Give me ..... - 31 October 2014

Carina Francke

 

Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.  Psalm 86:17

Yesterday we spoke about prayer which is the hotline of hope that keeps us in contact with God and generates power so that we can live as God wants. Prayer is also the raw, naked acknowledgement of our inability to change ourselves, but at the same time it is also a declaration of our dependence on God’s ability when we ask: “Lord, give me ...”

David is suffering under people who treated him badly, attacked him and even wanted to kill him, that is why David begins his prayer in Psalm 86 with the words: "Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.”  In the requests that follow, it is clear that he needs protection, salvation, grace, forgiveness and the joy of God in his life (v1-5). In the midst of these depressing circumstances, he does not hesitate to sing of God's power and greatness and it motivates him to such an extent that he prays: "Show your strength…save me.... Give me a sign of your goodness ... “(Psalm 86:16-17). He is actually asking God for a sign, a miracle in his life that will silence his enemies when they see what God does for his people. He wants God to use him as an example.

There was someone else who made a similar request. An arrogant young man demanded that his father give him his inheritance prematurely, he then squandered the entire inheritance and ended up penniless and in desperate straits. With a deep awareness of his sin against his father and heaven, he resolved to return to his father saying: “Make me like one of your hired servants” (Matthew 15:19).

Sometimes, as in David’s case, other people are the cause of our misery. More often than not, like the son who squandered his inheritance, it is our own wrong choices and mistakes that lead us astray. Both of them, however, prayed with sincere intentions and a contrite heart, and both prayers were answered. The wonder of these two stories is that a loving father was ready and waiting to welcome his child with open arms and a blessing.

Your Father is also waiting for you.

Prayer: Loving Father, today I want to pray like Joseph Neesima: “O Lord, reform the world ... and begin by me.” Make me ever aware of those things that hinder your presence from being evident in my life. Let me be your hands and feet in the world, so that your enemies know that you help and comfort your people.  Make my talents and gifts a sign of your goodness so that people will acknowledge that there is no God like you. Amen

A Prayer - 30 October 2014

Carina Francke

 

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.James 5:16

Prayer is the hotline of hope that keeps a righteous man in touch with the great God. Through that binding connection we pray and have hope for ourselves, for loved ones, fellow believers and unbelievers. Prayer is more than just an emergency call to get needs met, it is also the hotline that generates power so that through the Holy Spirit I am more able to live as God wants. Prayer is therefore a two-way conversation between God and people.  Daily, I wait expectantly and with full attention, when I read God’s Word so that the Holy Spirit reveals God’s will for me.

Listen to what the Word already tells us about God’s will. As believers and image bearers of God in the world, we need to honour God by living simply and doing what he wants.  We can know what he wants through prayer and asking that we will continually be filled:  "…with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives…” (Colossians 1:9)  This means that we must live by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and allow God to lead us. Knowledge of His will must go hand in hand with growing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10) – the discovery of his heart, God’s incomparable greatness.

Such a life offers challenges to every believer. It needs a God-focused life and perseverance. Difficult? Not if we ask God, that we be “…strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.” (Colossians 1:11).

Jesus' preaching and teaching about the Christian believer’s lifestyle, centres around love. Without it, we are nothing (1 Corinthians 13), we do not know God (1 John 4:8) and God is not in us. (1 John 4:12)  Every believer can be certain that the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5) We actually bear responsibility to cultivate that "seed" of love, and one way in which we can do so is to pray that our love will increase more and more in understanding and sensitivity so that we may be able to distinguish the things that matter, (Philippians 1:9). Why is this distinction necessary? It is necessary so that we, on the day of Christ, may be found pure and blameless. (Philippians1:10).

Prayer has great power and has the ability to change our lives, our circumstances and outlook on life, because God hears every prayer. In the words of RA Torrey: “Prayer is the key that unlocks all the storehouses of God’s infinite grace and power.  All that God is, and all that God has, are at the disposal of prayer.”

Prayer: Father, I want you to be satisfied with my life, so I cling today to this hotline of prayer and ask that you dwell within me. Amen.

Maak my..... - 31 Oktober 2014

Carina Francke

Maak my 'n voorbeeld van u goedheid, sodat dié wat my haat, verleë sal moet toesien, dat U, Here, my help en uitkoms gee.  Psalm 86:17

Ons het gister gesels oor gebed wat die tou van hoop is wat ons  in kontak hou met God en wat krag genereer sodat ons kan leef soos God dit verlang. Gebed is egter ook die rou, naakte  erkenning van ons onvermoë om ons self te verander, maar is terselfdertyd ook 'n verklaring van ons afhanklikheid van sy vermoë as ons vra: "Here, maak my..."

Dawid kry swaar onder mense wat hom sleg behandel, hom aanval en selfs wil doodmaak, daarom  begin sy gebed in Psalm 86 met die woorde: "Luister tog na my, Here, verhoor my gebed, want Ek is hulpeloos en arm (1983). In die versoeke wat daarop volg, is dit duidelik dat hy beskerming, redding, genade, vergifnis en blydskap van God in sy lewe nodig het (v1-5). Hy laat egter nie na om te midde van hierdie neerdrukkende omstandighede, God se vermoë en grootheid te besing nie en dit motiveer hom uiteindelik tot so 'n mate, dat hy vra: "....gee U my tog krag en red my. Maak my 'n voorbeeld van U goedheid..." (Psalm 86:16,17).Hy vra eintlik vir God 'n teken, 'n wonderwerk in sy lewe sodat die vyand se mond gesnoer kan word as hulle sien wat God vir mense kan doen. Hy wil trouens sélf dié voorbeeld wees.

Daar is nog iemand wat met 'n soortgelyke versoek gekom het. 'n Arrogante jongman eis dat sy pa sy erporsie voortydig vir hom gee, hy verkwis daarna die hele erfporsie en beland pennieloos in die grootste ellende. Met 'n diep bewustheid van sy sonde teenoor sy pa en die hemel, neem hy 'n besluit om na sy vader terug te gaan en hom te vra: "Maak my soos een van u huurlinge" (Matteus 15:19).

Soms is ander mense die oorsaak van ons ellende – soos in Dawid se geval – maar meer dikwels is dit ons eie verkeerde keuses en foute wat ons op rotsagtige paaie laat loop -  soos die seun wat sy erfporsie verkwis. Albei van hulle het egter die "Maak my...."- gebed vanuit opregte bedoelings en 'n berouvolle hart gebid, en albei se gebede is verhoor. Die wonder van hierdie twee verhale is dat 'n liefdevolle vader aan die ander kant gestaan en wag het vir sy kind, gereed om hom tegemoet te hardloop, met oop arms te ontvang en te seën.

Jou Vader en vader wag ook vir jou.

Gebed: My liefdevolle Vader, ek wil vandag soos Joseph Neesima bid: "O Here, hervorm die wêreld.....en begin by my."  Maak my daagliks bewus van dié dinge wat verhinder dat U teenwoordigheid sigbaar kan word in my lewe. Maak my u hande en voete in my leefwêreld, sodat u vyande kan sien dat U aan mense uitkoms gee.  Maak my talente en gawes 'n teken van u goedheid sodat mense kan erken dat daar geen God soos U is nie. Amen

'n Gebed - 30 Oktober 2014

Carina Francke

Die vurige gebed van 'n regverdige het groot krag.  Jakobus 5:16

Gebed is die tou van hoop wat 'n nietige mens in kontak hou met die groot God. Met daardie verbindingstou bid ons in, en mét hoop vir onsself, vir geliefdes, medegelowiges en ongelowiges. Gebed is egter meer as net die noodroep om behoeftes vervul te kry, dit is ook die hooptou wat krag genereer sodat ek deur die Heilige Gees al hoe meer kan leef soos God verlang. Gebed is daarom 'n tweerigting-gesprek tussen God en mens waar ek daagliks ook met 'n toe mond en oop ore, afwagtend sal wees dat wanneer ek die Woord lees, die Heilige Gees God se wil vir my daarin sal openbaar.

Hoor wat sê die Woord reeds vir ons oor God se wil. As gelowiges en beelddraers van God in die wêreld, moet ons tot eer van die Here leef deur net te doen wat Hy verlang. Ons kan weet wat Hy verlang deur te bid en te vra dat ons "vervul mag word met die volle kennis van God se wil deur al die wysheid en insig wat die Gees gee" (Kolossense 1:9 Direkte Vertaling).Dit beteken dat ons deur die Gees sal leef (Galasiërs 5:16) en Hom toelaat om ons te lei.Kennis van sy wil moet egter hand aan hand loop met die groei in kennis van God (Kolossense 1:10) – die ontdekking van sy hart, sy onvergelykbare grootheid.

So 'n lewe bied uitdagings aan elke gelowige. Dit vra 'n God-gefokusde lewe en volharding. Moeilik? Nie as ons vra dat God deur sy "wonderbare krag (ons) alle sterkte gee om in alle omstandighede geduldig te volhard" (Kolossense 1:11) nie.

Jesus se prediking en lering oor die Christusgelowige se leefwyse, sentreer om liefde. Daarsonder is ons niks (1 Korintiërs 13), ken ons God nie (1 Johannes 4:8) en bly God nie in ons nie (1 Johannes 4:12). Elke  gelowige kan egter seker wees dat die liefde van God in sy hart uitgestort is deur die Heilige Gees wat aan Hom gegee is (Romeine 5:5). Ons dra egter die verantwoordelikheid om daardie "saad" van liefde te bewerk, en een manier waarop ons dit kan doen, is om te bid dat ons liefde meer en meer sal toeneem in begrip en fyn aanvoeling sodat ons in staat kan wees om die dinge wat saak maak, te onderskei (Filippense.1:9). Waarom is die onderskeiding nodig? Sodat ons op die dag wanneer Christus kom, onberispelik en sonder blaam kan wees (Filippense 1:10).

Gebed het groot krag en beskik oor die vermoë om ons lewens, ons omstandighede en uitkyk op die lewe te verander, want God is die Hoorder van elke gebed. In die woorde van RA Torrey: "Gebed is die sleutel wat die skatkamers van God se oneindige genade en krag ontsluit.  Alles wat God is en alles wat God het, is tot beskikking van gebed."

Gebed: My Vader, ek wil dat U met my lewe tevrede wees, daarom swaai ek vandag aan daardie verbindingstou van gebed om te vra: Vervul my met Uself. 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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