Sunday, November 3, 2019

Hope in Dark Places

When you're overwhelmed with problems, when the way ahead looks hopeless, when your thoughts go in dark circles, then it is time expect something new from God.

God was your Creator when you were conceived. God was there at your birth.

In your helpless dependence, you experienced a mother’s love, that special love that stirred your hunger for a heavenly love.


Then you learned to stand on your own feet and walk.

You went to school, perhaps studied and then got a job, but never forget that you are from God and your life was prepared by God.

No matter how strong and clever you have become, you need to know that your power and success was only possible through God's loving care.

Human strength and material things don’t last for ever.


You may experience painful setbacks. You lose your job. Your marriage fails. Your children go astray and break your heart. You grow old and your strength fails.

You come to a place where you cannot manage your life with your limited health and strength.

How do you react then?
Many become depressed, pessimistic, resigned. Maybe this is you.

If you have not been in these dark places, your time may yet come. 
But if life knocks you down, do you have to stay down forever?

Recently I was very down. I went into a dark place, until it occurred to me that God still has plans for me that I can not think of myself.

I have come so far with God’s amazing help. It was not my own strength or ability that brought me this far.

God has led me so far, and will he not take care of me when I grow old?

God has always rescued me with beautiful surprises from impossible situations. If Jesus rescued me before, will he change His mind when I am old?

When Jesus called Peter to leave his job as a fisherman, Peter had to follow a new path, a path that looks very insecure to our natural minds.

Does the way ahead of you look uncertain?

God sees where you are, and he sees the path that lies before you. Nothing is uncertain for God.

God has prepared a bridge that leads from your past to your future.
Would a good engineer design a bridge that leads from one bank to another, or a bridge that does not quite reach the other bank?


 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD.
 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isa 55:8-9 NKJ


We need God's loving care. You need to get God's thoughts. You have a Bible, but the Bible is a big book. To reach your destination you need not only a good map, but also a reliable guide.

Jesus did not leave his disciples on earth without help.
We have the best of all guides and mentors, the Holy Spirit.


`Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.' Jer 33:3 NKJ

Just as the Holy Spirit was to the prophets in the Old Testament, even so he is our wonderful comforter and guide today. He is the great encourager. He wants to give you new hope.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jer 29:11 NKJ

Saturday, August 31, 2019

You need the peace of God!

God's will for you is peace.

Peace in Hebrew is SHALOM. That includes safety, healing and complete well-being. This peace comes only from God. 


The peace of God involves reconciliation with God, a relationship with a Heavenly Father who is not angry with you, who does not want to threaten or punish you, who does not look at you with critical eyes.

You cannot have God’s peace with anger and a critical spirit. Even though you may have to stand up for controversial truth, you must also resist self righteousness. If you are proud and critical, you cannot enjoy the love, joy, and peace that God longs to give you.

Anger and criticism are not merely stressful. They rob you of the ability to love and forgive difficult people. Didn’t Jesus tell us to love all Christians and to love our enemies?

God longs to give you his peace. If you are traumatized, this is impossible without deep healing, but God is the healer, and he wants to heal your deepest wounds.

Traumatized people are often plagued by fear and anger. There is no peace possible without God.

Herrmann Zaiss was a dedicated evangelist in Germany who was deeply hurt in spite of amazing success. He was full on charismatic. His ministry resulted in numerous conversions and healings, but in 1924 the resistance of the anti-charismatic Christians was much stronger than it is today.

The persecution by other Christians was very hard to take. His wife had a complete nervous breakdown and his marriage failed. His wife was apparently permanently psychotic in a psychiatric institution.

Herrmann Zaiss was a broken man despite his amazing faith.
How is that possible? In the Bible, Elijah became desperate and asked God to let him die.


Herrmann Zaiss could not take it any longer.

He did not want to have anything to do with God anymore. He still believed in God, but he did not want to live as a Christian. God could kill him, he knew that. He told God he could call him back after 20 years if He so willed. That was up to God.

Zaiss became a successful entrepreneur and married again.
In 1944 he was in Solingen and Germany was falling to pieces. In Solingen and elsewhere, allied bombs rained down day and night.

His wife told him that despite everything he was a man of God. The time had come to re-activate his faith to encourage the suffering people around them.

Exactly twenty years after turning his back on God, he knelt with his wife, and they gave themselves completely to Jesus.

God forgave him and restored his miraculous ministry. His faith was stronger than ever.

One day they heard a bomber attack on Solingen from England was on their way. Herrmann Zaiss took to the streets and ordered the aircraft to return to England. Then they heard that the bombers had actually turned back.

His ministry increased. Hundreds of desperate Germans came to hear his message. Many were converted.

After the war, a businessman provided him with a bomb-damaged building.

People came from near and far, even from Holland. They saw amazing healings. Where despair reigned, new hope rose up.

Among the British occupation forces was a young soldier. His entire Jewish family in Germany had been wiped out by the Nazis. He was accepted as a refugee in England, and now as a British soldier he hated the Germans.

A Canadian officer was Christian and wanted to help the young Jew. He took the tormented you man to one of Herrmann Zaiss’s meetings. The broken-hearted young soldier heard the wonderful message and saw the amazing miracles. He felt the love of God and God gave him a new heart. Instead of blazing hatred, there was now a burning love.

At the same meetings there was an ex SS officer who had adored Hitler. He had been seriously wounded during the last days of the war, and he was cared for in an American hospital. He could not understand the love of American Christians, but Jesus also transformed his heart.

The young Jew and the no longer hate filled Nazi officer became close friends.

"I create the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near," Says the LORD, "And I will heal him." Isaiah 57:19 (NKJV)

Friday, April 26, 2019

The God of Impossible Miracles

Without the love of God, faith does not work. Very often we see contentious debates about biblical teachings. Doctrines are important, but we can cling to beliefs with determination, but without loving and trusting God.

1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.

2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb

3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.
Mark 16:1-4 NIV

 

The women wanted to anoint the body of their beloved Jesus. They just loved him. When people are moved by trust in God and pure love, we can see what faith really means.

They show their love for Jesus in a practical way. Real love always moves us to do something.

Love, faith and action are inseparable.
These women took the initiative.

 
We see no hint in the text that they were following instructions from the apostles. At that time, the apostles were intimidated and confused.

Once I was in a church which was planning a Christmas outreach in a shopping centre. I went to the shops with a young man from the church to pray for the Christmas celebration.

He asked me if I had the permission of the pastor. I was surprised. If you want to pray, do you need the permission of a pastor? Really?

When we are moved by the love of God, we will often take the initiative to bless our families, our neighbours or our colleagues.

But the women had a problem. The entrance of the tomb was blocked by an enormous stone.

When you are deeply moved by love and trust in God, you can stare impossibilities in the face and not turn back.

One missionary was convinced that God had told him to go to China, but he had no money and no ticket. He obeyed and went to the airport. He was familiar with testimonies where missionaries in similar situations got a ticket from someone at the airport.

He had to go to the toilet and when he left the wash-room, he was in China.

I know a woman who dreamed that she visited India, and there she met Christians and she was able to help them with wise advice. When she told me, I was not sure if that really happened or if maybe it was just a dream.

Then a missionary friend of mine told me about a friend of hers who visited China in a dream. She also doubted if it had really happened. Then she got an e-mail from a woman in China and with the e-mail was a photo of her visit.

There are Christians who believe that God worked amazing miracles in biblical times, but if someone claims to have experienced extraordinary miracles in our own time, they dismiss it as unbiblical or worse.

In the Bible that I read, it is part of God's nature to do the impossible. God's nature is unchanging.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 NIV

“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.
Malachi 3:6

  • God’s mercy is part of His eternal character; so too is His supernatural way of working wonders.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 NIV

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

You Can Be God's Light

Light is sown like seed for the righteous And gladness for the upright in heart. Ps 97:11 (NASB) 

  • Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God's people, Joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil. Ps 97:11 (MSG)  

When God created the trees and the flowers, He put seeds in them, so they could produce offspring.


And he said, "Let the earth burst forth with every sort of grass and seed-bearing plant, and fruit trees with seeds inside the fruit, so that these seeds will produce the kinds of plants and fruits they came from." Genesis 1:11 (TLB)  


When you received the New Life of Jesus, God changed your dead, dark spirit. God turned on the lights inside you and you began life all over again.
  • By God’s mercy, love and life giving power, you became a new person, a new creation.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Cor 5:17 (NLT)  


Sometimes this change is dramatic and obvious from the outside. 

An evangelist drives demons out of a dangerous and evil person and the tormented soul believes in Jesus. The new believer is  suddenly happy and shines with the goodness of God.


Other times a person seems to change gradually. 

A prostitute came to church and believed in Jesus but returned to her old life. She kept coming to church and started to be more gentle and kind but still in the context of her life of prostitution. 

Then she began to give money to the church from her earnings. Finally she reached the point where she had the courage to walk away from prostitution and learn to live a normal life.

  • Exactly when was she saved? God knows.


God uses believers to sow the seed of light and truth in the souls of men and women. 
The faith, hope and love that come with the message of light are given to you as seed. 

What will you do with the seeds of heavenly life? 


  • Will you cultivate the garden of your new heavenly life, so your life becomes like window with a view of heaven itself?
  • Will you sow the good seeds God gives you, so your life becomes a gateway to the garden of God, so others can find blessing and truth?


Whatever seed you sow will be multiplied in your own life and in the lives of others around you.


Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Gal 6:7 (NLT)  
  •  If he sows to please his own wrong desires, he will be planting seeds of evil and he will surely reap a harvest of spiritual decay and death; Gal 6:8 (TLB) 

  • but if he plants the good things of the Spirit, he will reap the everlasting life that the Holy Spirit gives him. 

I am sure you would love to shine with the glory of God, so if your heart is hungry for the glory of God, be like the insects that come to the light. 
The light of God will not burn and destroy you if you love Jesus. 


Come into the wonderful presence of God and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you through His life giving words. 

When God Himself speaks, it changes the way you understand the Bible.


  • We cannot be a blessing to others if we teach the Bible with a dry religious spirit.

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Cor 3:6 (NIV)


When we receive the light and joy of Jesus, we know Him as the light of the world.

 

... Jesus said to the people, "I am the Light of the world. So if you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, for living light will flood your path." Jn 8:12 (TLB)


Then we ourselves can shine from the life of Jesus within us.


Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. Isa 60:1 (ESV)  


Monday, September 24, 2018

God Loves Rejected People

The Father gave His only son Jesus for all mankind. In return, the Father wants to give all mankind to Jesus. 

 

Why do not all come to Jesus? 

 

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. John 6:37 (NKJV)  

 

Does God only draw some to Himself and to His Son?
  • No, no, no.


Jesus said:

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32 (ESV) 

 

Jesus was lifted up from the earth on the cross, when He willingly died to pay the penalty for our sin, to receive the punishment for our rejection of our loving God because we chose to live as though He did not love and care for us.

 

Jesus died but He did not stay dead.

  • After three days in the grave, He was bodily raised up from the grave by the Holy Spirit.
  • He spent 40 days encouraging and teaching His followers before He was raised up from the earth again. 

While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. Luke 24:51 (ESV) 

 

The heart of the Father is to save every one of His lost children. 


  • Without Jesus in your life, you are separated from God by your own choice because you have chosen not to live in the Father love of God. 
  • You have lost your right to be called a son or daughter of God.
  • God is the source and giver of all life and goodness. 
  • If you die without Jesus, you will still exist and you will experience the darkness and emptiness of death for ever.


If you are not enjoying the love and forgiveness of God but you are reading these words, God is speaking to you calling you to come to Jesus.


  • God sent His son into the world to restore everyone to Himself but He was rejected and put to death.
  • It is the same today. 
  • He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 


But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, John 1:10,12 (ESV) 

 

Why did God do this? Because God is Love. 

 

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:8 (NKJV) 

 

God’s plan is that you would find His love in a church but sadly this sometimes does not happen. 

 
  • If you have not found the love of Jesus in a church, don’t give up on God. 
  • If churches have rejected you, Jesus has not stopped loving you.

 

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. John 6:37 (NKJV)  

 

If you come to Jesus by watching Christian TV or reading the Bible alone, God is loving you and not casting you out. If you are an isolated believer in Jesus, God wants something better for you.

 

And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." Genesis 2:18 (NKJV) 

 

If you are a man or woman who is following Jesus alone, God is proud of you for not giving up on His Son but He wants you to have human companionship. 

 

Ask Him to lead you into Christian friendship. 


  • This is more important than marriage. Marriage can be a blessing or a curse.
  • This is more important than going to church or joining an organisation.
  • Churches can be loving or they can destroy love.

But one great truth remains. 

Jesus is with you if you love Him and He is very powerfully present when two or three believers come together because they love Him.


  • I pray that you will know the love of Jesus.
  • I pray that you will find a loving church.
  • I pray that you will enjoy loving family life.
  • But even if you do not find a loving church or family, I pray that you will discover the blessing of believing friendship.


For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20 (NKJV)

Friday, September 14, 2018

God Still Heals. Do You Need Healing?

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John tell how the Son of God lived on this earth for 33 years. 

  • In his last three years on earth, Jesus preached and taught the people of Israel. 

    • One of the most prominent features of His teaching was the way He consistently performed miraculous healings.

And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. Acts 10:38 (NLT) 

  • This is how the Apostle Peter summarised the healing ministry of Jesus. 

    • He makes no distinction between exorcisms and healing physical sickness. 

      • Jesus saw demon possession, deafness, blindness and physical sickness as manifestations of evil.

When John the Baptist was in prison, he was tempted to despair of his faith. He sent his disciples to Jesus, seeking reassurance.

Mt 11:4-5 (ESV)  And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 

  • the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.

Clearly Jesus also saw Healing as a central feature of His ministry.

  • When Jesus appointed His Apostles, the first thing He did was to give them authority to heal.

And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. Mt 10:1 (ESV) 

If we look at church history and examine the practices of many churches in the Western World, we see only some churches emphasise healings and miracles.

  • Many other churches consider this unbalanced and yet they read the same Bible that shows Jesus was a healing evangelist. 
  • For Jesus and the early church, healing the sick was an essential part of the Good News of the Kingdom of God.

Where did the Western church go wrong? 

Why have we strayed from the ways of Jesus so clearly presented in the New Testament?

After the fall of the Roman Empire in the Europe, most people were poor and illiterate. 

  • Faith the Word of God was replaced with faith in religious traditions including prayers to saints and bathing with holy water. Healing and miracles became associated with very unbiblical practices.

When Luther and Calvin restored the Bible as the only source of spiritual authority, they rejected the papacy. They also condemned faith in miracles obtained by prayers to saints or touching sacred objects. This was idolatry.

  • However they made the mistake of rejecting all healing miracles. 

    Calvin taught that the miraculous ministry of Jesus and the Apostles were not a model to imitate.  

    • He taught they did miracles to prove that Jesus was the Son of God and to confirm the truth of the Gospel of salvation. 

      Once the church and the gospel were established, they considered miracles were no longer necessary but were counterfeit miracles associated with Roman Catholic idolatry. 

Once the miraculous element was banished from much of Western Christianity, faith in scientific materialism was blended with biblical belief. 

  • Faith in human reason began to supplement and then replace faith in the Word of God.

This is why many Christians in Britain, Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand find it difficult to receive divine healing or to exercise faith for miracles. 

Our whole culture has been corrupted by systematic unbelief in God’s supernatural power.

  • Faith is a personal matter but it is also corporate. Faith is contagious but unbelief is also contagious. 

Conservative Protestant tradition and academic theology  have made unbelief respectable in in Europe and North America.

  • The result has been a catastrophic decline of faith amongst professing Christians and the abandonment of Christianity by the majority of Europeans.

But God has not changed and the Bible has not changed.

God loves you. 

He knows you are broken and wounded in many ways. We all are. 

  • We all have emotional issues that cause us pain and prevent us from being all we could be. 

  • We all get sick from time to time and many of us have bodily functions that don’t operate as they should.

God wants to heal you, to change your life, to set you free of the painful limitations that stop you fulfilling your potential.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

A Time for Courage

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV) 

Many times in the Bible, God says to His people: “Fear not” or “Do not be afraid.”

  • In some texts, God is telling His people their fears are imaginary, that there is nothing to be afraid of at all.

In Matthew 14, the disciples were in a boat in rough weather. When they saw Jesus walking on the water, they thought He was a ghost.

But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." Mt 14:27 (NKJV) 

When the angel Gabriel came to Mary, he reassured her.

Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. Lk 1:30 (NKJV) 

God’s people have nothing to fear from supernatural manifestations of heavenly glory.

On the other hand, there are situations where we have real reasons to be afraid but God calls us not to be afraid anyway.

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Mt 10:28 (NKJV) 

Here Jesus is saying Do Not Fear even though you face savage persecution and possible martyrdom. It is a call to courage and faith in God’s salvation. 
  • It is also a warning to remember God’s punishment for cowardice.

God Is Love

As we read the Bible, we see again and again, that there are two essential aspects to the love of God. 

These are comfort and challenge.

And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.  

Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Mt 4:18-19 (NKJV)

What a blessing, to be invited to live full time with Jesus and to be given the power to get men and women saved, to rescue them from damnation! 

  • But what a challenge to leave the security of a successful family fishing business and to live by faith in God’s daily provision!

I have a friend who was once a committed Muslim in Saudi Arabia. 

  • Muslims have no assurance of salvation. They live in the hope that they might be good enough to escape hell fire. 

When George came to know Jesus, he had the comfort of knowing the God who really loved him as His dear son. 

Some Muslims desire such a personal relationship with God but their sacred writings offer no hope for such a fulfilment.

  • But it was a challenge to be rejected and persecuted in his own country. It was a challenge to flee to Australia as a refugee.

God called him to study for a doctorate at an Australian university where there are a lot of Arab Muslim students. Not one of them escapes Georges personally targeted preaching of Jesus.

Once George spoke to an Arab Muslim missionary on campus, one of many militant Muslim missionaries sent around the world financed by oil rich Arabs.

“Why do you preach Islam?” asked my friend.
“Because I want to go to heaven,” replied the Muslim missionary.
“That is very selfish!” said George. “I know I have a home in heaven. I preach Jesus because I want OTHER PEOPLE to go to heaven.”

We have the comfort of knowing God has prepared a home for us in heaven.

We have the challenge or reaching others with the Good News of God’s kindness.