Hebreërs 4:15 NLV
Alhoewel die inheemse Indiane in Amerika nie ‘n formele geskrewe alfabet gehad het voor hulle die Europeërs ontmoet het nie, was hulle taal alles behalwe primitief. Die woordeskat van baie inheemse tale was net so groot soos hulle Franse en Engelse oorwinnaars s’n en hulle uitdrukkings was dikwels baie meer welsprekend. In een taal, word die konsep van die woord ‘vriend’ byvoorbeeld gestel as ‘die een wat my sorge op sy of haar rug dra.’
Wat ‘n wonderlike definisie! Wanneer iemand na jou toe kom vir troos of raad, wil hulle dikwels net iemand hê wat gewillig is om te luister en met wie hulle hul sorge kan deel. Wanneer jou antwoord oppervlakkig is, neem hulle soms aan dat jy nie tyd vir hulle het nie. Een van die mooiste dinge wat in die Bybel van Jesus gesê is, is dat Hy ‘ten volle met ons in ons swakhede [kan] saamvoel.’ Partykeer wil ‘n vriend net weet dat jy verstaan waardeur hulle gaan en dat jy omgee. Hier is hoe jy kan help:
1) Luister met ‘n oop hart, eerder as om hulle probleem te probeer wegpraat.
2) As hulle huil, deel hulle trane. As hulle stil is, deel hulle stilte.
3) Laat hulle weet dat jy beskikbaar is, gereed is om te help en dat jy altyd vir hulle sal tyd hê.
4) Herinner hulle dat mense net soveel self kan doen, maar dat God die onmoontlike kan doen.
5) As hulle jou toelaat, bid vir hulle en saam met hulle. So kan jy help om die las van hulle skouers af te haal en dit op God se skouers te sit (sien Psalm 55:23).
Sielskos: 1 Kro 7:20-9:44; Joh 9:24-41; Ps 99; Spr 25:26-28
2 Timothy 4:5 NIV
A woman was sitting in her family room when a small black snake suddenly appeared, slithered across the floor, and made its way under the couch. Being deathly afraid of snakes, she ran to the bathroom to get her husband, who was taking a shower. He came running from the shower with just a towel around his waist, grabbed an old broom handle from the closet, and began poking under the couch. At this point the family dog awakened. Curious to see what was happening, the dog came up behind the husband and touched his cold nose to the back of the man’s heel. The man, thinking the snake had bitten him on the heel, fainted. The wife concluded that her husband had collapsed with a heart attack, so she ran from the house to a hospital just a block away. The ambulance drivers promptly came to her house and placed him on a stretcher. But as they were carrying him out, the snake reappeared from underneath the couch. One of the drivers got so frightened that he dropped his end of the stretcher and broke the man’s leg. Seeing her husband’s twisted leg, the wife collapsed on the spot. Meanwhile, the snake slithered quietly away!
An old African proverb says, “There are forty kinds of lunacy, but only one kind of common sense.” Acting impulsively usually means things will get worse before they get better. So before you panic, calm yourself and ask God for wisdom and help, even in the simplest things.
Soul food: 2 Sam 3:22-7:17; John 3:22-36; Ps 89:38-52; Prov 23:19-21
2 Timothy 4:5 NIV
When we’re faced with a problem or a situation that scares us, our first reaction is often to panic. Panic is our body’s normal reaction to danger as our adrenaline levels increase, and in some circumstances it can be helpful. But if it gets excessive or uncontrollable, it can stop us living a full life. (If you experience panic attacks, or the panic is getting out of control, it’s important to seek help from a doctor or counsellor.)
If we’re experiencing panic, one thing we can do is to bring God into our situation. Fear and panic can make us overreact or make bad decisions, and acting impulsively usually means things will get worse before they get better. When we find ourselves in a stressful situation, we need to try to calm ourselves and ask God for wisdom and help.
Here are some verses from Scripture to help us keep calm and remind us of God’s goodness and love: ‘I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears’ (Psalm 34:4 NLT). ‘Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you’ (1 Peter 5:7 NLT). ‘God will save you from hidden traps and from deadly diseases. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you can hide. His truth will be your shield and protection’ (Psalm 91:3-4 NCV).
It doesn’t matter if the thing we’re worried about would seem trivial to someone else. If we’re worried about it, God cares and wants us to tell Him about how we’re feeling. ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand’ (Isaiah 41:10 NIV).
2 Sam 3:22-7:17; John 3:22-36; Ps 89:38-52; Prov 23:19-21
Ecclesiastes 11:4 NIV
When we think about the word ‘investing’, we often think of something like the TV programme Dragons’ Den – rich people giving large amounts of money to help businesses, in the hope that they’ll receive even more money back in the future. We may never have those levels of money to invest, but we can use our money, time, or skills to help others.
The Bible has lots of advice about investing, which we can apply to time, money, or something else. Ecclesiastes 11 begins: ‘Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return’ (v.1 NIV). We shouldn’t hoard our money, time, or skills; instead we should share them and use them to help others who are lacking in what we have plenty of.
We need to pray and seek God’s wisdom about any investment we make, so we can patiently hope to get back what we gave up, and maybe more, either through other people paying us back, or through God blessing us for our faithfulness. But even if we don’t get our investment back, if we’ve asked for God’s advice first, we can be happy knowing that we’re following His will and using our resources for His kingdom.
Later on in Ecclesiastes, we read: ‘Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.’ If we’re looking for external signs that it’s ‘the perfect time’ to invest, or looking for ‘the perfect situation’ to invest and help others, we’ll never do anything – there’ll always be challenges to face. But we don’t have to understand or predict what’s going to happen – we just need to seek God, ask for His wisdom on using our God-given resources, then act on what He says.
1 Sam 18:1-20:29; John 1:1-13; Ps 92; Prov 22:24-25
Hebrews 12:1 NKJV
Here are two more things you need to know:
(1) The wrong people will hurt you. There are two groups of people you should never be influenced by. The first is composed of VNP people: Very Needy People, Very Negative People, and Very Needling People. The second contains VDP people: Very Draining People, Very Doubting People, and Very Distracting People. Love them and help them any way you can, but never be influenced or led by them. Encourage them, but when they start to pull you down instead of lifting you up, disconnect graciously and turn them over to God.
(2) The right people will help you. When God has a job to be done, He calls a man or woman to do it. But He seldom calls them alone. He calls others to stand with them and support them. That means your willingness to reach for help isn’t a sign of weakness, but strength. Paul spent an entire chapter in the New Testament acknowledging the people who helped him fulfill his vision. Here’s what he said to the Philippians: “Every time I think of you, I give thanks…Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now” (Philippians 1:3-5 NLT).
If you’re wise, you’ll acknowledge the things God hasn’t gifted you to do, delegate them to qualified people, and work from your core strengths. That takes humility on your part, but in the long run it pays great dividends!
Soul food: Est 4:9-5:3; Heb 4:7-16