Saturday, December 26, 2009

In the beginning...

About the Alpha and the Omega
In this last week of 2009 I am preparing for a new year. I rather look ahead to a new and fresh beginning than pondering on the past, yet reflecting on and learning from this last year is certainly part of my meditation time this week. I have set some goals in the three main areas of my life (spirit, soul, and body), I am seeking God for a clear direction in 2010 and this morning I decided to begin reading the Bible from beginning to end again. It has been a while since I did this and I simply asked the Lord to give me fresh revelation on His word.

When I began reading Genesis 1:1, I was surprised to immediately receive a new insight. I must have read that scripture hundreds of times, maybe more and yet…
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. I have often wondered what ‘the beginning’ means, the beginning of what? The history of mankind? The beginning of time? The beginning of God’s order? This morning however I was reminded of what Jesus says in Revelation 22:13

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Jesus is the beginning! ‘The beginning’ is one of the ‘I am’s’ as found throughout the Bible. So, Genesis 1:1 basically reads: In Jesus God created the heavens and the earth. ‘The beginning’ is not a certain period in time, it is a reference to Jesus Himself! The simplicity of this insight blew me away. I received a simple, yet very profound thought that I found confirmed throughout the Bible. There are various scriptures that will back up the statement that everything was created in Him and for Him and through Him. Let me give you a few:

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made
(John 1:3)
By him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
(Colossians 1:16)
In these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
(Hebrews 1:2)

I am absolutely delighted that
1) God answered my prayer right away
2) He showed me that this ancient beginning can be new, and
3) that His word is always fresh!

It is my wish that the coming New Year will be a fresh and new beginning for you in every possible way!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Divine appointment

The angel's promise differed greatly from political propaganda

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the most High God. The Lord God will make Him a king, as His ancestor David was, and He will be the king of the descendants of Jacob forever; His kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:32-33)
Mary must have been stunned when she heard the words of the angel who visited her. A kingdom without end? That was certainly unheard of. The Middle East at that time had a violent history in which kingdoms rose and fell constantly. Yes, they had enjoyed years of peace and prosperity, but it never lasted longer than a lifetime. Change was always in the air and each time a ruler took over, the people eagerly awaited better times. Certainly this time things would lighten up.
The angel’s promise to Mary however, differed greatly from the political propaganda she had heard so often. He talked about someone who would become king because the Lord God would make Him king. This was not a matter of human performance, political strategy or violent conquest. The establishment of this new king was a matter of divine appointment. No wonder His reign would be of eternal nature and His kingdom could not be taken over by a rival.
The angel’s message was a prophecy of things to come. Mary carried the Kingdom seed in her womb, a small and humble beginning of something that would change the world forever. Through Yeshua, the Son of God, the Kingdom of Heaven came on earth and it has grown into the biggest Kingdom of all. Millions, yes, hundreds of millions of people are subject to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Surely, it will never end!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Children of light

We can do more than just shine...
With the left over turkey still in the refrigerator and a fresh cut Christmas tree in the back of my pick up truck I have entered the season of light. This month people from all kinds of languages, tribes and nations will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that He is the real light, the light that comes into the world and shines on all mankind (John 1:9)

I love light in all its beautiful forms; the sun, the moon, peaceful candlelight and even the sparkle in a child’s eye. The Bible teaches us many things about being light in a world that is getting darker. I absolutely love how the apostle Paul puts it in Ephesians 5:8-10
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.

Now! Put some emphasis on the word 'now' and read it again. Now, we are called ‘light’, it is our new name, it is our new job, it is our new character. Light… as opposed to what we once were. Living as children of light is therefore not an option for the person who believes, it is an assignment! It shows the world that we have stepped from darkness into His marvelous light.
When we find out what pleases the Lord, we can do more than just shine, we will bring forth certain fruit! Our life will produce goodness, righteousness and truth!

Being children of light calls for a certain lifestyle, not just during the month of December, but always! Please, make sure you live not a day longer in darkness. You don't have to, no matter what the circumstances are! Make the decision to step from darkness into light. Whosoever believes that Jesus is the real light that came into the world will be able to say "now I am light in the Lord!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Non-profit of the Year Award

Teen Challenge Ventura wins 2009 award!

Great news that I am extremely thankful for: Teen Challenge Ventura won the 2009 Non Profit of the Year Award, which is given out by the Chamber of Commerce in Ventura. As a volunteer and supporter of this faith based drugs- and alcohol rehabilitation program I am proud and thankful that this organisation gets the honor it deserves! Well, as a matter of fact all honor goes to Jesus Christ, who is, was, and will always be the proven cure for the drug epidemic! But it is sure nice for the staff and students to receive this award as it will encourage them greatly!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thoughts on the mustardseed

Use what you have, however small it may be
Have you ever asked God for greater faith? Have you ever desired increase in your faith? Maybe you are too polite to ask, but the disciples (who were around Jesus all the time) didn't hesitate. "Make our faith greater" they told Him boldly (Luke 17:5). Well, at least they adressed the right person. Jesus, however, holds them off a little and tells them to use what they have, however small that may be.

Nothing will be impossible for you (Matthew 17:20)

Oops, quite a bold statement, Jesus always knew how to trigger their thoughts. He basically explained what faith the size of a mustardseed is: something small that enables you to do big things!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Small stuff

A personal journal entry...
Who despises the day of small things?
(Zechariah 4:10)
What an accurate question Lord, it really touches me. I realize I have not always been grateful for small things, maybe not even for bigger things. Often I keep looking at everything I still have to conquer instead of rejoicing over things already accomplished.
I want to be thankful, always!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Where will my ambition lead me?

Kingdom truth and values differ from the world's teaching
When I stepped from darkness into light (1 Peter 2:9), into the realm that is called The Kingdom, I didn’t fully realize it would turn everything I knew and had learned in the past upside down and inside out. Everytime I read the Bible it keeps amazing me how Kingdom truth and values differ from what the world teaches. The other day I was thinking about ‘ambition’. I looked up that word in Webster’s and found the following: 'strong desire to succeed or to achieve something, as fame, power, wealth, etc.'
I believe that being ambitious is a good thing as it is often the result of passion and the drive for perseverance. The question we have to ask ourselves however is ‘where will my ambition lead me?’ It is so easy to be carried away and eventually find ourselves in places we do not want to be! Having a desire to succeed or to achieve certain goals is a healthy attitude, I don't think there is anything against such ambitions in God's word. The Bible does offer warnings against selfish ambitions though (in Galatians 5:20, Philippians 2:3 and James 3:14 for example). Selfish ambitions do not serve our fellow men or a bigger purpose and are therefore purely human, even egocentric. God wants us to direct our ambitions towards Kingdom building and advancement.
I found an interesting and helpful scripture in 1 Thessalonians 4:11, it says:
Make it your ambition
1. to lead a quiet life (avoid drama)
2. to mind your own business and (don’t meddle in other people’s affairs)
3. to work with your hands (be productive)

Now, that would not exactly match the average goal of a college student or young urban professional, right? As a student of God’s Word it should be my goal however.
The good thing about following godly ambition is that the rewards are awesome! The next verse says that our daily life may win the respect of outsiders and that we will not be dependent on anybody.
Sounds good to me!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

About Godless chatter

In pursuit of godliness
In Holland we have a saying that goes somewhat like this: “what you say is what you are”. The words that come out of your mouth are a reflection of what is in your heart. Since I am a person that finds talking much easier than listening I have a lot to learn, so I am forever studying everything the Bible has to say on the subject. I have posted several times about the power of words on this blog and my first book Sacred Sabbath for example starts of with some thoughts on the power of God’s word. In 2 Timothy 2:16 I found yet another interesting scripture about this, it says,

Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.
Godless = without God. Godless chatter is simply any talk that is not God related, which is basically anything without a bigger purpose, without a Kingdom principle as foundation, anything that does not point to Jesus. The scripture warns us that if we indulge in ungodly talk we will become ungodly. That brings me back to the Dutch saying I opened this post with. I like to change it as follows: we become what we speak about. We not only have to choose our words carefully, but also the people we enjoy conversing with.

If it is possible to become ungodly because of ungodly talk, I feel free to say that it is also possible to become more godly if we would talk more about God and God related subjects. In his first letter to Timothy the apostle Paul urges him to pursue godliness, among other virtues (1 Timothy 6:11). Regardless of the fact that we live 2000 years later, we should all be in pursuit of godliness whether that is cultural and popular accepted or not! It does not come automatically because we are believers. So, how then do we start?
By changing the things we talk about and by befriending people who have a similar desire! Changing the world starts within our own heart.
As Bill Johnson always says: don’t wait for the perfect wave to ride, start your own!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Spice up your communication with God

Enjoy a spirit-to-spirit conversation with the Creator of the Universe
A recent issue of Christianity Today carried an article about the rather controversial gift of speaking in tongues. The headline said 'Assemblies of God asks whether its distinctive teaching is being lost in outreach efforts’. An interesting article and one of the many discussions about this topic.
I like to keep things simple and searched for a biblical point of view based on 1 Corinthians 14. In the first verses of this chapter three things stand out in particular and I like to share them with you:

1. When we speak in tongues we speak to God!
Now, who wouldn’t want to enjoy spirit-to-spirit conversation with the Creator of the Universe? We would be out of our minds to deny the opportunity to be in close contact with God. Millions of seekers and doubters all over the world are desperately trying to be in contact with a God they’ve never seen by means of nature worship, sacrifices, meditation etc. while at the same time laughing and criticizing the very thing the Bible says will work!
2. When we speak in tongues we utter mysteries.
So cool! We utter mysteries that only God can translate into common sense. 1 Corinthians 4:1 states that we are servants of Christ entrusted with the secret things of God. Some translations say the secret truths or mysteries of God. Every time we open our mouth to utter mysteries we make use of the trust given to us. We are setting the secret things of God free, releasing mysteries into our atmosphere. Now you might wonder what good that will do to anyone. Nothing, if not translated. 1 Corinthians 14:13 therefore says, For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. God will give us the translation, whether in some kind of revelation, knowledge, prophecy or instruction.
3. When we speak in tongues we edify ourselves.
It is good to stay under the word, to join bible studies, to visit conferences and read books and in this way learn from others, but we also need to edify ourselves! It is no coincidence that Websters dictionary says that to edify is to build or construct, a dwelling, house or temple, to instruct or improve morally or spiritually. I feel free to say that if we do not work on improving our temple, it will decay and eventually crumble.

Speaking in strange tongues, whether uttering a known or unknown language, is a gift the Holy Spirit has for every believer. God desires not only to communicate on an intellectually and emotionally level with us, but also on a spiritual level because God is Spirit and He alone knows the importance of the decoding of the mysteries, which are needed to edify and instruct the believers! Let’s not be ignorant about the gifts or fall into temptation to debate the gifts.

Let us desire them eagerly!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More, more, more

A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions
My husband and I have the privilege to be able to live on two continents. For years we have been dividing our time between Holland and Southern California, not only separated by thousands of miles but also by thousands of different cultural aspects. Our house in Holland is about the smallest house in town, it’s cute and cozy. We don’t have a lot of stuff there, simply because we lack room to store it! Here in Southern California however the house we live in is huge! Over the years we furnished every room en somehow the house became full with all kinds of things. I don’t think we intentionally wanted to fill it up, it happened slowly. It is amazing how that gathering mentality can creep up on you; more, more, more…
Jesus, as usual, has some very wise words on this. In Luke 12:15 He says,

Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.

Wow, a man's life does NOT consist in the abundance of his possessions, that goes against everything this country stands for. ‘The more I have, the more I be’ seems to be the main thought in our rich Western world. We have elevated the abundance of possessions to be a birth right, to a way of living; it is hard to think otherwise.
I think we better start listening to the words of the Master and change our thinking. It is NOT about what we have, but about who we are in Him and what we can give to others in need!

Search your heart,
Simplify your life
Share your belongings.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Journal entry...

Fill the world with fruit that lasts
What a wonderful treasure your Word is, Lord. It is new every morning, fresh every day. Thank you for showing me Isaiah 27:6 which talks about the restoration of the people of Israel but when I personalize that, it talks about my restoration too: going from a selfish life without purpose to one that is destined to advance your Kingdom. When I personalize that scripture, it says: "Marja will bud and blossom, and fill all the world with fruit." What a wonderful pointer to Jesus' words in John 15:16 where He commands me to go and bear fruit, fruit that lasts. I am supposed to fill the world with fruit, the fruit of my lips, the fruit of my pen, the fruit of my labor and love. Starting in my own house, expanding to my city, my country and eventually the whole world! Fill the world with fruit that lasts. Love, joy, wisdom, teaching and truth.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sacred Sabbath journal & study guide now available

Book holds prophetic message for America
Your commandments are my eternal possession; they are the joy of my heart.
Psalm 119:111

When I wrote my first book Sacred Sabbath I had no idea the message would be so prophetic for the USA! I had no idea a time was coming upon this nation wherein financial crisis, rising unemployment, a political power shift away from God and an overall fear for the future would be so prevalent. I had no idea the extravagant American lifestyle would finally show her real face: a multi billion dollar debt that has most people in an iron grip.

Bleak picture of a doomsday America? Maybe, but it doesn’t have to be that way for those living by God’s Word. You can still have peace and joy in the midst of ever changing and sometimes frightening times. In the book of Joel a similar time of crisis, in which a nation is stripped from all her riches, is described. Joel 1:12 says, Surely the joy of mankind is withered away and maybe that was the worst thing of all! Loosing material stuff is bad, but loosing spiritual treasures like peace of mind and joy is a huge tragedy. If I look at the desperate attempts of people to find those treasures in our modern day society I feel free to say that mankind is loosing her joy.

In Sacred Sabbath I wrote an entire chapter on joy as well as some chapters with a prophetic message for America, which I call 'the corporate blessing'. I believe those words are very accurate for this time! I have created a study guide to go with the book, based on the sessions we had with our home group in Holland. It is a great tool for individual devotional time or for use in small groups. If you are looking for a profound and encouraging bible study this winter, make sure to order the book and print the study guide as shown in the sidebar of this blog, or contact me on how to order a study guide and journal.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Highly valued among men

All things of earthly value will not impress God
What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight
Luke 16:15
Ouch! Jesus knew how to silence a crowd! He must have had everyone gasping for air when he said the above words. They were His closing statement on a long debate about money. It doesn’t say in the Bible whether the people argued with Him after these words, most likely everyone went home in deep thought about this fundamental Kingdom principle. I believe His words still have the same impact today; for one thing, they will make us think!
What do we regard as ‘highly valued’ in our society? Education, career, a famous name, wealth? In a way, it doesn’t matter what we come up with, for all things of earthly value will not impress God. That makes me wonder why we do spend so much time and effort to reach goals that might impress our fellow men, but are of the least importance to God. Education, career, money… Yes, they are a healthy part of our life as stewards here on earth, but they should never be our main focus! We must be careful not to get carried away! The Bible teaches in 1 Timothy 4:7-8 that we should train ourselves to be godly, because godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life an the life to come! Training to be godly cannot be done according to a 5-step plan nor will we graduate after 4 years. It is, however, very promising to know that this education has value for all things!
Let’s reverse our priorities!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Prayer for America

Billy Graham's Prayer For America

Heavenly Father,
We come before you today to ask your forgiveness and
to seek your direction and guidance.
We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,'
but that is exactly what we have done.
We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children
and called it building self esteem.
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography
and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers
and called it enlightenment.
Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today;
cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Are you an evergreen tree?

No worries in a year of drought
Right before our return to the USA someone gave us a postcard. On the back he had written the words from Jeremiah 17:7-8

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought, and never fails to bear fruit.

I have always liked the metaphor of the believer being a tree. Rooted in love, bringing forth fruit and planted by streams of water. In this particular scripture the tree is an evergreen. No matter what season, the leaves are always green. No matter what season, it never fails to bear fruit. That tells me we can go through difficult times, we can feel lonely, we might feel challenged or even disappointed, but we can still stand strong! We do not need to fear the dry seasons because they will reveal the extend of our root system. As long as we can reach water, which may require some serious digging, our leaves will stay green and we will never fail to bear fruit!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Design by the spoken word

When God speaks, He creates...
Recently I have been working on a study guide to go with my first book Sacred Sabbath. That idea came to me when Tate Publishing offered to print journals with the cover of the book. So a nice study package for individual or group study will soon be available! I’ll keep you posted!
While going through that first book again I came across some thoughts that are worth sharing on this blog.
When God speaks, He creates. He brings something into existence, just as He created light by using words. You can find praise for His creating power in Psalm 148, the writer urges all creation (the angels, the sun, moon and stars) to glorify God. The reason for their worship is simple,
Let them all praise the name of the Lord! He commanded, and they were created.
Design by the spoken word! God created more than the heavens and the earth. He spoke laws, promises and truths into existence, which are written down in His Word for the reader to meditate on and live by. His voice is written down for all generations!
The most awesome thing is that while studying His written word He will speak to us again!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Song of Sorek

Wonderful World

I leave my footprints along the sun-drenched flood line
I try to make a pattern, a mark so neat,
But the waves are playing with those prints of mine
And nearly sweep me of my feet

Oh, to touch Your great creation.
Oh, to be a part of Your wonderful world

I leave my footprints on this ancient mountain trail
The earth beneath my soles is soaking wet
The mud is sticking to my feet, still small and frail
And paints them with her deepest color red

Oh, to touch Your great creation
Oh, to be a part of Your wonderful world

I leave my footprints in the gold of glowing desert sand
My toes are digging for the cooler layer
While I let some dust run softly through my hand
And whisper all these thoughts in prayer

Oh, to touch Your great creation
Oh, to be a part of Your wonderful world

Sunday, September 13, 2009

This great nation

A wise and understanding people
As a European, frequently residing in the USA, I get asked certain questions from time to time. Quite often people want to know what the general opinion overseas is about Americans and the USA as a country. Likewise I enjoy asking Americans about their views of my birth country Holland. Somehow we all care about the way we are valued as a country and as a people.
The other day I was reading in Deuteronomy 4:6 how Moses addressed the Jewish people who were about to enter the new land as promised to them. He urged them to stick to the decrees and laws that God gave them and added,
Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all the decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”
Now, wouldn’t it be awesome if other nations said that about your country or about your tribe? Wouldn’t it be awesome to be known as a wise and understanding people? Well, we’re far from it, whatever country we live in. I do believe, however, that this is how we should be known as Christians. Not as critical and intolerant and self absorbed. It is by our love that we will be recognized as Believers, it is by wisdom and understanding that God in us will be recognized!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Be transformed!

When the impossible looks logical
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind
Romans 12:2

Transformation doesn’t happen in a second. Well, at least not in real life. It is a process of learning and growing and adjusting to new Kingdom standards and principles. Yet, sometimes I wonder: am I there yet?
I heard Bill Johnson (Bethel Church, Redding, CA) recently say: “You know when your mind has been renewed when the impossible looks logical”.
Well, that certainly made me think! How many 'impossibilities' do I encounter in my life? Do I truly believe that with God ALL things are possible?! I must not try to understand everything and all that is going on in my Christian life, but surely it means I must expand my vision, expect the unexpected and be ready for supernatural things to invade my life. Stop putting God in a box!
If we still worry about the same things we worried about 5 years ago, there is no renewal taking place. If we still get frustrated because we bump into dead ends all the time, we are not being transformed! Let's pray with the Psalmist,
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me
(Psalm 51:10)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Back to California

Trans Atlantic journey
A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step...
Tomorrow is the big day (again), I will be making the long journey from Amsterdam to Los Angeles. This time my stay in the USA will have an extra dimension knowing that publishers on two continents are working on my books! Wow, I have waited for this for some years now, and I am very grateful that my book Breath of Life will be released in Holland in the spring of 2010, reason to go back again. My short time goal in the USA is to present my 4th manuscript to Tate Publishing and hopefully I will be able to sign another contract with them. Furthermore I will be working on the weekly newsletters that we send out to our support group in Holland and recently I have started translating newsletters from our friend Brian Slater who works for Chosen People Ministries in Israel. Together we are working and praying to establish a support group in Holland for his work with the poor and homeless in Israel.
I also write a monthly column in a Dutch Christian magazine and started my 3rd season with them! Well, as you can tell, I won't be bored. Hands to the plow!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

When facing tough situations

Keep it simple
Everytime I face a difficult or tough situation, it seems I need more words to beg and plead my case with the Almighty. I find myself reasoning, debating and desperately trying to find an explanation or answer. Well, maybe that is just me... But isn't it true that we sometimes feel we have to explain things to God? Our prayers get longer and more complicated, sometimes to the point where we don't remember what our initial question was! My mentor always says 'keep it simple', and again and again that proves to be the right thing to do and the inspiration to develop an attitude like that comes straight from the Bible.
As always, Jesus is my ultimate example in this. The other day I was reading in Luke 5:12-16 how He met with a guy who was covered with leprosy. Well, if you've ever been in India, you'll know what leprosy looks like and personally I have never seen anyone being healed from that disease. Now, this certain man asks Jesus to make him clean. If that isn't a tough situation, what is? However, Jesus keeps it simple and uses three words to explain divine healing: I am willing.
Ouch, I wish I had come up with a theology like that! His answer is awesome! The actual prayer that follows His statement is even shorter, more simple... be clean! No discussion, no pleading, no crying, no begging. Just authority!
So much to learn from such a short story. Please, remember this encounter the next time you face something that seems impossible to overcome or conquer, and keep it simple!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Holland contract signed!

Breath of Life will be published in Dutch
Hooray! Today marks another great and exiting step in my writing career. I have signed a contract with Merweboek, a national publisher in Holland, who is planning to publish and distribute my latest book Breath of Life in the spring of 2010. During the past few months I have been working on the translation of this book and I am just thrilled to realize that this moving story will be presented in my home country Holland. I am very grateful for this opportunity and I am sure our joint venture will be pleasant, inspiring and fruitful! Let this be an encouragement to anyone who is currently working on a dream or vision; never give up, never give in. IT IS POSSIBLE!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

About customs and such

Jesus was certainly not against all forms of rituals
Jesus spoke frequently against the traditions of men, especially against religious habits without a proper and pure attitude. He endorsed a living relationship with the heavenly Father as the pillar for a life of faith! Although Jesus was commonly known as a revolutionary teacher and preacher in His days, He was certainly not against all forms of rituals. In Mark 10:1 we can read the following,

Again crowds of people came to Him, and as was His custom, He taught them.

As was His custom... It is evident from this account that Jesus had developed some positive habits. We know, for example, that He got up early in the mornings to pray and that He enjoyed solitude in order to speak with His Father. In this scripture we see that it was also His custom to teach, whenever people gathered around Him. Teaching was His passion. While I was meditating on this I wondered: what kind of customs do I have? Have I developed some Jesus-like habits that will set me apart from the rest of the crowd?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Speak with purpose!

Do we speak words of life and truth?
When Jesus spoke, all the people hung on his words (Luke 19:48). He didn’t always say what they wanted to hear or what they were accustomed to hear, but somehow His words were interesting and thought provoking. That makes me think…
Do people listen with interest when I speak? Do I speak words of life and truth? This is certainly one area in our daily existence that needs constant guidance and correction. If we speak, we should do it with His example in mind. Personally, I want people to walk away elevated, encouraged and enlightened after we had a conversation; not wondering what in the world that was all about. I will try to speak with purpose! Colossians 4:6 calls us,

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Question from Jesus

The majority of Christians doesn't seem too excited about God's law. Books about the subject have a tendency to be boring and most teachings ... well, most teachings we have heard too often. Maybe you do not even expect to receive revelation on the ancient words. I have discovered, however, that there is always more to learn about God's word and His commandments. The books I am writing testify to that. God's word is so refreshing!
For example, Jesus had an interesting way to point believers to fulfillment of the law as a way of life (livin' it). One day a man asked Him how to inherit eternal life. Well, Jesus knew for sure that He Himself was the way, the truth and the life, but that is not what He told the man (bummer... wouldn't that have been convenient?) He answers the man's question with a question and in doing so He makes the man think and urges him into action:

What is written in the law? How do you read it? (Luke 10:26)

He did not say, what do the commentaries say, what does the priest say, what does your theology say? No, his question was very personal: how do YOU read it? I think His question is the same for us today. It is not about what others say about the Law, it is about what the Bible says about it and the way we read it, the way we receive it. We should make it our goal to read the Bible that way and always ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to us!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Prayer against fear

Jesus had some weird messages
One of Jesus’ boldest statements and commands can be captured in two words: ‘fear not’. His words almost sound like a cruel joke. Fear not? That’s like telling someone who is sinking not to drown. One look at today’s headlines tells me there are many things to fear, such as epidemics, terrorism, foreclosures, and cancer, just to name a few. Only a heart of stone would be untouched and unshaken by such scares. So, was Jesus mistaken or did He take things too lightly? I don’t think so, His messages were sometimes weird, but always serious; don’t fear the things of the world, fear God! Put all of your energy there!
David prayed sincerely

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
(Psalm 86:11)

May that be your prayer today!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Breath of Life goes Dutch

Life of Sorek being translated
As I am still looking for a publisher in Holland and getting closer and closer to finding one, I have started to write Sorek's story in Dutch. It takes a lot of time and effort, so that's probably why I haven't maintained this blog as well as I should. I am currently looking for a few faithful proof readers to comment on my manuscript.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Order Breath of Life on-line

A book is a treasure
Personally I enjoy ordering books through the internet, although browsing the racks at Barnes & Noble is a soothing experience too! But sometimes it can just be very convenient to order your books on-line. To read more about my latest book Breath of Life, click on the following link: Amazon
By clicking on the cover you can open the book and actually take a peak inside and read a little, just enough to get curious! This is an awesome feature Amazon added to make your shopping even more fun! Go ahead, and start reading chapter one today!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Breath of Life book reading on Youtube

Is there life before conception?
It is possible now to listen to the very first pages of Breath of Life! Yeah, find out what this story is all about. Go to the following link and listen/watch while I am reading from my latest book. Like it? Feel free to pass it on or link it to your own page. Thanks!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bumper sticker

What's your message to the world?
Soon after our arrival in Holland last April we started our weekly small group gatherings again. It is absolutely awesome to come together with believers and non-believers to meditate on the subjects of my books, to think about God and to discuss the Bible. Currently we are reading and studying my latest book Breath of Life. This week we discussed chapter three and came up with some interesting assignments that I would like to share on this weblog. We were all inspired by Sorek's story. He's still in the womb and yet, he knows he has a purpose and a destiny! That is so powerful!
See if you can come up with something original!
1. What is your message to the world? (short)
2. What would you say if you had one minute on international television, knowing that the whole world would be watching? (shorter)
3. Design your own bumper sticker! (shortest)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Vision Tour

Jesus Christ is the total cure for the total person
We just came back from a vision tour (we rode 2500 mi on our BMW R1100 GS motorcycle) to Slovenia organized by Teen Challenge Southern California and a European conference in Prague where representatives from Teen Challenge centers from all over Europe came together. It was very inspiring, to say the least. Wow, to see and hear what God is doing worldwide through these rehabilitation centers is just awesome. Together we are working to make people who struggle with life controlling issues mentally sound, emotionally balanced, socially adjusted, physically well and spiritually alive!
Maybe you know of someone who struggles with drugs, alcohol or porn addiction. Please, don't hesitate to check out Teen Challenge and contact them. They will receive people from all ages, not just teenagers.
For a full report on our tour, please send me an e-mail.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Surely He took up our infirmities

A deeper understanding of Isaiah 53
Last night I watched the Passion of the Christ, again. I never thought I would see it a second time, it is simply not the kind of film you want to see again.
This Easter, however, I longed for a deeper understanding of Jesus’ sacrifice. First of all because I needed some physical healing (and Isaiah 53:4 speaks clearly about this), and second, because I did not want the message of the cross to be robbed of its power.
The amount of blood that flows in this film is gruesome, but touching. I realized all over again that Jesus' blood flowed for the forgiveness of my sins. The amount of beatings and wounds is equally gruesome and it reminded me again of the fact that Jesus' wounds brought me healing. His sacrifice had a dual meaning, forgiveness of sins and healing of diseases. The blood and the body, the wine and the bread; they are both symbols for the freedom I can have in Jesus Christ!
Do I never sin again? Do I never get sick again? No, of course not, but I know this one thing: the price for my freedom has been paid in full. Nothing can stay in me or on me that does not belong there! Halleluja!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Crossing the Continents

It's that time of year again...
Tomorrow is the big day; we'll be flying back to the old world. It's kind of hard to explain without going into detail, but from time to time one has to be among familiar people. My friend Marianne once said: Each time I travel, I know when I reach the point that I need to go home; I simply must be among my own tribe every now and then.
Yes, I love going back to Europe each year! Back to the busy sidewalks, the hustle and bustle of the market scenes where merchants touch fruit and vegatables with their bare hands! Back to the millions of bicycles, the crowded cafe's, the fresh bread and oh so tasty cheese! Back to whole wheat breads and french fries with mayonaise! Back to small town living where people greet each other and look each other in the eye!
I'll be back in California though... nothing beats the weather here!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Song of Creation

It is your birth song too!
Sorek, the main character in my latest book Breath of Life is an artist at heart, believe it or not: a poet in the womb! Reading this book gives you a unique chance to listen to the child we all once were. His story is a message for America and I think his voice needs to be heard, so I like to share one of his first songs on this weblog. This isn't just another little poem, it holds a message, it speaks of Truth. It is your birth song too!
It seems the time stood still
For just a tiny little moment
When my Creator spoke the words
Let him be...

It seems the time stood still
For just a tiny little moment
When my Creator granted me the dream
Let him go...

It seems the time stood still
For just a tiny little moment
When my Creator handed me my destiny
Let him live...

Yes, within that tiny little moment
All of eternity stood still
And saw a new beginning

The Creator said
and let him be

like Me

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Breath of Life inspires other writers

Poem on the life of Sorek
Through Facebook I received a note from someone who read my latest book Breath of Life and the story inspired him so, that he wrote a poem. He added: "You've done such a masterfully wonderful job of creating an engaging personality in this playful unborn guy. The message is delivered powerfully. Congratulations, and thank you. Id like to do as much as possible to call attention to his fate and your work to save him."
I was thrilled when I read Don's message and poem. I can only hope and pray readers will pick up Sorek's story like Don did and use it to further spread the message: unborn life is sanctified!
You can find the poem at

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Live purposely

About thought provoking scriptures and such...
The living word can be surprisingly extreme! The other day I was reading the following words in the book of Colossians 3:17, Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Everything we do or say? That's nearly impossible; who lives like that? Yet, the extremer the scripture, the more it makes me think.
Last week I attended a Teen Challenge graduation and the theme of the evening was: living life with a purpose. I love that theme, because it holds a solemn warning against a life on automatic pilot; it calls for challenges and adventure! It also made me think about the words in Colossians. My purpose should be, to do and say everything in His name, or according to His will. I admit that I am not always consciously doing that, although I surely surrendered my whole life to Him and His will. So, the question to myself is: do I sometimes do the things I do in the name of something else? For instance, power, money, greed, frustration, pride or simply for the sake of pouting?
I encourage you to take such a reality check from time to time. It's refreshing, I promise!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Two News Tips

More press for Breath of Life
Have you ever done it? Google your own name to see what comes up? I am not afraid to admit it, I do it frequently, mainly to keep track of the journeys my books make. This week I found a recommendation for my latest book on a British website, how cool is that?! Also, the theater production SOREK is coming up. So, please take note of the following two news tips:
  1. My latest book Breath of Life is recommended in Great Britain on which is short for Christian Concern For Our Nation. Check out this awesome website and click on the abortion-tab. If you by any chance have connections with a pro-life organisation, please don't hesitate to tell them about Breath of Life or direct them to this blog.
  2. Sunday March 15th 2009 the theater production SOREK will open at Solid Rock Christian Center in Ventura, California. I wrote the script based on the book Breath of Life. This is going to be awesome, I promise! Solid Rock is located at 5105 Walker Street, Ventura, CA. Please be there at 6 pm.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Freedom in fulfillment

Seminar based on Sacred Sabbath
This weekend I spoke at the Church of the Living Christ in Ojai, CA about biblical time management. The mini seminar I gave was based on my first book Sacred Sabbath. I spoke about shifting the emphasis from keeping/obeying the Law to fulfilling the Law. After I gave some nuggets on how to apply that to having a day of rest after every six days of work, the participants journaled their thoughts (as my book suggests) and joined in group discussion. The response was awesome. I can truly say the light went on for many!
Every now and then people ask me why I write about the Ten Commandments. Didn't Jesus came to free us from the Law? Well, let me answer that question with another question. When Jesus gave us the new commandment to love one another as He loved us (John 13:34), was He commanding us to do something, yes or no? If your answer is no, you don't believe what Jesus said. If your answer is yes, you know what the commission is: love one another. Do you realize what that means, to love one another?
Love is the fulfillment of the Law (Romans 13:10). In loving others we fulfill the Law, just like Jesus did when He loved us.
The power point of the seminar is this: freedom in fulfillment!
That is His plan for this New Testament generation!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Human impossibilities

There is a way!
Sooner or later in life we will all face human impossibilities; mountains too high to climb or rivers too wide to cross. We might cry out like the disciples did at one time, 'Lord, increase our faith' (see Luke 17:6). It's funny that Jesus hardly ever answers the way we expect Him to. It is no problem for Him to increase our faith, but that would not build our character or advance His purpose for our life. Instead of answering the request He talks small faith, frightening small faith if you ask me. He truly has a way of making something out of nothing!

Nothing will be impossible for you (Matthew 17:6)

Some statement! A wonderful promise from the Master Himself for everyone who believes in Him today. He explains what faith as small as a mustard seed really is: something small that enables you to do great things!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Renewal by the Holy Spirit
The other day I received a letter from my friend Brian, who serves with Chosen People Ministries in Israel. He had something interesting and encouraging to share which I do not want to withold from you.

"I am typically not a person who sees visions or has amazing dreams. However, recently while meditating on the Lord and His Word, I had an incredible vision I'd like to share.
I saw a huge, big white bathtub with white foam in the shape of clouds, and I was in it. I then began to have a wave of thoughts saying, "Bathe in His atonement, His grace, healing, hope, joy, love, promises, provision, Spirit and His Word."
Titus 3:5 came to my mind, which says He saved us not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit). This was exciting and refreshing for me, to say the least. Maybe this word is for you as well?"

Well, refreshing is exactly the word that comes to mind! Sometimes we need to simply soak in His presence and goodness, so as to keep our focus on God and not on our works.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Time Multiplication

Give away the very thing you need!
A few weeks from now I will be speaking in the Church of the Living Christ in Ojai, that is in beautiful, sunny Southern California, on the subject of biblical time management. Actually, I'll be hosting a mini-seminar based on my first book Sacred Sabbath. It seems ages ago that first book in the series came out, but it still holds a fresh message. I want to leave the following thought with you for this weekend.
If for whatever reason we regard one day a week as special, we regard it as our special day, and thus we want to do the things we like or love. God's way of thinking is different: One day a week is special. It is not yours, it is Mine. Pursue Me and not your own interests. Could it be that we lack time during the week because we are trying to keep all the days for ourselves, because we refuse to give God His rightful one day a week? Think about the biblical principle as mentioned in Luke 6:38 (give to others and God will give to you). If we give Him one day a week, He can bless the other six! If it works with money, why wouldn't it work with time? I want to challenge you if you are one out of those millions of people who are often busy and hardly ever have enough time to get everything done; start giving back to God His special day. You will find out He starts to bless the other six days too, in a supernatural way. You will always have enough time. By giving Him the hours on that special day, He will mutiply them and give them back to you during the other days! You will never, ever run out of time again!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Advertise Him!

Speak out for the Lord!
Newspaper articles, books, blogs or just a conversation in the store... it doesn't matter where we are or what we do, we can always advertise our faith in God. Nowadays there are endless ways to express our faith and in doing so we might encourage others at the same time. Speak out for Jesus!

2 Timothy 1:8 says
Do not be ashamed then, of witnessing for our Lord
No matter how you do it, no matter where you do it, advertise Him and His Kingdom! The world is full of commercials for the craziest stuff, let us do it for the God who holds heaven and earth in His hands!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Press coverage Breath of Life

Great article in Ventura County Star Newspaper
In the past months I have been using this weblog to share information on my latest book Breath of Life. Ofcourse every author is excited about his or her own work and will do anything to promote it. We're always searching for that fine line: should I talk about it one more time or am I being pushy? Every book needs to sell and that does not happen automatically just because you wrote a thrilling story. We're always searching for new venues to get the word out there and thank God for the internet and blogging!
However, nothing works better than a great article in the press. Today the Ventura County Star did a really good article on the book and I am very thankful for that. Just click here and it will direct you to today's headlines. You can leave your comments at the Ventura County Star if you wish. Thanks again!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Attitude in prayer

Practical and fresh thoughts
For years we have been sending out weekly newsletters to our church in Holland. The newsletters are more than just communication or a form of accountability; we also like to encourage our church family back home. We do so with uplifting news, inspiring stories and lots of scripture. Each week our newsletter contains a little devotional thought, called The Living Word. We would like to implement these practical and fresh thoughts on this weblog. So, I started translating them into English and from this week on you will find The Living Word in the sidebar. The Living Word devotionals can be recognized by the picture of the blue door … Here’s the first one:

Be persistent in prayer, and keep alert as you pray, giving thanks to God. (Colossians 4:2)
Isn’t God’s Word awesome? It tells us so much more than just being persistent in prayer; it teaches us that attitude is important. Being alert (expect something to change) and being thankful (before that change takes place) is fuel for exciting prayer!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Motto 2009

Do not be anxious about anything!
This past week we had some serious trouble with our telephone line. The fierce and hot Santa Ana wind that frequently storms through the Southland must have damaged our ancient system. No dial tone, no internet, no phone calls... for some days. It slowed me down, I actually finished two books I was reading. I noticed it did get me a little upset as well when I caught myself yelling at the recorded message that the phone company kept playing for me while being on hold on my husband's cell phone. Just that same morning I finally received my motto for this year: do not be anxious about anything (Philippians 4:6) I wrote the words with big letters in my new journal and I had glued a picture of a tranquil beach right next to it ... as a reminder. I had no clue I would be practising my new found motto only a little while later.
It must be one of the most difficult commands to obey and one that is easlily overlooked for convenience sake. I have decided to really, seriously try and keep it up for a season, until I get it!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Reminder: books worldwide available!
At the beginning of 2009 I would like to thank the readers of my books and blogs. It is because of your kindness and awesome comments that I am looking forward to yet another year of writing and hopefully the publishing of the next book in the series. I would like to remind everyone of the blessings of the internet; my books are available in the USA through many internet book sellers like Barnes & Noble and Borders, but also worldwide through sellers like Amazon and the Bookdepository (this one will deliver free of charge worldwide!). It never stops to amaze me how efficient the web works, we can communicate, send e-mails, leave comments, create blogs and order books! What did we do before all this?
If you haven't done so already and if you're interested in my writings, please order my books on-line at your favorite book store. The books are great for small group studies and home groups as well as for personal devotional time. Apart from the serious messages for America (and any other nation really) they contain many, many scriptures and spiritual truths to meditate upon.
Thanks again for your support and may your year be filled with joy and peace!