Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Don't be ashamed

“And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” – Genesis 3:8

I read this passage again yesterday and I just noticed the specific wording used here, “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord”. Everyone would agree that you are silly when you think that you can hide from God, because He is all seeing and all knowing. Nothing happens without His knowledge and Adam and Eve knew that God already knew what had happened. That is why they didn't just hide from Him, they hid from His presence. 

I just realised that so often in life the devil convinces us to feel ashamed or guilty about our actions or behaviours and even though we know that we cannot hide from God and that He knows everything, we still avoid and hide from His presence because of how we feel. 

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10

Jesus brings life and the devil is on a constant mission to steal this from us. By stealing or destroying our times in God’s presence, the devil succeeds to steal from us the joy, peace and love that we receive so freely in His presence. There is never any reason for us to be afraid to step into God’s presence. Jesus has made the way clear and has received any punishment on our behalf. We are free to enjoy God even if we feel like we do not deserve it. Guilt and shame should not stop us from running to His presence, on the contrary, it should encourage us to run to Him, because it is in His presence where guilt, shame and lies carry no weight and where mercy, grace and love abounds.

“Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.” – Genesis 3:21

Adam and Eve hid because they realised that they were naked and they used leaves to cover themselves up. The realisation of nakedness came due to their disobedience, but God is His grace made them tunics out of skin to clothe them. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, we can wear His robe of righteousness and we never have to feel naked again.

God does not bring guilt, shame or condemnation; these are the works of the devil. Don’t let these steal from you! Don’t hide from His presence and create a big white elephant in the room, rather run to Him, tell Him what is on your heart and thank Him for what Jesus already did so many years ago. 

Picture credit:journeyintothespectrum

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Generosity changes the heart

There are not many things as powerful as generosity. It doesn't just bless the person receiving, but it also changes the heart of the giver. It is not a surprise that Jesus says it is better to give than to receive!

Being able to give your time or money is a privilege. An act of selfless kindness changes our hearts and our capacity to love and be loved. We were not created to function alone, but to find joy in community and helping each other. It gives us an opportunity to escape from the world of me me me and see the world from someone else's perspective. It forces us to leave our stress and worries at the door and focus our attention on the needs of someone else.

Then why is it so hard for us? Maybe it's due to our overcrowded schedules? Thinking we can do more and fit more in. When will we stop and think about quality of life and not quantity?

Maybe we think that giving will drain us or if we start giving our time that people will take advantage of us?

Maybe we should make more time to find a need of someone close to us and help? Maybe make a commitment or a random act of kindness? But I am convinced that somewhere in our week we can find a need and fill it. Listening to a friend for 30min, babysitting or making a meal for a stressed friend or even volunteering an hour a week somewhere.

Generosity is not charity, it's seeing the need when no one else does.

I recently read an article about being happy and living longer and this is what it says about giving:

"One of the most counterintuitive pieces of advice I found is that to make yourself feel happier, you should help others. In fact, 100 hours per year (or two hours per week) is the optimal time we should dedicate to helping others in order to enrich our lives.

If we go back to Shawn Achor’s book again, he says this about helping others:

…when researchers interviewed more than 150 people about their recent purchases, they found that money spent on activities – such as concerts and group dinners out – brought far more pleasure than material purchases like shoes, televisions, or expensive watches. Spending money on other people, called “prosocial spending,” also boosts happiness.

The Journal of Happiness Studies published a study that explored this very topic:

Participants recalled a previous purchase made for either themselves or someone else and then reported their happiness. Afterward, participants chose whether to spend a monetary windfall on themselves or someone else. Participants assigned to recall a purchase made for someone else reported feeling significantly happier immediately after this recollection; most importantly, the happier participants felt, the more likely they were to choose to spend a windfall on someone else in the near future.

So spending money on other people makes us happier than buying stuff for ourselves. What about spending our time on other people?

In his book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, University of Pennsylvania professor Martin Seligman explains that helping others can improve our own lives:

…we scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested."

Also the following was very exciting for me to read:

"The Terman study, which is covered in The Longevity Project, found that relationships and how we help others were important factors in living long, happy lives:

We figured that if a Terman participant sincerely felt that he or she had friends and relatives to count on when having a hard time then that person would be healthier. Those who felt very loved and cared for, we predicted, would live the longest. Surprise: our prediction was wrong… Beyond social network size, the clearest benefit of social relationships came from helping others. Those who helped their friends and neighbours, advising and caring for others, tended to live to old age."

So it is scientifically proven that being generous and helping others will make us happier and live longer. Maybe it's time to put our fears aside, jump into action and discover the joys of giving!

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give - Sir Winston Churchill

Picture credits: misadventuresblog and stewardship
Article credit: thespiritscience

Friday, 20 June 2014


It is highly likely that at some stage during your life you have experienced betrayal, maybe even more than once or twice. I have experienced three different kinds of betrayal and I’ll give simple random examples to explain each one. The first is when someone has betrayed your trust by doing something, which you won’t approve of, behind your back. For example cheating on you or abusing your finances. The second is when you feel betrayed because someone did something which you did not expect or even approve of. This does not mean that the other person actually did something wrong, but only that their actions left you feeling betrayed. For example when two of your friends go out and don’t invite you. What they did is not wrong, but you might feel betrayed because they did not invite you. The third one happens really often but many people don’t even recognise it as betrayal. This is when you betray yourself. Betrayal can be when you have an expectation of someone and they let you down and this person can even be yourself. For example a friend of yours is being mocked in a conversation, you expect yourself to stand up for the person, but instead you just keep quiet. You have betrayed yourself. Afterwards you will probably even feel the need to justify why you did not stand up for the friend.

In all the above mentioned examples the feeling of betrayal will be present. Feeling betrayed can be one of the hardest emotions to process and almost always results in anger. When we do not deal with an underlying emotion (betrayal), another emotion (mostly anger) rises to the occasion depending on your personality. We often display anger when we feel hurt, vulnerable and experience emotional pain.

If betrayal is not dealt with, it can grow into an ugly emotion called bitterness or resentment. This is so dangerous, because it will damage your heart and other relationships even if the person is not in the picture anymore. Someone with bitterness or resentment in their heart will struggle to experience joy and love fully and might start believing that the world is “out to get them”. Thus it is definitely in your own interest to deal with the emotion properly.

The key to dealing with betrayal is forgiveness, but you might need a few steps before you get there and the time frame will be different depending on the type of betrayal. So how do we start the healing process? Validating the emotion of betrayal is a good start, admit to yourself that you feel betrayed and hurt. Talk about the situation, if you cannot speak with the other person involved then speak to a trusted friend. The most important thing is that you start dealing with the emotion.

If the person is still in your life, it is important to start building the trust that was broken again. It is definitely not impossible, but it is a journey and forgiveness is crucial. You cannot have a healthy relationship with someone if there is unforgiveness in your heart. Forgiveness is often a decision and you have to act on it even if you don’t feel like it. Ask God to help you forgive, even if you feel like you can’t. He can open your heart again and heal the wound. Your emotions will eventually catch on and follow your heart and mind’s decision to forgive. During betrayal the wall of a relationship cracks and it needs to be rebuild in places. Keep your focus on rebuilding the wall with forgiveness and this will stop the wall from cracking through to the foundations.

Forgiveness is so worth it! Not just for you, but also to free the person on the other end, especially if that person is you! We so often forget to forgive ourselves and show ourselves the kindness and grace that we deserve. Even if you think that you do not deserve forgiveness, it’s a lie. You deserve it because you have the righteousness of Christ and Jesus has already paid the price for anything that you will ever do wrong. Beating yourself up would nullify the price that He’s already paid and steal your joy.

Free yourself today by forgiving and if you struggle, just ask God for help. You do not deserve to walk around with a wounded heart. Rather choose the path of healing and growth and fill your heart with all that is good. The bible says that whom the Son has set free, is free indeed! Don’t let anything take that freedom from you!

Picture credit: Pinterest

Tuesday, 6 May 2014


Every relationship is different. Personalities and preferences differ from person to person and thus no relationship will be 100% the same. We then can also not expect that our relationship with God will look the same as someone else's. God speaks to us all in different ways and the important thing is not HOW He speaks, but that you HEAR Him. A relationship needs communication and God is no different.

All healthy relationships also have some kind of agreement of what is acceptable and what's not. For example, some men might not want their wives to work late hours at work and prefer a wife that is home in the evenings. Other men might have no problem with their wives working long hours. Others might prefer a spouse who drinks no alcohol during the week, where another doesn't mind. This can be applicable to anything from playing video games to socialising. Different relationships, different 'rules'. At the end you choose which relationship you want and what your preferences are according to the life that you want to live and what's important to you.

As you grow in your relationship with God, you will see what the 'rules' in your relationship are. God might ask me not to drink alcohol for example, because I don't know when to stop and it hurts our relationship, because I feel ashamed the next day. He might never speak to you about alcohol, because He doesn't mind that you have a few drinks and it doesn't hurt your relationship. Whatever He asks you to do, you can know for sure that it is the best for your relationship and that it will always benefit and protect you.

The most important thing is that we know that it is personal. It is my relationship and your relationship. I can't tell people not to drink alcohol, because God asked ME not to do it. They should do what God tells THEM to do. If I force people to do what God has told me to do, then I just burden people with a bunch of rules and they will end up feeling condemned. Too many people follow other people's 'rules' for their relationship with God and end up feeling unhappy and burdened. They have no grace to live according to those 'rules' and they thus bring no life to them. Your relationship with God will bring life and joy to you and you need to grow in that relationship on your own. It's between you and Him and it's special and wonderful. Don't let other people tell you what your relationship with God should be like, only that a relationship with God will always include a foundation of love, peace and joy. Spend time with Him, grow with Him, enjoy His freedom and discover the greatest friend you'll ever know.

Photo credit: stockarch

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Selfishness, you sneaky thing!

Oh the terrible evil! Let me make one thing clear first. There is a difference between selfishness and putting yourself first. In our lives we need to put ourselves first in certain areas to ensure that we are emotionally stable and healthy. We need to look after our bodies and our hearts, if we don't, then we'll lose a part of who we are and we would be less able to successfully support and help someone else. We become thinly spread and at the end drained, tired and unable to motivate ourselves or others. What you need to do to stay emotionally healthy will be different for each person and will need to be a discussion between you and the Holy Spirit.

Selfishness comes in when we put ourselves first at the expense of others. When we become self consumed and blinded to the needs of others. Selfishness is so sneaky, it creeps in so slowly and then before you know, it's all about me and in that moment you see yourself as the victim. If you recognize this behaviour, then a red light should be flashing.

As soon as you start seeing yourself as the victim, everyone else's actions will be amplified and any negative reaction from someone might be experienced as an attack. When selfishness increases, your grace for others start decreasing and soon patience and kindness go out the window. In short, selfishness does not make us more satisfied, it actually makes us unhappier, because it creates an insatiable desire which nothing and no one can still.

So how do we manage the fine line between selfishness and putting ourselves first? Let's ask God to help us define our boundaries clearly and prompt us when we overstep boundaries onto other peoples’ lives in selfishness. Imagine your life as a field, if you keep living on other peoples’ fields then you are stealing from them and being selfish, but if you keep letting others steal from you by allowing them to pitch their tents (needs, desires, opinions) on your field, then you are not looking after yourself enough and you might be burdened and too thinly spread. Ensure that you live comfortably on your field, allowing time for God, loved ones and lots of time to give, love and be loved.

Picture credit:

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Have some fun!

Give yourself a break and have some fun! Give yourself a break from whatever keeps you busy, even if you are the one giving yourself a hard time. We can so often become slave drivers to ourselves, not allowing for mistakes to be made or sufficient time to rest.

We cannot be the best version of ourselves, if we do not look after ourselves. It is not selfish, it is our responsibility. We need to look after our bodies and emotional well being so that we can be the best version of ourselves at work, socially or to our families. Sometimes we care so much about work, other people, our kids or our spouses that we forget to take time out for ourselves. At the end we become drained and a terrible version of ourselves and in actual fact, we only have ourselves to blame.

It might seem selfish to you if you do something relaxing like read a book, go for coffee with a friend or watch a movie by yourself, but in actual fact you are just giving yourself the reboot needed to be the best version of yourself for the rest of the week. In this way you feel appreciated and loved by yourself. It is surprising how much love we can show other people, but how little we sometimes show to ourselves.

It sounds strange, but it's true. We need to show love to ourselves. You need to show yourself that you matter, that you are loved and appreciated. God made to you to live life and life to the fullest. This does not mean that life is just a constant party, but that rather that His joy is available to us in all circumstances. Take some time out and you will find that the joy of the Lord is your strength. Go and find some fun, whatever it means to you, and God will meet you there!

Picture credit: relatablegifs

Monday, 31 March 2014

Being tailor-made (continued)

Previously I wrote a post about being tailor-made, but I still feel like there is so much in my heart relating to the subject, so I have decided to elaborate bit on the growing process.

I feel that sometimes God needs to break us a bit in order for Him to put us back together again. It is not a process that we should be scared of, but it can be painful at times. As I mentioned in my previous post, we grow into our spiritual skin over the years and sometimes God needs to alter our understanding or beliefs, because they were formed by tradition or culture and not by Him. So sometimes we need to be broken in order for God to sift through the pieces. Like when making a quilt, He selects the correct pieces (revelations and truth) and discards the incorrect pieces (understanding formed by culture) and weaves together a new skin for us to grow into.

As you can imagine, being broken is a very vulnerable process. It might feel like everything is stripped away and you can't figure out what is new and what is old, what is truth and what is a lie. As I have mentioned before, it is a process. Don't try and do too much, too fast. Give yourself time to adjust to your new understanding and thinking patterns and embrace this time to rest in them. In times of confusion, don't try and figure things out with theological discussions, rather focus on the revelations and truth which you do know and which God has given you. Focus on the basics. God is love. No one can argue with that one. ;) know that God is in control of the entire process and He will complete it. God never forms anything that is not good and thus you can be sure that all things will work together for your good and according to His purpose. You are safe in His hands. Listen for His voice and follow His lead boldly.

Picture credit: Strawberry threads

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Being tailor-made

Sometimes explaining an abstract concept can by quite tricky, so I'll start with an illustration. Our skin stretched with us as we grew from children into adults. Spiritual growth on the other hand is a little different in my experience. It is almost as if your spiritual skin doesn't stretch and as you can imagine, this could be problematic when growth occurs. You would literally have to grow out of your skin and in my experience this is how it feels.

Your spiritual skin is made up of your revelations, beliefs and understanding of God and His word and these shape and grow constantly as we grow closer to God. We go through different stages, sometimes we are comfortable with what we understand and believe and sometimes we feel challenged by God or others. We need to be challenged, because there is no growth without challenge.

When we feel comfortable with our revelations, beliefs and understanding of God, we feel comfortable in our spiritual skin and super confident, but when God starts challenging our understanding or increasing our revelations, we become uncomfortable. Something needs to give way, somewhere the skin needs to tear and new skin (new revelation) needs to grow, and sometimes old skin (incorrect understanding) needs to be cut out and thrown away. The only way that this can occur is when we tear the skin and make the adjustment. This process can be confusing and vulnerable. We all like feeling confident, but when we have a tear in our skin and a new revelation needs to grow, we might feel vulnerable in certain spots and maybe a bit unconfident and not so sure of ourselves.

But not to worry, as we grow into the new skin our confidence will grow again and our new revelations will inspire us forward. The old skin being cut away will allow space for God to pour new understanding into our hearts.

It reminds me of this verse: "Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17 ESV)

Never become an old wineskin, God cannot put new understanding into old thinking, it will be too much for you to handle. We must rather keep our wineskins fresh, flexible, ready to be tailored and ready to grow. If you find yourself in the middle of a growth spurt, take heart, even though it feels like you are moving backwards, you are in actual fact moving forwards. God is taking you from glory to glory as He tailors you to receive more of His wonderful love and wisdom.

Picture credit:

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Fear be gone!

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." I have written about this verse before and quite frankly, I hope that I still write about it many more times. The impact of this verse on our daily lives is just phenomenal!

I want to start by elaborating on fear. We don't just fear. We fear something, a situation, a person or maybe a future possible event. Fear always has a root that stems from something and that something is almost always a lie. Satan is the great liar, the father of all lies. He plants these lies in our minds (thoughts) and when we dwell on these thoughts, they create emotions and then ultimately we start acting and responding out of fear. (actions) The sequence is always the same thought, emotion and action.

He plants these lies to sow doubt and to break down our faith. Fear thus takes root and all kinds of emotion ensue for eg. anxiety, worry, stress, nervousness and the list goes on. So you might be wondering how all this links back to "perfect love casts out fear"?

Well the Bible says that God is love, He is perfect love and when we keep our eyes focused on His love, we will not fear, because the greatness of His love for us is far bigger than any fear. So if you feel anxious, worried or stressed and fear has gotten the better of you, take some time out and identify the lie, because when we worry, we have started believing somewhere deep down that God isn't all that He says He is.

For example if you worry because you don't know how you will pay your bills then the lie might be "why would your God provide for you, how sure are you that He will come through for you?" If we fall for the lie, then we start believing that God is not the great provider that the Bible proclaims Him to be and fear creeps in. So in our minds we think that God is our provider, but in our hearts we worry that He won’t provide. We need to take the lie captive and submit it to the Word so that our mind and heart can be in agreement. The truth is that nothing can separate us from the love of God and the more we believe it, the more we will know His love and the fear will be cast out.

Obtain a greater revelation of His love! Sit in His presence, read the Word, write down verses, look back at testimonies in your life, do whatever you can to try and comprehend even slightly the amount of love that He has for you. If we can just grasp the tip-of-the-iceberg of His love for us, then we will never fear again and no worry or anxiousness will ever hold us back from living life to the fullest! Let love grow and watch fear disappear!

Picture credit: lthomason

Monday, 24 February 2014

Having grace for today

It's so easy to compare our journeys with the journeys of other people, but it's not helpful or encouraging to do that at all. We are all on different journeys with God and by comparing ourselves to others imply that we are not content with our own journey. It takes the focus from our own journey with God and discontent starts to creep in. We start believing that our journey is not as great or exciting as someone else's and we become discouraged.

The truth is that no matter how inspiring or impressive someone else's journey looks, it’s not intended for you and no comparison is needed. God has a plan and a journey for each one of us and it is our responsibility to walk that journey in obedience and contentment. Sometimes the journey will be underground and sometimes it will be for all to see, but believe me when I say that YOUR journey will always be the one that satisfies you the most.

Being inspired or encouraged by someone's journey is amazing and testimonies are there to share, but it does not mean that we can compare ourselves to others. We need to walk a road to reach certain places and we have no idea what others had to endure on their journeys to reach the place where they currently are. I heard a preacher once say: "the grass might look greener on the other side, but it took a lot of manure to get it that green."

God gives us grace to walk our OWN journey and if we start walking someone else's then we will get discouraged, tired and dissatisfied. You might think that some people get through difficult things so easily, but it is because God has given them the grace to cope with the situation. It is not a reflection of their strength, but rather of God's grace and favour. We do not have the grace to walk someone else's journey. When we live life focused on our journeys, we will be ready with the grace and favour of God to tackle anything that comes our way. If you are trying to walk someone else's journey, you will still be walking on your own path, but your head will be turned the wrong way, thus blinding you to what's ahead. Make sure that you focus on your own path therefore being prepared for the potholes and steep hills, but also open to receive all of the blessings and fruit.

Picture credit: Pam Lennard

Monday, 6 January 2014

Warning lights

Often, too often, we allow emotions to cripple us. Emotions should warn us, but not control us. Too often our emotions become the problem because we don't ask the correct questions: "where does the emotion come from? Or why do I feel this way?"

I have heard the expression many times that an emotion is like a warning light on the dashboard of your car. It goes on when something internal is wrong. In that moment we have two choices, break the light and ignore the problem or investigate the problem. The thing is, that sometimes the little light is scary, especially if we don't know where the problem lies, how deep it is, how long it is going to take to sort out or how much it will cost you.

Let's say that your "dashboard" shows a light of irritation, you may stop to think and realise that you are just hungry and it's pretty easy to solve or you might realise that it's something about someone else that irritates you and you might need to dig a bit deeper to find out where the irritation is coming from and why it is affecting you so much. Or you might notice your irritation, but have absolutely no idea what the underlying problem is. Don't worry! If God has revealed an emotion to you, then you are totally capable of dealing with it. Take some time out, even if it is just 10 minutes and just sit with Him and ask Him where the emotion is coming from. Sometimes something as simple as irritation can be underlying fear or sadness which can easily turn into frustration or anger if not acknowledged and dealt with.

Emotion should not scare us, it should rather guide us to become more self aware so that we can manage ourselves better and always be filled with joy. Be bold today and don't be scared to look at what is lying under the emotion. Sit with God and ask Him to reveal what you are ready to deal with and allow Him to help you through it. Nothing is impossible for Him!
Picture credit: Hdwallpapersin