Day 5: The boxing match and quick sand - 7 November 2019

Benescke Janse van Rensburg

Earlier in the week, a reader wrote to me: “I feel tired; too tired to fight back or to resist the devil. It feels as if I am lying face down on the ground with no strength to stand up!”

A boxing match and quick sand. What do these things have in common?

From the sidelines, an untrained eye will think that the two boxers in the ring are just grateful if they manage to land a punch on their opponent. An expert however will tell you that through the pre-match analysis each boxer knows the opponent’s weak points and every punch is strategically planned to weaken the opponent. This is how the enemy attacks. He analises us and knows exactly how to steal our joy. In Nehemiah 8:10 we read, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Without joy we lose our strength to stand firm in our faith.

Have you ever watched someone desperately trying to get out of quick sand? The more that person anxiously struggles, the deeper he or she falls into the sand. It’s the same with difficult times in our lives. In those moments we need to calm ourselves down and wait for someone to pull us out. The Psalmist was there too. In Psalm 40: 1-3 we read: “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.

What is stealing your joy? An impatient spouse? Debt that overwhelms you? An illness? A bad working environment? Slow drivers in traffic? Unemployment? Rumors of retrenchments at work? Fear of the future? Broken relationships? Let's identify it so that we can talk to God about it. He can help us to strategically fight back so we can protect our joy.

Let us pause for a moment and look up to God. He can lift us out of the slimy pit, and set our feet on a firm place to stand. He is able to calm a storm and fill us with strength and joy. Let’s start praising Him in the storm and feel the joy return to our souls! God bless. 

Father God, thank you for being in control of my life. Help me to surrender completely to You. Fill me with strength and joy and help me to look at the future through Your eyes. I ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Dag 5: Die boksgeveg en dryfsand - 7 November 2019

Benescke Janse van Rensburg

’n Leser skryf vroeër in die week aan my: “Wat doen mens as jy te moeg is om terug te veg of die duiwel teen te staan?  Wat doen ek as dit voel of ek platgeslaan op die grond lê?” Was jy ook al daar? Dalk is jy nou daar.

’n Boksgeveg en dryfsand. Wat het hierdie dinge in gemeen?

Van die kant af lyk dit asof twee boksers in die kruit rondtrippel en tog te dankbaar is as hulle wel ’n hou inkry. ’n Kenner sal jou egter vertel dat boksers mekaar se spelpatrone vooraf ontleed om swakpunte te identifiseer. Só kan hul met elke hou strategies aanval om die opponent te verswak.

Die vyand val ons só strategies aan met die doel om ons van ons vreugde te beroof. In Nehemia 8:11 lees ons immers: “Wees dan nie bedroef nie, want die blydskap in die HERE - dit is julle beskutting.” Sonder vreugde is ons sonder beskutting.

Het jy al iemand dopgehou wat desperaatheid uit dryfsand probeer uitkom? Hoe meer só persoon spartel, hoe dieper sak hy of sy in die sand weg. Om dit te oorleef moet die persoon stilstaan en vir hulp wag. In stormagtige tye in ons lewens voel dit ook asof ons al dieper in “dryfsand” wegsak.

Die Psalmdigter was egter ook eens daar. In Psalm 40:2-3 lees ons: “Ek het gesmag na die hulp van die Here. Hy het na my toe afgebuig en my hulpgeroep gehoor. Hy het my uitgetrek uit die put van die dood, uit die slymerige modder, my op 'n rots laat staan en my weer op vaste grond laat loop.

Wat steel jou vreugde? ’n Ongeduldige huweliksmaat? Skuld wat jou oorweldig? ’n Siektetoestand? ’n Slegte werksomgewing? Stadige bestuurders in die verkeer? Werkloosheid? Gerugte van afleggings by die werk? ’n Uitdaging met een van jou kinders? Kom ons identifiseer dit sodat ons met God daaroor kan praat en Hom vra vir ’n strategie om ons vreugde te beskerm.

Kom ons hou ook op spartel en raak stil voor God. Kom ons vou ons hande na bo en laat Hom toe om ons uit die modder te trek. Hy kan enige storm stilmaak en ons opnuut met vreugde en krag vul. Kom ons prys Hom daarvoor. Sterkte.

Vader God, baie dankie dat U in beheer is van my lewe. Help my om op te hou spartel en volkome aan U oor te gee. Trek my uit die dryfsand en versterk my deur u Heilige Gees om met nuwe oë na my toekoms te kyk. Ek vra dit in die Naam van Jesus Christus. Amen. 

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Day 4: Can I be grateful for difficult times? - 6 November 2019

Benescke Janse van Rensburg

One of the inspirational stories of the Springbok players that caught my attention was the story of wing, Makazole Mapimpi.

Five years ago, Mapimpi was a 24-year-old young man from Tsholomnqa in the Eastern Cape. Someone with a big dream to play for the Springboks, but to whom it felt impossible. He never played Cravenweek or SA school rugby. The closest he could come to fulfilling his dream, was to play Sunday League and later for Border.

With hard work and perseverance, Mapimpi's life began to change in 2017 when the Southern Kings offered him his first professional contract. In June 2018, Mapimpi joined the Springbok team. Back line coach Mzwandile Stick worked hard to get Mapimpi ready to catch the high balls. This past Saturday, Mapimpi became South Africa's first tri-scorer in a Rugby World Cup final.

Throughout his upbringing, Mapimpi had to endure many hardships. His mother, Eunice, owned her own sewing business before she died in a car accident. His sister, Zukiswa, was a professional nurse before dying from a brain disease. And Mapimpi's brother, Zolani, lost his leg after being electrocuted when stealing electric cables. He later died due to his injuries.

When you hear the story, it sounds like an absolute tragedy. However, listen to Mapimpi's perspective on all these bad things: “If my mother and sister were still alive, I probably wouldn't have been in Japan. Both were opposed to playing rugby. They felt that I should rather get an education or a job. Obviously, I'm not saying it's a good thing they're not here. But their absence has toughened me up to be here and left me feeling like my presence here is God's plan." Today, Mapimpi is a role model for a large number of rural children to continue believing in their dreams.

It is easy to question God during difficult seasons in our lives. I mean, can anything good come out of a divorce, a retrenchment at work, the death of a loved one, financial loss or an illness? In Isaiah 55: 8-9, God Himself speaks: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” Also in Romans 8:28, we read: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

May we begin to thank God for difficult seasons. Where we only see a small part of the story, God sees the bigger picture. He knows the future and promises to never allow anything that we would not be able to handle. Let us rather thank Him today for His ability to work everything for the good of those who love him. God bless.

Father God, thank you for holding my future in Your hands. Please help me not to become discouraged in difficult times, but rather to choose to keep my eyes on You. I ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Dag 4: Kan ek dankbaar wees vir swaarkry? - 6 November 2019

Benescke Janse van Rensburg

Een van die inspirerende stories van die Springbokspelers wat vir my uitstaan, is die storie van die vleuel, Makazole Mapimpi.

Vyf jaar gelede was Mapimpi ’n 24-jarige jong man van Tsholomnqa in die Oos-Kaap. Iemand met ’n groot droom om vir die Springbokke te speel, maar vir wie dit onmoontlik gevoel het. Hy het immers nooit Cravenweek of SA skolerugby gespeel het nie. Die naaste wat hy aan sy droom kon kom, was om Sondag-Liga en later vir Grens te speel.

Met harde werk en deursettingsvermoë het Mapimpi se lewe in 2017 begin verander toe die Southern Kings vir hom sy eerste professionele kontrak aangebied het. In Junie 2018 het Mapimpi by die Springbokspan aangesluit. Die agterlynafrigter, Mzwandile Stick moes hard werk om hom gereed te kry om die hoë balle te vang. En die afgelope Saterdag het Mapimpi Suid-Afrika se eerste drie-drukker in ’n rugbywêreldbekereindstryd geword.

Wat my geraak het in Mapimpi se onderhoud met New Frame vroeër in die toernooi, is die storie van sy familie. Sy ma, Eunice het haar eie naaldwerkbesigheid besit voordat sy in ’n motorongeluk oorlede is. Sy suster, Zukiswa, wat ’n opgeleide suster was, is aan ’n breinsiekte oorlede. En Mapimpi se broer, Zolani, het sy been verloor nadat hy elektriese kabels probeer steel het en geskok is. Hy het later aan sy beserings beswyk.

As ’n mens dié storie hoor, klink dit soos een tragedie op die ander. Luister egter na Mapimpi se perspektief op al hierdie slegte dinge: “As my ma en suster steeds geleef het, sou ek heel moontlik nie in Japan gewees het nie. Beide was gekant daarteen dat ek rugby speel. Hulle het gevoel dat ek eerder moet gaan studeer of ’n werk moes kry. Natuurlik sê ek nie dit is ’n goeie ding wat hulle nie hier is nie. Hulle afwesigheid het my sterk gemaak en my laat voel dat my insluiting in die span God se plan vir my lewe is.” Vandag is Mapimpi ’n rolmodel vir ’n groot klomp plattelandse kinders om in hul drome te bly glo.

Dit is maklik om God in slegte tye te verwyt. Hoe kan iets goed immers kom uit ’n egskeiding, die aflegging by die werk, die dood van ’n geliefde, finansiële verlies of selfs siekte? In Jesaja 55:8-9 praat God egter self: “My gedagtes is nie julle gedagtes nie, en julle optrede nie soos Myne nie, sê die Here; soos die hemel hoër is as die aarde, so is my optrede verhewe bo julle optrede en my gedagtes bo julle gedagtes.” Ook in Romeine 8:28 lees ons: “Ons weet dat God alles ten goede laat meewerk vir dié wat Hom lief het . . .

Mag ons in stede van kwaad wees en God bevraagteken, begin om Hom vir elke seisoen in ons lewens te dank. Waar ons ’n klein deeltjie sien, sien Hy die volle prent. Hy ken die toekoms en beloof om nooit iets oor ons pad toe te laat wat ons nie sal kan hanteer nie. Kom ons dank Hom vandag dat Hy in staat is om alles ten goede te laat meewerk in ons lewens. Sterkte.

Vader God, baie dankie dat ek kan weet dat U my toekoms in U hande hou. Help my asseblief om nie mismoedig te raak in moeilike tye nie, maar eerder om te kies om dankbaar te bly. Ek vra dit in die Naam van Jesus Christus. Amen.

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Day 3: Be aware and fight back - 5 November 2019

Benescke Janse van Rensburg

He sits in the dark and watches you. He sharpens his arrows to ensure that it will hurt and destroy when fired. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing who attacks strategically. His arrows have names. Offense, bitterness, gossip, unforgiving, anger, fear, rejection, aggression, pride, addiction, lust. The purpose is to rob us of our joy and peace. He wants to make us fearful. Why? Because it makes us powerless.

In Luke 10:19 we read that Jesus Christ obtained the victory and He gives us the authority to do the same: “I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you.” Also in 1 Corinthians 15:57, we read: “But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.” And then in James 4: 7 we find a valuable way to do this:  “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

When last did we sharpen our own arrows by reading the Word of God and memorizing His promises? That is our sword and our ammunition to fight back. When was the last time we took up the shield of faith to resist the arrows of the enemy? Do we regularly pray for a wall of fire of protection around us and our loved ones? And how often do we use communion as proof that we believe that Jesus Christ died for us?

Today, arrows may be fired in our direction. Let's recognize it and use the shield of faith to prevent it to reach our hearts. Let us protect our joy and peace so that we can live free and fearless. And let us remember that the same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives within us and strengthens us when we are weak. God bless.

Father God, thank you for sending Jesus Christ to die on our behalf. Please help me to understand my authority in You while recognizing the arrows fired in my direction. Help me to protect my peace and joy. I ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

PROMISES OF GOD: If you do not know where to start, click on the Bible Society's website to find a variety of reading lists that might help. Alternatively, click on www.benescke.co.za for a list of 10 bible verses that you can start to memorize.

Feedback: Give feedback on the series at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  You can also share your testimony about something God has done in your life that may be encouraging to other readers at the same address.

Dag 3: Wees Waaksaam - 5 November 2019

Benescke Janse van Rensburg

Hy sit in die donker en hou jou dop. Hy slyp sy pyle om skerp genoeg te wees om seer te maak en te verwoes. Hy is ’n wolf in skaapsklere wat strategies aanval. Sy pyle het name. Aanstoot, bitterheid, skinderpraatjies, verwerping, vrees, ’n onvergewensgesindheid, woede, aggressie, hoogmoed, verslawing, wellus. Die doel is om ons van ons vreugde en vrede te beroof. Hy wil ons in vrees laat leef. Hoekom? Want dit maak ons kragteloos.

In Lukas 10:19 herinner Jesus Christus ons egter aan ons outoriteit oor die bose: “Kyk, Ek het aan julle die mag gegee om op slange en skerpioene te trap en om die vyand met al sy geweld te oorwin, sonder dat iets julle enige leed aandoen.” Ook in 1 Korintiërs 15:57 lees ons: “Maar ons dank God dat Hy aan ons die oorwinning gee deur ons Here Jesus Christus.” En dan in Jakobus 4:7 vind ons ’n waardevolle manier om dit te doen: “Onderwerp julle dan aan God; weerstaan die duiwel, en hy sal van julle wegvlug.

Wanneer laas het jy jou pyle skerpgemaak deur die Woord van God te lees en sy beloftes te memoriseer? Dit is die swaard in die wapenrusting. Wanneer laas het jy die skild van geloof opgetel om weerstand teen die pyle van die vyand te bied? Bid ons gereeld vir ’n muur van vuur van beskerming rondom ons en ons geliefdes? En hoe gereeld gebruik ons nagmaal as ’n bewys dat ons glo dat Jesus Christus vir ons gesterf het?

Vandag mag pyle in ons rigting geskiet word. Kom ons sien dit raak en tel ons skild van geloof op sodat dit nie ons harte bereik nie. Kom ons beskerm ons vreugde en vrede sodat ons vry en vreesloos kan leef. En kom ons onthou dat dieselfde Heilige Gees wat Jesus uit die dood opgewek het, binne ons woon en ons versterk wanneer ons swak is. Sterkte. 

Vader God, baie dankie dat U Jesus Christus gestuur het om namens ons te sterf. Help my asseblief om my outoriteit in U te verstaan en ook daarop te staan wanneer pyle in my rigting gestuur word. Help my om die vyand se aanvalle te erken en nie my vrede en vreugde te verloor nie. Ek vra dit in die Naam van Jesus Christus. Amen.

BELOFTES VAN GOD: As jy nie weet waar om te begin nie, klik op die Bybelgenootskap se webtuiste vir ’n leeslys wat jy kan volg. Alternatiewelik, klik op www.benescke.co.za vir ’n lys van 10 wat jy kan memoriseer.
 
Terugvoer: Gesels saam by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Jy kan ook jou getuienis deel oor iets wat God in jou lewe gedoen het wat dalk ander lesers kan bemoedig.

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