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Redeeming Time: Letting the Bible Speak - 7 July 2020

Louise Gevers

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7,8 (ESV)

Winter is a delight in the Western Cape, when the rains come, because almost overnight the abundant water revives the brown, lacklustre vegetation of the hot, dry summer, and makes it luxuriantly green again. Throughout the year, there are always some trees and shrubs that remain verdant, beautiful and untouched, however, even during drought. These remind me of the tree described in today’s verse, whose leaves are always green because its roots are constantly being replenished from the source, as they tap into the water. 

The Bible speaks into all seasons in our lives. For the person, “who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD”, his replenishment comes from Jesus, Himself, the source of Living Water (John 4:10) which will never be exhausted, because He is the eternal Word. He was there, “In the beginning ... was with God, and ... was God.” (John 1:1) Those who allow their roots to tap deep into Him will be well-watered and vibrant at all times - not escaping the heat of the lockdown and its difficulties – but strengthened in hope and fruitful in all seasons in the things that count in God’s Kingdom. 

Regular, undistracted reading of the Bible acquaints us with God’s voice, and is the key to providing answers that apply to us, as it unlocks the record of God’s interaction with mankind. Paul commends God’s Word to Timothy as, “God-breathed and … useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16,17)

Learning to listen to God is vital and, once again, time and faithfulness are essential ingredients to facilitate this. In faith we come to God, who is unseen, and speak to Him confident that He will hear us no matter what language we speak; but we are not always as sure that we will hear Him speaking to us. 

Yet, the more time we spend reading the Bible, the more we can open our minds to its truth and the power of the Holy Spirit to equip us in all wisdom. We gain a better understanding of God, and a greater awareness of His “still small voice” in our lives. This brings us peace in dark times, and courage in the heat of the drought as we hold onto His Word and the power of His promises to sustain us.

Does the Bible speak to you?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, Living Word, You are the Source of life, the One who sustains us through every trial as we draw our strength and encouragement from You. May we hear all that You say to us in the Bible, that our time together may enrich our lives. Amen.

Verlossingstyd: Laat die Bybel praat - 7 Julie 2020

Louise Gevers

Dit gaan goed met die mens wat sy vertroue in die Here stel, die mens vir wie die Here 'n veilige vesting is; so iemand is soos 'n boom wat by water geplant is en sy wortels na die stroom toe uitstoot, nie die hitte voel as dit kom nie en altyd groen blare het; 'n droë jaar raak hom nie en hy hou nie op om vrugte te dra nie. Jeremia 17:7-8

Winter is 'n vreugde in die Wes-Kaap, want feitlik oornag verander die reëns na die warm somer die dorre, bruin plantegroei in welige groen. Regdeur die jaar is daar egter altyd sommige bome en struike wat groen bly, selfs gedurende die droogte. Hierdie plante laat my dink aan die boom wat in vandag se teks beskryf word, 'n boom wie se blare altyd groen bly want sy wortels word gevoed uit die waterbron waar dit geplant is.

Die Bybel praat met ons oor al die seisoene van ons lewe. Die mens "wat sy vertroue in die Here stel, vir wie die Here 'n veilige vesting is", se krag kom van Jesus, die Bron van lewende water (Johannes 4:10) wat nooit uitgeput sal raak nie, want Hy is die ewige Woord. Hy was altyd daar want "in die begin was die Woord daar, en die Woord was by God, en die Woord was self God." (Johannes 1:1) Diegene wat hulle wortels toelaat om diep in Hom geanker te wees, sal genoeg water ontvang en lewendig wees – al ontsnap hulle nie noodwendig, soos byvoorbeeld in hierdie grendeltyd, aan alle probleme nie – hulle ontvang krag en hoop en sal steeds in alle seisoene vrug dra in dit wat belangrik is in die koninkryk van God.

Die gereelde, aandagtige lees van die Bybel maak ons bekend met die stem van God, en soos dit God se interaksie met die mens vir ons ontsluit, word dit die sleutel tot die verskaffing van antwoorde wat ook op ons betrekking het. Paulus beveel Gods Woord aan vir Timoteus want, "Die hele Skrif is deur God geïnspireer en het groot waarde om in die waarheid te onderrig, dwaling te bestry, verkeerdhede reg te stel en 'n regte lewenswyse te kweek, sodat die man wat in diens van God staan, volkome voorberei en toegerus sal wees vir elke goeie werk." (2 Timoteus 3:16-17)

Dit is noodsaaklik dat ons leer om na God te luister en, weer eens, is tyd en getrouheid belangrike bestandele om dit te fasiliteer. Ons kom in geloof na die Here wat onsigbaar is en praat met Hom vol vertroue dat Hy ons sal hoor in watter taal ons ook al met Hom praat. Ons is egter nie altyd so seker dat ons Hom sal hoor wanneer Hy met ons praat nie.

En tog, hoe meer tyd ons aan die lees van die Bybel bestee, hoe meer ontvanklik sal ons word vir die waarheid wat daarin voorkom en vir die krag van die Heilige Gees om ons met wysheid toe te rus. Ons sal 'n beter begrip van God kry en meer bewus word van sy "stem" in ons lewe. Die boodskap van die Bybel bring vrede in donker tye, en moed, selfs in die hitte van die droogte, as ons aan sy Woord vashou. Die krag van sy beloftes onderhou ons.

Praat die Bybel met jou?

Gebed: Here Jesus, Lewende Woord, U is die Bron van lewe, die Een wat ons deur elke beproewing onderhou. Van U alleen kry ons krag en bemoediging. Gee dat ons alles sal hoor wat U in die Bybel vir ons sê en gee dat die tyd wat ons met U spandeer ons lewens sal verryk. Amen

Redeeming Time: Are we giving God our Time? - 6 July 2020

Louise Gevers

“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Mark 1:35 (ESV)

Time and faithfulness are essential elements in developing a healthy relationship with God, and are the key to how closely we interact with Him and reflect His integrity each day. When they are devoted to lesser pursuits, we create stumbling blocks that sap our energy and hinder the time we have to spend with Him in prayer, and reflection, each day. We unwittingly allow distractions and other causes the right to challenge, or subtly replace, His authority and values as the highest priorities in our hearts and we begin to disregard Him and His law of love. This has the potential to derail our hearts and unsettle our peace.

Significant relationships are sustained by a wholehearted giving of time and energy, so it’s essential to prioritise a meaningful time with God each day, before lesser demands made on our time impact on us, and our time and energy are depleted. Dynamic time with God enriches our knowledge of Him and deepens our trust. As we acknowledge our needs each day, and faithfully, “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness”, His Spirit inspires and influences our spirit, and empowers us to grow rich in faith and live His values. To this He, “adds all these (other) things … as well”. (Matthew 6:33)

Jesus provides the greatest proof possible that we need to prioritise our time in order to be fully renewed and empowered for each day; He sets the best example of how to do it too. Although God incarnate, Jesus needed to spend time with His Father before, and after, long days of teaching and giving of Himself, whether it was to wake before sunrise to be with Him, alone, in a quiet place, or, to go “to a mountainside to pray, and (spend) the night praying to God.” (Luke 6:12 NIV) Luke records that, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16 NIV)

Each new day is a gift to make our own. We may plan to use it wisely and well, but we can never predict the outcome; yet, if we begin each day with God in prayer, we begin well. We find Him waiting, ready to listen, ready to replace the weariness and cares we bring; ready to give us encouragement and strength for the new day. We rest in His Presence and experience again that His, “compassions never fail. They are new every morning,” (Lamentations 3:22-23) He has promised to never leave us.

What time are you giving God?

Prayer: Loving Father God, Please forgive our faithless use of time, and renew our understanding of it, to help us to grow in Your love and to be empowered to live each day in a way that honours You. Amen.

 

Verlossingstyd: Spandeer ons tyd met die Here? - 6 Julie 2020

Louise Gevers

Die môre vroeg, toe dit nog nag was, het Hy opgestaan en buitentoe gegaan na 'n eensame plek en daar gebid.  Markus 1:35

Tyd en getrouheid is belangrike elemente in die ontwikkeling van 'n gesonde verhouding met die Here, en is die sleutel tot ons interaksie met Hom en ook hoe ons sy integriteit elke dag weerspieël. Wanneer ons ons tyd hoofsaaklik aan ander sake bestee, skep ons struikelblokke wat ons energie tap en ons verhinder om daagliks tyd in gebed en oordenking met die Here deur te bring. Ons laat soms onwetend afleidings en ander oorsake toe om die gesag en waardes van die Here op 'n subtiele manier as die hoogste prioriteit in ons lewe te vervang, en ons begin om Hom en sy wet van liefde te ignoreer.

Belangrike verhoudings word onderhou deur met hart en siel tyd en energie daaraan te bestee. Dit is dus belangrik om elke dag betekenisvolle tyd met die Here te spandeer, voordat ander eise aan ons gestel word wat inbreuk op ons tyd en energie maak. Dinamiese tyd met die Here verryk ons kennis oor Hom en verdiep ons vertroue in Hom. Wanneer ons elke dag ons behoeftes erken, en getrou ons "allereers (beywer) vir die koninkryk van God en vir die wil van God ", sal sy Gees ons inspireer en ons gees beïnvloed, en ons krag gee om dieper in die geloof te groei en om sy waardes uit te leef. Verder lees ons "dan sal Hy julle ook al hierdie dinge gee." (Matteus 6:33)

Jesus gee die grootste bewys moontlik dat dit vir ons nodig is om ons tyd te prioritiseer ten einde elke dag hernieu te word en krag vir die dag te ontvang en Hy stel die beste voorbeeld hoe om dit te doen. Alhoewel Hy God is, het Jesus nodig gehad om tyd met sy Vader te spandeer, voor en na 'n lang dag waar Hy die mense geleer en van Homself gegee het – of dit nou was om vroeg môre op te staan om alleen in 'n eensame plek tyd met Hom te spandeer en of Hy "uitgegaan (het) na die berg toe om te bid en die hele nag deurgebring in gebed tot God. (Lukas 6:12) Lukas skryf dat Jesus "het Hom altyd weer in eensame plekke afgesonder om daar te bid." (Lukas 5:16)

Elke nuwe dag is 'n geskenk om ons eie te maak. Ons mag beplan om dit wys en goed te gebruik, maar ons kan nie die uitkoms voorspel nie. Tog as ons elke dag met God in gebed begin, begin ons goed. Ons sal vind dat Hy vir ons wag, gereed om te luister, gereed om ons vermoeidheid en sorge op Hom te neem, gereed om ons te bemoedig en krag te gee vir die nuwe dag. Ons rus in sy teenwoordigheid en ondervind weer dat daar is geen einde aan sy ontferming nie, dit is elke môre nuut. (Klaagliedere 3:22-23)

Hoeveel tyd spandeer jy met die Here?

Gebed: Liefdevolle Hemelse Vader, vergewe asseblief ons ongelowige gebruik van tyd. Hernieu ons begrip daarvan sodat ons in u liefde kan groei en krag ontvang om elke dag tot u eer te leef. Amen

 

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