Shaken but not overcome

It is being made apparent more now than ever that everything that was once under the surface is beginning to be revealed. Just look around; no one wants to stand close to anybody, we are more distrusting of our surroundings, anger issues are being exacerbated and televised, all this yet it seems that no one is discussing the spiritual effects the year 2020 is having on people and the church. In Haggai 2:6 its says “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.” This was a prophecy that came through the prophet Haggai. Prior to this in verse 4, the Lord gives his people this encouragement; “But now be strong, Zerubbabel,’ declares the LORD. ‘Be strong, Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”

Warning and encouragement

In these two verses you get both a warning and an encouragement. For God to inform his people to be strong indicates some sort of turmoil ahead. For example when Moses died and Joshua took over leadership, the Lord commanded Joshua the following, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9. All this was before the Israelites were to take ownership by force of the Land the Lord had promised them, i.e. before a battle. This was the same case in Haggai with a difference in that the Lord promised that he will shake the Heavens, Earth, Sea AND the Dry land! Notice also that the Lord reassures his people that they should not be afraid of the events that will soon unfold that The Lord himself will be with them. This encourages me that whatever is going on in the world today, even if it comes unexpectedly I am assured that as I remain in Christ his blood covers me and thus casts out all fear. This is your case also, if you haven’t already; ask Jesus to come into your life, take control and help you, he will do it.

…even if it comes unexpectedly I am assured that as I remain in Christ his blood covers me and thus casts out all fear.

Jesus our confidence

In John 14:1 Jesus was encouraging his disciples with this verse “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” In this scripture I noticed the word “let” meaning when we feel low or disturbed it is a sentiment we are allowing our hearts to manifest. Which also means that Jesus has given us the authority to not “let” our hearts become troubled! Now this doesn’t say that we won’t experience situations that will try to persuade our hearts to let troubles in, however it does say that we have a way out and an authority to resist only if we have Christ in our lives.

Separating the chaff from the wheat

In these last days we have plethora of people walking in fear of not only what is to come but of the present situation. For example one thing I learnt this year is that no one is certain of anything. In Luke 22:32 Jesus says; “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” This was an indication that Peter was to undergo a shaking, similar to when someone is trying is trying to separate wheat from other unwanted contaminants. I am sure that a lot of us have been going through a sifting of some sort including myself, however Jesus also mentions that he already prayed so that our faith will not be compromised. What a wonderful thing to know that Jesus has already given us the ability to overcome and to also strengthen our brothers and sisters!

I believe that the church is yet to see the glory of God if we do not waver, stay strong and know that you are not alone.

Blessings,

Nathalie

This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it

Lately the Lord has been laying on my heart to rejoice and be grateful in whatever situation I am in. This was further impressed on my heart by the book of Jeremiah of which I am currently reading. In Jeremiah 32:41 the Lord says “ I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul”. If you have read the prophecies that preceded this message from the Lord it could almost be described as a light in a very dark tunnel. The Israelites had sinned against the Lord and therefore incurred punishment, a very serious one at that. However in midst of the prophecy of recompense, God is instilling hope upon his people, that even though they are about to enter into turmoil, God is already speaking of his plans to bless and restore them.

How do we respond to a word from God

Now what did the Israelites do with this information? Well they ignored the prophecies. They were only interested in the false prophets that prophesied against Jeremiah and told them how the Lord will not bring judgement through the Babylonians, but will bless them instead. This brought to mind the scripture of 2 Timothy 4:3; “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear”. Is this not happening today? Do we really go church to hear both positive AND negative reports? Or do we actually just want to hear that God will bless us with a house, marriage and a great paying job. As believers we need to be able to accept the good as well as the bad, thus remaining in humility. Think of it this way if we were perfect we would have joined God in heaven by now. However the fact we are still here means that God is still working in us through his grace.

Faith = Endurance

How you respond to trouble determines your endurance. A mind governed by fear and anxiety will not last very long as this is a detriment to your own body. However a mind filled with hope no matter the situation not only demonstrates faith but also encourages God to act on your behalf. In Matthew 6:25-27 it says;  Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Here the Lord himself is not only telling us not to worry but telling us that “life” which is Christ, is more important in other words this world and everything in it will pass away but the word of God (which is Christ) will never pass away,(Matthew 24:25) (Isaiah 51:6) therefore focus on this. A question to ponder; why do we still struggle with this, could it be a trust issue?

“How you respond to trouble determines your endurance..”

Summary

In this post I have touched on a few points on our take as believers to situations that are constantly changing around us. And something to make us ponder on what we are actually anchoring ourselves to. I do this often to myself in questioning thoughts and feeling’s that may pass through my mind thus constantly pulling down strongholds and making it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4).

Blessings

Nathalie

“My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me..”

As we progress past the half year point and well into seventh month (which is also my birthday month), I started seeing the current situation in the world as something that could actually last longer than first anticipated. It clearly demonstrated my disconnection with the current times we are living in, and how these things were foretold in the bible. The title above is an excerpt taken from Matthew 27:46; where Jesus at the cross during his final hour called out to his Father. I proceeded to collect my thoughts; did the Father really forsake Jesus? or was this for us to hear so that we could acknowledge how sin can separate us from the Father, and also how we were spared because Jesus bore our sins. It says in Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated you from God”. This shows us whilst we are living in our sin we separate ourselves from God and thus open doors to trouble and fear amongst other things.

Repent and be saved

In Acts 3:19 (KJV) it says “Repent ye therefore, and be converted , that your sins may be blotted out , when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord..” This was the part when the disciples had finished preaching and people around them noticed that they had been living in sin and wanted to know how to rectify this broken relationship with God. Notice the eagerness to live a righteous lifestyle, what they had demonstrated was the verb of the word repentance. Understandably we live in fallen world, however we are commanded to separate ourselves and be representatives of Christ. Please also note that the Lord will never ask you to do something and not help you in doing so “I can do all this through him who gives me strength”. Phil 4:13. He is looking for the willingness and he will take over form there.

…The Lord will never ask you to do something and not help you in doing so

Immanuel – God with us

This week I have been delving into the book of Isaiah and a certain scripture caught my attention. “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” Isaiah 49:15. What a comforting and eye opening scripture! God not only relates his love to a mother but also subtracts her shortcoming’s, reminding us of his perfection. You may be reading this today with a recollection of the times you have been abandoned by the people closest to you. As I am writing this today I am living proof that God is more than your past hurts or anyone who walked out on you!

Blessings

A few blessings to note, you have been saved by grace, the Lord Jesus is calling you higher, God has kept you to this point and God is not finished with you yet! (very cliche but also very real)

Blessings,

Nathalie

Loneliness and your calling

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 NIV)

Loneliness is in the mind not the physical

Loneliness is in many cases interpreted as being in your lonesome or not having any friends or company. What if I told you that you can still feel lonely within a large group of friends. I would like to open up this series with the moment the Lord God, approached the prophet Jeremiah.

The Call of Jeremiah

To give some context Jeremiah at this point was young and had no idea that he had a calling upon his life. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 NIV. Then Jeremiah preceded to mention to God his age “Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” Jeremiah 1:6. I can sympathise with Jeremiah because there he is probably thinking about what he is going to have for lunch or dinner, and the Almighty God approaches him with such powerful words that automatically caused anxiety. Have you ever felt anxious about the future? or whether you were going to live up to the expectations of your parents? Your confidence should be this; it is not in your own strength, God has already equipped you and given you the ability to be everything he has called you to be!

God has already equipped you and given you the ability to be everything he has called you to be!

Called out of Loneliness

Notice in the scripture nothing was mentioned that Jeremiah was out with a group of friends having fun when God called him. The Bible gives us the impression that he was alone and that was when God approached him. At this point pose yourself this question; do I have moments alone with God? Let me tell you, the day I decided to have alone time with God sometimes just to talk I no longer felt alone nor did I seek approval from outsiders. It was like every time I went to him he became everything to me; my mother, father, sister and brother. The satisfaction came without being surrounded by a crowd.

You are more than what you think

To close out I would like to mention that God quickly corrected Jeremiah in telling him not to speak about himself in such as way (Jeremiah 1:7). This demonstrates not only the love God has for his children but how valuable He sees us! If you understood how much he loves you would specifically seek to have alone times with the Lord.

Stay blessed

Nathalie

The Transition from the Old to the new covenant series: Part 2 – Trust

As I write this I am recapitulating the words the Lord spoke to me yesterday when he said “Trust and know that I am God” it was so surprisingly clear to me and caused an awareness I did not previously have. You see I wasn’t aware that I wasn’t trusting in God, I thought that if I’m praising and worshipping, I must trust God right? Wrong, the contents of my heart were exposed at that very moment. I then proceeded to repent and retrieve the memory anyone in my life that I had trusted fully, unfortunately no one had come to mind. I then realised that I had been painting God with the same paintbrush that I was using with the people of this world.

As I reflect on the journey the Israelites underwent; I realised they went through a great deal of situations that almost gave them no other choice but to trust God.  But the king’s horses and chariots and soldiers caught up with them while they were camping by the Red Sea near Pi-Hahiroth and Baal-Zephon.When the Israelites saw the king coming with his army, they were frightened and begged the Lord for help. 11 They also complained to Moses, “Wasn’t there enough room in Egypt to bury us?  Exodus 14:9-11 CEV. If you notice here as soon as they saw trouble they complained to Moses and were fearful. It is very interesting how quick they turned, in the previous verses the Bible states that the Israelites were walking proudly. Then a couple of verses down they were begging to become slaves again. Is that how we are today? That only when God blesses us we are in full ‘trust’ and happiness however as soon as the tide turns we flee in terror almost expecting the trouble to overcome us?

I marvel at the words that Moses spoke (inspired by God) to encourage the Israelites. Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. Exodus 14:13 NIV. This was a clear direction on what we ought to do in trouble even though we cannot see the deliverance with our own eyes.

This was a clear direction on what we ought to do in trouble even though we cannot see the deliverance with our own eyes.

I always like to make a reference to the new testament in this case Jesus was encouraging his disciples before he went to the cross. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1 NIV. He was explaining that he was departing but assuring that them that it would benefit them, by these further words And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:3 NIV. Here I believe Jesus was instructing them to trust the process though it may be painful.

Today try asking God to help you trust in him, for nothing is impossible for him who believe. Then allow him to work in your life without the pressures of your own wisdom and understanding.

Nathalie

The Transition from the Old to the new covenant series: Part 1 Remembrance

Exodus 13:3-6

3 Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the land where you were made to stay and work. For the Lord brought you out of this place by a powerful hand. No bread made with yeast will be eaten. 4 This day you are about to go out, in the month of Abib. 5 And the Lord will bring you to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, which He promised to your fathers to give you. It is a land flowing with milk and honey. There you will do this act of worship in this month. 6 For seven days you will eat bread without yeast. On the seventh day there will be a special supper to the Lord.

The Exodus is one of the most popular event’s of the bible, where it has even reached the so called ‘non-believers’ re-telling the story. But have you actually delved into what the Exodus actually meant in a spiritual way and the relation it may have with the covenant of grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, of which we are now living under.

Remember

If you notice at the beginning of verse 3 there is the word ‘remember’ of which Moses was instructing the Israelite’s to make it their purpose to remember what God had done for them on that particular day. Question, why would God instruct the Israelite’s to remember the events of what happened that day? How could people forget such an event right? But yet God instructed them to eat yeast without bread for 7 days as a companion to the remembrance. I believe this verse is showing us that we need to acknowledge our dependency on God, that whatever he is transitioning us out of and into, we need to actively acknowledge that if it wasn’t for the power of God and his deliverance then the series of events would have been very different. Yeast in the new testament is described by Jesus as the “teaching’s of the Pharisees”. Now remember the Israelites were enslaved for 430 years, so it was expected that they would’ve acquired the customs of the Egyptians so the symbol of them leaving Egypt without yeast signifies that they were leaving the old inherited customs behind that belonged to their slave masters and were stepping into the covenant God had prepared for them on the other side of the Red sea. We need to remember that when God takes us out of a situation that has held us captive we also need to release our old way of thinking and in turn acquire Christ’s way of thinking.

The Bread

In this case we cant talk about the yeast without mentioning the bread which is Christ. In John 6:35 Jesus declares that He is the bread. So the people of God eating the bread demonstrated them partaking in the new covenant that they were entering. Again Jesus mentions this in the final supper where he proceeds to break bread with his disciples and divided it among themselves (Matthew 26:26). This Bread that they participated in changed their lives forever, as the blood of Jesus impacts us today. May we actively remember the gift of salvation that Christ so heavily payed for us, and may we use this memory as a comfort that if he has already saved us, we indeed already have the victory!

Nathalie

Patience is Not only a Virtue.. its a Fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness..” (Galations 5:22)

What does it mean to be patient? does it mean waiting for the bus without complaining? or does it mean waiting in a line for as long as you have to without frustration? Another question would be are you ‘patiently’ waiting for what God has promised you? If so how do you know you are indeed being patient?

Define Patience

According to the Oxford Dictionary to be patient is being; able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.be patient, your time will come”

When Patience is lost

Time and time again we have seen and learned about people in the bible who lacked patience and therefore suffered the repercussions. For example Saul was commanded by Samuel from God to wait until he comes to Gilgal to sacrifice burnt offering’s in order to enquire as what they should do (1 Samuel 10:8). However the situation changed when the physical began to manifest and the pressures of society/peers began to threaten Saul and his Kingship. “He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter“. Saul then proceeded to take matters into his own hands “So he said. “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. (1 Samuel 13:8-9) For anyone who knows this story understands that this pivotal decision costed Saul his kingship and that it all went downhill from there.

The interesting thing about this story is that just when his patience had ran out the answer showed up. “Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him” (1 Samuel 13:10). This tells us that there are times that are we are so close but give up just before God shows up in our lives. “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time” (1 Samuel 13:13). We need to resist to societal pressures, remember what he has promised you we are not waiting for a counterfeit product but the real thing.

“The interesting thing about this story is that just when his patience had ran out the answer showed up”

What are you waiting for?

In society today we have everything at our fingertips, we no longer need to wait for adverts or commercials or even cook a meal we can order what we want at a click of a button. It is almost as if we have forgotten that there are some things that without patience you are short changed. For example growing fruit demands patience or else it cannot be as best of a fruit it can be. I don’t think I have met anyone that enjoys eating raw fruit, so why do we omit this in other areas of our lives. Today you may be waiting for God to should you your purpose, a husband/wife, a job or healing. But ask yourself are you waiting with a joyful heart understanding that this waiting season will actually work out for your good. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Trust God, Trust Jesus he knows what he is doing.

“A person‘s wisdom yields patience; It is to ones glory to overlook an offenceProverbs 19:11

Peace and Love

Nathalie

Righteousness..What’s Love got to do with it

How to Love

“If you love me, keep my commands” John 14:15. Such a powerful message Jesus gave his followers yet so simple. If it is simple then why aren’t we doing it? In today’s world if you ask the average christian “do you love Christ?” we would answer “yes” in an almost offensive tone. But do we actually understand what it means to love the Lord or how the Lord perceives love?

In today’s society we have a system called ‘Love Languages’. This now allows us to categorise people and put them in boxes so that we know how to keep them “happy”. This blog is not to bash any method but I believe that when its says in the Bible to love my neighbour as myself it should be as straight forward as that. As it says in the book of Mark 12:31;”The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” So every time we believe that we are portraying love we need to ask ourselves; are we loving this person (our neighbour) as ourselves.

Love Types

The word ‘Love’ has been categorised into 4 different areas; Storge – Empathy, Philia – Friendship, Eros – Romantic and Agape – unconditional ‘God’ Love. Do we know that God loves us unconditionally? This is re-enforced by the infamous scripture of John 3:16; For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. I believe that the type of love we are commanded to show our ‘neighbour would be the Agape type of love, where we are not asking for some type of exchange before we show love.

Hurting Heart

Unfortunately due to sin in the world, people including members of the church may struggle to demonstrate this type of love due to past experiences that taints our perception of love and how we give it. Personally I know this feeling and its restraints, however when I surrendered to Christ I was assured that this was not something that would come from my own strength but from God himself so that he can reach his desired result for my life. This is so clearly demonstrated in Proverbs 3:6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight“. Let’s remember this is not to walk in condemnation but to acknowledge, repent and submit to God to help us.

…however when I surrendered to Christ I was assured that this was not something that would come from my own strength but from God himself..

Isn’t it great that if we walk in his ways and love like him along with our faith, we are ultimately walking in righteousness! whatever situation you are walking in today, let us all remember that it is not in our own strength, but we need to ask God to help us love. This could be our family members, husband, wife, ex-friend even our boss. A willing heart is pleasing to God. “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.” 2 Corinthians 8:12.

Blessed week to all!

Nathalie

The Bridge…

Bridge – a structure carrying a road, path, railway, etc. across a river, road, or other obstacle

It has become apparent that this world is headed some where, if you haven’t watched the news maybe the book of Revelations will shed some light. These things are not to scare us, but have been revealed to make us aware that we must all the more run to Christ our Lord and Saviour. The bridge in this case in taking us from one season to another whether we like it or not. For some this season may be one of an awakening others it could be one of transformation either way no one comes out of a season with the same mentality.

“but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me” 1 Corinthians 13:10-11. Here Paul talks about a transformation he encountered almost as if he was describing an old way of life he was living. Then he states that he “became a man” which led to him to the disposal the childish things. In other words he crossed the bridge and entered a new season and he adapted to the new season by putting away the childish things.

I believe that it is necessary to check the thermostat in our lives regularly. We need to ask ourselves questions like; am I in my God given purpose? have I adapted (not compromised) to the season I am in? The reason I stated “adapted” and not “compromise” is because the main purpose is to grow in Christ not compromise to the things that are going against the word of God! Indeed we are the light of the world.

A bridge can be uncertain sometimes; could be dark, could be short or long, either way the passage demands some form of trust for us to make it to the other side. I have crossed many bridges and the more I encounter, the more it demands me putting more of my full weight on it to support me. This ultimately means leaning on God and trusting his process. Indeed what a challenging task it was for me in the beginning considering I relied on myself for almost everything even though in reality it wasn’t really me but the grace I was under.

A bridge can be uncertain sometimes; could be dark, could be short or long, either way the passage demands some form of trust for us to make it to the other side..

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up Galatians 6:9. In times where the bridge seems too long and dark we need to hold fast to this scripture (amongst others), with the encouragement that others have gone ahead of us and succeeded, including the Lord Jesus Christ. As Christians we don’t have to walk through this alone for the Lord is with us and he will never forsake us, trust him.

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. Job 23:10. A final scripture I wanted to include was the story of Job. Most know his story and the suffering he acquired during his journey and how he was able to come up with such a powerful statement in such a odious situation. This demonstrates that he was focusing on the end goal and not on the current situation. Personally I like the term “gold” this is something that never loses it’s value especially went it has been purified!

Nathalie

“I am The Way the Truth and the Life…”

“Who do people say the son of Man is?” [Matthew 16:13] Jesus asked. This particular verse made me ponder and reflect. Why would the Lord do a fact check on the knowledge of his disciples? why did the proclamation and the declaration of his followers necessitate an acknowledgment. It is written in Romans 10:9 “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”. This proves the importance not only in what you believe, but on what you say about what you believe.

Matthew 10:33 says “But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven”. This again demonstrates that we as believers need to actively proclaim our faith in Christ and understand who he is. In our daily lives when we meet people and form relationships we acknowledge who they are (as far as we know), and if we introduce them to someone we may also give them a title and perhaps a short biography to gain the confidence of whom we are introducing. Lets now ask ourselves this question “is this our case for Christ?”

In this current season where uncertainty is dominant in the world, what are we as Christians doing? Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”. With this in mind are we demonstrating assurance in what we do not see? Are we winning souls for Christ or do we succumb to the despair of the world.

During this season God has been shining his light upon certain areas of my life that I didn’t know was in darkness. To start off with I realised that I in fact didn’t know who Christ really was and the meaning of the cross in relation to my life. Throughout my Christian life I was collecting second hand information that lacked the power to penetrate the fleshly life I was living. I wasn’t proclaiming my faith in Christ amongst pagans due to my belief that my words would’ve proved intransigent in certain environments. Once I started reading the word God began to reveal his nature; his love, kindness and patience amongst many others. But this did not mean that I would take advantage of his kindness but to use it fuel my desire to declare that Christ is my Lord and savior. This is important to first understand because you can’t persuade people of something if you aren’t persuaded yourself, and belief it or not this is apparent in the way you live your life.

..You can’t persuade people of something if you aren’t persuaded yourself

I believe this is a new season for everyone where for some faith has been tested in the fire. Nonetheless this is the moment to really ask yourself who do I say Christ is? We need to know and understand who He is, and our calling. So that we can receive what he has reserved for us for his glory!

Amen!

Nathalie