Have you seen the victory in your struggle?

When our dire circumstances are no match to GodHave you been facing circumstances that are harsh and even unbearable at times? May you have been praying for God to deliver you but you have failed to see His breakthrough. Maybe you have been waiting for answers on your “why” question only to hear the silence in response.

Have you ever considered the possibility that your greatest victory lies hidden in your current unbearable circumstances?

Moses found himself in a similar predicament. When he was a baby, the Pharaoh order that all baby boys should be killed at birth. Moses’ mother hid him in a basket in the Nile River in an attempt to protect him from murder at the hands of the Pharaoh. The small basket in which his mother hid him kept him safe until Pharaoh’s daughter found him in the Nile. Pharaoh’s daughter did not know how to look after the baby and called on a Hebrew woman, Moses’ mother to look after him and to nurse him. The Pharaoh’s daughter even paid Moses mother to look after her own son. Moses was adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter and raised in Pharaoh’s house as an Egyptian. In Moses’ story we see how God used Moses’ worst moment to raise him to the next level God meant for him to step into. God delivered Moses in the most unexpected way as He used the very one who wanted to destroy him, to also protect him and raise him up.

Later, when the boy was older, his mother brought him back to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her own son. The princess named him Moses, for she explained, “I lifted him out of the water.” (Exodus 2:10 NLT)

In a similar way, Jesus was protected from the beginning by God when Herod ordered all Hebrew baby boys to be murdered. As in the case of Moses, God was one step ahead of Herod and protected Jesus from the destruction when an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and guided him, Mary and baby Jesus away from the enemy. God positioned Jesus to fulfil God’s appointed plan for his life and no evil plans or bad circumstances could come in God’s way. In fact, God used those circumstances to position Moses and Joseph towards His divine destiny for them.

After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.” (Matthew 2:13-15 NLT)

What does this mean for you and me?

In the same way that God had great plans for Moses and Jesus, He has great plans for you and me. If you find yourself in a dark place and you fail to see the way out, just look towards Jesus and He will use the very circumstances you find yourself in to raise you onto the platform He purposed for your life.

He sees your circumstances and your struggles and they come as no surprise to Him. While you may not see the way out, He has already ordained the path towards a greater victory through your current storm and will guide you by the hand. Will you take His hand today?

Maretha Retief

Have you forgotten your Father?

Have you forgotten your Father?Lately, the Lion King has been a favorite in our house for our almost three-year old daughter who cannot wait in the afternoon when she gets back from school to watch “leeutjie” (the Afrikaans translation of lion). Never paying much attention to the movie as I would sit with her, there was this one scene that got my attention and I knew there was a deeper meaning in it for me.

Yes, even in an animation story, God can speak to us.

It is the scene where Simba has become a young adult lion and was wandering far away from home. He blamed himself for his father’s death and did not think he was worthy to take up the position of king as he was born to be as he no longer saw himself worthy of it. During his wanderings, the baboon, Rafikki got hold of him and got straight to point by reminding Simba that he was lost and have forgotten who he is and who he was called to be: “It is not me who does not know who I am, it is you! You do not know who you are…” Simba was upset and told Rafikki that he is wrong and wanted to know how did he know who Simba was how and Rafikki responded, “Oh but I know, you are Mufasa’s son…” and those words made Simba stop in his track.

Rafikki reminded Simba that he is lost because he has forgotten who he has inside him. Rafikki took Simba to a nearby pond and told him to look in the water and he will see the reflection of his father. At first Simba was quite blasé about it and only saw his own reflection in the water and said as much to Rafikki. But Rafikki did not give up, he persisted and encouraged Simba to have another look, but this time look deeper … and Simba saw. He saw the reflection of his father and could hear his father saying to him: “Simba, you have forgotten me. You do not know who you are because you have forgotten who I am…”

Simba was shocked because how would he forget his father? But it was not about having the memory of his father but about knowing his position and identity as a result of whose son he is. In that moment Simba remembered that he was the son of a king and he has a duty to take up his rightful place as the king of the animal kingdom. From that point, where Simba understood his identity because of who his father was, there was nothing stopping him from stepping into his destiny.

It was like as if I could hear God saying, “My child, life gets busy, life happens and sometimes the things that happen are not even our fault but we hold ourselves accountable for it and even go a little off track. But at the essence of it all, the only reason why we feel lost or overwhelmed is because we have forgotten who our Father is. If we will remember who we are in Him, we will remember who we are meant to be and what our position in life is supposed to be. We will find our purpose and our joy again and we will be surprised at the blessings and promises that await us on the other side of that realisation.”

Jesus reminds us of the same truth in John 14:7 where He reminds the people that if they know Him, they will know His Father. He is one and the same as His Father.

I do not know where you find yourself in life, but if you have been feeling a little lost because of circumstances or maybe you are overwhelmed by the everyday demands, I would like you to join me to stop for just a moment and ask yourself the question? Have you forgotten your Father and who you are and have in Him — Your provider who supplies you in all your needs, Your protector, Your Comforter, the Author of your life that only have good plans for you, Your answer to every question you may have, Your solution to every problem?

Take one minute and put every thought aside and just remember this: you are the beloved child of God, your Father, your Daddy God, who loves you beyond words and who is the outcome for your current circumstances, who will provide for you in every need and who has a destiny for only you to fill. Then let Him fill you with a fresh sense of peace and purpose so that you will be able to get up and start moving again in your purpose from the very next step you take.

Maretha Retief

Have you noticed?

Promises of WisdomProverbs 8 is known as a chapter in the Bible that deals with wisdom, but have you noticed the personal promises it contains for you?

Let’s have a look at each one and explore them a little more:

The meaning of my words will release within you revelation for you to reign in life. My lyrics will empower you to live by what is right. (Proverbs 8:6 TPT)

The Hebrew word regularly used in Proverbs for wisdom is “chokmah”. It means to have a “sacred sense”. It is an understanding and insight given only by God. Interestingly, the word “chokmah” is used forty-two times in Proverbs. Jesus ministered forty-two months it is also the number of generations from Abraham and Jesus listed in Matthew 1. Wisdom is speaking here to us who is personified in the person of Christ who promises to us that His Words will give us revelations in life which can only be obtained from Him and it will cause us to reign in life. Wisdom brings victory and sets us up to fulfil our destiny to reign in Christ. It guides us to do the right things at the right time and keeps us from harm.

… my words will never lead you astray. (Proverbs 8:7 TPT)

God’s Word, His Wisdom does not lead us to harm on off-track. He does not bring confusion. If we experience any of that it should encourage us to dig deeper to find the clarity He gives.

You will find true success when you find me, for I have insight into wise plans that are designed just for you! I hold in my hands living-understanding, courage, and strength. They’re all ready and waiting for you. (Proverbs 8:14 TPT)

We are promised to have good success when we walk in God’s wisdom. When we find wisdom, we have success. It lines up with Genesis 39:2 where God’s Word says that the Lord was with Joseph and he was a successful man. We do not have to perform or possess something to become successful, once we find Jesus and He is with us, He makes us successful. His success is the good kind of success that brings no harm with it. Wisdom leads us to make decisions and act in a way that keeps us in God’s plans for our lives.

Unending wealth and glory come to those who discover where I dwell. The riches of righteousness and a long, satisfying life will be given to them. (Proverbs 8:18 TPT)

When we walk in the ways of wisdom, we are promised prosperity and good standing with God as we walk in the shadow of His glory. We have the promise of a long life to hold on and even more a satisfying life. It does not only speak of a mediocre, “just getting by life” but a satisfying life and when the Lord satisfies us it is in all aspects.

Those who love me gain great wealth and a glorious inheritance, and I will fill their lives with treasures. (Proverbs 8:21 TPT)

All of God’s men were blessed – Abraham, Jacob, Isaac, Noah and the list go on. God blessed His children, sometime in different ways from what we would expect, but our inheritance in God as co-heirs with Christ are great. The inheritance we have in God as we wander in His wisdom is not a once-off benefit we receive but a continuous blessing throughout our lives.

… nothing will bring you more joy than following my ways. (Proverbs 8:32 TPT)

If you are looking for the best way in life, here you have it! The walk with Christ and His wisdom. It brings joy, courage, strength, favour and blessings. All waiting for you to snatch it up and make it your own!

Now that you know what is already yours … what are you waiting for?

Maretha Retief

God is catching your tears

God is catching your tears

You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book. (Psalm 56:8 MSG)

Another translation says:

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. (Psalm 56:8 NLT)

Have you shed tears no one noticed? Have you been harbouring a pain or struggle you do not have the courage to share about? All of which made you feel alone and vulnerable.

If that is you, that is okay, but I would like to share an image with you that will hopefully encourage you to be vulnerable, once more.

An image that God is with you in whichever position you are in – standing, kneeling, sitting, lying down or just holding you close as you shed those tears and dealing with your struggles. He is right there next to you. He not only notices every one of your tears, but He catches and records them for His own doing – to set things right for you again in His time.

He needs you to know that you are not alone. Your vulnerability does not go unnoticed, but He wants you to know that He sees you, He is aware of every tear you shed and struggle you encounter and He does not want you to go through it alone. You are invited to approach Him in your brokenness and just be vulnerable before Him as He is the One who can truly comfort and help you. You are not meant to deal with your sorrows and struggle by yourself. He is with you. He wants to endure everything with you.

The next time you are shedding those tears or facing your struggles, will you allow yourself to see Him there with you, holding you and catching every drop of your emotions and at the same time encouraging you that His promise for a good life will come to pass.

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain anymore, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4 AMPC)

The Bible promises us a world where no tears will be shed and God will remove all our tears, but for us as His children it does not mean it will only come in the future as God is already busy working at creating those lives for us while we are on earth. He began His work when Jesus sacrificed His life on the Cross and overcame the enemy and all his forces. The effects we experiences today are mere attempts by the enemy to move our focus away from what we already have in Jesus and onto the lies of the enemy.

Remember, today or in any other moment when the need arises, that God is with you. He notices you and catches all your tears. He is aware of everything you go through and promises to turn things around in your favor. Just hold onto Him.

Maretha Retief

Let me tell you a little about yourself …

Let me tell you a little about yourself ... You are that beloved one that looks in the mirror and pure bliss reflects in the mirror.

You are that beloved one that was created in the image and character of your wonderful, loving Heavenly Father, who represents everything that is pure and good.

You are that beloved one that is distinguished from others in every part of your being – your looks, your purpose, your voice, your dreams and your calling.

You are that beloved one that was formed with perfection and no detail about you was unintended or went unnoticed. You are who you were meant to be.

You are that beloved one that was made in the wonder and fearfulness of your loving Father. Everything He does is good and wonderful. He makes no mistakes.

You are that beloved one that is mounted up in the glory of God. You are born to rise and grow in His majestic ways and to operate in God’s matchless power.

You are that beloved one that is a display of God’s wondrous works.

You are that beloved one that is in right standing with God and who cannot be shaken, because you are who you are because of Jesus in you.

You are that beloved one that can face any trial that may cross your path and you will rise above it because you are not alone. Your God is with you in everything you do.

Do you recognise yourself yet?

This is only a drop in the ocean of who you are as there is so much more to you.

You are that man or woman whom God has called for a purpose that is unique. A purpose crafted and shaped only for you to fulfil. You are so loved that God spent the time when He designed you to equip you with everything you need so that when His time comes for you to flourish in His way, you would be ready and willing.

This is you, if you did not know, meet the new you because that is God in you.

This is not my opinion of you but God’s opinion of you. His Words says:

I confess Thee, because that [with] wonders I have been distinguished. Wonderful [are] Thy works, And my soul is knowing [it] well. (Psalm 139:14 YLT98)

THEREFORE, SINCE we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). (Romans 5:1 AMPC)

… be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God} Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will ] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! … (Hebrews 13:5 AMPC)

Are you ready to accept who you are and start walking victoriously with Jesus Christ by Your side?

Then pray with me:

Lord Jesus, You are the Lord of my life, My Savior. I surrender to you all that I am and all that I have. Thank you for who You made me to be and for the wonderful works of Your majesty that is displayed through me. Help me to treasure that and to walk in my divine identity and destiny and to not be fooled by a matter of mistaken identity because of what I see in the world around me or because of my circumstances. I am fully Yours and declare today that You have the right over my life. I am taking Your hand today Lord and I am declaring that my walk is with you. In victory we will stand and through Your grace we will rise to Your higher grounds. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Maretha Retief

When faith banishes fear

When faith banishes fearWhen you are faced with a struggle or concern, what is your first reaction? Do you surrender it immediately to God and trust in Him for the best outcome or are you worried and fear of what could happen?

It is a very real battle we all face every day and some days more than once.

In every trial we face, we have a choice between faith and fear; what do you choose?

God knew how real this struggle of choosing faith over fear would be and He gave us ample encouragement and reminders in His Word to not be afraid, but to have faith.

““Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1 NKJV)

But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:40 NKJV)

It takes the same amount of time and energy to fear and be worried over a situation than what it takes to have faith. The difference is that when we have faith we get results without sacrificing our health, time or relationships. When we are afraid and worry, we are left drained and stressed out and it makes no difference to the results at the end of the day.

When you are facing a discouraging situation at work, instead of worrying about it, you can have faith that God will have favour over you and will work it out for your good.

When you have a troubling child or spouse, instead of being worried and not making any positive difference to the situation, you can have faith that God is a God of reconciliation and He will provide and bring a good outcome that will not only restore relationships but will make them better than ever before.

As believers in Christ, it is true … “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1:7 NKJV)

Picture God’s supply in every situation as large pipelines running down from heaven. Every time we face a challenge and we believe that He is our God and supply us in all our needs, the pipelines are open and God provides. But when we are worried and afraid, we hinder God’s supply as we stop ourselves from receiving His supply from heaven.

There is no doubt that we all face difficulty and uncertainty at some point in time. The question is not about when but how are you going to approach it? In your own strength being uncertain and afraid of what it may entail or are you going to surrender it to God to make it work for your good?

Let’s start small and for one week, every time fear or worry come knocking on the door of your heart, do not open. Choose to have faith and let God be the doorkeeper of your life. You will not regret the impact it will have one your life.

Maretha Retief

Let God restore you

God is always by your sideHave you had moments or even days where you felt you have had enough? Maybe you have felt that you just cannot cope with everything that is expected of you. Maybe you are having a hard time to overcome some brokenness in your own life and cannot see your way to the top.

Do not lose heart.

As humans, we are living in fallible bodies but the limitations of our flesh do not need to define us or have the last say over us. We have Someone much more powerful inside us, who can help us overcome our obstacles, give us the strength to climb our mountains and with grace restore our brokenness to a completeness nowhere else but in Him.

His name: the Holy Spirit. Our restorer, our strength, our peace.

There is nothing He does not want to help us with. He is there in every overwhelming moment. He is there when we come to face to face with our weaknesses and brokenness. Nothing scares Him and nothing can make Him turn His back on us.

He will not. He cannot.

“… be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6 AMPC)

God will not, will not, will not leave you or fail you. That is His promise, His Word to you and it stands.

I would like to encourage you in the knowledge that God has your back and will always be there right inside you that you will not allow your circumstances or you brokenness limit God’s grace from flowing through your life.

Do not settle for what is holding you back. Let God restore and uplift you to the greater heights He ordained for you to tread on.

Surrender every concern, every circumstance and every shortcoming and let Him restore you mind, your heart, your hope, your dreams, your emotions and feelings, your relationship and everything that may need it.

But the crux lies therein that He will not force Himself into your situation, only if you let Him. Will you?

Maretha Retief

How to find time for God’s Word in a busy day

Finding time for God's Word in a busy worldIs your time with God operating during the fringe hours of your day? Do you have to squeeze in your time with Him during a few spare moments, if any?

If so, that is okay. You, like most of us, are facing the same struggle to find time for Jesus.

Maybe you feel like if only you can have an extra hour during the day, if only you can have five minutes for yourself, if only things will calm down, then you will be able to give God the attention He needs? The desire is never the problem, but the time, oh the time.

Jesus knew the battle we were going to have to find time with Him. Our own human nature, life’s demand and the enemy may come in our way. None of that is a surprise to Him and He does not even hold it against us as there is no condemnation for us in Christ (Romans 8:1). He knows our schedules and the demands we are facing, but even in five minutes with Him, He can still bless us and help us live the abundant lives He came to give us. His revelations to us are not always measured in the time we spend with Him but through the desire in our hearts to see and have more of Him.

Staying true to the fact that Jesus is the answer to any question we may have and the solution to every problem that may cross our paths, Jesus Himself showed us the way to make time for the Father and how to go about our days, no matter how busy they become.

“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.” (Mark 1:35 NASB)

Jesus rose early in the morning before any of the demands of the day and gave thanks to God for another day. He obtained the strength He needed for His day and He waited for God to reveal His will for the day before Jesus endeavoured towards it. In the same way, we can seek our strength, guidance and direction for the day from God, even in a few minutes in prayer before we put our foot on the floor.

In everything Jesus did, His mind was on His Father and what His will was for Him. Jesus did not keep Himself busy with people’s opinions and expectations. He kept His mind on God every step of the way. Spending time with God is not only when we sit down and read our Bibles, but every waking moment is an opportunity to become aware and enjoy His presence. As we make breakfast we can meditate on a scripture, as we drive to work we can praise God for His goodness or we can talk about Him with our children of or whoever is with us while driving. We can find a hymn and recite it to ourselves in our minds as we sit at our desks to work or waiting for an appointment. We can pray in every quiet moment. When we have to attend meetings, we can see Jesus sitting there with us as our wisdom. When we have to encounter difficult conversations or situations, we can invite Jesus to be there with us and let Him lead us to the outcome He desires. In all these ways we make Him part of our day as we choose Him above ourselves or anyone else.

Jesus did not wait for the perfect moment to talk about the goodness of His Father. He did so at every encounter or place He went. We do not have to wait for everything to be perfect before we open God’s Word. We should place it in every room of our house, so when you pass by it, your mind shifts to God, when you find a minute, open and read a verse. Place one in your car so when you wait you can seek God’s face, even if it is only through one verse. You do not need perfection to find time for God’s Word, you only need to be willing to turn your thoughts to Him and be conscious about using every possible moment to turn your thoughts to Him.

When you consciously make an effort to turn to God, you may find that you get even more time to finish everything you had to do and find more and more slots for Him. God honours our decisions to seek Him above all things, even if it is during the fringe hours of our days.

A last thought and promise I want to leave with you:

But first, be concerned about his kingdom and what has his approval. Then all these things will be provided for you.” (Matthew 6:33 GW)

Maretha Retief

Becoming aware of God’s presence

Becoming aware of God's presenceThere is no place that you can go that is too dark or far away for the presence of God to follow. He is everywhere with you and in everything you do. As you wake up, while making your morning coffee, driving to work, attending meetings, dealing with your family and friends, just sitting by yourself―God is there right with you.

The question is not whether God is with us, but whether we are aware of Him who is with us. As we journey together to focus on the presence of God, we will discover many ways on how to practice His presence, and we are going to start by becoming aware of God’s presence. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God…” In that stillness and in just becoming aware of Him, we allow ourselves to sink into God. As we forget about everything else going on around us and just let ourselves get lost in Him, we can reach that place where we become less so that God can become more and we can truly discover who we are in Him.

We do not have to earn God’s presence, we already have it, Hebrews 13:5 reminds us, “…For He Himself said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

The following confirmation by King David is found in Acts 2:25, “…I see that the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.

When you focus on becoming aware of Him, you are living to please God and not men. It will become more important to you to do the right thing because He is with you, than fulfilling the expectations of man.

We often feel robbed of our time with God because of the demands of our lives, but as you continue to see Him with you, you can never be robbed of your time with Him. You only need to turn your thoughts to Him and see Him with you wherever you are—in the midst of a busy life or even when chaos evolves all around you. When you just allow yourself, you will realise He is and always will be with you.

There is no condemnation when your mind wanders and you forget about God at times, as He remains with you. All you need to do is repent and return to Him and continue with Him in the next step you take.

Stop a little every morning as you wake up, give yourself reminders throughout the day and just see Jesus there with you. You may be surprised by what such an awareness will do to the order of your day.

Maretha Retief

A life surrounded by Christ

A life surrounded by Christbut in the depths of my heart I truly know that you have become my Shield; You take me and surround me with yourself. (Psalm 3:3 tPt)

Can you imagine a life where you are surrounded with Christ? A life where people look at you and do not see your shortcomings and weaknesses but Christ and His fullness embracing your entire being.

For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield. (Psalm 5:12 NASB)

A life where people here you speak and all they hear are the graceful Word of God that touches the deepest parts of their beings. A life where people observe your actions and first see God’s hand over your life and the great works He is doing through you. A life where everything about you is about God and little about you.

A life that is impossible to obtain through self-effort but which is completely in your reach as you allow yourself to be hidden in Christ in all you say, do or think.

Can you imagine such a life? Would you like to have such a life?

You can.

In Christ you have become the fullness of Christ already as you are one with Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17). Christ is in you and you possess every good thing He has. His greatness is in you. His presence is in you through His Holy Spirit. His existence is so great it is impossible to have Him in you and to keep Him shut inside. As you allow Him to work through you He embraces your entire being. He is in us because we are in Him.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. (1 John 4:13 ESV)

If we go back to Psalm 3:3 and the words, “You take me and surround me with yourself” paints a beautiful picture of God that comes to us and closes us in His embrace in presence. The Father’s love that cannot be denied. He shields us with His entire being that all that can be seen is Him. What greater shield than God Himself could you have?

For anyone to get to you, they have to go through God first. When you are looked upon, people will notice there is something different about you. You will be looked upon and the presence of God will be evident. When you are hidden in Christ this way the enemy will not see you. The attacks he attempts to send your way will fail as they will not prosper against as you are clothed in Him and the armor He has given you (Ephesians 6).

Maretha Retief