Month: October 2018

I was reading in Matthew 9 when Jesus was going about doing His teachings and how when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, having been lost with no shepherd.

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Matthew 9:35‭-‬38 NIV

I got to thinking about when I was lost and the first day I walked into my church having been astray from God for a while and needing to get close to Him again. I remember the friendly parking guys, the friendly welcoming team, and thinking this is great! Then, as we walked through the door and saw just how big the church was, we nearly turned to walk out, when a friendly usher came to show us to our seat. There were giving envelopes on the seats which we also loved, being shy of the only R10.00 we had to give that day. Then there was the worship vibe and joy on stage and the pastor who gave such a practical, very relevant message that everyone could apply to their daily lives. Last but not least, the Connections team being so welcoming and ready to chat and get to know us. The gentleman who met with us was so kind and genuine, patient listening to our story and even prayed with us. I got to see so many different sides to Jesus that night, His compassion, His welcoming, His joy, His friendliness, His kindness, His showing me the way. I knew I was home and I have never turned back and only grown from strength to strength in my relationship with God since that night.

When people walk into the church for the first time, they are looking to fill a void, find a sense of belonging or get close to God. Every little part each team plays is a vital role in serving, and it’s important that we help them to find what they were looking for. Every role, even if its small, is an important one in creating their whole experience at church. Serving is an opportunity to show Jesus’ loving heart to others, which plays a huge role in bringing them either to salvation or making right with God again.

Jesus had compassion for the lost, He showed them kindness and love. It’s an absolute privilege to serve and we should take the opportunity every time to show through our serving spaces who Jesus is, so that even though people may walk in feeling lost, when they leave they know they are found.

I personally serve because of what Jesus has done for me, He went the extra mile for us and laid down His life for us. We should serve others in the way He served us, going the extra mile and laying down what’s going on in our lives so we can show Jesus’ heart fully to others. We are called to serve others, and Jesus heart is for us to love one another, putting others before ourselves.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Colossians 3:12‭-‬14 NIV

This was such a beautiful revelation for me of serving others and I pray it will give you some encouragement for the areas you serve in.

With love

Di

This song brought me to such a beautiful encounter with God, I felt the need to write a blog about it. It’s through hearing this song that I realised the fullness of the work God has done in my life so far and is still going to do in the years to come!

“And when I thought I lost me
You knew where I left me
You reintroduced me to Your love
You picked up all my pieces
Put me back together
You are the Defender of my heart”

The bridge brought me to my knees, knowing where I had come from before I really met God. My life has been one of much brokenness, listening to the lies of the enemy and acting out on those lies. There are many words that I can use to describe the theme of my life before God: Anger, Pain, Disappointment, Rejection, Hopelessness, Envy, Longing, Searching. There are many traumas, trials and disappointments that brought me to this theme in my life and I allowed it for way too long. God chose me and took me back to all those places where I lost myself so I could go and find me again. He picked up all my broken pieces and is making me whole again. Looking back on all my pain, God has been defending me the whole time without me even knowing!

“Hallelujah, You have saved me
So much better Your way
And hallelujah, Great Defender
So much better Your way”

God saved me from a life of searching for a place to belong, for a place to fit in. He saved me from a life of pain and darkness and brought me to a life of love and light! Doing life without God felt so dark and lonely, but doing life with God has brought so much freedom into my life. My way just caused so much more disappointment, it is so much better His way!

“And all I did was praise
All I did was worship
All I did was bow down
All I did was stay still”

All I had to do for this change in the theme of my life to take place was to acknowledge Him as Lord of my life, to surrender and start doing life His way! All I had to do was stay still for Him to finish the great work He started in me!

God is our defender! As we face the experiences we do in this life here on earth, He is there to carry us and work everything together for His good! He has taken all of my bad circumstances and turned them into sweet memories of how He was there to protect and defend me through them.

If God saved someone like me, He can save someone like you! He has already begun a great work in you, and He will finish what he started if you allow Him to!

I pray that you will encounter the love of God the way I have and find freedom from a life of darkness moving into a life of love and light with Him!

Yours in Christ

Di

Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

When we face a trial it is so easy to get caught up in how tired we are from life’s circumstances. It’s in moments of trial that every weakness surfaces and our vision becomes blurry, our hearing is drowned with loud unclear thoughts. We become dizzy with thoughts of hopelessness, disappointment and despair. In all honesty we make it so much more difficult for ourselves than it needs to be. I learnt some truths for facing trials this year and I thought I’d share them with you.

Realign your thoughts

Satan is a liar and he likes to tell us lies, especially when life gives us an unfair hand. He likes to tell us that we are not worthy, that things will never go our way, that we are not strong enough to handle the situation. He likes to tell us that we should be angry at God because if He really loved us then why should life even be dealing us an unfair hand. He lies to us so much that if we listen we get tired and weary and can’t find hope to carry on.

The truth is that in this life we will face trials, of all different kinds. God doesn’t necessarily want us to be faced with these situations, but He does allow them because it’s through these trials that He teaches us our greatest lessons. We may face trials, but God equips us with the tools to be able to face them head on! It’s up to us to realign our thoughts, actually stop and think about what we’re thinking about, grab hold of those tools and use them to push through.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2 NIV

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Colossians 3:2 NIV

Grab your tools

It’s so important to spend time reading God’s word. One thing I have learnt about God’s word, is that its not just a book of law / guidelines but it’s a book of tools, truth, encouragement, hope and so much more than just law. It’s when we really spend time in God’s word, prayer and worship, that we come to know Him for who He really is. Like any other motivational video or piece of writing, God’s word is there to help guide us in every situation we may face throughout our lives. His word is truth! Satan may tell us lies, but the truths found in God’s word equip us to fight off those lies and negative thought patterns. As we read and get to know God’s word, we are able to memorise Bible verses / stories that will be of encouragement to us when Satan is trying to play his rude tricks on our thought life. When tempted Jesus quoted scripture, we need to be able to do the same!

I have had to face many trials this year alone, and now knowing the truth of God’s word, I have been better equipped to deal with them and see them through. In the past, however, I was so weak I struggled to see the strength and authority God has actually given me. We need to let go of the lies Satan tells us and focus on speaking life and not death over ourselves and the situations we face.

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31‭-‬32 NIV

Take back your authority

In Jesus, we have authority over our situations. It’s just a matter of realigning our thoughts with Christ’s, and pushing forward in the authority He has given us. There is power in the name of Jesus, to break every chain, every stronghold, every lie and to move any mountain. We have the power of Jesus Christ to speak life into any trial / situation we may face.

“No weapon formed against us will prosper”

Luke 10:19

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

1 John 4:4 NIV

Find comfort

In the moment of trial, it always seems bad, but the truth is that God can work anything together for good. I find it comforting to know that He is working in the background to work everything together for good. We don’t necessarily need to know what’s going to happen next because it’s already been shaped together by God. Find comfort in Him, be still and know that He is God.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28 NIV

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Matthew 5:4 NIV

Surrender

When we surrender our trials to God He is able to move. When we surrender we are showing that we trust that God knows what He’s doing and has it all planned out. He promises to see us through every trial, to never leave or forsake us. It’s during our trials that He carries us, if we let Him! God wants us to realise that He is supernatural, He wants us to completely surrender all areas of our lives to Him and have full faith in Him. Let Him take the steering wheel!

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
James 4:10 NIV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5‭-‬6 NIV

Go deeper in prayer

God is a great listener, it’s OK to tell him how you feel as you face a trial. It’s OK to tell Him you’re disappointed, it’s OK to tell Him you’re afraid or tired. He understands we are humans made up of human emotions, He made us. It’s when we rest our thoughts and emotions on Him, that He is able to show us how much He loves us and how much strength we actually do have in Him. He brings us to a place of peace and our crazy thoughts settle and we’re able to hear His creative advice on what to do next. Don’t be shy to ask Him for guidance or to show you the way out. God loves it when we spend time talking to Him, when we take the time out of our day to spend with Him and go deeper in our relationship with Him. He sometimes will even use a trial to catch our attention to our prayer life.

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:12‭-‬13 NIV

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.
James 5:13 NIV

Go deeper in praise / worship

A guest pastor at our church said something so profound: “The answer to our current problem is in our previous problem”. God has previously moved mountains, and He can definitely do it again! Take a look back on moments that God has come through for you before and remember that if He did it then, He is able to do it now. We serve an awesome, loving God who is worthy of our praise. I find that when I’m in worship, my thoughts silence and I’m focused on the goodness of our God. There have been many occasions where I have been singing a song I have sung for years, but suddenly there is one line in it that I never noticed before that will speak into my life. Worship brings us to a place where we let go of the focus on ourselves and put our focus back on God again.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Hebrews 12:28‭-‬29 NIV

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100:4‭-‬5 NIV

When facing trials it’s important that we realign our thoughts with Christ’s, surrender the trial to God, grab hold of the tools He has laid out for us, take back the authority He has given us, find comfort in Him and go deeper in prayer and worship! He has everything all planned out and before the trial came about, He has already planned the way out of the trial and complete recovery.

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31 NIV

I trust these lessons will bring you hope and encouragement for whatever trial you are facing in your life at the moment. I pray you would find your strength in Him!

Praying for you!

Di

xxx

The moment I realised I had a calling on my life to serve God in speaking life and identity to others, my immediate reaction was – why me? I’m not cut out for that kind of work. I immediately looked at my weaknesses, my insecurities and suddenly all my failures seemed so much larger. I always felt there was a certain stereotype of person that God would use for this kind of work and I never for one second thought that I could ever be worthy.

This is our problem as humans, we focus on all the negatives in our lives. We focus on all our failures and bad circumstances and allow them to define who we are and what we can and cannot do. We do this so much that we are blinded to seeing how God can use exactly this to help shape and grow others.

Steven Furtick had such a beautiful message on failure and it really hit a button for me so deeply. “Failure is the hinge to the door that opens wide the grace of God”. I looked at my failure differently after watching this video.

God already knew I was going to fail, and how He had already planned my recovery. He used my failures for me to come to know His grace and a love so deep. If it weren’t for my failures, I would not have come to know the depth of God’s grace and love for me. I’ve always known it, but not to the extent I know it now. When we come to know God in this way, we are never the same again.

It got me thinking, I was always giving testimony to how God had saved my life so many times from various traumatic events. I forgot to notice how even my failures are a testimony of His grace and love for me and others.

We all have a past, and our past, no matter what that is, makes up part of our story. Our story is not just a story, but a testimony of the many moments that we have had divine appointments with God where He has saved us, shown us His grace, love and mercy. It’s through our stories that we are able to share of His goodness in our lives and help others to come to know Him and that same grace, love and mercy.

Romans 8:28
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

I love this verse, it doesn’t say that all things are good, but it does say that all things will work together for good! This means that God can use any circumstance, any failure, and work it together for good for those who are called according to his purpose.

Even in the Bible we see how God uses a variation of imperfect people for His work. Elijah was suicidal, Joseph was abused, Moses had a speech problem, Rahab was a prostitute, the Samaritan woman was divorced, Peter denied Christ 3 times, David committed adultery, Paul persecuted Christians before becoming one, Zacchaeus was money hungry, and the list goes on. It doesn’t mean that because you have failed in an area or many areas of your life that God can’t use you. Jesus used a bunch of broken people to share hope to a broken world.

God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.

Philippians 1:6
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

This verse tells us, that God has started a great work in us, and He aims to finish what he started! We can learn from our failures and God will see us through the recovery and right into His plan for our lives to fulfill His purpose.

Don’t underestimate the power of your story and how through your story God can speak deeply into someone’s life. Although God does not want for us to fail, God also did not want for those things to happen to us, He can use those circumstances and your recovery for a greater purpose. The same power that conquered the grave lives within you. You have the power through Jesus, to conquer your failures, be free from the guilt and shame, and step forward into what God has called you to do.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future!

Yesterday was just one of those days when all my wounds seemed to break open and for a short moment I had a bit of an identity crisis. I let my thoughts trail off into a negative space and everything about my day just didn’t seem to be going right.

I was invited to a friends house for a braai and to be honest with all my wounds cut right open I wasn’t really feeling up to it. I decided to go anyway and never did I for one second think I would be moved in the way I was. It’s mostly when we don’t feel like doing something that it actually ends up to be such a blessing, it was a great night of meaningful conversations and great fun starting off with a moment with a Chihuahua.

I had never been to this friends house before, so I was welcomed at the gate by their little Chihuahua doggie, Lilo. She is so TINY! I met her for the first time yesterday and so a natural doggies reaction is to protect her humans. The first thing I noticed was how she was barking and growling at me, really viciously, as if she really thought at her size she could scare me, who is about 30 times her size. She literally barked and growled at me as if she was a super big, strong and viscous dog. At first, when I saw her I wasn’t scared because of her size, but then I saw how confident she was and I thought maybe she can bite really sore and I felt a little insecure. In that moment, God spoke to me.

I realised we truly underestimate ourselves, we think so little of ourselves. We think we won’t have influence on people’s lives around us, and for that reason we won’t. This little Chihuahua knows her identity, she knows her passion (to protect her humans) and no matter her size she wants to fulfill that passion. She believes she is big, strong and can have influence and so she does. I was suddenly reminded of an image I saw on social media recently, which speaks for itself. (See below)

We need to believe in bigger things of ourselves, we need to find and know our worth. We need to see and know the influence we can have on the lives of others. When we look in the mirror and see a strong, confident and influential person, that is exactly who we will be.

God created us uniquely, He called us to have influence on those around us, to build His Kingdom. If He believes in us, then who are we not to believe in ourselves? It’s sad to think that the enemy knows more about who we were called to be than we do, that’s why he constantly attacks us in the area of our identity. He wants us to feel weak, to feel unworthy of anything great. He wants to rob us of fulfilling our purpose on earth. When we choose not to believe in what God says about us, we are opening that door to so many things that will prevent us from fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Be sure to speak life over yourself, the truth of God’s word and what He says about how and why He created you. Stand firm in your identity in Christ and go and be influential in the lives of others. Believe you are strong, confident and influential. God believes this about you and He is not man that would lie, God only speaks truth. God gives us all the strength we need for any circumstance / situation. He equips us for anything we may need to face whether positive / negative. Lean on Him and not your own understanding.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.

God can use such practical moments to speak to us. We just need to have our eyes, ears and hearts open to hearing the messages He sends us through people, animals, things, His word etc. Always be ready, He chooses such wonderful moments to share His thoughts with us.

You are who He says you are, believe it!