At home in God’s love

2017-08-30
John 15:9 MSG

When someone says, ‘Make yourself at home,’ it means you’re welcome and accepted. And that’s what the Message version of the Bible is getting at when Jesus says, ‘Make yourselves at home in my love.’ You never have been and never will be loved by anyone as much as God loves you. The reason you have such a hard time grasping that concept is that you have nothing to compare His love to. Nothing could make God love you more than He does right now, and nothing could make Him love you less. The great irony is that we spend our lives trying to earn His love, when it can only be received by faith. John says: ‘What marvellous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it – we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to’ (1 John 3:1-2 MSG). You may have grown up with parents who withheld their love, or weren’t capable of expressing it. God doesn’t do that. Throughout Scripture He keeps saying, ‘I love you. I love you. I love you!’ In Jeremiah 3:13, God says to His people, ‘I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself’ (NLT). And Jesus said to His disciples, ‘My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you’ (John 15:12 NIV). These are just a couple of examples, but the message of God’s love for us is living and breathing all through the Bible. And His love is available to all of us, all the time.

Josh 1-4; Mark 9:1-13; Ps 103:1-12; Prov 22:27-29

Stick with it

2017-08-29
James 5:11 CEV

Struggling to get through a tough breakup? Battling against people who don’t get what you’ve set out to do? Roughing it through a cold? It all needs patience. And in today’s verse, James gives us role models for patience, people to look to. Who? Well, it’s not immediately comforting. In verses 10-11, James tells us to learn patience from people who were driven out of cities, kidnapped, slandered, and, in one case, left with nothing and nobody: Job, and the prophets. These were people pushed to the edge. But, it’s how they responded that James wants us to look at. They endured. Not stoically, not because it ‘made them better people’. But because they endured for something. Because they trusted that God would come through. So often we think patience is just about blankly sitting through something. But patience is about sticking true to the God who said He’d come through. Patience is about holding out for something positive, not about enduring through something negative. ‘You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy’ (James 5:11 NIV). What did the Lord finally bring about? The return of everything Job lost, times two. So when James tells us to look at these guys, he’s telling us: look forwards to what you’re being patient for. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. Hold on.

3 John; Jude; Mark 8:27-38; Ps 84; Prov 22:24-26

Stick with it


James 5:11 CEV

Observe these six things about persistence: (1) You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. (2) The first two letters in the word goal are “go.” (3) Some people dream of doing great things; others wake up and actually do them. (4) Anybody who brags about what they’re going to do tomorrow, probably did the same thing yesterday. (5) You’ll never be what you ought to be, until you’re doing what you ought to be doing. (6) If you’re having trouble thinking outside the box, it’s time to get out of the box. When Lester Wunderman was fired from his advertising job, he felt he still had a lot to learn from the head of the agency, Max Sackheim. So the next morning he went back to his office and continued working as he always had, talking to co-workers and clients, and sitting in on meetings – all without pay. Sackheim ignored him for a month. Finally he walked up to Wunderman and said, “Okay, you win. I never saw a man who wanted a job more than he wanted money.” Well, guess what? Wunderman went on to be one of the most successful advertising men of the century. He’s credited with having invented pre-printed newspaper inserts, plus subscription cards like those used by Time-Life Books and the Columbia Record Club – ideas that produced millions of dollars in profit. Now, advertising may not be your thing, but action must be. What are you willing to do to achieve your dream? Work without pay? Refuse to quit? Success belongs to those who trust God – and stick with it.

Soul food: 3 John; Jude; Mark 8:27-38; Ps 84; Prov 22:24-26

Hou uit


Jakobus 5:11 NLV

Dink na oor hierdie vyf stellings oor volharding: 1) Jy hoef nie goed te wees om te begin nie, maar jy moet begin goed wees. 2) Sommige mense droom daarvan om groot dinge te doen; ander word wakker en doen dit. 3) Enigiemand wat spog oor wat hulle môre gaan doen, het dit heel waarskynlik gister ook gedoen. 4) Jy sal nooit wees wat jy veronderstel is om te wees nie, totdat jy begin doen wat jy veronderstel is om te doen. 5) As jy sukkel om buite die boks te dink, is dit tyd om uit die boks te klim. Toe Lester Wunderman by ‘n advertensie-agentskap afgedank is, het hy gevoel dat hy nog baie te leer het by die hoof van die agentskap, Max Sackheim. Die volgende oggend het hy dus teruggegaan na sy kantoor toe en aanhou werk soos altyd. Hy het met sy kollegas en kliënte gepraat en vergaderings bygewoon – sonder om ‘n salaris te verdien. Sackheim het hom ‘n maand lank geïgnoreer. Uiteindelik het hy na Wunderman toe gestap en gesê, ‘Jy wen. Ek het nog nooit ‘n man ontmoet wat ‘n werk meer wou gehad het as wat hy geld wou gehad het nie.’ Raai wat? Wunderman het een van die suksesvolste advertensiemanne van die eeu geword. Hy het idees gehad wat miljoene rande wins gemaak het. Die advertensiewese mag dalk nie jou ding wees nie, maar aksie wel. Wat doen jy om jou droom te verwesenlik? Werk jy sonder betaling? Weier jy om op te gee? Sukses behoort aan diegene wat op God vertrou – en uithou.

Sielskos: 3 Joh; Jud; Mark 8:27-38; Ps 84; Spr 22:24-26

Verstaan God se wil (3)

2017-08-28
Handelinge 20:23 NLV

Omtrent 75 persent van gelowiges woon nou in Derde Wêreld lande, dikwels in anti-Christen omgewings. Xu Yonghai is een van hulle. Hy het gepoog dat huiskerke in China gewettig word. Die regering het daarop gereageer deur hom vir twee jaar in ‘n 2.5m by 2.5m sel in ‘n tronk in Beijing op te sluit. Daar was nie ‘n badkamer nie, net ‘n pyp waaruit water op die betonvloer gevloei het. ‘My sel was die laaste stop vir gevangenes wat tot die dood veroordeel is,’ het hy gesê. ‘By tye was daar soveel as drie gevangenes in die klein, klam kamertjie wat op hulle afspraak met die laksman gewag het.’ Yonghai het dit deur gebed, meditasie en skryf oorleef. Deur ‘n stukkie seep te gebruik om op die mure van sy sel te skryf, het hy die hooftrekke van ‘n boek oor God uitgelê. Toe hy klaar was, het hy die punte gememoriseer en toe hy vrygelaat is, het hy sy notas in ‘n boek van vyftigduisend woorde, God the Creator, omskep. Meer dikwels as nie, bevestig jou moeilike omstandighede dat jy binne die wil van God leef! Paulus skryf: ‘Wat ek wel weet, is dat die Heilige Gees my in elke stad verseker dat gevangenskap en vervolging voorlê. Al is my lewe kosbaar, ag ek dit van geen waarde as ek nie my lewenstaak en my bediening wat ek van die Here Jesus gekry het, kan klaarmaak nie. Om die Goeie Nuus te verkondig dat God mense liefhet sonder dat hulle iets hoef te doen om dit te verdien’ (verse 23-24 NLV). Dit maak nie saak hoe moeilik die wil van God is nie, jy kan dit bereik deur elke dag krag uit sy oneindige genade te put.

Sielskos: 2 Kron 35-36; 2 Joh; Mark 8:14-26; Ps 119:169-176; Spr 22:20-23