Desperation

In Mark 5:21-43 we read a remarkable event that took place during Jesus’ ministry. Jesus’ boat just made shore when a man named Jairus came to Him, pleading that Jesus would come and heal his daughter who was at the point of death.
 
Jesus and His disciples immediately left with Jairus to pray for his daughter, and a great crowd was pushing about them. In the midst of this crowd was a woman with a medical condition that no-one could heal, and she was at her last. She spent all she had with nowhere to go – but in front of her there was an answer, SUDDENLY! She let go of everything that could hold her back, all laws and regulations that said she was not allowed to be in a crowd due to her sickness, every restraint was cast off as she chased after the One that was her only answer.
 
She chased Him. She reached out to Him. She touched Him.
 
When last did we get so scandalous that we would throw off every single restraint in order to touch Jesus? When last did we let go of our religious mindset and just chase Jesus until could touch Him? When last were we so desperate for Jesus that it did not matter what others said or thought, it did not matter the consequences – the only thing that mattered was reaching Jesus and touching Him.
 
The woman’s desperation paid off – she received her healing immediately. The story does not end here though – Jairus’ daughter still needed healing, but by the time Jesus arrived at Jairus’ house she was already declared dead. That was, until Jesus touched her.
 
There’s a place of desperation where we reach out and touch Jesus, and a place where Jesus reaches out and touches us. What a beautiful picture: Jesus on the move, surrounded by people, but only one touches Him, draws from Him. You can be in church your whole life and never touch Jesus.
 
Maybe you are in a desperate place where you are pushing through the crowd, willing to cast off restraint and touch Jesus, to draw from Him the miracle you need. Or maybe you are in a place where there are dead areas in your life and you are trusting God to touch you – resurrecting things in your life.
 
Don’t wait, reach out to Him today – make your desperation known to Him, today. Draw from Him, today. This is your day. 

 

Prayer Mail (21 May 2018)
 
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God wants All of Us

As we look back over the course of the last few months and our journey into living SCANDALOUSLY in love with Christ and being Scandalous in our love towards others, there are a few thoughts I would like to remind us on:
 

  • God gave everything for you and me, knowing that we would only potentially become His friends – that is scandalous love
  • Jesus came to seek and save the lost – not the clean and religious – too often we forget this simple truth and instead become the judges, instead of becoming as forgiving as He is – scandalous forgiveness
  • God’s fierce and scandalous love is not bothered by our stench. He sent His Son Jesus even while we were still stinking, rotting and His enemies
  • God wants real people, His children to display authenticity, showing real love to Him and to the world 
  • We are the ones that He loves, and He wants us to love others as He loves us
  • God is looking for children that can become carriers of His grace and love to a dying, needing world – can we be those people?
  • Just as much as we need God’s love every single moment of every single day – sinners, wrongdoers, those that have hurt you needs love!
  • Jesus looks different than most church folks today – He is comfortable to sit with sinners and saints, He loves the beggar and the millionaire and sits with Kings and beggars alike. How much different should our lives not look?
  • We have to become again like children before we can understand the full grasp of God’s love for us
  • God is most interested in our hearts: can we give everything if God so requires? God wants to give to us and through us, but He needs to know that our hearts are His first
  • God doesn’t just want 10% of us, He wants all of us. Once He has all of us we can live a SCANDALOUS life, showing His love to the world around us
 
Prayer Mail (14 May 2018)
 
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God loved Abraham yet he wanted Isaac

At a hundred years old God gave Abraham the promise of a son. This was the son he always wanted, but in old age, especially at 100 years of age, certain things become impossible. I guess that is why Sarah laughed. Be that as it may, God gave Isaac and then He asked him back. That does not make sense at all. Why will you give something so very important, so cherished, so loved and then ask it back? It makes no sense. Yet Abraham did not question God and he readied himself and his boy for the human sacrifice. On the mountain God stopped him and said: “Abraham, I don’t want your boy, as I will give Mine. But now I know you will not withhold anything from me, so I will give you children as vast as the sand of the sea” (Gen. 22:12, 16-17)

God was not interested in Isaac, He was interested in Abraham. More importantly He was interested in Abraham’s heart. This begs the question; can we give God everything if He asks? Not that He will, but if He does? I honestly don’t know who can really answer this question. But God did not want to take something or someone – He wanted to give something. He first needed to know that Abraham’s heart was with Him.

One day I was busy getting dressed for work and God spoke to me. He said that I must give a certain amount of money away to someone. I told God that this is all I have, to which He just simply answered that it is all that He wanted. This discourse went back and forth for a while until I just left it at that. I really struggled with the amount and the recipients as it was all I had, all we had, and it was the beginning of a month. So, I tried to ignore God for 24 hours. The next morning, I woke up He said that He still wants that amount from me. I gave in just to get God off my back and I gave it all. The point of my story is not my giving, but the hesitancy in it. We can say all we want, but if we can’t ACT it means very little.

Faith and works always goes together; they are partners in love. God gave because He loves and He is still giving. Abraham gave because he was obedient and because he loved God. Radical love has radical obedience. It is not hesitant as in my example. The end of my story is better – God gave back, and much more than what I had given. I am still wonder- ing if He would have given more if I gave quicker. I guess I will never know, or will I?

God loves giving and He loves people who can give cheerfully. Cheerfully means to laugh whilst you give. In other words, giving must give you pleasure. Most of us can’t give this way as we have been taught that what we have worked for is ours. The Word of the Lord declares that what is in our possession, we have merely become stewards of. Stewards, not owners. Stewardship means that someone else is the owner, in this case God. God is the Giver, we are the stewards – let’s not get confused on this matter.

What’s more, is that God loves people that are scandalous enough and in love enough to give all to without holding back. Generosity makes you very much like God.

Generosity is not defined by what you define as giving. Generosity is defined by God and He gives without restraint and without being a respecter of people. To good and evil, He gives alike, scandalously and ridiculously! If God withdraws Himself from the planet all of us would be in trouble. His clouds by day is still a sign that His presence has not been removed. He is still here with us all. What I want you to understand is that God gives and gives, and as His kids we must do the same. The Scripture declares that if we are in a position to help and if we see a brother in need, we should help (1 John 3:16-17). I essentially believe that if it is within your power to help, you must do so. Whatever is not done by faith is simply sin (Romans 14:23).

An attitude of gratitude is another thing that pleases the Lord. You do not have to settle for anything less superior in your life, as I believe the Lord wants the best for you. Jesus had a new donkey and so can you can. God will always answer you in accordance to your faith and expectation in Him.

The Bible says in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is”. That means faith does not need to wait for tomorrow, faith is not a future thing. Hope is a future based belief, faith is always active and it is always in the now. That would indicate that God is always ready. You do not need to believe for a future healing, blessing, release and abundance; God wants to give it to you NOW! The scripture declares that Christ was made poor so that you may become rich (2 Cor. 8:9). This is how serious God is in seeing you blessed with gifts in HEAVENLY places. When we understand we are only stewards of, and that our Father is the owner of all the gold and the silver, we will see money way differently in our lives. We will start to expect that God can do the impossible. We need to understand that God is not found within the limitations of the human economy – but that He operates outside of it.

One day the Lord asked me the question, “Is money important to Me?” I was hesitant to answer as I know He was trying to tell me something, so I said, “YES LORD!” He replied, “YES and NO”. That left me all confused. What does that mean? The Lord went on to explain the following: No, money is not important to Him as He is self-sufficient, He has no need and He definitely does not need my money. But, “Yes, money is important, because you are important to me.” That shook my philosophy. He continued by saying, “because money is important to you, and you are important to Me, it is important to Me as well.” WOW! He continued by saying that the since money is important to Him- the way I use it, spend it and invest it and the amounts I give and the reason behind the amounts, become very important. As human beings, we normally think about money in the ways of making money, saving money, spending mon- ey or investing money. These are all good, but they are human based. When God thinks about money He thinks about sowing. Investment involves you, while sowing involves people. God is in the people business. If you want to please God start to live a life of sowing. Don’t give because you want to get. Give because you love God. Love is the motive. – People are the aim. Never forget this. If we love God we have to love people. If we love people we cannot but love God. If we give to God we automatically can give to people, etc.

Your heart will ultimately be where your treasure is at. Through many years of working with people I can tell you this one truth – people are the best investment you can make as it pays eternal dividends. It won’t be easy, it may at times challenge you from heaven to hell and back, but no matter what, God loves people and so should we. To be honest there has been times that I have invested into people’s lives again and again without seeing any return. With others there wasn’t even fruit, and still with others only betrayal, dismay and anger. Many people do bite the hand that feeds them. BUT – then there are those that remain loyal, kind, and on the learning curve. They are not many, but that is not the point. They are worth it. Bottom-line? Living for God will always involve helping people. Some want to become all super spiritual on this matter and say they need God to tell them to help before they will be obedient. This is plain stupidity as no one who puts true value on something, will wait until God speaks before they act. For example, if your child is drowning will you wait to get a word from God? If your child can fall and get seriously hurt will you wait for a word from God? Or if your child is hurting will you wait for a word from God before you assist? The answer is a massive NO! So why then do we want to wait on God when it is so clear? The Scripture says, “to do good unto all, especially the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10) – AS OFTEN AS YOU CAN! This means we should live lives focused on others. This is the love challenge, that all those who declare His name, should undertake.

Lastly, I want to put out a love challenge when it comes to giving unto God. Many people get stuck at the tithing issue and truly this should not be a question. I have been married 13 years to my lovely bride. I am completely in love with her. When I do things for her I do not give her 10% of my love, I give myself! Why? I AM IN LOVE! Hence, how can we say WE LOVE GOD, but still have an issue when it comes to treating Him with respect – like we will treat any waiter. Most waiters get 10% – God is not your waiter, He is God. He does not need your money, He wants you and in order to get to you, He tests your heart by that what is most valuable to you – YOU! If you can decide to die to self as Romans 6 declares and live a life being led by the Holy Spirit, you will never need to worry ever again as God Himself will be your source and He has plenty to share if we will just make HIM our highest priority! I don’t give God 10%, I give Him whatever He wants which includes my 10% and my 20% and my 30% and my 100%. I haven’t given myself breath, and I am not in control of my own life. I am His and I am a servant and steward, that’s the bottom line! So, will you be religious and just give 10%? Or will you give 10% and everything else He wants? He wants YOU! Let’s settle that once and for all. It is time to live the SCANDALOUS life!

 
Prayer Mail (7 May 2018)
 
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Becoming like kids
 

I have three girls, a beautiful wife and a fe-male dog – you can say that I am surrounded by women- and it’s all good! I love my kids and I love my wife. I love my family – it’s pure bliss. My kids have learned that they are adored and deeply loved; they believe they can get anything they want as they still think I have all the money in the world. They believe when they ask it shall be done. They are not spoiled, just blessed. I hear the religious moms and dads say, “You should not give too much to your kids because you will spoil them”. Where is that written in the Word? The point that I am trying to make is that kids that know they are loved, have no reference point for having just enough. They believe all things are possible and they simply believe it based on the fact that they haven’t been shown anything else but supply and overflow.

Now think with me, where did we get this wrong with God? Why do we believe in formulas, procedures and protocols before we believe we are worthy to be blessed? Why do we believe more in our wrongdoings than in what we potentially do right all the time? Kids are not always good nor do they always act appropriately, that is why they are kids. If your kids are anything like mine, they will say things at times and places that embarrass you, or they will be the first ones grabbing the cake at weddings, etc. But I like that about kids. They have no pretenses, they live care free lives and they don’t stay up late worrying about bills and deadlines. They are simply kids, who believe that they are loved.

As children of God we should adopt the same attitude of being childlike. We must believe what God says when He says it. We should not have maybe’s in our vocabulary – we must simply believe God. As a Christian and being in church all my life I have struggled with the concepts of how and why people add so many extra things to the Word of God. Why don’t they just simply believe Him? It’s as if we have become complicated in our expression, whereas Jesus said time and time again that we should “become like little children” (Matt. 18:3).

I have seen the most powerful miracles happen when people believe they are loved, and because they are loved they deserve to have more – God’s best. I especially deal with these concepts around relationships and when peo- ple seek my counsel. I have seen many, or even hundreds, marry the wrong people be- cause they have settled for the ordinary when God had the extraordinary in mind. We must never forget that God will not override our will and He will not force us to choose. He wants you to make up your mind and heart freely within the parameters of love and not fear. The fear of the Lord starts with the Wisdom of God, and God gives wisdom without finding fault to whomever so ask of Him. I truly believe we will be super surprised when we get to heaven one day and see the people that have made it. How many there will not be! Only time will tell.

If you look at your life at this moment, how childlike are you? This question can be easily answered by asking how much joy and peace, rest and hope you enjoy. Children are careless as there is nothing to care about. Their biggest concern is to bath quickly and sleep as late as possible. No worries and whims – careless.

Recently I have developed a love for the ocean and especially to fish with my friends. During these times, we just enjoy nature, God, one another along with the the joy of adventure. We forget about the worries and the woes, the checklists and the budgets – we are free. Smiles always finds our faces and laughter fills the house. We make jokes and talk about God, life, marriage, kids and whatever else comes to our hearts. We love these moments because in them we feel free. It was at one of these times away that God said to me that He enjoys me and that He does not just love me, but that He actually likes me. I was surprised by His gesture as I thought I understood love, but God started to show me another way. That love is not an act only, it is a Person. When you meet the Person, you fall in love with Grace and you walk in Truth. Victory becomes a constant companion and faith becomes a pillow. The smile of the Father is what you wake up with and His companionship is what you go to bed with. How and why? I chose to be like a child. SIMPLE!

In today’s world, we get a lot of intellectual fools. They seem to know a lot, yet they miss the true things of life. For how can a man buy peace, rest, joy, hope and faith? We cannot – it is outside the reach of the dollar, the pound and the rand. No currency can reach them, but the currency of faith birthed out of a child-like attitude to seek God above all else and to believe Him.

I really don’t care what you have done. Even when you have committed the worst of sins listed in Scripture, if you believe that you are loved, God will break the bonds of Satan and set you free in a moment. Love wins every time, all the time. But you have to believe like a child again. You have to go to your Dad, climb unto His lap and say, “Hi Dad it’s me the ONE YOU LOVE”! You will see He does not reject nor chases away. He does not scold or rebuke. He envelopes you with His scandalous love and baptizes you in His acceptance. God is love. God is a Father and He loves YOU!

I have the awesome privilege to sit with high profile individuals from time to time. On one such occasion, I sat with brilliant people – the best in the academic world. As they related their story to me of brokenness, sadness, loneliness and depression I could not help to wonder how in the world I am going to help these people. Not my degrees or my intellect would cut it as they were brighter. How would I reach out and touch these people’s lives for the sake of the King? As I sat with them it dawned on me that I cannot give them a formula or a 7-step plan to holiness. The only thing that would help them was a realization of God’s love for them as people, as His kids. And so, to make a long story short that is exactly what I did. I trusted God to reach their hearts and He did, not with intellect, not with reason, not with theology, but with His love. Today they are whole and healed simply through one touch of God’s love.

Can I provoke you to child-likeness once again? Will you allow yourself to let your hair down and to adopt a do-not-care-what-others- say attitude which is soaked in humility? May we all step out as kids again. The world needs it, you need it and I need it. We have to become like children again. Sitting on God’s lap, eating our ice cream, enjoying Jesus and just staying SIMPLE. SIMPLICTY IS MATURITY. This is the way of the Kingdom. Jesus is God, yet He came in a way that all could understand. He could have blown the people away with His deep insights and He would have been right. But He chose to be born in a stable, to die a cursed death so that we can believe and become like kids. It is an insult to God to become anything but!

Prayer Mail (30 April 2018)
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Faith, expressed through Love

 
And they will know we are Christians by our love, or not. We live in a world starved on love and desperate for affirmation. This thirst for love has driven most to either an inward or outward craze. Yet there is only One who whispers the words of healing that we want, “I am His beloved and His desire is for me” – Songs of Solomon 7:10. As Christians, many have forfeited this word “beloved” and in doing so have cast out the very essence of who they are. But the Father fervently affirms, over and over in Scripture, with bold declarations, “You are My beloved and My desire is for you”.  Interestingly enough, when Jesus got baptised it was these very words that tore the heavens opened and ended 400 years of silence “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”. He says it still, “As He is, so are we in this world”– 1 John 4:17. 
 
Have we forgotten this identity and in doing so forfeited the very essence of the nature of the Gospel? Have we forgotten that love is not based on performance or given by merit? Have we lost ourselves in a craze to fit in? As Paul the Apostle declares, “The only thing that matters is faith expressed through love” – Gal 5:6. My question to you today is: do you believe you are His beloved? It is only in a firm ‘yes’ that we can truly impact this world with the Good News. I say again, this world is starving from a lack of love and you can bring the solution (John 14:6). Will you accept His declaration over you and reach out today? “I am His beloved and His love is for me”, make that your own, whisper it to yourself, and stand boldly and unashamed! No other identity matters but to know “I am His beloved”! Hence the question is not ‘can we heal?’, The question is, will we let the healing power of the risen Jesus flow through us to reach and touch others, so that they may dream, fight, and run where the brave dare not go?
 
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Made to stand out

When I was younger, all the Christian men wore khaki pants, weird checkered shirts and ties; it was weird for me then and it still is. Today we cut our hair weird, have tattoos and mingle with the lost. I once had a vision of Jesus. He looked like a hippie or at-least that was my impression. My point is, I don’t think Jesus looks like church folk. In actual fact, if He was walking the planet today He would have been ridiculously different, I promise you! He does not look like the everyday churchgoer. He is vibrant, alive and full of hope. He sits with the sinner and saint and is equally comfortable with both. He loves the beggar, and the millionaire and He sits with Kings and the homeless all the same. His identity does not shift, move or change by the crowd He mixes with. That is why He is my King. Don’t get me wrong, He has a mass amount of Power! He is God! In my heavenly visitations, I could not even look up, flat on my face because of His glory. He is the King, no doubt!

Essentially, Christians are made to stand out. I am not advocating a new dress code. The only thing that is true is that Christians should be the salt; salt infiltrates everything and anything. But too much saltiness ruins even the best of meat! We have to infiltrate the ranks of the lost and we have to fill them with the healing salt of Jesus. Jesus is invited to a wedding. It is not really the coolest of situations as He crashes it with His homies. The people are partying, having a feast, they literally ran out of wine, which means that they have partied hard! Je- sus’ mom is concerned about this. This is the same Mary some religions claim to be holier than thou. Jesus is not happy with His mom’s arrangement – as most sons at His age would be, if your mom still tells you what to do. However, Jesus does not leave the people thirsty. He acts and He tells the people to get the purification bowls, to fill them with water and take them to the master of the ceremony. Crazy, scandalous, ridiculous! Yet His mom says, “Whatever He tells you to do, do it!” (John 2:5). The water turns to wine, and not just any wine; the best wine. It confuses the master of the ceremony and makes the guests happy! Now the questions – why make wine? Why interfere with normal stuff if it has nothing to do with you? Why do you want to rescue the party vibe if you are holier than thou, and cannot be reached like most pastors these days? Why? The answer is simple – people mattered to Jesus. Not the perfect, not the holy, people! People mattered, full stop! The groom most likely said “Jesus my friend, thank you for rescuing my backside, that was close! The people almost got sober”!

I love Jesus because He is attracted to me, reachable and approachable. He makes me feel welcome. He makes me feel at home. He does not fill my heart with condemnation; He takes my empty jars of dismay and fills them with life. He is truly the Messiah.

In another account, Jesus sits at a well, tired from His journey. A Samaritan woman comes to fill her jar. Jesus goes into a discourse with her which she finds weird as Jews did not associate with the Samaritans – they saw them as a lesser breed, not worthy of eternal life – classified amongst the dogs. Yet Jesus speaks to this lady in such a way that He reaches her heart in a moment. Just then His disciples arrive on the scene and she leaves her water jar and goes into the town to tell the people she thinks she has met the Messiah! This story is interesting to me. Why would Jesus send the disciples into Samaria? 12 Jewish boys, with a whole lot of judgement and opinion, with racial issues and pre-conceived ideas – sent to buy food He would never eat. He said to them when they offered Him food, “My food is to do the will of the Father”! (John 4:34). That must have freaked them out. First, they go in- to a place they have never been, to get food that Jesus would never eat and on top if it all, they see a crowd coming their way and Jesus is even more mysterious with His words “Look up, the fields are white for harvest!” (John 4:35). What is this truth all about? I would say Jesus was trying to tell His disciples to let go of their prejudices and to broaden their hearts for a crowd of people that they thought they would never reach out to. Or is it possible that the reason why the lady left her water jar and ran into town was because she loved Jesus, but she did not like the look on the faces of His followers approaching. Can it be that Jesus was telling His disciples that He came to save the so called “dogs” of society? I think so. I would suggest to you that Jesus wanted His disciples to understand that He came for all people across all boundaries! He was the Savior, not the condemner!

Jesus still turns water into wine and He still rescues the parties of the world, but we, His followers have not been so welcoming! Most houses have a carpet that says “Welcome”. Have we forgotten the welcome in our hearts towards all kinds of people? We have two options: we can see people as objects or as people. The way we see them is the way we will relate to them. If we see people as objects we will use them for our own good, but if we see people as highly worthy precious commodities in the eyes of God, our conduct towards them will change dramatically!

So, what is made to stand out? Our love. Our love needs to stand higher than all other things. Higher than the power, higher than the miracles, higher than the mysterious things of the Spirit. HIGHER!!! These three things will remain, faith – hope – love, but the greatest of these are love (1 Cor. 13:13). We won’t need faith in heaven for all things will be known. We won’t need hope for all hopes would be fulfilled. But we will experience eternal love, for God is love. We will love and experience love, we will remain in it forever! Every person that I have met that has crossed over into glory has described a love that drew them so strongly they never wanted to come back! Every single one…. including myself! He is love, and if He is love so should His children be. Love wins all hearts and breaks the strongest of chains. Love wins every time, every day, every round! How is your love do- ing?

Like the disciples we all have grappled with our own prejudices, but it’s time to let them go and allow the Holy Spirit to infiltrate our hearts and change us forever more! If God loves the world, so should we! If God came for the world, so should we live in the world even though we are not of the world (John 17:16)! If God is about people, so should we!!! A servant is not greater than the Master (John 15:20). We have to get the attitude of loving people. There is no other way for the Christian. This is the only way in which we can walk. Love God. Love People.

The nation of Israel was so fixated upon how they thought the Messiah should look like that when He appeared they completely missed Him. They thought He would most likely look like them, talk like them and act like them. But when Jesus came in the form of a friend to sinners, calling Himself God and breaking the man-made rules of the Sabbath, they quickly changed their minds and gave birth to murderous thoughts. Today still, the same pharisaical spirit is rampant in many. We are not satisfied with just Jesus. We want to add to Him. His finished work is not sufficient and we want to add to it. We literally create rules for ourselves and if we don’t keep them we feel broken and condemned. God knew this about us. That is why He sent Jesus as the only condition. Man does not have, in himself, the ability to save himself. The quicker we understand this, the quicker we will accept His love and become givers of love. We will step out of our high mindedness that we have the answer and we know the way. Without “THE WAY” we all will be lost, we all will fall away, THANK GOD for JESUS!

Before I end this chapter, it is imperative to ask yourself if you are attractive to the world. Does love emanate from your being? I am not saying become like the world, I am asking if you love the world and is the world attracted to you? If not, much needs to change. The world was attracted to Jesus, many rejected Him but more followed Him as He gave them hope and love instead of condemnation, peace instead of fear. He was a sweet fragrance amongst the broken and defeated.

I have often wondered why churches need to advertise so much and why they need to pretend that they have something that other churches don’t have. Why have we become so event orientated, when Jesus is people minded? 20 years ago, church was about worship and praise, the Word of God and people. Today it’s about events, lights, smoke machines, audio visual, social media, live streaming and so forth. It’s all good and we must shift with the times, but the authenticity of who Jesus is can never change, and must never change. He is the power that the world needs. The power of love. 

Prayer Mail (23 April 2018)
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Don’t eat your own young

I have noticed a tendency in church and in the world and it’s the natural presumption that the strong will make it but that there is no space for the weak. I see this tendency especially when a brother and sister has fallen short or have committed a sin unthinkable, like adul- tery for example. Please don’t misunderstand me, the sin of adultery as per example can be disastrous. It destroys lives and breaks hearts but it is still not beyond the saving grace and love of God. We recently dealt with such a case where a man was unfaithful to his wife, which affected the church greatly. The result was pure condemnation from the church and no grace was extended.

By writing this I am definitely not accepting the sin or the consequences on the innocent – who gets hurt in the process. What I am high- lighting is that even sinners need love; even wrongdoers need love and even leaders who sins needs Jesus. If we eat our own where is the help for the lost? However, it is important that a balanced approached is followed here in accordance with the Word of God. The point I am trying to make? Is it not the church that should reveal the scandalous love of Christ? Is it not the church that must love the unlovable even though we are taking a risk that they will never change? I would bravely want to say yes! But I understand the gravity of the decision, loving people is not for the faint of heart, especially if they have messed up! But we need brave souls that will take the Masters command serious once again and love all people back to God, even those that led others once.

Recently I sat with an older gentleman who has been serving the Lord faithfully for the last 45 years. I asked him “What do you enjoy about the ministry?” He said, “Nothing”! I said in a surprised voice “How so?” He replied, “I do it because I must not because I want to”! I was shocked and silent. I thought to myself I don’t ever just want to be – I want to make a difference, and the basis of it must be because I love people and because I am loved.

Sadly, however, we haven’t been known as a people of grace and love; rather we have been known for rules, regulations and judgement. Most of the hurting people I have helped back to Jesus were wounded through judgement and contempt. Some of the most ridiculous things we can imagine! For example: Many people have this new thing of adding to the Lord Jesus’ finished work. They believe if they eat certain food or keep special days and call God in a specific language that somehow, they will be closer to Him. Laughable and sad at best, deceived and conceived by rejection. God is not confused. If rules could have saved anyone Jesus came for nothing. The law was there as a guardian, pointing towards Christ (Gal. 3:24). This is the heart of our Gospel: Jesus. Not Jesus and……..Just Jesus. Jesus freaked out every religious person of His day and he came in a form and in a manner that the religious did not expect. He came with a love for the world and its citizens, however these Pharisees where blinded by position, protocols and rules, preconceived ideas and notions of who God is. You see, they knew God in theory, but never knew Him personally. Otherwise they would never have missed Jesus. Jesus Himself said, “You do not know my Father. If you did, you would have known me as have known I have come from the Father” (John 8:19). But their eyes were blinded and their ears dull, deaf with religion, blinded by position. They loved themselves more than the people. Of them it is true that “they Lorded over their people” (1 Peter 5:3)!

Jesus took it a step further with this group of people and called them “vipers” (Matthew 23:33) and “whitewashed tombs” (Matthew 23:27). He did this due to the fact that they had all the religious regalia in place, but they never helped the people. They never lifted a finger to remove burdens and they just did not care. They themselves were important to themselves; Jesus did not take kindly to this type of mentality. This might shock you but I believe there are many “vipers” around us, ready to strike at people’s failure, ready to engage and to point the finger when mishaps appear and humanity simply comes to the fore. I have made a decision in my heart not to be like this, but to love people wholeheartedly. It is a daily challenge, a daily struggle as it does not come naturally. But there is no turning back. I’ve got dirt and the people around me have dirt. We might as well love one another whilst we are at it. Everyone needs grace, everyone needs help, everybody needs the soothing balm of love. Let’s be those people.

Most of us are like the rich young man. We have squandered our inheritance by wild living. Our living might not be defined by parties, orgies and drunkenness, but it most definitely is defined by a lack of love, unforgiveness, hardness of heart and an attitude against others. Most of us will make hell our home if it wasn’t for His love. But fortunately, most of us do make it back home. In this sto- ry, the younger son spends all he has on wild living. He basically messes up the plan for his life, but he realizes it and wants to go back home. He is willing it forfeit his status just to return home. He is met by a loving Father, ready to renew his inheritance, ready to renew his status, which he did. But there was an old- er brother – the so-called faithful one. He stayed with his dad and did his dues, but his heart was never in it or for it. This was radically revealed when he came home, music blazing, the DJ got his jam on and it is buzzing! He can see through the stained glass how people are having a good time. Wine is flowing, the laughter echoes over the hills and just as he thinks what the heaven is going on he sees a familiar figure in the middle of the dance floor. A bit thinner than he remembers but its him nonetheless – his younger brother – the stupid one. Hatred fills his heart as he walks over to the hall and he is met by his dad that seems full of joy. He is not in the party mood and scolds his dad, “How could you slaughter the best cow, drink the best wine and invite all my friends and celebrate for this runt of a son of yours? How could you spend all this hard-earned money that we have sweated for on the pig boy?” (Luke 15:11-32). His eyes are filled with disdain, hatred and the feelings of betrayal. His younger brother sees him and runs over, tries to hug him but he pushes him away, and storms into the dark.

When I look at this story, I see myself in it from both angles; I am like the older brother and like the younger brother. I am glad to be home and I am glad to be accepted after I have messed up. But I am also not always glad when those that do mess up have a homecoming. Why should I? I feel I have earned it? Our hearts are often filled with pride and self-accomplishment. We easily forget that we haven’t made it on our own. We forget that just yesterday we were with the pigs and like the older brother, we scold the home-comers – maybe not in word but in actions. We reserve our love only for the few. We keep it back for those worthy of our acceptance. We are wolves in sheep clothes, loving just those that dress like us, sing like us, and speak like us. We don’t have time for the broken, the lost, the shamed and the disdained. At best, we will help a poor man, but if we feel the sting of betrayal in our mouths we don’t easily love. If this is how we welcome people, greet people, and speak about people, truly we are the older brother. We miss the broken on the streets, at work and in the church. Most of us just want to make it to “our chair” in church. We are happy when there are not too many shakings, living peacefully behind high walls and even higher fences all hemmed in by religiosity. Are we truly free? I think not. What has become of us? Where are the true Christians?

The above seems a bit challenging and it should be. If we want to help a dying world we will need to change our attitude towards ourselves, the world, and especially our fellow brothers and sisters. Our love will need to go higher. Our grace will need to go wider and our compassion needs to go further, otherwise I am afraid we are losing our own, and we are throwing out the baby with the bathwater! 

Prayer Mail (16 April 2018)
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Harlots and obedience
 

God calls His prophet Hosea to go and marry a harlot. Someone a holy man will never ever dream of marrying. Yet this is God’s instruction: “Go and marry the harlot to show My people they are in adultery against me” (Ho- sea 1:2). This story is a bit nutty and makes little sense if you look at it through the eyes of your own so-called good deeds. But if you’re the harlot you want this story to be told.

Hosea, a righteous man, God’s man, needs to humble himself by marrying a woman that most men would not. What’s more, Hosea needs to let go of his prestige, his ego and his self-righteousness to complete the task of God. For the first couple of years all goes well and Hosea and Gomer is doing fine. They have a couple of kids but then Gomer runs away and God gives Hosea the command to go and find her.

Now imagine this holy man of God, the very mouthpiece of the Almighty, walking the shady, shanty streets to find his unfaithful harlot wife. And he does find her – right there on the selling block where they sold slaves. Stripped of her self-worth, dignity and pride, head hanging, betrayed, misused, abused and lonely. She hears the bidding but it is low. Her worth is diminishing at each bidding as the price does not go higher than what you would pay for a normal small piece of bread. She thinks to herself “has my worth diminished so low that I am worth nothing?” But then, in the crowd, she hears a familiar voice, the husky voice of Hosea saying “500 shekels of silver”! The people gasps! Who is this crazy man to bid so much on a harlot? The people turn around and see Hosea. Some recognize him and are surprised. Others just grimace at this ridiculous price. But Gomer’s shackles are removed and she is free. At this moment God speaks to Hosea again and tells him to marry her again and renew his vows to her! Scandalous, ridiculous, crazy! Difficult to believe, unless its God!

The story goes on where Hosea needs to renew his vows to Gomer even if she was not faithful. This makes no sense. unless it is an image birthed by God through a true story to show us Jesus and to reveal the harlots in us. James says that friendship with the world is adultery against God. Friendship. This Scripture does not underscore alienation from the world, yet that our friendship, worth and love remains with God. We are in the world but not from this world. We are chosen out of this world to reveal unto the world the scandalous love of God. Once we are found we must seek the other sons and daughters of God. We are the harlots. We can be the Hosea’s if we are just willing to embrace the call to go out and seek and save those that are lost. We can’t find the lost in His love if we ourselves are still enemies of love. Only in Love can we become the sons we are meant to be. Being a harlot makes you dependent on love. But when love is found, identity is rebirthed and the beauty of what once was comes to the fore. They are many Gomers in the world and there are many Gomers in the church. All in need of God’s love, all in need of God’s scandalous grace and acceptance!

Can we become carriers of this grace and love? Can we show the Gomers, including ourselves, that there is a God and a Father that loves us deeply and profoundly; to such an extent that He just won’t give up. If we can get the revelation of love all other spiritual essentials would become clear. We will have faith because we know the reason why we can believe is because God loves us and is interested in our daily affairs. We can exit our life of slavery to needs and wants, bills and expenses, free from worries and woes, enemies and the praise of men, and we can step to a higher dimension the Love of God! Let’s go there together!! 

Prayer Mail (9 April 2018)
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I am the ONE Jesus loves

 

Lazarus is dead! One of the best friends of Jesus is dying and Mary and Martha knows if they want Lazarus to live they need to get Jesus into town. It is important to note this is the same Lazarus that Jesus spent some time with just before He went to the cross. Jesus was very close to them.

When they sent word to Jesus to get His attention and to get Him into town, they say, “Lord the one you love is sick!” (John 11:3). A short, yet powerful note. What amazes me about this Scripture is the basis on which Mary and Martha appeals to Jesus on. They don’t say the one who is holy, nor do they say the one who is perfect, nor do they say the one who is sinless, attends church, gives his tithe or the one who always welcomes you. No! They appeal to Jesus on the basis of His love for Lazarus. What is even more significant than this is that Jesus responds to their call!

Now think, if you want to write a note to God and you know that this note can either save your loved one or let them die; will you not write a lengthy note? Would you not appeal to Jesus based on a list of good works and religious acts? Would you not tell Jesus how good this person is and how worthy they are of an intervention? Most likely we all will. Yet Mary and Martha do not follow this methodology. They purely call to God on the basis of His love for Lazarus! Now that’s life changing.

This advocates the strong urge of this book. We cannot activate the dead places in our lives or the deadness in other people’s souls by lengthy religiosity, good works or a list of deeds worthy of praise! Absolutely not! We can just appeal to Jesus based on His crazy love for us. Based on the knowledge that He will intervene, not because we are worthy but because we are loved. In Lazarus’ version he lived and he lived to tell the story! In our lives, we must learn not to appeal to God or others based on our “goodness”. No, that is not your identity. You are loved, and what’s more – YOU are the one He loves!

My biggest desire is that people will understand that God is not angry, nor is He a judge waiting to smack you from the planet. God is a Father, and He is our Father.

John the beloved disciple also discovered this invaluable truth when he wrote about himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loves”. It is always amazing to me to know that John was the disciple who God entrusted the greatest revelation to – the Book of Revelation. It’s amazing if we understand the greatest revelation you can have is that you are loved and because you are loved He is ready to reveal Himself to you.

As a natural father, I play hide and seek with my kids from time to time. The joy of hide and seek is not to stay hidden forever, but to actually be caught or found. The same with God. He wants to be found and He wants to be revealed to us as a God that is in love with us so much so that He will show up anywhere – even on the lonely streets of human depravity.

Now think of Samson, a man full of promise and purpose. A man set aside from birth to live a life of victory. His story was one full of discovery, power and great feats for God. Yet Samson had a weak spot. He did not let God’s love lead him; he was led by his own replacement – a love for woman. It was this love that got him into prison, blinded, alone, rejected and betrayed. All power gone. Both eyes put out. Beaten, and death being eminent, yet God found him there. In his cave of darkness and despair, I want to believe it was His love that positioned Samson one more time between those pillars to die in victory, in love and in focus with his king. Many of us we will never be in this situation, but in life we will get lonely, desperate, erratic and betrayed. If we allow the love of God to reach out to us we will become victorious, we will stand amongst our enemies and in the face of them all, we will stand victorious. Not by our own strength but by his love.

On Facebook, I receive hundreds of messages each week of people that are lonely and in despair, seeking someone to love them, someone to stand with them, and someone that will show up when everyone walks out. Just someone. Can it be that your highest call as a Christian is not to find out this deep dark mysterious call of God, but to love other people like Jesus loves you?

But before we can get there, we must accept His love for us! Are you ready to let go and give control to God? Are you ready to step into a life out of control but full of peace, joy and love? A journey so exciting and invigorating that it challenges you to the deepest part of your core yet fulfills the most intimate desire. If so, walk to me through the next pages and we will find the Love that was meant for us all! 
 
Prayer Mail (2 April 2018)
 
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Mike or Nike
 

I don’t know about you, but I love original stuff! I hate fake things! I cannot stand buying fake stuff and I really don’t appreciate people giving it to me.

It’s like on your birthday when people give you gifts that they themselves won’t appreciate, and we need to be all smiles and keep our polite composure. Ha! Never! I feel the quality of gifts reveals the quality of love. Or we can say the quality of the gift reveals the worth of a person to you! Now I know some people will say it’s not about the gift but the gesture! Well that might be true but not for me. I like the real deal, and I truly love it when people go the extra mile in showing love. Our society is so deprived by love that it seeks it in all the wrong places.

I was once in a retail shop in South Africa do- ing my normal run of the mill grocery stuff (as that is what men do in South Africa), and God spoke to me just before I got to pay. He said, “See the lady behind you, I want you to pay for her stuff too!”. I said, “Why God, we are in an expensive shop You know?” He replied, “She has a certain issue and I want you to show her My love!” I replied “Lord don’t you have any other kids you can ask?” As I knew this is going to cost me. I was skimming the line to look for another worthy candidate God could speak to, but I knew I was the man! Well, I obeyed and paid for her stuff! Praise God her trolley was half full! As I walked out I thought to myself, “Wow, I am really proud of myself. I helped a total stranger without any accolades; I must say I felt a bit saintly! In the middle of my own praise reward Holy Spirit spoke to me “Well done in getting this one, but there are many that you missed today!” What? ……What do you mean Lord? Did I miss others? I did not even hear You speaking to me about others?” But I already knew that was not the point. The Holy Spirit was simply pointing out to me that even though I helped one, a thousand others were missed! You might think that you don’t need to help everyone! You are half right and half wrong! Yes, we can’t help everyone but we should be ready to help anyone! Love has no conditions! If we are truly His kids, loving people should be the norm not the exception.

In church for example, we have all these Christian sayings that have developed over time! Like “God is good all the time” or “bless you brother” or “Praise God”! I have not met one original Christian that has authentically told me they had a bad day when they really had one (except for those close to me)! This shows me there is a general “Mike brand” attitude right through the church were people need to pretend to be okay, to be okay! Nonsense! I believe it’s better to get authentic love than fake smooches from the devil! What has happened to us that we feel the need to please people by giving them false reports on our condition? Can it be that we have lost our originality for the sake of human appraisal and acceptance? Or can it be that we have become so self-centered that we actually don’t care? Whatever the reason, I know that God wants real people! He wants real love and He wants His children to display authenticity! There is no room for “Mike” lovers in the sneaker hall of fame of God! We need the real deal, we need Nike and a “Just do it” attitude!

Most people that pass you by on a daily basis have loads of issues. Most of these individuals are looking for an answer. I believe authenticity is the answer. Authentic love, not anything else. Furthermore, it is imperative to note that all people already know what they have done wrong; they know it by their conscience (Rom. 9:1). They do not need Chris- tian Police checking them out and doing a tap down on all things holy! No, people just need to know you love them inspite of their sins! This power will change people much quicker than all the correct apologetics and hermeneutics in the world! Not that there is something wrong with these, I too am educated, but my education must not be greater than my love! Love needs no education. That is why the vagrants of the world can respond! (By the way, I see myself as one too.)

The world out there and in here is crying out for an authentic love expression that will last. If you really want to be spiritual, love God and love people. Do not make it complicated, simplicity is maturity! Make your imitation of Jesus reachable, attainable and practical! Don’t be a “Mike” Christian. Change and be the real Jesus follower! You will see thousands will come to your light as He said, “You are the light of the world”. Don’t go and hide under a basket. 
 
Prayer Mail (26 March 2018)
 
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Heaven on Earth
 
Jesus Himself instructed the disciples and us to pray “Father let Your Kingdom come, let Your will be done, as it is in Heaven let it be so on earth”. This should tell us that it is God’s business to get us to heaven, it’s our business to get heaven to earth. But we often find that Christians are not focused on the Kingdom mandate. I often see people who embrace an inferior cross and who constantly do introspection, adding a long list of do’s and don’ts to pleasing God before they can be effective. But the Cross is not self-applied, Jesus did not nail Himself to the Cross, and He did not ask us to – this is the most subtle form of hidden pride as it looks godly, but ultimately you should carry your cross, not be impaled to it. 
 

God wants us to go, but instead we want to grow, and with good reason. We should grow in character, yet it’s not the going or the growing that matters – but it is obedience in both. The world is crying for an authentic expression of Jesus Christ, and we owe it to them. We owe ourselves not to settle for ordinary, not to be engrossed in worldly affairs, but to infiltrate the world in all its spheres and see the Kingdom come. God wants heaven to extend to earth through the agent of man. He loves the world, He made it and He wants His kids back. We are the carriers of hope; every person must be seen as heavenly treasures. Ultimately a kingdom view, a Jesus view, is needed; heaven on earth here and now. As He said it best “As He is so are we in this world” – 1 John 4:17.

JOY! Magazine (April 2018)

 
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Loving the stench
 

Have you ever noticed that people don’t like things that stink? Most of us want to rid our- selves as quickly as what we can from a smell that violates our noses. Personally, I see my- self as a bit of a hygiene freak. I love to smell nice and be clean. I cannot stand the feeling of dirt. Yet that is exactly what we are, dirt. We are made of the ground and into our nostrils are breathed the Breath of Life. We have feet of clay and the Word describes us as but a breath. Wow – I guess most of us have forgotten that very quickly – especially me.

In the early days of my ministry, I thought it very spiritual to speak about high and lofty ideas, to pray for hours and hours and to fast myself to a toothpick. But now I see the above in vain unless it’s driven by a fierce love to please the Father and to be under His instruction.

In our 21st century age, parents don’t believe in giving discipline any more. We have things like timeout and “go think about it”. We send our kids to therapists and evaluations all with the aim to make them excel more. My parents were not like this. They firmly believed in the ministry of the laying on of hands, out of love of course. My dad is a very just man and he always punished me equally to the “sin” I committed. Normally that “sin” would have included doing something awesome like driving my mom’s car or skipping school for sport, etc. My dad never punished me just because he felt like it and he never exposed me to the world of “when am I gonna get it” for too long. He knew that that world created uncertainty, fear, anxiety and it masked him as evil and as someone that is just waiting to put me in my place.

But that’s not my dad. If you know him, he is kind and compassionate, graceful and generous and ridiculously funny. Most people don’t know him like this but I do – why? He is my dad. I have taken the time to know him, not for what he does but for who he is.

My dad has shown up at places where I was ashamed, broken and hurt. I would have walked out on myself so many times if he did not walk in.

I remember a night where I was waiting outside an old girlfriend’s place. I was in a relationship that went all but good. And one night it turned worse. My girlfriend was cheating, I knew it but there was nothing I could do about it. I felt the need though to wait for the lovely gentlemen that took my girlfriend out and I wanted him to know how much I care through physical touch. But low and behold right then and there at 2am in the morning, my dad showed up at my girlfriend’s flat. I was flabbergasted. What the heaven was he doing here? It did not make sense. Yet there he was in all of his 6 feet 6, 260-pound glory, ready to intervene and safeguard his son.

How about God? God takes it to a whole new level when He sends Jesus when we are still stinking, rotting and His enemies. He gives His best when He takes the total risk that some human beings will never reciprocate His love. That’s scandalous! The point of this is simple: how can we judge other people and keep our love reserved if God kept nothing back to save us. Can it be the love that we are reserving is keeping a person’s salvation away? Can it be that Jesus’ High Priestly prayer still stands; that we should actually love people without merit or condition? Or have we become like the Pharisees and the Sadducees that reserves love for only those that we feel are worthy recipients? If this is the case we have disqualified ourselves as Je- sus said, “Do not let your acts of righteousness be like Pharisees!” He said this so that we might actually like the stench of people and be drawn to it!

As said, the normal response is to run from stenches. Jesus, on the contrary, runs towards it! The lady with the issue of blood did not shame the Master and He did not break a stride by changing her life. Mary with 7 demons did not change Jesus or made Him dodge her on the high streets of Jerusalem. No! He went to the problem and changed the person! How about the man with a Legion of demons? When most of the people ran, and despised him so much that he eventually became an outcast. Naked and ashamed, labeled by society as a weirdo, a demon possessed man and one not fit for “normal” living. Jesus actually went to him.

This man cut himself by stones according to Scripture. The stone represents the law (rules and regulations made by man). These rules could not save the man, it just forced him deeper and deeper down his lonely road of caves and depression. Sounds familiar? How many times have we not found ourselves wasted on religion, tired, worn out and ready to give up? I have been there many times. When I first stepped into church, I received nothing but pure judgment. Nobody loved me, everybody wanted me to change! I was fresh from the world hence I thought this rule keep- ing system is how it is supposed to be. Being more disciplined than most I could keep the pace of rules and even made some of my own. Eventually, I got burned out and turned to Je- sus for help! It was only when I was broken and alone that I found the revelation of Love. Now I am leading the congregation and those that were part of my enemies are now my sheep. I cannot have an attitude but one of love! What I love about Jesus is that He loves the unlovable; gives grace to the supposed unsaved, and gives hope to the dark souls that have found nothing but depression!

We need a new type of Christianity, or maybe just the real one. That loves people authentically as humans! For us to reach that place we must understand that we are all dirt and we all have dirt. We all mess up, we all sin, we all fall short and we are all lost without Jesus. We have so much more in common than what we would want to believe – behind our high picket fences and burglar bars. We are a society deprived by love, starved on acceptance, and depleted by originality! We need Jesus! Only Jesus can heal the broken and restore! Jesus is enough! This is my life aim, to let people know Jesus is enough. 
 
Prayer Mail (19 March 2018)
 
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Loving the unlovable
 

Jesus came to seek and save the lost, not the clean and religious. Have we forgotten this simple profound truth?

I essentially believe all of us have dirt on us if we look closely enough, but why, oh, why do we forget so quickly what we have been forgiven off and then judge others as if we are the solution. In my time, I have seen many so-called good people but I have never met one, as the Scripture says that only God is good. This would amplify that being good and being IN with God are two very different things.

The table of Grace is big enough and inclusive enough to reach the darkest soul and include the worst of sins. The table of Grace does not condone the sin but has an intimate desire to change the sinner and therefore, looks not at the deeds but at the person. As human beings, we measure ourselves by what we do, instead of who we are. Who we are is an internal matter of the heart. It is the heart of man God seeks, not the actions only. However, if a man’s heart is with God, all other aspects of that man will flow out of this position.

In our social media age, I have the awesome privilege to reach people that most pulpits never will. One thing I realize continuously is that people are all in need of a little bit of grace. Good or bad, sad or glad, everyone needs God’s irrevocable grace, which is found in the Person Jesus Christ. We cannot become who we are meant to be without the Gospel of Grace reaching deep into our hearts and changing us at the core.

A change of heart necessitates that you let your guard down. That you leave all the religious things that you have been taught behind. To let go of religious masks and vocabulary and take hold of the garment of Jesus Christ with a tenacity of change and a desire to be transformed.

It is at the Table of Grace that we find the Master inviting us into a deeper relationship based on His love. How else can we explain that God will save people like Rahab, Mary, Peter, David, Samson and Moses? The list goes on and on. Imperfect people; people full of blemishes. Sinful men and woman, yet chosen. Can it be that God is not after a man story but after a God story? Ultimately our Christianity equates to what we believe. If we believe the Gospel is about the improvement of man, we will look at it as some self- improvement program. If we believe the Gospel is for the select few, we will be the judges of men. But if we believe that the Gospel is about Jesus, indescribably holy but attainable, we will throw open wide the gates and believe more in a God that loves us all because of His Son than in a God that loves us less because of our sin.

It is within these truths that we have to unmask the reality of the Gospel. Designed for the sinner, packaged for mankind and given to all. Every human being that comes to God will be saved on the basis of Jesus. Jesus in Himself is enough, no “if’s”, no “maybe’s|; Jesus is enough. We cannot make the “way” bigger or smaller than this. He himself said “I am the way” (John 14:6). If only we can have more grace upon ourselves we will find it in our hearts to have grace with others. Grace does not mean sin is embraced, but it does mean the sinner is not excluded. I have seen the worst of sins you can think of, being broken by the light and power of His love. That is why the great Apostle Paul says that nothing can separate us from His great love.

Most people that seek my counsel in person or on social media, has a desperate desire to be loved, to experience love and to know that no matter what they did, it will be all right. That they haven’t messed up too much and that they too can step into a second, third, fourth or hundredth chance.

No one can make heaven without Jesus, and not on situation can be reached by Heaven unless we do it by grace and love. The Apostle John pens it this way “for both grace and truth was revealed through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Grace and truth. These two are friends, partners and both of them are found in a Person – Jesus Christ. You cannot separate Grace from Truth and you can walk in truth without grace. If we look closer we will see that grace came because of mercy and mercy was an act of pure love (Eph. 2). This would mean that God had mercy because of His love and He Himself send Himself in the form of a man – touchable, visible and within reach of the normal man.

The Pharisees and Sadducees did the unthinkable. They took the Message out of the reach of normal people and riddled it with rules and regulations. Human rules. Human traditions. Things made to let man look good but simulate making God bad. Why bad? They made Him a God with rules, a judge, a fierce ruler that wants to take you out on every evil whim, whereas the God of the Bible, our Father, is everything but. The God I know is full of compassion, love, grace and second chances. Yes, He does hate sin, but He loves me, not with conditions but without. Not because I am perfect, but because I am His. I have long given up to please God as I am already doing it by believing in His Son. For God cannot be pleased without faith and all my faith is in Je- sus, the One that came to seek me out, not to condemn but to save.

So, before we end with this prayer-mail, will you make up your mind to give others a break? To give yourself a break? And to extend your table of Grace? Can we make a decision today to love people, not because they are worthy but because we’re not? Can we possess the human attribute to expound our love beyond our parameters of safety, beyond our high walls of religiosity and into the open streets where the whores, the drunks, the white collar and blue collar alike can see grace, and more importantly, Grace Himself? I dare you! 
 
Prayer Mail (12 March 2018)
 
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Love for the dead

 

The Book of Ephesians chapter 2 starts with the ridiculous statement that God loved us and through His mercy and grace send Jesus when we were still dead in our trespasses and sins. This advocates that God gave everything for an enemy that only potentially would become His friend. Scandalous.

But it was this love for the world, the needy and the dying that kept Jesus on the cross. I once saw a vision of Jesus hanging on the cross; pain and agony all over His face, blood everywhere. In this vision, He said to me “I did not do this for you only but for all”!

“All? Why all Jesus? That makes no sense.” I asked. “Exactly son, that is why My love makes miracles.:

As a pastor, I have seen many things regarding church over the last 15 years. I grew up in church and for the last 35 years have not escaped the boundaries of church. But the church can be a devilish place full of people that seek themselves, their own self-interest and their own sinful desires. Many have left seeking greener pastures but finding none. Many have been destroyed by protocols, principles and disciplines that are not derived from the Word of the Lord nor from the heart of God.

It is a sad but true story. Satan has effectively infiltrated many churches with his “love for self” over Jesus’ “love for your neighbor” (Mark 12:31) principle. Loving self comes natural; loving others is unnatural, unless you remember what you have been saved from. “Those that are forgiven much love me much” (Luke 7:47). This category of people keeps their own shortcomings in their hearts and the enormity of the grace of God as their fuel to seek and save the lost. A dying breed.

If you pick up the newspapers today it is saturated by selfish people and corrupt individuals that seek their own self; people who have forgotten the Divine grace of which we all can be recipients of. Politicians are riddled with corruption – love for self. People in power abuse the weak – love for self. Ridiculous ill administrations are at the order of the day – lust of the flesh. Millions are spent on selfish agendas, insatiable lusts and the lust of the eyes. This should not be, yet it is., Why? Because we love ourselves more than we love others. – A simple truth, yet it is denied by white collar and blue collar alike.

What about sinners? Imagine the worst type of sin and what your response would be? If it is anything short of love we need help! That is exactly why the Scripture depicts – the Baptism of love – Romans 5:5. I truly believe we cannot love people nor God without the Help of the Holy Spirit. If He does not help us our efforts will be in vain and our lives ruined by quick doses of self-absorbency.

This was the truth I discovered on a beach in 2012. I was walking on the seashore, promotion was at hand, I had officially become the “boss”, yet my enemies were still in my midst. As I walked on that beach God came to me and said, “Now that you are in power, will you take revenge?” My head said ‘yes’, but my heart said ‘no’. As an honest simple child, I responded “What do You want from me?” He just said, “Default to being yourself!” I knew what that meant. That meant becoming me; who I really was.

Was He suggesting I wasn’t myself all this time? If not, then who was I? I struggled with this concept, but I knew He wanted me to throw off all things that turned me into someone else but the person He created me to be.

That took courage for days, weeks and months as I forced myself into love. It did not come natural, it was a struggle. Loving people is not for the faint of heart. Over the years God stripped away from me all obstacles that stood in my way from becoming a vessel of love and hope. I am still a massive work in progress, but He is taking territory and I am remaining under His instruction.

In essence, God has called us to surrender the dead places in our lives. This is so that we can love the dead places in others in order for all of us to experience life.

Life is most definitely not the accumulation of receiving, but the accumulation of becoming less. Less of self, more of Him. A call to death, a call for the brave, and a call for true heroes!

Loving people truly and deeply will take a lifelong commitment to advance not yourself, but others. Within this is the mystery of the Gospel, it is Good News to all. Are you ready for the challenge? 
 
Prayer Mail (5 March 2018)
 
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Love it

 

Love – what a natural unnatural thing. For many of us extending love comes naturally towards ourselves, but not so naturally towards us. To really show love and care requires an extra mile of desiring other people to succeed more than you. In principle, most Christians will claim this but in practice, almost everyone fails this command.

As I grew up in the Christian church I became aware that the love I knew as a small boy become less and less as I grew older. It was almost as if every new season in the world diminished the love for people and directed it more towards love for self.

The great apostle Paul heeded these very same words in his books to Timothy, where he states that “in the last days people will be lovers of themselves” (2 Tim. 3:2). Because we live in these last days, we must default back to loving people the same way God loves us.

When I look at my own children love comes so naturally as they are born from me through my seed. Everything they would ever need is provided by my love. Even if I should sacrifice myself, I will gladly do so for their success. A father’s responsibility is to go beyond duty to a place of self-denial and a place of death. If I look to God He is much the same if not better. His love for us has no limits, where we as human beings are limited all the time.

It makes no sense that God would give His own Son for “whosoever” would believe. Would you give your best for “whosoever”? That is a ridiculous statement, but exactly what God did: He gave His Son for “whosoever” would believe with the full knowledge that not everyone would believe. Hence, He gave His all, knowing that all would not respond. This is crazy, this is scandalous! Why would He do something like this? Unless love is not something He does, but WHO He is.

The other day my second daughter committed a wrongdoing, which I found ridiculous. She messed up her very expensive gift by pure laziness; it rather upset me as I understood the value of the gift. My fury was fueled by her “no-care” attitude and her nonchalant approach to expensive gifts. But as I was on my way to apply the fivefold anointing (the laying on of hands) God spoke to me and said, “Son is this not the way you treat my Gift so frequently?”. I know His voice and I knew He wanted to show me something so I said, “Yes Lord”. He responded by saying the following: “Most of my kids treat my Gift cheaply but I don’t condemn them. My Son condemned sin already”. When God speaks to you like this you know that much change needs to occur. Most of us are still responding to what we believe is right and wrong, whereas love goes beyond right and wrong and does that what is good.

Many years ago, I was in a desperate place of rejection, loneliness and betrayal. In this cave experience I cried out to the Lord and said, “Jesus if you still care, if you still love then walk over to me now”! I actually did not expect Him to do anything but what happened next surprised me. In an instant, an angel of the Lord appeared in my room and he said, “I have been send by God to strengthen you”. This occurrence has happened many times since. One night an angel of the Lord woke me up and told me to eat the golden fruit in his hand. It was a weird color, nothing like I can describe, but as I ate the fruit I gained strength, the angel went on to smear this fruit all over my body and power went into my bones. The next morning, I woke up with new strength, vigor and passion.

You see, Love is not a principle; it is a Person who takes a lot of interest when it comes to the well-being of His children. It is so unnatural to think that as earthly parents we know how to take care of our kids, but with God we expect so much less. Is it possible that we have forgotten the central under-girth of the Gospel – that we are loved? And that because of that great love we have become inheritors of His divine predestination according to His will and pleasure? Essentially it remains true that most people don’t believe that they are loved! That is why to this day, Christians are seeking love in places and destinations that can provide nothing but a moment of satisfaction.

As humans and as Christians we have to come to the knowledge of His love if we ever hope to be reflectors of His love. Lucifer made that mistake; He was once a reflector of glory as his name describes – Lucifer (phosphorus) the one that is a reflection of glory, not the producer of it. Lucifer became Satan when he forgot that he was a reflector and not the producer, a recipient and not the source. So many Christian hearts have become dull and immersed in religion as they have become fixated upon themselves, just like Lucifer. They have forgotten the true meaning of being recipients.
 
Prayer Mail (26 February 2018)
 
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Highly Favored

 
In 1 Samuel 16:11-13, we find the story of God sending Samuel the prophet to go and anoint a new king. As Samuel arrived at the house of Jesse, Jesse presented his best 7 sons, but God said “no” to them all. Eventually Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?”. Implying that all of the sons looked good, but none of them were chosen. Jesse answered and said there was one more, but he was with the sheep, to which Samuel replied to call for him. As David came in, he smelled like sheep: dirty, tired, undervalued, under-appreciated, smelling like acts of service. As soon as Samuel saw him, God said, ‘This is the one, anoint him as king.’ You see, David was not counted worthy in his own father’s eyes to be king, he had the lowest rank in his family, he was despised, only good for the sheep. But God chose him. 

In the same way, you might have a low rank in the eyes of people: outcast, rejected, betrayed, alone, and afraid. However, God specialises in choosing people like you and me. In actual fact, if He chose you – it does not matter what others say. We can phrase it like this: it is not what you have, but Whom you have. You have the King and that makes you chosen. As you journey through 2018, remember that you are chosen. As with David, God will prepare you behind the scenes to put you on the scene. You will go from zero to hero. From infamous to famous, from poor to rich, from sick to whole, all because you found favour with the King of Kings. Snatch this for yourself! Highly favoured, deeply loved, abundantly blessed, chosen by the King!

JOY! Magazine (February 2018)
 
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Faith Is Now

 

Many believers today live in despondency, seeing little or zero results in their faith. For most, Christianity has become a routine, an experience, or an event with little results! Yet Christianity is the most exciting life experience – each day holds new victories! Hallelujah! You were not created to be normal; in every human heart beats the nature of God that whispers “it is possible”! We know this to be true; every believer has the need within themselves to see the supernatural power of God at work in their lives. The supernatural power of God simply implies the ability of God manifested on earth through the agent of man. As Jesus prayed, “Let Your Kingdom come, let Your will be done as it is in heaven let it be so on earth” – Matthew 6:9-10.

This reveals God has a heart’s desire to see heaven manifest in the here and now. As Scripture declares “Now Faith is . . .” – Hebrews 11:1. Faith is not a futuristic dream or principle, nor is faith an intellectual precept – faith is a spiritual force by which you can see God manifesting His heart in your life! Faith is now! What does this mean? It simply implies that the Lord wants you to have a now attitude. A faith attitude, “now faith is”! When we look at Scripture we see that Jesus did not send away one person that approached Him with a tomorrow mentality or response. Each person received their healing, breakthrough, or deliverance immediately! We cannot settle for things Jesus died for, that would be an insult to God. Jesus died for your healing, do not settle for sickness. Jesus died for your peace, do not settle for anxiety, fear, or depression. Jesus died so that you may be blessed, do not settle for poverty! Faith is now! Take your portion today!

JOY! Magazine (December 2017)
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2018 Is Payback Time!

 
 

The Book of Isaiah speaks about restoration (Isaiah 42:22). In this Scripture the word “restore” means to decree and make known, in other words to align your mouth with the Word of God (Heb 4:12). However, God cannot restore if His people do not announce a time of restoration. Satan is the thief and he only comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10), but God wants to bring life and life abundantly! In this year, God is going to restore your health, wealth, joy, relationships, and time! Satan’s time of thievery has run out on the people of God. Even though things in the world will go from bad to worse, the Body of Christ will shine like the sun and have an abundance. 

We shall not be touched by the accuser of the brethren as the Lord is our helper, deliverer, and stronghold. Choose today to align your heart, mind, and mouth with the Word of God and decree restoration! Finally, Scripture declares that if the thief has been caught out, he should repay sevenfold that what was taken, now is that time! Now is the time that you must claim back what is yours! By Faith it is done in the Son! 2018 is payback time!
Prayer: Father, thank you that I can decree restoration over all areas of my life, in Jesus’ Name. Thank you that I will see satan paying me back sevenfold that what he has stolen from me, this I receive by faith in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

JOY! Magazine (January 2018)
 
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Now Faith Is
 
Many believers today live in despondency, seeing little or zero results in their faith. For most, Christianity has become a routine, an experience, or an event with little results! Yet Christianity is the most exciting life experience – each day holds new victories! Hallelujah! You were not created to be normal; in every human heart beats the nature of God that whispers “it is possible”! We know this to be true; every believer has the need within themselves to see the supernatural power of God at work in their lives. The supernatural power of God simply implies the ability of God manifested on earth through the agent of man. As Jesus prayed, “Let Your Kingdom come, let Your will be done as it is in heaven let it be so on earth” – Matthew 6:9-10.
 
This reveals God has a heart’s desire to see heaven manifest in the here and now. As Scripture declares “Now Faith is . . .” – Hebrews 11:1. Faith is not a futuristic dream or principle, nor is faith an intellectual precept – faith is a spiritual force by which you can see God manifesting His heart in your life! Faith is now! What does this mean? It simply implies that the Lord wants you to have a now attitude. A faith attitude, “now faith is”! When we look at Scripture we see that Jesus did not send away one person that approached Him with a tomorrow mentality or response. Each person received their healing, breakthrough, or deliverance immediately! We cannot settle for things Jesus died for, that would be an insult to God. Jesus died for your healing, do not settle for sickness. Jesus died for your peace, do not settle for anxiety, fear, or depression. Jesus died so that you may be blessed, do not settle for poverty! Faith is now! Take your portion today!
 
JOY! Magazine (December 2018)