Saturday, May 2, 2020

What's inside will come out under pressure

Someone once told me that life is like a toothpaste tube, what's inside will come out under pressure.
Everyone is feeling the pressure of covid-19 in one way or another, and what's coming out with the squeezing is not always pretty.
On social media there are many voices crying out for attention, people are responding to this time in so many different ways, from hoarding to generosity, from raging to kindness, from hating to loving, from self-focused to other-focused and everything in-between.
The truth is the way we respond to pressure will often be an indication as to what was inside of us all along.
The question we need to ask is "how am I coping? Do I like what's coming out of me under this pressure or should I be concerned?"
I have had to ask myself that question over and over during this time and have had to be honest with myself when I have not liked what I've seen.
"Pointing out the weeds in your neighbour's garden does not keep them out of your own", so the idea is not to criticize how others are coping but to rather look at how we can change the way we are coping.
A few days ago I had to go to our local supermarket for some supplies and saw a couple of people not wearing protective masks, I mentioned how bad this was to my wife and if I'm honest, so that the "culprits" could hear. My wife responded quietly by saying that I was being self-righteous. This did not go down well with me initially, but as I thought it over, I realised that she was right, I was being self-righteous and I did not like what I saw in me.
We will all cope differently, however we all have a responsibility to check our reactions, our attitudes and how we respond to the pressure.
In saying this, I cannot begin to imagine what so many are going through right now, millions are suddenly unemployed, thousands have lost loved ones to covid-19, there is a worldwide food crisis and all of us are facing an uncertain future. There are no easy fixes, no words that I can say that will make it all go away, however it is true that "this too shall pass" and how we live out our lives in this time will make all the difference in our own lives and to those around us.
So lets be honest with ourselves and change what we can and with God's help change what, in our own strength, we can't. Take it one step at a time going from strength to strength, and be kind to yourself in the process, we are all learning how to live out our lives under the pressure that's on us at this time.

Thank you for taking time to read this post, God's strength and Peace be with you and your loved ones in this difficult time. God Bless and keep safe.

I want to end with a portion of scripture where Jesus invites each of us to follow Him, and learn from Him, how to live freely and lightly. 
Matthew 11:28-30 from "The Message"

Matthew 11:28-30 The Message (MSG)

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I realised that every time I feel the urge to blog again I start by saying it's been a while since my last blog, it's now been 3 years! I apologise for the long silence, however my wife and I celebrate 30 years in the ministry in a few days time and I wanted to put some thoughts to paper so to speak.
In the 30 years we have been privileged to have connected with many people both in South Africa and other parts of the world.
The encounters we have had with this large variety of people has often taught us more than we could teach them, this has been a real blessing to us.
The verse that has shaped our ministry to a large extent is Acts 13:36 "36 “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed."
This verse has encouraged us to do exactly that; serve God's purpose in our generation from day to day.
We don't have another time to do this except today. We need to see opportunity to share the love of Christ in every encounter we have with others and not just wait till the "time is right". Who know's what seeds are planted through a simple act of kindness or simply encouraging someone in a way that helps them see that they are on this planet for a purpose and that that purpose can be fully realised in Christ.
We need to be life long learners through all of this, we must never feel we have arrived or that we have fulfilled the calling of God in our lives until we one day  see Jesus face to face.
What we leave behind one day must not be having made our names great or having built a great ministry in our name but rather having continually give the ministry away to others. We serve God with open hands.
The 30 years of ministry has not always been easy, it has sometimes been a lonely, difficult journey BUT GOD has always and continues to carry us through.
When faced with difficult times we have said we can't do this! Then we remember, but God!
Its is by Grace alone that we stand and by nothing we can claim for our own glory... take your Glory Lord!
Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings, I pray that it will have been in some way a blessing to you... God Bless!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Courageous, Unschooled, Ordinary men

Acts 4:13New International Version (NIV)

13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
How are you feeling about yourself as we approach the end of one year and look forward to the start of a new one? What are your plans for the new year? Do you feel up to the task?

Peter and John were seen as unschooled, ordinary men however their actions showed that there was more about them than met the eye. They may have been ordinary men but they had hung out with someone who was extraordinary, and it showed!

The question was, if these men are unschooled and ordinary, where did they get their courage from? Why weren't they afraid of the rulers, elders and teachers of the law? Verse 8 says they were 'full of the Holy Spirit' and it was noted that they had been with Jesus.

As a believer you can face the future with confidence, no matter how people may have labelled you in your life (or how you might have labelled yourself) God is bigger than anything you will face... the Holy Spirit in you will help you rise above any labels and like Peter and John you will have courage and those around you will recognise something different in you... that you have been with Jesus.

Lets face the future with Courage...

I hope this short post has been encouraging for you.

Blessings, Derek

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nearly 2014

It has been a while since I posted something new on my blog but am hoping to post more frequently in the new year.
As 2013 draws to a close I am reminded of the times it felt like I was living in the land of giants, but my overall feeling when I think of 2013 is one of absolute gratitude! Firstly I am grateful to God for the amount of times He answered my prayers, even the ones that were not very faith filled. I am also grateful for family and friends... we were not designed to go through life alone, we were designed for community, the Bible says that God takes the lonely and puts them into families (Ps 68:6)... that's a great promise!
God is bigger than the giants we face, but it's my experience that we so easily forget how God has been there for us in the most trying of times and we tend to panic all over again when we face the next giant... when David slew Goliath he said "Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God." (1 Sam17:36)
David did not forget the times God delivered him from danger and in fact it built his faith to face Goliath.

May we not forget all God has done for us in 2013 as we enter into 2014... may all he has done for us spur us on in faith to face all that 2014 has in store for us. May we be filled with a sense of gratitude and take great risks for the Kingdom of God! It's the small ways that we live out this attitude of gratitude that makes all the difference to the world we live in.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

― Mother Teresa

 May Eph 3:14-21 be your experience in the new year

Have a blessed and exciting 2014!

Blessings! Derek

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Life Lived in Fear...

Wow! It's been ages since I have posted something on by Blog... A while back I watched the movie "Australia", I cant remember much of the movie but what I do remember is the motto of the film company that produced the movie, it was “A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.” It made quite an impact on me...

There is a lot of truth in that quote, many things hold us back from realising our dreams in life such as finances, the season of life you are in, practical limitations, etc. But I feel that one of the 'biggies' that holds us back is fear. It seems it doesn't take much for people to live in fear these days. The media thrives on bad news that breeds fear in people... increasing levels of crime, unemployment and so much more adds to the dilemma.

 Coming back to the motto; “A life lived in fear is a life half-lived”, fear will get in the way and stop us pursuing new ventures in our lives. Take for example the spies that had to check out the promised land (Numbers 13 & 14) they came back saying "no can do!", they saw all that God promised would be there but they allowed their fear to give them a whole bunch of reasons why they could not take the land as God promised they could. Only Joshua and Caleb stayed positive... they saw everything the others saw, the fortified cities and the 'giants' however they did not feel like 'grasshoppers' like the others did and their response in Numbers 14:5 was “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

 If we allow fear to rule our lives we will live only half a life, we will miss out on many opportunities God has in store for us. How do we deal with the fears we have? I don't want to give some quick answers here but one way of dealing with them is to write them down, then speak with someone you feel safe with and together work out what of the fears are rational fears and which are irrational... the irrational ones are easier to deal with once they are out in the open because they look a lot smaller once we expose them than they do in our minds. The rational fears can be worked on by working out what triggers them and why they seem to block our progress in life (example: fearing the future; look back over your life and see how God brought you through difficult times when at the time you thought there would be no tomorrow).

I have learnt (I have faced many fears in my life), and continue to learn, the only way to tackle your fears is to face them head-on. It's not always easy but the alternative is worse. Thanks for reading my ramblings on this, if anything, I hope it inspires you to draw a line in the sand, face your fears and live more than just half a life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Leaving the Cave

Its been a while since I have posted something to my blog, my apologies. I have recently been reflecting on David in the cave of Adullam (see 1Sam 22). David escaped to the cave and was joined by family members and those who were in distress, in debt or discontented, not a group you would expect to get much encouragement from. In fact David himself was in distress (see Ps.142)and needing to hear "what God is going to do for me" (1Sam 22:3). For defense he had the sword of Goliath and a motley bunch of followers. They chose David as their leader in spite of the fact that he himself was down and not feeling too strong at the time ("my spirit grows faint within me" - Ps. 142:3 "I am in desperate need" - vs 6) but someone once said "you can trust a leader that walks with a limp". David could identify with those that gathered in the cave with him.
The Cave was their safe place, a place of refuge, a place of preparation. But in order for David to fulfill the purposes of God in his generation (Acts 13:36) he had to leave the cave. In order for some of the distressed around him to become the 'mighty men of David', they had to leave the cave. The cave was not their destination but rather a stop over on the way.
As I reflected on this, I realized how often I have wanted the safety of the cave to be the destination, I wanted the time of 'licking my wounds' in a safe place to not end... leaving the cave means facing your fears, leaving the cave means being vulnerable again, the very things that drove David and those with him to the cave could happen again... BUT they could not stay in the cave forever, in order for David to become king (fully) he had to get out and take risks again, he had to get out and face his fears, face opposition and live out the purpose God had for his life.
Living out Gods purpose for our lives is not a safe thing, it is a life of risk taking, of stepping out and 'taking a hold of that for which Christ Jesus has taken a hold of me' (Phil 3:12).
As David stepped out, previously distressed, in debt, discontented people found purpose. Although you cant have one without the other, we must not confuse preparation with purpose... sometimes as believers we want to stay in preparation our whole lives, never feeling confident to step out, going from conference to conference and seminar to seminar without actually putting any of what we are prepared for into practice.
My encouragement to you is to leave the cave and like the mighty men of David, grow in your God given purpose.
God bless you in this adventure called life

Friday, January 7, 2011


I don't know about you but my life is marked by many missed opportunities. I dont beat myself up about them but I do try to learn by them.
My Mother moved to Cape Town which at the time was 800km away from where we lived, she bought a sleeper couch so that we could be comforatble when visiting her over the Christamas and New Year period. I phoned her a week before to say we did not have the petrol money to visit but would visit over easter the next year. Two weeks later we found ourselves rushing to Cape Town after receiving a message that my mother was in hospital and not expected to live much longer... on the way to Cape Town we got the news that she had passed away.
Now we had legitimate reasons for not visiting earlier but we had to find the money to go to my moms funeral and we did. It saddens me that I missed the opportunity to enjoy some time with her for the last time before she passed away, I suppose one thinks our loved ones will always be there and we cant on the other hand live in a fear of them dying BUT we can show we love and appreciate them today, while we can.

When I look back on missed opportunities its often insignificant, short term activities that have robbed me (in hindsight) of meaninful opportunities to build lasting relationships and memories, its also that meaniful opportuities often take effort and money to accomplish and so get overlooked.
I am going through my present day relationships with family and friends and I am asking God to give me a fresh appreciaition for all the loving relayionships he has surrounded me with.
Last night I wanted to go down to the beach (5km away) to watch the sunset, instead I worked on getting my PC to work properly... stupid!
I suppose there are some opportunities in life we will miss for very legitimate reasons but I want to make an effort to show my family and friends I appreciate them while I can. The Bible says we must encourage each other while today is still called today, in other words we must not procrastinate (I constantly have to work on this).

I love the idea of a living will, you dont leave a bunch of stuff for your family to fight over one day when you die, you enjoy what you have with them while you live. My kids will not inherit a bunch of money someday but they do have memories of travelling all over the world. Those trips were done on a shoestring budget but they have created in my family memories that no one can take away, a living will and testament of time spent on adventures with Mom and Dad.

Not sure if this post is at all usefull or inspiring, it may just be me airing my thoughts but let me leave you with one last question: is there someone you care for that you have not seen or corresponded with in a long time? Why not make a decision to contact them right now while today is still called today...