After a long and trying year the kids and I are finally at our beach house for the holidays. Tinus will join up with us on the 15th, because he still needs to finish up some things this week at his office.
There is a cloud of peace resting over us – and the golden frame around this cloud is called VICTORY.
After years of persevering in the (physical and spiritual) battle, we are finally starting to taste the sweet peace of victory. Please remember, you will never walk in victory until you acknowledge that you are unable to attain it for yourself; because the greatest barrier to victory is trying to do it in your own strength. It was only through Wisdom and THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB that we could overcome. Victory comes from Christ - Christ in us, our hope of Glory (Col.1:27).
And they have overcome (conquered) him by means of the blood of the Lamb and by the utterance of their testimony, for they did not love and cling to life even when faced with death [holding their lives cheap till they had to die for their witnessing] (Rev. 12:11, Ampl).
This overcoming life requires that we take a stand and start to declare: “I cannot attain the victory on my own, but in Christ I am more than a conqueror! Please help me Yeshua, because I cannot do it by myself. For so long we have tried to do it on my own, but it nearly cost us our lives... Now I surrender!”
If we do this – we will overcome. God waits for us to surrender. So many times in this journey I have seen that Wisdom did not reveal things to me until I acknowledged my need for Him to teach me, or repented of my unbelief. We must completely deny our own works and not trust in our own wisdom, before Christ can express Himself through us.
This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD (Jer. 9:23-24).
If you try to force things with your own fleshly works, He will stand back and wait until you see that He is not a part of this D.I.Y. (do it yourself) thing you are trying to pull off. If Christ does not overcome for us, then what ever victory there might be, will be your own – and not divine through Christ.
Lately I have found that I cannot pray anything other than “I ask for Your divine plan, Lord... Your destiny for us - nothing of my own!” Christ’s Power is not there for patching our holes, but rather He wants us to live a divine life – a life where we walk out His destiny for us. For too long I wanted Yeshua just to fill the hole; now I want Him, and Him only, to live in me.
The first step you need to take before Yeshua can take control, is to acknowledge that we cannot do it by ourselves. He is not going to fight for control; you have to hand it over before anything can start that will ultimately end in victory. While you are still making plans how to make something work on your own (without including God in your plans), and already celebrating your own victory – you will lose it. While you are busy making these plans, you are wasting precious time. When you come to that place where you stop and give over to God, only then can Yeshua breathe His life giving breath over your destiny and the fulfilment of His plans and purposes for your life.
Moses also had to pass this test in the Wilderness on the way to the Promised Land. Would he compromise and go on in his own strength even if God sent an angel before him, or would he choose God and God alone?
Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name” (Ex. 33: 14-17).
Acknowledge that you can’t go one step forward without God; that you don’t know how to make it on your own. Tell God that you are sorry for trusting in your own strength, and that you only wanted His help for those holes that you couldn’t fill yourself. Let go of trying so hard to do it yourself. Then, stand back and listen to His voice before you proceed one step further. He will then release a new battle plan; and this time all you need to do is to listen and obey, with complete rest in Christ.
Aldo wrote a letter the other day that said: “Mommy, your tears are going to be turned into laughter.” This made me so excited! I talked to my Abba in prayer one night about all the many tears that I have cried this year, and He replied: “Tears are good, Retah. Only a heart that is willing to be transformed can produce tears. When your heart is hardened, there will usually not be many tears.”
As I look back over my year I can also see that tears usually accompany the “dying to self” process.
“Yes,” Holy Spirit replied. “Have you ever been to a funeral where there were no tears? In the death to self process tears will be the milestones along the way; but these tears are of the good kind, and Jesus uses them in your purification.”
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me (2 Cor. 12:9).
Can you see how Jesus uses these “weaknesses” of ours for His glory? In the eyes of the world tears is a sign of weakness not power. The world asks victory no matter who you have to walk over to get there, but God asks us to humble ourselves and to give over to Him, so He can attain the victory for us.
Paul said that he considered his weakness something to glory in; because our weakness presents an opportunity for Christ’s greatness and power to be manifested in our lives. If it wasn’t for that place of brokenness and desperate dependence on God (where I didn’t know which way to go forward, where I was completely empty of myself and confronted with my own weakness), I wouldn’t have been able to move into that place where the power of God tabernacles over me. Christ’s power cannot tabernacle over us if we don’t desperately seek it – and this is when we realize that we cannot go on one second longer without Him. The power of God seeks the weakness of man to anchor into. You have to acknowledge that you can’t do it by yourself!
When people (and especially Christians) become “big” in themselves, I just want to run away. This is also a sign of the times for Paul warned us: But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people (2 Tim. 3:1-5).
I see so many Christians seeking to puff themselves up and wanting to let everyone around them know how “big” they are in the spirit – that is spiritual pride!
Why do you seek the recognition of men? Why do you want everybody to know? Why do you want to measure yourself against others? Don’t you know that God doesn’t measure, He weighs? Rather just live what you preach, and in that way everybody will know who you are in the spirit without you having to tell them.
Some time ago someone said to me with great arrogance, “Don’t you know who I am in the spirit?” I just kept quiet, because I know that in the spirit we are recognized by our cloaks of humbleness. Without it, we won’t even be noticeable!!
When He (Jesus) noticed how the guests picked the places of honour at the table, He told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honour, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honoured in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 14:7-11).
Why do we seek to be recognized in the eyes of men? Let’s lay down seeking to build our own kingdoms, and let’s get to that place of humbleness to be who God wants us to be. This I can guarantee you – you will recognize the plan of God for your life by the cloak of humbleness that He gives you to wear. If you are walking in pride or arrogance you have to search your heart to see if haven’t taken the wrong turn somewhere.
I would rather agree with Paul and say: Lord be exulted in me weakness even if it means that I have to endure difficulty to get there; than to trust in my own strength and seek the easy way out.
Thank you Jesus that You take the “impossible” cases and turn it around for Your glory! You are the God of the impossible. We are tasting the sweet fruits of victory today only because of You!
The kids and I are enjoying the peace and quiet of Yzerfontein, the seaside village where we always come for the December holiday. The cousins, grandma and grandpa, and friends are enjoying it with us. We are just relaxing. I didn’t realize I was this tired! We nap in the afternoons, and in the evenings we chat, or watch a movie, or read the Bible until late at night. For the biggest part of the day I don’t even put on my cell phone. To see Aldo this happy and healthy is definitely the highlight of my year. Zozzie is enjoying his cousins and I am enjoying the peace and quiet.
Our office will be closed from the 10th of December, but we will still put on some web letters during the holiday thanks to my P.A. Judike who said she’ll set aside some time to do it, even if she is also on holiday at the sea. Thanks Juds!
I am sitting on the balcony of the beach house and listening to the sound of the white waves crashing against the rocks. As I read Psalm 93 my heart beats with excitement: “Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea - the LORD on high is mighty.”It is my Abba they are talking about! And I know Him as the mighty God, who reigns sovereign over all of His creation. He is clothed in majesty and strength. His kingdom will endure forever. His works are great and His thoughts and His ways are far above our own.
I can also hear the sound of a soccer ball being kicked around, and that is my Zozzing playing soccer by himself even if it is already late and becoming dark. Drifting from the kitchen I can hear the sounds of Aldo talking ever so loudly and the cousins running to fetch a cloth to clean up whatever he just spilled.
My heart is overflowing with thankfulness! This year Tinus and I are just going to enjoy each other and our precious kids, and our Abba that loves us so very much that He gave His only begotten Son for our ransom from sin and death.
The e-book of “A Message of Hope” will be available early in the next year from our web-site, and our new books Message of Hope (Afrikaans and English) and Daily Messages of Faith (my daily devotional, also in Afrikaans and English) are now available in Gospel Direct book shops around South Africa.
I bless you in the name of Yeshua with a wonderful time of rest in this holiday season, wherever you are in the world. No matter if you get to spend the holiday’s with your children, or without them, with or without money, at home or on holiday – find your rest in Jesus, in His shalom – not in your circumstances. He is enough, and enjoy Him!
Retah and family