Monday, March 2, 2020

Let's prepare our hearts

On Sunday morning's we often arrive at church like a piano that is out of tune. We bring all kinds of baggage that has accumulated over the week, yet we want our worship to be pleasing to God.

When we know we are going to enter the Throne Room, do we come with open hands or with clenched fists? And how can we receive anything from the Lord, if our hands are clenched in anger or fear?  We need to tune our piano.

The good thing is, we don't have to schedule a piano tuner. God is the "tuner" of our hearts, and He is right there with us.
If we ask him to empty us from the baggage that is filling us, we make room for the worship and praise that is stored inside of us and wants to be released before our God.

Our purpose on Sunday morning is to exalt the Lord, and express our love and thankfulness to Him for all the things He has done. This time it is us who give to Him.

Sunday Praise and Worship doesn't start at 10 a.m. when the praise team plays their first notes. It is a pilgrimage to the Throne Room of God, that begins when we open our eyes that morning.

So let's meet on Sunday mornings with our hearts in tune, prepared to give praise to the Lord of our heart.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

I was a Christian once, but it didn't work for me

In the course of my life as a believer I come across people who claim to have been Christians once, but then either through reasoning, social conditioning or personal disappointments decided that Jesus is not the right thing. But only in recent years I've seen people making this claim more boldly and pridefully than ever. As if being a follower of Christ is a burden that needs to be lifted, a lie from which we need to be freed.
I can't comprehend why anyone would ever walk away from Christ and declare himself a non-believer. I understand that religious pressure by family or the culture we live in can lead to rebellion - but walking away from Christ, the truth you claim to have once known? It doesn't make sense.
The Apostle John explains why this is possible. He says that since we live in the last days there are many antichrists among us. These people who once claimed to be one of us, have never been one of us, otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left us it proved that they did not belong to us. -1 John 2:19
He is saying that these people were never true in what they claimed to believe. They were/are antichrists. Wow, that's a tough statement!
I have people in my own family who I love dearly, who walked away from Jesus, and it breaks my heart.  I wonder if there is a way back for them. Are these people just so called "backsliders"? I hope they are because if they are, life or death will eventually turn them around and they will run to Jesus again. But I don't think John is talking about "backsliders" here. He is talking about the seed of the antichrist. And I believe that these people are truly lost forever. Lets hope and pray that non of our unbelieving loved ones belongs to them.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Isaac lives

The sermon at church today reminded me of a time when God asked me to sacrifice what I love.
A while ago I was on a life altering Daniel fast for 30 days, and on day 27 God lead me to a place where I questioned what I love and loved doing in my life.
My profession, love and passion, all of my life was and is being a creative musician.  It is how I express myself, it is my shrink, my tear collector, my bliss and joy and even a blessing to others. And yes, of course I love Jesus.
I love Jesus and I go to church and I love doing my "Christian duties". But what if all the things I love are competing with the one who gave me all these things? What if they became a distraction and not a tool?

I just read my fasting journal and my entry for day 27 was pretty desperate. I knew God was speaking to my heart:

'God is speaking to me ... I now doubt my profession as a musician,  God is asking me "Do you love my gifts more than you love me?"... I can answer this with: "Lord You are my 1st Love", "I can not disobey You when I hear You so clearly" ... I'm pleading not to take music out of my life, but if it is His will, then it needs to be done ... God says: "Isaac lives!'

I was desperate and sad when God spoke to me like that. He made it clear to me that even though I gave my life to Christ and even though my whole perspective on life had changed when I did, I was still holding on to other things, when God says hold only on to me.

On Day 27 of my fast I understood that I have to be willing to unclench and be willing to let go of everything I love, and instead trust the one who gave me all the things I love.  Even when it makes me sad I have to let "Isaac die". When I understood that, and signaled to God with a heavy heart that I will let go of the things I love if that is really His will, He said: "Isaac lives".

God asks us to be willing to sacrifice the very thing He gave us in the first place, not to destroy it, but to leave us with a space that can only be filled by Him.

Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son. But in his heart of hearts he knew that God would intervene. Abraham thought God would raise Isaac back to life again after he sacrificed him (Hebrews 11:19), but God didn't let Abraham even go that far. He intervened when He saw Abraham's trust in God's wisdom and His plan.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The beautiful white man on the Cross

I'm not really comfortable with images of Jesus. I guess the beauty of the man on the Cross as it is displayed  in many churches, graphics, paintings and souvenirs, is meant to be a depiction of the beauty of God's love. But I can't really look at these images without thinking that the real image of Jesus is being hidden and even distorted.

No one knows exactly how Jesus looks like, but He certainly doesn’t look like the beautiful, perfectly groomed, long-haired, white man on the Cross.
The word of God gives us a glimpse into how Jesus might have looked like. It is in the book of  Isaiah:

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem” - Isaiah 53:2–3

That is the awesome, selfless appearance of God in the flesh, who didn’t come as a King with splendor and pomp, but becomes the eternal King for all those who see him and understand who he is.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Treehugger - A Praise

Every morning I go to the park nearby. It has become my meeting place with God over the years. I feel undisturbed and peaceful there and when I arrive I almost immediately start talking to God. The first words that usually come out of my mouth are words of praise and thankfulness. Thankfulness for the beautiful place He provided for me. A place where I can rest and come to Him just as I am, and praise for His creation that obediently illustrates life and does what it was created for.
Sometimes on my daily walks it seems like the vegetation is joining in my praise and worship. And  other times it seems it is trying to comfort me when I'm in need of God's help.

The old hymn "In the Garden" comes to mind "He walks with me and He talks with me". I can see His garden waking up in spring and bedding down in fall. The colors He is using for His paintings are vibrant and comforting and if you look closely you start wondering if you have ever seen such colors before. Every season has its different sounds, smells and images, which are imprinted into my heart, soul and mind so I can have a place to go to for the times when there is no park available.

The enemy is trying to rob us of these, God's impressions. We are distracted by a world that is louder than ever, an enemy that is more desperate than ever and an arsenal of pleasures and indulgences at our disposal that no other generation before us has ever seen. Our everyday life is pulling us into a thousand directions away from God's Garden.

God's Word is like His Garden.  When He suggests for us to focus on the things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable and worthy of our praise (Philippians 4:8) He knows that we need these things as a shield to protect us from a world that wants to destroy us.

I want to focus on the good things around me. They are there for a reason. God is in them everyday, every hour, every minute. And when there is no park for us to go to, God is still there where we are.

The beauty of creation is in the Creator Himself. My park nearby is a nice enclave that I'm thankful for, but God's Garden is wherever God is.  Let Him be with you at all times.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Ice Skaters

Committing a sin as a Christian is like an ice skater during the Olympics who is falling during a jump. A seemingly shameful and emotionally devastating event for the professional skater. But have you noticed how they fall? They slide down, over the ice and immediately almost gracefully slide out of their fall to continue with their routine.
When we sin we ask God for forgiveness by giving him our broken heart and we repent. And that's it. The next step is to accept God's grace and gracefully slide back into our routine. We don't have to work for our forgiveness, Christ did that on the Cross.

 “But God demonstrates
His own love for us in this:
 While we were still sinners,
Christ died for us” 
Romans 5:8

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Born to lose

I have to laugh. The title sounds like a cheesy rock song from the 80s.
But isn't it true. We are born, we develop patterns and we grow into something we eventually accept and become. Then we live our lives just the way we are and we find comfort in the notion that God made us this way. The excuse for ignoring our spiritual compass is: "I'm only human".

But when Jesus came into the picture He completely radicalized our ideas of who we are. He basically pointed out that if we rely on our human nature, we were born to lose. The world we were born into is a world ruled by sin and corruption and it only brings forth sin and corruption.  What Jesus said was so radical that even Christians sometimes have a hard time to apply this truth. Jesus said that in order to follow Him and have eternal life, we have to deny ourselves (die to ourselves), take up our own cross (Mark 8:34) and be born again (John 3:3).
Jesus words are so radical that people either can't fathom what He is saying or when they do they simply walk away because they don't want to give up themselves. 

Free will is a good thing but the consequences of wrong choices are devastating. The self was never meant to be its own god.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

I don't like the music!

Church music guys hear this often: "the music has become meaningless", "back in the day we had real worship and praise music", "I want my hymns back".
I think all of it is true when you look at it from a 'traditional' perspective. Like saying "everything was better when I grew up".  But God's word, our relationship and experience with Him hasn't changed. On the other hand men's ability to perceive, to act and to react has changed drastically over the last 2000 years.
It is sad that the human race in its intellectual evolution is in need of simplifying everything. But at the same time I believe that those who seek God with a truthful heart (Jeremiah 29:13) and have a relationship with Him, will never lose their yearning for God and their daily expression of praise and worship. It is our root and it's systemic, but it is expressed in a different way in this century.
I believe that simply playing cool Christian songs that don't focus on the corporate praise and worship element is wrong and should not be used in corporate worship. Unfortunately it does happen in our churches. Nevertheless the evolutionary direction to simplify everything in our worship culture and culture as a whole is not a means to simplify God, it just is who we are in this day and age. We still worship "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24) in spite of the music not being as "musical and deep" as it used to be.
I think sometimes all this is just a bitter cry for the things that got lost, bundled with a sort of "selfish" ambition to leave things as they are.
The ever changing world has changed our ability to perceive, to act and to react, but the powerful and convicting truth of God, which is filled with expressions and stirring emotions, has not changed. Even though our corporate, musical praise and worship gatherings are expressed with fewer words and simpler melodies, God is still God and His Spirit instilled in us is still the same Spirit as it was 2000 years ago. Our way of expressing it has changed.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

"That's where I want to be ..."

I am a very creative person, full of ideas and there are many wants in my life. Every so often I come across a role model, someone whose life has an impact and is positively successful. I then go to God and say: "that's where I want to be" and He says: "I already put someone there".
     Could it be that our pursuit for happiness and success should rather be a pursuit for contentment? Doesn't God know where we are and why we are there? Maybe we should stop thinking about a purpose that hasn't found us yet and begin to see the purpose that is right where we are. Our idea of success is not God's idea of success. And while that thought might be disappointing at first, we have to begin to see the divine legitimacy of where we are. If we do, we will be just as impactful as our role models. In a different place but just as important. 
A life in Christ is a life in Mission. Our hope lies in Christ and not in us. If our wants surrender to the wants of God, our life and Mission in Christ becomes a fountain of peace that accomplishes many things.

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life"
- Proverbs 13:12

Sunday, April 14, 2019

He who is in me ...

While writing "Sacrifice of One" I was under heavy attack. Within two days I had a temporary but drastic hearing loss due to my tinnitus that lasted for weeks, got struck with an eye infection, and painful sciatica literally immobilized me for a week. For some reason the enemy fought harder against me than usual. But I wanted to get the song done for our church's Good Friday service.  And so I ignored the world and its pain (to put it poetically) and fought the enemy back by reaching for the peace and joy that can be found in every circumstance in our lives (2 Thessalonians 3:16) and I finished my song in time.
I don't know if my song needed to be finished in time so my church could hear it, or if lives were touched when they did, but I do know that I had to finished it in spite of my pain and discomfort, to show the enemy that 'the one who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world' (1 John 4:4).

Friday, October 5, 2018

A well paid job

A few years into my redeemed life I realized that I not only received the free gift of eternal life, I also received the responsibilities of a committed relationship. I was hired for life for a well paid job. Albeit there are no off days and no vacations. The assignments seem to be endless. A simple prayer request becomes a pressing task, the encounter with an unsaved person becomes an often heart-wrenching mission that can last decades or forever. Many of the assignments in which you put your strength, tears and hope into,  might never bear fruit that you will see in this lifetime. But the job is a reward in itself.  Out of tears, discouragement or weariness comes joy, emboldenment and strength.

Being born again brings the responsibility to act upon your new heart, your new thoughts and your zeal to share that which was given to you with those who don't have it yet. Worries about your own life are kind of needless because your employer says: "Do not worry, everything you need will be given to you" (Matthew 6:30-33). And the biggest bonus when your job is finally over - is everlasting life. A well paid job indeed.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

When doubt strikes

A few days ago a friend of mine sent me a booklet by a German theologian who without denying Jesus's necessity for salvation, claimed that Jesus wasn't divine and that Jesus' words weren't properly translated. Which according to the theologian leads to wrong assumptions and beliefs. This theologian studied the ancient bible languages for decades and everything I read in this pamphlet had the appearance of a thoroughly researched study result.

How can it be, that a respected theologian writes such a thing. "Jesus not divine?", "His words not the truth as I know it?".  I wanted to laugh it off and dismiss it as the attempt of a 'ferocious wolf in sheep's clothing' to confuse me (Matthew 7:15), when for a split second the question "What if?" popped up in my mind. I was shocked. Did I just experience doubt about my fundamental beliefs? 

I immediately started praying and asked God to fill me with His truth and wisdom and for some reason I began to speak out loudly about what this truth is. As if I had to scream it into the world around me.

What came out of my mouth was the unchanging Christian message. The truth that is so simple that some can't believe it. But we need to hear it in its simplicity again and again to be reminded where we are standing.

"It is God who wanted to make himself known to us, His creation that He loves. But a creation that was also on the brink of collapsing because it didn't know who God was, and therefore in a desperate attempt to fill the "god-vacuum", people chose to make up their own gods. So God who is spirit sent Himself to earth in the form of Jesus the Christ (the Messiah) who was prophesied centuries before. To live among us, to teach us who God is and to show us a way out of our finite and miserable existence. God came to us in the form of Jesus to reveal that our deep longing for Him is pointing to Jesus. Jesus lived for us and walked before us so we could have a path to walk on. And he died for us so we could find eternal life through Him and only through Him. And when Jesus died for our sins He didn't leave us alone but sent His very own spirit to live in the bodies of those believers who are born again in order to counsel, direct and communicate with them. Jesus is God's last attempt to show His love for mankind before He closes this chapter forever."

After I loudly spoke out this simple and eternal truth, which I firmly believe, I realized that these split seconds of doubt are actually a healthy exercise. If you are not making up your own mind but let God do the job (2 Peter 1:20-21) it draws you nearer to Him and makes you stronger and bolder.

Jesus the man on the cross had a moment of doubt when he cried out: "My God my God why have you forsaken me". So it is perfectly normal that we in our human nature experience moments of doubt as well. But it is imperative that we question our doubts rather than question God.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is 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

Friday, May 25, 2018

Suppressing the Spirit of God

In the last few days I have become increasingly sad and experienced some anxiety due to various events in my life. I felt depressed which always takes my strength away, physically and mentally. So on my way to the park where I walk every morning I asked God why that is; why am I so sad and depressed all of a sudden. It robs me of my joy; why can't I fight it. I asked Him to speak to me, to show me how to overcome this. 
I know the theology: Christ is in me, He is the ultimate overcomer and I can overcome through Him. ... But it doesn't work today. Why? For some reason I don't know how to apply God's truth to my situation this time. "Please speak to me" I say, "how do I overcome this right now"? And God answered: "Through me". I thought "What?, That's it?" But what did I expect. I should know He would say that. Because that's the truth. I guess I was expecting some sort of extra special treatment like an angel appearing and touching me and everything would be OK again.

So I kept on walking thinking about how to overcome this unpleasant unhappiness through Him. At some point I pulled out my smartphone to read my daily devotional. This time it was about drunkenness. "Great" I thought "this is going to be boring" because drunkenness does not apply to me. But I kept on reading and half way through, the narrative changed and the text pointed me to Ephesians 5:18 where Paul says "be filled with the Spirit". Instantly I knew God was speaking to me. My prayers and pleading brought me to a place where my heart, soul and mind were ready to receive what God wanted me to have. "Be filled with the Spirit", Of course, that's it! As simple as that. No celestial encounters or deep theological knowledge needed. No - just knowing who I am in Christ, and that His divine spirit is residing within me. When I let His spirit fill me, there is no space for anxiety or depression, there is only space for Him. 
Being filled with the Spirit means to see Christ vividly and joyfully. It means to stand on top of my tragic existence. It brings a joy that makes it possible to cast out unhappiness, stress, fear and all the other unpleasantries of this world.
Why did I suppress the Spirit today? I think in my human existence I am simply prone to constantly inhale the toxic fumes of this world, while at the same time expecting the Spirit of God to let me walk on top of the world. But there is only room for one and it is my decision to choose one or the other. I failed and I won today. Praise God!

Don't wait for God's package

When we want something from God we go to Him in prayer and ask Him for what we want. Sometimes even desperately. And then we sit down and wait for God's package to be delivered and wonder why it hasn't arrived yet. But every so often God does not drop the package off at our doorstep, but instead tells us where to go to pick it up.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

My God colored voice

A while ago I realized that I'm paying too much attention to my own God colored voice. It is the voice that speaks the socially "right thing" when spiritual truth is required. The "churchy feel-good voice" that is trying to please everyone when an unpleasant truth might need to be spoken. There is a difference between the voice of the Holy Spirit that doesn't hold anything back and my own self-righteous God colored voice which leads to lukewarm decisions. Decisions made based on that God colored voice might feel right, but they are almost always tailored to my own needs and not to the wants of God.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

"Stay with me and I stay with you"

In John 15:5-7 Jesus explains to His disciples how important it is to be connected to Him. Like branches to the vine, He promises that if we stay connected with Him we will bear much fruit, Through prayer, reading, hearing and meditating on God's word our spiritual existence comes to live. On the other hand if we are not connected to Jesus our mental and spiritual being will wither and eventually die.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Hope

What just entered my mind was this: “When problems supersede hope, there is something wrong with your faith”. Maybe that’s a little harsh because I do have faith. But sometimes this glove seems to fit me well. I have moments where I feel like a prisoner. My nature, my character, the whole me always needed the freedom to walk freely or to walk away from things at any time. But now sometimes I feel like my life's circumstances have locked me up in a box. On the other hand I know very well that God supersedes EVERYTHING and I should always completely depend and rely on Him. But I do have many moments, too where in the midst of sadness and seemingly unchangeable circumstances my spirit suddenly cries out: “IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL" and I know it is and I love these moments.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Witness

I could observe a nice scenario that perfectly complemented our youth pastor's sermon from this morning. His topic was to care for people and being out there and telling them the truth about Jesus. After church I went to Wholefoods Market and I saw two young guys talking to a young woman from Pakistan who had a stand there to promote a product. One of the guys T-shirt said "There is hope - Hebrews 11".
So I was curious to see what was going to happen. One of them began to talk more seriously. After a while the young woman got emotional. Then the guys prayed over her and she started to weep profusely. You could tell that something or someone was pulling inside of her. When the prayer was over you could see that obviously her tears of sorrow changed into tears of joy. What a wonderful picture! I don't know if she gave her life to Jesus today, but she definitely encountered the power of the truth of Jesus which once you know it, there is no going back. I thanked the guys for their boldness.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Jesus about religion

"You and your religion..." I hear this and similar quotes from family members and other people who don't believe quite often.  I usually reply that I'm actually not religious at all which leaves them puzzled.
Jesus is not just someone who founded a religion.  He is the one who wants to reunite us with God in a comprehensible and very personal way.  And he wasn't squeamish at all when he talked to the religious leaders of his time:

 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices, mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law, justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness."
- Matthew 23:23-28

Monday, November 24, 2014

"Money is the root of all evil!"

At first glance this often quoted "bible verse" might make perfect sense, but it is actually not in the bible like that.
The Apostle Paul writes in the first letter to his young student Timothy:  "For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." - 1 Timothy 6:10

Obviously it is not the money that brings forth evil but the love for money that is the root of evil, If you leave out words the statement becomes something completely different and the word of God is distorted.

Money is nothing bad. You can do many good things with money. But to hoard it, be greedy for it and love it creates a new false god and leads to destruction and suffering sooner or later.

Nothing we own is ours. Everything belongs to God.
(1 Corinthians 10:26   |    Psalms 24:1)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

"The bible is not important - I can follow God without the bible"

Even without the bible we are able to recognize God or at least a part of Him.  We can experience God in our everyday life through His creation (Romans 1:20). We also have a sense for God's love and His will because as part of His creation we can find His fingerprint in our heart - God's DNA if you will (Romans 2:14-15).  Nevertheless it makes a big difference to have a "feeling of God" or a personal relationship with God. This personal relationship separates the Christian faith from other religious or spiritual belief systems.

As a seeker I had problems to accept the bible as "the infallible Word of God". On one hand I thought the bible was written by the Catholic church, on the other hand the fact that the "Word of God" was written by fallible humans wasn't inviting either.  Also the fact that the bible wasn't written in one piece at one time, but is a collection of manuscripts and scriptures that were written and collected over the period of approximately 1600 years made it very hard for me to accept it as a trustworthy "Word from God".

After learning more about the history of the bible I believed that it must have been an act of God to put all the pieces of this immense puzzle together, so that we can see the big picture. But what finally won me over to accept the bible as a whole, as the Word of God and absolute truth, was that Jesus himself approved of the old testament, confirmed its authority, quoted it, proclaimed its power and describes Himself as its fulfillment.  As I read and studied the bible more and more I was perplexed when I realized that the revelations in the old testament, authorized by Jesus, pointed to this very same Jesus of Nazareth, the coming and long awaited Messiah.

Just a few examples: The prophet Micah who refers to the birthplace of Jesus 700 years before Jesus was born (Micah 5:2).  The prophet Isaiah who describes the virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14). Or the prophecies in Psalm 22:16 and Isaiah 53:3-6 which describe the crucifixion of Jesus 800 years before crucifixions even existed.  And these are just a couple of obvious revelations for "bible beginners". So far more than 300 prophecies have been fulfilled in and through Jesus.

All of that gave me the confidence to be open to this book and to study it. Not with the intention to "expose" its fallibility but to listen to what it wants to tell me. I've read, meditated and studied the bible now for more than 14 years and I can say with conviction that this book is God's supernatural legacy for mankind. A fountain of living water (Jeremiah 2:13 ,  John 7:38).

We get to know God through the bible and we can develop a personal relationship with Him through His word. God becomes a father, a wise friend and a living, constant companion.

If we make the decision out of our own free will to trust God wholeheartedly, we will find a map and a compass in His word that will safely guide us through the labyrinth of this life. A plan deposited for us to protect us from an eternity without God.
The bible shows us who we are, who God is and that he still loves us in spite of us not returning His love.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Why are Christians throwing bible verses around all the time?

Simply to proof and document what they claim. It is important to test and check what someone is trying to convey to you as truth. Unfortunately people don't put a lot of effort into finding out who Jesus is, what He says and what the reason for his appearance in this world is. People like intellectual fast-food and so they simply believe what they are being told, either pro or con depending on where one stands. This carefree "trust" can have dire consequences.
Many are mislead in their understanding of God and even deliberately manipulated because they either don't have access to God's word or they think they don't need to spend time to explore God's word. Either way, when a Christian throws around bible verses you are being confronted with the truth along with its source.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Can Satan read my thoughts?

Even though Satan has certain powers and is influential (no wonder he is called "the ruler of this world" (John 16:11), "the prince of the power  of the air" (Ephesians 2:2), "the angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14), "god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4 etc.) he is not all knowing and can not read our thoughts.  Nowhere in the bible it says that satan can read our thoughts.  The book of Job makes it very clear that satan does not have that kind of power. If he had this ability he would have known that Job would never denounce God.

Even though satan can't read our thoughts he still has an advantage over us: satan is observing mankind and human nature for thousands of years (Job 1:6-7)

One could say that satan and his demons are experts in human behavior. He knows how we react to temptation. He and his demons can easily guess what we think. Therefore it is important to know how satan is approaching us and how he works.  He is certainly not doing it with horns, pitchfork, sulfur and a scary Halloween mask. Satan is described as "the angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14). Nevertheless, when we know the character of satan and submit ourselves to the spirit of God, satan will flee (James 4:7)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

God helps those who help themselves ...

'God helps those who help themselves' is one of the most quoted "bible verses" that can't be found in the bible.  This quote is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin (quoted from "Poor Richard's Almanac" written in 1757). In reality this quotation comes from the English politician Algernon Sidney from his article "Discourses Concerning Government" published in 1698.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Daniel Fast Diary - Day 10

Today is my 10th day on the Daniel Fast I planned 21. But already now I have the desire to not stop with it anymore. For the past few days I'm praying to the Lord that he will help me to stay in His presence as I experience it right now. I really don't want to leave this place anymore.
There is a change in my life and it is a good one.  I feel very close to God right now and I feel safe there. Even in the midst of life's turmoil I smile and I can truly say I have peace. This is new to me!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fear ...

No one is spared from fear. But wherever we meet fear we can rest assured that the Spirit of God who is in us is stronger than the spirit who is in the world (1 John 4:4). God is giving us the strength to look fear in the eye without being intimidated by it.
God tells us in his word over 300 times that fear doesn't come from him. Fear is a lack of trust in God. Once we trust God and his word, all the fears we encounter are not our business anymore but his.

"But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory"
2 Chronicles 20:17

Saturday, July 21, 2007

God loved the world so much...

When I first understood John 3:16 I was moved to tears. "God LOVED the world SO MUCH, that He gave His one and only son, so that WHOSOEVER believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting Life". God loves the world so much indeed. He who was pure and sinless endured 33 years of a life on earth, living among our filth and temptation, surrounded by sin, pain and hopelessness to finally die a gruesome death on a cross, so that whosoever believes in Him is saved from an eternity apart from God. 
Who is this Jesus!? Jesus is the love of God for his creation. The last chance for us to find our way back home. God's tear of Grace and Hope.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Purpose...

"My purpose is helping to fulfill the purpose of others"

Monday, November 20, 2006

Like a tree, planted by streams of water

I just meditated on Psalm 1:1-6 . God tells us in Psalm 1 that we are blessed if we don't take advice from the wicked or hang around with sinners and join in with mockers. He tells us that if we delight in His law and meditate on it day and night, we are like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season. Its leaves won't wither and we prosper in all we do. - What an encouraging promise!
What stuck out to me was: "...yields its fruit in season". I was thinking about the season I'm in right now. Is it a season I like? I was thinking that as someone who delights in God's law I should yield much fruit. As God's people who delight in His law we indeed yield fruits because we are always in a season that yields some sort of fruit. God is not talking about a particular fruit or a particular season. He is talking about the fruit of "each" season. Winter is not necessarily my preferred season. Actually winter depresses me, and yet Winter yields fruits/vegetables like wild garlic, winter squash, leeks, rutabaga, potatoes and much more. I have to mention that I don't like any of these. I'm a spring, summer, strawberry kinda guy. Yet there are fruits that flourish in winter and they are needed for healthy living. No matter what season we're in, we are promised that we will yield much fruit if we delight in God's law and meditate on it day and night. We might be in a season that we don't like, nonetheless it will bring forth a harvest.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I confess, I'm a Vegetarian

After a bible study on the book of Daniel I had a conversation with a friend in which I felt like I had to defend my being a vegetarian.
Surely Daniels temporary vegetarianism was an act of obedience to God. Nevertheless I believe that the benefits of living a vegetarian life are a reward from God. It is "living" Gods initial intention (Genesis 1:29 - before the fall) to form a world with love and compassion. It was a perfect world and a perfect idea. Being a vegetarian in our fallen world takes away the guilt we experience when we become aware of the horror scenarios in our slaughterhouses these days. A scenario perfectly fitting into this fallen world where an animal which strives to live it´s full God given lifespan and its God given ability to "enjoy" its very own course of life has to die for our culinary pleasure. It is a fact even in our days that those who abstain from meat are being rewarded with a better health, physically and mentally. While eating meat is definitely NOT a sin in any way, I believe the benefits of not eating meat are a great gift from God.

“The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.” - Psalm 145:9

Thursday, November 16, 2006

John Piper on Worship...

“Music and singing are necessary to Christian faith and worship for the simple reason that the realities of God and Christ, creation and salvation, heaven and hell are so great that when they are known truly and felt duly, they demand more than discussion and analysis and description; they demand poetry and song and music. Singing is the Christian's way of saying: God is so great that thinking will not suffice, there must be deep feeling; and talking will not suffice, there must be singing.” - John Piper
For more information about John Piper click here

God is in the popcorn

From darkness to light was quite a journey for me. I see the light now very brightly and I see God in everything. God is in total control...He truly is! Don't laugh but I see God even in popcorn... The other day I made popcorn from scratch for the very first time in my life and I was in awe about what I saw. All it took was a hand full of corn, oil and a hot pan. The amazing thing I witnessed was how out of something totally unpalatable, seemingly insignificant, small and hardened, something soft, tasteful and great could come out of. I couldn't help but think of my own journey, my very own metamorphosis from something seemingly insignificant and small to something important, meaningful and great. What amazing power there is in the cross. The Cross can do such miraculous things.