Posted by: Veroni Kruger | January 21, 2021

How Do You See Yourself?

As we proceed into the first few weeks of 2021, it is important for us to gain the correct perspective.  This as we see the values of the Christian faith increasingly being denied and even attacked.  We may be concerned about how we, the church, responds.  The following piece depicts the ambivalence of our lives as Christians.

David Bosch describes the ambivalence of the church in striking terms.  (“Witness to the World”, Atlanta, John Knox Press, 1980, p 93).     

“The church has, since her birth, been a peculiarly ambivalent body. She is in but not of the world. She always moves ‘between salvation history and history’. She is a sociological entity like any other human organisation and as such susceptible to all human frailties; at the same time she is an eschatological entity and as such the incorruptible Body of Christ. Seen through the eyes of the world she is usually under suspicion, disreputable and shabby; in the light of eternity she is a mystery. The resurrected Christ breathed his Spirit into a very earthy and common group of people. Thus the church became an inseparable union of the divine and the mundane. Sometimes one aspect is more in evidence, sometimes the other. We can be utterly disgusted at times with the earthiness of the church; at other times we are enraptured by the awareness of the divine dimension in the church. Usually, however, it is the ambivalence that strikes us: the church as a community of people – good people, weak people, hesitant people, courageous people – on their way through the world, dust-stained but somehow strangely illuminated by a radiancy from elsewhere”. 

The radiancy from elsewhere is the glory of God that shines on the church in spite of her weaknesses.            

God is preparing the church to be blameless and spotless before Him in glory! Even as we struggle to understand what is happening and how we should deal with it, He is relentlessly pursuing his goals as He described them in his Word, and He will achieve exactly what He aims to do.  

When Balaam was hired by the king of the Moabites who did not wish Israel any good, the prophet saw the people of Israel as God saw them, and it was all good! (Numbers 22-24). In the same manner, there is a church that is what God wants it to be, and it is good. Jesus said of the church that He would build it and that it would not be overcome, not even by the worst enemy (Matthew 16.18). Paul enjoins the elders at Ephesus to take care of the church because it was brought into existence by nothing less than the death of Jesus (Acts 20.28). John sees the church before the throne of God as a mighty multitude of people singing: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.  You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,and they will reign on the earth.”  (Revelation 5.9, 10)

As we look at ourselves (and at one another) now, we may not see that, but let us never forget that the church is beyond all of us. It is the work of God, planned by Him, begun by Him, and being built by Him for his glory. (This blog is largely a quote from my book “What Has Your Church Become”, 2014)

It is my sincere prayer that this blog may by the grace of God play some role in that work of building God’s church in you and me.

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | January 14, 2021

There is a path!

Paul Schoch, renowned international evangelist, was driving along a freeway in the United States one night, troubled about uncertainties in his future.  “Lord, why don’t you show me what lies ahead?” was the cry of his heart.  

Back came the question: “How far ahead can you see in the light of your car’s headlights?  About 350 feet?  Then how can you continue to drive at such a high speed?”  

“Because I know there is a road.”

We are surrounded by uncertainties.  I don’t want to enumerate them, but I am sure you know all about your own uncertainties.  Also, that you know enough about the uncertainties in your own country and internationally, that you often cry out to the Lord as Paul Schoch did.  “What is going to happen” is perhaps the most commonly heard question we all hear around us.

How do we deal with this?

It is no use trying to deny our uncertainties.  Better to acknowledge them and deal with them.  Faith is not denial.  Rather, it is being realistic about challenges and to counter them with a clear profession of trust in God and acting accordingly.

But seriously, what is going to happen?

Firstly, we know there is a path.  

If we really trust God, we know He is at work achieving his purposes in mankind.  We know we are not in the hands of reckless fate, like some supernatural force over which no-one has any control.  Another Paul, in the midst of persecution, declared, “I know who I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him” (2 Timothy 1.12).  

Paul of Tarsus, the apostle knew the secret:  knowing God.

But what about leaders in this world that behave as if they are in control?  Psalm 2.4 says “The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.”

Reading about the antics of some leaders, one cannot help but think of the description of life in Shakespeare’s Macbeth:  “that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”  Leaders, however powerful some may seem, come and go.  God’s kingdom moves forward with relentless purposefulness.  

We know already what the outcome of it all is going to be.  Jesus Christ will be recognized by friend and foe as being what he really is, THE LORD (Philippians 2.12) This will herald the consummation of the Kingdom of God, when God will be “all in all” 1 Corinthians 15.28).   

“That is all well and good, you may ask. But what about the present?”

Back to Paul of Tarsus:  Make sure you know God.  I suggest getting to know him more and more through a dedicated life of seeking Him every day.  Study his Word and cultivate a prayer life with Him. 

Trust Him to lead you beyond where you see at present, but continue to take the steps before you.  We know there is a path!  And we know in whom we have believed.  We are confident that He continue to lead us until that day when we will see Him as He really is.  

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | December 18, 2020

Peace and Goodwill

The shepherds taking care of their flocks near Bethlehem heard this amazing song being sung by many angels:  “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”  (Luke 2.14)

Following a popular translation, the last sentence became “… on earth peace, goodwill toward all men.”

Where is the peace, and where the goodwill?  I am not going to write about all the opposites of peace and goodwill that we see around us.  Rather, how we can have peace and goodwill.

At a time when Jesus was approaching the terrible experience of being crucified He comforted his disciples with these words:  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  (John 14.27)

In the same way that he spoke of His joy hours before He was taken prisoner, He also spoke of his peace.  This proves that He experienced both joy and peace at a time when most people would deny even the possibility of such positive emotions.  It also assures you and me that we can also have these positive emotions, and that having them does not depend on circumstances.  At a time when we are inclined to ask “Where is the peace, and where the goodwill?”, it is good to be reminded that it is possible to have joy and peace even when circumstances seem to be adverse.

As we celebrate the birth of the Saviour of the world, He is saying to us also:  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you…Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  This is the most important statement about peace:  That we receive it through Jesus.  

Also important is the fact that our peace comes without our deserving it.  Jesus says “I do not give to you as the world gives.” So called peace in the world is transactional.  If we behave in a certain manner, or adopt a certain attitude, or obtain possessions, we are supposed to have peace.   The peace Jesus gives is a free gift of the grace of God.  Free for us, but not for Him.  It cost Him becoming a human being – what we are celebrating right now – and sacrificing his life for us.          

Jesus had peace because He knew the Father was with Him.  Even as he spoke about the disciples’ forsaking Him, He was confident of the Father’s presence with Him.  “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to his own home.  You will leave me all alone.  Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” (John 16.32).  We have that same assurance from the Word of God.  He says “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13.5)

 All of this should give us adequate reason to accept the peace that Jesus gives.  We should train our minds to think according to the promise.  Jesus says “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  It may sound illogical.  In fact, it is.  Paul calls it the “peace which transcends all understanding” adding that it will guard our hearts and our minds (Philippians 4.7).

I pray you will have this peace that comes from God, and that it will enable you to not allow your heart to be troubled.  Furthermore, that we will become instruments through whom God can spread the peace that the angels announced to the shepherds.  

St. Francis prayed as follows:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | December 10, 2020

What are you celebrating?

As we approach  Christmas, and celebrate the birth of Christ, I think it is imperative that we ask ourselves what we are celebrating.  I want to emphasize that we ought to be celebrating nothing less than the fact that the birth of Jesus opened the way for you and me to see God’s purpose realized in our lives.

It is clear from God’s Word that God’s purpose with you and me is nothing less than that we should be conformed to the image of Christ.  That means we should become like Christ.  That God is serious about that, is clear from 1 John 3.2:  “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

James (James 1.2-4) places difficulties we may be experiencing in the perspective of what God may be achieving in our lives through what we perceive as suffering.  

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” 

James is saying that we should be thankful for trials that come our way, because God uses them to teach us to persevere.  Furthermore, that it is by persevering that we will develop into mature Christians.  James is quite emphatic about what that means:  we will be “complete” and not lack anything.

Wow! What a statement!

The Bible is a wonderfully practical book.  And so we turn to a Scripture that gives us a roadmap of how we can work towards attaining maturity.

In 2 Peter 2.3-4 Peter writes about the great gift of being a child of God, and how God has already given us everything we need to live and to serve God:

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

Then Peter provides the road map:

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” (2 Peter 1.5-7)

You and I are in the privileged position that God has already brought us into his Kingdom.  By rebirth He has instilled in us his own nature.  Now, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can strive to grow to the point where we do not only love one another, but also show God’s love in the broader sense, to those who may not know Him yet. 

Let us use this time to contemplate these truths and pray God will help us to move forward in the plan He has made for us.

Celebrating Christmas thus becomes so much more than contemplating the romantic events of the birth of Christ.  It is celebrating of the momentous event of opening the way for us to become like Jesus.      

Father, Thank you for your abundant provision.  We pray that we may celebrate Christmas realistically with recognition of the true meaning of Christmas.  

In Jesus Name, Amen.

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | December 3, 2020

The Joy of the Lord

Last week I wrote about the many reasons we have to give thanks to God.  As we do that, we find that our joy increases.

Philippians 3.1 exhorts us to rejoice in the Lord.  Is that possible under adverse, even uncomfortable circumstances such as many of us are enduring right now?  Jesus thinks so.  He says that, even when we suffer persecution we should “rejoice in that day and leap for joy because great is your reward in heaven.” (Luke 6.23)

He Himself proved that it is possible to be joyful under all circumstances.

Shortly before he was crucified, He said to his disciples:  “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:11) 

Even in these foreboding circumstances Jesus had personal joy that He wanted to pass on to the disciples.

Today I want to encourage you to be joyful.  Firstly because it is the will of God for you.  Secondly because you will benefit greatly from a joyful approach to life.  Remember Nehemiah 8.10 “The joy of the Lord is your strength”?

So how is this possible?

In the first place because it comes from God.  “Joy of the Lord” means joy of which God is the source.  It is not the result of “mind over matter”, or some magical formula or confession.  It is also not just an emotional high such as we might experience listening to worship music, although that may very well help us prepare to receive joy from God. Positive experiences may also be helpful but ultimately what we need is the joy that comes from God.

It is rooted in our relationship with God.  In a delightful Psalm about his relationship with God, (Psalm 16) David writes “my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices” (verse 9).

As coming from God, joy is worked in us by the Holy Spirit.

Joy is part of the fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5.22: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

The more we allow the Holy Spirit into our lives, the more joy He will bring.

What can we practically do to experience more joy?

Focus on spending more time with the Lord.  In Psalm 16.11 David says. “you fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”  

Some of you may ask “but how do I spend time with the Lord”?

From my own experience and that of many others, I can tell you that spending time in the Word of God is wonderfully refreshing.  The Psalmist also experienced this (Psalm 19.7-10).  He writes about the Word of God: “The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.”

Amidst all the bombardment with so-called wisdom of the world – most of it bad news – we need to feed on the life-giving Word of God.

Plan into your time with the Lord some time to practice true worship. Enter into the presence of God by faith, with the one object of pleasing Him.  Acknowledge Him for who He is and what he has done.   Dedicate yourself anew to Him each day and ask Him what he would want you to do. 

I am sure you will find great joy in the presence of God.  

Father, I pray for your children.  Thank you that your Word teaches us that the kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat and what we drink, (which is legalism) but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14.17). Thank you for leading us into that joy.  Amen

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving

The following quote from one of David’s Psalms is appropriate on a day when the USA celebrates Thanksgiving.

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.” (Psalm 30.11,12)

Boy, this guy must have had great reasons for being joyful!  Scholars believe the Psalm was written after God stopped the great plague He had used to discipline David after David had ordered the census of Israel. (1 Chronicles 21 and 22).

David lists his reasons for being joyful.

“I will exalt you O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths…” (Psalm 30.1). “…I called to you for help and you healed me.” (verse 2). “You brought me up from the grave, you spared me from going down into the pit.” (verse 3)

It seems that David had grown over-confident in himself and that that was the reason why he had to be disciplined. (Psalm 30.6).  David finds reason for rejoicing even in the manner God treated him:

“Sing to the Lord you saints of his, praise his holy name.  For his anger lasts only a moment,  but his favour lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night,  but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (verses 4 and 5)

We admire David’s confession of his own weaknesses and his gratitude for God’s deliverance.  We feel our hearts being stirred by the joyous conclusion to the Psalm:

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.” (Psalm 30.11,12)

As you place yourself alongside of David’s experiences, what do you think?  Are you perhaps a little envious of him?  Do you wish you could have the same dramatic reasons for rejoicing?

I want to suggest to you that each one of us has comparable testimonies.   “For He (God) has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.” (1 Colossians 1.13).  “… when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” (Titus 3.5) 

We have experienced the promise that He would never leave us or forsake us.  That even when we went through the valley of the shadow of death, we did not need to be afraid,  because He was there.  How many times have we sinned and were forgiven?  How many mistakes have we made that He helped us either rectify or deal with the consequences?       

How many prayers has God answered?  How many blessings has He poured out on us and our families?

All these and many more facts show that you and I have as much reason to be grateful, and rejoice in God’s presence as David had.

God wants us to be glad, while the enemy pounces on a sad disposition to bring about discouragement.  Let us ask God to fill us with gratitude and joy.  And remember the practical advice from Proverbs 17.22:  “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

So we can say with David:  

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.”  (Psalm 30.11,12)

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | November 19, 2020

God Seeks Worshippers

Last week I wrote about God renewing our strength.  Today I want to write about one of the ways we can open the avenue for God to pour his strength into our lives. 

Our prayers normally consist of two elements.  Intercession and thanksgiving.  Today I want to focus on a third element, namely worship.  Everything we do for the Lord is worship, in fact, our whole life is supposed to be worship.  Yet, if everything is worship, then worship may turn out to be nothing.  That means, if we don’t define worship well, we may end up not really worshipping God

When Jesus says (John 4.23, 24) the Father seeks people who worship Him in Spirit and truth, He seems to be talking about something very specific and intimate.

Torrey (R.A.Torrey, What the Bible Teaches, p472) says : “When we pray, we are taken up with our needs; in thanksgiving we are taken up with needs that have been met; in worship we are taken up with God himself.”

Worship takes place when those who are born again come by faith into the presence of God in love, respect and wondering amazement with the exclusive desire to please the Lord.

There is a passage in the Bible where this is modelled.  In fact, it is so important that all four Gospels (Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 7 and John 12) have the description, although the person at the centre of the event was probably different.

At a time when there is much concern about gender-based violence, this passage is absolutely appropriate, because the main character in the passage is a woman, although she might not be the same person in each passage.

Luke 7.37 and 38 talks of a ” woman in that town who lived a sinful life (that) learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.  As she stood behind him at his feet (the custom was that one would recline at table, with one’s feet behind one) weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”

She was absolutely focused on Jesus.  An uninvited guest who was known to be a sinner, in the home of a Pharisee, she had only one objective and that was to minister to Jesus.    

She did not care what other people might think of what she was doing, knowing that there would be negative comments, as the rest of the narrative tells us.       

She spared no expense.  Pouring perfume on his feet from an alabaster jar, meaning that it was expensive.  In another similar event, even the disciples were indignant at the sacrifice of the woman and exclaimed “Why all this waste?”  (Matthew 26.8)     

Her unashamed appreciation of Jesus, what I would call worship, prompted the Lord to speak of “her great love”. (Luke 7.47)

The behaviour of this woman and the manner in which Jesus responded affirms to my mind the words of Torrey quoted before: that “in worship we are taken up with God himself.”

It also affirms my own conviction about worship.  I am repeating it, because I think it is all-important:

Worship takes place when those who are born again come by faith into the presence of God in love, respect and wondering amazement with the exclusive desire to please the Lord.

May the Lord stir your heart to worship God in the manner I believe He seeks.  A practical tip:  If you find yourself at a loss on how to find the right words, read and pray the words of Psalms 93 and 95-100.

May God bless you and may your prayer life be enriched.

Let me close with worship from Ephesians 3.20-21:

“Now to You who are able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to your power at work within us, to you be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen”

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | November 14, 2020

God Renewing Our Strength

In my previous devotion I wrote about God being the God of renewal.  We saw He brings about renewal when we are born again.  He also brings about renewal in our circumstances.  And ultimately He will make everything new in the new heavens and new earth.

Today I want to focus on God’s ability to renew our strength.

Life can be draining.  Challenges of all kinds (physical, financial, practical etc.) sap our strength.  We are emotional creatures (thank God for that!), and sometimes our emotions also make us tired.  Broadly speaking, we all have two kinds of people in our lives:  From some we draw energy, others can drain our energy.  We also face spiritual challenges, because we are involved in a war with forces of evil.  Much of that war is in ourselves.  As Paul says, “the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not free to do whatever you want.” (Galatians 5.17)

Isaiah describes the exhaustion we may feel as follows:  ” Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.” (Isaiah 40.30, NLT)

Thank God for his renewing power!  “But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40.31 NLT)

In Psalm 103.1-5, David praises the Lord for, among other blessings, causing his youth to be renewed to be like that of an eagle.

As children of God, we have access to an inexhaustible source of strength.  Ephesians 1.19 and 20 speaks of God’s “incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”

It begins with the fact that the Lord lives in us.  Because of his indwelling in us, Jesus says “rivers of living water will flow from within” us.  We will have enough strength for ourselves, and to share!

What should we do to take advantage of this truly miraculous privilege?

Isaiah says “those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.” (Isaiah 40.31). The expression “trust in the Lord” does not signify a vague, passive attitude of “whatever will be will be.”  Rather,  it has the meaning of an active expectation that God will do something.  The word used in some more literal translations makes this clear:  “They that wait upon the Lord….” 

Waiting upon the Lord implies actively seeking Him through regularly studying his Word, and regular times of prayer.  Studying the Bible as in reading and contemplation.  Praying as in thanksgiving, worship, intercession and waiting to hear from God.  It also implies actively seeking to do his will in every way. 

Caleb is a wonderful example of God’s power working in a human being.  When he was eighty five years old, he was still as strong as when he was forty.  He insisted on being allowed to take the most difficult part of the land to conquer it for the Lord’s people.  The Bible ascribes Caleb’s sustained strength to the fact that he served God with his whole heart.  (Joshua 14)

If we follow God with our whole heart, we will also have our strength renewed by Him.

Let us pray:

Lord, we thank you for the sustaining power we find in our relationship with you.  Please help us to wait upon you, in active expectation that your will strengthen us to meet every challenge that comes our way, and to live for your glory.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.  

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | November 5, 2020

God of renewal

In a critical period of the history of Israel, God exhorts his people through the prophet Isaiah:

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”  (Isaiah 43:18-19)

During this time in our lives, and while many countries in the world are struggling with large issues, God is inviting you and me to look to the future and expect Him to do new things.

Jeremiah says that renewal is typical of God:

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Some ways in which we experience the renewal that God brings

1.      In the life of the believer

At regeneration 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

In constant transformation of the believer

 “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3: 18)

In spite of physical deterioration

 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)

2.      In circumstances 

 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.  ……… I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”  (Isaiah 43:18-21)

3.      Ultimately

A New Heaven and a New Earth:  “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ ”

He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!'” (Revelation 21:1-5)

What should our response be?

Jeremiah’s response:  “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, The Lord is my portion therefore I will wait for him.”  (Lamentations 3:22-24)

Paul’s resolve

Philippians 3:13

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

I pray that today you will heed God’s call in Isaiah 43.18 and 19:

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”

Now let us pray

Father, we praise You today as the God of renewal, who has renewed us frequently, and is still doing so.  And we look forward to new things you are going to. be doing in our lives, our country and our world.  Amen.  

Posted by: Veroni Kruger | October 29, 2020

Last week I wrote about how our lives are hidden with Christ in God.  Part of the blessing of that is that God is interested in the details of our lives. 

When we read the book of Exodus, we are astounded by the details of the instructions God gave for construction of the tabernacle.  God even provided a graphic, saying to Moses “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”  (Exodus 25.40)   Again, when it was time to build the temple, God gave David detailed instructions.  1 Chronicles describes the instructions in detail, saying David gave Solomon “the plans of all that the Spirit had put in his mind…” (1 Chronicles 28.12)

Acts 17.26 tells how God planned the destinies of nations in detail: “From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.”  He not only made the nations, but also determined when they would exist and where they would live. 

David is confident that God exercised the same diligence when He created us. He writes in Psalm 139:
13 For you created my inmost being; you know me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body…

You did not just come about.  God created you.  As a master artisan He put you together (“you knit me together in my mother’s womb”).  David expresses amazement and wonderment at this process (“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made”).  God was there from the moment of conception throughout the whole process until you were born (“My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body…”

But that is not all.  Just as God planned when and where nations would live, He also planned your life.   

David says “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139.16)

David is also confident that God did not forsake us after we were born.  Even when we sleep, God is with us.  David says “When I awake, I am still with you.” (Psalm 139.18)     

God planned you in the finest detail.  Then He created you.  He has been with you all your life, planned by Him.  How wonderful is that?

David’s response to this loving Creator-God is complete openness:  He prays:

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. 

(Psalm 139.23,24)

Did you hear David’s confession that he, too, sometimes has anxious thoughts?  And that he recognizes he may have some ways that are not pleasing to God – what David calls “offensive” ways.  He has such an open relationship with God that he willingly lays them at the feet of Jesus.  His prayer ends with a petition to be led along the way of eternal salvation.

I trust you feel encouraged now to pray:  

I praise you Lord that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I lay before you all my ways and my anxious thoughts.  I thank you that you are leading me along the way of eternal salvation, and will bring me into your glorious presence.  In Jesus Name, Amen.       

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