Thursday, 24 January 2013

High, Higher, Highest

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible..... All things were created by him and for him. (Colossians 1:16)

After four days of sunny bliss and actual heat(!), we welcome the mist back like an old friend. I recall the wonder of discovery next to a still body of water, bent down low and close to the teeming life under (and on) the surface. The sun warmed our backs, reflecting off the water in a myriad of colour. Damsel flies, water boatmen and striders; bright blue dragonflies flit and skit around in a delightful dance. Fat tadpoles and baby toads dart in and out of hiding, one even landing on my hand, letting little fingers touch it ever so lightly before the huge leap back to its sanctuary under the stones. An old white horse watched our water escapades, shook its mane with an air of disdain and wandered off to more peaceful pastures.

This morning I read in Colossians 1 about the Supremacy of Christ. Not only am I blown away by the reminder that not only were all things created by him but also for him. From the wonder of pond life to each star scattered across the heavens. He - the source, the inspiration, the sustainer. He is before all things and in him all things hold together (v. 17).

Verse 15 reads: He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. Then follows on in verse 16: For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things created by him and for him. From before the beginning of time all things point to Jesus. That little word says it all. Jesus is all, in all, over all - making us all righteous before God through his death on the cross. 
(2 Cor 5:21- God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.)

That brings me back to one of my favourite scriptures namely John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made, nothing was made that has been made. No room for doubt - crystal clear it shines - even those very words were written through him!

Christ rules supreme. According to, supremacy is the state of having the ultimate authority. A ruling king has supremacy over his kingdom. Supremacy comes from the Latin word supremus, which means highest. You don't get higher than that!

I am all at once blown away, humbled and overawed. If in him all things hold together, my bones are knit and prevented from falling to bits by him. In my weakness is his strength for his glory. In my surrender is his victory. In my becoming his servant, the freedom that will take me soaring through each earthly trial into his loving arms for all eternity.

Am I not therefore called and compelled to love him with my whole being? All of me. And you.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Try Me, I'm New!

"Don't copy the behaviour and customs of the world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." (Romans 12:2) NLT

Sunday passed in a bliss of golden light. In retrospect it seems to be the day the sun often favours lately. Or perhaps it is just the warmth I feel when I recall these days of sharing, rest and reflection. A friend pointed out that it is the contrasts that make the honey sweeter, the light more bright and our air more rare. It is proven true, mid-morning on yet another gray day, when I realise once again, that small bodies confined in a small space for a length of time is often a formula for big frustration. I watch in horror as my gentle little boy's teeth close on his screaming brother's forehead(!!). Angry mother bear pulls the offender swiftly into her lap, poised for correction in any form. The attacker looks deeply into my eyes, strokes my cheek and whispers "sorry mamma". I melt... With all the necessary apologies performed, I hold them close, in a circle of forgiveness. With a red welt forming on his forehead the wounded one announces: "Jesus is in my heart and in brothers' heart" Total meltdown...

Back to the contrasts. These times stand out starkly against the time when I felt that God had "left" my own heart to take up residence someplace better. Truth is, it was me who "moved house", not Him. I chose to dwell in the misery of my current situation, pitch my tent in a dark place of self-pity and bitterness. Fortunately, God broke down these walls to show me without refute that He had been there all the time.

He stayed on for this reason: I am certain that God, who began a good work within (me), will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
(Phil 1:6).

So many times have I been brought back to the fact that it has to happen from the inside out this year, that I have had to come to the conclusion that God wants me to be renewed. To change, be moulded into someone who ultimately reflects His beauty in every aspect of my being. How can this be done?

Please don't think that I am trying to write a "sermon". I only want to share the truths that will hopefully point me in the right direction for the journey to be changed for his glory.



Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path (Ps 119:105).

My way will be lit - with the truth and guidance found in every page of his living Word. But, I can only go somewhere if I am willing to walk in the light, follow the map so clearly drawn out in each page of his Word.


But Jesus told him : No! The Scriptures say: "People do not live by bread alone" 
(Luke 4:4)

Christ quotes the Bible (Deut 8:3) to the devil when he tried to tempt him to change a stone into bread to satisfy his hunger. His defence came from the Word of God, not from his own wisdom. I can and should use words that reverberate truth from the Book of truth when I am tempted in any way.

3. WHY?

I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God's mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In Him lie all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:2-3)

I can only understand God's plan for me through Christ, once again from His Word. For in the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God and the Word was God. (John 1:1). Pointing to Jesus from the beginning of "time".


The word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. (Heb 4:12)
Nothing is hidden from God - he can lead us on an intimate path with Him through His Word and His Holy Spirit.


(This analogy comes from a book called "Living Water" by Brother Yun)

Where there is no vision, the people perish (Prov 29:11)

God wants all Christians to be pregnant with the Holy Spirit today. He wants to give us a vision for His Kingdom that originates from heaven, not from me. His desire is that all his children would be overshadowed by His presence, in such a way that we are changed and give birth to something in our lives that brings many into His Kingdom.


(Also inspired by Brother Yun)
If you become filled (pregnant) by the Holy Spirit, seek out the company of someone else who is in the same "condition". Mary knew she could be accused of adultery and be stoned to death, we could face attacks and be mocked by people who do not understand our wondrous predicament. Mary sought out Elizabeth, whose own baby (John the Baptist) leaped in her womb in recognition of who was in Mary. I hope to seek the company of my Elizabeth(s), knowing that each time I see them, something will leap inside my spirit!

If I tell God that I am willing to do this, I do not need to be afraid. God will sustain and give birth to what is inside me, even if this proves to be a painful experience. For the joy of being pregnant with the Holy Spirit, people have endured torture and persecution all over the world.

A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come, but when her baby is born, she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a (her) child is born into the world. 
(John 16:21)

As I look out at the mist-covered tree-tops, my spirit leaps and looks towards the journey of being changed with anticipation and joy. I hope to share bits of this journey with you - and ultimately of Him, who makes all things possible through His strength and grace.

Friday, 11 January 2013

A Place of Milk and Honey

"So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of the land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey"... Exodus 3:8 (NIV)

Daybreak is once again softened by swaying mists. Nature seems to fall silent at times like these. The birds huddle in their nests and at Inesi we do the same. The man of the nest has gone to fetch milk for the week, from a valley farm called Dunskye. It arrives warm, frothy and rich, with the sweet smell of goodness. A whole source of nourishment, which leaves an impressive moustasche that makes little ones smile. At times like these I am reassured by the fullness of heart that is the reward of a life lived "simply" and dependent on grace.

Imagine the longing that Israel must have felt for the elusive land of milk and honey. Not only was this a release from slavery, Canaan epitomised the cornucopia of agricultural blessings that they had been deprived of during their desert wanderings. A spacious land covered with pink hawthorn, red cyclamen, and white rock rose. There are the flowers of its myriad wild fruits, and the warm valley air smelling of their nectar. (In the Bible the original Hewbrew words for both milk and honey referred to a refined essence, not merely plain milk and honey. This also existed in Egypt as much as it did in the land of Israel).

River Jordan, where Jesus was baptised
But their impatience and stubborn disobedience angered God. That generation never entered the promised land. Even Moses himself died when they were a single march away from their fertile destination. I imagine this great and faithful prophet and leader did not have bitterness in his heart when he surrendered his soul to God. He had his eyes on eternity, the real promised land a mere breath away. From the mountain of Nebo, God showed him the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees and all the land that spread between the valley and the River Jordan which they would have to cross. He saw it with his own eyes, but did not cross over into it. But he called the children of Israel and gave them his blessing, knowing that God's purpose for him had been fulfilled. He had known his God, face to face.

From a very tender age, I always longed to live in a place where the wind blows freely. Where chaos is contained in a majestic thunderstorm. Where the struggle is not for sanity and the main pursuit not for the fleeting pleasure of material possessions or satisfaction of the flesh. I imagined my release from "slavery" to be such a place, a place like Hogsback. We had dreams of self-sustainability and gentle abundance. Even though this is a place that overflows with earthly goodness and beauty, it was not the land of milk and honey of my dreams. I could attempt to list all the wonders of our village and never exhaust the depth of it, but still not have the personal peace that we all long for.

The Jordan valley near Jericho,
near where the ancient Figs where found
Think of Israel. While the depiction of the promised land is literal, it is mostly a symbol of abundance of life in His presence, and a walk of obedience to God. For them, the journey to the land of milk and honey became a death march of disobedience. And their children that did make it in, did they live to accomplish the "promised land"? No, they too threw away their saving grace with their disobedience.

God forgave his chosen people and still does. He is bringing them back to Him one by one, day by day. I know this to be the truth for us also. Our dreams were self-centered, often still are. We were trapped in a spiritual desert for so long that we forgot the real promise we have in Christ. We are privileged to now be part of a fellowship where truth and direction is drawn from God's word. Amongst people that admit their brokenness, are willing to serve and surrender, we are loved, mentored and supported in so many ways.

This is our Saviour's invitation to us. I hope that we can all make it our own, answer with a resounding YES! and enjoy a life overflowing with the milk and honey of His grace.

"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 labour on what does not satisfy.
Listen, listen to me,
and eat what is good.
And your soul will delight in the richest of fare." Isaiah 55: 1-2 (NIV)

Friday, 4 January 2013

Swallowed up by Life

"While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it is not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies, so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life." 
(2 Corinthians 5: 4,5)

Back in cool breezy Hogsback. Renewed and refreshed from a few days of breathing air in a different space, uninhabited by the dust of the year's burdens. Now, our cabin is once again a haven, small though it may be, it has a vast capacity for warmth, generous space for grace and endless room for forgiveness. We have experienced so much in this place, each inch is infused with another memory. The wide deck that runs the length and sides of our home is a highway, a playground,
A place for feasting or dreaming.

At the end of the day it becomes a perfect perch to rest on, take in the vast wonder of mountain and forest around you.

There was a large portion of the year past when it felt like the dark noxious cloud that hung over our home would never lift. At the end of the previous year (2011) God gave me this promise: For I know the plans I have for you... They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11). When I doubted it, He sent it to me via a previous neighbour, that I had not had contact with for years, in Afrikaans! She knew nothing of our situation at the time. I held onto that promise as if dangling over a precipice from a rope that never frayed or faltered. Later that year we were finally pulled back over the top, scraped and bruised but elated and so, so thankful.

Earlier this week, on the first day of this auspicious year, I sat down in the cool of the morning to have a time with God. Looking out over the Kaga mountain that forms the backdrop to our friend's lush garden, I closed my eyes. I asked once again for a verse that I could call my own in the year to come. Imagine my joy when my eyes came to rest on 2 Co 5:17: Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! The exclamation mark is not mine, but God's...
So I start this year with an ! New seems to be the theme. I know the foxes will still nudge at the gate, the dragons will sniff around our doors and the vipers will attempt to nest in the rafters. But my sword is sharpened and there is a Rock under my feet to steady my stance. Armed and dangerous? You bet. But also renewed in the knowledge that the loving Father that sustains and strengthens will also soften if I allow. He will stop me from charging when I should embrace, help me to surrender when I find myself in a battle that is not mine.

I hear a new song on the wind. Little voices float in an out of earshot, their exuberant bodies never tiring of the adventure that is life. Be encouraged. Your exclamation may be one of despair or pain. But know that God wants to give you a future and a hope. He has written a book of poetry about you. Love songs that have your name in it. Promises that will be your rope and Rock in the year to come.