vrijdag 31 oktober 2014

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

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

1 Thess. 5: 19-22 (NIV)

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

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

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

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

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

- Keep a record of the information for future reference

Please note:

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

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

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

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

vrijdag 17 oktober 2014

Giving and receiving love

Ways to give love in your relationships

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

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

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

Common ways people block love in their relationships

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

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

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

Ways to receive love in your relationships with people

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

donderdag 16 oktober 2014

Appreciate the people God gives to us

1 Corinthians 3:1-9

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

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

maandag 13 oktober 2014


Dealing with psychological injury

Helping someone deal with emotional and psychological trauma

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding a trauma specialist for dealing with psychological trauma

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

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

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

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

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

woensdag 8 oktober 2014

Overcoming Satan

Prerequisites for overcoming Satan: Romans 16:17-20

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

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

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