Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Why is it so important to have perseverance?

If I asked you to mention the one thing that brings pure joy in your life, what would you answer? Playing with the dog? Having the grand kids over? Winning the lottery? A walk on the beach? It wouldn't surprise me if each of you came up with a different answer. Of course there are no right or wrong answers here. There is however a surprising biblical answer.

Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance (James 1:2-3). Calling the testing of our faith pure joy is kind of weird, I mean... I would never come up with that. But the Bible says that's the way we should look at the trials in our life. Well, let me put it this way, the trials are not necessarily pure joy, but the testing of our faith is, because it develops perseverance.

Why is it so important to have perseverance? Listen to what the next verse says, Perseverance must finish it work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Now we're talking! I love this verse because it tells me that the development of perseverance in my life must finish its work; in other words, there is an end to every test of faith, thank God! And then there is the answer to my 'why do we need perseverance' question; so that:
  • you may be mature
  • and complete,
  • not lacking anything

When looking at that kind of end result, the testing of our faith should be pure joy indeed!

The maturity mentioned here is the Greek word teleios, which stands for: a right relationship with God that bears fruit in a sincere endeavor to love Him with all one's heart in undivided devotion, obedience and blamelessness.
The completeness mentioned here is further explained in James 2:22, faith and actions working together makes our faith complete!
Not lacking anything is a Biblical promise for believers, Psalm 34:9 says Fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing!

The testing of our faith (sometimes through trial and error) is nothing more than the development of perseverance which will make us mature, complete, lacking nothing! Is that pure joy, or what?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Encourage 24/7

This week I am traveling, well digitally speaking... I am joining Tracy Teppler in her effort to encourage women all over the world, from her home base in South Africa. She does this with the help of a wide variety of bloggers. (Don't you just LOVE being part of the international blogging sphere?) I am honored to be this week's featured encourager at her Encourage 24/7 blog! If you've never been there, please stop by for a quick and powerful encouraging word. It might change your week.

By the way, you could be the next featured ENCOURAGER. Do you have a testimony? Do you have some good biblical advice? Do you want to encourage other women with what you have overcome? Looking for some extra exposure out there in the Christian blog world? Feel free to email your submission to:  247encourage@gmail.com

What are the requirements?:
  • God-centred post
  • Not too long
  • The point of the post is to be encouraging 
  • Submit a small bio with a picture of yourself so the readers can get to know you
  • Make sure an email address (for Tracy's eyes only) is submitted along with a link to your blog (if you have one).

Tracy's heart is to help other women restore the broken walls in their lives. She wants to involve women who love the Lord and have a heart for encouragement. If that's you... don't hesitate and join Encourage 24/7 today!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Being free and staying free

Apart from working on the Dutch translation of Respectfully Yours (about honoring our parents) and the release of the Italian version of Grace of Giving, I am preparing a series of teachings on the theme freedom.

Within two weeks we will leave for a trip to the Ukraine on behalf of our non profit Traveling Light. We have been invited to speak at the annual Teen Challenge conference in Kiev on the theme Freedom in Christ, based on Galatians 5:1. This past winter I posted the series maintaining our freedom on this blog. In preparation of this upcoming conference I had to look up certain scriptures and I became aware (again) how important this message is.

It is painful to see how many Christians do NOT live in freedom. Many are being tormented by addictions, fear, worries, pain, sin and shame. Did Jesus' mission fail? He came to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and to set the oppressed free (Luke 4:18). Wouldn't His heart bleed when He sees how we have become slaves of our television, gossip, pornography, self indulgence, medication, drugs and alcohol. We can and may live in freedom in the USA, and we don't do it... How can non believers or people from different faiths see that we have a different way of life?

When you have time this summer, please read the series maintaining our freedom once again (scroll down to the first post). Reach out for the freedom Christ has promised and keep it!

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
[Ephesians 4:17-21]

Saturday, August 03, 2013

The Galilee Experience

Visiting the Sea of Galilee, October 2012
Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” (John 1:49)

Jesus is the King of Israel. King of the Jews was written on the cross. It seems almost a cynical joke that most people in Israel struggle to believe this. For us it is like this: if the Holy Spirit of that King lives in our heart, we inherit His love for Israel.

With our non profit organisation Traveling Light we support several initiatives in Isarel. Initiatives that are reaching out with the love of God to Jews as well as Arabs, Palestinians and Bedouins! In recent weeks I kept reading about the boycott of products from Israel and I wondered how I could give such news reports a positive twist. And yes, I came up with something :)

The son of one of our contacts in Israel works for The Galilee Experiece. The are located in Tiberias, right at the water's edge, with a huge store and theater. They have an extensive online shop with all kinds of products from Israel. Great if you want to give someone a special present, great if you want to spoil yourself a bit! Take a look around...