donderdag 23 december 2010

Time




Sometimes I take a step back and look at my life and everything going in the world and I realize how temporary everything is. In about 120 years from now the entire population living on earth right now (almost 7 billion people) will be gone. A new generation will have taken our place. This puts everything in perspective.

When I look back on my life what would be the things I would have liked to have achieved, what is really important and will have value for eternity?

Link to time lapse video



“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

Matthew 6:19-21
2 Corinthians 4:18
1 Corinthians 15:53,54
Revalation 21:1-5a

zondag 19 december 2010

In the Potter's Hands

  
Did you ever have the feeling you wanted to break free from something God is doing in your life. You feel you are stuck in a certain situation and cannot escape, that you’re in a bad dream and want to wake up to a more comfortable life. Time is standing still, doors are staying closed and you feel you’re not getting anywhere. You cannot make sense of things and even when you think hard you still cannot find any reasons for things going the way they are. Your thoughts just go in circles. You ask God to do something, to give you some clue, to make things feel less heavy, but it remains silent. You feel uneasy and you just want to get out, but it feels as if a hand is pressing up against you making it impossible for you to get away. When you are in such a time are you able to believe God is at work in you to create something beautiful, something that will be of value even in eternity?

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.
Jeremiah 18: 1-6

Watch the following video:
link video potter and clay




Surrender

Stay in the centre of Gods will

Let go

Trust Him

Accept

Humble yourself

Be patient

Open up

Have faith

Be still and know that I am God

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 46:10a
James 4:10
2 Corinthians 4: 7
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Romans 8: 28-29
Philippians 4:6-7

zaterdag 13 november 2010

José

The child in the picture above smoking marihuana is José. José is one of the children that live on the streets of Bolivia. Many of these children come from broken homes. When they are still very young they start to sniff glue to help them forget the hard reality they live in, and so it is with José.

Youth with a Mission started a home for girls and a home for guys to help them get of the streets and built a better life. José has come of the streets to live in the guy’s home, but soon after coming there he left again for the streets. Later he came of the streets a second time. Around that time I decided to write him a letter, but before I send the letter he had left the house a second time. He came back one more time but left again. He is now doing worse, because he has started using cocaine, although he is only 14 years old.

Sometimes I think of him and I wonder what goes on in his mind. Why does he not take the chances that are given to him to start a new life in a home where there are people that love him and want to help him built a good future. Why is it so difficult to reach his heart with God’s love for him? What hopelessness moves him to go deeper and deeper into drugs?

It makes me sad to see that so many young lives are destroyed. Instead of receiving love, care and encouragement, they are neglected and abused. They end on the street, but nobody seems to care and they are seen as the scum of society. They are left to a destructive life that leads to a young death. It seems as if they feel they are predestined to this kind of life; that they are bound to it and can never escape. When I think of the evil behind this and how these lives are destroyed it angers me. I wonder what lies have been rooted in their hearts from a very young age, lies that tell them that they are of no value, not worthy to receive love and without hope. All they can do is survive each day and sedate the pain and harsh reality of their life with drugs. Even when they are offered help and a better future, many of them cannot receive it. This also seems to be the case with José. I cannot look inside his heart, only he and only God know what keeps pulling him to go back to a life of hopelessness. Maybe this kind of life is all he knows. How can he trust anyone, when there never was anyone to trust. Maybe it has taken him a long time to freeze and sedate his heart to make it stop hurting. Maybe for him hope and love bring pain and fear, and maybe that’s why he keeps running. I don’t know, but I hope and pray God will bring him back and heal his life, before it is to late.

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners." Isaiah 61:1

zondag 31 oktober 2010

Courage to be different?



Sometimes I get the feeling that we don’t really live the full life that we read about in the Bible. It seems that we are more concerned with trying to fit in with the culture around us, making sure nobody might me be shocked or turned off by anything in our life that might be a little strange.

I recently started to read the book “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan. This book has been confronting. The following lines jumped out to me:

“Taking the words of Christ literally and seriously is rarely considered. That’s for the “radicals” who are “unbalanced” and who go “overboard”. Most of us want a balanced life that we can control, that is safe, and that does not involve suffering.”

I love to read biographies about different men throughout history that have given their lives completely in the service of God and the spreading of “the good news”. Their stories inspire and confront me. These men seemed to be consumed by just one thing, their love for Jesus and sharing the salvation and joy which they received with as many people possible. They gave up everything for this purpose and went through much suffering for it. When I read their stories I’m shocked by all the difficulties they went through. These difficulties were sometimes so many and so great that I’m amazed they didn’t loose their faith but kept on going and kept on trusting. Their lives with God were not easy and comfortable and they didn’t fit in, but many of the revivals that have started throughout the world are the fruit of their efforts a long time ago.

As Christians we are supposed to encourage each other to live a life completely devoted to God, but sometimes it seems we are discouraging each other to live this kind of life. The following passage I read yesterday stuck out to me as an example of how this can go. It is coming from a book that shares the biographies of Christians in the 18th and 19th century that have made a great impact through their life and service:

“One day he (Hudson Taylor) called on the Congregational minister and asked to borrow his copy of Medhurst’s China, explaining that God had called him to missionary service in that land. “And how do you propose to go there?” the minister inquired. Taylor replied that he did not know but in all probability he would go forth as did the Twelve and the Seventy, relying solely on the One who sent him to supply all his needs. Placing his hand on the lad’s shoulder the minister replied: “Ah, my boy, as you grow older you will become wiser than that. Such an idea would do very well in the days when Christ himself was on earth, but not now”.”
Heroes of Faith on pioneer trails by E. Myers Harrison: Hudson Taylor

If you read Hudson Taylor’s life story you can see what God did through his life and how He provided in great ways…

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. (Matthew 13:45,46)

Link Song "Motions" by Matthew West


Song lyrics "Motions"

This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break,
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

'Cause I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

take me all the way (take me all the way)
take me all the way ('cause I don't wanna go through the motions)
take me all the way (I know I'm finally feeling something real)
take me all the way

woensdag 27 oktober 2010

Family context

As old and static this family picture might seem, the patterns within family relationships are a constant flow of great influence that run through many generations and will continue to do so for many generations to come…

Last year in September I started to do a two year study of contextual therapy. The basis of contextual thinking is the importance of the relationships people have with each other and the giving and receiving within these relationships. The basic element to measure the health and sustainability of any relationship is the amount of trust that has been built up in this relationship. Trust is formed when the giving and receiving in a relationship is in balance. Both parties know that the other person is aware of their needs and is caring and responsible in meeting those needs. When one or both parties starts doubting this, the basis of trust is disturbed and the strings that binds two people in a relationship together will start to loose their strength. Other less healthy patterns, which have been lingering under the surface, will start to take over, trying to keep the now dying relationship alive. These patterns are controlling and manipulative in their nature. This can be very subtle and the people using them might not even be aware of them. Both parties feel they have very much the right to behave the way they do, but instead of investing in each others life’s in a loving and fulfilling way, they more and more use each other to get their own needs met. This will be the source of many conflicts and problems. This can happen in any kind of relationship; family relationships, friendships, dating relationships or marriage.

Contextual thinking places much emphasis on the family relationships with it’s history as being the context in which people learn how to relate to each other. The basic philosophy is that our family should be a place of care, a place where we are encouraged to give of ourselves in a way that fits with who we are, and a place where we receive care, love, stability, attention, guidance, safety, encouragement, etc. If this is not the case then the child does not receive what it is entitled to and this will have destructive consequences in the long run. All our future relationships are influenced by the patterns we learned when we grew up. Contextual thinking therefore sees our family relationships as the key place to bring forth change and healing in our lives. Contextual thinking sees family relationships as bonds that cannot be broken; even when you try very hard to cut the strings, still your life will be influenced by your constant conscious or unconscious striving and efforts to do so and the bitterness and anger that comes from this.

Contextual thinking looks at the destructive patterns in relationships with hope, because it says that no matter how unhealthy someone’s family history may have been (or still is), a person is able to break the patterns in their life that might have been influencing them and their family for many generations. A person is able to change the way they relate to people and create a different future for themselves, their relationships and their children. At the same time through the changes they go though they can be an influence of healing and change in the family context they come from. All of this might be a difficult and painful process, but in the long run it will be of great value.

This was an attempt to summarize a little bit of what contextual therapy is about, although there is much much more to say… In the future I might write more posts on my blog to process my thoughts in learning and studying about contextual therapy and to give an oversight of all the important factors that are involved in bringing about changes within relationships.

zaterdag 16 oktober 2010

Identity, son or slave?

With church we are going through the book of Galatians. Last Sunday the chapter we went through was about being redeemed by Jesus to become God’s son (or daughter) instead of being a slave. We came to the conclusion that being God’s son is not so much about doing, but more about being.
Being has to do with identity and identity is formed out of the way we view ourselves. Believing that God loves you and cares for you and that you are of value to him will change the way you view yourself. Of course our Christian theology tells us that we are God’s sons and daughters, but do we really believe this from the heart?
The followinghandout has helped me to see how much of an influence what we believe about God’s heart for us can have on the way we live our lives:

orphan or son handout

God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father”. So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4: 4b-7

Song: "by your side"


zondag 10 oktober 2010

living water


They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
Jeremiah 2:13b

I wonder if this applies to the rich world today, including the church, including me…The picture comes to mind of a person sitting in a prison cell. He fills his cell with self manufactured toys he can play with. God wants to help him to go out of his cell into the world where he can enjoy real life and where he will be free, but he is so occupied with his toys that he doesn’t even notice and when he does notice he becomes afraid that God will take away his toys and will leave him alone with nothing in an empty prison cell.

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.
Isaiah 55:1-3b

… many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life
John 6: 66-68

Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
John 4: 13,14

You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Revelation 4: 17,18

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10b

woensdag 29 september 2010

cookies fight


We had a cookies fight in our community meeting yesterday. There were 7 people, but only 6 cookies. One of the members of our community took 4 of the 6 cookies (for privacy reasons I won’t mention her name, but she knows who she is…). Two of the guys used physical force to try to prevent her from eating the cookies, but then she put 3 cookies in her mouth all at the same time! When the cookies were still in her mouth she began to feel guilty and she took the cookies out again. She then washed them with tap water and offered them to us. Then of course it was already too late because washing half eaten cookies with water doesn’t make them more appealing.
This cookie fight isn’t a great testimony for our community since the central theme of our community is social justice, which is all about dividing resources equally and sharing with each other…

zaterdag 25 september 2010

When storms come

What to hold on to and what to let go of...

Sometimes it feels as if a storm comes raging through my life, trying to mess up those things that I’m holding on to. It is then that my faith is tested…what do I really believe and can it survive the storm? Why do I follow God? Do I expect him to keep me safe from hurt? Will I still love and follow him when trouble comes and nothing makes sense?

I notice this tendency in myself to try to hold on to things that give me a sense of safety and security, things that give me the feeling that I’m in control. At the same time I notice that God lets things come into my life that start to shake everything I rely on. This becomes my battle with God, because I want him to stop doing that. I try to get his attention and tell him to make it stop, but it doesn’t stop… It is in those times that I start doubting his love and care for me.

It is in the storm that the dreams I have, start to fall apart. They are like broken glass on the floor. I kneel down and try to gather all the broken pieces and put them together again, as if I can fix it, but I can’t. They are broken and I can not mend them. How could God let this happen, isn’t He supposed to be a father who loves me, why doesn’t He help me?

Then I hear his voice: “Do you trust me?”

Do I trust him? Do I trust in his love for me? Do I trust that He is God, that He holds everything in his hands and that He knows what He’s doing? Do I trust that He can use everything in my life to bring out good… that He can weave together the broken pieces of my life and make something beautiful out of it? Do I trust that He cares? When evil is raging violently, when the ground is shaking and when all seems dark… will I trust him?

Do I want to hold on to dreams that will eventually crumble and die in my hands or do I dare to give them to God?

Then, when I finally let go, I can feel this deadly power that was trying to get a grip on me loose it’s strength. I can breathe again and God’s peace fills my heart.

"God, I will trust you."

“It is in His loving kindness that gradually shakes everything we’ve depended on for love, acceptance and security in this life, so that He alone remains our Anchor. That the things that cannot be shaken remain.” Author unknown

Song: "Surrender"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_tI2NxpGWM&feature=fvsr

donderdag 16 september 2010

A love strong enough to hold me without cracking

I see the image of an angry child punching his/her father into the stomach with small fists. The father is standing still and he looks down at the child with compassion, while the child keeps punching him. When the child stops the father takes the child in his arms and holds him/her.

I wish there was such a person in my life. Someone whose love I knew I would not have to earn by always trying to behave the best way I can. Someone who would stay even when I would become angry and push him or her away. Someone who is reliable and trustworthy, someone to whom I can cry out all frustration, pain, discouragement and disappointment, without him or her becoming shocked and turning away. Someone whom I could scream at without this person screaming back. I wish I would know someone who would have such a strong love, a love which is strong enough to hold me without cracking. Someone who would be able to see through all of the anger and see the pain which is behind it, someone who would care. Someone who can help me believe that real love does exist and that it is not an empty balloon which will pop.

Something tells me that God loves in this way, but why is it so difficult to believe this. I want to cry out to God because I don’t understand why the evil in the world seems to be stronger then the goodness; why people who once wanted to follow God fall away; why it seems that no matter how much energy and prayer you put into something it can still come to nothing; why God sometimes leads through endless desserts; why following him can sometimes seem like a strive against all these forces which constantly try to pull you in the opposite direction; why it seems that after holding on for such a long time, letting go for just a little while can bring you back all the way to where you started, like the current pulling you back when you take time to breath; why we as humans are so stubborn and why it is so difficult for us to change; why do lies sometimes seem so real, while the truth stays hidden even after searching for it for a long time; why does following God sometimes feel like being lost in a labyrinth never knowing which turn to take, or what lies behind the next corner; why can God sometimes feel so close and then all of a sudden so far away; why, why, why….

God, will you still love me when I’m angry and don’t understand? Will your love stay with me even when I walk away? And when I’m tired of being angry and am letting go, will your arms be there to catch me or will you let me fall?

zaterdag 11 september 2010

Quiet voice


Lord, teach me to listen. The times are
noisy and my ears are weary with the
thousand raucous sounds which
continuously assault them.


Give me the spirit of the boy Samuel
when he said to Thee, "Speak,
for Thy servant heareth." Let me hear Thee
speaking in my heart. Let me get used to the
sound of Thy voice, that its tones may be
familiar when the sounds of earth die away
and the only sound will be the music of Thy
speaking. Amen.


- A. W. Tozer

woensdag 8 september 2010

Rejected


While studying the Bible I've been noticing more and more how many times Jesus is being rejected. In the beginning there were lots of people following Jesus because of his miracles and because they thought he would free them from the Romans, but the more they got to know him and the more they learned of his message the more people got disappointed. It seemed that towards the end of his life there were only a few people following him and most of them deserted him and fled when he was facing his darkest hour.


The more you love the deeper it hurts when you are rejected and the purer your intentions are the more challenging it is when you are wrongly accused. Keeping this in mind while reading through the verses below, makes it heartbreaking for me to see what Jesus went through when He offered up everything to come to the earth and give his life for us to be free.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. (John 5: 18,19)


For even his own brothers did not believe in him. (John 7:5)


Others replied, "No, he deceives the people." (John 7:12)


The Jews answered him, "Aren't we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?" (John 8:48)


At this, they picked up stones to stone him (John 8:59a)


"We know this man is a sinner." (John 9:24b)


Many of them said, "He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?" (John 10:19)


So from that day on they plotted to take his life. (John 11:53)


Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. (John 12:37)


Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. (Matthew 26:56b)


When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck him in the face. (John 18:22)


"If he were not a criminal," they replied, "we would not have handed him over to you." (John 18: 30)


Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, "We have found this man subverting our nation. (Luke 23:1,2)


But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release 'the king of the Jews'?" They shouted back, "No, not him! Give us Barabbas!" (John 18: 38-40)


Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck him in the face. (John 19:1-3)


As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, "Crucify! Crucify!" (John 19:6)


But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" (John 19:14)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me… John 5:43


From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. John 6: 66-67


Why are you trying to kill me? (John 7:19b)


why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath? (John 7:23b)


As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. (John 8:40)


If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? (John 8:46b)


"I am not possessed by a demon," said Jesus (John 8:49)


"I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?" (John 10: 32)


After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, "I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me." (John 13:21)


…they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.' (John 15:24b,25)


Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter…. (Matthew 26:38-40a,42a,43a)


…but Jesus asked him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?" (Luke 22:48)


"If I said something wrong," Jesus replied, "testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?" (John 18:23)


Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34a)

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He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53: 3)


All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. (Psalm 22:7)


He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. (John 1: 10,11)

vrijdag 3 september 2010

When you feel you really messed up...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TpV8_KN9lE&feature=related

Song: "Forgive me"

I love this song. It is simple but beautiful.
(ps: some of the lyrics in this video are not correct, so I put the right lyrics on the bottom of this post)

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. (Psalm 51:1,2)

The sacrifices of God are [c] a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)

… the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. (Isaiah 30:18)

"I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. (Isaiah 43:25)

"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you." (Isaiah 44:22)

Songlyrics "Forgive me"

For all the times I’ve failed You, Lord
Forgive me
For all the ways I’ve fallen short
Lord, forgive me now
God, I’m so in need of grace
I fall upon my face
Forgive me
You see the tears fall down my face
Forgive me
Take my fear, Lord, take my shame
Lord, forgive me now
Purify me, make me new
Like only You can do
Forgive me now
Lord, we come to honor You
We are forgiven
We bring our love and thanks to You
We are forgiven now
God we praise You for Your grace
Before You we are raised
Forgiven
God we praise You for Your grace
Before You we are raised
Forgiven
Forgiven



zaterdag 28 augustus 2010

From Amsterdam with love

Isn't it supposed to be summer in August?

Biking through the city on a rainy day can be depressing, but if you start looking around it can also become very amusing. You see people passing by soaking wet, tanden op elkaar en blik op oneindig, guys wearing their work clothes and raincoats with shorts (I even saw a businessman wearing slippers under his fancy clothes), people struggling to keep their umbrella from being blown away, some very unhappy faces, but also some smiles.


This week my rain pants let me down. It was a very heavy day of rain and I already noticed that the water was coming through my rain  pants 5 minutes after I started biking, but then I still had 35 more minutes to go. While biking I was trying to decide if I would leave my bike somewhere and take a tram, or if I would just continue. I choose the last and at the time a reached my work my pants, shoes and socks were completely wet. I was lucky I could borrow socks from one of the lady’s at the shelter were I work, pantoffels/slippers from my boss, and a linen paints from a friend who lives close to my work. I looked a little funny at my work though because the pantoffels were deep red with white spots, but I was happy I was dry again.




zondag 22 augustus 2010

Adam, where are you?

A while ago I was at my parents place and I had a conversation with my mother about “quiet time”. We talked about how quiet time is not just a discipline you need to do in order to learn and grow, but that it is enjoying spending time with somebody you love. The God who made the universe loves us and wants to spend time with us. If we don’t spend time with him He will miss us.


There are many things that try to get our attention and sometimes we are not even aware of God’s presence. I noticed that God doesn’t push for our attention; He is just a quiet voice which we can ignore if we want too. We can stand with our back towards him, not even noticing him. It must make him sad that we sometimes struggle even to have just a little bit of time to speak with him or listen to him. After talking about this my mother showed me a song on you tube which she had recently seen. The song is called “Adam, where are you”. It is an old simple song with drawings in the background, but still it really spoke to me, especially the emotion in this one sentence “Adam where are you” stood out to me. All the next day I kept hearing this line in my head: “Adam, where are you”, “Adam, where are you”.

The next evening before I went to bed I opened a book that was lying next to my bed, and this is how the chapter I opened started: “After Adam and Eve had sinned, they heard God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. They hid from Him because of their fear and shame. Try to sense the heart of a loving Father when He asked that wonderful love question, “Where are you?” (Gen 3:9). God knew that something had happened to the love relationship. When your relationship is as it ought to be, you will always be in fellowship with the Father. You will be there in His presence expecting and anticipating the relationship of love. When Adam and Eve were not there, something had gone wrong….I hear many persons say, “I really struggle trying to have that time alone with God. “If that is a problem you face, let me suggest something to you. Make the priority in your life to come to love Him with all your heart. That will solve most of your problem with your quiet time. Your quiet time is because you know Him and, therefore, love Him, not only in order to learn about Him…Suppose you were dating a person you loved and intended to marry. What is the primary reason you date (spend time with) that person? Is it because you want to find out about his likes and dislikes or family background? Is it because you want to find out about her knowledge and education? Or is it because you love him and enjoy being with him? (Experiencing God, Henry T Blackaby)

So, maybe God is trying to tell me something...

Song “Adam where are you”:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZM1mmcis-s

woensdag 18 augustus 2010

Walking on water or staying in the boat?

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
Matthew 14:30,31

When God invites you to join Him in His work, He presents a God-sized assignment for you to accomplish. You will realize that you cannot accomplish it on your own. If God doesn’t help you, you will fail. This is the crisis point where many decide not to follow what they sense God is leading them to do … The crisis of belief is a turning point or a fork in the road that demands that you make a decision. You must decide what you believe about God. How you respond when you reach this turning point will determine whether you go on to be involved with God in something God-sized that only He can do or whether you will continue to go your own way … This not a one time experience. It is a daily experience. How you live your life is a testimony of what you believe about God. (Henry T. Blackaby, Experiencing God)

"There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction."
-John F. Kennedy-


zondag 15 augustus 2010

Strange fears

I have these strange fears, one fear for example is a fear of dogs. This fear has been put to a test recently, because the closest place where I can go running in the morning is also the place where people can take their dogs for a walk without a line. So while I’m running I keep having to pass these dogs and every time I see a dog I get this feeling that maybe this dog will come run towards me and bite me. Today I passed two people who had three dogs walking with them and one of these dogs was very big. I almost couldn’t pass them because together they took all the space in the path. I looked at the big dog and then I saw he had a little toy with him. The toy he was carrying along was a small fat baby pig. This funny sight made me realize that maybe this dog didn’t have any intention of attacking me. Along the way I met another dog. From a distance I could hear him barking very loud, but when I came closer I saw it was just a small dog together with an old man who smiled very friendly at me. Maybe again I was wrong in being afraid. The next dog I met was very angry, because his boss had just thrown away a piece of old bread that he had been playing with. He barked loudly, jumped around angry and then came running my direction... I was afraid that maybe this dog would take out his anger on me, but luckily he just ran past me and he didn’t even look at me…Reflecting on this, I come to the conclusion that maybe these dogs aren’t really that interested in me and that probably they have no intention of biting me, and that maybe I shouldn’t take my fear all that seriously, but still my morning running remains a challenge…:-)

More on the topic of fear soon…

vrijdag 13 augustus 2010

Lost sheep

Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.
Luke 15:3-6a

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
John 10:11

zondag 8 augustus 2010

Alexandro

This little boy has stolen my heart. His name is Alexandro and we visited him and his mother during an outreach with Gypsy Children in Greece. His mother lives next to the small church belonging to the Gypsy community and he is one of her three children. I learned that he is often sick, but that his parents have no money to give him antibiotics. The days before I met him, he had just been very sick, but he was now recovering. His father is an alcoholic and this creates different problems. We took the time to pray for them in their little house. Our group leader told me that his mother mostly leaves him tied up in his stroller, because having around three children is too much for her. Alex therefore hardly gets the chance to just crawl around and play a little.
 What struck me in this little child was the joy I could see in his eyes. When I would bend over to look at him, talk to him or to touch him, he would become very happy. He would even throw around his arms in the air moving them back in forward in happiness when we would give him some attention. Despite his circumstances there was still so much trust and happiness in this child. It makes me sad to know what his future will be, knowing that they have no money for his medical care and knowing that his father is an alcoholic. I hope Alex’s joyful spirit will not be broken by his circumstances. I’m happy his house is next to the church and I hope there will be people around to love him and to tell him about God’s love for him. I pray that God will have a hold on his young life and that He will protect him and take care of him.


donderdag 5 augustus 2010

Building on truth? (3)

Like the blind we grope along the wall, feeling our way like men without eyes. (Isaiah 59:19)


“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” “Go” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. (Mark 10: 52)

Building on truth? (2)

If you shoot a ball at a slightly different angle over time this will change it’s course in a tremendous way.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23,24)


Building on truth? (1)

What we believe about ourselves, others, the world and God is the fundament on which we build our life story.


Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell down with a great crash. (Matthew 7:24-27)

Grumpy the baby sparrow

While I was looking for a picture of a sparrow, I came across this picture and it was named: "Grumpy the baby sparrow"Although this baby sparrow might be a little grumpy I still think it is very cute :-)

Sparrow

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink: or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:25-27)

"Worry is like a rocking chair... it gives you something to do bu it doesn't get you anywhere."
Dororty Galyean

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength."
Corrie ten Boom

"You'll break the worry habit the day you decide you can meet and master the worst that can happen to you"
Arnold Glasgow

"When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened"
Wiston Churchill

"It ain't no use putting up your umbrella till it rains"
Alice Cladwell Rice

Indeed the very hairs of your head ar all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Luke 12:7

(Just a small anecdote; while writing this last verse just now I heard the noice of a bird on my balcony. Normally the only birds visiting my balcony are pigeons and they poop all over my balcony :-(, but this bird didn't sound like a pigeon, so I decided to take a look... and it was... a sparrow...)

woensdag 4 augustus 2010

Calm water

In the conversation in our homegroup we were also talking about the effect of all the changes in electronics on our society. We are constantly being bombarded with information, through TV, commercials, radio, internet, movies, our I-pods, our mobile phones, etc. They all fight for our attention and this can create a constant stress that is hard to escape. But what happens when we shut out all these distractions, when it becomes quiet…. What is on the other side? Maybe for many people there is emptiness, boredom, loneliness, questions, pain…. Maybe that’s why we are okay with all the distractions and even seek them out, although they create a constant feeling of restlessness. But this keeps us from hearing the voice of our soul telling us that something is wrong, that we are empty and that we are broken. Maybe we need to hear this voice because it drives us to search for an answer, to search for something that can truly fill us, something that can still the waters and give us a peace that transcends all understanding. Maybe when we find this we won’t be afraid of the silence anymore, maybe then our souls are truly at rest in the place where they belong.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gently and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Electronics of the future

Yesterday in our homegroup we were talking about the changes in technical devices and electronics through the time. We realized that 20 years ago there was no internet, that before this there were no computers and that there was even a time without television. It seems as if there is an exponential change and we were philosophising about what the future would look like. Maybe we will have pocketsize computers which we can control with our voice and the movement of our eyes. When we open them, a three dimensional hologram will appear that we can walk and move into. Maybe we can use this to communicate with people that are on the other side of the world, having meetings in electronic rooms projected in 3D by our computers. Maybe all of this sounds a little silly, but I do wonder what our world will look like in the future. We came to the conclusion that the best solution to escape this change would be to join the Amish and especially Neil was very exited about this idea…:-)

maandag 2 augustus 2010

reflection as in a mirror

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13: 12)

The heavens declare the glory of God

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Psalm 19: 1-4

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1: 20

reason for blogging

When I look around me I see so much beauty. It is as if everything we see in nature is a reflection of who God is; of his beauty, his glory, his intelligence, his creativity, his love, his majesty. It also seems as if everything we see is a reflection of his Truth, his Word, as if he is speaking to us through his creation…

The Bible is full of images and parables. In this blog I would like to use images to get a deeper understanding of who God is and what he is saying through his creation. I hope that through this my eyes can be opened to the unseen and that it will help me to know and love God more.

The following link shows the trailer of the movie earth, with some beautiful images.
Earth trailer