Connected to the Family - 24 April 2018

Louise Gevers

“You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”Colossians 3:12

The concept of family and marriage started with God and it’s from Him that every family gets its name. (Ephesians 3:15) Even the marriage covenant between a man and his wife is a copy of the relationship between Christ and the Church and is profoundly symbolic of this union. As the Bride, the Church puts on quality clothes that are beautiful and appropriate for her marriage to Christ – clothes of concern, thoughtfulness, meekness, tenderness and serenity – intentionally, as would the bride adorning herself on her wedding day. We think that our good qualities are within us, so we don’t consider putting them on as we do clothes, but so are the sinful traits that we constantly battle against. We don’t want those to emerge first and win the conflict, so we need to be intentional.

Jesus is “the head of his body, the church…” and “the source of the body’s life.” (Colossians 1:18) As members of His body, God’s family couldn’t be more alive! Jesus died for us andnothing can separate us from His love. (Romans 8:35-39) C.S. Lewis said, “What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.” How much more does this apply to those who are drawn together through Jesus who is the Truth, who unites His followers as brothers and sisters in God’s family.

In any Christian gathering in the world we are of one heart and mind with the other Believers there, connected to God and to one another by His Spirit. This is a foretaste of heaven where one day we will be united with so many others “that no one (can) count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb”, Revelation 7:9 foreigners on earth, yet one in heaven. To be in God’s family is awe-inspiring: it’s a privilege and out of this world!

When troubles arise, Christ is the firm foundation and God’s family will hold together in the Truth. Without that connection to Jesus and to each other, relations collapse; but united with Him against the enemy gives strength in weakness, joy through pain and impact to the Gospel message, making possible the impossible.

Are we connected, Family?

Prayer: Dearest Father, as I look at these qualities of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, I know that, all too often, they’re not the clothes that I wear even when I intend to. I confess that I really need You to help me because I want to succeed in doing what Jesus has called me to do. Please help me, in Your mercy, in Jesus’ Name. Amen

Connected through Thankfulness - 23 April 2018

Louise Gevers

“Since you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, live in union with him. Keep your roots deep in him, build your lives on him, and become stronger in your faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7

Thankfulness is something I’ve embraced increasingly during the long months of living with the anomalous drought conditions in the Western Cape. Beautiful blue skies and picture-perfect surroundings exist along with exotic flowers which flourish splendidly in the dry conditions, and I’m so grateful, in spite of the crunchy, brown grass and withering gardens; because I’ve realised that God blesses us in all circumstances.

Looking for ways to save and eke out water is a constant challenge, but it’s elating to keep a few plants alive with what would have normally run down the drain; and it’s awe-inspiring to see the plants that survive because their roots go deep. It’s even more thrilling when the rain comes and we know the Lord has answered our prayers! Isn’t this a parable for we who have Christ as our source?

Every raindrop, dewfall, brief shower or thunderstorm - each one out of season - has embodied for me God’s grace and mercy and has brought greater joy than torrents of rain in season ever have. In fact, how often in times of plenty have we complained, “Enough!”? Being in need evokes thankfulness because we become conscious of our dependence on Christ and grow deeper in Him; when we take things for granted it hinders our gratitude, which then robs us of joy. A thankful heart helps us to be joyful, regardless of our circumstances, because we’re growing in faith.

Paul told the Thessalonians to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) because it’s easy in good times, but giving thanks in the dark times shows that we trust Christ completely to bring us through.  Finding it hard to give thanks may indicate that we’re drought-stricken – so overloaded with the effects of the world that we have lost our focus on Christ.

Everyone faces problems, but when we feel overwhelmed, we should remember that Jesus taught His disciples “… that they should always pray and never become discouraged.” Luke 18:1 GNT We can go to our Rock and name our blessings out loud; then commit every situation to Him in faith, with a thankful heart.

Prayer: LORD, You hold everything in the palm of Your hand. At the right time You bring the dark, heavy clouds of restorative rain to drench our dry land and satisfy our longing hearts. May our roots grow deeper in Jesus and our faith become stronger as we build our lives on Him. And may we overflow with gratitude in all circumstances. Amen

 

Verbind aan die familie - 24 April 2018

Louise Gevers

Julle is die uitverkore volk van God wat Hy baie lief het. Daarom moet julle meelewend, goedgesind, nederig, sagmoedig en verdraagsaam wees.  Kolossense 3:12

Die konsep van 'n gesin en die huwelik het met God begin en dit is aan Hom wat elke familie sy bestaan te dankie het. (Efesiërs 3:15). Selfs die huweliksbelofte tussen 'n man en vrou is 'n in navolging van die verhouding tussen Christus en die Kerk en is deur en deur simbolies van hierdie verbintenis. Soos die bruid, die Kerk, pragtige klere aantrek wat geskik is vir haar troue met Christus – klere van meelewendheid, goedgesindheid, nederigheid, sagmoedigheid en verdraagsaamheid – so moet die bruid haar ook klee vir haar troudag. Ons dink dat ons goeie kwaliteite deel van ons innerlike is, so ons oorweeg dit nie altyd om dit aan te trek soos wat ons met klere doen nie. Die sondige natuur waarteen ons voortdurend stry is ook deel van ons innerlike en ons wil nie hê dat dit eerste te voorskyn moet kom en die innerlike stryd wen nie. Daarom moet ons ons goeie kwaliteite dolebewus "aantrek".

Jesus is "die hoof van die liggaam, van die kerk. Hy is die oorsprong daarvan, …" (Kolossense 1:18) As lede van sy liggaam, is die familie van God volkome lewend! Jesus het vir ons gesterf en niks kan ons van sy liefde skei nie. (Romeine 8:35-39) Die Engelse skrywer, CS Lewis het gesê: “What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.” Hoeveel te meer is dit nie waar van diegene wat saamgetrek word deur Jesus Christus, die Waarheid, die Een wat sy volgelinge as broers en susters in God se familie verenig nie.

In enige Christelike byeenkoms waar ook al in die wêreld is ons met hart, siel en gees een met ander gelowiges, verbind deur die Heilige Gees met God en met mekaar. Dit is 'n voorsmakie van die hemel waar ons eendag verenig sal wees "met 'n groot menigte … wat niemand [kan] tel nie van elke nasie, stam, volk en taal … voor die troon en voor die Lam" (Openbaring 7:9) – vreemdelinge op aarde, maar tog verenig in die hemel. Om deel van God se familie te wees is wonderlik, dit is 'n hemelse voorreg!

Wanneer probleme kom, is Christus die vaste fondament en God se familie sal in die Waarheid verenig bly. Sonder die verbintenis met Jesus en met mekaar, sal verhoudinge egter tot niet gaan, maar as ons in Hom teen die vyand verenig is, ontvang ons krag in ons swakheid, vreugde deur pyn en die impak van die evangelieboodskap maak die onmoontlike moontlik.

Familie, is ons met Jesus en met mekaar verbind?

Gebed: Liewe Vader, kyk ek na hierdie eienskappe van meelewendheid, goedgesindheid, nederigheid, sagmoedigheid en verdraagsaamheid besef ek dat ek dikwels nie hierdie klere dra nie, al wil ek ook. Ek bely dat ek U werklik nodig het om my te help want ek wil so graag slaag in dit waarvoor Jesus my geroep het. Help my asseblief deur u genade. In Jesus se Naam.  Amen

Verbind deur dankbaarheid - 23 April 2018

Louise Gevers

Aangesien julle dan Christus Jesus as Here aangeneem het, moet julle in verbondenheid met Hom lewe, in Hom gewortel en op Hom gebou, vas in die geloof soos julle geleer is, en met dankbaarheid vervul.  Kolossense 2:6-7

Dankbaarheid is iets wat ek gedurende die lang maande van die abnormale droogtetoestand in die Wes –Kaap toenemend omhels. Pragtige blou lug en 'n prentjie-mooi omgewing met eksotiese blomme wat wonderlik in die droeë toestande floreer en ten spyte van droeë, bruin gras en verlepte tuine, is ek nogtans dankbaar want ek het besef dat God ons in alle omstandighede seën.

Op soek na maniere om water aan te vul is 'n voortdurende uitdaging, maar dit is opwindend om 'n paar plantjies aan die lewe te hou met water wat gewoonlik by die drein af sou vloei; en dit is wonderlik en inspirerend om te sien hoe plante oorleef want hulle wortels gaan diep af in die aarde. Dit is egter nog meer opwindend wanneer die reën val en ons weet dat die Here ons gebede beantwoord het! Is dit nie 'n gelykenis vir ons wat Christus as die bron het nie?

Elke reën- of doudruppel, stortreën of donderstorm – alles buite seisoen – was vir my 'n bewys van God se genade en het meer vreugde gebring as wat strome van reën binne seisoen nog ooit by my laat opkom het. Trouens in tye van oorvloed, hoe dikwels kla ons nie dat dit nou genoeg is nie? In tye van nood neem ons dankbaarheid toe want ons raak bewus daarvan dat ons afhanklik is van Christus en ons groei nader aan Hom. Wanneer ons dinge as vanselfsprekend aanvaar verhinder dit dat ons dankbaar is en beroof dit ons van ons vreugde. 'n Dankbare hart maak ons ten spyte van omstandighede bly, want ons groei in ons geloof.

Paulus sê vir die Tessalonisense "wees in alle omstandighede dankbaar" (1 Tessaslonisense 5:18) want dit is maklik om in goeie tye dankbaar te wees, maar in moeilike tye bewys dankbaarheid dat ons Christus volkome vertrou om ons deur te dra. Vind jy dit moeilik om dankbaar te wees, beteken dit miskien dat jy 'n droogte beleef – so oorlaai is met die dinge van die wêreld dat jou fokus nie meer Christus is nie.

Elkeen ondervind probleme, maar wanneer ons oorweldig voel moet ons onthou wat Jesus sy dissipels geleer het " … dat 'n mens altyd moet aanhou bid sonder om moedeloos te word." (Lukas 18:1) Ons kan ons Rots nader, ons seëninge opnoem en elke situasie met 'n dankbare hart in die geloof aan Hom toevertrou.

Gebed: Here, U hou alles in die palm van u hand. Op die regte tyd laat U die donker wolke saampak wat die reën bring om die droeë aarde te deurweek en ons verlangende harte te bevredig. Gee dat ons dieper in Jesus gewortel sal word, ons geloof sterker sal word en ons lewens op Hom gebou sal wees. Gee dat ons in alle omstandighede dankbaar sal wees. Amen

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