WHEN WE BLOW IT!

New Year's Bang

“If you have failed and you are filled with despair, with no idea where to turn for inspiration and strength, remember then the compassion of Jesus.  In the power of His love He encourages you to persevere and to rebuild your life”.1

One of the most comforting verses God put into the Bible is the one that says “…though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand”.2 If we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Saviour and truly desire to serve the Lord and live our lives as His children the following verse will apply to us “If the Lord delights in a man’s way he makes his steps firm”3. It doesn’t matter how many times we may fail or feel we have blown it – if we are prepared to go before Him and confess our sins He says  “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”4

Jesus knows exactly what we are like.  In fact He made allowances for our bad behavior when He answered Peter’s question “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times”.5
He knew that we would need to come before Him time and time again to ask forgiveness for the same sin.

I often feel that nothing in my life changes. That I am still the same person I was before I accepted Christ as my Saviour.  That I will never gain victory over certain sins/wrong behavior/bad habits in my life.  I go before God and ask for forgiveness time and time again for exactly the same ‘sin’. It is then, in that moment of despair, that I cry out to God to give me the faith and the assurance that I am forgiven and I hear Him say “I am the One who began the good work within you and I will keep right on helping you grow in My grace until My task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns”.6

To back that up He put this in the Bible as well for whenever our hearts condemn us

 “ For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.”7

1.  Ozrovech, Solly.  More than Life Itself: A Daily Devotional
2.  Psalm 37:24, Holy Bible, NIV
3.  Psalm37:23, Holy Bible, NIV
4.  Isaiah 43:25, Holy Bible, NIV
5.  Matthew 18:21 & 22, Holy Bible, NIV
6.  Philippians 1:6 paraphrased, LAB
7.  1 John 3:20, Holy Bible, NIV

Photo courtesy of google

“OWNING UP” (EVEN IF IT MEANS PEOPLE THINK YOU HAVE ESCAPED FROM A MENTAL ASYLUM!)

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I am married to a wonderful man – a conservative man, but a truly lovely guy!

This is why the following story has had such an impact on my life because I know just how conservative he is!

I asked Steven if I could share his story and he graciously agreed. It occurred in September 2004 when he ‘owned up’ to knowing God.  At that time I asked him to write down what had transpired and this is what he wrote:

Whilst driving down Voortrekker Road in Maitland I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me as I passed the Teko Chemical Buildings.  This was originally the site for the Cape Organ builders.

I had often driven past these premises and thought what a good work site this would be for our company!

I felt God telling me to phone the number on the outside of the building.  I did not – I drove to Atlantis and carried on working.  On my return down Voortrekker Road and as I was nearing the Teko building I felt God once again saying to me, phone the number that is on the wall.  I picked up my cell phone and dialed the number and asked to speak to the manager.  I had no idea what I was going to say to him!

I was put through to a guy called Charles so I said to him, “I’m just phoning to inquire if the building is up for sale or maybe will be in the future”.  He told me that he believed the building had just been sold but would check to see whether the sale had gone through.

He took my name and number and said he would get back to me.

I drove back to our hired premises and told my office manageress that we had just missed the sale of excellent premises.  I had hardly finished telling her about it when my cell phone rang.  It was the other manager, Renier, phoning from Teko and he asked whether I would go in and see them the following day.

I arrived at the premises at nine the following morning.  I was introduced to the two partners.  I was in jeans and my steel toe cap boots and they were dressed in suits and ties!  They sat me across the table from them and Charles asked me how I had known that the building was for sale as nothing had been advertised.  I hesitated not knowing how I was going to tell them that I had heard a voice in my head the day before telling me to phone and inquire.  I heard the same voice again prompting me to tell them the truth, so I took a deep breath and told them that as I was driving past the building a voice in my head told me to phone the company number.  I proceeded to tell them that I was a believing Christian and I believed it had been God speaking to me.

They both looked at each other and started to laugh, and I thought “that’s it!  They think I am crazy. They are going to throw me out of here!” They then proceeded to tell me that they were also believing Christians and when I had phoned the day before they had been praying to God about their situation as the person who had agreed to buy the building, via a private sale, had just pulled out of the deal because he had not been able to obtain the finances.

I advised them that I had no money either and would have to contact the bank but that I really wanted the building!  The bank granted me a building loan and when I phoned to tell them they said that the man who had pulled out of the deal had walked into their offices half an hour after  I had left them, cash in hand, to buy the building.  He had managed to raise the finances after all.  They informed him that the building had already been sold.

If Steve had not said yes to God by phoning that number and by acknowledging, before strangers, that he had heard a voice in his head that he believed was God’s telling him to phone, even at the risk of sounding like he had just escaped from a mental asylum, he would not be in those premises today.

Steve could have just told them that he had phoned on the off chance it was for sale but would also have had to add that he had no money and no security to offer for a loan.

So when the gentleman walked into their offices, cash in hand, they would have sold it to him and Steve would have missed out on an incredible blessing from God.

Over the years he has told this story to encourage others to listen to and acknowledge God’s voice and it has been an incredible encouragement and witness to us of God’s care and interest in our lives.

If he had not said “yes” to God he would have no story to share and would also have missed out on the amazing business premises he now has.

In Isaiah God says to each one of us who believe in Him “I have chosen you and have not rejected you.  So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be discouraged for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you,  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:9 & 10)

And then He goes on to say “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness, I will take hold of your hand.  I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open the eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”

All we as believers have to do is to ‘own up’ to knowing Him.

A TRIBUTE TO MY DAD ON HIS 85TH BIRTHDAY!!

My dad, Edward Raymond Lutge, known as Ray from birth, turned 85 on the 23rd August 2014!

In the words of Colin Garvie:  “Ray has had a colourful ministry as a missionary of the SUM in Nigeria and now a Supernumerary Minister of the MCSA.”

He is a truly remarkable man.
He accepted Jesus into his life when he was a young teenager and through many hardships, joy, pain, immense heart ache and much laughter he never wavered in his belief that God was good and faithful.
He took to heart the words Jesus spoke:
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men”.
Not only was he a ‘fisher of men’ but he was also a great fisherman!

 

 

When he left school he qualified as a plumber.
He also trained as a missionary with the Sudan United Mission and spent a few years as a missionary in Nigeria on a leprosy mission settlement.

He then studied and qualified as a school teacher and taught for many years.
At the age of 60 he was ordained as a Methodist minister.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!  GOD BLESS.
 

 

THE IMPERFECT CHURCH

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“If you think you have finally found the perfect church, DON’T become a member of it, as it will then no longer be perfect” (someone once said!)

Yesterday we were driving through Carlisle, England and the sign above caught my eye.  I made hubby drive around the block and find a parking space in order that I could take a photograph of it.

The words resonated strongly with me.

The church is there for sinners!

My personal definition of the church is “anybody who believes that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again in order that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life”.

There are church buildings, and then there is the ‘church’,  made up of people living all over the world.

Some of the loneliest and depressed people are found in a church building.  One of my dearest friends who used to live on the streets told me once, that he was initially far lonelier in the church than he had ever been on the streets.  He felt that a lot of folks who went to church were hypocrites – because they were Christians they felt they had to pretend that everything was fine in their lives. As though by believing in Jesus Christ they were no longer allowed to be honest and open about their negative emotions!  That by admitting they were feeling depressed/angry/hurt/sad/a failure they were basically negating their faith in Christ.

Someone else once said “Christians are not perfect, they are just forgiven and their sin/mistakes/faults are no longer held against them”.

That is my kind of Christianity.  Knowing that I live in God’s grace.

Over the centuries some churches have lost sight of God’s commandment “love one another as I have loved you” and are far more interested in the ‘man made’ rules which even churches of different denominations differ on.

Adult water baptism – right or wrong?

Communion – some denominations will not allow somebody from another denomination to take full communion?

Child baptism – a must or not really necessary?

Apartheid – separation of different races – which some churches actually justified by using Biblical scriptures?

Once you accept Jesus as your Saviour and are filled with the Holy Spirit you cannot continue behaving in the same way.  You need to strive to be more Christ like, to love others as He has loved you BUT to know that when you “blow it” you have the option of confessing your sin and being forgiven.

I have just read this to my husband and he stated “On the basis of what you have just written I would be put off church for life!”

That is not my intention at all – to put anybody off joining a church!  I do, however, believe that in order to be happy and accepted in a church, you need to find a church like the one advertised above.

A church that accepts everybody and strives to love everyone who enters their doors as Christ loves us.  That means that the majority of people in the church need to have the same goals and basic belief that everyone is worth loving.

There are always going to be people in the church building that you are not going to agree with and some people who you will just not like, but if the majority of people in the church building invite others in the building into their homes for meals and fellowship, if the majority, who are more financially wealthy, share with those who are in need, if the majority are willing to forgive each other, than I would say that is the church you need to join.

My friend eventually found great healing, acceptance and warmth in the church and learnt to look past the few people who he felt judged him.  It is vital to fellowship with other Believers and to have God’s word explained by others who have had a revelation of the Scriptures and are able to teach God’s truth.

And yes, I do belong to a church!  In fact, I have been a member of my church, Mowbray Presbyterian Church in Cape Town, South Africa for over 17 years.

My church is filled with all kinds of people – different races, different upbringings, some are selfish, greedy and needy – far from perfect, but they all love the Lord and strive to live their lives sharing Christ’s love with others.