The value of the truth

 I recently went on a family vacation to the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. We went for 2 weeks and it was absolutely amazing. It was very relaxing, the weather was wonderful and the hours spent on the beach were magical.

 To be honest, it was so relaxing that I let my personal spiritual disciplines fly right out of the window. What do I mean by that? Well, for the past 18 years of my life I have been in the habit (discipline) of taking time out at the beginning of my day to spend with the Lord.

 To some people that might sound like a strange thing to do and to others you might know what I am talking about. So indulge me for a moment as I explain myself.

  I love to get up in the morning when all is quiet and read my bible, pray and be “fed” spiritual food.

To be “fed my spiritual food” I need to quiet myself and ask the Holy Spirit to teach me what he wants me to know for that day, to take time out and read a portion of scripture or a verse and ask the Holy Spirit to help me understand it through His eyes and not mine.

 My eyes are dull, but the Holy Spirit’s job is to lead me into all truth. (John 14). This he does when we open up our hearts and ears to stop and listen to him. It is such a wonderful time of learning and renewal that I absolutely crave my time with him and to be honest I guard it jealously.

 I have learnt so much and grown so much over the years by following this little formula. The Holy Spirit has been faithfully drawing me and teaching me more and more about life, wisdom, Jesus and what is required of me as a woman whose heart is ablaze for God.

 Up to my vacation this was my daily spiritual discipline, but while I was on vacation, I found that it was hard to find that quiet time as there was always something to do first thing in the morning, at home the kids can get their own breakfast and tea, on vacation we have to unpack everything and light the stove go and fetch the water; I am sure that you are getting the picture.

 By the end of the vacation, I had not spent any time with God in the way that I would normally and to be honest not only did I miss it, but I was having thoughts of “you have completely fallen off the wagon spiritually, God is not going to want to have you back” Or “you are so backslidden now, there is no hope for you” or “you see you did not do your devotions and now you will never be able to hear the Holy Spirit talk to you again”.

 These my friends were just a few of the thoughts that were going through my head. You see I had let my guard down (God tells us in his word that we are to guard our minds and take our thought captive to the obedience of God) and now because of that I was being tormented by the guilt of not “doing my spiritual disciplines every day as faithfully as I should.”

 The guilt felt like a heavy weight on my shoulders and I felt not only defeated in my mind but defeated in my spirit as well. I am sure that if you could have seen me there was probably a dark cloud hanging over me with the thunder rolling and the lighting cracking.

 Ok, so I am being a bit dramatic. The truth of the matter was that I felt bad because I had not kept up my side of the relationship with God.

 When I got back from vacation, I immediately found some time to go and be quiet before the lord. There I cried out to him to forgive me and I begged him to take me back and forgive my foolishness of neglecting my relationship with him.

 What happened next was to me very precious and truly amazing.

  I believe that the Lord started to show me that He had never left me nor had he forsaken me. I was not only in Jesus’ hand but Jesus is in God’s hand. There is absolutely nothing on this earth, neither death nor life nor angels nor demons, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor  height or depths, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39)

 Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is so true for all of us, nothing can take us away from our heavenly father. I cannot earn his approval, (yes it is important to have spiritual disciplines, of setting time aside to get to know him every day) but when that setting that time aside becomes me just wanting to gain his approval of then I have missed the point.

 The point is that God’s love to us is unconditional. He loves us because that is His nature; he loved us while we were still so deep in our sin that there was no possible way out, except through him.

 He loves us in spite of our frailty as he made us and knows that we are made from dirt. (Genesis 1) There is nothing that we can do that could make him love us more or make him love us less. (Except, that is, if we completely reject him and have nothing to do with him ever again)

 If found myself in that age old striving mode, trying to earn his affections and love by being good and doing all that I knew to do that would win his approval. Then when I found myself failing, (on holiday and not spending time in prayer and bible study) I was so weighed down with guilt that I thought I was done for, for good.

 Oh, the lies of the Devil. He had me so twisted in confusion and guilt that I truly could not see the trees for the forest. I had forgotten that God says that my salvation in Him is guaranteed because I believe in his precious son Jesus Christ. I had forgotten that because I am in Christ Jesus, nothing can separate me from the love of God that he shows me through his son Jesus.  I had forgotten that God’s love for me does not depend on what I do or do not do for Him; it is given to me as a free gift, wholly and completely.

 Oh, the joy that the revelation brought to my heart. I sincerely praised the Lord with everything in me for setting me free once again from the lies of the Devil that tried to trap me and lead me away from my loving heavenly father.

 I encourage each of you, if you find yourself in a situation where it has been a while since you last spent time with God, or if you have never ever spent time with God, set up a time to do so as soon as possible. Not out of obligation but out of a sincere desire to know him more. I know that he will, with out a doubt, reveal himself to you, teach you more about his word and set you free from things that draw your attention away from him.

 When I first started my journey with God, I heard many people say, you have to set the time aside with God and he will reveal himself to you. So being naïve, I set out to do just that. I would love to tell you that it was all roses and that every time I heard him speak to me and that I had these great times with him.

 That was not always the case, it was a struggle, sometimes harder than others, but the longer I stuck it out the more precious it became to me and I could not wait to have my time with him again.

 So, I pray that each of you will take the time out of your busy lives and set some time aside with Jesus today, I ask heavenly father that you will open the eyes of my brothers and sisters hearts that they may know the wonders of your love for them, that they will have a deeper understanding of your knowledge and will for their lives. I pray that you will ignite in each of them a passion for you that sets them on fire for you in a deeper way than they have ever experienced before.

In Jesus Name

Amen.

 

 

 

 Psalm 68:3- 6

 3But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.     
4Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds his name is the LORD— and rejoice before him.    
5 father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.     
6God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

 

I am Thankful to God

 What a statement, I am thankful to God, but really I am. There are so many things in my life that I am thankful for I hardly know where to begin.

 Let me start by telling you how I realized that thankfulness had become so profoundly evident in my life.  I grew up in the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa. I was gifted with a set of wonderful parents who loved my siblings and I very much. They were a great role model on how to love as they were always practically showing the love of Christ to those around them.

 Helping their friends and family financially or with advice or anything else that was needed. They never turned anyone away, and often gave to those less fortunate than us in copious amounts. I am very grateful that God gave me such wonderful, stable and loving parents to teach me how to live my life.

 These parents also gave me another gift that I am so thankful for; they gave me the gift of introducing me to God. They faithfully sent me to Sunday school and took me to church. It was there that I discovered that there was a God who loved me and wanted to have a relationship with me. It was there that I found out that I had a God sized hole in my heart that only he could fill. I probably was 8 years old when I asked Jesus to become Lord of my life and my life truly has never been the same again.

 I am thankful to both God for his calling my heart to his and to my parents for being faithful and introducing me to Him.

 The next thing that I am thankful for was that my mother loved to travel, she had travelled a bit with my father but she loved the whole idea of exploring new places. She encouraged all three of her children to be the same way. I remember many hours that were spent in the kitchen with her telling me of how wonderful it would be to travel and to see new places. (Little did I know at that time, that she was laying a travelling foundation in my life, once again she was being used by God to help direct me in the path that he had for me)

 Shortly after my 21st birthday I had an opportunity to travel to Europe. My mother was so excited about this that she even went out and bought me the ticket. To be honest at the time, even though I was very excited by the prospect of leaving home and being gone for 1 year on my own, it was incredibly scary for me. I had never really been away from home up to that point.

 Well with all of the excitement that I could muster I got onto the airplane and left everything that I knew and loved behind.

 This is where I can say without a doubt that God really started my education on thankfulness and joy and character building. I often refer to the next 19 years of my life as being in the intense school of the Holy Spirit.

 In Europe I discovered that God had a new plan for my life and that plan involved a husband and a move to another continent. It involved leaving everything that I had treasured behind and following what he had for me. In my youthfulness I whole heartedly agreed. I ran ahead not really giving any thought to anyone or anything, but what I believed God wanted me to do.

 Please don’t get me wrong, if I had to do it all over again, I would do the same things, but I didn’t fully appreciate the cost of following Christ wholeheartedly.

 When I arrived in North America, I was still full of the excitement of the new adventure; until my heart started to ache for all that I had left behind, my precious family, my parents and siblings. My aunts and uncles and cousins, friends, everything that I had treasured was a continent away. I have to admit that the grief was overwhelming.

 For many years I carried the grief as a banner over me; it upset me to call the family especially if they were all gathered together and I was not there with them. I would love to tell you that I got over it quickly and absolutely embraced my new life but I would be lying.

 Over the years though God in his great mercy; has placed me within families that have loved me as their own. I am now the adopted aunty to many children and sister to many men and woman. I feel so very grateful to God for these relationships.

 I recently celebrated a milestone birthday and reflected on how rich my life is with all of these wonderful people that God has blessed my life with. I know that not only am I loved on two continents but my heavenly father loves me to.

 I guess what I am trying to tell each of you is to look around you and see and appreciate all the wonderful people that God has placed in your life. How they have helped you to grow and become whom he has called you to be.

 I want to encourage you to nurture those relationships, and give God the thanks and glory that he cares so much for you that he places you in “families” when you are lonely. Thank him for all the ways that those people have enriched your life in one way or another. I encourage each of you to become that person, who welcomes the lonely into your family, who enriches the lives of others around you by your life, your words and your love for God and them.

 I encourage you to surrender to the Holy Spirit in your life and let him show you how to love others in a way that will meet their deepest needs. These people that God placed in my life did just that, some unknowingly but others on purpose. For that I say with the deepest gratitude in my heart, thank you precious heavenly Father for the love that you have shown me through these wonderful people.

 Be God’s love today in someone else’s life.

Your sister in Christ Jesus

    

O God, my God,

you have taken the ashes of my life,

the things that I thought I loved, the things I thought brought me joy and happiness,

Those things, the fools gold that held me captive to a life,

I felt powerless to change,

They dragged me down, enslaved me, making me want more.

All the while miserable, I dreamt of a rescuer a knight in shining armour,

I again, led away into captivity by putting my need for salvation

into people and things.

 

But Father, you knew, you knew what I needed,

you knew the depths of my despair,

you knew the self loathing

Waiting patiently for me to realise that you and only you are

my knight in shining armour.

 

Only you can restore my ruined cities,

Only you, O Lord, my God could set me free.

Father, you have set my feet to dancing, my heart to longing for you,

my soul pumping with excitement for what you are doing inside of me.

 

They ask , with arrogance,

What is your God doing?

I cry out with a shout of glee,

He, who set the stars in their place, who told the tides when to go in and out,

Yes, the very same creator of the universe,

 

He, gave me comfort for my mourning

He bestowed on me a crown of beauty

instead

of the ashes to which I so helplessly clung,

He bathed me in the oil of gladness instead of mourning

He gave me a garment of praise, especially made for me

Instead of the despair that had come in to ravage my soul.

 

You said of me, O Lord that I shall be called an oak of righteousness,

a planting of the Lord.

 

Lord, you redeemed me for the sole purpose of being the display or your splendour.

O, how I praise your Holy name O God,

Your promises for my redemption are great, and I will stand on them

As I reflect you every day, in every way.

Amen

 

written by: Brenda Thomas

(This poem was written out of a heart of gratitude for all that God has done in my life, patiently putting back the pieces of destruction that had ravaged my very soul. I am forever thankful and grateful to God for his great love for us and His grace and forgiveness that he Lavishes on each one of us. Rejoice in Him today, for His great mercy)

 

I am created for your pleasure, created for your glory

You, my Lord, have taken my ashes of what I thought was living

and replaced it with your beauty.

You, my Lord, put your fragrance of life into me,

No longer do I have the stench of death, but I am filled with your fragrance of life.

To live forever with you, shinning, shimering, a great inheritance.

Only you my lord, understand the fullness of this inheritance,

Lord that you have prepared for me,

Others look, envy and even hate it,

But you Abba Father

Say

“Come home, my good and faithful servant, enter into your inheritance, where no moth or rust could destroy”

Thank you Abba Father

written by: Brenda Thomas

 

 

Mothers

God places such a fierce, loyal, protective,

 Love into the hearts of mothers

He places a love that is willing to die for their child,

 A love that will stay up all night nursing a child that is sick

  A love that will cry tears of joy at the simplest accomplishments of her children

And tears of sorrow when her children are hurt and sad,

Tears of sorrow,

at wrong choices.

It is a love that is deep within her soul,

 that no one can snatch away

It is a love that would move a mountain,

 with a teaspoon if it would help her child out.

It is a love that comes from late nights and early mornings,

A million diapers and feedings,

Fixing scraped knees, and kissing all boo boo’s

A mother’s love is hard to understand,

But know this one thing, it is with a willing heart

 that she gives of herself to love those whom God,

 has placed in her loving care.

She does it with great joy knowing that as she loves her child abundantly

she is being the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth.

Written by: Brenda Thomas

 

 

My all in all

 Father, my God, my love, my savior, my all, without you, I am but dust on the ground

 But,

 You breathed your life giving spirit, into me your power, your love, you joy

 Everything that you are is in me, why then do I so often forget what you have done for me?

 You were beaten for me, spat on for me, unrecognizable for me

 But,

 Me, I , in my selfishness, I forget the pain, the agony, the sorrow, the loss of dignity, the shame, the sins

 My sins, her sins, their sins, black, yellow and white,

Because of our uniqueness and our wickedness you suffered,

But gladly.

 For you created the seed to grow the tree, you gave man the knowledge to create the tool,  That would cut down that tree

You gave him the knowledge to create the spikes, You even gave him the knowledge to create a cross.

 And

 Then you left it up to us, to decide how wicked we could be

As a race of people

 We didn’t disappoint you of course, showed you all that is vile about your beloved creation.

 And

 In spite of us, You bled, cried, sweated and died,

FOR ME!

 Your sacrifice made willingly so that I would see your great mercy

Your sacrifice that would open the way for me to come before the merciful;

Throne of Grace.

 I cannot even comprehend all that you did for me by your sacrifice, my heart rejoices at the knowledge that one day; I will share in the inheritance of all the saints that you have kept safe in heaven for me!

 Thank you

Merciful father.

Written by: Brenda Thomas

 

Freedom in Christ

 Freedom, that is what you came for,

Freedom from sin,

Freedom from guilt

Freedom from despair

 But, the accusations shout loud in your head,

Shouting, saying that you are not worthy

Of the freedom.

Shouting that your sin is too great

They grow louder and louder

As each second passes

The closer you get to the cross

It become quite deafening

But by the grace of the cross

The shouting cannot stand for long!

You see, there is freedom in that cross,

That drowns out the shouting,

Freedom that says,

YOU ARE FORGIVEN

Freedom that says,

I REMEMBER YOUR SINS NO MORE

It is here, that you need to come,

Because this is where your life begins

Here, that you walk with your head held high

Here that you can sing and dance

Before the Father who set you free!

Written by:

Brenda Thomas