<![CDATA[Queen in Gold - Blog]]>Fri, 11 Sep 2020 21:01:24 +0200Weebly<![CDATA[Unshakably unashamed]]>Fri, 12 Jun 2020 17:17:50 GMThttp://queeningold.co.za/blog/unshakably-unashamed​The content of this post is actually similar to a journal entry and not so similar to what I would typically write on here. But this won’t be the first time a journal entry becomes a blog post – so here we go.
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The back story

Early this morning, I washed dishes while listening to worship music. (I really don’t like washing dishes, so I try to make the best of it.)

Then I felt a nudge from Holy Spirit “Look; the sun is coming up. Open the blinds so you can see it.” So I did. 
​This definitely makes it sound like I can watch the sunrise from the kitchen window – I wish. But I can watch the night fade and pink colours fill the sky. So I did.
“That’s today.”
Then I thought about whether it was light enough outside to go for a run. Not because I was actually considering going for a run in this icy weather, but because of that one morning I went for a run when it wasn’t completely light outside yet (confession).

And as these thoughts crossed my mind, I felt Holy Spirit say “That’s today.”

He was right.

Today is the 12th of June and 2 years ago I met Josephine as she was On her way to heaven.

I didn’t memorize the date after the incident, but I know it now, because last year God reminded me thereof in a similar way when I randomly stumbled across the blog post again on that day.

(Nope, wasn’t even through Facebook – even though that would totally make sense as On her way to heaven is the most read post on Queen in Gold to date – I think.)
 

If you have no idea what I’m talking about now; it might be good to give the real back story a read first. 

So why did He remind me?

She mattered. After the incident life somehow continued as “normal”, but this didn’t nullify her existence.
​There were people who knew her and loved her and probably still miss her today.
But even more than she mattered to them;
​SHE MATTERED TO GOD.

I heard a quote last week saying: 
“You never lock eyes with someone who doesn’t matter to God.”

​​You never do. Yet most of us lock eyes with people who don’t know they matter to Him every single day. This morning I was reminded that I still have the opportunity to make a difference in those people's lives.

Not ashamed

Last night someone crossed my mind – someone I actually have more of a formal relationship with and someone I know doesn’t know Jesus. And in that moment I experienced God was asking me to send her a message to say I’m praying for her and her family. Just as I was about to seriously object this thought, truth came: 

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes...”
​-Romans 1:16

​Because I realized my message might deeply offend her, I asked Him to remind me of her again this morning if it was really Him speaking. He did. And then He reminded me of Josephine and the urgency to share the gospel.

Eyes on Jesus
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 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.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Hebrews 12:1-3

Before sitting down to write this I had a little bit of a feeling-sorry-for-myself moment. I think it was because of something ridiculous like the fact that I’m cold and then my sanitizer fell over and leaked across the floor.

So I had to acknowledge how self-absorbed I was and realize that there’s a bigger world out there – a world that desperately needs Jesus. 
 
Taking a look back
​Here’s a quote from the post I wrote 2 years ago (which also happens to contain some verses from Hebrews 12):

“...'Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.” – Hebrews 12:26-27

​This morning’s incident shook our community. I believe it happened in order to establish God’s Kingdom – the Truth that cannot be shaken.

Living in a country where we’re confronted with brokenness, poverty and violence on a daily basis, we so often tend to grow numb to it. We turn our backs and look the other way.

I believe that we are called to embrace the shaking; standing firm in the One we know to be unshakable!”


Over the last few months this verse from Hebrews 12:26-27 has been on my heart once again. Not just our community, but the whole world is shaking right now.

I still believe we are to stand firm in the One who is unshakable, but even more than that; I believe now is a time to boldly proclaim the good news!

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<![CDATA[If it’s not for the Kingdom – then what’s it for?     (Part 2)]]>Fri, 01 May 2020 12:56:57 GMThttp://queeningold.co.za/blog/if-its-not-for-the-kingdom-then-whats-it-for-part-2
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​If you read If it’s not for the Kingdom – then what’s it for? (Part 1), you might be relieved to hear this is not another story about going for a walk or a run. (Apparently that’s something I write about a lot). Actually this post is about what I’ve learnt in the last few weeks, so unless it involves taking a walk around the house, it would be very unlikely. 

This post is also not another one about singleness, although it most certainly applies to it.

This post is about what it means to seek the Kingdom first (Matthew 6:25-34) – before our own dreams and desires, and even before our needs.

Sacrifice

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

​– Romans 12:1-2 

​During the first week of lockdown I read a book that challenged my perception of what it means to seek God first. It might sound like a simple thing to do if it entails listing God first on some sort of list of things that are important to you. But that’s not it.

There are times when choosing God requires us to give other things up. It requires sacrifice. Sometimes choosing God means taking other things off the list completely. 
​I feel like we should just pause here and if you need to go back up and read that again, maybe it would be a good idea. 
"There are times when choosing God requires us to give other things up."
See, we all have things we need to give up. It could be an unhealthy friendship or relationship. It could be a selfish desire. It could be a bad habit.

In Romans 12:1-2 Paul teaches that we should be living sacrifices, as an act of worship. Jesus also teaches that in order to follow Him, we have to die to ourselves:
“Then He said to the crowd, ‘If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow Me.” – Luke 9:23

Basic needs

In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus teaches that we shouldn’t worry about having food or clothes. Basically, He’s instructing us not to worry about whether our essential needs will be met. These days I’m pretty sure most of us are well aware of what’s considered essential and what not.

Let me be honest; I often struggle seeking God before my own desires – this is not even considering my basic needs. God wants us to seek Him and His Kingdom before we seek anything else. 
 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

​​This passage is often misquoted as a promise that God will give you what you want, if you do what He wants. The truth is that God asks us to seek His Kingdom and His righteousness. At the same time He asks us to trust Him to provide what we need, leaving it to Him to decide what that might be.

Desires

Another passage I’ve been journeying on over the last few months is Psalm 37:3-7. For now I’d like to focus on verse 4:

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4

The Hebrew word “ânag” which is translated to “delight”, appears in the Old Testament ten times. It’s most often found in the context of rejoicing over something or being satisfied.

If we take the preceding and following verses into account we see instructions given to trust in the Lord (Psalm 37:3) and to commit our way to Him (Psalm 37:5).

When we delight in God – trust Him, rejoice in Him, find satisfaction in Him – our desires come into alignment with His. When God is first in your life then He can give you the desires of your heart because you desire what He wants. 

He is good

Earlier this week I shared these thoughts with my mom and we ended up speaking about how God asks us to seek Him first because that’s what He designed us to do. He knows that the only place we’ll ever be satisfied is with Him.

In Part 1 of this post I shared a testimony about how God came to fulfill a desire of my heart. More than physically providing for me He also revealed Himself as a good and loving Father. 
​Dying to yourself and letting go of what you want opens the door to experience the goodness of God. His plan for you is so much better than your plan for yourself.
"He knows that the only place we’ll ever be satisfied is with Him."

If it’s not for the Kingdom – then what’s it for?

​Over the last few weeks I started praying this line.

I pray it over my desire for a husband and children and over my desires for writing and ministry.

“If it’s not for the Kingdom – then I don’t want it.”

I pray it over my daily needs. I pray it over my relationships. I pray it over the way I spend my time.

“If it’s not for the Kingdom – then what’s it for?”

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<![CDATA[If it’s not for the Kingdom – then what’s it for?     (Part 1)]]>Sun, 26 Apr 2020 07:19:13 GMThttp://queeningold.co.za/blog/if-its-not-for-the-kingdom-then-whats-it-for-part-1​So here’s a fun fact about my walk with God:

He speaks to me in themes.
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​These themes usually relate to a specific season and link to a specific Scripture (or three) that features over and over again as God reveals different things. The really cool part is seeing how themes build up leading to the next, or how He uses a certain Scripture or theme to remind me of something He’s done in the past. Some themes feature over and over again, revealing something new every time. Some themes cover more than one season or consist of sub-themes that relate into one another. 
It must be the writer in me that appreciates this so much. I’m pretty sure that’s why He works with me in this way.

The whole point of sharing this is to elaborate on a thematic Scripture to my current season; the all familiar Matthew 6 “Seek first the Kingdom...” 
​This Scripture first made its appearance last year in October. But what is really spectacular is how relevant it is amidst all the uncertainty we are currently facing. So that’s why I’m sharing it with you.

But before we get to that; let me share some of the story.

Be expectant

So last year in October I went hiking. At that point I had some stuff to work through. One of which was a desire I had to move out of my mom’s house. As I was still studying full time and only had a part time job, this seemed impossible. 
Knowing I’d be spending a few days in nature and that’s usually a great place to hear God’s voice; I had an expectation. I remember shoving my A4 journal into my backpack thinking:

 “I know it takes up a lot of space, but I can’t go on a hike expecting to hear from God, and not even take anything to write down what He says.”
​It’s truly beautiful how He’s always faithful to show up when we seek Him (Jeremiah 29:13; James 4:8).

Why are you here?
​The hike was arranged by a dear friend of a dear friend. On the night before we started she handed out little notes asking two questions. The first was “Why did you come on this hike?” The second “Why are you in the season you’re in?” It couldn’t be more relevant. 
"...there’s something magnificent about embracing the not so easy."
There had been a bush fire in the area we were walking through during that week. Some of it was actually still burning on the day we arrived. Due to this the first part of the route was burnt, up to where we passed over a river in the valley. Thereafter we started a climb into the undamaged.

As beautiful as it sounds and was; it was actually quite tough. I’ve never really hiked much before and I’m not used to carrying such a heavy load, but there’s something magnificent about embracing the not so easy (James 1:2-4). 

The gift Giver

The morning before we started we received a second note. This time asking “How does the nature around you relate to your season?”
A simple flower answered my question. Along with it I remembered Matthew 6:28-30; that God is the One who clothes the “lilies of the field.” It was like my Father put His hand on my shoulder, reminding me that He’s the Provider.

That night we stayed over in beautiful wooden cabins. Nothing about it felt primitive; although primitive is pretty much what you expect when going on a hike. Compared to where we spent the previous night this was really a gift; and one I secretly prayed for on our way there. Oh, what a good Father we have?

When He speaks

So I sat on my bed and opened my recently bought journal and the mini Bible I carried along.

I looked up Matthew 6:28-30 and paused at verse 30.
“If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you – you of little faith?”

This was the exact metaphor I witnessed that day. I saw the very fire that burnt away the grass and flowers, and on the other side of the river I stood astonished at the beauty.
 
The next relevant thing was the new journal. As I mentioned the seasons I go through always have a theme and often these themes are expressed in a journal. The cover of this new journal (which I’m currently still using) is a map of the world, a golden outline of the galaxy and the words “Going places” written on it.

It was so clear; I was “going places.” God had answered the longing of my heart. He gave me a go ahead to pursue the desire of moving out; giving me the reassurance that He is my Provider.

“How will you get there?”
​This was the question on the last note. What made it extra special was that she forgot to hand them out. I coincidentally walked behind her when someone else asked her what the question of the day was. 
"This was all just little confirmations that I was heading in the right direction."
Throughout that day I ended up in conversations about job opportunities, how to find a job and how to prepare for an interview. This was all just little confirmations that I was heading in the right direction. It opened my eyes to see beyond the little box I placed my life in before.

And then...

As I mentioned, one of the big reasons I initially didn’t think it would be possible to move out, was because I was still studying towards a Masters Degree full time. Just a few weeks after the hiking trip I was informed that I won’t be able to continue with the degree. Well, at least not for the next year or two.

Perhaps I’m making this sound like a relief now - it wasn’t. It was a massive shock, but oddly something God already prepared me for. I already knew the next step. I already updated my CV.

Three months later I was living in my own little space and working full time. I’m sharing this because it was an answered prayer; a testimony of the goodness of God. He’s intimately involved in our lives and He wants what’s best for us. He also provides in ways that are better than we could’ve imagined. 

So what about you?

During the uncertain times we’re facing it’s important to remember our Saviour’s words in Matthew 6:34
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

He asks us to seek Him and His Kingdom above all else. Yet, so often, we find ourselves of “little faith” (Matthew 6:30) unable to trust that He is the sovereign God who carries our best interests at heart.

This is not a promise that things will be easy, friends, but it is a promise that God will be with us even when we’re facing the difficult.

Psalm 23:3-4 makes it clear that as He leads us on the “right path”, it often leads right through the “valley of the shadow of death”. Yet God is with us. He’s the One who refreshes our soul and with Him on our side we lack nothing (Psalm 23:1-3). 

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Also read If it's not for the Kingdom - then what's it for (Part 2); where I take a look at the extremely challenging question in the title. 

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<![CDATA[If you wanted to be married like yesterday...]]>Fri, 13 Mar 2020 12:06:34 GMThttp://queeningold.co.za/blog/if-you-wanted-to-be-married-like-yesterday
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​The majority of this post was written a few months ago. I was working on a research paper for my honours degree at the time. The paper looked at Genesis 2:24 and how this reference to marriage also refers to Christ and the church based on Ephesians 5. This was a topic I chose and not something that was pre-assigned.  Yet mid-working on it, I had one of those “why am I writing a research paper about God’s intention for marriage?” moments. Not the type where I felt unqualified due to my lack of practical experience, but rather the type where I started crying over Genesis 3:16 - confronted with my own longing for marriage.

Then I wrote this post and Holy Spirit used it to minister to my heart.
​For some reason it never got posted. I didn’t forget about it, but it just didn’t feel like the time was right.

​During the last few weeks I intentionally made time to sit at Jesus’ feet to give Him my desires and plans for a future spouse in order to hear and walk according to His standard. I really hope this article will inspire you to do the same.
Bits of my story
​So last year I went on a mission to Botswana (see Wild & Adventurous Part 1 and Part 2) and had the opportunity to share some of my testimony with ladies there. I actually didn’t go to Botswana thinking my testimony was in any way relevant to that culture. Yet I found myself in a scenario where I was asked about the significance of the ring on my right hand. This was right after one of the ladies expressed her longing to be married.

​In short; my testimony includes a guy breaking up with me; leaving me to grab hold of Jesus with everything I had. It changed my life. 
​So in that time I started wearing a ring symbolizing my relationship with Jesus. At first I wore it on my left hand, but then God asked whether I am going to replace His position in my life when my future husband comes along. So now I wear a ring on my right hand symbolizing an eternal relationship with my Lord and Saviour. This is a constant reminder that Jesus comes first. 
"...then God asked whether I am going to replace His position in my life when my future husband comes along."
The desperate desire

Genesis 3:16 speaks of a desire a woman has for her husband. Marriage is God designed and desiring to get married is not wrong.  The problem with the desire in Genesis 3 is that it somehow manages to replace our desire for God. This is part of the curse of sin.

​All of a sudden women don’t run to God to find fulfilment, they run to men who’d never be able to give it to them. The word “run” is actually so descriptive. The Hebrew word for “desire” in Genesis 3:16 refers to “stretching out after” and is derived from the word “shûq,” which means to run after something or to overflow.
Ladies, we were never meant to be the ones running after men.
​ 
How do you expect a man to lead you in a relationship if he has not led you into it?

God’s design for marriage


​While studying through the Ephesians 5 marriage code; what really stood out is how Jesus is so intertwined in the instructions given to both husbands and wives. They are not just to love, respect and submit to one another. They are to do these things “out of reverence to Christ” (5:21 NIV). The way a husband and wife treat each other should image the relationship between Christ and the church. That’s the standard God has for marriage.
"The way a husband and wife treat each other should image the relationship between Christ and the church."
​Only a man who knows and imitates Christ will be able to love you as Christ loves the church.  

Jesus at the centre

The moment anyone or anything replaces Jesus at the centre of your life; it becomes an idol. So if your world revolves around some guy; it’s time to resubmit that area to Christ. It’s time to make HIM first.

God designed marriage so that He can be a part of it. This is all pretty clear from Genesis 2.
Desiring marriage
​I think it comes down to whether you desire marriage for the sake of marriage or whether you desire God’s standard for marriage. Honestly, I don’t want to be married simply for the sake of being married. There’s a peace that comes from realizing my desire is actually for Jesus to show up and introduce me to someone I can partner with in serving Him. 
"​I think it comes down to whether you desire marriage for the sake of marriage or whether you desire God’s standard for marriage." 
This also reminds me that I’m not missing out somehow because I’m not married yet. God’s standard happens to work in God’s timing.
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<![CDATA[The process of becoming]]>Thu, 09 Jan 2020 13:57:16 GMThttp://queeningold.co.za/blog/the-process-of-becoming​Like many others I started this year challenging myself to be more healthy, organised, productive and balanced. This year I want to put an effort into my appearance, relationships and spiritual growth. I want to make a priority of writing on this blog. I want to have an influence in the Kingdom and walk in my calling. Basically - I want to be a "better person". Is it just me?
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In order to achieve this I’ve come up with a number of measurable goals: they include getting up earlier, going to bed earlier, daily exercise, less series, daily schedules, lots and lots of reminders on my phone and much more.   
​I’d actually like to challenge the notion that New Year’s resolutions can’t change us.  There’s something fresh about a new year that makes us want to do better. It’s a little bit like grace – it’s a second chance. I believe that in the light of being a good representative of God (Genesis 1:26; 2 Corinthians 5:20) and a good steward of the time He’s given us (Psalm 90:12; Ephesians 5:15-16); making a few New Year’s resolutions to help you become a "better you” is not all that bad. 
​The real issue with these resolutions, is expecting change to happen between 31 December and 1 January.

Let’s not limit God in saying He can’t change people over night, but in my walk with Him I’ve noticed He’s usually a fan of PROCESS. 

​What is process?
​During this week I wrote the word “process” in my journal. It actually had nothing to do with keeping resolutions. I wrote it there because I wanted to take some time to process through a bunch of things happening around me. 
"Ultimately, it changes us." 
​Then it occurred to me that “process” can be something we do as well as something we go through. Sometimes it requires looking inwardly; sometimes it requires taking action or sometimes we just need to walk it out. Ultimately, it changes us

​Process in the Bible
Abraham

God had some big plans for Abraham and his descendants, but it required a long process. On a number of occasions God promised him a massive offspring; but before his son was born there were many years of waiting, trusting and hoping; despite the facts. Abraham even tried to take things into his own hands (as we do). Eventually, Isaac was born. Then a few years down the line God asked him to sacrifice his promised son. We see the same Abraham who earlier tried to make his own plans, now submitting to God’s plan and process. (Genesis 12-22)

(If you’re somehow not familiar with this story – Abraham never actually sacrificed his son – God sacrificed His).

Joseph

​Here we have Abraham’s great-grandson. He grew up dreaming about being royalty, but ended up being sold into slavery by his own brothers. Things were starting to look better when he was promoted to be the head of his master’s household, but then his moral conduct got him thrown into jail. In jail he interpreted a few dreams, but a whole two years passed before it did him any good. Then in only one day he received the opportunity to interpret the Pharaoh’s dream and became second in command to the whole of Egypt. As only He could, God used the process to prepare Joseph for what was to come.  (Genesis 37, 39-40)

​Jesus

Process is even evident in the life of our Saviour. Even just the coming of the Messiah didn’t happen right after the Fall. There were certain things God wanted to put into place first. Then Jesus was born – as an immature baby. And He grew. By the time He was twelve teachers in the temple were amazed at His understanding, but this didn’t mean He was ready for ministry yet (Luke 2:41-52). Only when He was about 30 years old His time came (Luke 3:23). But first He needed to be baptized (Luke 3:21-22). Then He needed to fast for 40 days and face temptation (Luke 4:1-13). At the end of His ministry He was crucified and He died (Luke 23:26-49); and it took three days before He was resurrected (Luke 24:1-8). Oh and that’s not where it ends. He went back up to heaven, sent us His Spirit and promised to come again (Acts 1:1-11). That was actually a while ago, friends.
​It’s a process. 

Process takes time

Ecclesiastes 3:1 teaches:
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

​​If you plant a seed today, you can’t expect it to be a tree tomorrow. It takes time to reach maturity, grow and learn new things.  

Who’s the manager?

I happen to believe this is the real key to whether change is lasting or not.

Who’s the one managing the process? Is it you? Or are you allowing God to have His way?

A little bit later in Ecclesiastes 3 we find this verse:
“I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.”
​– Ecclesiastes 3:14


​Today I pray with the same confidence as Paul that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

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