maandag 30 juni 2014

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

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

vrijdag 20 juni 2014

Persecution within the family

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

A daughter against her mother

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

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

Matthew 10:34-36

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

Church buildings

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

dinsdag 10 juni 2014

Victims of neglect in the church

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

2 Cor. 12:9-10

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

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

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

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