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Sunday, 7 February 2021

The Anointing Oil of Joy

For as long as I can remember, I have been seeking the meaning behind one of my favourite Bible verses found in Nehemiah 8:10, that says the Joy of the Lord is my strength.  What is the Lord’s joy and how can I make it my strength to help me endure the tough times in life?

I first wrote about my discovery of Joy back in 2017, which you can read here, if you are also on a journey to find more joy in your life.

Recently, during a rough period, I felt God kept bringing me to verses about olive oil, which I discovered is often referred to in the Bible as the oil of gladness, and is used to anoint people with the presence of God’s Spirit, and what we are called to keep our oil full in our lamps to light our way.

Remember the story of Noah when the dove came back to declare dry ground, well I don’t believe it was by accident that it brought back an olive branch. The dove and the olive branch served to tell Noah a time of peace and deliverance had come. When you consider that the word Gethsemane means “olive press”, you realise the significance of what happened there to God's Son, Jesus, the Prince of Peace. 

After reading all the scriptures in various translations through the Biblegateway App of anointing, oil and joy, I began to see that there is a connection between experiencing joy in the anointing presence of God’s Holy Spirit.

Joy is not an emotion, but a place in our spirit that we choose to enter into, and a fruit of His Holy Spirit that is grown in us.

In Hebrews 12:2, we see how joy was something that Jesus set before Him, so that He could endure the agony of the cross. His joy was in the knowing the outcome and the end result of what He was going through, and knowing it was in God’s will.

The secular definition of joy falls short of the original meaning of rejoice, or be glad.

Joy is found in our gladness and gratefulness of our salvation and in the knowing of the deliverance and reward we can look forward to in the outcome of our trials. Joy is in the receiving of God’s promises. Joy is a focus before it will ever become a feeling. Joy is a fruit we grow when we choose to abide in God’s Holy Spirit, and it is our biggest treasure that the devil seeks to steal from us every day. 

To keep hold of our joy, we need to be waking up every morning with the song in our heart, declaring “This is the day, this is the day, we will rejoice and be glad in it…”

To self-study further about joy and how it relates to the anointing olive oil of the Tree of Life, here are some further verses to take a look at, in various translation versions, to help unpack their hidden meanings:

  • Ecclesiastes 9:8
  • Isaiah 61:3
  • Zechariah 4
  • Hebrews 1:9
  • Psalm 45:7
  • 1 Chronicles 16:27
  • Acts 10:38
  • Acts 13:52
  • Matthew 25:23
  • John 15:11
  • Romans 15:13

Monday, 11 January 2021

The Last Will and New Testament of Jesus Christ - Claiming your Inheritance

(Ephesians 1:11-12)
Under the righteousness of faith and grace we, as sons and daughters of God, have inherited His promises and provision, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

As a joint heir with Jesus Christ, and adopted into God’s family and a Sonship in His Royal Kingdom, are you enjoying the riches of your inheritance?

The Bible tells us that all that belonged to Jesus is now ours, not only for when we die and go to heaven, but to be partaking of right now, today. Because of God’s grace that makes us righteous, we are the rightful beneficiaries of Jesus’s last Will and Testament (new).

Sadly, many people are not enjoying the blessings and favour of what they have already inherited because they believe their reward only comes in heaven, and that God’s grace is sufficient for now.

In Bruce Wilkinson’s ‘The Prayer of Jabez’ Devotional, there is the tragic story about Connor O’Reilly, a penniless Irishman in the last century, who was given a ticket for passage on an ocean-liner by a wealthy relative to emigrate to America. However, the relative failed to mention that the ticket included all the meals, so O’Reilly bought bread and water to eat in his room, whilst the other passengers enjoyed a delicious banquet of food in the ships dining room.

This story got me thinking of how many Christians are eating stale bread every day when God has prepared a glorious and lavish feast for us - All we have to do is claim it, taste how good it is and enjoy it. The feast was purchased for us by the blood of Jesus and includes all of the promises of God.

It is like living in the Wilderness when there is a Promised Land waiting for us to be occupied. Yet Satan robs us from possessing the land of our inheritance by keeping us ignorant of it.

As co-heir with Christ, we can share in the inheritance of Christ and everything that He possessed, which means that what belonged to Jesus now belongs to us. All of His power, His peace, His joy are what we can experience if we will just claim it as ours.

God wants you to know and experience His abundant provision in your daily lives, as your daily bread, where God’s kingdom is brought to earth, like it is in heaven.

So, if you haven’t yet claimed your earthly inheritance or are in doubt of what all that you have inherited from Christ, why not ask God to reveal this to you, so that you can start enjoying in the glorious feast He has prepared for you…


 

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

The Gospel in the Stars

On the 21st December 2020, the whole world was enthralled to witness the amazing bright sight of the Jupiter and Saturn conjunction, which many believe was a repeat of the great ‘Bethlehem Star’ that guided the Wise Men to the place of Jesus’s birth place.  This was even more exciting considering it happened so close to Christmas!  For me, it felt like it was God’s way of reminding us to keep seeking Christ, and where better to look upwards, towards the heavens.

This amazing event also reminded me of something I had heard recently on the ‘Through the Word’ App on Psalms 19, which mentions that the constellations of stars actually foretell the full Gospel story of Jesus Christ.  The 12 Zodiac signs that have shined in the night sky tells us of Christ's coming, His life on earth and the triumph when He will return.

Although the Bible warns us not to consult the stars through Astrology which Satan has distorted, Biblical Astronomy is an entirely different story and declares the marvelous Glory of God.

From Virgo, which is depicted as a virgin to Leo, the Lion of Judah, we realize the constellation of stars hold a far greater symbolic and significant meaning than we ever realized before.

Constellation

Picture

Interpretations

Libra

Scales

Scales of Justice = Sin paid for on the Cross

Scorpius

Scorpion

Satan’s sting of sin brings death

Sagittarius

Centaur/Archer

Dual identity of Jesus, as half man and half God with an arrow that pierces Satan - Our Conqueror

Capricorn

Goat-fish

Earth corruption – Our Scapegoat and atoning sacrifice

Aquarius

Water Bearer/ pourer

Living water – Our Spiritual Well

Pisces

Fishes

God's remnant – Fisher of Men

Aries

Ram

Sacrifice – Our Sacrificial Lamb

Taurus

Bull

Day of Judgement

Gemini

Twins

Union between Christ & His Bride

Cancer

Crab

Gathering of the redeemed

Leo

Lion

Lion of Judah – Our King

Have you ever wondered where the twelve signs of the zodiac came from? The word “Zodiac” comes from the Greek word Zoe, which means “life,” and Dia, which means “through” or “pathway.” Therefore, the word Zodiac literally means: "the path to life".

Some scholars identify the 12 signs of the zodiac with the 12 sons of Jacob/12 tribes of Israel and some even the 12 disciples!

It is the Gospel written in symbolic, pictorial language manifesting the path to eternal life.  Apparently in the Book of Enoch, which is no longer part of our Biblical text, God taught Enoch these constellation pictures and their meaning in order to provide a visual revelation of the plan of God to redeem mankind through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.  

The zodiac constellations can be thought of as the original Bible in the sky, before the Bible was placed into written form.

So next time you find yourself gazing above at the magnificent array of stars, allow God to reveal His wonderful Glory and confirm His message to your heart…

Psalm 19: 1- 4

1 The heavens declare the Glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.
2 Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.
4 Their line has gone out through the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Pruned for Growth

When you think of the word pruning, you think of the idea of cutting off all the dead branches or just trimming bushes that have become overgrown. Right? Well, my horticulturist brother-in-law Andrew, has educated me by explaining that sometimes we also need to prune some perfectly good branches as well, in order to train the plant in the direction it should grow. When it comes to fruit trees, pruning also forces the tree to put more energy into fewer but larger, sweeter, higher quality fruits. 
 
I like to believe the same is true of how God prunes our lives… Whatever God has chosen to prune out of our lives, whether it be the loss of a loved one, a job, a relationship or something material, we can be assured that He is doing it for our ultimate growth in sight.  We may not like it or understand it, and yes, it is often very painful, but we need to trust that even when we cannot see the big picture or see it from God's perspective, it is needed for our growth.
 
This Covid-19 Pandemic and lockdown has also pruned a lot of things out of our lives. Some of them like people and hugs we may be sorely missing, and other things not so much, like traffic or crowds, but the truth is that both the good and the bad has taught us what really matters in life and has surely made us more resilient. 
 
We may look and feel like this stumped plant during our pruning seasons, but we need to encourage ourselves with the knowledge that God is either changing the direction He wants us to grow or using it to help us grow into better, stronger people, with sweeter, juicier, larger, more excellent fruits…


Saturday, 19 September 2020

South Africa's Beacon of Hope

Move One Million - Unity for Change
If you are South African or have a love for our country, and have not yet heard about the “Move One Million” initiative, then I strongly suggest you get yourself acquainted…

Saturday, the 5th of September 2020, was a turning point for our country, the first of many wide-scale events since the movement was launched in July. On this day, masses gathered together, both locally and abroad, to spread hope and raise awareness for this movement that is fighting for the heart and soul of South Africa.

As I braved the freezing, cold and windy Cape Town weather with my waterproof posters, my South African flag, with my mask, ribbon and sanitizer in hand, I joined the West Coast group that gathered in a human chain, maintaining our social distance, along the beachfront, starting from Table View, through to Bloubergstrand and further towards Melkbosstrand. I had been praying that despite the anger of many, that the gatherings would remain peaceful. I also prayed that the threatening rain would hold off and not deter people from joining, and both prayers were graciously answered!

The exciting atmosphere and mood were electrifying and inspiring, to say the least, and reminded me of the emotions we all felt when Nelson Mandela was made President! Complete strangers, unified with a purpose of raising awareness of our many different causes to spread the message of hope for our country, that although we are broken, we are not yet beaten.

We sang and cheered joyfully, dancing in unison with some professional dancers, to the popular ‘Jerusalema’ song. We even played our National Anthem and many other South African favourite songs, filling us all with pride for our Rainbow Nation. There was even a Minister who lead us in prayer for our country, expressing the anointing on the life of the founder of Move one Million and the popular #ImStaying initiative, Jarette Petzer.

As a prayer warrior for our country, President and government, I see this movement as an answer to all of our prayers. As a returnee to South Africa, I am passionate about finding solutions to our country’s problems, instead of just complaining about them, or becoming complacent.

Many Christians might believe that we should not protest and that all we can do is pray, but I disagree. The Bible clearly calls us to shine the light on the truth, to fight peacefully for justice and to spread hope, which is what I believe this movement stands for. They are finding tangible solutions to our many problems and putting pressure on the Government to have the corrupt officials held accountable, and for the many crimes, murders and evils that have gone on long enough, stopped once and for all. We are making a stand for change and we are spreading hope that you no longer need to exit in fear and emigrate. And to those South Africans who already have left, who are still supporting us from your new 'home away from home', we welcomely await your return with open arms, once our country has been restored to the dream that Nelson Mandela envisioned for us.

There is great strength when people unite as one, and although some may think this is just a white movement, it is not. Neither is it a political party or an anti-ANC campaign. We are merely calling on ALL South Africans who are feeling despair about the state of our country and who need their hope restored for a better future, to come on board, to add their voice and be counted. One of the many posters that spoke of the promises the government has not delivered on, says it all – “In 1994 my parents were sold a dream. Today I am here for my refund.”

For me, it’s not about counting the numbers or if we agree with everyone’s causes or the over-zealous Whatsapp or Telegram moderators, or the lack of response to our many questions and comments – it’s about uniting as one with a sole purpose of saving our country. One thing this movement has taught me is that there can still be unity in diversity.

Evil remains when people choose to be silent. Nothing will change without action, and now that we have an International following and attention, we have a better chance of achieving success. To the many leaders, field representatives and my fellow supporters, thank you for your participation and to all the car hooters who cheered us on, thank you for your acknowledging support. So, let us go forth and prosper, as we unite our country with a message of hope, peace, love and kindness.  If you are still skeptical, I hope you will consider joining the next gathering on the 24th October, to discover for yourself and have your hope stirred. Join the movement's Facebook group below to find out more...

https://www.facebook.com/MoveOneMillion/




Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Knowing the End

As a foodie and huge fan of the ‘Master Chef’ TV series, I have enjoyed discovering new recipes for my husband and I to try. The recent series that we have enjoyed watching in South Africa however, was not aired in the correct chronological order, which meant we discovered who the winner was before the end of the series. This occurred when one of the current participants, a blind woman by the name of Christine Hà, was introduced in a previously aired series as the Master Chef winner. This came as a huge surprise to me, as if you had told me that a blind person would have won this cooking show, I would never have believed you for a second! But foresight and revelation are marvelous things…

Although some might find it a huge let-down to know the end of a story before it happens, much like reading a book, I found great comfort in it. I knew that even if she was voted off in one episode, that somewhere in a future episode, she would be given the opportunity to come back and win back a place, or how else would she have won...

This is a lot like having faith. So often we pray for things, without having that assurance that somewhere down the line, God will and does answer that prayer. Having this assurance gives us the inspiration to thank and praise Him for it before it happens, knowing that in His timing, what we pray for will surely come to pass. It may not always be to our recipe, but we know that it will be according to His will for our lives. You could say that the reward of faith is being able to see what you are believing for.

This revelation is particularly important when you are holding onto a dream. I particularly like the way the judges always ask the Master Chef contestants if they will be the winner. I believe that if you can see it in your mind’s eye and maintain a positive attitude to see your dream come true, it can surely happen. On the flip side, when you carry fear or doubt, it creates a negative effect in blocking God’s blessings of having your dream realised. I’m not sure if anyone else will agree with me, but I like to think that when we partner with God by having positive faith for something, He is then able to make it happen for us. Having said that, I do know that if we have been positive and our dreams don’t happen, we must still praise God and accept that He has a good reason for not allowing it, or has something even better planned for us.

So, as you consider your prayer needs for today, may I challenge you to change your perspective to see that what you are praying for has already been answered in the future. The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:6, that we are to come to God in pray and petition, with thanksgiving, when we present our requests to Him. Therefore, consider it already answered and rejoice in it, knowing that holding onto hope for something, is having an assurance in our faith of that we believe God can and will see it to pass.

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Connect instead of Communicate

Whilst many of us have improved at keeping in touch with family and friends since the Lockdown began, we may have failed to authentically engage and connect in a meaningful way. The fact that many of our contacts might be suffering from loneliness, anxiety, worry or even depression, we will never know this if we fail to ask the right questions. Although sharing inspirational or funny Whatsapps or other social media pictures may communicate that we thought of them, it does not help to lighten their load or help them in anyway.

I have recently discovered that although these quick picture messages are well intended and are appreciated, they do little to intimately connect with another. There is nothing as special as being sent a heartfelt message inquiring of your situation and what you are going through. Ashamedly, had I known this, I would have learnt that a friend who had lost her job, could no longer afford her rent and was forced to move back in with her parents, or that another friend had been in bed with the Coronavirus, or another suffering from depression, not to mention the many other prayer needs I had failed to enquire about.

In all honesty, and in my defense, although I call them my friends, the correct relationship status would be an acquaintance, something we seem to have distorted, thanks to Facebook. A valid excuse for choosing to communicate instead of spending that extra time to intimately connect, is that we lead busy lives and don't always have the time. Or it could be that we have become so self-absorbed in our own problems, that we fail to think of others.

Whatever the reason, I've discovered a solution which I thought was worth sharing.  Each morning, as you spend time in prayer, ask God to bring to your mind just 3 people who need your encouragement and time.  Then instead of sharing all those picture messages to one and all, use your time that day instead to meaningfully engage and connect with those 3 people God has laid on your heart.  However you choose to connect, be sure to honestly ask them how they are doing, how you can help them and what prayer needs they may have and then be sure to listen, to respond and to act accordingly!

And as the receiver of a meaningful connection, let us all be bold and brave enough to be truthful, instead of just responding with the customary "I'm fine"... for only when we choose to be honest with ourselves and with others, can we begin to find the inner healing and growth that God has in store for us...