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:

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