Going deeper

Life has the tendency to press us down on every side. We have pressure at work, pressure in our relationships, families, homes and ministries. We have expectations set by ourselves or those around us and sometimes feel that life is unbearable. When a longing in the heart is not fulfilled it can make the heart sick. Waiting for a long time can seem like a waste of time and cause resentment and bitterness. Each passing day without living in your expectations can be enough to want to throw in the towl and give up. On and on this list could go.
Why do we prefer the fast food of life? Instant fixes and gratification offered in the moment can mask a broken heart but it will never fix it. Almost everyone will do all they can to avoid the fears and insecurities pressed deep down within each one of us. God in his great love wants us to face those fears and insecurities. This is why when people move off the safe foundation of salvation and start to climb higher with God they fall. God challenges us to go deeper with him which means he will go deeper in us. It is this depth that we discover some of the big issues within ourselves. Its like deep sea diving, the deeper we go the more bezarre and fascinating the things are that we discover. 

Do we dare to go deep if we can’t swim? Is God not our anchor to hold onto? If God is calling us to go deep it’s because he wants us to fully trust him. If God wants us to fully trust him it’s because he wants to bless us. If God wants to bless us then you can rest assure that he will give all you need to obtain that blessing. All you need to do is be willing and take a leap.

Personal note: I took a deep sea dive when God called me to leave the safe shore of my home country and move abroad. I have had to face fears of my own and deal with insecurities. God has invited me to go deeper with him. The deep can be scary if you stop looking at the anchor. It can be overwhelming and tempt you to go back to the safe shore where your feet touch the ground. Yet going deeper is necessary if we are to grow as a christian. It is not easy, but when we refuse to quit we discover that the end result is better than we can ever imagine! To be like Jesus… that is why he calls us deeper, he left that example for us to follow.

Dmz

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Pruning season

Your not abandoned in your inner turmoil, God is planting his seeds and preparing the soil. Time has caused you to beleive that God has left you at the altar, you gave yourself as an offering yet feel God has forgot you. You scream on the inside and think others receive blessings but not you. Blinded by multiple failures and reasoning with the mind, you compare yourself to others saying why are they always fine? But you don’t see what’s on the inside, you cannot judge another persons heart or test success in God by time. You are being pruned, cut back so the fruit you once bore will be even greater. You are being purified by the universe creator. Now if God can keeps the universe in such law and order, why do you struggle to believe he can keep your life the same? You think that your life is a mess because you experience pain? Labor is painful, but the joy aftetwards far outweighs this. Yes, this is the experience of pregnancy before new born babies. Labor is 9 months and the child is for life, let God do his work for a while and watch how he makes everything right! No one else can walk the path God has laid out for you, your good works have been prepared in advance, so keep on pushing through! Pruning is necessary for growth, no one likes the shears of the gardner cutting back for fruit to grow. Let God do his work, let him multiply your fruitfulness, don’t threat just because others succeed while they are still in their youthfulness. Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control. Let these fruits become the maker of your soul. Let it go so you can grow, in due time God will reap a harvest through you!

Lavish

If today was my last day

If today was my last day… I would make sure you knew how much I loved you. I would not hold back compliments because of my own pride; I would not hide, I would do all I can to end the day right.

If today was my last day… I would want you to remember my smile, I would look at you asif it was the first time; I would make every effort to make every second count, I would have this last day all worked out.

If today was my last day… I would make that phone call; I would say I’m sorry that I hurt you. Family is not meant to be filled with strife and anger, I want to know that when I go me and you forgave each other, isn’t this better? Father, mother, sister and brother?

If today was my last day… I would ask God to forgive my sins; I would make sure that tomorrow I would be with him. I would pray for my loved ones, that they may be strengthened and given peace, I would pray they would know love, and for hearts to be set free.

What if today was my last day?.. I wouldn’t have known it when I woke up this morning, I would have carried on as normal without any warning. It has been said live everyday like the last because one day it will be, so today I want to make life count. I want to know that when I finish this day I have no reasons to doubt… no reasons to doubt that I accomplished all that I could be…a blessing to all I could, so that when I rest… I can rest in peace.

Lavish

Oh my heart…hold on!

Quiet.. my heart! Listen for just one moment, take a hyperthetical seat, this may take a few beats. You can’t keep going on like this.. you’ve been trampled on and now your stuck in the abyss…wake up from your slumber! Get out of this pit of despair. It hurts I know, when you are taken for granted, yes my heart.. it hurts. It could be worse.. you could have gave up first. You’re a fighter though, there are more beats left in you, your willingness will overcome. You feel used and abused because you want to love, but love is vulnerable because it means you get close to people. You will always be hurt if you aim to love, but this is good! Pain is a sign that your awake, and for the worlds sake… don’t let hatred become your fate! If the world hates you then that’s up to them, but not you my heart, because you can’t be filled with hate and remain Gods friend. I say it again.. you can’t be filled with hate and remain Gods friend! So keep beating, keep seeking and never be fleeting. The world needs real deep as the ocean mountain peak love, superficial warn and torn half hearted devoted love is not enough. So hang in there heart, keep pumping and bringing life! Let what’s good into your perimeters and never let hatred suffice.

Lavish

The conditioner called life.

Have you ever heard of Ivan pavlov? He was a man that experimented a behaviour excercise termed conditioning. It was a psychological study of what happens when a certain type of behaviour is repeated over and over until it becomes a natural response of the one participating. 

In this study a bell was rang when feeding a dog. The dog salivated when the bell and food was given. Over and over this excercise was repeated until they took the food away. When the food was taken and the bell rang, the dog salivated; the dog was now conditioned in its behaviour.

Isn’t this how life can be? We are conditioned on a daily basis through media, television and our peers. We are shown repeatedly what a good look is, what a woman should be like or what a man should be like and so on. We moan about a situation until moaning is part of who we are; we put ourself down until we become depressed, we stop doing what we need to do until we end up doing nothing. This is how we condition ourselves in a none positive way. 

The good news? The opposie is true. We can condition our behaviour in a good and positive way. We can give so often that eventually as the words of Jesus says, we wont let our left hand no what our right hand is doing Mattew 6:3. In other words giving will become a natural part of who we are. What about being positive in every situation? That means when things are good you see how you can make it even better, and when things are bad you see how it can become something good. I knew a family that lost two of their children through a heart condition. They decided to use their grief to raise money to help others with this condition and helped raise money to invest in equipment to prevent more deaths. They could have grieved and become bitter, but they used tragedy to prevent more tragedies. 

Conditioning for something positive is strengthened most when times are difficult. Why is this? Because in times of difficulty our minds are alert and receptive, this is the greatest time for reading Gods word and being strengthend. It is the greatest time to preach to yourself, “I will get through this, I can grow through this, I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me”.

Life always offers 2 conditioners. The one is called positive and the other is called negative. Or the one is called bad and the other good and so on. In every situation we can choose our influence and what conditions us. Is it your circumstances? Your peers? Yourself? Or maybe your God? It is possible to not be conditioned by something negative simply by shifting our focus. When our minds are determined to not allow our soul to be contaminated we are off to a good start. Set your will, set your mind and set your life. The word of God renews the mind. When we allow our character to be conditioned for the benefits of good morals and excellence, our world changes around us. Why? Because the way we look at the world has changed.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Dmz

Evangelism… 7 points to consider in the modern age. #lets be like Jesus 

The great comission Jesus gave is to make disciples of all nations. Now putting into consideration the time Jesus spoke this, we will gain understanding of just how challenging this commission was and still is today.

Lets go back to the time the great comission was first given. First of all, people had no idea just how many nations were in the world as they did not have the technological capabilities that we have today. Second, they did not have tracts, various books and other evangelical equipment that could be used as a tool for sharing faith. Third, they did not have fast travelling capabilities. They had boats and possibly horses, but that’s nothing compared to the jets, trains and cars of the modern age. 

What did they have? They had faith, and a lot of it! They had focus and a fresh message to share to the ears of unbelievers. The first disciples had the privilege of walking with Jesus in the flesh and then being empowered by the spirit. They also had persecution, which drives faith deeper and strengthens the message about Christ. They were also willing to give up all they had and to share with those in need, they had selflessness.

So why is it so difficcult to share about Jesus now? First, some people consider this old news now. ‘Why should I believe something that happened so many years ago?’ they would say. Second, we have over 2000 years of the biblical message, however we also have over 2000 years of people polluting or diluting the gospel message. ‘Come to Jesus he will solve all your problems’, ‘God loves you, be how you want to be’, ‘God wont really judge the world and send people to hell, that would be mean and God is loving’. These are twisted truths that give a false impression of the true gospel. Can Jesus solve all yoir problems? Of course, but most of the time he wont simply because in this life you will have many problems. He is more concerned of solving the spiritual problem of seperation from God. God loves us yes, but he loves us too much just to leave you as you are. He wants to form the image of Christ in us so of course he will work in us to accomplish this. Sorry to say, hell is real and it is sadly a destination people choose for themself because they dont want God. People ask God how can you send me to hell? Yet Gods hand has been outstretched since Jesus died on the cross, its just people choose not to take his hand. Third, we are in the age of distraction. Our minds are plagued on a daily basis from billboards to televesions, from the internet to mulitple news stories. It’s hard to remain focused on the gospel and Jesus when so many other things are being thrown at us. If Jesus is not more attractive to us than whatever else is being shown then we are in danger of slipping away. If the message about Christ is not being shared with the authority we have through Christ and the Holy Spirits power, then people most likely wont listen or accept the message.

We have an abundance of resources for sharing our faith. Especially in the west where we have developed libraries of books about christianity. We have churches all over the place, sadly many of them have empty seats waiting to be filled by Joe bloggs waiting to hear the message. 

So how do we evangelise in the modern day age? The same way Jesus did when he was on earth. Jesus met people where they were and shared the message in that environment. Now days we are always trying to get people into the the church to hear the message, but we forget we are the church and we are the message. Evangelism is not about force feeding the gospel to people, that will make them choke. Evangelism is about our lifestyle and the daily choices we make as a follower of Jesus, it should always point to Christ as a way of salvation and should always be done out of love for God and his love for us. Remember when the church began? They shared everything and God added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:47 Praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. It is this love and family acceptance that brings others into the Kingdom. We can’t be a one person band all though you can still make an impact as one person through the Holy Spirit; but if you want to reach the world, we need to do this together and be willing to go through whatever it takes to accomplish the great comission. 

So lets break it down inti 7 points so it’s easy to remember.

  1. love – it always begins with Gods love for us then our love for him and each other.
  2. Willingness – we need to be willing to share the message of Christ and to do it with him (comission means to be a partner with Jesus in this) God will not force us.
  3. Acceptance – to be successful in bringing people into the Kingdom we need to be able to accept who they are. Once we accept them and they accept God then God will be the one to form the image of Christ in them.
  4. Perseverance – if we give up at the first hurdle because the message is rejected then we will not finish the race. When they reject the message it is Christ they reject. Be strong and move on.
  5. Prayer/worship– this should be in everything we do. Its not at the top of this list because it should be in every part of the list. Pray more of Gods love, pray for a willing spirit, pray to be accepting, pray never to give up and pray for salvation for the lost. Worship in truth and Spirit and enable new believers to worship Christ.
  6. Fellowship – once soemone comes to Jesus they need to know that they have a/some christian friend/s who can help them and teach them. If they come from the world like I did, the world will still have a firm grip on them. Show them a better way and life and they will stay.
  7. Selflessness/humility – it is hard to share if we are selfish or proud. Being selfless and humble will enable us to see the needs of others and act on those needs. The church will grow at a much quicker pace if we just forget about our self for a while and help someone else.

So, these are just 7 points to develop the character to evangelise and follow Jesus. Please, if you have more points in regards to this, feel free to share in the comments below.

John 13:35 Through the love that we have for each other we will be known as disciples of Jesus.

Dmz

Getting too close to the edge?…. take a break.

Life can push the boundaries of our strength to the point of exaustion. It’s asif we have walked miles into the middle of the dessert to discover we still have miles to go. Like a car that’s ran out of fuel, sometimes we just need to stop for a moment. The test of human strength is not how much we can handle something but how long we can handle it for. Waiting is not something we consider much because waiting makes us feel like we are not progressing. Yet, lets imagine you could see the energy bar of your life, the fuel gage of your strength. If you saw that these levels are rising when waiting you wouldn’t think waiting was a waste of time. We look for a physical manifestation of our success, yet we fail to realise that part of our success is the physical manifestation of the restoration of our souls. When burning the candle at both ends, eventually the candle will burn out. All thats left after this is the drabs of our efforts and our weary selves. Then what do we do?In the christian life boundaries are certainly tested. Why? Because the testing of boundaries and strength is what shapes character and makes a believer more like Christ. If you intend to be a believer in Christ for an easy relaxing life, then I’m sorry to say this but it’s not going to happen if you sincerely want to follow Christ. In fact when we invite Jesus into our life we become more aware of our own sinfulness which causes us to push more and more to better ourselves in every area. When you look at the life of Jesus you see character in everything he did. He chose words carefully, he was aware of his surroundings, sensitve to the needs of others and willing to suffer for those needs. He even tested the boundaries of physical law by walking on water and mulitplying food. Yet who else could test those boundaries than the one who created them right? Yet even Jesus retreated at times from all the business of the crowds surrounding him, the miracles and the teachings.

Luke 5:16 ‘but Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray’.

There are 2 principles here for our life if we are to continue growing in character and make an impact in this world.

1) retreat. Lets make one thing clear here; this is not retreat in the sense of retreating from a battle. This is retreat in the sense of renewing enough strength to go through more battles. Jesus was far from a coward, but he knew where to go for his strength and what he needed to do to get it. In our fast paced modernised society, retreating to a quiet place is like an Oasis for our souls. We need some space in order to re-couperate our thoughts and renew our life ordained focus. Retreating at times is not a waste of time but a catalyst to enable you to make the most of time in the future. What’s better for a person; to do many things and not do them well because of tiredness? Or to do a few things but do them with excellence because of a renewed focus?

2) pray. The strength of every dedicated follower of Christ is rooted in their prayer life. The world changers are the ones who spend more times on their knees than on platforms. It is in those quiet places of prayer that God himself dwells and strengthens what is weak. If we want to reach the world for Christ but are not willing to pray; we should not expect much from God. If Jesus the son of God in the flesh had to pray, how much more should we? Prayer is the anchor in the storm and our stability in this life. This is what will renew our vision and lead us deeper with Christ and his ways. You want to change the world? Then begin on your knees in prayer.

God bless all

DMZ

One glimpse… is all it takes

Even in such a fast paced world, real beauty can cause us to stop in our tracks and admire. We see the most beautiful man or woman and wonder how can anyone be even better looking than this, then before you know it a new best looking person arrives. We see a sun set, the aurora lights, the stars at night, a great mountain with a great view, valleys and waterfalls and much more. Yet no matter how much we see it, there is always someting that amazes us, something new on the horizon. The sun set is always the same principle, it always sets yet always paints a different picture, the same with the sun rise. All these things are just a small glimpse compared to what God has in store.
One day God will wrap up the universe like a scroll and make a better one. Gods invitation through Christ invites us to be a part of it now and see it in its fullness in the future. We have only ever seen the stars in the distance, either in the night sky standing still or shooting accross the skyline. Imagine being next to the one who created them and seeing them shoot from his hands, now that is something that seems hard to imagine, yet for those who believe in a creator this is the real deal. We have only seen glimpses in this world of the real beauty of Gods creation, the best is yet to come! Stories of those who have been to heaven and come back always say things like, ‘I heard things I’ve never heard before’ or ‘I saw things I never saw before’. It is always hard to explain it, yet this is only the creation part, what about a glimpse of the creator himself?

Whenever anyone in the bible had an encounter with God in his glory they always describe the unimaginable. Moses had such glory after his encounter that his face was glowing, Paul was blinded until someone restored his sight, John was seeing such marvellous things that he fell to the ground multiple times. Yet while Jesus was in human form it wasnt his appearance that was the beauty, it was his character. Here is an important lesson, God works from the inside out. The more we become like Christ on the inside the more beautiful we will appear regardless of how we look on the outside. Eventually the beauty thats created in us will also become manifested in our new eternal bodies, but for now God displays his beauty and glory in us. The world will one day see the glory of Christ in all its fullness along with the body of Christ, that is, his people. Every sickness healed and every tear wiped away. Sometimes on our darkest day, all we need is one glimpse into the future that awaits, because sometimes when the going gets tough and we feel like giving up, one glimpse is all it takes.

Cover image: Google images (company of burning hearts – Heaven)

God bless DMZ

Male and female – He created them. (You are not an accident made out of matter – but you are important and you do matter!)

 A proposed law in claifornia and other proposes by individuals in Canada and the UK and other places seem to be stuck in a severe identity Crisis, stating that there should be no male or female identity. I don’t know how this affects you but it makes me angry. It makes me angry because if this becomes a law, children will be born and raised with confusion of who they are and this will be considered the norm! No longer being able to refer to the opposite sex as the opposite sex can only bring destruction for humanity. Is this too harsh to say? No! Consider the affects of this move if it reaches a global scale, God forbid it does! The next generation will be stuck in a whirpool of sexual confusion, they will be indecisive and not understand how to identify who they are, they wil be psychologically confused wondering why they are different to others if they are all considered the same… and on and on this could go. Just because the minority agree with this does not mean that it is right. Do we call a cat a dog? Do we now consider trees to be blades of grass? Do cows bark now and dogs moo? No, why? Because that’s not how they were created to be.

Don’t get me wrong, humans are made with a far higher responsibility and value than animals and nature, nevertheless, we still know deep down who and what we are. How much comprimise will it take before we realize that denying our God given sex is pretty much denying our existence as a created human being. If this is too harsh then stop reading this post. I don’t want to be a la-de-da christian swaying with the winds of change and accepting every change that could contribute to the destruction of humanity. This is not what we are called for and the time is now to speak. This is not to judge and condemn those who are implementing these changes, Gods grace is for them too. However, maybe if those implementing these changes took a step back and observed the dangers of these changes they would see the consequences. You wouldn’t cross a road without looking ahead so why make such big changes without weighing the risks. People pleasing is exhausting because it is impossible to do. If those in charge aim to please everyone then it will cause nothing but divisions and confusion.

What about you christians? Don’t you aim to implement changes with what you believe? Good question. The church(christians) are called to be light and salt on the earth Matthew 5:13-16. Light exposes darkness and salt is used as preservation and to bring out flavor. Jesus gave us a command which all the law hangs on, this is.. love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself Luke 10:27. If we loved as Jesus did then the changes would always be for the better. Sadly we the church have not been the best representative of our God, for that we are sorry. Yet how can we keep quiet when there is so much injustice and disregard for the value of life. You are important, does the curriculum teach you that? No you are taught you are here by accident and that life is just an accident. Then people destroy each other and we wonder why? If we do not see ourselves as valuable and life as precious then we will always make decisions based on selfish desires, and the foundation of society will always crumble away. That’s why abortion is accepted, that’s why we get married and divorced, thats why we say things like ‘theres no gender’, ‘live how you want’, ‘theres no God’. If love is not the foundation of a society the society will eventually begin to crumble away. We are the ones left then to pick up the pieces and rebuild it. 

What can we do to change this? If you are a parent, teach your children they are loved and valuable. If you are a teacher, teach your students they are loved and valuable. If you are a human being, know that you are loved and valuable! You are not a cosmic mistake that just exists by chance. You are a purposely made human being. Do you know why many people destroy each other? Its because they don’t know this. This understanding is a solid foundation laid by God himself. The world is trying to remove the God of Christianity but don’t realize that doing that they are removing the foundation. A lot of good principles came through christianity, the bad history is because of miss-understandings, this is another post all together. 

If we saw each other in the light of Christ we would acknowledge our uniqueness and love and respect each other. Male and female, God created them. Gen 5:2 and do you know something else, he also blessed them. If we remove our identity as male and female, we also remove the blessing that God intended for us.

You are important!

Peace and grace 

DMZ

Me…am I proud? Seriously? (The difference between pride and being proud)

How can we recognise pride? Well, what’s the middle letter of the word? How much I is there in what you do? ‘I did this, I did that…I want this, I want that..’ wanting things and talking about things we have accomplished is not wrong, it is when we allow these wants and the things we have done to become the centre of all that we are. When we try to make the world revolve around ourself we become miserable and tired. Why? Because the world was never designed to revolve around ourself, and we weren’t made for that either.
Pride has a language all by itself, it loves to show how great it is and march the streets with banners saying ‘I am…’ Yet this is a dangerous universal language that has caused the downfall of many. The ‘I am’ which causes self exaltation above others is where the danger lies. Not in the ‘I just passed my exams or, I just got promoted or, I had a great time!’ These are good moments to be proud, like when a parent is proud of there children. The pride we are talking about here is when we become consumed with self. When we love our self more than others and God, when we love our position of authority more than the people under our authority, when we think so highly of our self that we put others down. This is the destructive pride, the pride that God opposes. This is why it is so hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven, he is blinded by his proud position. It has nothing to do with God wanting them there because God desires all to be saved. The rich man (or woman) cannot see a need for God because they place security in the money and posessions they have. When a rich person is stripped of all they have, they should thank God for removing the plank from their eye so that they may say their need for him.

Pride is the biggest obstacle in regards to being saved through Christ. This is why the gospel flourishes in poor places, they can see their need for a saviour. If you are surrounded by the security of posessions then coming to know God seems an unesscassary pursuit. Humility is a gateway to the kingdom of Heaven. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, its thinking of yourself less. Quote – Rick Warren. Once we gain a proper perspective on the danger of pride and the language it speaks, we will be equipped to deal with it and overcome this seemingly giant warrior. Pride is only as big as we magnify it, thats why it’s best to deal with it from the start. If we are all honest, we would admit that we all have pride at times. We all want recognition for our good works, we all desire some kind of position that makes us more powerful, likeable or accepted. There is pride in each of us if we examine ourself to the core.

So how do we deal with it? Gain a right perspective. See pride for what it really is, ask God for help to deal with it, which by the way takes humility, and cut it out of your life. Focus more on God, others and then self. Joy means: Jesus, Others, Yourself. This is how pride is weakened and defeated. This is how you walk in victory all your days. Speaking as someone who has struggled with depression, I had a revelation in regards to it. The more a depressed person is focused on the depression or the reason for it, the stronger the hold depression has. An antidote for depression for a christian is worship and praise. Read the Psalms, surely David struggled with depression, yet he always praised God anyway. Its hard not to focus on the feelings of depression when they are so strong and in those times worship may feel more like an act than an offering of praise, yet that changes as the Holy Spirit enables us to worship in truth and in Spirit.

What does that have to do with the language of pride? It takes humility to still worship and thank God despite feelings, pride would be a barrier for this. The only way that barrier is broken is by choosing to worship anyway. For example, pride would say somethings like, ‘I don’t feel like worshipping God, how can I worship him after the way I have been treated, who is God that he wants me to worship him after all I have been through?’ These things that are said are based upon our emotions and can create a stronghold for worshipping God. On the other hand humility would say some things like, ‘I may feel down and horrible, but Im still gona worship God, I may not understand my circumstamces but I will still worship the Lord, I may have had a hard life but I have an eternity of joy to look forward too!’ This is how to change the perspective, this is how we defeat pride!

Complain and remain, praise and be raised. Joyce Meyer.

James 4:6 God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

God bless

DMZ