THE NEXT STRANGER

The next new person that you encounter will obviously be a stranger to you. Depending on your personality, it may be a wonderful opportunity to make a new friend or if you are an introvert, like me, it can be awkward, even intimidating.

 

The next stranger you meet may create a positive first impression or just the opposite. The next stranger you meet may have a pleasant disposition or have a repelling personality. Sometimes it is hard to tell what kind of person we met after one encounter. 

 

On November 3rd, the "Our Daily Bread" devotional had this beautiful line -

Jesus knows and loves everyone we don't yet know or love.

 

The next stranger you meet is already known by Jesus. Jesus loves them despite knowing everything about them. Jesus loves them just as much as He loves you! But that person may not know that Jesus loves them. And the Lord may have brought them our way, so that we can share the good news of God's Love. So before you write them off, consider if there is a divine purpose for the encounter.

 

Our daughter has this saying by Melody Truong on her wall -

 

I am in love with cities I've never been to

And people I've never met

 

Let's adjust that to - Jesus wants people we have never yet met and places we have not yet been to, to discover how much He loves them. Get ready for the next stranger crossing your path.

Blessings, Pastor

PULL ME JESUS !

Matthew 14 records an amazing incident in Peter's Life -

 29 … Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink … cried out, “Lord, save me!”

 

We applaud and salute Peter for walking on the water. We celebrate his daring faith. Then we attack him for taking his eyes of Jesus, which causes him to sink into the water. What a weak disciple!

 

I believe that a greater lesson happens in what follows. Matthew 14 continues -

 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 

 

I believe that when Jesus grabbed him by the hand, that the Lord pulled Peter up to stand on the water. In my opinion, Jesus did not haul him back in over the side of the boat. Instead, they stepped from the top of the water into the boat with Jesus holding on to Peter's hand. 

 

There was a moment when the sinking Peter was back on top of the water. The key was that when he started to sink, he cried out to the Lord for help. That is what we need to do. Have you noticed how easy it is to go from miraculous moments to the dark night of our souls? In one movement, we can go from mountain top to a deep valley.

 

The same Jesus that pulled Peter back on top of the water can pull you up and out of whatever you are sinking into. We do not have to sink lower we can call on Jesus.            Blessings, Pastor

MINING FOR TREASURE

Gold and diamond Mining is a huge part of the South African economy. So it was often in the news, and we got to watch several TV programs and movies based on the mining industry.

 

Sometimes the precious metals and gems are buried deep under the ground; and miners have to dig deep before they reach the gold or diamonds. That means creating tunnels that run deep underground. It is tough work. It requires physical digging, blasting through rocks, using excavation machines, etc. It is also imperative to be careful in the planning and the digging because tunnels can collapse. 

 

On Monday night on my way to Church, I had a picture of our intercessors wearing miners' hard hats.  

 

In many ways, we are called to be miners. God has placed treasure in every person. Sometimes that treasure is buried deep. Our prayers and our holy involvement with people can help unearth the treasure that may be buried deep under the "dirt". Sometimes that "dirt" is due to the work of the devil, generational issues, failures or setbacks, self-esteem struggles, mistreatment by others, etc.

 

As you minster to people, remember with some you may need to persist and dig deep because who God created them to be has been buried so deep that they cannot see it or believe it. By the Grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit, we can help people reach a place of understanding how valuable they are to God. It is a great reward to see people discover their preciousness in the sight of God.

 

If you need help - find a godly person to help you unearth God's treasure within you.                 Blessings, Pastor

THE UNSEEN GUEST

Jesus sat at Zacchaeus table. A man who freely admitted that he had robbed and cheated his community. He repented and offered to pay back those he had cheated. Jesus actually had a reputation of eating with people that society frowned upon. Matthew 9:10-11 records -

 

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

 

Jesus also hung out with those on the opposite end of the social scale - the self-proclaimed righteous people. Luke 7:36 says -

 

When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, He went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.

 

The Lord is at our table too. I love this saying -

 

“Christ is the head of the home, the unseen guest of every meal, the silent listener to every conversation.”

 

This wonderful assurance can change the atmosphere at many tables. This belief can bless and even correct conversations. The truth that God is always present at our tables can heal family relationships. Knowing that the Lord is with us can transform our meals into wonderful moments of love, joy and peace. It can create opportunities for us to release God's Grace and Healing.

 

God bless your tables. I pray that every time we sit at the table, that the Presence of God will bless our food and our fellowship.    

                    

Blessings, Pastor

HOLY DISSATISFACTION

It's finally here - the season to 'eat as much as you can eat', and the time of year to 'shop till you drop'. Enjoy!

 

This Thursday, most of us will celebrate Thanksgiving with words of Praise and Glory to God for the blessings of His Amazing Grace in our lives. We have so much to be grateful for.  

 

There is a danger that in our thanksgiving that many people will measure their level of satisfaction in things and in accomplishments. There is the possibility that people will evaluate their joy factor based on who is in their lives or the city they live in. On the darker side, some allow addictions and obsessions to be the reason they feel good. Of course, that cannot be shared at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

 

John 6:35 has an important lesson -

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

 

Jesus was not talking about physical food, but about deep satisfaction that is only possible in Him.

 

Let's pray for ourselves and for others that the Lord would create a holy dissatisfaction with anything in our lives that takes our primary focus off Jesus Christ. Let's pray that we and others we love will become uncomfortable in places, and in activities and with people that are not a part of God's purpose for our lives.

 

Finally pray that this holy dissatisfaction will lead us to the true source of satisfaction and fulfilment - our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.                                                             

Blessings, Pastor

BLOCKED CALLS

We signed up for the "Do Not Call Registry". It does not work. We continue to get countless calls from telemarketers, people seeking donations, offering dream vacations, etc. It is a time waster and of course, it is very frustrating. These robocalls are illegal; but it seems like there is no way to stop them.

 

It reminds me of how the devil tends to break into our minds and hearts with his lies and deception. The devil keeps sowing seeds of doubt and fear into our souls. Like those relentless telemarketers, there is a constant bombardment of demonic discouragement against the people of God. And there is an unending stream of deliberate misrepresentation of God and His Word. 

 

Most phones now have this amazing feature called "Block this caller". Hallelujah! Use it.

 

That is what we need to do with the demonic words that come to cause chaos and confusion in our lives. We can block the lies of the devil through our prayers. We can block satanic deception by being grounded in the Word of God. We can expose and shut down the lies of satan through the gift of discernment. 

 

I have blocked a bunch of telephone numbers, but there are so many more numbers that keep calling us. When I do answer, I cut them off quickly because I do not want to entertain those calls. In the same way, even if the devil does break through our defenses with his lies, we can cut him off immediately. We should have no time or tolerance for the lies of the devil. 

Blessings, Pastor

AFTER YOU VOTE

Try these simple 'yes' or 'no' questions -

·         Do you think politicians are the answer to the crisis in our nation?

·         Do you fully believe and trust the promises of politicians ?

·         Do you believe the mid-term elections will usher in revival ?

 

 If you answered "yes" to any or all of these questions, I have bad news for you - you are looking in the wrong direction for answers to the crises in our nation and world. Your hope and trust is misplaced.

 

One more question -

·         Do you think we need to elect more Christians to congress to effect real Biblical change ?

 

I have even more startling news for you - about 89% of this present congress identifies as Christian or Catholic. That is greater than the national average of Christians. That is a huge majority of elected officials who claim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and the Bible as the foundation for their lives. Yet their decisions, behavior and words do not reflect their faith.

 

Politicians - even Christian politicians - are not the answer. Don't put your hope in them. Our hope for real change and revival is in Jesus Christ alone. 

 

I am grateful to God that I can vote on Tuesday because I was born in South Africa and was denied the vote under the apartheid regime. It is our privilege and responsibility to vote. After you vote - remember your prayer is more powerful than your ballot. After you vote - remember your Bible is more powerful than the constitution.  When all is said and done - put your hope in God.            Blessings, Pastor

LIGHT & LIFE

Halloween is a celebration of darkness and death. Halloween promotes fear and terror. Halloween has its roots in the occult. This is contrary to what the Bible teaches us.

 

From the Bible we know the Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. John 8:12 - When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”.

 

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is Life and the giver of Life. And even more, Jesus Christ is the Resurrection and the Life. John 11:25 - Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.    

 

We also know from the Bible that fear is not of God. 2 Timothy 1:7 - For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

 

The culture of our world is so contrary to the Kingdom of God. We live in a world that rejects the Word of God and embraces alternate "truths". We live in a world that promotes darkness and wickedness over light and goodness. 1 Timothy 4 warns The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Some anti-Biblical things are obvious while others are subtle and covert. We need the discernment of the Holy Spirit more than ever.

 

The world needs the light and life of Christ Jesus. May the Lord intensify His power in and through our lives.  

Blessings, Pastor

THE WALL

The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 to prevent East Germans from escaping to the West. It was initially a fence made of barbed wire, and eventually became a concrete barrier with armed guards. The Wall was 12 feet high and 27 miles long. There were over 300 guard towers, 3,000 dogs and 55,000 land mines. The Wall was reinforced with barbed wire, spikes, metal gratings, bunkers and vehicles as obstacles.

 

Despite their best efforts, over 5,000 people escaped across the Berlin Wall. There were many creative escapes, viz. tight rope, zip line, hot air balloon, and tunnels. The Berlin Wall came down in 1989.

 

There is an enemy of our souls that puts up walls in our path too. The devils puts up walls in between us and the people in our lives. Walls of division in homes and families. He puts up walls between us and our destiny. He also puts up walls in our minds and emotions. Walls of fear, stress, anxiety, and irrational thinking. Most of all he aims to put up a wall between us and our God

 

So many that are trapped behind satan's walls, are convinced they will never be blessed or fulfill their divine purpose. In 2 Samuel 22:30 David testifies - "With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall". So can you and I.                            

               

Just as the 5000 that did not let the Berlin Wall stop them, be determined to go beyond the walls of the devil. Don't let anything stop you from being free, and being all that God created you to be. With our God, all things are possible. He can bring us out from any and all walls of the have us trapped.           

Blessings, Pastor

GRUMBLER

    

In our Tuesday Bible Study classes, we had to address the issue of grumbling. 1 Corinthians 7 records this warning -

 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.” We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did - and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, as some of them did - and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did - and were killed by the destroying angel.

 

The Greek word for grumble is "goggyzō" [Pronounced = ga good zo]. It means to murmur, mutter or grumble; to say anything against in a low tone; to confer secretly together and to discontentedly complain.

 

The Apostle lists this alongside sins of idolatry, sexual immorality and wicked excesses. It teaches us that there is a seriousness about grumbling that we tend to neglect, because we may not consider it to be a "major sin". Yet grumbling cuts us off from blessings.

 

Every day in the wilderness was a miracle, but Israel were so ungrateful and impatient, and they died without getting to their promised land.  

 

Grumbling reveals our maturity level in Christ. We show our true colors under pressure. When things don't go our way, we get upset with God, we become angry, frustrated and even jealous of others.

 

 Joyce Meyers said - "if you complain, you remain - if you praise, you raise". Don't miss out on your next level by being a grumbler. Praise God.                                              Blessings, Pastor

PERIPETEIA

Peripeteia [pronounced = "pair-uh-puh-TEE-uh"] was the Merriam-Webster Dictionary's word of the day on Friday. It means a sudden or unexpected reversal of circumstances or a situation especially in a literary work. It is a sudden turnaround. A peripeteia is a radical shift in a person or events.

 

In others words - it is a surprise blessing. I shared this thought with our Prayer Team on Monday evening - God can change anything and everything in an instant.

 

Everything that has ever happened in your life up to this moment can be radically changed for the better by the Lord. All the mess and chaos and confusion can be turned around because our God can make everything brand-new in the twinkling of an eye. That means instantly, immediately, or suddenly.

 

So do not rule out a sudden shift in the life of someone you have been praying for. Don't give up on a miraculous turnaround in the tough battles you have been in - some battles have been going on for the longest time. Most importantly don't give up on yourself.

 

At any moment, God can release a word over our lives and incredible breakthroughs can happen. One thing can change everything. Don't underestimate God. With God all things are possible [Matthew 19:26].

 

Stay faithful. Stay committed. Stay in holy choices. Stay within the boundaries of God's Word. Stay connected to the Church. Stay expectant. Stay hopeful. There could be a peripeteia in the realm of the spirit headed your way today. Don't miss it.     

 

                                             Blessings, Pastor

NIGHT LIGHTS

Many people, including my family, prefer to sleep in total darkness. I love night-lights. In my opinion, it is a wonderful invention. I whistle in the dark.

 

Night-lights help us navigate in the dark. We usually place them in bathrooms, kitchens, hallways or children's bedrooms. They can prevent us from stumbling in the dark or banging into things when we have to move around - perhaps going for a drink of water or to the bathroom - in the middle of the night. Night-lights can help little children be brave when they have to go to sleep.  

 

Jesus called us the light of the world [Matthew 5:14-16]. The light of our God shines through us. On Monday evening during our intercession prayer, I felt the Lord impress on my spirit - that we are the "night lights".

 

When God shines through us, we light up the darkness. When God shines through us, we can help people find their way out of their dark places. When God shines through us, we can assist others navigate the night seasons in their lives. When God shines through us, we can be a source of hope and courage to those struggling against pressure from the powers of darkness.  

 

When God shines through us, we can and do make a difference in this world that is so saturated by deeds of darkness. Whether you feel like a floodlight, spotlight or just a night-light, you are reflecting the Glory of our God. Even little lights have power over darkness. Keep shining.  

 

Blessings, Pastor

THE NAME

Bastian Baker is a Swiss musician who has been the opening act for Country music superstar, Shania Twain. He made this amazingly insightful comment about her - he said that he knew her name, but he did not know the magnitude of the name. Then he went on to explain that he did not know about the awards she had won - the Grammys, ACMA's, AMA's, Billboard Awards, Canadian Awards, etc.

 

Wow - what a great lesson for those who know the Name of Jesus. We sometimes forget the magnitude of the Name. Here are some verses that demonstrate the awesomeness of Jesus' Name.

 

Acts 3:6 - Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”

 

Luke 10:17 - The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

 

Philippians 2:9-11 - Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

Do you know the magnitude of Jesus' Name ? There is Salvation in the Name of Jesus. There is healing and deliverance in the Name of Jesus. There is peace and joy in the Name of Jesus. There is victory in the Name of Jesus. What a powerful Name it is. 

 

We reverence the Name of Jesus. We pray in the Name of Jesus. We thank God for the Name of Jesus.            Blessings, Pastor

EXPERIENCED MISTAKES

Novak Djokovic won the US Open Tennis Championship last Sunday. He was interviewed on ESPN after winning his second round match at the Grand Slam event. He lamented the fact that he lost his composure in the third set and he made this comment -

"With all this experience I still make this kinds of mistakes …"

 

Let's put this statement in perspective. Djokovic has won 14 Grand Slam titles, which include all four Grand Slam tournaments. Currently ranked number three, he was the World's Number one men's tennis player for a total of 223 weeks. He has won more money than any other tennis player in history, over $119 million.

 

A very experienced and highly successful tennis player admits to "silly" mistakes while playing. Mistakes or unforced errors that would be more expected from novices. Mistakes that was, in a manner of speaking, unbecoming of such a player as he is.

 

Here is the lesson - even long time Christians and wonderfully anointed people can and do mess up. Even preachers and Church leaders miss the mark. Even Spirit filled and tongue-talking believers lose their way.

 

When you slip up - be encouraged - no person is perfect. This is not an excuse to live in disobedience and habitually sin. But know this - there is a world of difference between an honest mistake and deliberate sinfulness. Don't let a momentary slip up hinder your walk with God, or cause you to live in shame and guilt. God's Grace is available to everyone - even those who should have known better.  

 

                                             Blessings, Pastor

A MOMENT OF SILENCE

On Tuesday, we commemorate the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. There will be tributes and tears. There will be flags flying at half-mast and salutes. There will be deep sorrow mixed with anger at what the terrorists did to our nation on that fateful day, and what they have done to our way of life.

 

In the midst of it all - there will also be moments of silence. A moment of silence to honor the victims. A moment of silence to allow reflection. A moment of silence so we can pray. A moment of silence to consider the victims' families.  

 

A moment of silence is perhaps what we need the most. We live in a noisy and a noise filled world. Televisions are turned on, even when no one is paying attention. People have their earphones plugged in, listening to music or podcasts. Music in cars and in the malls. Some even need music to fall asleep.

 

It is more than likely that many people are afraid of the silence. Moments of silence can open up our spiritual ears to hear the Lord more clearly. Moments of silence can still words of doubt and fear and negativity. Moments of silence will definitely stop us from speaking against God's Will for our lives and even frustrating or delaying our miracles and breakthroughs.

 

We should all follow the advice that Eli gave to young Samuel - "say 'speak Lord your servant is listening'" [1 Samuel 3:9]. We will be amazed at the revelation that will flow to us directly from heaven. Moments of silence can be a powerful divine interruption in our day.                                              Summer Blessings, Pastor

PRAYING FOR THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR

Please pray for the start of the new school year. The children and youth of our nation have been under attack in multiple ways. Prayer in Jesus' Name will make a difference.

 

Pray for those close to your heart and for all schools and colleges.

 

#1 - Pray for students, teachers, assistants, administrators + staff.

#2 - Pray for positive, enriching learning experiences.

 

#3 - Pray that teachers and staff will be inspired, motivated and encouraged as they do their jobs. 

#4 - Pray for students who have moved to new schools and pray for newly appointed teachers and staff.  

 

#5 - Pray for God's protection over school and college campuses - from any and all internal or external threats.

 

#6 - Pray against bullying and cyber bullying, and gang activity.  

 

#7 - Pray that wicked and perverse teachers, professors, assistants, coaches, and staff will be removed. Pray for protection from pedophiles and predators.   

 

#8 - Pray against anti-Biblical and anti-Christ teachings and influences.

 

#9 - Pray that Christian students, teachers + staff will have a Godly impact.

 

Summer Blessings, Pastor

SINKING SAND

There are times in life when it feels like we are on a slippery slope, or even sinking ground. Sometimes it feels like we are caught in quick sand. With every move we make - we seem to be pulled deeper into our mess or problems.

 

We do not have to sink any lower. Nor do we have to stay in the mess. There is a way out. There is no problem too big for our God. David shares this amazing testimony in Psalm 40:2 - -

 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

 

Call on the Lord, and He will rescue you from the sinking ground. The Lord will give you a firm foundation to stand on, and to build your life. The Lord brings stability and balance into our lives.

 

In Matthew 7, Jesus contrasts a person who built their house on a rock and another who built on sand. The storms swept away the house on the sand, but the one whose foundation was on the rock, that house survived. Then Jesus said that obeying His Word is equivalent to building a house on a rock. The more closely we follow God's Word, the stronger the foundation of our life becomes.   

 

The words of the hymn - "The Solid Rock" are a powerful truth - -

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,

 

Your life may have been on a downward spiral. That can all change today. There is a new beginning awaiting you. Call on the Lord Jesus Christ.                                             

 Summer Blessings, Pastor

BETTER TOGETHER

Today is our annual Church BBQ. Hopefully the rain does not mess up our plans. It is always a great time with good food, wonderful fellowship and fun.

 

We come to Church to connect with our God as we worship Him, pray, and receive His Word. We come to Church to be blessed by the Lord. But if we just came to a Church service for God, we might as well stay home and watch Christian TV. We also come to Church for each other.

 

Fellowship is an important part of our Church life. The Word of God describes the Church as the Body of Christ. That is indicative of the importance of our connection to each other, and it also emphasizes the necessity of our relationship with other Christians. We need each other. God says so!

 

God designed our need for fellowship. The Lord placed within us the need for united prayer and worship with like-minded Christians. We have been called to a shared journey, not a solo walk.  

 

Together we are stronger. Together we can accomplish more for the Kingdom of God. Together we can help many more people. When we pool our resources and giftings together, we are more effective.

 

There is a saying - if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. Connect with a Church and go the distance with your God given destiny.

                                    Summer Blessings, Pastor

FEET OF CLAY

There is a saying - "Never meet your heroes". The reasoning is that they may turn out to have feet of clay. In other words - they may disappoint you because of their shortcomings and imperfections.

 

We all need people. There are wonderful people that God positions in our lives to bless us and help us on our journey. There are others who are good examples and a source of inspiration to us. Thank God for our role models and mentors. We praise God for people who love us and care about us.

 

We need to be careful about putting people on pedestals. Some people mistake the movie roles for the real person and get disappointed when the actor behaves badly. Others feel let down when the politicians do not live up to their campaign promises. Some fans go crazy when their sports team loses. On a personal level, we are hurt when we are let down by family, friends or colleagues.

 

The Word of God warns us in Jeremiah 17 -

 This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh …

 

No human being can ever fulfill all our needs. Only Jesus. No person can quench the deep longing in our souls. Only Jesus. A beautiful promise follows God's warning in Jeremiah 17 -

 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.

 

Feet of clay? That's okay, because no human being is perfect. That is why our faith, hope and trust in only in Jesus Christ. He will never ever disappoint or fail us.                  Summer Blessings, Pastor

SURGE

Last Friday, during the heavy thunderstorm, we had a lightning strike on the tree in front of our house. It lasted for a few seconds and sounded like powerful fireworks, and looked like an intense orange ball of light and fire. The effects of the strike could be seen on the branch that was hit. By the Grace of God, the tree did not topple, but the shreds of wood was scattered over a wide area. We are grateful to God that it did not set the tree or power lines or buildings on fire.

 

It did knock out our air conditioner, video machine, cable box, etc. It is amazing that the cable box was damaged because it was turned off and it was connected to a surge protector plug. Our TV that was connected to the same plug point was not affected.

 

Surge means a sudden powerful or upward movement. Synonyms for surge are rush, a rise, an outpouring or a flood. And it can refer to water, electricity or other means of power, or even a crowd of people.

 

In considering that event, I want to share this thought with you - We all need a surge of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I long for a sudden outpouring of the Spirit. Pray for God to flood our lives with His Spirit and Power. Unlike a lightning strike that can cause harm, a surge of the Holy Spirit can fast-forward us into a new level in our walk with God. Pray for such a move of God upon His Church.   

 

Just as our cable box was hit despite the fact that it was switched off and had a surge protector, God can reach those whose hearts and minds are closed off to spiritual things. Pray for such people to have a surge of the Holy Spirit in their lives too. We all need more of God.    

 

                                             Summer Blessings, Pastor