Saturday, June 30, 2007

I just wanna be a sheep ...

on of the silly little songs that the youth and children likes to sing is that of "i just wanna be a sheep..." all though this song (like many others in the church) irritates me due to its lack of depth and sound doctrine, it reminds me today of a valuable spiritual truth.

I remember as a child of about five-years-old my friend and i walking home from 'kinderkrans' after a lesson about "Jesus the Good Shepherd. My friend turned to his mother - very confused- and asked: "mom if we are Jesus' sheep, am i supposed to 'baa'?

so often, even in my adult life, i have forgotten what it means to be a sheep of His flock. I forget that it means that i need to keep my eyes focused on Him and my ears trained to follow His voice (and only His). I forget that if i don't i can get myself horribly lost. And when i do get horribly lost, i forget that i need to put my pride aside and allow Him to carry me home. I forget that the simplest way to find direction in life or to make decisions is to follow His lead and to go where He has already been.

And so, feeling a bit sheepish, i sing with the kids: "I just wanna be a sheep..."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

tribute to an angel

A friend of mine often says jokingly: "i want to die silently and in my sleep like grandpa did, not kicking and screaming like the passengers in his car".

Today has been one of those freezing cold days with snow flakes falling gently on the ground, and on this cold day i had the privilege to bury a remarkable lady. A lady who warmed (quite literally) the hearts and lives of many. If i could have a say in how i would like to die, i would want to die like her. On Thursday evening the family found her in her lounge peacefully sitting on her favorite chair still with a half-finished jersey for a less fortunate child in her hands that she was busy knitting when she died. What a testimony, what a way to go! Valerie was 75 years old and loved and cared in thought and in action. She always knew what was going on in the community and in the world and would not only complain about bad circumstances but did something to change it. Her relationship with her Lord was so real, so intimate that the had a permanent glow.

Today, on this very cold winters day, i had the privilege to hand out the last five jerseys that she knitted to five abandoned children.

Today, i give tribute to an angel...

Monday, June 25, 2007

peace or pieces

“ the calm of mind which is not ruffled by adversity, overclouded by sin or a remorseful conscience, or disturbed by the fear and approach of death”. - Eadie

Wow, how i need to have this peace, the peace of God that surpasses all understanding!

During the past week, i have been privileged to sit at the feet of a true teacher and am left with so many things to chew over. I have been challenged in so many ways and inspired to become more focused, becoming more of what i was created to be and allowing for His Spirit to direct my life.

Also, this past weekend, i have been shocked at the direction in which this organization that i work for and love so much is going. And now it is Monday morning, i am left with the spiritual slump of a post-mountaintop experience (that lasted a whole week); with loads of work on a "building and restoration" level and; with the longing for this peace of Christ (which Eadie describes as a "calm of the mind").

Now i used to think that the way to get this "peace" was to create balance in my life, balance that i simply cant seem to find. However, i do believe that the real problem was/is not balance, but rather focus & obedience. i have been running around focusing on the problems i am faced with and not on the much bigger God i am with. I have been looking for signs of trouble instead of looking for signs of God's power and grace. I have been trying to please the people i serve instead of finding joy in the God under who's supervision i stand. I have been seeking approval and validation from people instead of ministering in His authority.

Most importantly, i have been trying so hard to do everything that i think people expect me to do and have forgotten and neglected that to which God has called me in the first place - resulting in me spending 80% of my time in doing that which God has called someone else to do and only 20% of my time on that which God has created, called and equipped me for. Then i wonder why i am lacking the peace of God...

It is time for me to start moving more towards that which i was created, called and equipped to and thus becoming obedient to God's call and will in my life.

It seems i have a choice: either i can obey and be at peace or betray and keep on trying to balance the pieces.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


funny how one can always recognize something in someone else without ever acknowledging it in yourself.

For the last 8 years, my mother-in-law has been driving me insane with her constant worrying. it seems that she is simply not happy when she is not worrying. And when she does not have something to be anxious about in herself, she finds something in someone else's life to worry about.

this morning in the tub i realized that i have become a worry-bug... The worst part is that most of the things i worry about has nothing to do with me, but with friends or with those i minister to. It seems i keep on forgetting the truth that i learned from a five-year-old:

Upon entering a house of a friend one cold winters evening, their five-year-old ran up to me and asked: "do you know what the devil's greatest trick is?" i answered that i didn't know and he continued "it goes like this - you, go and sit in the corner and start worrying!"

It is nine years later and it seems that worrying has become the rocking chair that keeps me busy. While in the tub this morning i realized:
Worrying is the telltale sign that points to a focal problem in my life. When i worry, it is 100% of the time because i have taken my focus of God and placed it on my (or anyone else's) problems. in times when i worry i in effect doubt the size and power of my God. I am, like 10 of the 12 spies that went into the promised land, focusing of the giants that face me and not on the even bigger God that is with me.

So is there hope for a worry-bug like me?

For sure there is! the cure is at hand! all in need to do is to transform by the grace of God from a worry-bug to a praise-bug. That's it, it is that simple. I need to start focusing my time and energy on praising God. This will turn my self-centeredness into God-centredness and will leave not room for worry. It is all a matter of perspective.

Of cause i know that this will not mean that problems will not arise, in fact while i was typing this a close friend called with a problem, not something that i can do something about, she simply needed someone to listen. So what do i do? I give it to God, praise him for his love and care for her in the situation that she is in and allow Him to sort it out.

If you see me again and in look a little strange, don't worry: worry-bug is having her spots changed to that of a praise-bug.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

what did i reap from "the reaping"?

A wise man (yea, surprisingly enough there are some of those around) told me once to make a point of watching the stuff that the people i minister to will be watching, so that was what i did today on my day off (yeah, i have some of those too these days!).

anyway, to make a long story short : i watched "the reaping". So what did i gain from this experience (apart from nausea that is...)?

the movie left me with conflicting thoughts and feelings. It swings between good and evil all the time with a scientist who specializes in disproving miracles by finding scientific explanations for it. the first twist is that she was ordained and involved in mission before she lost her faith do to the death of her husband and child. The ten plagues appears one after the other in an remote little community where and it is up to the scientist to save people from its destructive power. It is more or less at this point where one starts to question who is behind these plagues. Is it God or Satan or something else?

Without giving away to much of the plot... in the last five minutes one is almost convinced that the victory belongs to God. in the final scene however, one is made aware that the struggle is not over - the generation to come will bring its own questions.

So what do i think?
my husband commented on the fact that that is simply not God's way of doing things. The problem with that line of thought is that God did use 10 plagues in Exodus. Does it therefore mean that God has changed? And if God has changed his modus operandi in this regard, what does it say for the laws and commands that society (and the church) clings to so desperately these days?

If the answer is that God still use plagues to punish and persuade, what does it say of natural disasters and HIV/AIDS?

These are some of the questions that i am anticipating from some of the youngsters watching this movie. My own view:

God has won the victory, however in ever generation we are faced with choices that will affect our own lives and the lives of others. God has won the victory, but we still at times need to struggle through a minefield of ifs and buts. In the end it is by faith and through grace that we are saved. He that is in us is still greater than he that is in the world!

This movie will not make it to my top ten list and i do not recommend watching it as part of a romantic night out but hey, if it can spark a discussion about my faith...

PS. cant wait to see what the wise man says about this movie

Monday, June 11, 2007

70 x 7

How difficult it is to really forgive 70x7!

The last six months of LIFE UNDER GOD'S SUPERVISION has been extremely challenging. In this time i have had to battle through a minefield of emotional and verbal abuse from God's own people. Today i was faced with one of those difficult choices in ministry: do i shrug my shoulders and say well, the wheel turns... and allow for my 'abusers' to go through a similar form of 'abuse' or do i step up and protect them from the harshness and pettiness of other church people?

The church - there where we say we are under God's supervision where love and forgiveness supposedly are the driving force behind all we do and say is often the one place where people get hurt and feel rejection more that anywhere else on earth. I have entered into the ministry knowing that part of my call is to go to places where people have been hurt by and through the church. I never expected that i would become one of the casualties of this epidemic, but ...

In less than an hour i will be chairing a meeting and here, next to me on my desk is a letter that speaks in my favor, but breaks down others - in whom the image of God is fragile at the moment (fragile but always there). The challenge tonight will be to be God's love-bug to deal with all involved in truth and in love. Tonight there will be no place for my still very bruised ego or pride, only for love and truth and a forgiveness.

my mind is made up, i will deal with this in a gentle and loving way. I will treat them in the way that i wish the treated me some time ago, but i am humbled by this task before me and i am worried. i am worried that my own pain will overrule my mind.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Frozen bug...

I have been thinking (and in this cold that in itself is a miracle for i am sure that i suffer from brain-freeze without even having the joy of eating an ice-cream) if i had to be a real bug, i probably would have been a "sonbesie". Happy and noisy in the heat of summer but virtually absent in the cold of a Free State winter.

I like winter, but only when i can snuggle up warmly in front of a warm fire with a good cup of coffee and the company of a good book or good friends. However, in the absence of these vital elements, i tend to fall silent. It is as if my tongue is frozen and i cannot speak or think properly. Oh how i wish i was a cat (or even the tick on a cat) who had the time to go and find the warmest spot in the house and curl up in the sun without a care in the world!

Even my body seem to be on a go-slow in winter: my blood pressure is at a constant low and my joints and muscles aching - as if i were double my age.

It is in winter however, that i reflect more than any other time in the year on life and love and the God of both. It is in this time that i am reminded of how dependent i am on God for my every breath. It is now that i need to look beyond myself and the world around me to find reason for hope and joy. Without fail it is in these times that my relationship with God deepens and my hope and joy springs eternally. It is in darkness that i see the light for what it is!

And so, with my toes ten blocks of solid ice and my joints sore and stiff, i can say with John Wesley "i felt my heart strangely warm". I rejoice in Christ my Saviour for the warmth of his embrace is enough to melt through the iciest day!

my His love warm your heart today!

Monday, June 4, 2007

life as a bug

Why a bug? i was sitting in my office on a monday afternoon waiting for yet another appointment that was running late when i looked up at a sign that my secretary put on my wall, after the last battle with a spider, that reads "don't bug me". this got me thinking about bugs and what they stand for in my life.

whenever there is something with more than four feet around that is in the mood for a nice snack, they seem to run to me. this tendency has lead to many days in bed with malaria, tick-bite fever and spider bites (the latest of which was a button spider or two). often, these times of unplanned illness happened to be at a time in my life that i have been running around in circles. "Is this God's way of calling you to slow down?" a friend recently asked.

Bugs and spiders have been a symbol of things that still needs to be sorted out (long story, perhaps i will tell you about it some other time).

A bug is seemingly insignificant, but plays a vital part in the ecology. how often don't i feel this insignificance in my own existence! and yet, the Bible tells us that God even cares for the tiniest insect, the smallest little worm...

Today i realized that i belong to a special species, i am one of the bugs. every day in my vocation and my every moment i am "under God's supervision" and this thought is both awesome and scary. i am reminded of my own insignificance and yet have a vital roll to play. i am being called to slow down for a moment and reflect on life and all its aspects. And so this is me, just one of the bugs, going about my Fathers business...

being under God's supervision

BUGS - Being Under God's Supervision