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We have a task before us, a task to overcome the evil of this world. It is a tough job, as the challenges and temptations are constant. But we should persevere and not give in to the sound of that dark call. In the Name of Christ we shall be conquerors.

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Being desperate about life is something most of us have experienced at some point. While some of us may be lucky enough to perceive it as ‘just a bad day’, others may be living their lives in complete shadow. It is widely known that depression is one of the worst diseases of our time. A silent killer, sometimes referred to as ‘suicide’ or ‘heart attack’, but I’m not going to talk about depression from a counsellor’s point of view today. I’m just mentioning it so that you can understand the depth of despair some people face every day of their lives. I’m also mentioning it because I understand it, know it, yes, it is an old enemy. One I’ve been living with for 31 years. But that is ALSO not what I want to talk about, not really. Listen up, hear it comes….

The past few years have been particularly challenging. In 2009 I went off my meds and haven’t been using since. Needless to say, it’s been hard and I’ve had my ‘moments’ of deep, dark thoughts. Despite these ‘moments’, however, I’ve somehow managed to find the light every time. My secret? I’ve realized that, corny as it may sound, everything, even the bad in life, is part of a divine plan to build an authentic human being.

Let me tell you a story: in 2014 something really bad happened, something that someone did (or actually several people did several different things) to totally disrupt the peace and happiness in my life. I was angry, sad, confused and very depressed about what happened. I felt betrayed and couldn’t understand why such things can happen to someone who devoted a life to serve others. Why are people so mean? Why do bad things happen to good people? I’m sure you’ve asked that question yourself many times.

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For a while I remained gloomy, filling my mind with thoughts of things that I don’t wish to repeat here and then, one evening, I read a piece in the Bible. It was from the book of Job 27:5-6: ‘Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me. To my righteousness I hold fast…’ I gave this some thought and realized that if Job could say something like that after all he’s been through, who am I to think differently? You see, things that happen to us and what others say about us, has a way of changing us, and usually not in a good way.

Let me explain it this way; I’ve always seen depression and depressive thoughts as a deep, dark well, a place in which other people, with their snide and hurtful remarks or events that bring sorrow and pain, can pull us. I say ‘pull’, because those people and events are already down there in the dark. We allow them, in our desperation, to keep us down there and to brainwash us in a way, making us like them. Filling our minds with dark thoughts and, when we try to get out of this well, they set traps like crumbling rocks or slippery walls, so that we keep on falling back down. They LOVE it when we’re down and when our thoughts are corrupted. We let it go, because we are just too glad to be accepted again, even if it is by the ‘bad’.  We lose our integrity, we betray ourselves and that is the mistake we make. We start believing that the ‘bad’ is right, that there really is no light and that we were wrong to think good things happen and that we can be who we are, trying to make the world a better place. We forget God’s promise in Matthew 28:20.

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After I read the piece in Job, I sat myself down. It was time for a me to myself peptalk. I looked at my life, who I am, what I am and suddenly it was clear….the important thing was not what others have to say about me or what happened to me, the important thing was that I’ve survived and learned something from every single experience I’ve ever had. This depression, this darkness was changing me into something I did not want to be; I was becoming like the darkness itself! I was losing my integrity, betraying myself and the purpose of my life. In Jeremiah God says that He has a plan for each one of us, and it is not a plan that involves all this evil, this ‘bad’.  (Remember the image at the beginning of this post?) We forget, also that we do not have to fight alone.

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We lose ourselves trying to figure out ways of surviving life, we conform to the masses and to the demands of those who, in fact, hate us. Instead we should remember that everything really happens for a reason. Maybe not the reason we thought, but a reason nonetheless and that we were made in a certain way, with a certain purpose and our personality, our souls and our hearts tell us exactly what we should be. My heart has always been telling me to be compassionate, to look out for those who cannot stand up for themselves, to not hold a grudge, to hold on to my faith. How can I then allow depression, caused by events out of my control, to change the fundamental ‘me’? Yesterday my husband sent me the meme below and it really made me think about all these things again, because I am going through another dark battle now.

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We cannot allow evil to change us into something that goes against everything we stand for. Over the past few weeks I’ve been reading a lot about prophecies and the end of days and it concerns me that we’ve done so much to ‘belong’ in the dark world, yet we’ve done nothing to return to the light in which we were born. Do we not realize that the time is near for Jesus to return? Do we not understand that it can happen at any moment? Staying true to the person that God wants you to be, the person He created, must be the most important thing in our lives. All the other stuff, the hurtful words, the catastrophic events, the sorrow and pain mean NOTHING when we remain on the path planned for us. Staying true to the righteous me would mean that, come the rapture, I will be taken and not left behind. I will be ready.

Friends, don’t be fooled by those against you or the events that seem to hijack you at every turn. Remain loyal to yourself, to the creature that God made.  Allow yourself to have moments of depression if you have to, but never lose sight of the light. Don’t let the darkness change you. Listen to your inner voice, believe in yourself and in your purpose and KNOW, always know, that God is by your side wherever you go, in whatever you do, until the end of time.

IMAGE SOURCES:

Exodus 14:14 –  Timewarp Wife. 2013. [Date of Access:] 5 April 2016

Jeremiah 29:11Joe Quatrone jr.  2012.  [Date of Access:] 5 April 2016

Matthew 28:20Kagesa Files.  2012.   [Date of Access:] 5 April 2016.

Woman in DespairMy Carpal Tunnel.  2012.  [Date of Access:] 5 April 2016

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Tony ‏yahwehisjesus

Interestingly enough, soon after I’ve received the above image via Twitter (@yahwehisjesus), someone asked me why I keep writing these ‘messages’ on my blog (meaning:  String Of Pearls, one of my other WordPress blogs). I was a bit taken aback, as I thought this person should understand my reasons….I write it, not because I want something to keep me occupied, I write it because I’m compelled to. This person insisted that I’m wasting my time and added that it would be time better spent if I’d rather watch a television programme. I was astonished! And hurt. Why do people always question it when you are trying to do something good? Is it perhaps Satan, working through them, to try and keep you from doing what you are supposed to do? A definite YES, I think, is the answer.

Just yesterday I saw someone reaching out to people on Facebook to help a family in a drought stricken town somewhere in South Africa.  The family had absolutely NOTHING; no food for their babies, no diapers, no milk, no proper home or furniture, no source of income. You wouldn’t believe the comments I read. Can’t people just keep quiet if they have nothing good to add? Why do they have to embarrass themselves like that; pointing fingers, judging the people that are just trying to help? What happened to Christian charity? What happened to the fruits of the Spirit? It reminded me of what someone once asked me when I told them I support charity organizations and projects across South Africa. This person asked: ‘Yes, but are the donations going to the RIGHT people?’ Can someone please define ‘right people’? Poverty doesn’t discriminate, so why should we? (I nearly kicked myself, because I only thought of the proper reply after the fact: I should have asked him: So, what do YOU plan to do about the ‘right people’?) I was just so astonished that, despite our claim to Christian living, we still find it hard to accept that we are all one in the Spirit, one Body.

This brings me back to my complainant, thoughtlessly sharing his opinion and by that accusing me of wasting time by posting religious messages on my blog, and to try and do it on a daily basis. I’m not trying to defend myself here, please understand. I’m sure there are many more important (to the world anyway) things that I can be doing instead. Strange then that I saw this ‘prophecy’ on Twitter: “I want healing in My Body, and I want My Body to prosper again….you are just beginning to receive”.

How can one ignore this? I contemplated the entire message carefully, not wanting to read into it something that I should rather not. You see, I know I’ve been called to bring forth the message and have, in fact, resisted it for the longest time. Why did I resist you may ask.  Well, the story of my life is that I’ve always felt unworthy. So how on earth could God appoint ME, as one of His messengers? It was simply unbelievable. I’m perhaps the biggest sinner of all (okay, I don’t kill people or hurt small animals, but still – I’m far from the perfect example of what a Christian should be).  I’m nothing, a nobody, until I realized it is not about me or what I’ve achieved in life. The point is to get the Word out, NOT to tell the world about my little ol’ life! It’s NOT about the messenger, it is about the MESSAGE!

This realization forced me to sit down and take stock of my life (a giggle, given the fact that I’m nearly half a century old!  Memory’s not all that good anymore!). Ever since I can remember I thought nothing of myself. I’ve never been important or particularly special…I’ve been just a regular Joe (or Joey). People never looked twice at me; I lived a non-descript life, in a non-descript house, with a non-descript family. In school, when asked who was the most likely to succeed, I didn’t even get a mention….no-one knew who the hell I was! Although I have many interests, I’m not really good at anything. I’m one of those dream big, achieve little, people. Please, I’m not trying to get any sympathy and I’m NOT feeling sorry for myself. Despite being a nothing, THINGS DID HAPPEN to me along the way. Bad things, mostly, but some good things too…the bad things got REALLY bad at times and I often screamed and shouted in anger at God for allowing such a thing to happen. What have I ever done to You, God? I’d stomp away from the face of God, angry and confused. Sometimes I stayed away from Him for months, but I always returned; sneaking back, shamefaced and totally embarrassed when I saw that even that bad thing had purpose. This is the lesson I learned; the road we travel in life is never perfect; it goes up steep cliffs, where we often slip back a few paces, sometimes we travel onward, calm and sure, until the road drops away into a sinkhole right in front of us; sometimes the road takes us into dark forests filled with strange and dangerous animals, we get lost in the dark. Life is NEVER perfect (not even for the pretty, rich, famous, successful kids that went to school with me), life is our lesson and it is rarely the things that happen to us that determine our path, it is the way we deal with it. Would you try to climb back up the cliff after you’ve slipped down a bit, or would you let go and just drop to the bottom?

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It was a strange experience….looking back over a life lived and SEEING it clearly for the first time. Would I change any of it? Would I still be the same person I am today without any of those experiences? I don’t think so….God has brought me to this point in my life and He prepared me for something remarkable. I am to tell the world about His love. I should NOT forget the lessons I learnt, no, but I must use it as testimony of His kindness and share it to glorify His Name. However, my story is of less importance….I was NEVER important, because I am NOT SUPPOSED TO BE important. God and HIS MESSAGE ARE IMPORTANT. Nothing else matters.

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I read about Jeremiah who was so unhappy that God ‘forgot’ to help him. He asked  God why and God didn’t even answer the question….God just said: return to me. Jeremiah 15: 18-19: “Why do I keep on suffering? Why are my wounds incurable? Why won’t they heal? Do you intend to disappoint me like a stream that goes dry in the summer?’ To this the LORD replied, ‘If you return, I will take you back, and you will be my servant again. If instead of talking nonsense you proclaim a worthwhile message, you will be my prophet again. The people will come back to you, and you will not need to go to them.”[1]

So, I know many people will think I’m all set for the men in the white coats, ready to be committed, but here is the truth: whether you lived a wonderfully blessed life, whether you became wealthy beyond your own expectations, whether you are the most beautiful and successful person on earth or whether you are a lonely soul, never acknowledged, recognized or given an opportunity to shine…IT DOESN’T MATTER. God has PURPOSE for you! And all these things YOU have or have not achieved simply don’t count. It’s nothing….all that matter is the Good News, the Word of God and the Christian’s obligation to see that it is told to everyone.

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1 Corinthians 9:16-17: “I have no right to boast just because I preach the gospel. After all, I am under orders to do so. And how terrible it would be for me if I did not preach the gospel! If I did my work as a matter of free choice, then I could expect to be paid; but I do it as a matter of duty, because God has entrusted me with this task.” [1]

2 Corinthians 4:1-5: “God in his mercy has given us this work to do, and so we are not discouraged. We put aside all secret and shameful deeds; we do not act with deceit, nor do we falsify the word of God. In the full light of truth we live in God’s sight and try to commend ourselves to everyone’s good conscience. For if the gospel we preach is hidden, it is hidden only from those who are being lost. They do not believe, because their minds have been kept in the dark by the evil god of this world. He keeps them from seeing the light shining on them, the light that comes for the Good News about th glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. For it is not ourselves that we preach; we preach Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake, “[1]

If anyone doubts that this purpose is worthy, he/she is still thinking with the selfish mind of the world and need to turn their faces to the heavens, so that the light of God Himself can bring wisdom of all ages.

SOURCES:

  1. 2001. Good News Bible: Today’s English Version.  Cape Town: Bible Society of South Africa.

IMAGE SOURCES:

  1. BRADLEY D. FOSTER QUOTE. Via
  2. GOING FORWARD REJOICING. Via Blogspot.
  3. IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU JESUS QUOTE. Via Flywheel.
  4. PETE WILSON QUOTE. Via HopeForTheWearyMom.
  5. PROPHETIC WORD. Via Tony @yahwehisjesus
  6. TERESA S. TAYLOR QUOTE. Via Pixteller.

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Via Lebo Morake on FB

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He was lead like a lamb to the slaughter and did not complain; despite His innocence He died an unspeakable death and was buried among the sinful rich.

This was done so that you and I need not die in sin.

He became our mediator and God forgave our transgressions.

Will you turn your eyes upon Him today and allow Him to lead you back to your Father in heaven? The choice is yours – salvation or judgment. What will it be?

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Recently I started reading Caroline Myss’s book ‘Invisible acts of Power’. She speaks of her childhood in a catholic home and how she and her siblings grew up with their world being occupied by these spiritual entities. To them it was unthinkable NOT to believe in the existence of these beings. She says: “Every day was a saint’s day….We regularly invoked the saints’ and angels’ strengths; st Jude gave us courage to face impossible causes; St. Anthony helped us notice and find lost objects;…We were never alone, and when we called or prayed to them, they always answered.” [Myss, 2004:1] She continues to hold that, even as children, they learned that no physical force on earth can withstand the power of heaven and that she knew that there was ‘invisible forces’ at work.

It fascinated me to finally understand that, yes, there are actually people in the world who believe in the intense and overwhelming power of the spiritworld, more to the point, the Power of God. I was not raised a catholic, despite the fact that I was actually born in a catholic hospital at a convent. I was raised in a pentecostal church, but to me the spirit was ALWAYS there. It was so real. Our doctrine believed in speaking in tongues when under the power of the Holy Spirit, we believed that some has the gift of translating these messages, some have the gift of healing, some could sing the message of the Word with powerful voices, some was blessed with the gift of teaching the Word. Like all Christian churches we believed in symbols and signs, but that we should did not worship these talismans. To us they were an outward sign of our faith; a way to show the world what we believe in. However, even as a young child, I’ve felt a kinship with something ‘else’, something that we couldn’t necessarily see with our physical eyes, but that was there nontheless. This ‘something’ wasn’t a gift like speaking in tongues, no, it was a PRESENCE. As I grew up and my interest in religion grew,  I wanted to find out exactly HOW others believed, their ideas on worship, their doctrine – did they also feel this ‘presence’? It fascinated me so, because, in my opinion, we are all praying to the same God, even if we don’t know it or understand how it works. There is, after all, just one God. I was therefore not entirely surprised to find that, yes, other belief systems also feel this same presence of something powerful, something that we cannot see or touch, but what we know to be there. Whether it is angels or saints, the Holy Spirit, it didn’t really matter to me, point was….it was REAL.

Myss’s words on how they believed in the angels and saints re-awakened my interest and, as I’ve been slightly obsessed with the subject of religion my whole life, I did what I do best…research.  I’ve always harbored deep respect for the catholic church and, a few years back during a visit in Portugal, my husband bought me an authentic rosary from Fatima as a gift. I was thrilled, as it was blessed by a priest, so I keep it close, especialy when I have to travel to dangerous areas for work. Despite my interest (or obsession, if you will) I understand very little about catholisism, so after reading Myss’s book I (of course) Googled the names of all the saints. I figured that a person in need can do with all the help he or she can get. You can click here to have a look at the list if you’re interested. I also found an Infographic on Pinterest. Have a look below.

Myss claims in her book that the prayers to her saints and angels were never left unanswered. Well, I have to say that sometimes God’s reply on our prayers can be a little obscure, hidden, like a puzzle within a puzzle. I know that people often feel that God never really answers prayers and that we are left to find solutions to our problems ourselves. I also know that many people think that God should have put a stop to all the evil in the world a long time ago, after all, He is THE Almighty. In fact, I recently watched the movie ‘Left Behind’with Nicolas Cage and this particular question is asked by one of the characters, Chloe Steele (Cassi Thompson),  right at the beginning of the movie. Why does God find it necessary to allow pain and death in the world? Why does people go around telling others that ‘God works in mysterious ways’? These are valid questions, questions that I have asked often enough myself.

Looking at my life (not a bad life at all), but still rife with problems, cares, worries and sadness, things that I’m sure many people are familiar with, one is often caught in this web of despair. It feels as if life, like a spider, spun its web of deceit and left us with endless choices that just cause us to struggle more and more, and thereby getting more and more tangled in its sticky threads. We feel caught.

Do you remember Frodo’s flight through the lair of Shelob? And how he used the light of Earendil, given to him by Galadriel to scare her off; the same light Sam uses later to keep Shelob from dragging Frodo back into the tunnel. For me, personally, my light has been the Son of God….always and like Myss’s saints and angels, He was the one that answered my prayers. Yes, even if it was answered in riddles, it was most definitely answered AND eventually revealed to me. My light chases away the ‘evil spider in life’,  my own Shelob….this is the spiritual realm in which I’ve believed my entire life. And, surprise, surprise, it is there for you too…NOW, today, if you want it.

Over the past few years my own life has been caught on and off in this metaphorical web and I’ve had doubts and rages against God; I’ve cried enough tears to fill twenty oceans, I think, and the only one who ever knew was God. For me all the problems I’ve endured was a private issue between me and Him. Some of it I’ve shared with others, but most of it was kept well hidden in my soul. One only knows how desperate you really are if taking your own life seems like the only option….I’m almost ashamed to admit that, yes, I’ve been there…..many times. My life-path has taken me through valleys and deserts, up rocky slopes and down steep inclines. I’ve fallen down more than I can remember, yet, somehow, every single time I got up, but not before I lingered on my knees for a bit. The light that lead Moses and the Israelites out of Egypt was alive and well and always with me, leading me on, pushing me and sometimes, in really low moments, I’d reach up to touch it, and the light that drove away the darkness around me, filled my being. So, yes, God still answers prayers.

As I said, times have been tough lately, but my heart feels lighter than it had in many years. Faith and hope can do that to you, you know. God has brought me this far and He will take me further still until I’ve completed whatever task He had in mind for me since birth. Caroline Myss believes in her saints and as I read through the list of patron saints I can feel the power in their names as well. I think it is a lovely thought that each one is assigned to fulfil a certain task in certain circumstances and sometimes life can be so hard that a person definitely need some extra protection and help.  Myss continues to dwell on this spiritual power and admits that, as she grew older, she realised that there is something bigger than ‘just the saints’. She says: “…I also have faith in a greater power: the energy or grace, that animates our seemingly impersonal but intimately connected universe…Grace holds together the whole of our life…” [Myss, 2004:2] This ‘grace’is God, because it is through His grace, His power that we can move forward in a chaotic world. It is through His Word, His loving kindness that we are given the power to persevere.

God speaks to me through His Word, as I’m sure He does to many believers. In these times, when I look at the face of my husband, seeing how he often struggle not to despair, I’ve turned once again to my Father in heaven and He replied:

Isaiah 51:5, 7 & 12:[5]My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, and My arms will judge the peoples…[7]Do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults….[12]I am He who comforts you, who are you that you should be afraid.” [Bible, 2001]

Let this then be your hope and comfort too, as it is mine, because God does hear our prayers, He listens closely to what we ask and His answers may sometimes be vague, but it is swift and available to those who listen and watch out for it. This morning my daily scripture landed in my inbox again, and guess what it was:

Hagai 2:19: “From this day on I will bless you.” [Roebert, 2015]

May you all stay blessed too, friends, and be reminded to reach for His light in your moments of darkness.

SOURCES:

  1. BIBLE.  2001.  Good News Bible: Today’s English Version.  Cape Town: The Bible Society of South Afica.
  2. MYSS, Caroline.  2004.  Invisible Acts of Power.  London, UK: Simon & Schuster.  269 p.
  3. ROEBERT, Andrew.  2015. Alive To God: Thought for 1 October 2015.  [Web:] AliveToGod  [Date of Access:]  1 October 2015.

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#Message4You #HaveFaith

String of Pearls

Image (1) via Pinterest. [3]

Since time out of mind God has been protecting His people. In the days of Isaiah a war was plotted against the children of God by Syria, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah.

Isaiah 7:6: “Let us go up against Judah and trouble it, ….’’ [4]

But God did not forsake these people, no, He made a promise to them: Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” [4] Even in the depths of despair, of fear, the people of Jerusalem could trust God.

Now, today, we can see that man is yet again fighting one against the other. These days we do not have messengers that deliver the news by hand, we all have internet, and we can all see how events unfold first-hand…

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