March 01, 2013

Jesus comes out of a sleeping bag

It’s about me
When I was under 20 years of age, my priority was to get skilled in combat sports. As I was training to be able to defend myself properly, I got a brown belt in Jiu-Jitsu and some degrees in Judo and Taekwondo. Some tournaments came on my way, and I liked these fights. I wasn’t into team sports such as football. I’ve been doing many sports by myself. Archery, athletics, gymnastics, kick-boxing, fencing. But why did I throw myself into these individual sports? I felt lonely from time to time and this never really left me. This led me to excel in combat-sports and gain approval there. I got what I wanted, but it didn’t last. There were always higher degrees I could get, and the approval had to be renewed.
After my 25th, I went into the army to become an officer. But as you probably can imagine, the problem of loneliness remained. I did like people and hanging around with them, but somehow I felt ‘not in place’. I swung between feeling kind to very bad tempered. This feeling of wanting to ‘change the world’ and ‘leave me alone!’ stayed together with the loneliness.

Jesus comes out of the sleeping bag
When I was in the army, I got a little bible. During a field-training I would read a little with my sleeping bag over my head. It gripped me, but I couldn’t hold on to it. The realities between what I saw outside my sleeping bag and what I could read in my sleeping bag was just too big. Outside, I could see people running around, getting tensed, hurrying and drinking beer when possible. Inside the sleeping bag, I could read about Jesus healing people, and giving them “rest for their souls” as he said it. I wanted this.
After this I went on a holiday to South-Africa and was invited into a church. These people seemed happier than me, with less than what I had. I needed to stay cool before they would turn me into such a happy person. I would have a hard time trusting people, especially these church people, but these people seemed so full of joy and love. I honestly spoke to this God, whom I read about. I said:“God, I’ve tried to be a Christian, but I can’t. Now either you do something or I quit trying”, and that was it. One evening later, I had a powerful encounter with God Himself. He said very clearly right inside my heart –almost audibly- that He loved me, and that I’m His child. This was stunning and completely turned me around. Now I knew 100% that God was real, and Jesus came out of the sleeping bag!

My life since Jesus
Of course I had to get back into the army, but now something had changed. I had met Jesus, and I remember me wanting to read the bible and talking to Him. I had received a deep rest unlike anything or anyone could give me. I had an approval that no one could take away anymore, and I couldn’t loose it either. God had spoken to me very clearly and my perspective on life changed completely. Finally I had received rest! I had a purpose that was not fading away. Over time, the loneliness had left me too and never came back. I mean, how can I be lonely if God is always with me and I can always talk to Him? It’s not possible, ever since I’ve talked with Him and He with me. Sometimes through nature, sometimes through people, when I read the bible and also when I am simply quiet or sing to God. The ways that He talks are different, but always one thing remained the same: Jesus always kept on talking to my heart. My life has changed drastically, from a life for myself into a life learning to live from God’s love for me and loving others. I now know that I can not be separated from the love of Jesus and His friendship. I wish I could describe Him to you, but even than, I would come short. He simply is stunning. If you desire to meet him to, than it’s really possible. Ever since I started speaking about the reality of Jesus, I’ve seen people coming to know him too! It changed their lives also. Do you dare talking to him? I know he loves it and wants to give you a fresh, new life.

January 29, 2013

Short mission report of Tasiilaq - Greenland

It’s not easy to describe what I think others have experienced while we were on mission to Greenland. I can easily be wrong, but what I’m writing down below is based on what I heard and saw happening in this beautiful place called Tasiilaq.

We were there for about 9 days. We went together with Erna, an elder from an Icelandic church, who had been in Tasiilaq many times. It was going to be a very blessed time. And like in Jesus’ days, there are too many things to write about, and I will have to be short and strong in the testimonies of people, while more has happened.

What just caught me, was the question of a woman to Erna:”How can I receive Jesus?”. This happened in the evening, when we usually had our meetings in the house. Some people came, and others were brought along into our “open house”. The Lord was anointed to preach good news to people, and so are we. We can expect His workings in our midst, when we boldly stand for Him. And so it also was for a girl who came in to ask about Jesus. She had heard that we were also praying for healing, and she herself had pain. Her back and neck were painful. But during the praying not much did happen. She did feel some relief, but the surprise came when there was prayer for her leg-length difference. We saw them getting equal with each other, and the amazement came when she started walking. She walked out of balance for her feelings, but actually it finally was in balance and the back pain became much less. This left her mouth open.
Some days later she came back to ask something which we often call strange or spooky. Her son could see a dead person in the living-room during the evening. This was the reason that she invited us over for prayer, which we did. But we also explained her that Jesus wants to empower her with the Holy Spirit. We prayed for the baptism in the holy Spirit and after another short prayer for healing she felt greatly relieved from her back pain and a heaviness.

And as in the book of Acts, this opened another door to a sick person. We were invited to come and pray for her father who had a bad lunge. As we entered the small house, we walked into the living room. He was lying on the couch and on his shirt a dragon was portrayed. He came to sit on a chair for prayer, and when we started to pray, we could feel the power of God coming. A certain warmth came over him, and as with Jesus who felt virtue flowing out of Him, we could sense God working in this man’s body. He told us after the prayer that all pain had left him. He seemed a bit surprised. This problem was there for 13 years, and now the pain was gone. And we made sure he understood that Jesus had touched him.

When we were leaving the house, I rejoiced so much. It was so great to see God move, to encourage and strengthen other believers in their faith. It saddens me to see believers getting drunk, gossiping, slandering, living for themselves. I feel sad when I see or hear about that, because it’s not living to the fullest at all. Living to the fullest is living the life that Jesus lived, or better: allowing Jesus to live through us, because we have said a firm ‘no’ to ourselves. The joy you get from obeying the Lord is so great, the joy is not based on my feelings at all. It’s just there. Can you imagine a high, without paying for it? But many still pay money for getting drunk, enjoying themselves in places where the world also enjoys, using the same stimuli. What is the difference with many Christians and the world? A man who joined the woman who asked about the way to receive Jesus said:”She really wants to be different, live a life of love and be different from the rest who is always drinking.” And the deliverance came. She was given a new heart with new desires, which saved her from herself. This is why it’s inconsistent to keep walking in the ways of the world, because a Christian is given a new heart and desires. She was glowing with joy. It’s this good news which is so wonderful to bring to others. There really is salvation, healing and deliverance in Jesus Christ!

December 27, 2011

When hope is lost, I'll call you Savior

“I could just take some drugs, put my jacket straight, sit at the side of the water and drop backwards. Then it’ll all be over”. “Are you telling me that you wanted to commit suicide?” “Mmh mmh”.

“Then it is even more wonderful that the Lord saved you yesterday”. “Yes”.

This was a conversation I had with someone lately. But some time before I had this conversation, something else had happened. The person was sleeping in the Shelter and was black-sleeping in a bed, in my nightshift. Somehow, the evening I went for work, I had asked God to save someone through me this night. A person came down to tell me someone was in his bed, so I came up to check it out. Indeed, a Scottish man was sleeping in the bed, and when he came out and down I found out he hadn’t paid for his bed this night.

He seemed to be sad, but that wasn’t because he was caught. He started telling me about him being separated from his wife and children. It caused him to come to Amsterdam. In our situations there is always hope with the Lord you know. The Lord is never outwitted, and was planning and preparing. First of all my heart, but also the heart of this man. I asked the Lord for wisdom how I could start to mention His goodness for us.

“You miss your wife and children right?”
“Yes, ….”
“The feeling you have of missing them, is the same feeling of separation that God feels towards mankind. His love for us is so great. He knows what you are feeling”.
“But He didn’t stop there. He had His Son send down and be punished for our sins, which caused the separation. See, God has pain because of the separation with mankind, and He did something about it. He stepped in and took our place of judgment and punishment: death.”

I knew by talking that he had heard more of the gospel before, but never was invited to ask the Lord Jesus to become his Savior.
“You know, when I was young I went to church and stuff”. He tried to indicate that he did his best to be good enough for God, so I told him:”When you go to the MacDonalds, you do not become a hamburger”. “Ha”. “And when you go to church, that doesn’t make you a Christian either” “That makes sense…”

“Do you want to know how you can become a Christian?”
“When we ask Jesus to forgive us, and to enter our lives, He will” So, I asked him a question:”Would you like to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior”?

“Yes… does that take long?” What a wonderful question!
“No, it can happen within one minute”. So we prayed, and he got saved. Also, he experienced the peace of God flooding in his heart. His appearance changed. By that time I had already given him a bed, so he could sleep.

This is just one story of a man, sleeping in the Shelter.

And the story about his salvation from (eternal) death: Two days later I found out that he was in a desperate situation, and I received another blessing through this. I had heard he wasn’t only saved for eternity, but also from killing himself. How desperate can people become? But the Lord is not outwitted, He is at work through us by Holy Spirit. If you think you became a hamburger by going to the MacDonalds, you are mistaken. The Lord is drawing a line in the sand and invites everyone to come on His side, for free. Will you please ask forgiveness, when you have never done so, and invite Jesus to come into your heart. Tell Him that He is your Savior from today on. Be washed with His precious blood from a sin-stained life, and start a new Life, with a clean slate. Please become His child now. He loves us so much.