Quick On Your Feet

A relationship with God is a dynamic experience. It is ever-changing, and as soon as you think you have Him figured out, and everything is nicely compartmentalised, He proceeds to blow up the box that you so neatly put him in. The Spirit of God blows where He wills, and only those with quick feet and  a willing heart respond to His direction. Romans 8:14 captures this so eloquently:

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God”

I had such an experience today. i had been preparing for a financial melt-down for some months now. more to the point, I wanted to position myself to profit from changing market forces.Recently, I invested some money into something that I thought would bring me a charming return. And, I subsequently learned form my broker, that my investment had to date actually produced good returns. Today, as I was walking around in one of the busiest malls in Johannesburg, I thought to go have a cup of tea, and write my blog. When I sat down, God said that I was to put away the computer, because He wanted to chat  to me. I obeyed. Actually, I was relieved because I was thin on material.

What followed was the most personal and insightful conversation with my Lord. It is peculiar how we are often amazed at the depth of his knowledge of us – the ones He made. Anyhow, He told me to bail out of the investments I had made, and pursue another kind. This strategy is diametrically opposed to conventional wisdom. Again, I obeyed. When I phoned the broker, and asked him to do as the Lord had instructed, he asked me about my change of heart, because a day earlier I had issued a different instruction. My response was unrehearsed to say the least, in fact, it just sort of came out of my mouth. I replied: “Well, it is never about that money, but about relationship with God. It is about hearing His heart at every minute of the day, and responding accordingly”.

What grace to have a God sit you down and talk to you in the midst of the world’s noise and chaos. What grace for Him to stoop to redirect your life and align it with His highest and best for you. It really doesn’t matter if I make money or not – I mean that sincerely. The greatest gift today, was to have an encounter with Him, in the midst of the world. To have Him invade the minutia of my life and direct me in His ways is priceless. He moves, and blows where He wills. let us be willing in heart, and quick of feet to respond. Amen.

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A Heavenly Bank Account

My pastor is really wise, because He knows God. More to the point, they are friends. On Sunday he said that God likes it when we ask Him for some big things, because He is a big God, who likes to do big things. His words reminded me of Ephesians 3:20 which reads: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” .

Fuelled by this revelation, I made my petitions known to God. And trust me, as petitions go, they were  pretty large. Today, as I was at gym, I was wondering where all the funds were going to come from, to fund all these extravagant requests. Suddenly, I heard the Lord say: “vuka”, which means wake-up in Zulu. So I became watchful. At that point, a man walked up to the water-fountain in front of me. On the back of his shirt were the words: “Bank of the Holy Spirit” (In Spanish).

I am always blown away when a big God, capable of doing Big things, gets involved in the small details of our lives. He spoke though a t-shirt. But the medium was not greater than the message. You see, the Father is truly infinitely rich, and he keeps resources in heaven for times such as these, when He can partner with us, in making the impossible possible. The word says He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and in truth, He likes to slaughter a few every now and then. He simply loves to pour out blessings on us, when the opportunity presents. He really is that kind.

I guess the only question that then remains, is do we bank with the bank of the Holy Spirit? Because if you bank there, you are able to make withdrawals. Right?  Matthew 6:21 does after all say that: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. So, if you have invested your treasure in heaven, and your heart is seated there, well then, the Bank of Heaven is open to do business with and for you.

I urge you to invest in God and His Kingdom. Invest your time, your heart, your wealth, your resources, and all you own in Him. He is a Pearl of Great Price, and He is worth it.

 

 

This is My Jesus

ImageIn response to yesterday’s devotional, I would like to share a testimony of my own, about the Jesus I have come to know. Not as men know him or circumstance present Him, but as I have come to know Him, as He has presented Himself to me – faithful in every circumstance of my life.

I remember many testimonies of this kind – hundreds really – but somehow the first is embedded with a particular tender dearness in my heart. It is not unlike Moses ,(in Deuteronomy 33:16), when shortly before His death, he referred to God as” the One who dwelt in the burning bush”.  Somehow those first encounters stick, and have a way of making you cross deserts and part oceans.

I met the Risen Christ in 2005, and shortly after meeting Him, He lead me to enroll in a 6 month discipleship program in the United States. The venture would require about R 60 000 in fees and expenses. The air ticket and visa were extra.

Seems easy enough, except that despite having sold my house and cars, I had zero funds in the bank. And since I resigned my job, I had no hope of earning the funds required. Then, the visa. Anybody who has travelled to the States post 9/11 will tell you that obtaining a visa is no cake-walk. Essentially they require the following from any applicant: A fixed address, utilities to prove you are on the radar as a citizen, sufficient money in the bank, a criminal clearance certificate, and candidates should preferably not have a history of drug and alcohol abuse. (There’s some other stuff to about terrorism…. But, in fairness the last time someone mentioned my name and the word terrorist in the same sentence, was in pre-primary school – I think).

I failed every one of the required criteria set out above (except for the terrorism thing ofcourse): No fixed address (I just moved in with my sister after selling my house), no utilities (I cancelled all my accounts when I resigned), no money in the bank (In truth, I was about R 3 000 in the red), I had a history of drug and alcohol abuse (which I confessed on the application, since the Lord said that none would steal His testimony), and I had a record for possession (stubborn willfulness as a student).

I arrived for my interview at the Consulate; head shaven, wearing military issue brown trousers, a yellow Kaiser Chiefs soccer top that generates static when you walk fast, and a big wooden cross around my neck that would weigh down Friar Tuck. (I know, I know, but when the LORD said, lay it all down, I thought He meant “sense of style” as well).  Anyhow, the businessman from Pretoria, who I shared an elevator with, wore a suite, and as it turned out, he was denied a visa more than once. So, this caused some concern.

As I sat in the waiting room, I started to pray. I laid it all out to God. I laid it out to the One who laid out the heavens and the earth. Funny how we do that.  I think I may even have shed a little tear in the process.  When I opened my eyes and looked up, there was a photo of a steel bridge crossing a canyon on the wall in front of me. The Lord spoke to me and said: “The one side of the canyon is your past, the other side is your future; and I AM the Bridge. You will get your visa today!”

I took hold of the word – that is the promise – and I waited. Minutes later a lady called me to counter No.3, and informed me that I had been granted a visa to the United States. A few days later,  my ticket was paid in full, and all my funds were paid in one hit. Just like that.

Who do men say He is? Well, some close to me, even told me point blank that I would never get a visa. But, that day in the Consulate, I answered and said: “You are the Christ, and I believe you are the God of miracles, signs and wonders. You are the God of Your word. Every word.  He lit up my bush that day, and its flames still burn today.

Have a wonderful day!

In the Company of Samaritans 2

I read this morning in John 4 about an encounter that Jesus had with a Samaritan woman at a well. As I read it, the Lord reminded me of an encounter I had with a Samaritan woman, not at a well, but under a lamppost.

I once asked the Lord to give me grace to run, and  He did. I now consider myself to be a jogger. If it seems all to easy, it is because it is. Our Father has a sweet tooth for giving good gifts to His children. And He just charges the gifts to the grace account. Grace then declares that there is a jogger inside all of us.

My jogs became time spent with the Holy Spirit. We literally would run together. He is so gracious, and would allow me to think that I was actually setting the pace and agenda for our runs. He would whisper to me during our runs – “turn here”, “run there”. His words would be to me as Hansel and Gretel’s pebbles; forming markers by which I would navigate and plot my way in this journey of  life.

A few years ago, I was running on Main Road, Kenilworth in Cape Town. It is not uncommon to see prostitutes on this street, even during an early morning run. As I ran, I saw a such a prostitute ahead. The Lord told me to stop and speak to her. He told me to tell her that Jesus loved her. A short and concise message that had the potential to change her life.

I am usually obedient, but on this particular day I struggled with the instruction. I thought, what would people think to see me speaking to a prostitute? What if they thought I was soliciting her for sex….? I even justified my behaviour by saying that my avoidance was actually honouring God… Mmmm. So, I ran past her. Fast. But, the Holy Spirit, sometimes does His best work with a gentle”drip” rather than by brute force. He just kept breathing on my heart, until I turned around and went back to the lamppost where she stood. I stood before the lady, looked her in the eye, and said: “I just want to let you know that Jesus loves you”. She smiled, and thanked me. With that, I turned to complete my run with the Holy Spirit.

This woman, and much of the world, navigate their lives by a lamppost – that is the wisdom of man. It is the light that guides and illuminates their path. The wisdom of man may say that hanging with the Samaritans of the day is not good for your reputation. And, it may even say that as a representative of Christ, we need to avoid talking to Samaritans, because it may just taint us. Conversely, the Holy Spirit is the Lamppost of our hearts and He is not so much interested in exposing our deeds, but the motive behind our deeds. He judges the spirit of the action rather than the action itself. This would explain why Jesus was comfortable speaking to a Samaritan woman at a well. It is because  Jesus was concerned with saving the lost, hurt, and broken, and so this also should be our concern. Christ did not consider His reputation when He was falsely accused, and neither should we.

Please read today’s devotional for more on this subject.