Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
We recently read this at BSF and here are a couple of thoughts that I would like to share with you.
- Our response in sacrifice, follows God’s mercy to us, former sinners who now believe in Him, receive righteousness. and therefore belong to His family This is the right and reasonable response. Have you consciously made this choice to belong to Christ’s family?
- A living sacrifice signifies that it is a voluntary choice, continuous and implies a death to self. All Christians are called to die to self daily, take up their cross and follow Christ.
- Something holy is something consecrated and set apart. What we offer to God is different from what we offer to anyone else. This particular thought struck me because we live in a very secular world and I struggled to think of those holy things that I only set aside for God.
- The verse speaks of either the pattern of the world or a renewed mind. It is truly binary. God will not be mocked and we cannot fool Him by adding on anything to His word. Off the top of my head, I think of ancestral worship, superstition, witchcraft, modern/ humanistic thoughts. None of that compares to God, it is the world or Christ’s way.
- Ultimately, we all struggle with discerning God’s will. What is God saying, what does he mean, what should I do …? All of this is never easy or obvious but this verse makes clear that it is found by abiding in God’s presence and dwelling in His word, only then will one know His good, pleasing and perfect will.
Posted in Heart matters, home, life
Tagged bible god, Bible Study, bible verses, Book of Romans, BSF International, God, lessons learnt, Mercy, response, sacrifice
“To all the little girls out there,
we will set fire to this world
that steals your childhoods
and stops you from being
everything you want to be,
and build you a better one from the ashes,
the kind of world that treasures you
for all your powerful capabilities.”
– Nikita Gill, Women’s March 2018
Posted in Heart matters, home, life, working
Tagged Bible, bible god, Bible Study, Chimamanda, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Christianity, faith, female friendship, flexi working, friendship, recipes, This is Us, working
I loved the Collect from our Service today and so I thought I would share it with all.
O Christ, light of the world,
born into human pain and joy;
let our celebration of your birth
make us bold witnesses of your love;
to the glory of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Posted in home
Tagged #MeTooPhd, bible god, economics, faith, Game of Thrones, motherhood, Podcasts, poetry, recipes, recommendations, Sunday Reads
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)
And then this same verse from the Message edition of the Bible
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. (Romans 8:26 – 28)
God is sovereign. Nothing and no one will defeat His plans. Nothing is beyond His grasp. This is sometimes difficult to hang onto but it often gives me strength and the purpose to withstand and I pray it would give you the same confidence today.
Romans 4:20-21 NIV
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
Like Abraham, I want to face the truth of my circumstance and not flinch in face of them but to maintain my eyes on the focus on the truths of His promise and His character. I want to have an active faith that clings desperately to God.
This is the reason why I am a Christian. Truths I have been reminded through the study of Romans in BSF.
- We are justified through faith because Jesus died for our sins and was raised for our justification (Romans 4:25). The great exchange: His life for ours; His righteousness for our sin.
- Knowing this saves me from striving for salvation. There is nothing I can do to save myself., I am powerless to do this. If I do not accept this truth, I strive and try to work at my righteousness through works. All I can do is accept this free gift of salvation.
- Christianity makes all men equal. Before salvation we were all sinners, after salvation we are all justified by faith. No one’s sin is greater than the other or the utter worst; none of us is more righteous once we have believed. God views all men as equal.
- As a believer, I know what I am saved from (the penalty of sin which is death) and what I am saved for ( eternal life) and while here to do good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).
- While we wait for the day when we will be taken up to meet our Lord and Saviour, we have the Holy Spirit as a seal and a promise. He also reveals all truth and teaches us all things righteous.
So do you believe, and if you do not, will you tonight ask Him to be your Lord and Saviour (Acts 4:12 / John 14:6)?
Posted in Heart matters
Tagged belief, Bible, bible god, Bible Study, bible verses, Book of Romans, BSF, BSF International, Christianity, faith, Jesus Christ, Salvation
- Curiosity about one self, people, life or other.
- A passion for life. You have to have that thing that drives you.
- Ability to laugh at one self and others but not in a mean girl way.
- Not being clingy / able to chill with yourself and do stuff on your own.
- Ambition or wanting to better yourself.
- Being comfortable in your own skin and trusting that people walk through life in different lanes and being OK with yours.
- A love for simple things. Yes big luxurious things are great to have, but someone that you can enjoy the small everyday things with is even better.
- A fear of God, I don’t know any atheists/ agnostics because I feel it is important to have a fear of God, an external standard that guides you and reigns in your own inner and crazy self.
What about you, what qualities do you look for in other people?
I have often heard of this verse (repeated three times) as a caution to young unmarried people to guard their hearts so I enjoyed hearing it as a prayer to God to stir up those feelings of first love we felt when we first became Christians.
Posted in home
Tagged baby marrow, Being Black, belief, bible god, faith, God, motherhood, parenting, recipes, relationships, salads, Sunday Reads, travelling, zucchini
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Source)
Psalms 103: 12 reminds us that God forgives fully and removes our sins from us as far as the East is from the West. This truth came up recently when I met a friend to discuss the bible studies that we had both done separately over the BSF break, her Hebrews and me, James.
A theme that separately came up for each of us is belief and how it is also possible for us as believers not to take God at His word and put in caveats that are not there OR that limit our overall ability to enjoy the time spent with Him. And this way, practice unbelief. In my specific case, this came through in the area of prayers. For others in my life, I am able to pray big prayers and believe on their behalf that God is who He says He is and that He can do what He said He will but somehow somehow in my case my faith is muted and I doubt that He will do what He said He can. So my pal rightly asked me: “what’s that about?” And in that moment, I was reminded of the verse that exhorts fathers not to provoke their children to anger by how they treat them (Ephesians 6: 4 NLT).
We often approach God based on our earthly experiences rather than step out of those and experience Him as the eternal Father who loves perfectly. Who has been perfectly revealed through His son Jesus Christ (Heb 1:3) and His living word (the Bible).
This contrasts with the devil who speaks from both sides of his mouth. On the one hand he is the father of all lies (John 8:44) and in the other, the accuser of brethren (Revelation 12:10). However, we also know that Jesus has fully overcome the world on our behalf and though we will have trouble we should take heart and have peace (John 16:33). This means that I can overcome this burden of shame and this fear of intimacy with Christ due to past sin by entrusting my all to Him and believing fully in Him. Additionally, I know that Revelation 12:11 talks of overcoming the accuser through the words of our testimony. By what we declare and what we state can we be renewed and overcome his lies about us, God’s children.
Questions to Ponder
- In what ways do you struggle to take God fully at His word?
- What are some of your personal life experiences that hinder the development of a childlike faith in God the Father?
- How will knowing this truth of Christ now impact how you approach Him in faith?
Lord we thank you that you are eternal yet unchanging, that your word is true and that you can swear by none but yourself which further encourages our faith in you. Forgive me where I have doubted your word in how I have acted, thought or spoken. Help me always to trust in you ( in the following specific areas of my life ) and believe even when my old self wants to doubt. Teach me how to hold onto my faith unswerving and this way to bring glory and honour to you. I thank you that you are a good Father who gives good gifts to His children and who forgives us fully and does not hold our past sins against us.
Posted in books, Heart matters, life
Tagged about me, bible god, Bible Study, Book of James, BSF International, devotions, female friendship, friendship, God, relationship
It is quite funny how we can pick to do something and then later find that God had actually purposed for us to learn from that experience. Well, I picked James as I had just finished doing John and wanted something light for the BSF break. How very wrong I was as James turned out to be the very thing I needed to continue with the lessons learnt from the Book of John.
What character traits of God did I see?
- God as sovereign, ordering all my plans and in control of my future.
- God as Judge. Reading James 5, I learnt that the coming of Christ is imminent and that in all my plans I have to remember the eternal plan for mankind’s salvation.
- God as transformer who is able to change me from my fallen self through to the daughter that He would have me become.
What actions/thoughts do I need to stop?
How has the study encouraged me?
- I was encouraged by the fact that by abiding in Christ and remaining in His words and teachings, I will grow. This was brought out through the likening of God’s word to a mirror. (James 1: 22 – 25)
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
So be encouraged!!
I generally hate letters written to future whatevers but today being Women’s Day in South Africa and because I just watched an advert of ladies giving advice to a younger self, I thought I would give it a try.
- Stand tall and work on fostering positive self (body) image. There is so much advise to women today about how they ought to look/ weigh/ what they need to do and this piles on the pressure. Filter out all of these and work with your body type, your likes and bring out the best in yourself.
- Work hard at school. Push yourself extremely hard and do not dim your light so any guy around you can feel better about himself. Keep learning and challenging yourself to greater and better heights.
- Surround yourself with female friends that push you to your best and that you can do life with. Female friends rock! FACT. We are not all in competition with each other (female) and do not all like to gossip and bring down a fellow sister. Work on being a good friend.
- What makes you tick and brings out your inner feminine self? Don’t worry it varies from one lady to the next, find what works for you and foster that. If you wanna be like mummy, I love to read and to get my hair done.
- Work on your relationship with God. That’s the most important and constant relationship you will ever have.
Overall, be confident. There is nothing as attractive as a woman who is confident in her skin and who draws out the best in the different people she encounters in her day to day life.
All the best!!
Posted in Heart matters, home, life
Tagged bible god, Body image, confidence, faith, female friendship, God, lessons for my daughters, Letter to younger self, life lessons, motherhood, mothers love
But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
Isaiah 43:1-7 (NIV)
I love these verses. They remind me of God’s personal promises to us His children. We are loved and precious to Him. It also reminds me of a very dear friend of mine because she really got me into this verse. I have highlighted and underlined verses that are particularly meaningful to me.
A friend of mine came “out” this week – out, as in of the proverbial closet. Well, he was an acquaintance from Church and he led worship as part of the Praise Team.
- I wasn’t really shocked at his coming out and his statements around it because for the longest time he had been posting very provocative articles on homosexuality and I figured that it maybe because he is currently in Uganda (homophobe capital of the world). On this day he decided to speak plainly and talk about how gay people are out and about and more common than we imagine and thereafter I saw the Christian backlash and response to it all.
- I stand by the Bible (God’s) position of homosexuality – it is a sin and it is outside of God’s plan for mankind. I am unapologetic about this. However, there is a clear distinction between the man (as indeed we are all fallen) and the sin. The latter is abhorrent to a Holy God while the former is beloved to Him.
- In portraying this distinction, it is vital that fellow man portrays love and understanding. Love that stems from the knowledge that before God, we all fall short in many areas and the understanding that to God, sin is sin and no one’s is better or less than another’s. Bearing this in mind will guide your language and approach. Otherwise, we are no different from the Pharisees!
- Personally, I feel for my friend because this is not an easy path he has selected: i) A large part of his past/present life is Church and he has the dilemma of serving a loving God who does not accept his lifestyle and ii) it’s illegal in East Africa – obviously no one has been convicted as successful prosecution requires that the accused be caught in the act.
One of my first (fast) friends from High School was in town this week and despite receiving additional work just before the planned rendezvous, I am glad that we still made time to have dinner and catch up.
- Seeing each other after so long resulted in a general acknowledgment that we have all grown up. She is planning a wedding in June and has a little daughter that turns 5 later this year – about as long as I have been with my person. Besides the fact that this November will be 11 years since we finished high school.
- In reminiscing about high school, we both agreed that if we could go back, we would relax more and do more extra-curricular activities. We did go to one of those schools where success was guaranteed and we should have been equipped instead to know how to better deal with the pressures of success and how to unwind. More importantly, how to fail and get back up. From conversations with some of my other classmates, it’s hit me that it does take us such a while to get there.
- About having the strength and the foresight to leave a job when it stops feeding that inner part of you that ticks and makes you who you are. And not feeling like a failure at the same time when it does not work out. In determining what to do post-high school, few of us really interrogated the options available to us and presently some of us are going through a period of asking whether this is what we want or not. A very important phase that might improperly be read as being radar less and shifty.
- The most significant thing she did say to me – women need to be authentic with each other and in the process know when to give yourself a break. In our different roles: daughters, sisters, partners, colleagues … we must know when to ask for help, when to speak up, when things aren’t working out. If women were more honest with themselves …. Who knows how that sentence might end but I will try and find out.
Have you had any interesting conversations this week.
Posted in Heart matters, madness, marriage
Tagged authenticity, bible god, faith, female's friendship, Heart matters, homosexuality, madness, marriage, Uganda