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

Back to basics

What is the Gospel?

Titus 3:5-7 puts it in a nutshell:

“He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.”

Tit 3:5-7 NLT

Basically, this is what it means…

No amount of good deeds can save you. Being in a Church can’t save you. Keeping all the commandments can’t save you. Knowing the Bible inside-out can’t safe you. Only God’s mercy can safe you.

How does He do that?

  • He washes away your sins.

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

– 1Jo 1:7 NLT (own emphasis)
  • The Holy Spirit then gives you a new life by letting your spirit be born again.

For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.

– 1Pe 1:23 NLT (own emphasis)
  • You receive the Holy Spirit as Helper.

But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative–that is, the Holy Spirit–he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

– Jhn 14:26 NLT
  • You are declared righteous.

Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

– Rom 3:24 NLT (own emphasis)
  • You inherit eternal life.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

– Jhn 3:16 NLT

The only thing you need to do is to believe it and confess it. It’s a choice.

I pray you choose today.

God bless

Madeleine

Why we will never celebrate Halloween

Why will you never see our family celebrate Halloween?

Because we love God. We have taken radical steps in an attempt to make Jesus the center of our home and to live righteously.

We are so thankful for God’s love and provision that no effort we make, to live to His glory, is too radical for us. Celebrating Halloween will be contradicting our efforts.

You see, God hates everything about Halloween.

How can I be so sure of this? Because that’s what the Bible tells me…

Halloween is all about witches. This was God’s command regarding witches:

“Do not allow a sorceress to live.”

Ex. 22:18

Halloween is all about vampires. This is how God feels about consuming blood:

“Anyone who eats blood must be cut off from their people.”

Lev. 7:27

Halloween is all about ghosts. This is what God says about ghosts:

“Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.”

Lev. 19:31

Deut. 18:10-13 puts it all in a nutshell:

“Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God.”

Deuteronomy 7:26 warns us to never bring these things into our homes or else, just like these detestable things, we will be set apart for destruction.

Anton LaVey, the founder of the church of satan, made the following statement: “I am glad that Christian parents let their children worship the devil at least one night out of the year.”

So, if you say that you love God and that you are a born again child of God, why on earth would you want to celebrate everything He despises of and worship the devil?

It doesn’t make sense. It is rather absurd, won’t you agree?

That is why you will never see our family celebrate Halloween.

I hope you feel the same way.

God bless

Madeleine

You are significant

You are significant!

Yes, you! Even if you were the only one reading this post, it would be worth it. Seriously? Yes! Because you are valuable and very important to God.

You see, the day that you were created, He already had a good and significant plan for your life. I know that to be true, because of what is written in Ps 139:16. Listen to this…

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Ps 139:16 NLT

But perhaps you do not feel worthy and significant. Stuff happened in your life. Stuff you did not ask for and had no control over. Or perhaps you did some stuff that you think destroyed your life. I’m saying ‘you think’ because no life will ever be so destroyed that it cannot be restored by God.

You see, God has an enemy, and that enemy is on a mission. His mission is to kill, steal and destroy. From the day that you were born, he started working at destroying God’s plan for your life. He started working at making you believe that you were insignificant. He started at making you question your worth to society and God’s kingdom. He started at making you feel insecure.

He made you believe that you could find significance, self-worth, and security in everything but God. But he is a liar. Trying to find these three things in anything but God will just kill, steal and destroy further, and he would have accomplished his mission.

But God.

God has the final word. That is why His Word came into the world and defeated this enemy. The battle was never yours. All you need to do is to accept this victory in Christ Jesus. Then, you will be born again and God will start restoring. He will start recreating you into the masterpiece you were born to be. Created for the good works that He had prepared and planned for only you.

Your significant job.

Read Ephesians 2:10 very carefully and believe it:

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Eph 2:10 NLT

You are significant. Don’t allow the enemy to tell you otherwise.

God bless

Madeleine

How to live righteously

What exactly does it mean to live righteously?
First of all one should look at the exact meaning of the word righteous. According to Strong it means to be just or lawful. We are justified by Christ, therefore we are now the righteous of God. (2 Cor. 5:21, Rom. 3:24) We are declared righteous, not guilty, and free from sin.
Since we are now declared righteous, we also need to live righteously. Jesus said that we should be ready, like servants waiting on their master to return home. (Luke 12:35-37)
Likewise, there is also the parable of the five foolish and the five wise virgins who waited on the bridegroom. The five foolish virgins, who were not ready for his return, were not allowed to join in the wedding feast. (Mat. 25:1-13)
So, we are instructed to live righteously. (1 Tim. 6:11, 1 John 2:6, Phil. 1:10, Phil. 2:13-16, Col. 1:10)
But how do we do that?

A different way of thinking

Everything starts with the way you think. We should think about things differently and we should think about different things. (Eph. 4:23, Rom. 12:2, Phil. 4:8, Col. 3:2) What you feed your mind with is going to have a direct impact on the way you live. What are you watching? What are you reading? What are you listening to?


A holy attitude

Closely connected to your thoughts, is your attitude. All around us people are worried and stressed. We are told not to worry about anything! Instead, we should pray about it and trust God. (Luke 12:29-31, Phil. 4:6-7, Ps. 55:22, Prov. 3:5-6) Have you noticed all the angry people wanting to revenge the grudges in their hearts? We are told to let go of anger and to forgive. (Rom. 12:17, Eph. 4:26, Mat. 18:21-22, Col. 3:13)


Serve in love

Serve like Jesus did. Jesus lived love. Jesus preached love. Jesus is love. He washed dirty feet, touched sick people and ate with sinners. He had compassion for the crowd of people who would not allow him some quiet time to grieve His cousin’s death. He never turned a soul away. Righteous people are kind and humble. They have open hands and open homes. They do not turn a blind eye to suffering. (John 13:34-35, James 1:27, Prov. 3:3, Prov. 3:27, Isa. 58:7, Mark 9:35, Mat. 25:35-36, Rom. 13:8, Gal. 6:10, Eph. 4:2, Phil. 4:5, Heb. 13:16, 1 Pet. 4:9, 1 John 3:17)


Change the world

We are called to be the salt of the world. (Mat. 5:13) Salt preserves and gives flavour. You can’t do that if you keep your mouth shut and mind your own business. Make your voice heard for the sake of His kingdom. (Mat. 10:32-33) Speak for those who can’t and defend the right of those who can’t defend themselves. (Prov. 31:8-9)We are called to be light. (Mat 5:14-16) Light pushes the darkness away. Stop hiding under your bucket. The world needs to see you shine.


The joy of the Lord

The prize for sin is death. (Rom. 6:23) Jesus Christ paid that prize. But, not only did He pay that prize on our behalf, He also conquered death through His resurrection. We are free. That is why we can rejoice in the Lord! Righteous people do not find their joy in worldly pleasures. The joy of the Lord is their strength. (Phil. 4:4, 1 Thes. 5:16, Neh. 8:10)


The great commission

Each and every follower of Jesus Christ has a calling: “Go and make disciples.” (Mat. 28:19) Those living righteously, take that calling seriously.  They use every opportunity to share the gospel. (Eph. 5:16, Col. 4:5-6) They use their unique gifts and talents as tools to share the gospel with. (1 Pet. 4:10) They trust in the Holy Spirit to give them wisdom and guidance. They love with the love of Christ and want to see everybody saved.


Pray without ceasing

Righteous people are prayer warriors. We know that we are not in a battle against flesh and blood, but against evil. (Eph. 6:12) That is why we fight on our knees. We can go boldly to the throne of God, in the Name of Jesus, because through Him we are righteous and the prayer of a righteous person can achieve much. (Col 4:2, Heb 4:16, Heb 10:19, 1 Thes. 5:17, Eph. 3:12, James 5:16, 1 John 5:14)


Faith to move mountains

Faith and fear can’t operate together. Faith is what you need to be saved. (Rom. 10:9-10) Faith is what you need to pray mountain-moving prayers. (Mat. 17:20) Faith is what you need to take authority over evil. Faith is what you need to live a righteous life. (Heb. 11:6, James 1:6, Mark 11:22, Mat. 21:22)


Know your sword

Our sword is the Word of God. (Eph 6:17, Heb 4:12) With it we can bring every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor. 10:4-5) There is living power in every word. (Heb. 11:3, John 1:1) It is the breath of God. (2 Tim 3:16) But how can you fight off evil with every powerful word of God if you do not know the words? Righteous people make time to study the Bible. They read it, memorize it and decree it until it becomes their thoughts and actions. (Josh. 1:8)


Repent

It is important to repent of our sins as often as possible. There is no such thing as cheap grace. God will not be mocked. What you sow, you will also reap. But if you confess your sins and repent, God will faithfully forgive you. (1 John 1:9, Gal. 6:7-8, Rom. 13:14, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, Eph. 5:3-5, 1 Pet. 1:14-16)


Praise to the King of Kings!

God is worthy of your praise and worship. He saved your soul. He gave you life. Everything that He created is amazing. He is an awesome God! Try to wrap your mind around it. Try to understand eternity. Try to comprehend His power. Try to describe His being. You can’t.  Righteous people worship God in spirit and in truth. They praise Him because they are thankful and amazed. They love Him with all of their heart, soul and strength. (Ps. 150: 1-6, Col. 3:16, Heb. 13:15, Luke 10:27, John 4:24)

So, to live righteously means to make Christ the center of your life.
I can never repay Jesus. The least I can do is to live righteously.

God bless
Madeleine