Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Continuum - Overflowing with thankfulness | Part 4


The Continuum Part 4

I am concluding my reflections in this very rich passage of scripture. You can read Part 1 by clicking here  Part 2 by clicking here and Part 3 by clicking here

Colossians 2:7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Over the past couple of weeks, my reflection has been in this passage that is so rich in content, each word or phrase having so much weight behind it.

I come to the last phrase in this passage: ”overflowing with thankfulness”

This last phrase intrigued me. He starts with being rooted, built up, and strengthened in the faith. A natural flow from this could have been prayer. But he throws thankfulness into the mix and not just any kind. Thankfulness that is overflowing and in abundance.

It made me think of how often my thankfulness is just a trickle. What does overflowing with thankfulness look like?

The last year was a very challenging season. I was challenged to practice gratitude, declaring faith and blessing over every situation on a daily basis. I ritualistically went through my list of things that I wanted to give thanks for in order to cultivate a spirit of thanksgiving. This list comprised of the simple mundane things of life. As I did this, my thanksgiving list and its scope began to grow. 

Now every morning when I wake up and draw the curtains of my bedroom back I look out
and thank God for the vast expanse of the lush forest before me. I think God for the view with which I am blessed. I go on to thank god for my husband, my kids and focusing on all the good in them.
Have I become a person overflowing with thanksgiving? Not yet, but I am getting there.

Why is Thanksgiving so important? Is God an egomaniac who needs us to praise Him? 

God does not need anything from us of anyone or anything. He is complete in himself. The thanksgiving is all for our benefit. It requires humility to acknowledge that the source of goodness that you enjoy is outside of yourself. You did not create it. It is acknowledging greatness in someone else. Thanking God is acknowledging Him as the source of all blessing and goodness.

Scripture is full of commands and encouragement to be thankful. The Psalms is full of it.
Paul commands us to give thanks always to praise God with thankfulness.
ManyPsalms start with this common refrain; “give thanks to God for His love endures forever” This is enough reason. His love toward us is lasting and not fleeting or frivolous.

What should we thank him for? Thank God for who He is – our Father, our savior, The Lord of all. Thank God for His general blessing on all the earth. This is called common grace for it rains on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Thank God for His specific grace on your life. Start with the amazing grace He has shown you at the time you were saved: for is redemption and restoration work in our lives. Then thank him for the many other blessings: physical, financial, relational, health, material etc. Stretch yourself to be thankful for everything.

See how this habit will renew your mind – it will change a negative outlook to one full of faith and Hope will rise in your heart for dead situations. I have learned a lot about this in the last year and I believe I am only scratching the surface.


Do a 40-day challenge of thankfulness. Have a list posted where you can see it and go through it on a daily basis.

 Every day I thank God for blessing my children and all that God is going to do in and through them. I pray  blessing and prophesy over their future calling our destiny in them. I thank God for my marriage and what God has done in us this far and ask Him to keep us strong in His love all our days. I thank God for our business and his amazing provision. I thank God for the church; and how God has blessed us and entrusted us with his people.
So get your list ready and start thanking God and see what miracles will take place in your life.

The turnaround will happen in your heart first and then in your circumstances. Thankfulness is the slender sinew that moves the hand of God to act.
We will find ourselves moving from a trickle of thanksgiving to a torrent. Will He not open the floodgates of blessings into our lives?

This brings me to the end of my reflections on these two verses. As I encourage myself I encourage you too to CONTINUE to grow strong, continue to build up your faith, continue to stay rooted in the things you have been taught and continue to grow in thankfulness.

If you found this blog helpful why not share it with your friends and drop me a line in the comments below and share how you have grown in your journey of being a thankful person.

Navaz DCruz
Oct 2018
( This is the concluding blog in this 4 part series)

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Continuum | Part 3

The Continuum Part 3

I am continuing my refelctions in this very rich passage of scripture. You can read Part 1 by clicking here and Part 2 by clicking here.

Colossians 2:7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Paul goes on to encourage the Colossians to, continue to be strengthened in the faith. What does this man? He is asking them to make themselves strong. It begs the question; why should they do this, what should they make themselves strong in and how should they make themselves strong?

Let us reflect on each of these components.


This becomes evident in the verses that follow verse7. We will come to that in a bit.
I think to myself about the different things that I can be strong in- many things can shape my thinking, my opinions and I can become strong in those. 

Having strong convictions is a very good quality. Or else I will be taken “captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ.” Col 2:8.

Therefore, what are these convictions? What has shaped them – what is the value system and the underlying ethos of those convictions?
People today have strong convictions about many things viz. animal rights, forest conservation etc. Some of these things are not bad in themselves but if I do not have a healthy overarching paradigm for my understanding of life, my environment etc. my convictions could get skewed and a little misplaced.

The Colossians were not strangers to these threats as we can see from the warning that follows in verse 8. Paul is warning them not to be swayed by every wind of doctrine or argument or new-fangled idea that was floating around. People were mixing what they were taught with the philosophies of the day, the prevailing religious beliefs, a mixture of the law and grace. It was starting to look like a hot mess. And Paul was cautioning them against the adulteration of the gospel but to continue in what they were taught by the apostles and other trustworthy leaders

Are we not facing the same today? What was considered wrong or sinful in the bible is now being undermined and challenged? Fresh laws are drawn up every so often to call wrong right and vice versa. To call sin, sin has indeed now become “a sin”. What a tragedy!! Humanism has always tried to replace God and His standard as being the plumb line for our lives.

I like the way Paul always states the principle first and then addresses the practice. This is important lest we dismiss the principle as Paul’s opinion that we have an option to be convinced of or not.

So the principle that Paul is stating is: Be strengthened in the faith.  From this, I understand that there I things that I could get strong in that could lead me away from the faith. Do not find strength in other things like one’s career, money, relationships, other philosophies etc.
I need to find my strength in the faith.


We find this phrase “strengthened in the faith’ in many other places ( Acts 16:5, 1Cor 16:13, 1Pet 5:9, Rom 4:20). What does Paul mean by faith? I believe it is a body of beliefs.

 I believe he is referring to our faith in the Lord Jesus as our only savior. Our faith in the complete work of the Cross, being saved and sustained by Grace alone and in Christ alone. Our belief in  God the Father Son and the Holy Spirit. Our belief in the resurrection and the return of Jesus. Our belief in eternal life. Our belief in the Church and the unity of the body of Christ. This has been beautifully encapsulated in the Apostles Creed written in 390AD.

“As you were taught..”
We are to hold fast to the teaching that is in scripture and not waver from it. What has been taught? It is also important to know who is teaching me. Is the church that I am a part of preaching the full gospel in an undiluted way? Is it preaching sin, repentance, forgiveness, grace and all the rich inheritance we come into because of accepting Jesus sacrifice in the cross?

As we meditate on these truths each day, we will be strengthened in the faith.
We will get strong in the faith and what we believe and we will get strong by what we have come to believe. It will put strength into our soul and Spirit.
I pause to reflect on this…


I look back at my life and see that I started the habit of spending time with God and His Word when I was in school. I started maintaining a journal when I was around 13-14. That daily chewing on scripture morsel by morsel is what has made my faith strong today.
It’s not reading a whole chunk of scripture once a month that will do it for you. It’s that little bite-size pieces each day – those verses that you meditate upon that start to do its work for the Word of God is living and active (Heb4:12-13).

We are transformed by the renewing of our mind and allow our thinking to be retrained and shaped by scripture. Slowly the word becomes the plumb line that shows us when I am off balanced in my thinking or behavior.

It is not the random reading of scripture or only a diet of the Psalms that will make you strong. It's taking in the whole counsel of the Word of God right from Genesis to Revelation and all those difficult books like Leviticus,, Deuteronomy, Ezekiel in between.

I have read the Bible from cover from cover more times than I can recount and it has been an enriching experience with new treasures to discover each time. I love the Word of God. It is my treasure, my comfort, my compass, my delight. It is the first place I run to when I need to be strengthened of when I need guidance.

I have used devotionals books etc as supplementary tools but they can never replace the Bible.

When I meditate on the Word of God consistently my faith becomes strong and I become a strong person too. When this happens, I am “able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom 12:2)

As I end on my reflections today, can I ask you a question? How do you get strong in the faith? Maybe you would like to share your journey, and what you have found helpful in the comments below. If you have enjoyed what you are reading please share this blog with your friends on any social media you use. Why not WhatsApp it to a friend right now?

Navaz DCruz
(Concluding Part to follow)

For PART 1 Click here & PART 2

Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Continuum PART 2


Colossians 2:6-7
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
In verse 6 

 I have been reflecting on this verse over the last few days. In the first part  I reflected on verse 6 and how we stay rooted in Christ. Paul is urging us to continue in certain things as we live out our Christian life and calling.

He is very clear in his communications. He isn’t just saying “Be a good Christian, “ Or “ Oh you have been saved, now enjoy life. It is all grace brother! Do not bother about anything. Jesus has done it all. Jesus loves you” etc etc.
He reminds his readers of the great sacrifice that Jesus paid for us all. He reminds us that is a complete work; Satan's defeated.

We are set free from the tyranny of the myriad laws that encumbered the poor Jewish soul.
Now that we are free – we are free for a purpose. This is specific for each one of us.
We are to continue in many things. However, this “continue” is not static. It’s not about maintaining the status quo. It is about sustaining growth. It’s progressive: from one degree of glory to another.  In scripture, we are encouraged to “build ourselves up in the holiest faith”.

I move my reflections on to the next part of verse 7, which asks us to be “built up”
Why do we need to do this? How do we do this and what is involved? Reflect with me.
In our journey as Christ followers, our aim is to become more and more like Jesus, to be Holy even as He is Holy. To fulfill the good works he has prepared for us to do. This is the reason we are saved. To be a light to all.

We are built up as we stay rooted – as we continue to grow deeper in our fellowship with him.
We get built up by meditating on His Word and allowing it to grow richly in our lives, allowing the word to challenge and change us. The phrase built up implies growth. As Christians we are on a continuum of growth – the overall movement in our lives ought to be forward.

What do I do, to be built up, to grow, to be encouraged, and to be focused?
 So what do I continue in? Here are some things:
Continue to be a learner – seeking the kingdom to influence my lifestyle and decisions.
Continue to add to my “faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”  (2Pet 1:5-7)
Continue to persevere in the face of trialsbecause you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And tastings so my faith grows strong.” (James 1:3)
Continue to dig deep into God’s word in sweet fellowship and prayer (Col 3:16)
Continue to do good, and not grow weary of it (Gal 6:9)
Continue to meet with other Christ followers to encourage and be encouraged. Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing.( Heb 10:25)
Continue to build on Christ the Cornerstone. (1Cor 3:11)

When I do this, I will grow strong, mature and be productive bearing the good fruits of the faith.
 Are there things that you need to continue in that you have stopped doing? Now is a good time to hit the reset button and restart.

Paul knew that there would be times we would slacken off or give up. That is why there are so many verses encouraging us to keep going, to fight the good fight of faith, to press on, to keep at it. Let us encourage each other and our other brothers and sisters to keep going.  We are yet to come into our best. Let us continue to the finish line and finish strong.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

The Continuum


Colossians 2:6-7
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

This is the verse I am reflecting on today and want to mull over it bit by bit because I think there is a lot in this small but very rich instruction  Paul is giving us Christ followers.

V6 a- So Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord -  Paul was encouraging the Colosse Christians to hold on to truth and not be swayed by many fine sounding arguments ( verse4) or even a false gospel that was already making the rounds. (verse 8).

How did we receive Jesus?
He wants them to hold fast to what they were taught by the apostles. They received it from men of creditability and received it by faith.
I pause to think about this. We have no lack choice today as to who we would like to listen to, which church sermons we want to watch. Sometimes we can be sucked into subtle false teachings without even realizing it.

We need to know whom we are learning from: what is their track -record, what is their life like, and what are their core doctrines. It is not easy to test this in the cyber world.

The other thing that Paul is reminding them is about how they received Christ. How did we receive our salvation? We received it by grace through faith. Nothing more, nothing less. The Cross of Christ is complete and covers everything for me. I cannot earn it, I don’t deserve it. I appropriate it by faith alone and in humility accept this grace gift in my life.
Let no one add to that or take away from this great work of our wonderful God.

The deity of Jesus was coming into question no sooner did he resurrect from the dead and ascend into heaven. This truth is still being challenged and toyed with today. Let us remind ourselves of the glorious savior who did a finished work making a public spectacle of Satan and all his schemes when he triumphed over him on the Cross. (verse 15). The devil thought sending Jesus was the greatest trick and his ace card. What he and not know was that he played into the very plan of God that sealed his fate forever.

Let us remind ourselves that the life we now live is not to be lived by a set of rules. We live this life because we have a relationship that is sustained by deep communion and staying firmly rooted in Jesus ( verse 22-23)

V6b - continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him,.

In my 4+ decades of being a Christ follower, one thing I have seen and now with an ever increasing measure, sadly, is that people often start well but do not continue with increasing fervor. Some tragically lose their way floundering amidst the cares and worries of this world.

So the encouragement to ‘continue ‘is not without cause. To Continue is an important motif in the New Testament and should be in our lives too. This is said in many different ways in the Bible. Here are some : persevere in the faith, fight the good fight of faith, press on toward the goal, run the race with perseverance, run the race marked out for us, he who preservers will be given the crown of life, do not grow weary in doing good and many, many more such exhortations.

This is not a call to continue to exist. There is a manner in which I am to continue. Paul goes on to tell us how.

As I reflected on the word ROOTED, I thought it is good to pause and ask some questions. Is, my life built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness? I have salvation here and here alone. He is my Rock and the source of my life. He is my cornerstone. This means I am not relying on my strength, independence etc.

 Why are roots important?
It is the life source to the whole plant. Whatever soil the roots of my heart are planted in, will nourish me and determine how healthy the plant will be and what kind of fruit I will produce.

So where do I get my values from? What is influencing my life and my character formation? Is the soil that of the world or is it Christ? What my mind feeds on will affect thought patterns, my emotions, and my behavior.

What soil my roots are in will affect what is” built up”. I can wipe and clean and polish the leaves all I want but if the roots are rotting or have poor nutrition or are in a toxic environment, the rot is going to show and destroy the plant as well. The plant will grow, but not as a healthy one.

So what do I learn from this morning’s reflections? No matter how old or young a Christ follower I am, I need to continue to be rooted in Christ which is the richest and best place to have my life planted in. John 15 is replete with repeated reminders to remain in Jesus so that we will bear fruit that will last.
I pray and you and I will continue on this continuum of life with steadfastness growing from strength to strength being built up in Christ. 

How are we built up? More in the next blog. Click here for Part 2 

Navaz DCruz

Thursday, May 31, 2018

STRONGER PART 6 | Conclusion.

I came across a book early this year by Havilah Cunnington titled “Stronger than the Struggle”. I strongly recommend you read it. Much of what I am blogging here is from that book and what I did with a ladies group called Coffee Chats. If you find this useful, please feel free to use this material in a study group you might be leading. The blogs in this series are reflections and a summary of what I got from this fantastic book that I recommend you to buy. Click here for PART 5 of this Blog series

So we have seen how we need to identify the source of our battle i.e Internal, External or our belief system. We have looked at the weapons the enemy uses against us i.e theft, death, and destruction. These are his fingerprints. You know he is at work when you see any of these. We have looked at how we should respond, and the tools we have. Most battles are in our mind.

 We fight by taking every thought captive and replacing it with the truth. We fight with the word of God, opportunities of grace that God puts across our path, the rehma word. We also saw that it is important to trust, to yield to God. We need to replace fear with faith.
Remember the devil is the chief enemy of your soul and he wants to destroy it so that he can keep you from your God-given destiny.

Therefore in our daily lives how do we stay powerful? What am I responsible for?

I am responsible for my choices and what I believe in. I can partner with the Prince of peace or partner with the spirit of fear and anxiety. We all get anxious every now and then. Then there are some who live under a constant cloud of fear. This is a spirit that you need to send packing by declaring the truth of the Word of God over your life and situations.

Let’s look at the man beside the pool of Bethesda. He was sick for 38 years. Jesus asked him a strange question. Do you want to get well? What a strange question you might say? Jesus often asked this of people. He asked the blind man if he wanted to see. Sometimes we get comfortable with our problem that we actually empower it and give it permission to stay.

This man has two excuses – First is complained and said that he had no one to push hint into the pool. That is a victim mentality I.e. no one understands, I am all alone, my situation is unique. It’s an isolation that Satan puts you under. I have been there. Like in the story, I mentioned. Because I did not get the help I was looking for, I felt isolated and a victim. While I did not get the help, I could have moved on. I could have looked upward to the One who is greater. He is the one who gave me the dream in the first place. Would HE not have enabled me? And enable me he did. He guided me to tools I needed and then there was no stopping.

The second excuse was “Someone always beats me to it”. This is like saying, God, you have limited resources and it has run out on me! How ridiculous is that! Worse still is a comparison. We look at others people’s blessings and miracles and feel envious, jealous, we compare and get bitter and even get angry with God. Jesus full of grace asks the man t get up and walk. HE did not enable his victim mindset. Jesus gave him a chance to partner with his miracle. The man had a choice. Jesus asked him to get up. He gave him an opportunity to be powerful and do something. Blame leads us to get stuck in the mud.

On the other hand, we see the Centurion. For him, the Word was enough. Both men faced a problem. One felt powerless and the other did what he could.

Self-pity can make you feel powerless and get you so absorbed in the problem that you do not see the solution. You may even be right about the source of the problem but that will not get you unstuck. You have to partner with the miracle.

Remember comparison is the enemies’ way of telling you that there isn’t enough to go around and that God is holding out on you.
Excuses and blame don’t help change anything. We have to take responsibility for our selves. I learned this the hard way. It took me a few years to get out of that pity pit.

Obey the Prince of Peace
Partner with the Holy Spirit
We can respond in faith or stay in unbelief
I can’t do everything but I can do something!

 When you have a speck of dust on your lens it ruins all your pictures, doesn’t it? The dust of distraction can make us ineffective. This is one more tactic the Devil uses.

In those three vital years that Jesus ministered, he said some very important things and gave us very important advice.
Jesus gave us strategies of how to deal with different people. Some will accept you and some will reject you. He tells us to shake the dust off!!

Jesus knew that we would need a strategy to deal with offense. If we don’t know how to deal with this we will take this into every situation. It's not if offense comes, but when it comes.
Offense is a trigger and a trap. An offense can take you hostage. The pain, the anger can hold you hostage. IT will color the way you look at everything. It will prevent you from taking steps towards reconciliation or trying to resolve a conflict. Offense rides on the ugly back of pride. We have all been there. We have either taken offense or given it.

Now the word “take” offense implies we have a choice. I can choose not to take offense. IT is always a choice. I could either pick up the courage or seek clarification in a situation. I can choose to overlook the wrong done. I can choose to give the other person the benefit of the doubt. If I feel there could be a misunderstanding caused by my actions, I need to have the courage and ask what the matter is. The onus is then on that person to seek to keep the connection and respond or not.

I have had to do this when there was a rift in a friendship. I sought to reconnect to no avail. Finally, a letter helped me understand what the problem was. I could not do more than that. The Bible says as far as it depends on you live in peace. Make every effort to reconcile. A relationship might never come to restoration but sometimes that is for the best. Praise God I can say today that there is reconciliation in the friendship.

So whatever it, is we need to fight it. The Greek word “skandalon” is where we get the word scandalized. It is the stick in the trap that springs and closes the trap when the animal touches it.

This is one of the deadliest weapons Satan uses against us. I have written a blog on Offence where I go into more detail on this topic. Offence affects the core of our heart. It is like drinking poison or allowing cancer to grow inside of us. The Bible warns us not to allow bitterness to take root in our hearts. We also need to beware of judging people. When we are able to deal with offence in a godly way it brings glory to God.
What are the common offense s in our lives?

Apart from our soul, the other big enemy of Satan is the church. He will do everything to keep us divided. A united body is powerful. He seeks to bring misunderstandings and make them irreconcilable differences simply because often one person is too proud to admit their fault.

Jesus spoke of the spec in our neighbor's eye and the plank in our own. A plank is made up of tiny specs. Each offense that we accumulate will cause our vision to be impaired.
Satan loves to cause division and destroy friendships, intimacy, marriages. The closer the relationship, the greater the offense and great the hurt caused.

It takes one to forgive, but two to reconcile. God takes many and makes us ONE. Satan takes that one and tries to make many. We need to be very careful fo this. Do not allow it to build up.

“An offence is an event, being Offended is a state you are in” Havilah Cunnington. When you take offense and nurture it you become offended. So deal with this one swiftly.


Most days of our lives are lived out in the dailyness of mundane routine. Yet it is about discipline and staying the course. Then sometimes we hear how someone has had this amazing breakthrough in life. Someone gets this trip to an exotic place all paid for while you have been saving up for just a small holiday. We can get angry or feel cheated or we can celebrate God’s grace upon that person’s life.

If we cannot celebrate another person’s happiness, blessing or grace, we will never be able to step into our own. We will block our own blessing. This is another trap. The enemy prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to kill and devour. Lions hunt at night or early in the morning. Those are vulnerable, weak times. That is what the devil will do. He will seek you out when you are weak and vulnerable.

On a practical note, make sure that you are eating healthy, getting enough sleep and exercise. All these affect your emotional and mental balance as well. When you feel you do not have the strength to go on,  call back to mind Lam 3: 22-23: His mercies are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.

In your battle, you need good friends to be with you. Find friends who will pour fuel on your dreams and not your fears. Some of us need a change in friend circle. Proverbs tells us that bad company corrupts good character. 

Ask yourself: are your friends helping you grow in the things of God?
Are they provoking you to live your dream and pursue your destiny whatever that might be?
Are they honest with you when you need some truth to be spoken to you?
Do they stand with you when you are in trouble or weak and vulnerable?
What counsel do they give you and where does it come from?
Miserable bitter people have a way of finding each other. So chose your friends wisely.

  We also need to be intentional about our relationships. Satan hates our friendships, marriages. Do not take these for granted. A lot of our struggles are in these very areas probably because we have taken things lightly and let things slide.

Be careful about being performance driven. Do the best you can. We need to be resilient and have endurance. 2Tim 4:7 says “I have fought the fight…” Phil 3:14 Paul says he will press on toward the goal. 2Cor 4:9

To conclude: the Holy Spirit will never run. Jesus calls us to come and drink from so that we may never thirst again. So do not have a scarcity mentality. You will always have what you need. God’s grace, provision of favor is unlimited. They will never run out. If you think it will, you will not be able to celebrate another peon’s success.

Fight the good fight of faith; Run you race, You have a destiny in God. What we focus most is what we reflect. What we think about the most will grow. We act from our thoughts and not independent of them.

Our struggle will not last forever. A time will come when all this wrap like an old blanket. The battle will end. Christ will return and he will have our rewards in his hand. One day we will be with him forever. This study inspired me to write a song of Hope called “ YOU ARE STRONGER”. You can listen to it by clicking here. Jesus is stronger than all the powers of darkness, the trails, schemes, lies the devil will throw at us.

I hope you enjoyed this series as much as I did share it with you. Drop me a line to let me know how it has benefited you.

I pray that whatever season you are in, you will learn to fight well and grow stronger and fo on to fulfill all your God-given dreams.