Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Does food bring us closer to God?

1 Corinthians 8:8 “But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, no better if we do.” NIV

Paul is writing to the Corinthian Church about food sacrificed to idols. He stresses here that food does not bring us close to God. This leads me to the question, what does?

In the Old Testament there are many verses on what food was “ceremonially unclean” and what food for fit for consumption by God’s people. Jesus talks about food and the fruit that our lives produce:

Matthew 12:33-34 "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” CEV

How amazing is God! The things that fill our hearts and flood out of our mouths show if we are unclean or not. Not whether you prefer bacon to chicken sausage!

I once attended a lecture on food, the pastor told us about the conditions during the Old Testament. Of how people would cook the meat before eating it, probably on a small fire. Now pork is deadly if not cooked until well done. Can you see how God was protecting them from sickness and disease by telling them not to eat it? Another meat that was prohibited is rabbit, these animals can carry parasites that can be transmitted to you even after the meat has been cooked. They embed themselves in your muscles and cause major problems.

Know this, God never told us to not do something without a very good reason. Do not murder, do not lie, do not commit adultery. These are all commands where if you brake them, someone (including you) gets hurt. God does not want to spoil your fun by making rules that are impossible to live by, spoiling your breakfast by prohibiting you from eating bacon or pork bangers, God has the best in store for us and He wants only the best for us. Naturally, He would tell us to stay away from things that would hurt us.

Jeremiah 7:23 “But I commanded them this thing, saying, Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people; and walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, so that it may be well with you.” MKJV

God has always wanted us to be His people. In the Garden of Eden, the very first sin that was committed was the sin of disobedience. God said, “You shall not”, and they were disobedient to Him and His command.

Jesus talks about the importance of sacrifices. There were many sacrifices listed in the Old Testament. These were very important, but there is something more important than rituals:

Matthew 12:7 “Don't you know what the Scriptures mean when they say, "Instead of offering sacrifices to me, I want you to be merciful to others?" If you knew what this means, you would not condemn these innocent disciples of mine.” CEV

Luke 11:42  "But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” CEV

Tithing is one of the most important rituals that we have as Christians. We give of our income so that the church and the people who work there can be provided for. But the Pharisees Jesus mentions tithe to be seen, with the wrong motives. Some things they esteemed as important (like doing things to be seen), while others (like justice and the love of God) took a back seat and were considered less important.

GOD WANTS YOUR HEART! He is not satisfied with you doing the right thing, like going to Church, tithing, helping others, etc. if your motives are all wrong.

Jeremiah 31:33 “but this shall be the covenant that I will cut with the house of Israel: After those days, says Jehovah, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” MKJV

Why does God want to put anything in your heart? Because He cares what is in it! God wants us to do the right things, for the right reasons! We are not to pretend to be Christians – we are to live what God has made us to be. God does not want us to pretend to be anything. If you are not doing things for the right reasons, then stop. Get your motives right and then continue.

Hebrews 6:1 mentions dead works. One of the meanings for this is something which has no reward. Jesus spoke of the Pharisees again in Matthew 6:1-4, saying that people who do things to be seen have already received their reward. What have they received? Recognition from people and a feeling of self righteousness. This is all you will get when you do things to be seen. God does not want us to live like this.

The apostle James has this to say:
James 2:20 “But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” MKJV

If faith that does not lead to works is dead, then works that do not originate from faith are also dead. It is not about being seen as someone who always attended church services or who donates thousands to the church every time they ask for money.

What God is looking at is what you are doing and why you are doing it. Does God do anything for us with ulterior motives? A scary question indeed. 1 John 4:16 says that God is love, not that God has love or feels love, but that God is indeed love. God is motivated by love, sent His Son Jesus because He loved us (John 3:16). I really hope that you get what I am saying here. God is motivated by love, not by hatred, spite or malice. God wants us to be motivated by His love as well. It’s a supernatural love, so we cannot produce it by ourselves, but we can ask Him to fill our hearts with His love so that we may love others as He loves us.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Do not despire small beginnings - PART 5

In Closing:

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” ESV

You might be very anxious to have God’s plans for you fulfilled. Know that He is too! He wants His plans in you to be fulfilled even more than you do. Plans take time to come into fulfillment, plans take time to be worked out and plans by their very nature are long term. God has long term plans for us. To get where He wants us to be we need to follow Him daily. 

Most things worth doing, take more than a day's preparation to be able to do them right! 

We need to take hold of Jesus’ hand and let Him lead us every day.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Do not despire small beginnings - PART 4

Father's >> Young men >> children.

What a privilege we have to be able to assist others and to help them grow in their walk with God! People grow at different paces, but we all can reach out to someone close to us and help them in some way or another.

1 Corinthians 8:1 “In your letter you asked me about food offered to idols. All of us know something about this subject. But knowledge makes us proud of ourselves, while love makes us helpful to others.” CEV

We must help others in love, not in a way that they feel that we look down on them.

Examples of growth:

God is busy working in our lives and we need to stay the course. We don’t start out great, but God has great plans for our lives. The foundation forming years are our most important as everything will rest on the foundations we have in our lives. God knows what you can handle right now. If He gives you more than you can handle it will break you, so He is patient and gives you more when you are ready, when you have matured a bit more.

Abram was a husband to a barren wife, but God made great promises to him. He changed his name to Abraham (meaning father of a multitude) God promises Him that all nations will be blessed through him (Genesis 12:3). He starts our without a child, and for years he trusts God to give him an inheritance, today Abraham is the father of two great nations with so many children that it is difficult to count them all, BUT HE DID NOT START OUT THAT WAY. He was a nomad, traveling around, he did not start out owning even an inch of property. God blessed and increased him to what we see today.

When we look at ourselves we may think of the things that others have said about us, “you are just like your father”, “you will never amount to anything”, “you are useless”. But know that that is not the way that God looks at you or me.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Do not despire small beginnings - PART 3

A tree needs to be a certain age before it will bear fruit as well, you can’t expect fruit from a 6 month old peach tree it just does not happen that way.

Genesis 8:22 “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease." ESV

There is no quick fix, or instant solution when a peach tree is bare. Today we have microwaves, 2 minute noodles and instant coffee, but the things of God's Spirit take time.

Back to us, our spirits are reborn when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour and we start a wonderful journey. God starts building certain things into our lives and we start maturing, ie. Getting ready to bear fruit.

This church had small beginnings, but God has given great words of prophecy that this church would be a great big church. How does that happen? One person at a time! How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

Helping others grow:

All of us are on different levels, we are not to look down on those below us or be jealous of those above us. John Maxwell says that we are to have many mentors and that one can learn at least one thing from every person you meet.

So as we grow we have the opportunity to help others to grow to where we are.

1 John 2:12-14
"12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one." ESV

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Do not despire small beginnings - PART 2

Why does God start us out small?

In Matthew 25:15 Jesus starts to tell the story of the workers who received 5, 2 and 1 talents respectively. The Message Bible says that they were entrusted with money “according to their ability”.

Why if God has such grand plans for us do we need to start small? God is busy growing and developing our character so that we can cope with more! If you promise to give your son or daughter a car and you give it to them when they are 10 years old what will happen? Exactly! You start them out with a bicycle, etc. and as they grow older and their abilities grow you can give them a car when they are capable of driving it safely.

God does the same with us. He wants to give us everything He has promised, but it will harm us to receive these things too soon. Do you understand what I am saying? Does this make sense? God promises to give you a million Rand, but do you know how to run that kind of finances? Not if you are used to earning R100 a week, no. So God builds you until you are ready to do it.

We also need to be faithful, God tests our faithfulness.

How do we grow?

Psalm 1:3 “He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” ESV

Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruit of the Spirit.

Like the tree planted by living waters, bearing fruit takes time. When a tree wants to have fruit it does not pick up the phone and order from Pick ‘n Pay. First the tree blossoms, producing hundreds of beautiful flowers. This is the promise of fruit to come. A humble bee pollinates the flowers on the tree, which develop into small fruit. The fruit grows and ripens and only then is the tree full of ripe fruit. Most trees bear fruit only once a year as this process takes time.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Do not despire small beginnings - PART 1


Job 8:7 “And though your beginning was small, your latter days will be very great.” ESV

1 Corinthians 1:27-28
27 God purposely chose what the world considers nonsense in order to shame the wise, and he chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful. 28 He chose what the world looks down on and despises and thinks is nothing, in order to destroy what the world thinks is important.” GNB

Mark 4:30-32
"30 What shall we say the Kingdom of God is like?" asked Jesus. "What parable shall we use to explain it? 31 It is like this. A man takes a mustard seed, the smallest seed in the world, and plants it in the ground. 32 After a while it grows up and becomes the biggest of all plants. It puts out such large branches that the birds come and make their nests in its shade." GNB

Everything starts out small, we are born, we cry, we learn to crawl, then walk then run. You might not be a spiritual giant right now, but you can be! Just as we are not born running in the physical we start out with small steps in the spiritual realm as well.

Comparing ourselves to others:

Sometimes we are tempted to look at others and what they have achieved and it demotivates us. We think, “how can I compare with this person?” – the good news is that you DO NOT HAVE TO. God never made us to be copies of other people. We are originals and God has a unique and special plan for each of us.

Galatians 5:26 “That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.” MSG

Friday, 20 May 2011


What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a good thing to have dreams for your life.

Do you know what you want to do? Or have you not started dreaming yet?

Dream big, God did when He planned your life – Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 2:10. You are God’s masterpiece! He did not make you and then wonder, “what am I going to do with you now?”

An artist will think long and hard before making something and only when he is certain about what he wants does he start creating. Just as a person does not make a chair and then ask what to do with it, so also did God create us – we are special to Him, Psalm 139.

Joseph had dreams (they did not make sense at the time), but I believe that they came from God. Are you settling for second best by saying, “I want to be a mechanic” or, “I want to work at a hair salon.” Aspire to be the best at what you do and to work for the best repair centre or hair salon around. Know that God has great plans for you and that He does not want you to settle for second best.

When you dream you are putting your faith into action, read Hebrews 11:1. Faith is not seeing first, it is trusting God for the things that we cannot see, but what we are hoping and trusting Him for.

Joseph’s dreams took a long time to come to fulfillment, he also had to go through some difficult obstacles on the way, but he held on to God and did not get discouraged or depressed. God blessed him to become second in charge of Egypt and his family did bow down to him as they did in his dream.

God always starts with a dream, a dream that is given to a person. That person needs to treasure that dream and nurture it so that it can grow. Otherwise, nothing will come of it.


Has this changed the way that you are going to look at your future?

Sunday, 1 May 2011

The best thing that could ever happen to you

What is the best thing that could ever happen to you? Think hard for a
minute about that, then read further.

One of the best things that can happen to you is for someone else to die
in your place. Imagine being sentenced to death, you can't appeal and
you have no escape - then at the last minute someone you have never met
before volunteers to take your place. Flabbergasted you accept the
stranger's offer and count your blessings as you go free.

Did you know that Jesus died in your place? Romans 6:23 says that the
wages of sin are death. We were born into sin and so we deserve death (
as God is holy and cannot ignore our sin). The good news is the Jesus
stepped in and He bore the full punishment of our sins upon Himself.

John 3:16 says that God was motivated by love when He sent Jesus to die
on the cross for our sins. God does not hate us! God did not send Jesus
grudgingly either, He did it in love. God wants to have a personal
relationship with you, and has done everything He possibly can for you
to be able to have a relationship with Him.

Ask God to reveal Him to you as a father and watch what happens!

Sunday, 20 February 2011


Hi, I have not written a blog entry for a while. This is partly because
I have been lazy, partly because I don't have Internet on my PC at home
and partly because I have been rather busy.

This year kicked off with a bang.

I was asked to minister for a week long at Nico Malan High School in
Humansdorp on the subject, "Can I be single and happy?", while bringing
in a bit about self image at the same time. It went rather well, there
were only a few classes where it was difficult to speak at the rest
were well mannered and participated.

I have been trying to get a Blackberry phone, which would make updating
the blog painless. This has not happened yet.

I am busy learning how Peppermint Linux works, my main gripe has always
been that I have been unable to run Windows programs (specifically
Corel Draw and E-Sword) on Linux, but with the help of PlayOnLinux I am
able to run E-Sword. It's taken me years to get here, and it feels good
to have finally arrived.

I am preaching again this Sunday evening (27 February 2011), so if
anyone reading this would like to attend get down to the Stulting
Primary School Hall in Humansdorp at 18:30.