Archive for May, 2012

For the last couple of months I’ve watched Jo.seph Prin.ce’s programs on TV and it has blessed me so much.  Some of his messages have helped me to look at certain things from a different perspective and I got a lot of new revelations.  I hope that this post will give a lot of people a new revelation too.  I bought his book “Des.tined to Rei.gn”, and I want to share an excerpt with you and it is again about the old and new covenants.  Since I learnt about the covenants and what they mean, and the importance of the new covenant, my relationship with God has changed, my outlook on a lot of things has changed and it was one of the most important revelations I had that led to our breakthrough and me getting pregnant, so I cannot blog about it enough.             

“When new believers read the Old Testament for the first time, they might wonder what all the slaughtering of the animals, sacrifices and sprinkling of blood is all about.  Well, when you understand that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins, you will begin to appreciate the value if the blood especially the blood that Jesus shed for our sins.

The Bible says that after Adam and Eve sinned by partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God “made tunics of skin and clothed them” (Gen 3:21) The first time an animal was sacrificed to cover man’s sins happened right there in the garden of Eden.  All the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament are shadows of Jesus Christ, who is the substance. The blood of bulls and goats under the old covenant all pointed to the substance of Christ, whose blood was shed on the cross of Calvary. As John the Baptist said, Jesus is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)  In the book of Revelation, John heard a voice saying, “behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah,” but when he turned to look at the Lion, he saw instead a “Lamb as though it had been slain.” (Rev 5:5-6)  Everything in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation points to Jesus’ death on the cross.  It is because of His sacrifice that we are under the new covenant of grace today.

The old covenant will always cause you to turn and look at yourself, whereas the new covenant will always cause you to turn and look at Christ crucified.  Old Testament prophets call your sins to remembrance, while New Testament preachers call your righteousness to remembrance.  Old Testament preachers tell you what is wrong with you, while New Testament preachers tell you what is right with you because of what Jesus has done, in spite of what is wrong with you.  The first miracle of Moses, who represents the law, was to turn water into blood, resulting in death.  (Exodus 7:14-18)  The first miracle of grace was Jesus turning water into wine, resulting into celebration and life. (John 2:1-11)  The law kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Pure grace from Egypt to Sinai

When God liberated the children of Israel from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, He did not do so because they had kept the Ten Commandments.  The Ten Commandments had not even been given yet.  The children of Israel came out of Egypt by the blood of the Lamb.

The Lord showed me something a number of years ago that ushered me into the Gospel Revolution.  I was sitting in my living room, just spending time in the word, when He spoke to me and said, “Son, study the journey of the children of Israel from Egypt to Mount Sinai for this is a picture of pure grace.  Not a single Israelite died during this period although they murmured and complained.”

I had never heard anyone preach that before and neither had I read it in any book.  So, feverishly, I turned to that portion of the Scriptures, trying to find someone who had died, so that I could prove God wrong!  Have you ever been there before, trying to prove God wrong?  Well you can never succeed, and indeed, I could not find any Israelite who died even though the people murmured and complained.

Even though God had rescued the children of Israel from their Egyptian slave masters by performing great signs and wonders, the children of Israel failed to honour God, and murmured and complained over and over again.  When the Egyptian army came thundering toward them from behind and the Red Sea was before them, the children of Israel cried out to Moses saying, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness?” (Exodus 14:11)

That was a complaint against God, and murmuring and complaining are sins.  But what was God’s response?  He opened up the Red Sea and they crossed over to dry land on the other side, safe from their enemies.  Even after God had brought them safely to the other side of the sea, the murmuring continued.  At Marah, they complained about the bitter waters.  What was God’s response?  He made the bitter waters sweet.  (Exodus 15:23-25)  In the wilderness, they cried out against Moses when they were hungry.  What was God’s response?  He rained bread from heaven.  (Exodus 16:2-4)  But still the children of Israel complained.  When there was no water again, they cried out against Moses, saying, “Why is it you have brought us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” (Exodus 17:3)  What was God’s response?  He brought water out of the flinty rock.

Study the Bible yourself.  You’ll find that every time the children of Israel murmured and complained, it only brought forth fresh demonstrations of God’s favour, supply and goodness.  Why?  Because during that period, the blessings and provisions they received were not dependent on their obedience or goodness.  They were dependent on God’s goodness and faithfulness to the Abrahamic covenant, which was a covenant of grace.

The exchange of Covenants at Mount Sinai

Then, something tragic happened right at the foot of Mount Sinai.  In Exodus 19:8, your English Bible says that the people cried out to Moses, saying, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”  In the original Hebrew text, this is actually a statement of pride.  They were saying, “All that God requires and demands of us, we are well able to perform.”  In other words, they were saying, “God, stop assessing or blessing us based on Your goodness.  Start assessing, judging and blessing us based on our obedience.”  So they effectively exchanged covenants, from the Abrahamic covenant which is based on grace, to the Sinaitic covenant which is based on the law.

All this while, God was with them and had fought for them.  He opened up the Red sea, rained manna from heaven and brought water out of flinty rock, even though they kept murmuring and complaining.  But the moment they said those prideful words, God had to change his tone.  He told Moses to instruct the people not to go near the mountain, for “whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.” (Exodus 19:12)

Why do you think God changed His demeanour here?   It was because man presumed on his own strength and entered into a covenant based on his obedience.  This is what we call self-righteousness.   Since the people wanted to be judged based on their performance, in the very next chapter, God gave them the Ten Commandments.  From then on, since they boasted that they could do all that God commanded, God had to assess them based on His laws.  He would bless them if they kept His commandments, but they would be cursed if they failed to do so.  What the people did not understand was that they had to obey all of the Ten Commandments perfectly because if they failed in one, they would be guilty of all.  (James 2:10)  You see the law is a composite whole and God does not grade on the curve.

Now let’s see what happened when the children of Israel placed themselves under the law.  After they boasted that they could fulfil all that God commanded of them, the works of the flesh were immediately manifested.  They broke the very first commandment – “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3) – by fashioning a golden calf and worshipping it as their god! (Exodus 32:1-8)  Isn’t that sad?  So be careful when you boast of keeping or defending the law because the works of the flesh will follow soon after.

From that point onwards, every time the children of Israel murmured or complained, many of them would die.   Observe this:  Before Sinai, none died.  After Sinai, the moment they murmured, they died.  Before Sinai, every failure brought forth a fresh manifestation of God’s favour.  But now that the Israelites were under the covenant of law, sin had to be punished.  Their blessings and provisions no longer depended on God’s goodness, faithfulness and grace.  Under the covenant of law, their blessings depended on their perfect obedience, and every failure and sin would result in judgement and punishment.

That is why the Law of Moses is called the ministry of death and condemnation.  It is an inflexible standard that had to minister death and condemnation to the Israelites whenever they sinned.  You would think that after 2000 years, people would learn, but there are believers today who are still using the same refrain as the children of Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai.  They are bragging, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

We are no longer under the Old Covenant

Can you see what the Lord was showing me?  The Israelites’ journey from Egypt to Sinai was a picture of pure grace.  It was not dependent on their goodness but His Goodness, not on their faithfulness but His faithfulness.  Before the law was given, they were under grace and nobody was punished even when they failed.  But immediately after the law was given, nobody was spared when they failed.  The good news is that we are no longer under the old covenant of law.  We have been delivered from the law through Jesus’ death on the cross.  Because of Jesus Christ, we are now under the new covenant of grace, which means that today; God does not assess us based on our performance, but on His goodness and faithfulness.

Why are there believers today living as though the cross did not make a difference?  Instead of enjoying the new covenant of grace, they are still fighting to be under the old covenant of law and the Ten Commandments.  I declare to you that the cross of Jesus did make a difference.  If you are still trying to live under the law, you are effectively negating what Jesus has already done for you on the cross!

Under the old covenant, God said, “I will by no means clear the guilty.” (Exodus 34:7)  However, in the new covenant, God says “I will remember your sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12; 10:17)  Can you see the contrast?  It is the same God speaking, so what happened?  The cross happened, my friend.  The cross made the difference.  Today God does not remember your sins or hold them against you because He has already judged them in the body of His Son.  Believers get confused when they do not realize that the cross has made a difference.   Consider this: If we are still supposed to be under the Ten Commandments as many argue, then what did the cross of Jesus accomplish?”


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5 Month update:

Baby G was 5 months old on Saturday.  I must say everyday with him is an absolute pleasure and he is the light of my life.  I cannot explain in words how much I love him.  Some days I wish I can have 10 children, because I just love being a mommy so much and I want more of it!  I don’t even mind the hard parts – I love it all!

Measurements on 26/05/2012:

Weight: 7.54 kg (just above the 50th percentile)

Height:  68 cm (about 80th percentile)

Head Circumference: 43.5 cm (also just above the 50th percentile)

Eating:  It’s a month since baby G started with solids and it started out very well.  From the first moment he wanted to feed himself and he actually managed to get the spoon into his own mouth!  That surprised us a lot.  He loved the avocado, but he wasn’t too crazy about the sweet potato, but he did eat it.  Then we introduced the banana and that was when things started to go pear shaped.  He did not like the banana at all and he started to press his lips together so tightly that it was impossible to feed him.  Then he decided that he doesn’t want the sweet potato or the avocado either.  I don’t want to force him to eat so some days he doesn’t eat solids.   I actually also did not give him any on purpose in the hope that a few days break would help him to forget.  From then it’s been a bit of hit and miss, sometimes he eats the solids, sometimes he doesn’t, but most of the time he doesn’t.  He also gags, especially if we give him banana, so I’ve decided to rather wait a bit before I give him banana again.  Next he will get pumpkin – we’ll see how that goes down.

Since we introduced solids we have really been focussing on getting baby G to drink from a bottle again.  I had to express breast milk to mix it into the solids, so every day I expressed a bit more than I needed and we tried to get him to take it.  Sometimes he would drink a little, but he mostly chews the teat.  He gets excited when he sees the bottle, and he also loves to hold it himself, but he doesn’t drink more than a maximum of 10 millilitres.  Last week I decided to try and give him some warm rooibos tea in a bottle and he does like that.  After a week he will now drink about 20 millilitres at a time and about 3 times a day.  So there is some progress, but not a lot.

My MIL actually suggested that we leave baby G with her, with some milk in a bottle and let her try to get him to drink from a bottle.  At the moment I’m not crazy about that, because I’m afraid that baby G will get very upset and might even go hungry.  The other reason is that baby G and I haven’t been apart yet.  I’ve not even left him with DH to go to the shops or something like that!   My MIL is itching to babysit baby G, but she cannot until he drinks from a bottle…

Sleeping:  We haven’t been sleeping well lately at night.  Baby G now wakes around 22h00-23h00 for the first time and from then every 2-3 hours.  We had one night where he almost slept through – he woke for the first time a little after 5h00 in the morning, and except for this time and the one where he actually did sleep through, we haven’t had any other night even remotely close to sleeping through.  I’m quite tired during the day and I try to take one nap with baby G every day.

Baby G is in a great daytime routine now – he takes 3-4 naps and some days he has 1 long nap for 2-3 hours.  That is usually when I let him sleep next to me in our bed, and it does me good to get a decent nap in myself.  The days where I don’t get to nap are hard though – I really feel like going to bed at 19h00 on those days, but baby G only goes to sleep at around 20h00, so obviously I cannot as he still feeds just before going to bed.

Clothes and nappies:  Baby G is in size 3 disposable nappies at the moment, but hopefully soon I will get some new eco nappies that I ordered and I cannot wait to get him full time into those.

He is wearing clothes of different sizes at the moment.  Still a few 0-3 month vests, mostly 3-6 months clothes but also a few 6-12 months clothes but those are still a bit big for him.  There is no use in buying 3-6 months winter clothes for him, so I’ve been buying 6-12 months and dressing him in that too.

Milestones: Baby G can sit upright on his own now for quite a long time.  He also tries to come upright from lying down to a seating position himself.  Sometimes he manages it, but not always.  He has rolled over from his back to his tummy at least twice now, and very often he will roll from his back to his side when he is lying in bed next to me, especially when he wants to breastfeed. He can lift his bum up in the air when he is lying on his tummy and only recently has started to push a bit on his arms too.

He loves to put his feet into his mouth, especially when I’m trying to change his nappy.  It’s also not so easy to change his nappy or his clothes anymore because he does not lie still!  He loves to blow bubbles and he makes all kinds of noises.  Everything he can get his hands on goes to his mouth and he wants to chew on it.  He’s chewed my fingers and he chews really hard!  Some people have speculated that he will start to teeth soon, especially since he’s had quite a lot of poo nappies too in the past week, but I cannot feel or see anything yet…

Baby G loves his toys, but his favourite toy is the TV remote.  He can reach to specific toys and show me what he wants.  He also recognizes them for what they are.  The other day I was walking with him in my arms in a store and when I passed the aisle with toys he leaned forward and reached out to the toys.  He doesn’t do that for anything else.  We took him to Baby City and let him choose a toy for himself.  We gave him a few and let him show us which he preferred.  He is playing for about 20-30 minutes at a time on his play mat now – I put him there when I make and eat my breakfast in the mornings and he gets so excited!  When he is finished though, he is most often not on the play mat anymore.  Once he was about 1 metre away from it, so the play mat is always on the floor now.  When we first put him on it at about 2 months it was always on our bed or the spare bedroom bed, but we cannot risk that anymore.

We can see baby G’s personality is developing strongly now.  He is a happy baby that laughs a lot, and he has a sense of humour.  He is not scared of anything and often squeals with delight if we play rough with him.  He loves other children, dogs and most people he meets, even strangers, so it looks like he is very social.  Even when he is tired or not in a good mood he will still smile or laugh at others.  He knows what he wants, and what he doesn’t want and how to get his way (that’s why he still doesn’t really drink much out of a bottle and sleeps most of the night in bed with mommy and daddy)

When baby G is either hungry or tired and crying it sounds suspiciously a lot like he is saying ma-ma, and he stops when whoever is holding him gives him to me.  I don’t think it’s actual talking, but I’ve wondered if it’s not a common sound babies make and that is where the word mamma comes from.

Baby G is also so strong now!  He grabs hold of my arms lately when I try to put him in his car seat and he actually manages to pull himself upwards so that he hangs in the air and it makes it almost impossible to put him in his seat.  I have noticed that he is not crazy about his car seat and he still has times when he cries and screams all the way to our destination in the car.   But I must say it is mostly when he is tired so I try to avoid driving anywhere when I know it’s time for a nap.

Firsts:  Two weeks ago baby G had his first swim.  My MIL has a heated indoor swimming pool because she gives aqua aerobics in it, and she got into the pool with him and his 2 cousins.  Baby G absolutely loved it!  Just look at this little face:

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Yesterday morning I woke up from a nightmare. I dreamt we were celebrating mother’s day at my SIL’s house and she asked us all to say a short prayer of thanks for our mothers and I had to start. I just burst into tears and ran out of the house. I tried to hide somewhere because I was crying hysterically and it just would not stop. Eventually my DH found me and he said that he can understand that I’m crying – that I miss my mom – but that I don’t really look upset to him and I felt the implication of his words were that I was acting and over reacting. That I had to pull myself together and stop feeling sorry for myself.

That upset me even more and made me cry even more. I can remember clearly that I shouted out to DH that it’s so unfair that this year mother’s day is once again spoiled for me, the first year that I’m actually a mother and now it’s also the first year without my own mother. Eventually I woke up, totally exhausted and very disturbed by the dream.

It still haunts me and I just can’t forget about it. I didn’t even consciously realize until I dreamt this dream how I feel about mother’s day this year. Now I’m dreading it.

I know last week I thought about what to get my MIL for mother’s day and I very quickly thought, “this year it’s just one present for me to buy…” Very quickly I did something else to avoid thinking about it further.

I guess I’ve been ignoring my feelings about my mom passing and I think it’s coming out in dreams, because I’ve dreamt about my mom a lot lately and a lot of the time she dies in my dreams again, and I cry and cry and cry…

I really don’t want to be sad a lot of the time, because I want to remember the first year of baby G’s life as a happy time, and I am happy, I can honestly say I am incredibly happy, but that means that I’ve really tried my best to ignore the feelings of grief about my mom. I don’t know how to find the balance here…

Fortunately my DH will never say those words and be so insensitive, and he was so sweet when I told him about the dream.

I guess I just miss my mom a lot… And I really wish my first mother’s day this year could just be a happy day…

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