Examine your heart at the Lord's Supper - 24 October 2014

Carina Francke

Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.1 Corinthians 11:28

The heart of a person is the essence of his being – what he is, how he thinks, what he says, all originates from his heart. No wonder that the book of Proverbs states, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Thus when Paul has a serious conversation with the Corinthians on the taking of communion, it is not surprising that his first point of reference is to the condition of their hearts. He knows that the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure (Jeremiah 17:9) and that “From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits." (Psalm 73:7)

To prevent them eating from the bread or drinking from the cup of the Lord unworthily, he asked his readers to thoroughly examine their own hearts, less they sin against the body and blood of the Lord.

What must we look out for when we put our own hearts under a searchlight? Firstly, be certain that you have thought about and clearly understand what the bread and wine actually means. The bread is a reminder of Christ’s bodily sacrifice and the wine of his blood that was shed on the cross, so that our relationship with God could be restored. The question you must ask of yourself is: Have I accepted the gift of a restored relationship and a brand new life?

Secondly, does my lifestyle testify to this restored relationship and a life with God?  Before you answer, yes, read this first: Do you love God with every fibre of your being – with all your heart, soul, strength and mind ... and your neighbour as yourself? That is the commandment which covers all the others!

It is at the last part of the commandment that we usually waiver – we do not love people as much as we love ourselves.  We struggle to forgive people, to put their interests before our own, to bury the hatchet and resolve differences selflessly. If we are not willing to examine ourselves and allow the Word and the Holy Spirit to bring to light those things which should not be part of our lives, we run the risk of unworthily partaking in communion – with heart-breaking consequences. The solution? Search your heart and get rid of the undesirable elements!

 Prayer: My Father, I cannot depend on my own heart and judgment. I declare my willingness to examine myself, and pray that the Holy Spirit will be the convicting force in my life. Open my heart so that I can hear you. Amen.

Proving what his will is - 23 October 2014

Carina Francke

 

“…and find out what pleases the Lord." (NIV)

In literature, arts, everyday life and even nature, light and darkness are usually depicted as opposites. Can you imagine being locked away in an underground dungeon your whole life and never seeing light? Awful! Depressing! A life-long death sentence in darkness without parole. Not God’s will for any person! He wants the dungeon opened so that light can flood in and shatter the darkness.

It is no wonder that throughout the Bible we learn about the impact that the light – Jesus Christ – should have on our lives. As a believer in Christ, you are a child of the light and that demands that your lifestyle must confirm your professed faith. It must be new, different, without trace of the darkness in which you once lived. That is the will of God for every believer’s life.

To recognise what in our lives must be shattered by light, we must: “… find out what pleases the Lord." (Ephesians 5:10). To discover that, we need to examine ourselves, letting the truth shine in our hearts and reveal the darkness. Then we have to be willing, no matter how uncomfortable it is for us, to allow the light to dispel the darkness, for God’s wish for you and for me, is that we live in the light.

Paul helps us in Romans 12:1-2 to discover what God’s will is when Paul urges us to: Give yourself to God. Offer your body to him. What is actually meant here is that you, your very own ego, must die. It is a difficult death, but not a hopeless one, because in God’s hands, you become alive, holy and acceptable to him, and also at the same time of service to others.

Do not think and live like the world, nor conform to their standards in your mind.

Think new, different, and outside the box. For this, you need help – let the Word gain a foothold in your heart and renew your mind. (James 1:21)

And the result? Light that helps you to distinguish the will of God – those things that are good, acceptable and perfect.

Prayer: My Father, in a dark, crowded world, I regularly examine myself and ask what is acceptable in my lifestyle to you, but I really struggle to know for sure. My plea, Father is that when I read your word, you will plant it in my heart and bring it to life.  Amen.

Ondersoek jou hart by die nagmaal - 24 Oktober 2014

Carina Francke

"Maar die mens moet homself beproef en só van die brood eet en uit die beker drink. Die mens moet sy hart ondersoek sodat Hy nie op onwaardige wyse die brood eet of die beker van die Here drink nie. Hy moet die liggaam van die Here daarin onderskei."  1 Korintiërs 11:28

Die hart van die mens is die wese van sy bestaan – wat hy is, hoe hy dink, wat hy praat, het alles  oorsprong in sy hart. Geen wonder nie dat die Spreukeskrywer sê: "Bewaak jou hart meer as alles wat bewaak moet word, want daaruit is die oorspronge van die lewe."(Spreuke 4:23)

As Paulus dus 'n ernstige gesprek met die Korinthiërs voer oor die gebruik van die Nagmaal, is dit nie vreemd dat sy eerste punt van verwysing na die toestand van hulle harte is nie. Hy weet dat die hart verdorwe en bedrieglik is bo alle dinge (Jeremia 17:9) en dat "verwaande mense oortree met die versinsels van hulle harte" ( Psalm 73:7, Direkte Vertaling).

Om te verhoed dat hulle op onwaardige wyse van die brood eet of uit die beker van die Here drink,  versoek hy sy lesers om eers hulle eie harte deeglik te ondersoek, anders kan hulle dalk sondig teen die liggaam en bloed van die Here.

Waarvoor moet ons op die uitkyk wees as ons die soeklig in ons harte skyn? Eerstens, maak seker dat jy nadink en baie goed verstaan wat die brood en die wyn werklik beteken. Die brood herinner aan Christus se offerliggaam en die wyn aan sy gestorte bloed aan die kruis sodat ons verhouding met God herstel kon word. Die vraag wat jy jouself dus moet afvra is: Het ek al sy geskenk van 'n herstelde verhouding en 'n splinternuwe lewe aanvaar?

Tweedens, getuig my leefwyse van hierdie herstelde verhouding en lewe met God? Voor jy bevestigend antwoord, lees eers hier: Het jy God met alles in jou lief – met jou hele hart, siel, krag en verstand ... en jou naaste soos jouself? Dit  is immers die gebod wat alle ander omvat!

Dit is gewoonlik by die laaste gedeelte van die gebod waar ons weifel – ons het mense nie lief soos ons onsself het nie. Ons sukkel om mense te vergewe, om hulle belange bo ons eie te stel, om strydbyle en verskille te begrawe en om ons leeg te tap van die eie-ek. Sonder die gewilligheid om selfondersoek te doen en die Woord en die Heilige Gees toe te laat om lig te laat skyn op dié dinge wat nie tuishoort in ons lewens nie, loop ons gevaar om op onwaardige wyse Nagmaal te gebruik – met hartseer gevolge. Die oplossing? Ondersoek jou hart en raak ontslae van die ongewensde elemente!

Gebed: My Vader, ek kan my eie hart en oordeel nie altyd vertrou nie. Ek verklaar my gewilligheid om myself te ondersoek en ek bid dat die Heilige Gees die oortuigingswerk in my lewe sal doen. Grawe vir my hart ore sodat ek U kan hoor. Amen.

Beproef wat sy wil is - 23 Oktober 2014

Carina Francke

 

"En beproef wat die Here welbehaaglik is" (1933/1953-vertaling). "Vra julle voortdurend af of iets vir die Here aanneemlik is.  Efesiërs 5:10 (1983-vertaling)

In die literatuur, kunste, die mens se leefwêreld en selfs die natuur, word lig en duisternis meestal as teenoorgesteldes uitgebeeld. Kan jy jou indink om jou lewe lank in 'n ondergrondse kerker opgesluit te wees en nooit lig te sien nie? Aaklig! Neerdrukkend! 'n Doodsvonnis wat jou lewe lank neem om voltrek te word! Nie God se wil vir enige mens nie! Hy wil dat die luik oopgemaak word sodat die lig die donkerte laat versplinter tot niks.

Dit is geen wonder nie dat ons regdeur die Bybel aangepraat word oor wat die impak van die Lig, Jesus Christus, op ons lewens behoort te hê. As Christus-gelowige is jy 'n mens van die lig en dit vra dat jou leefstyl moet bevestig wat jy oor jou geloof bely. Dit moet nuut, anders, sonder elemente van die nag geleef word. DÍt is die wil van God vir elke gelowige se lewe.

Om te weet wat die dinge in ons lewens is wat deur lig versplinter moet word, moet ons: ".. beproef wat die Here welbehaaglik is" (Efesiërs 5:10;1933/1953-vertaling),of anders gestel: "Vra julle voortdurend af of iets vir die Here aanneemlik is" (1983-vertaling). Om dit te ontdek, beteken selfondersoek, 'n eerlike inskyn van die waarheid in ons harte om die donker kolle te verlig en dan die gewilligheid om, ongeag hoe ongemaklik dit vir ons is, die donker dinge deur lig te laat versmelt, want God se wil vir jou en my lewe is om te leef in die lig.

Paulus help ons in Romeine 12:1-2 om te ontdek wat sy wil is as Hy 'n ernstige beroep op ons doen: Gee jouself weg aan God. Offer jou liggaam aan Hom. Wat eintlik bedoel word, is dat jou self, jou eie-ek moet doodgaan. Dit is 'n moeilike dood, maar nie 'n hooplose een nie, want in sy hande word jy lewend, heilig en aanvaarbaar vir Hom, maar terselfdertyd ook diensbaar aan ander.

Moenie dink en leef soos die wêreld nie, moenie in die gees van jou denke wees soos hulle nie.

Dink nuut, anders, en buite jou ommuurde kassie wat jou gedagtes in 'n tronk vasvang. Hiervoor het jy hulp nodig – laat toe dat die die Woord in jou hart vastrapplek kry en laat dié jou gedagtes vernuwe (Jakobus 1:21).

En die resultaat? Lig wat jou help om te onderskei wat die wil van God is – daardie dinge wat goed, aanneemlik en volmaak is.

Gebed: My Vader, in 'n donker, volgepropte wêreld, beproef en vra ek gereeld wat vir U aanneemlik is in hoe ek my lewe leef, maar ek sukkel werklik om vir seker te weet. My versoek is daarom dat U die Woord wat ek lees, in my hart sal plant en dit lewend maak. Amen.

Everything has its time - 11 November 2013

Riélle Heine

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens … He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:1,11a

The concept of time always crops up somewhere in our daily conversations. What is shocking is that it is mostly mentioned in a negative context.  Something along the line of "I'm so busy, I did not have time" or "Everything is so rushed " or "Look how the time has flown!"

Time, which was intended as a gift from God, has become our boss. Instead of being in control of our time, it feels as if time is a skateboard under our feet that we’re desperately clinging to, trying to stay on top! Many things we plan down to the last detail, but when it comes to time, we carry on indifferently.

Too often we think like this about time:

Everything can wait until later,

Everything in this world can be postponed

- until I feel like doing it

- until I feel better

- until my children are older, or out of the house

- until I’ve worried myself sick about it

... until it's too late.

Maybe there’s a letter, an email, a phone call or a visit you’ve been putting off for weeks - maybe now is the time to do it. Maybe today is the time to encourage, to forgive, to speak or to remain silent. Perhaps the time has now come to go back and make amends.

The other day I found this English poem tucked away between some cards I had stashed away (I wish I knew who the author was):

When I have time

there is a poem to be written,

a song to be sung

When I have time

there is a child to be led

a prayer to be said.

When I have time

I’ll tell you a story,

I’ll visit a friend.

Alas, time is gone –

The poem’s unwritten,

The song unsung

The child is a man

grown up unled

The prayer, ah! the prayer,

it went unsaid.

The story is ended.

Prayer: Lord, let me realise anew each day that time is a great gift from you. Help me not to postpone things. Help me to plan my time, to grab hold of the hours and use them. Amen

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