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Live Like it’s True

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Long before the qualities of light were understood or used in surgical applications, the Bible called us to reflect God’s light. When you walk into a room and flick on the switch, the light reveals what is in the room. People count on the darkness to cover their actions and keep their sins a secret.

Bible, Light

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)  Ephesians 5:6-9

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Reflection of God’s Light

Do not be startled when people react to you, or even accuse you of being judgemental when you haven’t said a word. This can be a confirmation of the reality that you are reflecting God’s light. Just as someone shared God’s love with you, this is an opportunity to tell them about God’s mercy and forgiveness.

That’s the Truth.

When we are afraid that there is no solution, revealing our sins can be terrifying. As a person of the light, you have a message that God already knows everything. We are trying to hide, but He has made a way for us to be restored through Jesus.

In the Scripture from Paul above you’ll read a warning. His readers not to participate in the things that hinder being on mission for God.

People of light

We are often referred to as “people of light,” meaning God is using us, our lives, to light the way for others toward truth. Toward love. Toward a relationship with Jesus. But, we must be on guard against our old ways of living that dim our light.

Is there someone in your life who insists on trying to excuse their sins? What do you think your reaction should be?

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16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 

19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Keep Our Light Bright!

Psalm 15 shares some practical ways we can keep our light bright. David encourages the us to dwell with God humbly. To spend time in His presence and to choose to live a life that reflects God’s nature.

Psalm 15

A psalm of David.

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
    Who may live on your holy mountain?

The one whose walk is blameless,
    who does what is righteous,
    who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander,
    who does no wrong to a neighbor,
    and casts no slur on others;
who despises a vile person
    but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
    and does not change their mind;
who lends money to the poor without interest;
    who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Whoever does these things
    will never be shaken.

God has created us to be cyclical. The reality is that when we want to grow closer to God, we choose to worship Him. We want to spend time talking to Him and listening to His wisdom. As we worship God, as we seek His presence, we are empowered to live out what He has shown us. As you fall more and more in love with God, you crave to do what is right.

It’s not a matter of getting “good enough” to come into God’s presence. It’s more about recognising that when you spend time with God, your life reflects it.

We won’t want to gossip or physically harm others. We’ll stand firm in our mission even when facing opposition. And we’ll live with integrity—even when there is a cost. When we have spent time with God, we’ll want to share His truth and love with others. 

Take a moment to consider whether this list could be used to describe you. Why or why not? Is there one element you want to work on today?

The Struggle Is Real

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:22-25

I think all of us would admit we struggle with believing the truth sometimes, no matter how clear it is to those around us. The headlines are full of stories about models who felt ugly, billionaires who doubted they were truly successful, and incredibly talented comedians, entertainers, and inventors who felt like their best was never enough.

Living in a broken world means we, too, might need some assurances about truth, love, hope, strength, courage, and salvation. 

The Scripturebfrom James reminds us that when we find ourselves forgetting about God’s goodness and faithfulness , or when we’re struggling to believe our value in Him, we can turn to the Bible and see a reflection that is not only accurate, but one that will remain with us. As followers of Jesus, who continually learn more and more about truth, we see the importance of obeying God’s Word, not just listening to  it.

Be doers of His Word

As encouraging as the Lord’s assurances are for those who follow Him, there are also assurances for those who do not. The Bible  warns us about apathy of people who call themselves followers of Christ but don’t put God’s Word into daily practice. 

Many people emotionally connect with God’s Word and listen to it and would say they believe it, but they don’t actually obey it. 

They fool themselves. These are serious passages about living a life based on God’s truth.

How do you need God’s perfect law to set you free today? How will your life change to reflect this freedom?

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The Wise and Foolish Builders

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27

Build your life on the Rock that is Jesus!

That’s the Truth.

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Your inheritance is peace!

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Fix your eye on Jesus! Peace! Not on your difficulties!

In Jesus, we have received the greatest inheritance of all! The Kingdom of God is ours! The victory is ours! We are co hiers with Christ, adopted into Sonship with Him! Peace.

We are brothers and sisters with Christ!

 “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
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Stress is one of the most damaging factors to our physical, spiritual, and emotional health. Yet, when God created you and molded you with love, He didn’t destine you to live a life of permanent worry. He intended you to live a life filled with His peace! He has already given it to you, as the following Bible verse reminds us: “‘I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.’” (John 14:27)

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Scripture

“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. “Come now; let us leave.
John 14:23‭-‬31

Now that is a gift! All other gifts pale in comparison! Be filled with the Holy Advocate!

I understand that this peace is so often threatened or disturbed by various situations: at work, in the midst of your family, or in your health. Or through your relationships or financial difficulties.

So you may be wondering…how is it possible to enjoy this peace that God gives you? To not be “troubled” or “afraid” in the face of these disturbing events? God has only one word to say to you: “Trust.”

He’s inviting you today to return to His arms that you may have left. To surrender yourself totally to Him, to rely on Him. How do we do this, practically speaking, when the bills pile up? When the pain is unbearable? When nothing is going right any more? By choosing to believe and continuing to trust Him, whatever happens, despite the circumstances, because:

  • His Word is true, His promises certain.
  • He loves you personally.
  • He is taking care of you.

Perhaps you can’t seem to completely let go, and the more you struggle, the more your peace melts like snow in the sun. So it’s time to renew your trust in the One who can do all things…

Let’s pray together that this peace given to you won’t be stolen from you!…“Father, I admit that life’s worries tend to steal my peace. Today, I choose to turn to You. I want to fix my eyes on You and not on my difficulties. You are and You have, Lord, the solution to all my problems. I trust in You. In Jesus’ name, amen.” 

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Remain in the shadow of the Most High!

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A mother’s love is immeasurable!

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Never take your parents for granted

I begin this post by talking about never taking your parents for granted, not because I did or that I ever will, but because there are so many out there that believe or think that because they’re “all grown up now” you don’t have to pay attention to your parents. So many believe it’s a burden to visit their parents or look after them in their old age. They are quick to get irritated with them if they call too often or become too demanding.

One thing I can promise you, if you do not spend as much time as possible with them, love them, appreciate them, call them often and never ever take them for granted now while they are alive, you will regret it – one moment they there, the next they gone. A moment you will wish you never have to experience. Just because you are too busy with your own life, or too ashamed to be with them, too ashamed because they “old” or because you did’t feel like they needed your love and respect, is no excuse to complain about them or abandon them. Trust me, you are always their child no matter how old you are. You will always need your parents. Always. When they gone, the hard truth is, it’s too late.

If you knew that this was the last day your mom would be alive, you would climb onto your mother’s lap (I did that every night until I was at least 7 years old). You would tell her about all the times you wanted to carry her cross. You would want to take away her pain. She often cried herself to sleep wondering how do I raise these 3 children on my own? You’d, crawl beside her to hold her. You would feel her pain in the pit of your stomach and the deepest parts of your heart. Your presence would make her smile though. She’d forget her many troubles, her losses. Today, you’d hope to do that again and again and again…

You’d give anything, absolutely anything to have her back for one more hug, one more conversation, one more I love you, one more piece of mommy advice, and then you could watch her leave, in a bright white light as she returned to Jesus’ side.

Psalm 23

My mom loved Christ. She loved spending time in His presence and His word. She left this earthly world on 27 April 2019, in South Africa that is Freedom Day, and on that day, mom, you were set free of your pain and suffering in this world and set free to sit at the right hand of Christ.

My mom loved Psalm 23 the most.

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Mom loved teaching the grandchildren from the Bible too. Here is a video of her teaching her eldest granddaughter, Sharon-Leigh, from the Bible. And guess what? It’s Psalm 23.

Mom’s home was not only our home, but home to all our friends too. She never had a problem with having a house full of people, in fact, she loved it. She would always make sure we’re having fun and that we’re fed. Our humble home truly was everyone’s home.

At Mom’s funeral we played a song from Newsboys – That Home. It really catches the beauty and character of my Mom. It catches me in the heart every time I hear it and I shed a tear.

I miss my Mom every single day. Some days are harder than others. Another song we played at Mom’s funeral was Donna Taggart – Jealous of the Angels. I miss her so much that I made a video montage with this song. The photos in this montage only show a small glimpse of the life she lived. She wasn’t one for the glamorous life, as long as her family was always around her.

Final words for Mom

I’m a mommy’s boy. There, I said it, publicly. It seems like I spent much of my early years trying to avoid that label, but the least I can do is publicly acknowledge that fact right to the end. Mom was the person most responsible for shaping who I am. I used to fall asleep on my mom’s lap every night until I was 7 years old and mom would carry me off to bed.

Everybody thinks they have a great mom, but as kids, we knew we had the best mom because everybody else told us so. She mothered all our friends who came to the house, even those with perfectly good mothers of their own, but her home was a humble sanctuary where all our friends and family loved to come to.

Mom had some bad luck with cars. Had a brown Ford Cortina stolen, 2 Fords Escorts, one that was bumped on a dare by one my siblings that shall not be named, the other Escort so heavy on fuel you’d be better off pushing it.

We have a running joke that is decades old and is still used today… she bumped the gate reversing out the driveway when I was about 5 years old. I immediately said to Mom “Don’t bumpa da gate”. Ever since that, she’d stick her head out the window while reversing and we’d always remind her not to bump the gate, sometimes she still did. She also had some very creative words when someone cut her off in traffic.


I am her last born, the youngest of 3 children. A mother pours a lot of love into all her children, but being the youngest, the rules were relaxed a bit for me, I got away with more than my siblings did. Except for one embarrassing night, I worked as a waiter during my high school years and, one night after a work shift ended early, I decided to go hang with friends at a nearby pool hall. Beer in hand having a great time, I looked across the room to see my mom walking toward me with intent. Before I knew it she was dragging me out, dressed in her slippers and gown.


Mom’s favourite animal was the Elephant. Just look around her home and there are elephant teddies and ornaments everywhere. She loved their gracefulness and how tight-nit elephants are as a family. We took Mom to the Elephant Sanctuary and as luck would have it the sanctuary had recently merged with the Monkey Sanctuary next door so the signage hadn’t been correctly placed yet, so it was a surprise for mom right up until the guide announced that we will be interacting and walking with elephants today. The absolute joy and surprise on her face was priceless. She loved every second of it.

Today I understand why she loved elephants so much and it’s because of how family orientated they are, how protective they are, just like mom was, and Mom’s heart was as big as elephant.

Marinda Christina Baragwanath, wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, aged 60, passed away in her bed in Boksburg, in her favourite pyjamas at home surrounded by her family — as she would have wanted. Her passing came much longer than the 6 months doctors gave her to live, so she beat the odds. And that’s just how Mom has always been, beating whatever odds were stacked against her. This disease may have broken her body, but it never broke her faith and spirit. Her faith and determination to beat this disease never wavered. Faith so strong we could all learn from it.


When Mom first started on her medication, she felt a little high and was spaced out. She walked into our bedroom one night to say good night. She came and hugged and kissed me and then walked around the bed to hug and kiss my wife, Lou. On her way back to her room, we could see she was a little wobbly so I jumped up to help her. I took her, arm in arm, like a gentleman, we walked a little, stopped, and she looked up at me with so much love and admiration that only a mother could have for a son.

Mom had exceptional will power. During her illness, it became more and more difficult for her to swallow solid food. Mom had the will power to chew on biltong a drywors just for the taste of it and not swallow it. (she’d give the pieces she couldn’t eat to one of the dogs so often that the dog would outside her bedroom window for hours waiting for it).

She would never complain about the food she had to eat. She was always smiling through her gourmet meals such as mixed veg purity and ice cream, mixed together…delicious right?

Mom read her bible every night. And after having said good night, she would retreat to her bedroom and listen to gospel music with headphones on singing along, for hours, and in perfect tune of course. We loved it. I remember one night, I went to check on her and she had fallen asleep while listening to music. I gently woke her and she awoke with a fright and said: “I’m not sleeping.” I replied saying, “Mom, I think you should go sleep now” to which she said, “I’m not a child.” Oh, how we laughed.


One night, while having supper, Mom was eating a bowl of muscles. I asked Mom, “how’re your muscles”, to which she replied: “They good”, pulling her biceps. She had a sense of humour right through her illness.


If mom ever got annoyed or irritated with me, a simple “Love you Mom” and she’d smile and feel okay again.

Mom was always soft-hearted and the peacekeeper. Ask anyone. She’d always tell us not to fight. But, as kids, if she was cross with us, then the Afrikaans came out, and we knew we were in “groot kak”.

If you had the privilege of even just meeting my mom for 5 seconds, she’d have crept into your heart. I believe everyone loved my mom. She had a warm smile and made an effort to connect with everyone she met.

Mom held the family together and raised us under difficult circumstances. She always taught us to love and honour our father, but I always thought she would have preferred for us to love her a little more. Secretly I did. There was nothing she wouldn’t do to make sure we were cared for. She’d walk to work to save on petrol, sell her leave back to the company for a little extra cash, making sure we always had food in our bellies, beds to sleep in and in so doing, teaching us the value of earning your way in life, learning lessons from her ways that we could take into our own lives.

But everything that comes from the heart, the real essence of me, and pretty much everything important that I learned as a youngster, that’s from my mom.

She’s the one who made sure I never went through a day of my life doubting that somebody loved me or doubting that somebody was proud of me. She taught me to wear my flaws like armour, that way no one can use it against me.

As a parent, grandparent and friend, my mom had an extraordinary ability to make each of us feel stronger and more confident in our own identity, giving us our own sense of independence and mental toughness which, speaking for me has been such an asset in so many ways in my life. She will live in our memories and our hearts forever and I will always be extremely proud to call myself her son.

Mom, we may have lost you in the physical world but you are now in eternity forever. You may be gone, but you will always be in our hearts and memories.

The last words she spoke before she passed were “It’s so beautiful”. We believe she was given a peek into heaven just before she went home.

“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Mom, you were a legend, the legend of all legends. An Angel in the shape of my Mom.

I miss you.

Have a gatskop lekker day!

Posted by Stephen Baragwanath, 2 comments