Tag Archives: emotions

A journey through the Psalms – Psalm 22:11-14; 16; 21

Post 2: Psalm 22:11-14; 16; 21 

A journey through the Psalms

 I pray for hope restored, strength and a full recovery for all my friends who are battling cancer (the extract from the Psalm and the links to the songs are specially for you)

“ … So don’t’ leave me now, stay close to me!
For trouble is all around me
And there’s no one else to help me.
I’m surrounded by many violent foes;
Mighty forces of evil are swirling around me
That want to break me to bits and destroy me…

They’re like ravenous, roaring lions tearing their prey.
Now, I’m completely exhausted, I’m spent.
Every joint of my body has been pulled apart.
My courage has vanished and
My inward parts have melted away.
I’m so thirsty and parched – dry as a bone.

… Save me from all the power of the enemy;
From this roaring lion raging against me
And the power of this dark horde …”

Psalm 22:11-14; 16; 21 Passion translation

The first two songs express feelings, emotions, worries and hope. The last song is about hope and trust in God and healing.

Tim Timmons – Cast My Cares: Song Sessions

Tim Timmons Great Reward: Song Sessions

Healer – Bethel Worship

Chapter 11: Seasons of our lives

Chapter 11: Seasons of our lives

Every year we are blessed with spring, summer, autumn and winter. I suspect we all have our favorite season and are filled with expectation when we notice the early signs of seasonal changes. I do! Initially when I started to write this, I found myself on a rather comfortable garden bench during spring time, amazed at how quickly the new leaves had formed on trees surrounding our home. Summer was a few steps ahead and I was looking forward the inviting smell of a barbeque, or as we say in South Africa the ‘braai’ and long warm summer days.

In our house you can feel the expectancy when summer is approaching. Our girls cannot wait for sun filled days and glorious blue skies. Lisa and Emma’s idea of a perfect day is to spend as much time possible in a swimming pool. A good friend of ours who lives just across the border in a small rural town surrounded by the French Alps and can testify to this as we make use of our southern hemisphere openness to invite ourselves often to his home in Peillonnex to test out their pool!

Autumn sometimes creeps up like a thief in the night, but then serves up a glorious painted canvas with bright rich colors of red, orange and yellow. Great for photography – I still need some work on my nature photography skills which do not come naturally as I am drawn to photography genres involving people, emotions or abstracts creations. Autumn prepares us for the challenging cold and foggy winter months which are ahead. Just as for spring, in a house filed with girls, autumn seems to create its fair share of confusion judged by the apparent difficulty in making choices for them in what to wear. Like many men before me, I have given up in trying to fully understand this dilemma and sometimes faint sympathy when I hear a rather familiar “… but I have nothing to wear …” phrase during these seasons. Glad to be a guy! With winter the choices seem somewhat easier, as long as it is warm and in shades of black or grey. In these cold months I give a special thanks to God for blue sky days in snow covered mountains and fun or sometimes in my case survival on the ski slopes when trying to keep up with the kids).

As the years pass, I realize that the seasons in our lives are not always that easy to discern. Changes are not as certain or predictable as those of the seasons we encounter in nature. As we all have experienced in some form, sometimes change is forced upon us, at times we try really hard to manufacture  it ourselves (many times without success). Change also seem to materialize slowly over time and we only realise what has place when we are able to look back over a period of many years. As the years roll on (my 30 year high school reunion is coming up in September this year and sometimes it feels like yesterday when I was still in school, especially when I think back of all the things we did way back then). I have noticed some distinct seasons in my life. Certainly they did not follow the predictable order of what God serves up though nature so graciously year after year, but were part of a process where I was able to grow with Him and be equipped in ways I did not think possible to better deal with the next season He has in store for my life.

 In Ecclesiastes 3 1-8 , A Time for Everything, Salomon writes that:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2     a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,  a time to kill and a time to heal,  a time to tear down and a time to build,  a time to weep and a time to laugh,  a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,  a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace – (New International Version (NIV)).

I love this passage. Every time I read this passage, there is something different which grabs me as I think about own experiences or what is happening with loved ones and friends around me. It may surprise you, but I have never read the book of Ecclesiastes until I did so for the first time recently. What a pleasant surprise! From my recollections of years ago and from what I learned from recent sermons I have listened to on Solomon’s live, I was familiar with many of the great things he had achieved during his life. I was rather less familiar with how he dealt with worldly matters and temptations. So it was interesting to hear his words on and the conclusion he draws.

 In Ecclesiastes 9: 11-12 – A Common destiny for us all, Salomon writes that: I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise  or wealth to the brilliant  or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.  Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times  that fall unexpectedly upon them – (New International Version (NIV)).

In the end Salomon comes concludes that faith in God is the only way to find personal meaning.  He decides to accept the fact that life is brief and ultimately worthless without God. I agree.

Ben de Bruyn – Copyright © 2014

Chapter 10: Getting ahead of myself

My mind races ahead. It all too often does. I get ahead of myself. At times, I don’t notice this as I am preoccupied with thoughts of work, personal matters and things I would like to get done. Subconsciously, multiple scenarios play themselves out (as if watching multiple televisions screens at the same time), diverting my full attention from loved ones, stealing precious time and sapping energy.

I tend to fall into this trap when I drift along in my personal relationship with Jesus and then tend to operate mostly on my own strength. This can be a subtle process where the shift in our relationship takes place over a matter of weeks or months – less of Him and more of me! I smile, not because of sudden joyful feelings (reminder to self – laugh more!) but because I see the irony as I write this. I have fallen into this trap over the past few months where I have spent many a late night pushing hard to further develop my photography interests (a hobby which I really enjoy) and spending time attending to family business matters. Add a fantastic South African summer holiday break over Christmas and New Year to the mix, considerable time spent with a recent corporate restructuring at work, together with ongoing investigations into potential Russia based private equity transactions, the audit process relating to a listed investment company and the result has been much less of Him.

This serves as a remember to first seek the Kingdom of God, as Matthew writes in Matthew 6: 31-34 “…  So do not consume yourselves with questions: What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? Outsiders make themselves frantic over such questions; they don’t realize that your heavenly Father knows exactly what you need.  Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too.  So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today…”

John also makes it clear that we have to abide in Christ and then may ask for whatever we wish and it will be given to us “… I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15: 5-8 (New International Version).

This made me think of God’s promises and dreams He has for us. Bill Johnston in a sermon Treasure and Ponder talked about God’s promises. He emphasized the importance of how we should not only treasure, but then ponder on these promises. I realize that I have done little treasuring and almost no pondering on His promises for me of late as my mind was filled and preoccupied with the things I have mentioned above. I realise that there is a danger if we ponder on promises without first staying in close relationship with Him,  as we may then be tempted to manufacture the fulfillment of a promise in our own strenght – it is about the relationship in the first instance and then about the promise.

As we know, some promises come about quickly and others can take much longer, even decades to be fulfilled. For Bill Johnston it is difficult to imagine a life without being possessed by these promises in your heart so that they become part of his prayer life, his thought life and his song and that God’s promises run all though him and are immensely treasured (to hold close) – they are guarded in his heart because he knows they keep him sane and connected to his future (now there is some food for thought). He does not want to wonder off the course God has laid out for him and said “… Something happens when you mull over something that God has said. I don’t understand it, I just know it does something to me, it makes me different. It makes me different when I chew on what God has said. Even though I cannot see how it is going to come about, even if I cannot see a time line when it is going to come about …”

He emphasized that we have to hold God’s promises close until they impact us from the inside out. When I consider what he is saying this a profound statement as it implies that we have to be aware of the promises first (i.e. make the time to listen and hear what God has in mind for you – I guess God passes on his promises to each of us in a different way) and to really take time to ponder about it. In the sermon he mentioned that one of the bigger difficulties in life for us is when we have a promise from God we have found and where we then try to hold God hostage to the promise at a time when the promise has not yet become us – it has just become knowledge. What I took from this sermon is to take the things God has said about my life and ponder about and then expect that something will happen and that in this process it will also change who I am on the inside.

When I think about God’s promises, I am reminded that they could be received through dreams. If you have time, try to listen to a new song of Counting Crowns, Dream for You. It is about God’s dreams for you.

“… Hey, David, I hear you’ve been dreaming
About being a big time shepherd someday
You’re gonna prove your brothers wrong
You’re gonna sing your shepherd song
To the cattle on a thousand hills
But I’ve been thinking

I’m having trouble with a giant down the road
You’re the one who’s going to face him toe to toe
Wipe that grin right off his face
And whip this army into shape
I’m going to turn the nation back to Me
And David, you’re right about one thing
Your little shepherd songs are going to make the whole world sing
And I’m gonna make you king

Then next verse excites me as it shows where the emphasis should be –on His dreams for me, not those thoughts or matters I concern myself with from time to time.

So come on, let Me dream, let Me dream for you
I am strong when you’re weak and I’ll carry you
So let go of your plan, be caught by My hand
I’ll show you what I can do
When I dream for you
I have a dream for you …

I’m stronger than you think I am
I’ll take you farther than you think you can
You sing and call me Great I Am
So take your stand

My child, if you only knew
All the plans that I have for you
Just trust me, I will follow through
You can follow Me…”

Casting Crowns – Verse from song “Dream for you”; Album “Thrive”, 2014

Is it not exciting to know that He has dreams for all of us – we need to trust and God will follow through!

The holy Bible open against a brown earth colored background containing the salvation story via Jesus Christ

Ben de Bruyn – Copyright © 2014

Prosperity and true riches

Sometimes when my mind wonders off to days long gone bye I still feel as if it was yesterday when I said goodbye to my school years. That was in 1984, almost 30 years ago. Turning the clock forward, at 47 I guess I am now considered to be in my middle age years. I mention the age thing as the message in a recent e-mailed CS Lewis book extract I received centered on our middle aged years.

Some context – the extract below and the book it appears in (‘The Screwtape Letters’ of C.S. Lewis) sets out a series of lessons on the importance of taking a deliberate role in living out Christian faith. It portrays a typical human life, with all its temptations and failings, as seen from devils’ viewpoint. The book is about Screwtape, an experienced demon, who advises his nephew Wormwood how to effectively tempt humans. The book mentions a ‘patient’ which refers to a man who Wormwood continually tempts and tries to keep in spiritual darkness.

The same extract also appeared in a February 2005 edition of Reflections, a C.S. Lewis Institute monthly newsletter under the title ‘An Unrecognized Danger’

“ … The Enemy has guarded him from you through the first great wave of temptations. But, if only he can be kept alive, you have time itself for your ally. The long, dull, monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather. You see, it is so hard for these creatures to persevere. The routine of adversity, the gradual decay of youthful loves and youthful hopes, the quiet despair (hardly felt as pain) of ever overcoming the chronic temptations with which we have again and again defeated them, the drabness which we create in their lives and the inarticulate resentment with which we teach them to respond to it – all of this provides admirable opportunities of wearing out a soul by attrition. If, on the other hand, the middle years prove prosperous our position is even stronger. Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels he is ‘finding his place in it,’ while really it is finding its place in him. His increasing reputation, his widening circle of acquaintances, his sense of importance, the growing pressure of absorbing and agreeable work, build up in him a sense of really being at home in earth, which is just what we want. …” (C.S. Lewis. The Screwtape Letters, HarperSanFrancisco, ©1942, Harper edition 2001, pp. 154-155)

CS Lewis wrote about how fertile the middle-aged years could be for undermining faith as emotions and energy may be reduced and the race has been run for some time. Conversely, if these years are ones of leisure and ease, it could also be easy for humans to become complacent, wedded to the world, rather than focused on what God is trying to make of them. Lewis notes the danger of these years – we could become jaded and focus on the disappointments of the world, where we cease to strive toward our heavenly home and settle simply for striving to make heaven on earth.

As described in the newsletter it is not only about adversity but also about how we deal with success and prosperity where the message was that “…  Adversity is certainly a danger to our spiritual life, as anyone who has experienced it can attest. But, success and prosperity can be an even greater danger. Many of us have achieved a measure of success and prosperity and many others are on the way to achieving it. May God give us the grace to examine our lives, eyes to see the truth, and courage to take action…”. Wise words, I think.

When I read the extract again I was drawn to part of it and some comments attributed to the Screwtape character “… Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels he is ‘finding his place in it,’ while really it is finding its place in him. His increasing reputation, his widening circle of acquaintances, his sense of importance, the growing pressure of absorbing and agreeable work, build up in him a sense of really being at home in earth, which is just what we want …”

I guess there are a number of different perspectives here. My thoughts and feelings are off course partly influenced by the worldly experiences in the city where I live (Geneva, Switzerland). As with any city, it has its own charm, character and rhythms where Geneva, by most accounts, is a prosperous place and where there always seems to be some reminder of prosperity’s ebbs and flows. This applies to both the upside and downside scenarios (those of you who read this and who also live In Geneva will understand some of the practical realities of living in one of the world’s most expansive places).

Les Fêtes de Genève - Fireworks 2013 View of fireworks over lake Geneva

I can understand how prosperity could ‘knit me to the world’ and how the drive to find my place in it could easily result in the world finding its place in me. I guess this happened to me in South Africa where my primary focus was to built-up my home on earth.  On this point I have had some struggles in my mind as it is a personal belief that God wants for all his children to prosper in all respects. What I have realised over the past few years is that I can embrace it as long as I know that my focus is on God and His purposes.

In Mark 4, verses 13 – 20 (New International Version), Jesus explained the Parable of the Sower as follows:

 “Then Jesus said to them, “… The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown

In 1 Timothy 6:17, Paul, as part of the advice to Timothy, advised that “… Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” ( New International Version)

In Isaiah 55 verses 1-3 the Lord Invites His People to Come to Him  “ … Come, all of you who are thirsty. Come and drink the water I offer to you. You who do not have any money, come. Buy and eat the grain I give you. Come and buy wine and milk. You will not have to pay anything for it. Why spend money on what is not food? Why work for what does not satisfy you? Listen carefully to me. Then you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the richest food there is. Listen and come to me. Pay attention to me. Then you will live. I will make a covenant with you that will last forever. I will give you my faithful love ……” ( New International Version)

The verses in Timothy and Isaiah have the same message to those who have been blessed with wordly wealth and those who have less and the message is the same – seek and find God for with Him there is true riches, life and His faithful love.

Ben de Bruyn – Copyright © 2013

Lessons from our children: Chapter 1

As we have been blessed with hot summer days and blue skies, I walked down to Lac Leman (lake Geneva) recently to enjoy a sandwich and to shut out work thoughts and connect with God. One  thought that came to mind is “What can I learn from my children?” Over the past few weeks I have reflected on this and would now like to share some of the revelations which came to me.

Proverbs 22:6 tells us that “… Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost …” (The Message). This is an important truth and has a lot to do about the examples we set for our children. I found it intriguing to turn things around and observe what I can learn from my children. I have only been at it for a couple of weeks and it was great fun to really pay attention to our interactions (just realised that this is a good recipe that I can follow to connect with and learn more from Jesus and God!).  I experienced a great amount of satisfaction in receiving these little gems our kids hand out so easily and do so with absolute honestly.

Jesus’s teaching comes to mind. “…He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said, “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me – God who sent me…” -Mark 9:36-37, (The Message).

I wish to share a few examples of some precious moments with my daughters and the lessons they have taught me recently:

  • One morning last week I stepped into the lounge feeling the need to connect a bit my youngest daughter, Emma. She is definitely the early bird in our house (also as chirpy as a bird, especially compared to the rest of our family early in the morning). Emma was watching television and I joined her and nibbled away at breakfast biscuits and sipped away on a fresh cup of coffee. We were both content. Between bites I asked her how she had slept the previous night, knowing well that she struggled to fall asleep. Her reply was pointed.  “Well dad, why did you put me to bed early?  You know, I have a very busy body and it was not tired yet, so I was not able to fall asleep”.  I was surprised as her answer implied a deep awareness of her little inner world and was a very accurate and honest self-assessment. Although she does not know much about rhetorical questions I felt as if her answer was loaded with one (something like “… Hey dad, I am your daughter, you know me well and must know that I am a busy little bee, so what were you thinking when you put me to bed earlier last night …?”

I then started to think how she was able to answer so quickly. It was because she knew exactly what was going on in her inner world and she did not try to pretend about her state of own state of being. I then could not help to wonder why I sometimes can be so out of touch with what is going inside me (this sometimes happen, amazingly both on the joyful and the sad part of the spectrum). Perhaps far worse, there can be times when I do know but for some reason put up some façade.  Is this part of growing older (I specifically did not add wiser here) or do we lose our childlike innocence along the way?

Mark 10:13-16 comes to mind “…The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in. Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them…” (The Message). Here is some food for thought for me – in times when my curtain of pretense is seeking a way to close, let me be able to seek God with the simplicity of a child make and to be as self-aware  as Emma was when she answered my question.

Emma on a boat trip on lake Geneva
  •  Emma looked at me the other morning as I was about to leave for the office and asked “… Dad, I want you to buy me some flowers today …” I was a bit taken aback (also remembered that I have not spoiled the girls in our house with flowers for a while). What flowers would you like me to buy, I asked. “Roses, red roses…”.  And there it was – she knew exactly what she wanted and was not shy to ask me to get that for her (we are not talking computer games here, but flowers – she is turning nine soon). If you want to know, Emma, Lisa and Carine received flowers that evening!

This made me think about how I ask God for the things which are on my heart and also what I ask of Him? Do I ask in a round-about way or does it come straight up? Do I ask in real belief or with a hopeful but not fully convinced attitude?

“… For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened…”, Matthew 7:8; New International Version (NIV)

”… If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer….” Matthew 21:22; New International Version (NIV)

Angus Buchan in a message on 18 August 2013 wrote that “:.. The things which are impossible with men are possible with God (Luke 18:27). What does the Lord require from us? He requires simple, childlike faith. He requires us to ask Him, in the way a child asks a parent. He has promised to answer us and He will perform mighty miracles in our lives, if we will believe. There is nothing that is impossible for our God. The day you say it can’t be done, that’s the same day the Lord says, “I can do it.” Take those situations – those mountains you can’t get over and those valleys that are so deep that you can’t get through them – to God today …” (An excerpt from “A Farmer’s Year: Daily Truth to Change Your Life).

PS: It is Carine’s dad’s 70th birthday today. She has joined the rest of her family in South Africa and my prayer is that they have a wonderful time together and that the celebrations wil be blessed!

Ben de Bruyn – Copyright © 2013

Prayer for Daniel and Ellen at their wedding on Saturday

Prayer for Daniel and Ellen at their wedding on Saturday

Dear Lord

In John 15 you tell us that you are the Vine and we are the branches. You tell us that your Father is the farmer and cuts off every branch of us that doesn’t bear grapes and that every branch that is grape-bearing will be pruned back so it will bear even more.

Please hold Ellen and Daniel close to You in Your arms when they go through a pruning process, both on an individual level or together as a married couple.  We know that this process may be hard at times, but please give them the grace and strength in these times and for them to remember that when we are joined with You and You with them, it is an intimate and living relationship, and that the harvest is sure to be abundant.

My prayer for them is also to make themselves at home with You where they should remember your words that “… my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon,,,”

Thank you for reminding us through John in John 15 verses 11-15 that:  “… I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love.”  May Daniel and Ellen love each other this way until they meet up with you in Heaven.

Thank you for reminding us through John in John 16 verses  23-24 that:

  “… This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I’ve revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he’ll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks! …” May Daniel and Ellen ask of you in Your name and according to Your will so that You will provide to them a river of overflowing joy,

As You have prayed for your followers Lord:

 “… Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life. That you conferred as a gift through me so they can be one heart and mind as we are one heart and mind …” The same glory you gave me, I gave them, so they’ll be as unified and together as we are – I in them and you in me. Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, and give the godless world evidence that you’ve sent me and loved them in the same way you’ve loved me…

We pray this blessing in your name over Daniel and Ellen.

Amen

These words are not only for them but for all of us, whatever the circumstances or wherever you are.

 

Chapter 9: Distractions removed by the great love of God

On a spiritual level I was distracted over the past few weeks. Perhaps it was the wonderful summer weather we are enjoying in central Europe. Perhaps it was the fantastic holiday break in the South of Italy with Carine and the kids. Throughout this time I found it difficult to focus on my relationship with Jesus. Not even a brief medical scare managed to refocus me. I was not able to write!

Thankfully, over the past week or so the invisible veil which had entrapped me when I lost focus had lifted. It almost felt as if I was exposed to some stealth attack on a spiritual level, probably carefully orchestrated when my defenses were down when I could not properly focus on Jesus.

 “… Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need first hand evidence, not mere hearsay that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it …” 2 Corinthians 13:5-7 (Message)

 “… We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will…” Hebrews 2:1-4 (New International Version)

 “… Because you kept my Word in passionate patience, I’ll keep you safe in the time of testing that will be here soon, and all over the earth, every man, woman, and child put to the test. I’m on my way; I’ll be there soon. Keep a tight grip on what you have so no one distracts you and steals your crown. I’ll make each conqueror a pillar in the sanctuary of my God, a permanent position of honor. Then I’ll write names on you, the pillars: the Name of my God, the Name of God’s City-the new Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven- and my new Name…” Revelation 3:10-12 (Message)

These verses warn us to be careful an dto pay attention along the way and this reminded me of the importance to remain on my guard as it is so easy in today’s world to become distracted. I was  encouraged that I can  do something about it. Although I was slow to recognize my state of being at first, I have a loving and encouraging wife who pushed me along. Perhaps we should look-out for each other in this manner more often, especially within our church community. I also felt  much better having watched a documentary with Carine on the love of God.

In 1 Corinthians 13 the well-known passage on love now has more in-depth meaning for me:

 “… If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love…” (New International Version).

I was challenged by the documentary, especially where it showed how Heidi Baker was pouring out the love of Jesus on people in Mozambique and doing so in a practical and totally unconditional manner. I realized that I can think or talk about showering people with the love of Jesus but to walk the walk in practice takes enormous belief, courage  and strength. This will come from a close relationship with Jesus. I look forward to develop a deeper relationship with Him and to see how this will equip me to share His love with others around me over the coming years.

Ben de Bruyn – Copyright © 2013