.” Another way to communicate is to simply state the facts. How they chose to respond is really up to them. It’s a good idea to write a few phrases and practice them so you have them at your disposal when necessary.

Change will be very slow. Believe that changing how you respond to things will be the catalyst of change in how you are treated. So long as you behave like the adult in the room, you keep your dignity. Eventually, the other person will learn they cannot get their way acting like a child. However even after all of this, your relative may not change and you may need to maintain some emotional distance in order not to get harmed by their behaviour.

Now if you are in a relationship and your partner shows some immature behaviour do not right away refuse to parent them. We all sometimes are weak and seek a bit of parental love and nurturing. What should not happen is that one partner has to be the parent in the relationship most of the time and the other the child most of the time. The parent in such a relationship does not have his/her emotional needs met, is required to be strong all the time and may be punished and eventually abandoned if they fail to meet the need of the demanding adult-child. This is a burden too heavy for anyone carry and is not part of Gods design for marriage.

For another perspective see:  http://www.systemiccoaching.com/sw_articles_eng/immature_adults.htm

donderdag 16 april 2015

False gospel

A gospel that emphasizes getting rich on earth which gives power, influence and status with men is a false gospel. Such a gospel is in direct contradiction with Christ's teaching and personal example (Matt. 6:19-33). Following this false gospel we will stray from the narrow road of salvation and fail to experience the fullness of life God has in mind for us. We will go from bad to worse and if we do not come to our senses and repent we may be lost forever (1 Tim. 6:9-10).

dinsdag 14 april 2015

A spiritual insight the size of a mustard seed accepted by faith is powerful enough to bring down a mountain-sized illusion that may have been holding our lives together in a less wholesome way. Once the gospel of Gods enormous love for us and the immense value every human being has in his mind is accepted as truth in our hearts. Once we act upon that belief by treating ourselves and others as valuable and worthy of love and care, forgiveness and grace, whole societies are changed.

Matthew 13:31

31He presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; 32and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES."

maandag 13 april 2015

Let us love one another

1 John 4:7-8
7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

It is Gods desire that we know him more and more and His enormous love for all people. We must allow His loving presence to fill and govern every area of our live so it will in turn inspire our behavior and day-to-day actions so that we indeed live a life of love towards all people. This normal Christian life is demonstrated in doing good to all people, including those who oppose us, but in particular do good to those who cannot refund or repay us: the weak, the defenseless, the oppressed and the vulnerable

woensdag 1 april 2015

Looking for an emotionally and spiritually mature partner

It is better to live in a corner of a roof Than in a house shared with a contentious woman. 

Proverbs 21:9

Thoughts on looking for a mature partner

There is a big difference between someone who can harness his childlike spirit, and be playful, loving, funny, and obnoxious, and someone who is still stuck the fragile emotional state of a teenager. Such a person can suddenly change like a leaf in the wind and blow up, loose their temper, become contentious and so on. A person like that is not truly ready for a mature adult relationship and will first need to work on his/her emotional development.  Such people can be recognised by the following characteristics:

1). They never explored their own emotional landscape or done inner personal work. They resist critical self-evaluation of their emotional make-up and responses. They certainly avoid extensive therapy or personal and emotional coaching.

2). They do not take responsibility for their errors or wrongs. They expect others to accept and forgive their emotional outbursts, issues, triggers, unresolved childhood stuff or dysfunctional family imprinting without wanting to talk about it, let alone ever take responsibility for personal emotional change and growth.

3). They are insecure and project their fears and emotional wounds onto you, but try to spin it in such a way that others look like the ones who have issues.

Emotionally stunted people are an epidemic in our culture where puberty seems to last longer and longer and sometimes a life time. A lot of emotionally stunted people have awesome and attractive personalities on the surface. They are really cool in every way until things do not go as they want or people do not do what they want.  They can hardly tolerate any hardship, conflict or disappointment and are unable to deal with their emotions in a mature manner.

Almost all of us get caught up with these types at one stage or another until we wise up. Why is this? Because in Western culture the emotional intelligence of people has been neglected for rational intelligence. Besides it often takes some time for people to see others as they actually are. Unfortunately a lot of us are so starved for connection that we then begin to make excuses for the immature behavior significant people in our lives display. We may even get roped into long-term relationships or marriage when WARNING LIGHTS have been flashing the entire time.

How can we avoid this in marriage? Stop falling for someone’s potential. Too many men fall in love with the idea of how a woman is, rather than with who she really is. Also too many women fall in love with the idea of how their man is and keep their eyes closed for who he really is. They sacrifice deep emotional intimacy and mutual caring friendship for good looks and hot sex, and then complain once the relationship fails.

If we enter into a long term relationship with someone who is emotionally immature we may end up babysitting, playing mommy or daddy, and in fact enable them to continue to behave like big spoiled irresponsible children.

We must encourage them to seek Gods help and the help of others to work through their issues. However we must avoid nagging them to do so. The desire to change must be genuine. It must come from within them and not from us or any other external pressure. For if they are not motivated to change it will never work. At most they will do better window dressing in order to appease us and give us the false impression all is now fine when it is not.

It is important that we choose partners who wholeheartedly value growth and emotional and spiritual development and demonstrate this in the way they live.

But a one-sided relationship where we are basically a surrogate-parent to our partner will eventually leave us and them unfulfilled and lonely if not bitter and resentful.

In our search for a partner we should therefore be looking for someone who stands out because he/she is seriously striving to follow Christ; Someone who does not hide or deny their sinful nature and human weakness, but seeks Gods help to overcome these. Someone who takes responsibility for overcoming his/her weaknesses in the genuine desire to be changed more into the likeness of Christ guided and aided by the Holy Spirit. Someone who by their whole lifestyle challenges us to grow as well.