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City – based churches and the growing Single Christian population. Part 3 by Jacqueline Erasmus

City – based churches and the increasing growing Single Christian population. Part 3 by Jacqueline Erasmus

Please note that this is the third consecutive blog article on the subject of Singleness. In order to obtain a more comprehensive view on the perspectives that I have provided so far on this subject, please read my two previous blog articles…..”Why Single Christians Struggle” Part 1 and “Do Pastors and Leaders have a role to play in the lives of Single Christians” Part 2. It is my sincere hope and prayer that you consider the perspectives that I share and hopefully these articles enriches your own journey and your walk with the Triune God – the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

 City based churches:

I think it is important to notice that city – based churches contain more single people than for example churches that are based in the country side and churches that are based in suburban areas.  I have spoken to a lot of people across the world and this fact seems to apply to many different countries. If you make a close observation, one notices that there are an almost equal amount of single people and married people in city-based churches. The reasons for this almost equal number of single people and married people in city-based churches are numerous…  Cities seem to contain more single people and therefore it is no surprise that city-based churches contain a lot more single people.

I want to state my observations in order to once again develop a balanced view of why I personally think it is necessary that Pastors and Leaders address single Christians in their church congregations. I think it is vital that Pastors and Church Leaders know the composition of their church congregations.

I personally believe that there is a greater urgency and need amongst the Pastors of city-based churches across the world to address single people purely because of the current struggles and pitfalls that single Christians face in today’s world.

A failure to address single people in especially city-based churches has a lot of detrimental results for us, the Body of Christ.  A lack of teaching and affirmation of single Christians in the Body of Christ has partially contributed to the fact that many single Christians have turned marriage into an idol.

Marriage can become an idol:

 For the purpose of our discussion, let me provide a dictionary definition for the word idol:

 “a representation or symbol of an object of worship; broadly : a false god “

As I have mentioned before….marriage is not the solution or the answer for a poor self-image, a lack of security or a lack of significance (please see in my initial blog article – Why Christian Singles struggle Part 1). Yet, a lot of single Christians are completely convinced that marriage is the answer to their problems. Some single Christians may not realise that this is in reality how they feel, but if they truly take time to ask themselves a few honest questions, many single Christians will realise that they view marriage as the potential key to their happiness.

I am not suggesting that if you are single and you want to get married that you are insecure and have a poor self-image. I am single and I can honestly say that I do not have a poor self-image. If you think I think very highly of myself, rest assure that I certainly do think highly of myself because I am after all made in the image of God. I am made in the image of God and so are you! So let us all rejoice and say “Amen” to a good and healthy self-image.

I have a desire to be married but I am confident and secure in who I am because I see myself as a whole person.  I do not see myself as a “half “who has to meet my “other half” (i.e. my future husband) in order to feel “whole”.  Marriage should be about two whole people getting together in marriage. Some people are in denial about their personal hurts and wounds and use marriage as a remedy for their wounds and hurts. I want to suggest to you today to consider whether you regard marriage as a remedy for the deep longings in your soul and spirit which only God can satisfy?

Marriage can easily become an idol in the lives of single Christians. Many single Christians become so desperate to get married that their lives become consumed with finding a spouse. The result is that many become so obsessed and consumed in their search of a husband or a wife that they even become oblivious to the fact that they live in a state of perpetual low-level depression. These single people feel constantly depressed because they are not married and sometimes their low-level depression results in  periodic flare ups which we casually refer to as a “single crises”.  Perhaps you may think that my reference to low-level depression is a bit exaggerated, but let me assure you that I have discovered that this is unfortunately the state of many Single Christians. A lot of people are in reality depressed because they are not married. I do not believe depression is the portion of any Christian.

 Marriage amongst Christians:

It is a fact that there is not a huge difference between the divorce rates amongst Christians and non-Christians. I am not convinced that the figures are exactly 50 / 50, but we regularly hear about reports of marriage break-ups amongst Christians and even Christians who have public ministries.

Put it this way….the divorce rate amongst Christians is not exactly a low statistic.

I believe the devil does attack marriages. It is indeed true. The devil does not want to see anointed marriages to succeed because the devil knows that these types of marriages are powerful. When the lions and the lionesses in God’s Kingdom pair up through the union of marriage the devil quivers. It is a fact.

We have to however ask the question today whether all marriage break –ups are solely the result of demonic attacks?

There are lots of reasons why Christians get divorced. Some of the reasons are connected to hidden sin and unresolved issues. Some people just allow their careers to become everything and their marriages slip away because they never see each other. The reasons why marriages break up are endless. I will certainly not try to list all the reasons why people get divorced.

I want to propose another reason why I believe marriages break up amongst Christians and this reason   directly relates to the current state of some single Christians in the Body of Christ.

I think a lot of single Christians rush into marriage because they think marriage will provide them with the security, significance and self-worth that they so desperately seek. Once people are married, they realise that marriage is not the answer to their deep longings for significance, security and self-worth. So, for many who longed for marriage and finally get married, marriage often turns out to be rather disappointing. Why? The answer is simple….people eventually realise that their spouse cannot satisfy  their deep longings for significance, security and self-worth. Only God can satisfy and only God can heal the human soul.

I want to reiterate again at this point that I do love marriage and I believe in marriage. God created marriage and it is a gift that needs to be treasured. (Please see: Genesis 2:24, Ephesians 5:25, Mark 10:9, Hebrews 13:4)

I want to illustrate what I mean by telling you a real-life story. I have two very precious friends who got married at the age of 21. They are still married today and they also have children. I love my friends and I am really proud of the fact that they have remained committed to each other and God through the many trials and the tribulations that they have had to face in their marriage.

I remember the day when these friends of mine were very honest with me and I was quite surprised by both their honesty and vulnerability. They both said to me that they now realise that they got married too young even though they do love each other. They went on to say to me that if they could do it again, they would have waited a bit longer before they tied the knot. The same female friend of mine later said to me that she had to “find” herself whilst she was married to someone who was also trying to “find” himself. My friends are both committed Christians and they did not get divorced. They however realised that they got married to each other when both of them have not yet resolved issues around their own God-given identities. To put it another way…my friends realised that the individual hurts and wounds that they brought into their marriage, made their marriage extremely difficult.

My friends were brave enough to own up to the consequences of their decision to get married but they also realised that their issues around their own individual identities did not disappear because they were married. They had to not only work at their marriage…they also had to deal with their deep-seated individual hurts from the past.

I am telling this story because I sometimes think single Christians need to hear stories like these in order to have a reality check as it relates to marriage. Make sure  that you do not regard marriage as a remedy for your own internal problems which are rooted in your deep longings for significance, security and self-worth. These deep longings can only be met through a relationship with Jesus Christ and through embarking on a healing journey with God.

I believe that single and anointed Christians have a better chance to build on marriages that will be formidable and anointed. These types of marriages cause the demons to tremble and is a source of blessing for many in the Kingdom of God.

Am I proposing that single Christians become PERFECT before they consider marriage. There is no such thing as being PERFECT for marriage. I, however want to suggest that single Christians across the globe become more honest with themselves as it relates to their reasons for wanting to be married. I want to encourage a “deeper look” amongst single Christians.

Marriage is a blessing and a gift from God. Just make sure you don’t use marriage as a plaster or a type of medication to cure your soul.

Acts 17:28

Amplified Bible (AMP)

28 For in Him we live and move and have our being


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Do Pastors and Leaders have a role to play in the lives of Single Christians? Part 2 by Jacqueline Erasmus

Do Pastors and Leaders have a role to play in the lives of Single Christians? Part 2 by Jacqueline Erasmus

If you talk to a lot of Christian singles today, you will find that a lot of singles feel “out of place” in their local church communities. The Singles who report that they “feel out of place” are usually also those who are quite active in their churches and are usually those who are really passionate about their faith.  These singles serve in various capacities in the church but for some reason some single people don’t  feel like valued members of their church communities. Some singles report that they “don’t quite fit in” at church. I think the time has come that we, as the Body of Christ, need to ask why Christian singles feel the way they do and why it is vital that Pastors and Leaders need to become aware of how they can best minister to  single Christians so that they can flourish.  Once again….for those Pastors and Leaders who are aware of the struggles of single people and who seek to provide a biblical perspective on singleness, I commend you and I say “well done”. I am however aware that a lot of Pastors and Church  Leaders are not aware of the often silent struggles of single people in their congregations. There are many reasons why singles do not feel  comfortable to share their struggles with Church Leaders  but this is another topic for another day.

The role and responsibilities of Pastors:

Pastors have a responsibility towards their flock and the Word of God is very clear about what the Lord wants from his Shepherds. Look at what Peter, the Apostle said to Pastors:

1 Peter 5:1-3

Amplified Bible (AMP)
5 I warn and counsel the elders among you (the pastors and spiritual guides of the church) as a fellow elder and as an eyewitness [called to testify] of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a sharer in the glory (the honour and splendour) that is to be revealed (disclosed, unfolded):
2 Tend (nurture, guard, guide, and fold) the flock of God that is [your responsibility], not by coercion or constraint, but willingly; not dishonorably motivated by the advantages and profits [belonging to the office], but eagerly and cheerfully;
3 Not domineering [as arrogant, dictatorial, and overbearing persons] over those in your charge, but being examples (patterns and models of Christian living) to the flock (the congregation).

Being a Pastor is not an easy job for sure! I am however glad that God gives grace and power to those whom He has called to the prominent place of guiding and feeding His flock. Pastors usually select and appoint people to assist them to tend, guide and feed the flock.  (Please see Acts 6:2-4 ) God knows that Pastors need assistance)

Also note that the same words that Peter uses to encourage Leaders and Pastors are very similar to the  words used by Jesus  when He addressed  the Apostle  Peter in relation to his call and commission:

John 21: 15 – 17:
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
It is my sincere hope and prayer that Pastors across the world become more  aware of the struggles that single people face. I believe that a greater awareness of the present struggles of single people will enable Pastors to help release single Christians into their callings. There are presently too many Christian Singles who are trapped because they have chosen to believe the lies of the enemy and sadly these anointed single Christians are living far below their God-given potential.
It is my hope and prayer that the insight and knowledge that I will share over the next couple of weeks  will enable Pastors to reach out to the unmarried people in their congregation. I pray that these insights will enable Pastors to guide, feed and nurture the single people in their flock.

Today I want to explore one of the reasons why singles feel “out of place” in their church communities. I think this is a worthwhile subject to discuss and explore. As I have mentioned in my previous blog article (Why Christian Singles Struggle?) ….the Body of Christ consists of married people and single people and it is vital that Pastors pastor, teach and guide  both married people and single people in an effective manner.

The failure to provide a biblical perspective on singleness:

I am for marriage and I believe in marriage. I however don’t think that Pastors often   preach and teach on singleness from the pulpit. Those Pastors who do are definitely in the minority. It is important to note that throughout the Bible it is evident that the Lord called and anointed single and married people to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If we look at modern-day church congregations, we notice that there is a strong focus on marriages and family life. When do we ever hear a message about the struggles and pitfalls that single people face from the pulpit? When do we ever hear a biblical perspective on singleness? If Pastors preach about marriage and provide a biblical perspective on marriage, then Pastors should also endeavour to provide a biblical perspective on singleness. Pastors teach and guide on various subjects such as : finances, spiritual gifts, the fruit of the spirit, sex, marriage, addictions, sexual promiscuity  etc. If Pastors teach on various kinds of subjects then they should not shy away from the subject of singleness.

I once shared some of my insights as it relates to single people’s struggles in the Body of Christ with a Christian Leader. The Leader completely agreed with me but when it came to actually addressing the singles people, the Leader did not want to act because this Leader thought that a message addressing single people in the church would cause single people to be uncomfortable? I was quite perplexed by this view, because I did not understand how providing a biblical perspective on singleness could cause discomfort to single people. In fact, I think a biblical perspective on singleness will set single people free!

I am not completely unsympathetic towards this particular leader’s perspective. It was clear to me that this particular leader did not feel comfortable because the Leader did not feel equipped to teach on this particular subject. This leader has been married for many years and clearly could not relate to single people. I can understand this Leader’s apparent lack of substantial knowledge as it relates to the subject of singleness  but I have to be very bold today and say this:

Pastors and Church  Leaders need to be careful not to pastor and lead from their own comfort zones. If Pastors and Leaders only lead and pastor those groups in their church with whom they can relate and with whom they feel comfortable with, they are in fact neglecting the rest of their flock. I am not proposing that single people require special attention but single people need guidance and teaching specifically as it relates to living as a single Christian in today’s world. Married people need to hear messages that specifically addresses marriage and what a Godly marriage ought to reflect. In a likewise manner, single Christians need to be guided and taught what singleness looks like from God’s perspective.

I want to propose that we need to seek and dig deep in the Word of God to construct a biblical perspective on various subjects and we need to make it our aim to teach and preach on all subjects which concerns  people’s lives.

I believe that as Pastors and Leaders endeavour to teach a biblical perspective on singleness and as they seek to understand the struggles and pitfalls of modern-day single Christians, they will see an incredible transformation within their congregations. This transformation will not only  affect communities but nations!

An encouragement to Single Christians:

If you find yourself in a situation where you are struggling with being single (i.e. unmarried), please seek out sound biblical teaching on this subject. If you feel confident enough, ask your Pastor to help you seek out a biblical perspective on singleness.

You may be single for a season, but whilst you are single, please know that God wants to use you and He wants you to know that you can be single and anointed. Do not allow the enemy to make you feel that you are “odd” because you are single. I want to go so far to say this to you my single brother and sister….. Do not allow the perspectives of very sincere Christians to  make you feel “odd”. You are important to God and God wants to use you in a mighty way in His Kingdom!
One only has to look at the life of the Apostle Paul to know that God calls and uses single people in His Kingdom. The Apostle Paul is one example of a single and anointed man who was used by God  in a POWERFUL way. Today we continue to read the letters of Paul and we get inspiration from the life and teachings  of the Apostle Paul.

So why do single Christians feel that in order to used by God they have to be married? In order to address this question, we will have to have a closer look at modern-day church culture.

I will address this very subject in my next blog article.

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The Power of Knowing your Seasons by Jacqueline Erasmus

The Power of Knowing your Seasons by Jacqueline Erasmus

I encourage people to become intimate with the Father and to press in to hear the voice of God for themselves. I love the prophetic and I just love it when God speaks to me through another person. The Apostle  Paul encourages prophesy in the Church. Paul encourages people to prophesy. This is what Paul says about prophesy:

1 Corinthians 14: 1-4:

Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love [make it your aim, your great quest]; and earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual endowments (gifts), especially that you may prophesy ([a]interpret the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching).

For one who speaks in an [unknown] tongue speaks not to men but to God, for no one understandsor catches his meaning, because in the [Holy] Spirit he utters secret truths and hidden things [not obvious to the understanding].

But [on the other hand], the one who prophesies [who [b]interprets the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching] speaks to men for their upbuilding and constructive spiritual progress and encouragement and consolation.

He who speaks in a [strange] tongue edifies and improves himself, but he who prophesies [[c]interpreting the divine will and purpose and teaching with inspiration] edifies and improves the church and promotes growth [in Christian wisdom, piety, holiness, and happiness].

It is clear from the above portion of scripture that prophesy edifies the church and promotes growth amongst the people of God. I also believe it is very good for us to learn to hear God for ourselves. God wants to speak directly to you and His means and ways of communicating with us varies. God speaks to us in dreams, visions, images and thoughts. God also speaks to us through His Word.  I  cannot list all the ways God speaks to us but He does speak to us. The question is …are you willing to tune in and listen to what God may want to say to you in this season? Do not always wait for someone else to prophesy over you but press in to discern and hear God’s voice for yourself.  We cannot always rely on prophetic ministry to know what God is saying to us. As I have said already. I love the prophetic and I encourage that we prophesy but it is good for us to know that God also wants to speak to us directly. You can hear God’s voice so be encouraged by the words of Jesus:

John 10:27

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”

I have come to learn that as I endeavour to make it my priority to listen to God, He does speak to me. I have also discovered that when we seek God He really does tell us what to do right now. Every season in God is different. God will often reveal things to us that will happen in the future but He also speak to us about our present. I believe it is good to know what waits for us in our future but I also have come to  understand that it is important to know what God wants to share with us right now.

God wants to give us special instructions for our current season. Knowing what God wants us to do right know is extremely powerful and will eliminate a lot of hindrances from your life. We often get so high on the revelation and the instructions that God shared with us in our previous season that we naturally assume that God still wants us to do the same things in our existing season. We become ineffective when we are confused about what we need to do right now and knowing what to do in our existing season is really important IF WE WANT TO BE EFFECTIVE. Let me use an analogy to highlight my point.

In winter we wear coats, woollen hats, boots and gloves to shield us from the cold. If you live in the northern hemisphere you will know that our winters are not mild. As we go into spring we exchange our clothing for lighter clothes and we even put our woollen hats away and wear spring jackets instead of long and puffy winter jackets. The clothes that kept us warm in winter will hinder us in the spring because winter clothes are warmer than spring clothes. If you walk around in a long and puffy winter jacket in spring you will surely overheat. So, in other words….that which were effective in the winter is no longer effective in the spring.

This analogy helps us to understand our seasons in God as well. I think a lot of our frustrations in life has to do with the fact that we do not know what God wants us to do in our existing season and subsequently we often get angry with God because things are not working out for us!? We often get involved with things,projects, activities  and even people who God does not want us to get involved with. We try to fast-forward our lives to embrace the prophetic words over our lives which gives us goose bumps and fills our souls with excitement. It is good to remind ourselves of the things God has already told us about our future and our call. It is important to remind ourselves of these prophesies and to activate our faith as it relates to these prophetic words. We also need to understand that certain prophesies will only come into being in future seasons and that certain prophetic words are not for now but for future seasons. So instead of living in frustration because you do not see the manifestation of some words over your life right now, ask God what He wants you to do right now. Perhaps God has told you that one day you are going to own multiple businesses and that He is going to raise you up in the marketplace to be a voice amongst business people. Now that is a profound destiny word! Now it may be that at this present moment in time you do not own a business even though you are constantly dreaming about owning just one business. Lets say you are also experiencing current frustrations with the boss you work for. In order to keep this destiny word over your life alive you need to pray and decree the promises of God over your life. You also need to ask the Lord what to do RIGHT NOW in your current season in order to stay focused. We often make the mistake to dream about the future and our prophetic words which speaks to our destiny in God, yet we fail to understand that God wants to do things in our existing season.

To know what God wants you to do right now in your existing season will set you up in preparation for your future seasons in God. We become purposeful and powerful when we obey God in our existing season.  Life becomes much more exciting when we are alive to the purposes of God RIGHT NOW. Life also becomes less frustrating because we avoid the pitfalls of doing things that God does not  want us to do.

I want to encourage you to ask the Lord what He wants you to to do right now .

And most importantly ….enjoy your existing season!

Ecclesiastes 3:1

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens”


Are relationships a source of blessing or a source of stressing by Jacqueline Erasmus

Are relationships a source of blessing or a source of stressing? by Jacqueline Erasmus

A lot of people talk to me about the issues that they experience in their relationships with other people. Relationship is at the heart of human existence. We want relationships. We need relationships and without real and authentic relationships we feel empty, depressed and isolated. If you listen carefully to people you will quickly establish that  80% of people’s problems are relational issues. People have problems because they have problems with the people in their lives.

But before we seek to blame other people for our problems, perhaps it is also time that we seek to have a closer look at ourselves and the way we behave and act in our relationships.

I have not met one person yet who has not experienced hurt and significant disappointment in their relationships. I want to take some time today to list and briefly discuss some of the obstacles which affect our  relationships and friendships. All of us have to gain insight into how we behave and conduct ourselves in relationships. A failure to look and listen to ourselves  in the way we relate to other people, will sadly continue to leave us feeling dissatisfied with our current relationships or even  our lack of  real and authentic relationships. It is a sad fact that even Christians who regard themselves as “spiritually mature” , often have very poor skills and unhealthy foundations as it relates to having and building healthy and safe  relationships. We can pat ourselves on the shoulder because we have a relationship with Jesus, but how healthy is your  relationships with other people? I believe the reason why even Christians struggle with their relationships is connected with the fact that most people had poor role models when they they were growing up. Most people learn about how to act and behave towards other people from their own parents and their families. You may think that you come from quite a functional and “together” family but I have learned that none of us come from functional and “together” families. All of us have picked hurts up from our own families and parents. All of us have ( to a greater or lesser extent) learned unhealthy people skills and communication skills from our natural families. Ask yourself whether your way of handling conflict is really healthy? Take it a step further and ask a good friend whether he or she thinks that you have good conflict resolving skills?

The combination of hurt and wounds and a lack of Godly role models in our lives  often result in us having poor people skills and poor communication skills. Poor people skills and poor communication skills make relationships hard and difficult and so often results in more devastation and hurt. So many people become so disillusioned that they eventually withdraw from relationships or some settle for superficial relationships.

Some Christians mask  their poor communication and people  skills very well and yet they wonder why other people are not “open” to them or the message that they carry. Perhaps it is time that you and I examine how we relate to other people?

I believe God not only wants to heal the wounds of our past.  God  also wants to teach us how to  have healthy relationships. In order to change, we first have to admit that  we have to change. Most people have to re-learn things that they did not learn in their childhood. I have personally not met one person so far in my life who was born with excellent people skills and excellent comminication skills. The good news is, is that God will help you to change. If you are willing to change, He is more than able to help and heal you and to teach you His ways. Some people feel that they do not have to improve their people skills and their communications skills. This type of attitude will not get you far in life or in relationships.

I want to list a few things today that we need to become aware of in our relationships with other people. It is my hope that these insights will greatly help you to experience more satisfying relationships.

1) Are you a listener or are you a talker?

A lot of the time we wonder why people don’t want to open up to us in a real and authentic way. One of the  reasons why people probably don’t want to open up to you is because you do all the talking! Have you learned the art and the importance of active listening? If you want to have good friends you will have to learn to listen more and talk less. My natural inclination is to want to talk all the time so the Lord directed me into a profession that taught me how to listen more and talk less. God knows what we need and often He will enter you into a training programme if He feels this is necessary or needed! I remain a natural talker and I often have to stop myself to listen more and talk less.

So, take a good and honest look at yourself and ask yourself if you do all the talking in your relationships?  We need to try to balance talking and listening in our lives if we want to have good relationships and good friendships. Young children need a lot of attention all the time and they usually talk about themselves all the time. As we grow older, we go through our developmental stages and we learn to become aware of other people’s needs around us. If you want God to use you , you will have to learn to listen to other people. Nobody wants to be around people who always talk about themselves and who loves the sound of their own voice. We need to grow up and mature and God will help us with this process. Let the following verse encourage you in your journey of becoming an active listener.

1 Corinthians 13:11

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”

2) Do you react or do you respond?

A lack of good listening skills will almost always cause us to react to other people in anger. We often react with anger and disgust when we perceive others to  disagree with us or when we perceive other people to show a lack of understanding for our point of view. Before you react to someone, train yourself to listen first before you respond to the person. James, the brother of Jesus was a person who taught others to back their beliefs up with their actions and their behaviour. If you read the book of James you will soon learn that James was not merely interested in the confessions and words of Christians. James basically taught that your actions and your words are both important. Let the following verses be an encouragement to you in your journey to respond to others rather than to react in anger all the time.

James 1:19-20

Amplified Bible (AMP)

19 Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.

20 For man’s anger does not promote the righteousness God [wishes and requires].

If you continue to feel angry in your relationships and if  you are unable to get to the root of your problem, perhaps it is time that you seek counsel and guidance from your Pastor or a Christian Counsellor.

3) Agree to disagree

I find it quite astounding that we somehow think that people will always agree with us! I think a lot of us will receive instantaneous release and healing if we understand that our closest friends and our  spouses will not always agree with our views. I think it is quite natural to want people to understand our point of view.Please don’t take it personally when people don’t always agree with you  and please don’t allow your differences in opinions to ruin your relationship with a person. I do not want to take this point too far. I do believe that husbands and wives need to agree on fundamental things because it will affect their finances or their marriage if they are not on the same page on the things that are really important. I do however think that people need to respect the fact that just because a friend does not agree with your view on a particular situation, does not mean that your friend does not care about you.  A lot of people feel instantly rejected when  people don’t agree with them. We have to come to a point within our hearts where we can  respect other people’s opinions even if we don’t agree with another person’s opinion.

If you feel easily rejected, perhaps it is time to seek help. There are lots of books and teachings available on how to find healing from rejection. A root of rejection in one’s life can be the cause of a lot of ongoing distress in relationships.

May we all mature in our relationships with each other and may we all try to change our own dysfunctional ways of relating to one another. Let us not merely talk about the freedom of Christ but let our freedom penetrate our relationships and our actions and behaviour  towards one another.

1 John 3:18

Little children, we must stop expressing love merely by our words and manner of speech; we must love also in action and in truth.

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Why do Single Christians struggle? Part 1 by Jacqueline Erasmus

Why do Single Christians struggle? Part 1 by Jacqueline Erasmus

Matthew 6:33 (Weymouth New Testament):
“But make His Kingdom and righteousness your chief aim, and then these things shall all be given you in addition”

A lot has been written  on the subject of being an unmarried Christian. There  are many Christian authors and ministers of the Gospel  who have written books  on the subject of singleness  . I have found some of these books very insightful and some of  these books less insightful or shall I say less helpful. The reason for my years of  confusion had largely to do with the fact that many of the Christian authors in question  contradict each other in terms of the guidance and advice that they provide in their books  to  single Christians.  The one author advocates that one should not date and the other author tells us we should date. The one minister / author  tells us to trust God and another one  tells us to be proactive in terms of finding a husband or wife. I felt so compelled to act  after reading one author’s  advise  that I signed up to a Christian Dating Website.  I took my newly discovered advice very seriously. Well, what can I say….It was an interesting experience…huh.

I have gained a lot from reading these books on singleness  but it did leave me once upon a time with more questions than answers.(I did gain very wonderful insights from a lot of the books that I’ve read)  I was however  confused by all the different perspectives given in all of these books  but most of all I was finally  fed up! I was basically sick and tired of feeling like I “should be married”! I was not even sure any more why I was so desperate to be married. I was not experiencing a “single crises” ….I was experiencing a volcanic eruption of emotions which erupted over a length of four months! I am very grateful to God that He helped me in the end! He however did more than helping me. God helped me to understand the many  reasons for my confusion and He also helped me to understand the lack of guidance and teaching that single Christians receive in their local churches on the subject of singleness. The only time it seems that single Christians get addressed in their local churches is when they are encouraged to live a holy life by abstaining from pre-marital sex and all other sexual perversions. The other occasions when single Christians get ministered to is when people pray for them for God to provide them with a suitable husband or wife. These are all good things and I think it is vital that single Christians are encouraged to live holy lives and for singles  to receive prayer for  marriage. Marriage is a wonderful gift from God and it is worth spending time in prayer if you desire to be married.

I want to however touch on a few things today and unfortunately I do not have the space to touch on everything that relates to the topic of being a single Christian. Perhaps I will touch on the this subject again in  the next couple of weeks.

There is this lie that the devil uses against single  Christians today and the lie is that in order to be content and happy one has to be married. Marriage will somehow end your loneliness and if you listen carefully to some single people you will hear that they honestly believe that marriage is going to provide them with a deep sense of significance, security and self-worth. This is of course not true and anything that is not the truth is a lie. As Christians we need to eradicate the lies in  our lives especially those lies which directly contradicts the message of Jesus Christ. Marriage will not provide you with a deep sense of significance, security and self-worth. Our deep longings for significance, security and self-worth can only be found through an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and having authentic and life-giving relationships with fellow believers. I am not  excluding our relationships here with non-Christians but I am addressing single Christians today so I want to keep this discussion in the context of the Kingdom of God. A lot of married people continue to struggle with feelings of insignificance, inferiority and insecurity even though they thought that marriage will finally answer their deep longings for significance, security and self-worth. So,  the satisfaction of the  deep longings and thirsts  of our soul and spirit is clearly  not marriage.

I also believe that one of the other reasons why Christian singles struggle in the Body of Christ today is because single Christians hardly ever hear sermons or a biblical perspective on the topic of singleness in their local churches. There are of course Pastors  who are addressing Christian single people and who are seeking to minister to those single people in their congregations who are perhaps insecure about being single. These type of congregations where Pastors and leadership seek to address single people  are however in the minority. For some reason local churches do not deem it necessary to address single Christians and this lack of biblical teaching and guidance sadly perpetuates the confusion of single Christians in the Body of Christ. I was very saddened by a comment from a very dynamic single Christian a few months ago. I was conducting an interview with him and I casually asked him whether he feels that single Christians receive  proper guidance and teaching  in his church as it relates to living life as a single Christian. I was a bit surprised that he was surprised by my question because he looked slightly stunned. His reply was however very insightful and thought-provoking. This man looked and me and said: “No, I don’t think my church addresses single people at all. It is somehow expected that we just need to get on with it.” I think what I found interesting is the fact that this man has come to the conclusion that perhaps it is not necessary for his  local church to teach on the topic of singleness.

I find this reflective comment from this man very insightful and yet very sad. The church invests a lot of time addressing married people  and so they should. I love marriage and as I have mentioned already….marriage is a wonderful gift from God. I have married friends and I have single friends and they are both very dear to me. I however do not envy my married friends because I have come to realise that God has a plan for my life whether I am single or married. I have every intention to live for the Glory of God and to advance the Kingdom of God whether I am single or married. Now before you think I am called to celibacy for the rest of my life and that it must be easy for me to write on this very topic, let me give you some reassurance :  I am  not called to live as a single person for the rest of my life and I think very few people are. I have asked God on many occasions to take away my sexual feelings and the fact that He has not answered my prayer  , indicates to me that I do not have that special call or grace upon my life to be single whilst I live this side of eternity. Like many single Christians today, I have to ask God to help me with my sexual feelings.( Perhaps I can discuss the topic of singleness and sexuality in another blog article.)

I  however  believe that whilst you are single , it is important to make a quality decision to live a full and fulfilling life in God and to invest your time to get to know yourself and to invest your time in building authentic and real relationships with other people. I think single people need to learn to trust God for a husband or wife WHILST they focus on God and His Kingdom. Many single Christians today sit in a Waiting Room and cry out to God for a husband or wife and that is all they do. Do not do that. I encourage you to live your life whilst trusting God for your future wife or husband. The Lord hears the prayers of his children and he understands our desire for marriage. Remember there is a difference between faith and fear. There is a difference between confident trust in God and unbelief. Do you believe that you will get married? Do you really believe that God is faithful? Then stop complaining about being single. Live for God and have faith in Him.

Am I unsympathetic towards your desire to be married? No, I am not.  Am I too harsh in terms of my encouragement to you to stop your murmering and complaining? I do not seek to be harsh my fellow Christian single brother and sister. I however want to shake you up and wake you up from your state of dissatisfaction and complaining! Do you want to look back at your life and conclude that you have spent most of your life complaining and murmuring secretly because you were single for an X amount of time. You only have one opportunity to represent Christ here on the earth. Represent God well and focus on Him. Live with no regrets. Seek to be faithful to God and seek to be faithful to the call of God on your life.

I encourage you to continue to pray to God for your future spouse. I want to encourage you today that while you are praying about your future husband or wife, please live a full and dynamic life. Stop thinking that there is something wrong with you because you are single!

An encouragement to Pastors and Leaders:

I honestly believe that Pastors in local churches across the globe need to awaken to the fact that they have married and single people in their congregations. I think it is time that Pastors move outside of their comfort zones and start to awaken to the fact that they have anointed single people in their congregations who are trapped  because they have come to believe the lies of the enemy. Some Christian singles are so ensnared that they are not living out their full potential in Christ. Some are so confused that they have turned to the world to seek answers to their problems. It is time that Pastors and Leaders in local churches across the globe step up and starts to guide and feed  the single people in their congregations  the Truth. The devil attacks married people and marriages. The devil also attacks single people. If we preach and teach on marriage and seek to help and assist married people, we need to do the same with single people in our local church congregations.

The Body of Christ consists after all  of married people and single people.


Put on the Garment of Praise by Jacqueline Erasmus

Put on the Garment of Praise by Jacqueline Erasmus

Colossians 2:6-7

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving”

It is  not always easy to maintain a positive attitude and remain energised in the midst of challenging circumstances especially when we start to run out of steam . “I can’t take this any more ” is usually what we either say out loud or what we think when life gets hard and when we seem to experience one consecutive knock after another.

Life often presents us with  platters which  consists of battles, dissapointments, frustrations and various forms and degrees of rejections . Some disappointments are bigger than others and some battles and storms are more fierce. Life is not always easy. Fact.

So ……….. How do we get through the  storms and battles of life ? How do we remain positive when others don’t give us the time of day ? How do we overcome obstructions? How do carry on  when we feel just plain tired? The Apostle Paul and Jesus Himself tells us that as followers of Christ we can experience joy and peace in the midst of tribulations and trials.

I think we can do a lot of things in difficult times to keep ourselves going. We can pray, we can read the Word, go to church and even surround ourselves with people who will encourage us. These are all very good things to do. There is such safety and protection when we surround ourselves with Christian friends who will pray with us when life gets tough.

So why do we sometimes “crack up” during the difficult times in our lives? Why do we so often falter when the Word of God tells us that “we are more than conquerors”? Why do we so often falter even when we read our bibles, pray and even fellowship with other people?

I am not suggesting  that we  minimise our feelings about our problems nor do I suggest that we underestimate the pressure of being spiritually attacked by the devil and his demons.  The latter things are all realities which are usually present when we are in  pressure cooker-  kind of situations.

I want to propose today  that the reason why we falter so often during  difficult times is because we lose perspective. So often we lose our perspective   because we forget to be grateful and thankful to the Lord for our blessings (that comes from Him).

We ought to praise and thank God at all times because He is good. We often magnify our problems in difficult times and instead of putting on the garment of praise, we put on garments of heaviness through our attitudes of ungratefulness.  Instead of thanking God for giving us strength and wisdom for a particular situation, we murmur and complain about the situation. I have been around this mountain so many times, that I can assure you that I know the garment of heaviness very well.

One of the keys that we need to pick up and apply in order  to remain sane and victorious is to continue to be grateful and thankful to God. So in other words: We need to decide to put on the garments of praise.

Praise and thanksgiving cannot only be reserved for Sundays when we go to church. Praise and thanksgiving and gratitude towards God  have  to become part of our daily walk with Christ. We have a lot to be grateful for if we really think about it. Some of us live in countries where we can practise our faith without much obstruction from the government. There are many Christians today who are constantly persecuted (even onto death)  because they confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. We have a lot to be grateful for Church in the West!

Decide today to put on the garment of praise and thanksgiving. God is for you my friend so who can be against you?  You can either pour your energy into complaining about your situation or you can decide today to pour your energy into praising God for  your victory! The decision is yours. The decision is mine.

The decision to put on the garment of praise and thanksgiving does not mean that you deny your difficult circumstances. It does not mean that you do not acknowledge your current battle or storm. The decision to praise and thank God reflects two things:

A) It means that you actively place your confidence and trust in God and

B) it means that you believe that God is a good God who is for you!

The garment of praise is spiritual warfare. The enemy wants you and me to be discouraged. Put on the garment of praise and you will see victory in your life in Jesus Name!

Psalm 100:4

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!”

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Do I have to prove to the world that I’m cool? by Jacqueline Erasmus

Today I want to draw attention to two concepts that we as Christians have a hard time to understand . We fear religion and we fear becoming religious ourselves. Our fear of being religious and our fear of being accused of being religious have caused us to become very “worldly”. I think it is important to understand why Jesus despised the type of religion which the Pharisees and Sadducees “practised”. I also think it is important to understand that God does not want us to resemble the world system.Many people’s fear of being accused of being religious have caused them to conform to this world. The result is that some of us have become so “worldly” in the process, that even the people in the world must sometimes wonder why we think we are so “different” from them. I am sharing this with you because the Lord has brought loving conviction to my own life. I, of course called my conformity to this world something else….I called my “conformity to this world “… hmm …hmm….”non-religiousity”. I,of course did not realize my confusion at the time, but I am so grateful to God that He is always willing to provide us with clarity and revelation!

I am of the persuasion that we often think that “to be different” means that we are boring and dull or that we will become boring and dull for that matter! This is however a misconception that I think deserves some discussion.Perhaps I can share with you my point of view, which I hope will be helpful to some of you.

Paul writes the following in Romans 12:2 :

“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.”

I am going to take you in all kind of different directions now, but please keep up with me!

Let me start by stating a fact first:

We are different because we believe in Jesus Christ and we are citizens of heaven . We live in this world but in reality we are no longer from this world. We are citizens of heaven (please see Philippians 3:20). We are also temporary residents on earth (please see 1 Peter 2:11).

As a citizen of heaven you live by heavenly standards because heaven is your home even though you live here on the earth. If you don’t realise this, you need to really come to grips with this fact. A revelation on your citizenship will help you in terms of how you view your life here on the earth. Ask Holy Spirit to reveal to you what it means to be a citizen of heaven. Philippians 3:20 and 1 Peter 2:11 are very good scriptures to meditate on.

Being a citizen of heaven is the best citizenship that one can have and a deep revelation of this fact will liberate you!

Religion is boring,suffocating and dull but not a relationship with the Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

Now let me comment once again on the issue of RELIGION …….

Now some of you have had to break free from religious environments because these types of environments have had a negative and damaging effect on you. Anyone who had been exposed to a religious type of environment has in some form or the other been brainwashed with the following: To follow a bunch of rules and regulations will really make you a “good Christian” . Your salvation depends on your performance. God is after all really mad at us so it is now up to you and me to make Him happy and to also keep Him happy.

A pharisaical religious message never leads people into freedom. If anything, a harsh and rule-following religion which is void of the true message of the Cross of Jesus Christ , usually sets people up to fail. We cannot attain righteousness through our own efforts and our own works. We were saved by His grace and salvation is God’s gift to us. This is what Jesus said with regards to the Pharisees: “They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them” (Matthew 23:3).

Now people who have broken free from a pharisaical religiosity (which usually involves control and fear) have usually experienced a lot of judgement in their lifetime.In a lot of instances people who have broken free from pharisaical religiosity, are very committed not to be judgemental towards other people. Who can blame them? They know after all what constant judgement feels like. God was after all not really happy with them even though they tried very hard to follow and please Him.

Now let me share a bit on something which I have noticed amongst ourselves, the Body of Christ.

Many believers will conform to the ways of the world in an attempt to prove to unbelievers that they are not boring , dull ,judgemental or religious. Or perhaps we want to prove this to ourselves to be more precise?

God has not called us to be judgemental (please see Matthew 7:1-5). God has however asked us to represent Him here on the earth. This means that we do not conform to this world. We now represent God and His Kingdom here on the earth. We are therefore different from this world system and our values and conduct reflects God’s Kingdom.

“Being different” from the world does not mean that you and I condemn and judge other people who do not believe in Jesus Christ. A pharisaical religiosity condemns and judges unbelievers . A true and real relationship with Jesus Christ fills one’s heart with compassion and mercy towards those who do not know Jesus.

We don’t have to “prove” to non-Christians that we are “cool” by acting the way they do or talking the way they do. We are here to represent God and we are here to present Christ to people who do not know Him. We have been commissioned by God to represent Him here on the earth.

Some of us think that by acting like the world we will somehow position ourselves better to “reach out to them”.In our attempts to relate with people and in our attempts to remain contemporary, we in essence become diluted and deceived ourselves. Being a “cool” Christian to the world is a very cunning way of the devil to deceive us and it is time for us to become aware of this deception.

The world is hungry for the TRUTH. Whether you realize it or not …people out there wants to know why you call yourself a Christian? Do people out there experience you as “being different” to them? I ask myself this question as well. Could it perhaps be true that the people in your world are perhaps thinking something like this: “Why should I be like you if you act like me?” “What really makes you different from me?” These are insightful questions that all of us need to ask ourselves. Being a watered-down Christian who desperately tries to prove that he/she is not religious to the point of resembling worldly values, unfortunately does not speak to people’s hunger for the TRUTH . If we think we are being effective by acting exactly like the world in order to “reach people”, we have indeed missed the point altogether.

“Being different” (i.e not conforming to the customs and behaviour of this world) does not make you a stuffy, judgemental and “religious” person.

The world wants to know the TRUTH. The TRUTH is Jesus Christ. The world wants to meet the real Jesus through you – not a religious pharisee or a watered-down Christian who acts and behaves like them.

I want to conclude today’s blog message with one of the most thought-provoking and most challenging scriptures in the Bible.

Romans 8:19

“The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.”

The world is waiting for YOU. The world is waiting for the sons and daughters of the Most High to arise and shine. Do not rise and shine with a religious mindset and approach. Do not rise and shine riddled with worldliness . Let all of us rise and shine as true ambassadors of Jesus Christ!

Jacqueline Erasmus