Be Strong. Be Resilient.

Isaiah 54:2

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco can move up to 6 meters in either direction at its center.

All of its parts, including its concrete roadway, steel railings and crossbeams, are connected from one welded joint to another through the vast cable system to two great towers, then down to a rock foundation beneath the Pacific.

Here are two important biblical truths we learn from this:

(1) You must be strong.

Paul writes: “God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. Put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way.

This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own.

Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet” (Ephesians 6:10-15).

(2) You must be resilient!

The Golden Gate Bridge has survived a century of earthquakes because it was built to sway – but not too far. It’s flexible and resilient – you must be too.

Paul wrote: “We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up.

In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

1 Thessalonians 5:23

If you were simply a “spirit-being” your spiritual potential would be unlimited. But you must constantly contend with your “soul,” which comprises your emotions, will and intellect.

In addition, you have to cope with the needs and appetites of your physical “body.” Pray as you will, your “soulish” nature won’t suddenly wake up one morning with the desire to please God because it’s always in conflict with His will (See Romans 8:7-8).

When you “walk in the flesh,” it will take you down the wrong road every time. Like a spoiled child, it must be disciplined and made subject to your regenerated spirit. Your soul, on the other hand, is constantly caught between your flesh, which says no to God, and your spirit, which says yes to Him.

That’s why your soul (will, emotions and intellect) must be reprogrammed daily by God’s Word. Paul says, “Let God transform you…by [renewing] the way you think” (Romans 12:2). Whatever you program into your computer is what you get out, right?

Similarly, when you begin to think scripturally you begin to live victoriously. The real action takes place in your spirit – the part of you that was renewed and regenerated when you were born again.

When God’s Spirit became intimate with your spirit it resulted in a new birth, and as you grow spiritually you begin to produce spiritual fruit (See Galatians 5:22).

As that happens you start to realize you are actually a regenerated spirit living in an un-regenerated body. Knowing this will help you understand many of your struggles, and pray: “Lord, I’m completely Yours: ‘spirit and soul and body.'”

“Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.” (Proverbs 24:16)

As M. Dunham wrote, “Sir Edmund Hilary was the first person to conquer Mt. Everest. The first time he tried, he failed. He was knighted by the Queen of England and at the gala occasion, on the wall behind the head table, was a huge picture of Mt. Everest.

The people gave him a standing ovation for even daring to attempt the climb. When they ceased applauding, Hilary turned his back to the audience, faced that picture and said, “Mt. Everest, you have defeated me once and you might defeat me again. But I’m coming back again and again, and I’m going to win because you can’t get any bigger, Mt. Everest, and I can.”

Great attitude! What a difference it would make if we felt the same when we face the mountains in our lives. The reality of life is that we often learn more through our failures than we do through our successes. Successes are satisfying and they are important to keep us encouraged.

However, failure is our greatest teacher. This is because in every failure there is the opportunity to learn, to grow, and to become stronger, better persons. And this is what God wants for each of us—not to beat ourselves up when we fail, but to grow stronger!

Whatever mountain you are facing at this time of your life—large or small—remember God is right there with you.

If anything is his will for you, you know that with his help you, too, can say to your mountain, “You have defeated me once and you might defeat me again. But I’m coming back again and again, and I’m going to win because you can’t get any bigger and I can. Plus God is on my side to help me.”

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, grant me the courage to face every mountain in my life and, with your help, never give up until I conquer each one and learn what you are seeking to teach me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

1 Tessalonisense 3:12

C.W. Vanderbergh het geskryf, ‘Om die hele wêreld lief te hê is nie ‘n probleem nie. My enigste ware probleem is my buurman.’

Die meeste besighede sal groot voordeel trek as base hulle werknemers werklik liefhet, en die werknemers weet dit.

Die meeste huwelike sal gelukkiger wees as eggenote kon sien en hoor dat hulle maats hulle waarlik liefhet. Die meeste families sal gelukkiger wees, as ouers hulle kinders heeltyd liefdevol behandel.

Tim Sanders, wat “Love is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends” geskryf het, leer ons dat liefde die kritiese element is in ons soeke na persoonlike en professionele sukses. Hy sê verder dat as die lewe soos ‘n iPhone was, sal liefde die eerste app wees wat jy sou moet aflaai.

Die grootste leiers is die liefdevolle leiers – hulle volgelinge, vriende en werknemers weet dat hulle hul beste belange op die hart dra.

Dink daaroor: Sou jy sê dat die mense wat die grootste en blywendste impak op jou lewe gemaak het, die mense is wat jou werklik liefgehad het en vir jou omgegee het? Natuurlik sou jy! Dis ook hoe jy ander mense moet behandel.

Die een lied lui as volg: ‘Love wasn’t put in your heart to stay; love isn’t love till you give it away’.

Hier is vier goeie redes om ‘Ek is lief vir jou’ op ‘n gereelde basis te sê:

  1. Jy het nodig om dit te sê.
  2. Jy het nodig om jouself dit te hoor sê.
  3. Ander mense het nodig dat jy dit sê.
  4. Jy het nodig dat ander mense dit vir jou sê.

Moet dus nie bang wees om daardie vier klein woordjies te sê nie! As jy dit begin doen, sal jy nooit weer terugkyk nie!

Psalm 118:6

Jy sal altyd vrees in een of ander vorm moet hanteer. Jou vrese sal ook verskil in jou verskillende lewenseisoene. Sodra jy dit aanvaar, kan jy vooruitgang maak. Julius Ceasar het byvoorbeeld die wêreld oorwin, maar hy was bang vir donderweer.

Petrus die Grote van Rusland, het soos ‘n kind gehuil wanneer hy brûe moes oorsteek. Die gevierde Britse skrywer, dr Samuel Johnson, moes met sy linkervoet ‘n kamer binnegaan. As hy per ongeluk sy regtervoet gebruik het, het hy uitgegaan en weer met sy linkervoet binne gekom. (Praat van jou beste voetjie voorsit!).

As jy toelaat dat vrees jou beheer, sal vrees jou daarvan weerhou om jou lewe ten volle uit te leef. Vrees teel onaktiwiteit, onaktiwiteit teel gebrek aan ervaring, gebrek aan ervaring teel onkunde en onkunde teel vrees.

As jy in hierdie siklus vasgevang is, is hier ‘n paar Skrifgedeeltes wat jou kan help:

  1. ‘U bewaar elkeen wat op U vertrou in vrede, die mense wie se gedagtes op U gerig is’ (Jesaja 26:3).
  2. ‘Ek laat vir julle my vrede na; my vrede deel Ek met julle. Ek gee nie soos die wêreld gee nie. Julle moet regtig nie ontsteld of beangs word nie’ (Johannes 14:27).
  3. ‘As die Here gelukkig is met die manier waarop iemand lewe, sal Hy selfs sy vyande in vrede met hom laat lewe’ (Spreuke 16:7).
  4. ‘…in God is my vertroue; ek sal nie vrees nie. Wat kan mense aan my doen?’ (Psalm 56:5).
  5. ‘Want God het ons nie ‘n gees van skugterheid gegee nie, maar van krag, liefde en selfbeheersing’ (2 Timoteus 1:7).

Verpersoonlik hierdie krifgedeeltes in gebed, steun op hulle en moenie ‘n sentimeter aan vrees toegee nie.

Filippense 4:6

Om jouself te bekommer, is een van die nutteloosste tydverdrywe waaraan jy kan dink. Jesus self het gevra, ‘Kan al julle bekommernis julle lewe een sekonde langer rek?’ (Matteus 6:27).

Bekommernis is die vyand van rus en verhoudings. Dit bekruip ons en kaap ons gedagtes. Terwyl ons in die publiek aanhou funksioneer, is daar ‘n onheilspellende krag wat binne in ons wegkruip.

Die vyand, genaamd bekommernis, affekteer jou bui, vernietig jou kreatiwiteit en vernietig jou sin van tevredenheid, wat van binne af kom. Hoekom stoei ons so baie met dinge wat ons nie kan verander nie?

‘n Pastoor skryf: ‘Dit het jare geneem voor ek agtergekom het dat ek nie bed toe moet gaan met die helfte van my dag wat nog in my kop ronddraai nie. Ek stoei die hele nag met kwessies wat in elk geval eers in die oggend opgelos kan word. Ek kan jou nie vertel hoeveel keer ek uitgeput en moedeloos by die werk aangekom het nie. Ek was minder effektief, meer gespanne, ek kon nie my volle potensiaal uitleef nie, en dit het ‘n tol van my verhoudings geëis.’

Kan jy saamstem? Hier is God se voorskrif vir bekommernisse: ‘Moet oor niks bekommerd wees nie, maar bid oor alles. Vra alles wat julle nodig het van God, terwyl julle Hom ook dank vir alles wat Hy doen.

As julle so bid, sal julle God se vrede beleef. Hierdie vrede is wonderliker as wat ‘n mens ooit kan dink.

Omdat julle aan Christus behoort, sal die vrede van God julle harte en gedagtes soos ‘n veiligheidswag oppas… beplan alles wat waar, eerbaar, skoon, suiwer, lieflik en loofwaardig is… Dan sal die God wat vrede gee, by julle wees’ (Filippense 4:6-9).

Laat God jou vandag vrymaak van bekommernis.

Amen: What Does It Mean?

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)

Tony Warren of The Mountain Retreat writes, “Amen is a word used so frequently in the Church that you would think that most Christians would know its meaning.

However, many do not. Others tend to use the word frivolously, some even thinking that it simply means, ‘the end.’ But this word is much more than just the standard thing to say, or the appropriate ending of a prayer.

“Amen is one of the few words of scripture which is written in its original Hebrew form. In fact, it is practically a universal word, having been adopted directly from the Hebrew into Greek, Latin, English, Spanish and many other languages.

Found both in the Old and the New Testaments, it is also translated in different ways, depending upon the context of the passage in which it is found. This Hebrew amen is derived from the root [aman], which means to be firm or solid in the sense of permanency or faithfulness.

Thus by implication, it means to be sure or true. So whenever we see this word Amen used in scripture, it is affirming what is truth, or illustrating something said that is of absolute certainty.”

In John 8:51 where Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death,” “the word translated ‘verily’ is that very same Hebrew word [amen], and it means that what is now being said is most assuredly, truth.

Christ is saying, ‘Truly, truthfully, I say unto you.’ He is making a statement of ‘absolute’ certainty. Christ used the word ‘amen’ to introduce statements as being sure on a number of occasions.” (Revelation 22:20-21)

If someone use the word “amen” when a preacher or a friend makes a statement that is believed to be true, that person means “I agree with you … good point … so let it be.”

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, thank for your Word, the final word of which says: ‘He [Jesus] who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.’ Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

2 Korintiërs 4:8

Voor jy tou opgooi en wegloop, lees eers die verhaal van Nehemia wat Jerusalem se mure in twee-en-vyftig dae herbou het

  • Eerstens het hy God se hulp gesoek. ‘Maar ons het tot ons God gebid…’ (Nehemia 4:9).
  • Tweedens het hy sy visie beskerm. ‘…Ons het die stad dag en nag bewaak om onsself teen hulle te beskerm’ (vers 9).
  • Derdens het hy geweier om tou op te gooi. ‘…Behoort iemand soos ek vir gevaar weg te vlug?.. Nee, ek sal nie…’ (Nehemia 6:11).

Gandhi het gesê, ‘Jy mag dalk nooit weet wat die resultate van jou aksies is nie , maar as jy niks doen nie, sal daar geen resultate wees nie.’

Ten spyte van die struikelblokke, die vyand en die druk, het Nehemia geweier om tou op te gooi. Paulus het gesê, ‘Mense hou aan om ons te laat swaarkry, maar ons hou aan om te lewe. Ons weet nie altyd wat om te doen nie, maar ons is nie moedeloos nie. Mense wil ons doodmaak, maar God los ons nie…’ (2 Korintiërs 4:8-9).

Thomas Edison het vir die wêreld elektriese lig, mikrofone, batterye, klankfilms, fonograwe en ‘n duisend ander uitvindings gegee. Hier is die beginsels waarvolgens hy gelewe het: Werk om al die kennis wat jy kan oor dit wat jy wil bereik, te kry.

  1. Vestig jou gedagtes op jou doelwit. Hou aan! Soek! Die probleem met die meeste mense is dat hulle tou opgooi nog voor hulle begin.
  2. Hou aan soek, maak nie saak hoeveel keer jy teleurstelling aanvaar nie.
  3. Weier om deur die feit dat iemand anders dieselfde ding probeer en misluk het, beïnvloed te word.
  4. Hou aan glo dat daar erens ‘n oplossing vir jou probleem bestaan, en dan sal jy dit vind.

The average adult spends nearly 40% of his or her waking hours working. Given that work occupies so much of our time, it would be rational to expect that God cares about what we do during those hours and how we go about it. In fact, He does. Scripture tell us God Himself worked and that He has entrusted us with important work.

Work is mentioned at the very beginning of the Bible. During the creation in the first two chapters of Genesis, we see God at work as He separated the light from the darkness; separated the water to create land and sky; gathered the waters into seas; created vegetation for the land; made the stars; made living creatures for the water, air and land. Finally, made the first humans, Adam and Eve. At the end of Genesis 1, God observed the result of His work and we’re told that it was good.

Genesis 2 provides details of mankind’s first job. God created a garden and placed Adam in it “to work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). We read that God said it was not good for Adam to be alone so He created Eve to help him. Adam and Eve were to work together to take care of God’s creation in the Garden of Eden.

After blessing Adam and Eve, He presented this assignment: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish… the birds… and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:28). How wonderful and what an honor it is that God entrusted human beings to take care of His creation.

Is Work a Good Thing in the Bible?

Work, in general, is good. After all, it was ordained by God and Scripture tells us that everything God creates is, in and of itself, good (see James 1:17). Work done well brings a sense of personal accomplishment as we put our God-given talents and abilities to use.

When our work helps others, it becomes a way to serve them. God, in effect, designed work so that it might be a blessing to us and to others. The baker who makes bread is a blessing to his customers. The salesperson is a blessing to her customers by guiding them to find the best product or service that meets their needs.

The teacher who educates his students is a blessing to them. In each of these examples, the worker likely experiences the joy that comes from doing work that produces something good that benefits others.

On a practical level, work is good because the wages we earn help us meet our financial responsibilities to support our family members, the Church and people God brings to our attention who are in need.

Throughout the Bible, we see passages that condemn people who are capable of working and have the opportunity to work but don’t because of laziness (for example, see Proverbs 10:4; 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12).

For society, work is also good in that it contributes to bringing order out of chaos so that people are more likely to experience shalom, a Hebrew word which means a state of flourishing. When we do work that serves others, we experience joy and contentment from knowing our work matters.

What If You Don’t Like Your Job?

Work can be difficult at times because we live in a fallen world. In Genesis 3:17-19 we see that because of Adam and Eve’s sin, work is going to be hard. Even good work that we know is worthwhile will require exertion that tires us physically, mentally and/or emotionally. That’s one reason we need a Sabbath day to rest and recover from work.

Sometimes people may find their jobs are especially difficult for reasons related to the tasks to be completed. Maybe the job is not a good fit with your strengths even if you are capable of doing it. Or it might be that the work is beyond your level of competence so that it’s too stressful or so far beneath your level of competence that it’s boring.

In these circumstances, it may be helpful to let your supervisor know so he or she can adjust your job responsibilities or provide needed training, mentoring or resources. One possibility is to consider moving to a different position in your organization that provides a better fit for you. If these options aren’t available, then looking outside your organization for new work may be wise.

Another reason people are dissatisfied with their work or want to leave their jobs stems from a breakdown in relationships, such as not getting along with their supervisor, being disrespected by colleagues or a lack of trust among members of a team. To help you discern what to do, ask God for wisdom and guidance, and seek the advice of others who will help you determine the best decision.

Christians should have the Right Attitude about Work

God cares about our attitudes for they shape what we say and do. If you cultivate an attitude that work is a punishment from God, then you are unlikely to have the enthusiasm and energy to do your best work.

Paul was getting at this when he stated: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2).

Having attitudes that are consistent with God’s Word will help us flourish in our work. One example of a Godly attitude is to embrace humility. Paul went on to explain in Romans 12 that we each have unique gifts and roles and that we need one another.

He prefaced the analogy of being individual parts of one body by exhorting Christ’s followers this way: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.” (Romans 12:3b). Humble individuals know they don’t have a monopoly on the best ideas so they are intentional about seeking and considering the ideas and opinions of others.

Having multiple perspectives to draw upon, affirm or challenge your thinking improves the likelihood of making optimal decisions that have the greatest positive impact on your organization.

Is Retirement Biblical?

The only place the Bible mentions retirement is in the Lord’s instructions to Moses about rules for Levite men who served in the tent of meeting. It specifies “… at the age of 50, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the tent of the meeting, but they themselves must not do the work.” (Numbers 8:25-26b).

The passage doesn’t address individuals more broadly and, interestingly, it says there is still a role for them to play. Many of the faithful whose lives are described in the Bible worked until their final days on earth. Retirement is a relatively new practice that’s become widespread in recent history.

It should be our mindset to serve others throughout the course of our lives, including during our twilight years. God created work for us because it blesses us and others.

Spreuke 10:12

Wanneer jy aan jou wrokkigheid vasklou, is daar ‘n oorlog binne-in jou aan die gang. Jy is in ‘n stryd met jouself, sowel as ander mense, gewikkel. Hoe meer jy veg, hoe meer grond verloor jy. Jy kan nie in hierdie situasie wen nie.

Jy sukkel om uit te klaar wie reg en wie verkeerd is. Jy spandeer so baie tyd om wraak te neem, te skree en te baklei dat jy jou vrede en vreugde verloor. Beëindig dadelik die konflik! Weier om nog ‘n dag so te leef. Moenie toelaat dat iemand anders se aksies jou reaksie bepaal nie. ‘Wees versigtig! Pas op vir die duiwel se aanvalle.

Hy is julle groot vyand. Hy loop rond soos ‘n brullende leeu, op soek na iemand om te verslind’ (1 Petrus 5:8). Moenie Satan se volgende maaltyd word nie. Laat die liefde en vrede van God jou gedagtes so baie vul dat dit na ander mense toe oorvloei – insluitend diegene wat jou ontstel het.

Stop en dink: Wil jy regtig soos die persoon wees wat jou seergemaak het? Wat sou Jesus gedoen het? Hy sou sy ander wang gedraai het (sien Matteus 5:39). ‘Maar wat van die mense wat my verkeerd behandel het?’ vra jy.

Wat daarvan? Dis nie jou plig om oordeel oor hulle te fel nie. Daar is net een gekwalifiseerde regter; laat Hom toe om dit te hanteer (sien Jakobus 4:12). Vra God om jou te help om jou woede te laat gaan, om die ander wang te draai en die mense wat jou verkeerd behandel het, te vergewe.

Bid hierdie eenvoudige gebed: ‘Here, ek is kwaad. Help my om dit te laat gaan. Dankie vir die genade wat U my gegee het om die persoon wat my seergemaak het te vergewe. In Jesus se Naam: Amen.’

2 Korintiërs 5:16

Wat het Paulus bedoel toe hy geskryf het, ‘Van nou af beoordeel ons niemand meer volgens ‘n menslike maatstaf nie’? Net dat ons nie moet fokus op ‘n ander gelowige se foute en mislukkings nie, maar dat ons hulle moet probeer sien as ‘n wedergebore siel wat in ‘n aardse liggaam woon..

Die feit is dat hulle deur God vrygespreek is (sien vers 21), en dat hulle daarom die potensiaal het om groot dinge te bereik. Jy moet egter steeds oordeelkundig wees wanneer jy verhoudinge aanknoop. Die verkeerde mense kan jou seermaak, en die regte mense kan jou help.

Dis egter nie jou werk om rond te gaan en mense te keur op grond van jou beperkte kennis van hulle nie. As jy hulle deur God se oë kon sien en weet wat Hy vir hulle beplan, sou jy dalk minder krities en meer vleiend gewees het. In plaas daarvan om op hulle neer te kyk, sal jy begin opkyk na hulle. Jy sal ook jou tyd, liefde en energie in hulle belê.

Hoekom? Omdat wederdiens belangrik vir God is: ‘Julle weet mos dat die Here elke mens wat sy werk goed doen, sal beloon…’ (Efesiërs 6:8 NLV). Ons gee op op mense, omdat ons nie kan sien wat God sien, of verstaan wat Hy besig is om te doen nie. Hy is ook nog nie klaar met hulle nie, so hou jou oordeel en kritiek vir jouself.

Wat as God jou afgeskryf het as gevolg van die foute wat jy al gemaak het? In plaas daarvan om uit te kyk vir die slegte in mense, kyk uit vir die goeie. Wanneer jy dit vind, vertroetel dit en lok dit uit. Wees gewillig om weer ‘n keer te kyk!

2 Korintiërs 10:7

Paulus maak dit duidelik dat daar kwaliteite in die mense rondom ons is wat ons nog nie ontdek of waargeneem het nie. Die meeste van ons gevolgtrekkings word op beperkte en foutiewe informasie gebaseer. God het kwaliteite in Dawid gesien wat sy eie familie nie eers herken het nie. Vir hulle was hy net ‘n seun wat skape opgepas het.

Toe hy by die slagveld opdaag en aanbied om teen Goliat te veg, het sy oudste broer, Eliab, hom beveel om huis toe te gaan. Binne ure het Dawid egter vir Goliat verslaan en was sy naam op die hele Israel se lippe. Josef se broers het hom vir die droom verwyt wat God hom gegee het en omdat hy hulle pa se witbroodjie was.

Nietemin het Josef die eerste minister van Egipte geword, en op die ou einde vir sy hele familie tydens die hongersnood gesorg. Die les hier te leer is: Wees versigtig hoe jy mense behandel wat jou irriteer! Leer om verby uiterlike voorkoms te kyk.

Onthou jy vir Rut, die slawemeisie wat koringare opgetel het en op die ou einde die baas se vrou geword het? Iemand soos sy kan dalk eendag jou salarisstrokies teken, so seën haar en behandel haar goed. Moet ook nie dat skoonheid jou verblind nie.

Onthou vir Ester en die dwaas Haman, wat die beeldskone meisie wat langs die koning gesit het, onderskat het. Sy het iets geweet wat hy nie het nie; sy het goddelike toegang tot kennis gehad wat haar mense sou red en Haman se ondergang sou beteken. Jy weet nooit regtig wat in iemand anders se kop aangaan nie. Moet hulle nie sommer afskryf nie – kyk weer!

1 Samuel 16:7

Kyk weer na daardie situasie wat jy nie verstaan nie. Dink aan Maria, die maagdelike moeder van Jesus. Sy was op die punt om geboorte te gee aan die Seun van God wat eendag die hele wêreld sal red. Sy het ‘n plek nodig om die aand te bly. Iemand het die geleentheid van ‘n leeftyd!

Ongelukkig lees ons, ‘daar [was] vir hulle geen plek in die herberg… nie’ (Lukas 2:7 NLV). Die geleentheid was daar, maar die herbergiers was te besig, en het nie die deur oopgemaak en die geleentheid aangegryp nie. Kyk weer na daardie situasie wat hopeloos lyk. Dink aan die seun in die skare wat Jesus volg.

Kan jy hom eenkant sien staan? Kyk weer. Sy mandjie bevat vyf broodjies en twee visse – net genoeg vir een persoon. Andreas vra vir Jesus, ‘…wat is dit vir só baie mense?’ (Johannes 6:9 NLV). Toe die Here dit geseën het, was dit egter meer as genoeg vir vyfduisend mense. Kyk weer na die vyand wat lyk of hy nie kan verander nie.

Saulus van Tarsus val jou aan. Hoekom? Omdat hy nog nie sy lewensveranderende ontmoeting met Jesus op die Damaskuspad gehad het nie. God het nog nie vir hom gewys wat jy reeds weet nie, dus is hy passievol oor die verkeerde dinge.

Moenie terugveg nie, en moenie opgee op hom nie. God gaan wonderlike dinge vir hom, en deur hom doen. Dit gebeur selde dat mense is soos hulle aanvanklik voorkom. Niemand hoef dieselfde te bly soos hulle vandag is nie. Wanneer God in hulle lewens begin werk, kan enige iemand handomkeer verander, soms binne ‘n dag se tyd.

As we begin walking through the four foundational shepherding functions of knowing, leading, providing for and protecting our family, it is important to recognize that they represent fundamental human needs.

For example, the concept of knowing and being known speaks to the fundamental need for relationship. Research has indicated an infant’s need to connect with his or her parents early on in order to be properly adjusted, or even to survive.

For most of us, something as simple as an invitation to an event or gathering raises the question, who is going to be there? Why do we ask this? We are concerned because we want to go somewhere where we have the connection of relationship, where we know and are known.

On the other hand, some of the worst experiences people can have are described in terms of loneliness, isolation, or alienation. These terms are just a sample of the large glossary of words that express missing or strained relationships.

Being made in the image of God, man was made first to be in relationship with his Creator. Unfortunately, this fellowship was broken when man sinned. Things changed from that point forward.

The good news is that, from the very beginning, the Lord took the initiative to restore that relationship. The relational element in God’s redemptive work is clearly seen in the shepherding metaphor. “The Lord is my shepherd” (Psalms 23) highlights this covenantal privilege of relationship and mutual knowledge.

Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. (Psalms 100:3)

As the consummate shepherd who comes into the world, Jesus describes the mutual knowledge between a shepherd and his sheep that characterizes his relationship with his people. “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me” ( John 10:14). This shepherd knew that this vital relationship with God could be restored only through his death and resurrection.

God shows his love for us

One of the greatest fears when it comes to relationships is the fear of transparency. If you really knew me, would you still love me? Remarkably, the Lord knows everything about you and he loves you. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Jesus still knows all about our sins, doubts, and fears and he still loves us.

One of the greatest privileges we now have is to grow in our knowledge of him. For the sheep, this is foundational for every benefit of belonging to him. “Now this is eternal life, that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

This is a great place to start. Can you see how much he loved you in the indescribable gift he gave that your relationship with him might be restored? The health and wholeness of our human relationships find their source in the wholeness of our relationship with the Lord through Jesus.

Strength, wisdom and love for others are fueled by the vitality of our life in the Lord. His work on our behalf enables us to grow in our relationship not only with our God, but also with others, especially our wives and children.

Highlighted News: