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.

Examine your actions - 22 October 2014

Carina Francke

 

Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.  Galatians 6:4.5

In a performance driven society, people’s work abilities are compared to each other and your value as a person and as a "commodity" are often measured in this way. It is inevitable that we are influenced by this: we look at ourselves through other people's eyes and judge our actions against their performances. Needless to say, we soon realise that there are always people who fare better or worse than us and that realisation often gives rise to feelings of either superiority or inferiority.

And yet from our verse for today it is obvious what your and my attitude should be concerning our own work; we must investigate, assess and test our own actions (not other’s) or to put it another way, we must look at what we do through a magnifying glass. So often there are ulterior motives behind our work efforts – we want to impress people, we want to earn other people’s respect, we do things out of envy, we simply want to brag. The only measure for your actions is that it must be good. According to Colossians 3:23 the only benchmark for "good", is God's standard: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters" Measured against this, you can be rightly proud of what you do without comparing your work to anybody else.

You see, the end result of the magnifying glass strategy is that we can enter into the Lord’s presence without shame or embarrassment when we have to account for our actions. And he is indeed going to demand an account: “You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘ “As surely as I live,” says the Lord, “Every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.” "So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God." (Romans 14:10-12).

In the light of this verse, we can relax when we do our work or good deeds. God does not judge us by human standards, also not by our own standards, but by his standard, and that is never above our capabilities. Therefore, resolve that everything you do, you will do for him and his approval.

Prayer: Thank you Father that with the help of the Holy Spirit, I can also test my actions by the standards you have set for me. 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.

Ondersoek jou doen en late - 22 Oktober 2014

Carina Francke

 

Laat elkeen sy eie doen en late ondersoek: as dit goed is, kan hy daarop trots wees sonder om dit met dié van ander te vergelyk. Elkeen sal rekenskap moet gee oor wat hy gedoen het. Galasiërs 6:4,5

In 'n prestasiegedrewe samelewing word mense se werksvermoë met mekaar vergelyk en word jou waarde as mens en as "kommoditeit" dikwels hieraan gemeet. Dit is onvermydelik dat ons hierdeur beïnvloed word: ons kyk vanuit ander se oë na onsself en meet ons doen en late aan hoe dit teenoor ander s'n opweeg. Nodeloos om te sê, ons kom gou agter dat daar altyd mense is wat beter of slegter as ons vaar en dié besef ontlok dikwels gevoelens van óf meerderwaardigheid, óf minderwaardigheid.

En tog is dit uit ons vers vir vandag so voor die handliggend wat jou en my gesindheid rondom ons werke behoort te wees: ons moet ons eie werke (nie ander s'n nie) ondersoek, beoordeel, dit toets, of anders gestel, met 'n vergrootglas daarna kyk. Jy sien, dikwels is daar bymotiewe agter ons werksywer - ons wil mense daarmee beïndruk, óns wil aansien onder mense hê, ons doen dinge uit naywer, of ons wil bloot sommer net met onsself spog. Die enigste maatstaf vir jou doen en late is dat dit goed moet wees. Volgens Kolossense 3:23 is die maatstaf vir "goed", die Here se standaard: "En wat julle ook al doen, doen dit van harte soos vir die Here en nie vir mense nie."  Gemeet hieraan, sonder om jou werk te vergelyk met dié van 'n ander, mag jy dan maar gerus trots wees wat op jy gedoen het.

Jy sien, die uiteinde van hierdie vergrootglas strategie, is dat ons sonder skaamte of verleentheid in die Here se teenwoordigheid kan kom wanneer ons moet rekenskap gee oor wat ons  gedoen het. En rekenskap gaan Hy voorwaar eis:"Maar jy, waarom oordeel jy jou broeder? Of jy, waarom verag jy jou broeder? Want ons sal almal voor die regterstoel van Christus gestel word. Want daar is geskrywe: 'So waaragtig as Ek leef, sê die Here, voor my sal elke knie buig, en elke tong bely.' So sal elkeen van ons dan vir homself aan God rekenskap gee" (Romeine 14:10-12).

In die lig van hierdie vers, kan ons ontspan wanneer ons werk of goeie dade verrig. God meet ons nie aan menslike standaarde nie, ook nie aan ons eie standaarde nie, maar aan Syne, en dit is nooit bo ons vermoëns nie. Daarom, neem 'n besluit om alles wat jy aanpak, te doen vir Hom en sy goedkeuring.

Gebed: Dankie Vader dat ek met die hulp van die Heilige Gees altyd my werke kan toets aan die standaarde wat U vir my gestel het. 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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