Don’t give up!

So, you have poured your heart out over your keyboard. You have spent hours on research. You have read your work a thousand times over and over again and have edited like a heartless crazy-person. You have checked every Bible reference twenty times. You have searched for that perfect image and have struggled for hours trying to put together an unmissable image for your post.
Finally, you hit the publish button and sit back expectantly, waiting for the page view numbers to sky rocket like never before. Because, this post is by far your best ever, most sincere, most anointed post of all the posts you’ve ever written. Or so you thought…

After two hours you have two page views, and one of them is your spouse. Oh yes, you remember, you’ve got a social-network platform that you have created because some top-seller, award-winning author at some seminar have told you that you shouldn’t even try to get published without one. So, you hit the share button on all of your social-network sights and wait… After two days you’ve got ten page views. Really?!
Sound familiar?

Yes, it is very easy for Christian writers to lose heart and to give up all together. Here is the truth, when you’ve made the decision to write for the Christian genre, you have not chosen the most popular genre. Think about it, there are a handful of well-known names in the Christian-publishing world and most of the time they are also famous preachers. Here you come along. You are not a famous preacher and most probably you’re not even a preacher. Chances are you don’t have a doctor’s degree in theology and half of your friends and family didn’t even know you could write.But please don’t stop writing for Christ. Just change you perception on writing for Christ by thinking about these three statements…

You should not expect overnight fame and thousands of page views

Consider this. Jesus had only twelve men in his circle of which one of them betrayed Him. He also told us that those who find their way through the narrow gate are few (Mat. 7:14). In fact, He warned us that we will be hated by the world (John 15:18-19, 1 John 3:13). So, don’t expect the world to love your writing.

Reconsider the reason why you are writing for Christ

It should not be for your own fame. You should be writing because you love God and because you want to bless your readers with the messages you have to share.

To God, numbers does not matter

Remember the parable Jesus told us about the Good Shepherd leaving the ninety-nine sheep to look for the one lost sheep? You can read the parable in Luke 15:1-7 but I want to focus on verse 7 (own emphasis): “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

So, perhaps, when God prompted you to write about something, He had one specific individual in mind. And He will make sure that your message reaches that one person. All that research and hours of work for only one person, you ask? Yes, He would have died for that one person.

Does this mean you should not make an effort to be seen out there? Of course not! You have an important message to share and Jesus told us to proclaim the gospel to all nations (Mark 16:15, Mark 13:10). Do the best that you can possibly do from your side and then trust God. I see my blogging as seed sown into cyber space. The Holy Spirit is the wind that will spread those seed and who will make sure they reach the hearts which He has prepared beforehand for it.

We should not measure our success to worldly standards, because, we are not of the world (John 17:16, Col. 1:13, 1 Peter 2:9. James 4:4). You are a Kingdom of God citizen and you should measure your work to God’s standards. He is always your first reader. You’re writing should please Him, not the world.
Stay true to the Word of God in everything you write and let the Holy Spirit guide you.
That should be your measure of success.


Happy writing!
Madeleine

Why write for Christ?

There are different reasons why writers decide to write for the Christian audience. Whether a religious blog, Christian fiction or worship songs. Whatever the type of writing, they’ve made the decision to write for Christ.

I’ve read the following statement that stuck with me and eventually became my motto in writing: 

“The Gospel frees us to create for the pure joy of creating, not seeking fortune or fame, but the fame of the One who has called us to create.”  

– From Jordan Raynor’s YouVersion devotion, C.S. Lewis & the call to create

This should be the reason why you write for Christ.
For his fame. Not yours.
Not because you want to be admired and labeled as a holy, religious person. Not because you want to sound clever and boast about your knowledge of the Bible and religious aspects. Not for the sake of fortune or fame.

  • The very first reason why you write for Christ should be because you love Him with all of your heart, soul and mind (Matt. 22:37). You want to use this special gift that He gave you to honour Him.
  • Then, secondly, because you love your neighbor as you love yourself. The Amplified Bible explains this statement in Matt. 22:39 as “unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others.” Writing is your tool in spreading the Gospel. It is a very special way of sharing truths and promises from God’s Word with other people.


In a nutshell, your reasons for being a Christian writer should be to honour God and to bless your readers.


This mindset is liberating.  You can now enjoy creating with words. You don’t have to prove anything to anybody because you are not seeking your own fame. 


You are writing to honour God’s Name and to bless your readers, this means you now have the confidence to promote your writing. God has your back. If your words are built on Biblical truths and written under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you can be sure that your message needs to be out there!


Happy writing!

Madeleine

Roll it over

I’m sure most of you reading here today have had nights of tossing and turning and worrying. Well, I for sure have! I suppose it comes with being human.

It was after one such a particular night that the Lord revealed something amazing to me. I had been fretting and praying the whole night over a certain problem. The next morning, I just had a prompting in my heart to read from the “Streams in the Desert” devotional. The reading for that morning was around Ps. 37:5:  “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.”

There are quite a few verses in the Bible that instruct us to trust God with our problems. But that specific morning, God focused my attention on Ps 37:5. The reason for that, being the original Hebrew meaning of the verse – which was explained in the devotion – referring to Young’s Literal Translation.

Robert Young (1822-1888), a Scottish scholar and publisher, devoted his spare time in learning oriental languages. In 1862, he published “The Holy Bible, Consisting of the Old and New Covenants; Translated according to the Letter and Idioms of the Original Languages”, better known as the Young’s Literal Translation (YLT).

This translation, as the name suggests, is a literal rendering of the Hebrew and Greek into English. What makes it even more special, though, is that it follows the tenses of the original language. You will understand why this is so important when you read Ps 37:5 in the YLT:

Roll on Jehovah thy way, And trust upon Him, and He worketh

– Ps 37:5 YLT

Two things caught my attention in this translation. The words ‘roll on’ and ‘worketh’.  

In plain English, this verse could be paraphrased as: Roll your life with all of its burdens into God’s hands and trust Him with it. He then works on it.

‘Worketh’ is present tense. This means God is working. Right now, as you are reading this, He is busy working on whatever problems you are facing.

I received this message in April.  At the beginning of this week, I learned that God had indeed been working on the problem all along! I’ve handed the problem over to Him and He worked it out. True to his word.

I pray that my testimony will encourage someone today to roll the heavy load of your burdens into the loving hands of our Father.

As Charles Spurgeon had said: “Whatever He takes and holds in his hands He will accomplish”. You can trust Him.

God Bless

Madeleine

Photo by Billy Pasco on Unsplash

Seeing greater things

This week’s question in the “Welcome to my World” blog challenge is: What new thing have you learned this last week?

After watching episode 2 of The Chosen, season 2, I was deeply touched by the calling of Nathanael. I’m sure those of you who have watched it could relate.

Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”

– Jhn 1:48 ESV

The skeptical Nathanael had made the statement earlier on that nothing good could come from Nazareth. However, these words of Jesus convinced him that Jesus was indeed the Son of God and he boldly declared it in verse 49:

Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”

– Jhn 1:49-50 ESV (own emphasis)

In following Jesus, as one of his disciples, Nathanael was promised that he would see even greater things. I was, however, somehow disappointed to find that Nathanael was not listed as one of the disciples of Jesus! In fact, he is not even mentioned in the first three Gospels.

So, I did some research and this is what I have found…

We find a list of the twelve disciples of Jesus in the first three Gospels (Mat. 10:2-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:13-16). In all three accounts, Bartholomew is mentioned. In Mathew he is specifically mentioned with Philip. Phillip was the one who had called Nathanael and convinced him to come and see Jesus for himself. It could therefore be assumed that Nathanael was a friend of Phillip.

Bartholomew means ‘son of Tolmai’ which would typically be a last name. Scholars therefore agree that Bartholomew was in fact Nathanael, called by his last name in the first three Gospels.

And, there you have it, the one new thing that I have learned this week: Bartholomew and Nathaneal was the same person.

I love studying the Word of God. There is always more to learn. More wisdom to be gained. More spiritual bread to eat.

By following Jesus, Nathanael did indeed see greater things. By following Jesus, we will also see greater things. You will see because you believe. In the Kingdom of God believing is seeing and not the other way round. Jesus said:

“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

– Mar 16:17-18 NKJV (own emphasis).

May you also see greater things in your walk with God. Follow Him and believe.

Could you perhaps add another interesting fact about Nathanael? Let us know in the comments below, we would love to hear it!

Be blessed

Madeleine

Thank you for my husband

This week’s question in the “Welcome to my World” blogging challenge is, “What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?”

Well, my first thought this morning was: “My husband is the best!”

You see, I’m not a morning person. My husband, on the other hand, is up at half past four every morning. No coffee needed. Just up and ready for the day. Me? I need my coffee.

So, every morning, after his hour of quiet-time with the Lord, he wakes me up with coffee. Or should I rather say, he brings me coffee. The waking up part does not necessarily happen at the same time.

This morning, as I finally opened my eyes, there was, as always, a mug of coffee on my bedside table. What made it so special though, was the lid that he had placed over the mug to keep it warm for when I eventually drag myself from dreamland. He must have noticed that, this morning, it was particularly hard for me to get up, and he wanted me to have a warm coffee when I do.

It might seem like a small, insignificant gesture to some, but to me it meant a lot.

His love-language is acts of service, so, first of all it was once again a reminder of his love for me. Secondly, it showed how much respect he had for me and how he accepted me for who I am. In this case, not a morning person like he is.

I am truly blessed to be married to this man. God has answered a whole lot of my prayers by making him a part of my life. No marriage is a garden of roses all the time and, believe me, ours is no exception. But, what I have learned in our sixteen years together, is that you need to pray for your marriage. All. The. Time. It is a God ordained institution and therefore the devil is out to destroy it.

Of course there are exceptions. I do not believe that it is God’s will for any of his children to be in an abusive or toxic relationship. If you find yourself in such a relationship you do not have to stay in it. Please seek help.

Sometimes two people are simply not compatible. The important thing is to determine God’s will for your situation. He knows the plans He has for you. (Jer. 29:11)

What God wants, is Godly, holy marriages.

Think about these words:

Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.

– Mal 2:15 ESV

Love is not an emotion. It’s a choice. It’s work. Once the butterflies of being in love is gone, you need to work hard at being a good partner – and in being a good team player when it comes to raising the Godly offspring.

I thank God for giving me a good partner and I pray that I will be the wife he deserves.

God bless

Madeleine

God is Faithful

This week’s question in the “Welcome to my World” blogging challenge is

“What does the word WATER make you think of?”

When I hear the word WATER, I cannot help but remember one of the many times in which God had proven Himself faithful to me. At a time where I needed confirmation about being on the right track with my blogging, God showed that He was working alongside me.

It happened like this…

In September 2018, I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to write about God being the Fountain of Living Waters, and how people tend to drink from cracked cisterns instead of from the Fountain itself (Jer. 2:13, 17:13).

I also felt compelled to write about Jesus being the Living Water.

While I was writing, a friend of mine sent me an article from the “Messianic Bible Society”. She had no idea what I was busy writing about. The article described an ancient water ceremony performed during Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles/Booths). I almost fell off my chair while reading it! This is an extract from the article:

Each morning a procession of priests would go down to the Pool of Siloam accompanied by men and women dancing to the Lord with music and much rejoicing.

When they arrived at the Pool, a priest drew water using a golden pitcher.

While the priest drew the water, all of the other priests recited the following verse from Isaiah 12:3, “You shall draw forth water in joy from the wellsprings of salvation (Ushavtem mayim b’sason mimayney haYeshuah).”  These words have been popularized by a Jewish circle dance called Mayim, Mayim (Water, Water).

The Pool of Siloam symbolized the “wells of salvation,” and the Hebrew word for Salvation is very close to the name of our Messiah Yeshua.

Amazing, isn’t it? But, this was the part that really blew me away…

John 7:37 says that Yeshua was right there with everyone else during the Water Pouring Ceremony, and He declared in a loud voice:

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”  (John 7:37–38)

He declared Himself to be the “Spring of Salvation”, the Fountain of Living Water!

As I have said, my friend had no idea what I was writing about, so her sending me the article was a miracle. But what I did not realise straight away, was the timing of my post. I had no idea that I was writing the post while Jews all over the world were in fact busy celebrating Sukkot!

God prompting me to write that post during the time of Sukkot, and also prompting my friend to send me the article, was my confirmation that He was working alongside me and that I was doing the right thing.

We are instruments in His hands. He gave us our gifts and talents to use for the Great Commission.

All that He needs is a willing heart. He will do the rest.

God bless

Madeleine

PS: The blogpost that I have written about is from my Afrikaans blog, Blog vir Jesus, and you can read it here.

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This New Day

I am taking part in the “Welcome to my world” blogging challenge where the idea is to answer a question about your world every week and build the message of your post around that answer.

The question for this week is “What do you see as you look out your window today?”

My answer is this: A brand new day.

As the warm tints of orange and red start pushing back the darkness and the world outside of my window starts taking on form, the birds also start their praise song. To me this has always been the most beautiful sound. Birdsong greeting a new day. Praising God, together with all of creation, for his faithfulness in holding all things together in order for this ancient event to take place yet again.

It fills me with hope and refreshes my faith. There will always be a new day. No night will last forever. And the most amazing thing about the breaking of a new day, is that God’s mercies are new as well.

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Lam 3:21-23 NLT

This day has never been before and will never be again.

It is a new opportunity to live your fulfilled life. To pursue your dreams. To work towards your goal. To prioritize your time. To repent of that sin. To forgive that person. To reconcile that relationship. To give your testimony. To be a blessing. To listen when they speak. To shine your light. To sow a seed. To heal. To pray. To live.

May this day be that day for you.

God bless

Madeleine

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Serving the Master

“When did you decide to become a writer?”

Ask any true writer this question and they will probably not even answer you. It’s like asking, ‘so when did you decide to become human?’ or ‘when did you decide to start breathing?’

You don’t decide to become a writer. It’s just what you are. Yes, okay, you could perhaps decide to spend more time writing and make more of an effort in actually publishing something. But being a writer is something you have absolutely no control over.

I have decided years ago that since this is what I am, I will be it for God. He knows the when, where, why and how. All I need to do is to be what He created me to be, He will take care of the rest.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Col 3:23-24 ESV

Being His writer comes with a huge responsibility. It’s about crucifying yourself and making His voice louder than yours. It’s about leading readers to the Word through your words. Every word written is a seed sown into His kingdom.

For this reason I take writing what God wants me to write very seriously. Especially when it comes to writing for children. Therefore I was in continuous prayer about writing a second ‘Little Lambs Learning’ book after publishing ‘Little Lambs Learning about Fruit of the Spirit’ in 2020.

God promises: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” – Ps 32:8 ESV. And true to this promise, He woke me one morning at 3:00 AM with a word from Ezekiel 34:11-24. I was surprised to read another account, apart from the well known accounts in Psalm 23 and John 10, about God being like a Shepherd seeking out and taking care of his flock.

Since the ‘Little Lambs Learning’ book was all about little lambs from the Good Shepherd’s flock, I was wondering if this was God telling me to write another ‘Little Lambs’ book. So I asked Him for another sign if this was indeed the case.

The next morning, while traveling home from holiday, I noticed a small, random notice board along the high-way reading: ‘Little Lambs of His Flock”

This made my heart do a double flip for two reasons. One, it was, well, about little lambs. And two, ‘Little Lambs of His Flock’ was the initial title for the book before I changed it to ‘Little Lambs Learning’ for the sake of alliteration.

So, there you have it. The reason why I have written and published a second children’s book called ‘Little Lambs Learning some Proverbs.

Here’s the blurb:

Timmy and Sonia are two little lambs from the Good Shepherd’s flock. Like all little lambs, they love to play and explore. Join them as they learn Biblical principles and values from their everyday adventures.
Through this charming book, children will learn some of the Biblical Proverbs through five separate stories, that are easy to relate to and lots of fun to read.
Each story ends with relevant Scripture to encourage discussion. There is also opportunity for children to write their own story, with their very own illustrations, at the end of the book.

I pray that this book will bless every reader, big and small. May the seeds sown here bear fruit to the glory of God’s kingdom. May His voice be louder than mine.

God bless

Madeleine

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Unfailing God

God never fails. Therefore, whatever it is that you are doing for God will not fail. In whichever way you are living out the Great Commission, you will be successful. Whether you are in full-time ministry, handing out food parcels, running a prayer meeting at work or simply sharing Scripture on social media. God will use what you are doing to accomplish His sovereign plan.

But, only when it is God doing it and not you.

I’m talking about crucifying yourself.

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Gal 2:20 NLT

I’m talking about seeking God’s kingdom, and not your own.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.

Luke 12:31 NLT

Put God first. Only then will all your effort be worth it.

  • You will have peace because even if you never see results during your life here on earth, you can rest assured that your effort was not in vain.
  • You will have confidence in what you do because you have confidence in God – and you know that He never fails.
  • The Holy Spirit will help you do your very best because His Name will be honored through your work. Therefore it will be nothing but the best.
  • You will not take offense when resistance and persecution come. When you are being mocked, discriminated against, or falsely accused because of your work for God, you will not take it personally, because it is not about you. It’s the world against Jesus – and He had already overcome the world. (John 16:33, John 17:14, John 15:18, 1 John 3:13)

So, as you stand at the beginning of this New Year, decide to submit and hand your work over to God. Build the foundation of your ministry on the Rock of Ages, not on your ambitions and dreams.

Only then will you be truly successful.

Be blessed

Madeleine