Saturday, May 25, 2024
Home Authors Posts by Wendy Grages

Wendy Grages

Is God Out There?

Is He out there? Is He listening? More importantly, is He speaking? I recently wrote a blog about what to do “When God is Silent” and received quite a lot of feedback that I thought I would do a follow up piece. Here’s a link to the article if you’d like to have a read: https://www.1africa.tv/when-god-is-silent/.

The truth is, God longs to speak to us more than we want to hear Him. So what’s causing the breakdown in communication? Why does it sometimes feel like we are praying but no-one is answering? Well I think there are a few practical things we can do to make hearing from God a little bit easier:

  1. Set aside some undistracted, uninterrupted time where you can focus on God. Perhaps playing some worship music can set a nice atmosphere.
  2. Begin by talking to God. Tell Him how you are feeling, be honest with Him. He knows our inner most thoughts anyway, so no point wasting time pretending. He is big enough to handle our doubts, frustration and discouragement. Remember, He longs to speak to you more than you long to hear Him.
  3. Read what He’s already written. The Bible is God’s letter to you so read it as often as you can. You will be surprised at how a seemingly random passage of Scripture can speak directly into your situation. Don’t play scripture roulette though! You know, that’s when you close your eyes and randomly point to a verse? That would be like to trying to fix your car by randomly choosing instructions from the car manual. Start in Psalms or in the New Testament and commit to reading a portion as often as you can.

When I have gone through times when I couldn’t hear God, I had to take a look at my life, my thoughts and the condition of my heart. I had to ask myself some tough questions like, “Is there sin in my life that I haven’t confessed to God?” and “Do I have people I need to forgive?” It’s important to be able to own up to where you are at and bring that before God. He is ready and waiting to forgive us and give us a new start. When we let these things fester, it can definitely hinder our ability to tune into God’s frequency that He is broadcasting from.

If you’ve heard Him in the past but now He seems to be silent, I have discovered this to be helpful:

  • Do the last thing He told you – Often times, new guidance doesn’t come until we do the last thing we heard Him say to us. Obedience can be the doorway to new revelation from God.
  • Dig deeper – Jesus often withdrew to a quiet place to pray and seek God. We need to drown out the noise and press in to God.
  • Develop a hunger – if we’ve been feeding our souls too much of what this world has to offer, we can become full like at an “all-you-can-eat” buffet. We need to empty ourselves of worldly influence so that we can be filled by God.

Lastly, I want to leave you with this thought….Who God is to you, is more important that what He does for you. I am praying that you will seek God and find Him and hear His voice for yourself. You are awesome!

To find out more about who God is and how you can know Him for yourself, please click on the pop up banner or on the link below.

Do You Have a Frenemy?

I recently came across this term and to be honest, I’d never heard of it before. Have you? It’s a real word, I promise! The definition of ‘frenemy’ is: “a person or group that is friendly toward another because the relationship brings benefits, but harbors feelings of resentment or rivalry.” Crazy isn’t it?

Have you experienced this before, maybe with a friend or co-worker? I think we all trust our friends and believe the very best, but how would you know if someone is really your friend, or if they’re just pretending?

In my opinion, here are some warning signs you have a frenemy in your life:

  1. Overly Friendly – beware of people who want to be your best friend within minutes of meeting you. Being nice is great but people who go out of their way to do things for you, show you around and invite you over for dinner all within the first few minutes of meeting them, may have an ulterior motive. True friends allow the friendship to grow naturally.
  2. Compliment or Criticism? –  frenemies will compliment you but they’re actually taking a jab at you. This can look something like, “Ooh I like you hair loose instead of that silly bun thing you do.” Ouch! True friends will give you honest answers without making you feel bad about yourself.
  3. Undermines  –  beware of people who always have a comment about others. For instance, you may comment on how kind someone is or how helpful they were and your frenemy answers with, “Yes but do you know that (insert negative, undermining comment here).”  Frenemies like to put wedges between people so that they are the only ones who look good in your eyes. Beware of people who try and alienate you from long standing friends in your life.
  4. Talks Behind Your Back – frenemies will often post gushy comments about you on social media and over flatter so that everyone thinks they are so nice, but in reality, they are tearing you down behind your back. Remember, if someone talks about someone else to you, chances are they’re talking about you to someone else. A true friend is the same to your face as they are behind your back.

If you’re reading this and realize you may have a frenemy in your life, don’t despair. You don’t have to keep people in your life who don’t have your back. You can kindly distance yourself from them and surround yourself with true friends who love you, support you and want only the best for you.

Here is some great wisdom from Christine Caine: “Do not allow people to –

  • Disrespect you
  • Dismiss you
  • Demean you
  • Dishonour you
  • Degrade you
  • Decrease you
  • Disgrace you

If you are merely tolerated and not celebrated, then perhaps you should distance yourself from those who you pull you down and do not lift you up. If staying connected undermines your self-worth, value, esteem, dignity, passion, purpose, contribution, potential or character; DISCONNECT”.

Let’s be choosy about who we share our life with. Let’s be great friends to those who show themselves to be true and kindly distance and disconnect from those who aren’t. You deserve only the best!

To find out more about a relationship with God who is the best friend of all time, click on the link below or on the pop up banner.

The Impossible Road to Freedom

A while ago, my husband and I took the kids to see a movie and I saw a preview for the movie Exodus. It’s the story of the Israelites coming out of slavery in Egypt. It got me thinking about true freedom. I recently came across our beloved Nelson Mandela’s book about his life, “The Long Walk to Freedom”, and what I began to realize is that true and lasting freedom doesn’t seem long, it seems impossible.

You see the Israelites were in bondage for 400 years! You can read the account in Exodus 14:10, 13-16, 19-22. They cried out to God and He sent them a deliverer, Moses who led them out of Egypt into the desert, on their way to the land God had promised them. Just as they come out of Egypt, the first thing they face is the Red Sea which is 355km wide and 490m deep. That seems pretty impossible to get through if you ask me! So their road to freedom just became impossible. God then speaks to Moses and tells him to stretch out his staff over the water and overnight, a wind blew the sea and parted it so that they could cross over on dry land. What a miracle!

What about you, what has enslaved you? What has held you back?Have you been bound by it for so long that you’ve gotten used to it?
I want you to know today that God has heard your cry and He has sent you a deliverer and His name is Jesus Christ. Jesus came to set us free!

I know it is not easy to let go of things, especially if it’s held us bound, held us back for a long time. Look at the Israelites road to freedom, it was impossible and maybe your road looks impossible BUT God, He is able to do it!

Here’s a few things to know as you walk out your road to freedom no matter how impossible:

1. You are worth fighting for

It doesn’t matter how long you have been dealing with it, your life does not have to be this way. There is a promised land, there is freedom waiting for you. God is fighting on your behalf to see you walk in the freedom He has provided through Jesus.

2. When it’s dark, God is working

In Exodus it says that all night long God used a wind to drive the sea apart. When it seems dark, when you feel like God is not there, you have to know that He is working. Just look at Jesus in the grave. God was doing His most powerful work when it looked the darkest.

3. You WILL see deliverance

In verse 13, Moses tells the people, “Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today.” No matter what has held you back, you will see deliverance if you do it God’s way.

Why don’t you take the first step into your freedom today by believing that God can set you free. Why don’t you ask Him to break the chains that have been holding you back. There’s a whole new chapter waiting for you, full of God’s love and freedom.

To know more about having a real relationship with Jesus or if you need some prayer,  please click on the pop up window or the banner below.

 

 

When Life Shakes You

So many times, life can shake us. Just like an earthquake can cause a building to collapse, the storms of life can shake us and cause our lives to collapse. When this happens, I have seen many people blame God,  forfeit their destiny and walk away from their God-given purpose.

At the beginning of 2012, I was standing in a church service during worship and I was having a moment with God. I was pouring my heart out to Him and complaining about how I thought things should be working out in my life. I felt that my husband and I had given up a lot to serve God and things weren’t quite going according to my plans. I actually said, “God, it isn’t fair.” And just then,  I remembered this verse found in Hebrews 12:27-28:

“… all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain… we are receiving a kingdom that is unshakable..”

What a verse right!? Gosh, I really felt like my life was being shaken and looking back now, I know that it was so that only unshakable things would remain. What about you? Have you ever told God “It’s not fair”? The storms of life can be devastating and can cause you to give up on God and walk away from the plan He has for you.

As I was going through this tough season, I came across some fascinating information about palm trees.  Do you know that palm trees can withstand the most violent of hurricanes? I saw photos of palm trees completely bent over in a storm, yet not snapped off, not broken at the root like all the other trees. Do you know why? I bet you never thought that fun facts about palm trees could change your life, but check this out!

  1. Palm trees bend but don’t break because their roots are as deep as the tree is tall.  I believe that the roots of our life need to anchored in God so that as we grow tall in our calling and purpose, we can bend in the storms of life instead of breaking.
  2. Palm trees grow from a central bud in the ground and as long as the bud stays intact, the tree can continue growing, regardless of how many leaves were removed during the storm. I don’t know what you may have lost in your life, but Jesus does. Maybe you feel like things have been stolen from you. I want to remind you that no matter what you have lost, you can keep growing, keep moving forward and keep going after God’s plan for you.
  3. Every storm strengthens the root system of the tree so that the palms grow taller after each storm. We can allow the storms of life to take us out, or we can use the storm to cause us to flourish and get stronger. Let’s decide to be unshakable together!

In the storms of life, God can feel far away. But I want to tell you that He’s there, He loves you and He never turns His back on you. He will pursue you and never give up on you no matter what you do, or how far you run.

If you would like to  know more about anchoring your life in Jesus Christ so that you can stand strong during the storms of life, please click on the pop up or link below. I am praying for you 🙂

 

Have You Been Overlooked?

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Have you ever been left out of a meeting at work? Have you ever felt like you have something to offer, but nobody cares? I think sometimes our environments can be harsh and don’t always bring out the best in us. I guess from a very young age, there has always been this competitive drive in us, a pressure to be the best, to be first, to be selected, to be chosen.

I think deep within us all is a longing to belong. What about you? Maybe it’s always someone else getting the break, getting the opportunity. Maybe you feel overlooked because you don’t feel like you have anything to contribute. Maybe you are surrounded by people more mature than you, with more wisdom than you, with more experience than you and the pressure is on to prove that you can do it.

Wherever you find yourself today, I want to remind you that regardless of what has happened, how excluded you may have felt or how overlooked you may feel, there is a God in Heaven who loves you just as you are and has chosen you for a great purpose. In our culture, we have to prove ourselves to be chosen, we have to apply for a job or to study, we have to show what we can do and what we have done but I love that God doesn’t think like we think or like the world thinks. He has chosen you not for what you can do for Him but because of what He knows He can do through you.

I believe we can rise above the comparison game and rest in the fact that our Creator has chosen us. And we don’t have to prove anything to Him, all we have to do is trust in Him and get to know His plan for our lives. You see it is no accident where you work, where you live or where you study. God has great plans for humanity and He has planted you right where you are to make a difference in the lives of those around you. As you discover His great plan for you, you in turn can live that out to uplift, encourage and bring out the best in those you were sent to reach. My prayer is that you would have the courage today to live chosen!

Here’s a few things to remember as you live this out:

  1. When you feel pressure to perform, remember that God has planned great days for you before you were even born. He has chosen to use you, not because of who you are but because of who He can be through you!
  2.  When you feel weak, inadequate, like you can’t do it, remember that God sees you today and He longs to strengthen your heart.
  3. When you can’t fathom how or why God would use you, I want you to remember that you are chosen, not because of what you can offer God, but simply because of His great love for you.

God’s not interested in what you can do for Him, but what He can do through you to see our lives grow, our families serving God and our city turned right side up. So chin up, you are awesome, you are loved and you are chosen!

To know more about a real relationship with God, please click on the link below or pop up banner.

When God is Silent

I recently went through a time in my life when everything was happening for me. God was answering my prayers, I was hearing Him speak to me, lead and guide me. I felt like anything I prayed about just happened so I would gladly take my checklist to God and have Him do all the things I wanted Him to.

But then I got very sick. For almost a month, I was praying and believing and declaring and nothing changed. Opportunities dried up and finances were tough. Now nothing on my checklist was being answered and I couldn’t hear God, I couldn’t see Him moving and I definitely couldn’t feel Him anymore. Have you ever been there?

But then I began to wonder, “What am I more interested in? Who God is to me or what He can do for me?” It’s a sobering question.

You don’t have to look far in the Bible to find accounts of people who faced a silent God. In John 11, when Jesus’ friend Lazarus died,  He waited 4 days before He went to the family. And in the book of Job, his whole life falls apart, he cries out to God and God remains silent for 38 chapters! So if you find yourself in a season when you are praying and you feel God is silent, I want to encourage you that you are not alone!

I think so many times, we expect God to respond in a thundering voice with lots of Hollywood style special effects. In the book of 1 Kings 19, it talks of a man named Elijah who was waiting for God to speak to him. A powerful wind blew, then came an earthquake and then a fire, but God wasn’t in any of those. It says in verse 12 that after the fire came a gentle whisper. You see, God wasn’t in the big awesome moments. He was in the still small whisper.

And I wonder….in the chaos and noise of our world, if God were to whisper, would we hear Him?

If you are in a season where you feel like God is silent, here’s a few things I want you to know:

  1. You are worth it, you are not forgotten – God numbers the very hairs on your head and He has not forgotten you.
  2. You are valuable – God paid the ultimate price to rescue us and redeem us, we are valuable to Him! He will never forsake us. 
  3. You are trusted – Silence can be a sign of trust, intimacy and maturity. Good friends can sit and be silent.

No matter what you are facing today, please know that God’s silence is not His absence. He loves you and He is near to you.

Let’s drown out the chaos and the noise today and listen for His whisper. He is near us, He promised to never leave us alone. Let’s seek after God, not for what He can do for us but simply because of who He is.

To find out more about having a real relationship with God for yourself, please click on the link below or the pop up banner.

Til next time 🙂

What If It’s Time to Move On?

If we’re honest, not many of us like change. As creatures of habit, many of us like to settle into a comfortable pattern and go about our daily lives. Even though the saying goes “A change is as good as a holiday”, many of us hesitate to make changes in our lives from something as simple as changing our hairstyle to something as massive as moving countries. No matter where you find yourself today, I think we can all agree that change is inevitable and the sooner we can embrace it, the less daunting the first step will be. Where is your life at the moment? Are you perhaps moving into a new position at work? Are you changing companies, changing careers, changing study majors? Are you stepping into a new relationship or circle of friends? Have you recently moved into a new neighbourhood? Whatever it may be, I believe this can help you as you transition into your new season. Here’s a few things I learned about moving on:

  1. It’s Uncomfortable – 9 years ago I moved from America back to South Africa and let me tell you, it was uncomfortable in every way! I had been gone since 1995 so I came back to a very different country than I had remembered. Finding a home, a car, schools for my children, getting prepaid electricity – all very uncomfortable. I thought many times that it would be much easier to pack up and go back to the life we knew, the life that was comfortable but we knew we had come too far to turn back. It was time to put the past behind us and move on.
  2. It’s Unfamiliar – I had to come to terms with the fact that we were in a new country with a new way of doing things. We had to go places we had never been before and overcome obstacles we had never faced before but we knew that God had called us to be here and we had to persevere to move forward. We had to trust that if God had called us here, He would be with us and show us the way to go.
  3. It Seems Impossible – whenever we move into a new season, it always seems impossible. People back in the U.S. said we were crazy for wanting to come to South Africa. They said it would be impossible for us to find jobs, that it would be impossible for our children to adjust, it would be impossible to find a house, and the list goes on and on.  But it always seems impossible until it’s done. I love the verse in the Bible that says,

    “What is impossible with men is possible with God”

So if you’re finding yourself entering into a new season, a season of change, I want to encourage you that you can do this! I pray that you would TRUST GOD, be willing to TAKE HIM AT HIS WORD and
MOVE INTO THE NEW SEASON He has for you.

If you are far away from God or if you don’t know Him for yourself, I encourage you to click on the link below or the pop up banner to find out more.

Why I Can’t Remember

Do you ever find yourself straining to remember details of things that have happened in your life? Do you know why you can’t quite remember?

I was standing in my kitchen the other day and began to fondly remember a family trip we took to Disney World in 1992, then I remembered we had also taken a trip on the South African Blue Train and I had been to Gold Reef City. Where did we stay? What did we eat? How long was I there for? Honestly, I don’t remember.

But then I began to think of a traumatic event in my life, one that I knew hurt me and disappointed and scarred me even. What was said? What happened next? What did I do about it? Honestly, the details are fuzzy. Some parts I remember vividly but others…completely hazy.

Why is it difficult to remember memories, both good and bad? It dawned on me – we were designed like that. We are not meant to live in the past but designed to keep walking into our future. We are not meant to hang on to past victories or past pain but designed to keep believing for new things and better days. There’s a great verse in the Bible that says,

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

There is a new day dawning in our lives. There are new things that we need to grab hold of. No matter what the past has held, God is able to make a way, no matter how unlikely and He is able to turn situations around, no matter how impossible. But we can only experience this new thing if we let go of what has happened in the past, both good and bad. There are new memories to be made, new victories to achieve, new obstacles to overcome. Living in the past is like driving a car by looking in the rear view mirror. Your past is behind you and your future is in front of you! Are there some things you need to let go of so that you can move into the new thing God has for you?

Maybe you are thinking that the future is daunting and you are unsure of how to navigate it. Or you may be asking, “What do I do with my hurt from the past, with my fear, with my disappointment?” Can I encourage you to click on the link below or the pop up banner to get to know Jesus Christ, who has promised to heal our hurts and give us peace. He has promised to lead us and guide us every step of the way. You can trust an unknown future to a known God.

I am praying for you – your best days are ahead!

Why I Don’t Trust My Spouse

In our day and age, infidelity in marriages is everywhere. I think you would search far and wide to find a family who hasn’t been affected by this in one way or another. It’s not easy for me to share but my father left us for another woman after 22 years of marriage to my mother. It was devastating on every level and it’s effects ravaged my heart, mind and emotions.

So when I got married, you can imagine I had some trust issues. I was constantly suspicious of my husband, always assuming the worst and reading into everything he did and said (or didn’t do and say) to see if I could catch him being unfaithful. I guess in an attempt to protect myself, I was trying to be one step ahead of the worst thing I could imagine happening in my marriage – infidelity.

Many arguments ensued and instead of protecting myself, I was alienating my husband from me and actually causing problems where there were none. In my desperation, frustration, fear and paranoia, I cried out to God in prayer.

As I lay crying on my bed, I came to one conclusion; I cannot put all my trust, faith and hope in my husband. No matter how great a man he is, how honest, how trustworthy. The fact is he is a human being, not perfect, susceptible to temptation and free to make his own choices. I cannot control him, I cannot force him to stay faithful and I cannot watch over him 24/7. What I can do is be the best wife I possibly can be, bring out the best in him and give my marriage my full attention, devotion and investment. But the only person I can really trust is God.

  • Trust Him that He knows the plans He has for me and they are good.
  • Trust Him that He knows everything and is in control.
  • Trust Him that He holds my life in the palm of His hand and no matter what happens, He is with me every step of the way.
  • Trust Him that even if the worst were to happen, He loves me and we’ll journey the road ahead, whatever it may hold.

This has taken a lot of pressure off my marriage as I no longer look to him to be the perfect husband. I thank God for him, I pray for him, believe the best about him, but above all, I trust God with my marriage. You’ll be happy to know that we have been married for 16 years and our marriage is stronger than ever, happier than ever. We adore each other and have a lot of fun on this journey of life but all our faith, hope and trust is not in each other, it’s in our amazing God.

If you’d like to know God in this way, I invite you to click on the link below or the pop up banner to find out more. Happy days!

What I Decided To Do After Watching MTV 2015 VMAs

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I just got done watching some snippets from the MTV 2015 VMAs and if you didn’t watch it, I’ll recap just some of the highlights for you here: Nicki Minaj performed with Taylor Swift in a confusing rendition of “Trini Dem Girls/The Night is Still Young/Bad Blood; Nicki also tried to start a fight with Miley Cyrus after accepting her Video Music Award which Miley responded surprisingly well to; Bruno Mars won best  male video for “Uptown Funk”; Justin Bieber delivered a moving performance and broke down in tears at the end of “Where are U Now/What Do You Mean” and Kanye West delivered a confusing and long acceptance speech for the Video Vanguard Award and announced he was running for President in 2020. What a night right! Of course a lot of time, money and effort goes into these shows and I am sure their goal was for us to be entertained, shocked, wow’ed and perhaps inspired.

But can I can tell you all that I felt while watching? Sadness and compassion. All I could see were people who had lost their way. Some having once known their way and lost it while others never knew the way to begin with and have been wondering blind their whole career. I cannot imagine the pressure they must feel. The pressure to perform, the pressure to create, the pressure to sell songs and concert tickets, the pressure to entertain and keep people coming back for more. People who are well-known to the world yet strangers to themselves. People who don’t know who they are or who they should be. People whose identity is found in tweets and followers and ticket sales and iTunes downloads.

What wakes them up in the morning I wonder? Money, fame, notoriety? To me, that would be like chasing a rabbit that outsmarts you at every turn. Always running after it but it’s always just out of reach, always slipping through your fingers.

Growing up, I had dreamt of being a pop star even though my dance moves are better than my voice! I look at them now and I thank God that’s not me.

But instead of judging and passing comments about these people, I’ve decided to pray for them. Pray that it won’t get too much, pray that they won’t fall into a pit of despair with no way out. Pray they won’t succumb to the pain and pressure of artists who have gone before and lost the fight. Pray that they will see a ray of light, of purpose, of hope, of strength. A light that says there’s something more you can live for, something more you can believe in than just what Hollywood has sold you.

What about you? Where is your identity found? Are you living for likes and followers and invitations and inclusion? Or could you live for something more? Click on the link below to find out how.

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