Be prepared

In our daily lives we are prepared for most things which interest us, hold our attention, pay us for our services (we-ell sometimes) or something we enjoy.

When the situation arises or requires will we be in the front-line leading the way, proving by example or making sure we reach the required standards. The standards set by ourselves and/or the standards set by others. The yardsticks our managers, coaches, leaders and superiors call upon us in various ways.

The outcome or lack of interest which we exhibit will decide if we are a success or a failure, a leader or an also ran, an achiever or run of the mill. It is that call to action which we acknowledge and to which we respond which marks our life on this earth. We are rated by our ways and our ethics (those who understand the meaning of course).

I am firmly convinced God also wishes to use those of us prepared to listen and to answer His call.

Are we prepared?

Oswald Chambers says “We are so busy telling God where we would like to go. Yet the man or woman who is ready for God and His work is the one who receives the prize when the summons comes.”

“Readiness means having a right relationship to God and having the knowledge of where we are.”

I spend far too much of my time advising God on what He should be considering for me and my talents. I mean is He actually aware of my gifts and just how valuable I am and what a difference I can make in His plan of things. Besides leading a seminar on humility of course!

The thing is, in my case, my time of meditation is inclined to be a bit noisy because of all the feedback I am providing to God.

First question I need to answer is do I recognise His voice when He does call?

One of my favourite quotes is from Soren Kierkegaard who said “A man prayed and at first he thought prayer was talking. But he became more and more quiet until in the end he realised that prayer is listening.” Ignoring the poor grammar the lesson is an obvious one. How can you hear His call if you’re talking all the time?

John 10:27-28 (NLT) My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.

Second question I need to answer is why should or would He call on me?

Now don’t go all philosophical and theological on me the answer (in my mind anyway) is a simple one.

Once again Oswald Chambers asks “Have you deliberately committed your will to Jesus Christ? It is a transaction of the will, not of emotion; any positive emotion that results is simply a superficial blessing arising out of the transaction. If you focus your attention on the emotion, you will never make the transaction.”

Okay then.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

‘Do not depend on your own understanding’. Now there is one big step to take.

I find it interesting Oswald says committing my will to God is not an emotional act but it is a physical undertaking using my will. In other words I commit my will to Jesus and concentrate on that alone because the emotions, the call and my faith will all follow Him.

Now why didn’t I think about that before?

Breathe on me, Breath of God, Fill me with life anew. That I may love what Thou dost love and do what Thou wouldst do. (Edwin Hatch).

Be ready for the sudden surprise visits of God. A ready person never needs to get ready— he is ready.

Posted in Christ, Christian, Christianity, Durban Talk, South Africa | Leave a comment

The gospel according to me

Always enjoyed the story of the golfer whose opponent wanted to bend the rules “just a little” to suit his lost ball/out of bounds/behind an obstruction et al. If you play golf you’ve met them. You meet them in all walks of life. The golfer, instead of arguing, took out his rules of golf, with a pen, handing them to his opponent with the comment “Why don’t you mark all the rules we will ignore today. Only fair we both play the same game if it is not golf.”

Life is filled with those who wish to bend or ignore the rules to suit themselves or their current situation. In the process they are liable to be tainted and subject to social hostility. The end justifies the means in their lives.

Equally the Christian faith is littered with those who either do not understand, will not understand or choose not to understand the simple commands of Jesus Christ. The Beatles even wrote a song about it (Day Tripper) saying “got a good reason for taking the easy way out.”

How sad to place your entire future at risk for expediency.

St Augustine said “If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.”

The amazing fact is faith is not rocket science requiring deep and unfathomable research to produce a finding open to discussion, argument and even rejection. In fact Christianity is open to discussion and argument and even rejection by rocket scientists and school drop-outs alike.

And yet those who have been born again do so simply and easily and even unsuspectingly at times. They find themselves deeply affected, at peace and their lives positively changed merely through opening their minds. An acceptance of the incredible, unconditional love of our God.

Why is that so difficult?

Paul put it quite simply. Because we are sinners. We find it easier to sin. Because if we can find an easy way out or do something without too much ‘hassle’ then that is what we do most of the time.

Jesus only asks that we love him. Nothing else. He wants to abide in us and for us to abide in Him. That is more than just a relationship.

Romans 8:39 (NLT) No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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

Taking the easy way out? I just want to make friends with Jesus Christ and grow in my love for Him.

Is there anything stopping me?

Yes! Me!

 

Posted in Christ, Christian, Christianity, Durban Talk, South Africa | Comments Off on The gospel according to me

Living life to my full negativity

I recall the words of Willie Nelson – he who spoke to walls – who suggested replacing negative thoughts with positive ones will lead to positive results.

Helen Keller was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. She was incapable of speech or hearing from the age of 19 months. She had to learn language from scratch when she was around 8 years old. Later she obtained a BA degree (with no free education!). If ever somebody had an excuse to hide behind their problems and issues and be negative it was this lady. Read some of her works and quotes. She is an incredible, positive inspiration.

Then ask yourself what stops you and me adopting the same wonderful spirit in life?

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.” Helen Keller. She was blind!

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Helen Keller.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am always amazed (and I shouldn’t be) at how the average person will manage to find something negative in even positive situations. Our ability to see the worst scenario or imagine what could go wrong clouds our desire to love, to be loved, to find joy and to be at peace.

This negative ability – negative ability? Is there such a thing? Anyway you know what I mean. This negative ability covers every aspect of our lives to a greater or lesser extent. Many times we survive through the negative times only to revive the same negativity when the same situation arises.

A positive attitude to life and the future is surely what builds us and guides us on our way to fulfill our potential in life. As opposed to dragging ourselves down because of ‘what ifs’ or ‘maybes’ or ‘perhaps’ or ‘I can’t do it’ or ‘I don’t know if I can’ or or or .  .  .  .  .  .   and so we can go on.

Joyce Meyer penned one of my favourite sayings – You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.

I am a firm believer in counting the blessings which you have been given and rejoice in them and build upon that ever growing foundation. If I concentrate on my blessings instead of sulking over my problems then suddenly the world is a brighter place, my life is filled with joy and all those ‘difficult’ things reduce in influence.

Obviously issues arise requiring our attention and if we face them as issues to solve and overcome – and then move on – life can be a joy. If we keep harping on our inabilities or our limits or problems then very soon they become a part of our lives. We become imprisoned by the walls of our mind. Oh woe is me! We become in life what we do every day, say every day and how we behave every day. In fact if we make a point of doing the same harmful things every day and adopting destructive ways then we become, every day, more negative and miserable. When we think and act and behave positively then positive things happen to us.

A perfect example of this is social media where we struggle to find and enjoy the opportunity to engage in positive interaction with our friends and other interested parties. Communications vary from sick, violent, crude and insulting to just downright damaging to people and their personal esteem. Why engage? Why drag yourself and your views down to the level of people who attack, destroy, damage and insult? What do you gain from the engagement? Remove them from your social media circle.

Mark Twain had this to say about Congress. Substitute social media in the place of Congress. “Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”

“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.” Elbert Hubbard

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” Henry Ford

 

 

Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you. Saint Augustine

 

Posted in Christian, Christianity, Durban Talk, South Africa | Comments Off on Living life to my full negativity

Am I the problem?

Do you think the present climate in South Africa is anywhere near the euphoria and patriotism that followed our victory in the rugby world cup in Jo’burg?

We never were the perfect democratic society but under the guidance of Madiba we did seem to be moving in the right direction.

Then everything got corrupted, stolen, twisted, covered in lies, hidden by greed and all of that topped by a sauce of dishonesty. The poor suffered immensely and social life in terms of trust, acceptance and tolerance went out the window. The perpetrators kept pointing fingers as they led this country on to its knees.

What on earth makes you think Cyril Ramaphosa’s government will change anything? I don’t think he has a hope!

But I honestly believe you and I can make it happen.

We need an honest government to walk with us. Corruption removed. Crime reduced.

But only we can make South Africa a better place. You and I and your neighbour.

Billy Graham the legendary preacher recently passed away at the age of 99. He is reputed to have said:

“My favourite verse of Scripture was taught to me by my mother when I was just a little boy: ‘For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’

 

“This is the one Scripture that I always preach on in a crusade, usually on the opening night. I suppose it is the most familiar passage in the Bible. It has only twenty-five words in the English translation of it, but it is the gospel in a nutshell. Someone has called it a miniature Bible. The word “whosoever” in this verse means the whole world. Whatever the colour of a person’s skin, whatever language he speaks, God loves him and God is willing to save him. To me that is marvellous. It also says that life doesn’t begin when you die, it begins here and now.” (Bible Gateway)

“God loves him” and “God is willing to save him”. Why don’t we want to do the same?

Remember “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27. He did not create a man in your image, your religion, your colour skin, your language, your education, your breeding or to protect your bigotry. He created man in HIS own image.

He followed this with a very simple command ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbour as yourself.’ Luke 10:27.

Who is your neighbour? There’s the rub. Your neighbour is made in God’s image. And in Matthew 5:44  we are told “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”

Now that is the difficult part where many of us struggle every day. To love everyone and in particular those who hate you. Returning hate with love not only confuses the opposition (not really the point I s’pose!) but it stops hate escalating. Draws people closer together. Hate on hate just develops the kind of situation we find too often today…… and what’s more we cannot say we were not warned.

Matthew 24:12 “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”

So what am I saying? I am saying God teaches peace and love. Why do we not believe in His Word and His promises?

“Throughout his life, Billy Graham said no other book is as important as the Bible and Christians need to make an effort to understand it. He suggested that a first-time reader not start with Genesis, but rather with one of the Gospels in the New Testament, adding that he often recommended the Gospel of John, “because the Gospels tell us about Jesus Christ—his life, his ministry, and especially his death and resurrection. All the Old Testament points forward to Christ, and he is the centre of the Bible’s message. Put Christ at the centre of your life, and once you do, you’ll understand the rest of the Bible more clearly.” Bible Gateway.

“Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” Mother Teresa.

Unless or until, we start behaving in a Christian, civilised and respectful manner to all our neighbours Cyril Ramaphosa is going to struggle to change lives in our beloved country.

Why don’t you and I help him on this journey?

I know God will support us.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Christ, Christian, Christianity, Durban Talk, South Africa | Comments Off on Am I the problem?

Time to be good

Mental health is one of those issues society does not wish to drag out into the open for discussion. The stigma of mental disease appears in most societies and the question needs to be asked – why? Why the stigma?

Why is mental illness more of a stigma than physical illness? What stops us reaching out to mental patients in the same way we acknowledge physically ill patients?

I have been watching and listening to the Life Esidimeni enquiry, the scandal of 145 mental patients dying in horrific circumstances (and a further 45 still ‘just missing’). The lack of dignity shown to patients, family and even the dead is horrifying.

Mentally ill patients removed from hospitals to be “cared for” in private facilities where humane care, food (even water), security, love, dignity and common decency often flew out the window. Family members taking months to trace where their loved ones are then finding them ill, under-nourished or dead. Warnings from family and mental health specialists all being ignored by the officials, the police, ministers (parliamentary and provincial), doctors et al. Bodies found in mortuaries months after death decomposing, stinking, full of worms and death certificates suggesting ‘natural causes’.

The reaction of all the health officials and politicians is – of course – it was not my problem. It was him. Not my fault. Cowardly, lacking any sense of responsibility and over-paid.

Whatever happened to our humanity?

Then I sat down and looked at myself and how I treat people, how I react to others and how I behave when confronted in situations. I am not always too clever.

Listen I haven’t tortured anyone, or starved them or led them to die. But have I really behaved in a Christian and loving manner at all times and whenever possible?

I don’t know how you answer that question but my answer is sadly ‘no’. Not all the time.

Mother Teresa said “Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes and kindness in your smile.”

I must admit I am not too bad in that area and generally I am friendly and open with most people I meet in the shops, garage, restaurant, work environment et al.

I must admit I am not too good when the person makes me feel uncomfortable particularly if they do not fit into my accepted norms and standards.

Some years ago I used this quote. Regrettably I have lost the source. However it does speak to me about where and who I need to be.

“Give to every other human being every right that you claim yourself.”

A few months back I wrote in my blog about lack of humanity –

“Is this because I am “only human” or because I am too absorbed in my personal god – me?

Is this because there is only one way to live – by my standards? Everyone else is wrong?

Is this because I do not accept the choice of “others” in the way they live their lives? They are misguided?

I am ashamed to say my answer to the questions can be “yes”.

And I consider myself a Christian!”

Genesis 1:27 (NKJV) So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

God created man in His own image! What gives me the right to reject another person for my reasons – a little arrogant and blasphemous methinks?

“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again”.  Anon.

There is really little effort required in treating everyone we meet with courtesy, decency, dignity and humility (there’s that word again!). The amazing part of this behavior pattern is how people react to us and then we, in turn, receive their courtesy and compassion.

“It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Through compassion we make other’s misery our own and by relieving their misery we also relieve our misery.

2 Corinthians 13:11. .  .  . be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

 

 

Posted in Christ, Christian, Christianity, Durban Talk, Fathers, South Africa | Comments Off on Time to be good

Is joy a part of your life

Listening to and reading of the rampant corruption and evil surfacing during the South African court cases, enquiries and commissions leads one to suspect the country is very close to breaking down. Descending into another Zimbabwe. In fact hardly a suspicion but a fact. South Africa is very close to being a banana republic at best. A country on its knees at worst.

Thank heavens for the arrival of Cyril and his contemporaries.

I think.

I hope.

What is fascinating is this inability of man to accept facts which are placed before him – and then point fingers whilst his fingers are still in the cookie jar. All very depressing.

Then I started reading the good news – well concentrating on it anyway – and suddenly I found all is not lost. The more I looked the more I found. Normal everyday people assisting the poor, handing in lost wallets filled with cash or expensive cell phones, helping people in distress and oh – just so much more. There are lots of good people in this beautiful country of ours across all religions, people of all colours, both sexes, rich and poor and middle income and – well – just everyone.

Yet we are inclined to start all conversations, correspondence or interaction with a litany of foul deeds, crime, evil and all the horrible facts of life today. I know! I do it too and I must say I am not proud of it.

Satan and evil are winning because we are willing participants in their public relations and marketing plan. Unpaid Bell Pottinger agents for the dark side if you like!

It is so easy to wallow in the “woe is me” and “cry the beloved country” gossip we often forget all we have to thank God for in our lives. Here is my list I started on without a lot of deep introspection. There is so much more to be grateful for and thankful.

I live in a log cabin overlooking the estuary of the Mpenjati River next to a conservancy. Paradise. Why then do we continue venting over electricity and water service (or lack of), potholes, road blocks, the drought and so we go on?

I live in a country which offers some of the most beautiful scenery and places to visit. When last did I sit down and talk about that rather than negative wailing?

I am blessed my two sons grew into fine men and succeeded each in his own way. Yes my younger son died too early in life but his legacy is my grand-sons who, fortunately, have grown to be like him rather than me! I am very proud of who they are today. Can you believe my wife called me crotchety the other day?! I mean! My elder son has blessed us with beautiful grand-daughters who love me dearly – as they should – and are the three most beautiful ladies I know.

I have been married to the same lady for over 50 years (that is two life sentences I am told) and though all the ups and downs we are still together today (crotchety or not!).

Financially I do not have two brass farthings to rub together but we live comfortably, simply and still enjoy a few luxuries, glass of wine et al. Life is what you make of it – not what other people make of you.

What this world has to offer is of little significance if only I concentrate on my Lord and Saviour. He promises me so much, has delivered so much and I know there is more to come. Most importantly when He decides to remove me from this mortal coil He promises me eternal life and His unconditional love.

What more do I want?

We basically have a whole country forced onto its knees by lies and deceit and corruption and evil and greed.

How do you think similar evils in my personal life affect the trust, love and support of family, friends and business acquaintances?

How much better my life when I spend it positively, lovingly and filled with His Holy Spirit.

“Happiness is never in our power and pleasure is. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted joy would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasure in the world” CS Lewis.

A truly great author despite finishing his sentences with a preposition!

John 15:11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!

Or NKJV – These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

 

Posted in Christ, Christian, Christianity, Durban Talk, South Africa | Comments Off on Is joy a part of your life

What is a church?

Elizabeth Elliot (A lamp for my feet). ‘Sometimes when I was a child my mother or my father would say to me “Shut your eyes and hold out your hand.” That was the promise of some lovely surprise. I trusted them, so I shut my eyes instantly and held out my hand. Whatever they were going to give me I was ready to take. So it should be in our trust of our heavenly Father. Faith is the willingness to receive whatever He wants to give, or the willingness not to have what He does not want to give.’

A very simple but heart-warming description of faith. Why do so many church going Christians fail to grasp what is offered to them? If only they would stretch out their hand. Sitting in church each Sunday with a Bible study thrown in during the week is unlikely to empower us with the Holy Spirit.

As believers and followers of Jesus Christ we are all filled with the Holy Spirit. However the empowering of the Holy Spirit, which happened at Pentecost, is something many Christians strive to achieve. Sadly many are unable to reach that realisation through a lack of knowledge, or a fear of what will happen, perhaps the environment in which they worship or sheer disinterest. The tragedy is the believer who really wants to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

“Though every believer has the Holy Spirit (Salvation), the Holy Spirit does not have every believer (Baptism of the Holy Spirit).” (Author unknown).

The point is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit does not make us better than other Christians, but it does make us better than ourselves. Remember too Jesus states quite categorically in Acts 1:8b that when the power of the Holy Spirit comes upon us we WILL BE witnesses. In other words transformation takes place and our character changes dramatically.

While Jesus was with them the disciples were still in an Old Testament mode. It was still Old Testament until Jesus died. Then, at Pentecost, we see the disciples and others empowered by the Holy Spirit to do the Kingdom work of God. Peter, for example, preaches and 3 000 came to Christ.

We have to take seriously the fact that the church is the church not by its corporate structure, or its form of worship, or its clergy or anything like that. All these are good as long as they are serving God’s purpose and not the purpose of the people of the church or the leadership’s own preferences. The church is the church because of the presence of God and God is present through His Holy Spirit and if the Holy Spirit is present Holy Spirit things start to happen.

The church is the church because of the presence of God and God is present through His Holy Spirit and if the Holy Spirit is present Holy Spirit things start to happen.

Makes you think doesn’t it? Certainly it makes me think very hard about where I am in my Christian walk. Correction! It made me re-think!

God has told us quite clearly that the most important commandment is to love Him with everything we have – and nothing less. He also tells us in His Word to spread His Word encouraging, teaching, preaching and helping others to reach out to Him.

The second sentence in the paragraph above is where my church should be standing.

Where does your church stand?

Where do you stand in just one of those areas? Encouraging, teaching, preaching or helping others to reach Him?

If you need wisdom ask our generous God and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. James 1:5.

Pray, asking God to reveal His will to you.

 

Posted in Christ, Christian, Christianity, Durban Talk | Comments Off on What is a church?

Will the church of the Apostles survive?

“If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.” A.W. Tozer

This blog is copied in part from one I wrote over 3 years ago inspired by a thought provoking Bill Muehlenberg article.

I was immediately struck by the content because it is a position in which I and people close to me have struggled through. The tragedy when the church remains oblivious to or totally unconcerned about losing members. In particular members who are devoted, willing and crying to do the Lord’s work.

 

“The very people on whom a church relies for lay leadership, service and financial support are going away.”

 

Whilst church members rather apply their personal agendas the Holy Spirit grows more distant. The joy and peace of the Holy Spirit at work in our midst becomes a memory.

 

In his blog Bill says “There would be many reasons why people stop going to church. We all might have our suggestions as to why this is occurring. I have my own ideas. Let me list a few such possibilities here:

-Many believers are not being fed from the Word of God.

-Many believers are put off by the attempt to cater solely to youth or elderly or the resolutely stagnant while ignoring their needs.

-Many believers are tired of just being bench warmers, with no role to play.

-Many believers are looking for the real deal.

-Many believers are desiring genuine Holy Ghost revival, not just pep talks, self-help seminars, and a me-centred gospel.

-Many believers are starving for the reality of First Century Christianity.”

 

That, in my book, is a bulls-eye.

The first question I need to answer is if this ‘drop out’ menace is the result of an egocentric leadership. Only you can answer that question in your church.

“But the problem is, so often our leaders are so busy doing church, that they do not have this needed time to reassess . . . . . “

 

The second question I need to answer is how many people would return and grow the church if we returned instead to Jesus worship. When I say ‘grow the church’ it is not necessarily all about numbers but more importantly all about the ‘Holy Spirit’.

I was born again as a direct result of family, friends and church leading me towards the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit who was evident in the church and active in the church and filled us all in the church with His peace and love. I did not give my life to Jesus Christ as the result of a lecture, a barbecue, a fun evening or some other entertainment.

I agree those things do have a role to play in the fellowship of the church – but it is just a supporting role.

I was a willing member of the congregation as a result of sermons and talks and guest speakers focussing on the one real reason why I was a Christian. The fact Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again for me, so that my sins are forgiven.

2 Corinthians 5:  21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

People may disagree when I say surely we need to invite Jesus back into the church where we can praise Him, talk to Him, worship Him and obey Him. If we don’t do that in church and if we don’t lead people towards that end then where do the Christians, the seekers and the strugglers go to for fulfilment? If we cannot or do not coach the new generation will Christianity survive?

 

Here’s a question for all of us.

How many people have you drawn to the foot of the Cross to meet Jesus Christ?

When last did you receive or offer prayer to invite the filling of the Holy Spirit?

 

The Apostles did that (and more)

Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

 

Quotes

 

If we do not teach our children to follow Jesus Christ, the world will teach them not to.

Never reason from what you do not know.   Ramsay

People generally quarrel because they cannot argue.   G K Chesterton

I have no other but a woman’s reason; I think him so because I think him so.   Shakespeare

Posted in Christ, Christian, Christianity, Durban Talk, South Africa | Comments Off on Will the church of the Apostles survive?

Have you ever had a baby?

Have you ever had a baby? Well I haven’t but …….. hmm maybe the wrong question.

Are you a parent who has experienced the joy of your child’s birth? I know every new father I meet is boasting to anyone and everyone whilst mother develops an awesome and inspirational love for the child. The birth of a new born child is such an incredible experience it has to be one of the supreme emotions a human can go through. In fact I don’t know why I restricted that to humans only. Any parent.

Have you ever considered how God must have felt when His Son was born knowing the pain, suffering and death he was to endure? If you knew that lay in store for your child what would be your reaction?

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

God loves us so much that He gave us His one and only Son ……………  so that we may have eternal life with Him. My love for my family is deep and strong but I waver at the thought of offering or giving one of them to a person who is disobedient, rejects me or says I do not exist. In fact I am ashamed to say my Christian virtues go into a wobble faced with anybody who is otherwise. In other words they do not agree with me (you can read that sentence several ways!).

But really – give your own child as an offering to save someone else’s child is a huge step. That is love.

1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Then again Jesus was obedient to God His Father and willingly gave of himself to save a sinner like me (oooh and you too!).

Here we find God in human form as the Son of God and capable of doing anything He wants to do on earth. He knows He is going to be humiliated and tortured and crucified but He allows the whole ghastly process to run to its conclusion. At no stage did He call on those miraculous powers to hurt or exact retribution on those against Him.

I don’t know about you but if I enjoyed those miracle powers there is little chance I would not use them against my enemies. Especially in the face of such pain. Jesus never lifted a finger against them instead He blessed them towards the end.

Actually come to think of it Jesus has said to me (and you) that we can perform all these miracles and more in His name. Makes you think huh?

1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

You cannot ask for any greater sacrifice than a man who is prepared to die for you.

The issue now is one of believing the Word of God.

If you do believe then ask yourself why or how you cannot offer your life to Him.

That is, after all, the only thing He ask of us.

1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

I cannot improve on that verse. Walk the walk don’t talk the talk.

May you be blessed this Christmas by a meeting with the Holy Spirit and may you be filled with love and joy and compassion and peace.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

 

Posted in Christ, Christian, Christianity, Durban Talk, Fathers, South Africa | Comments Off on Have you ever had a baby?

Fundamentalist me

Fundamentalism is apparently a negative word in many places today. I am shattered to hear, not only the attitude, but also the source of many of these statements.

Firstly let me state how I view fundamentalism and the best interpretation I found was in Got Questions.org.

“Fundamentalists seek to guard the truth of Scripture and defend the Christian faith, which was “once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 1:3).

The church today is struggling in the postmodern, secular culture and needs people who are not ashamed to proclaim the gospel of Christ. Truth does not change, and adherence to the fundamental principles of doctrine is needful. These principles are the bedrock upon which Christianity stands, and, as Jesus taught, the house built upon the Rock will weather any storm (Matthew 7:24-25).”

Let me also say fundamentalism, as I understand it, applies to the whole Bible which, among other things, promotes loving your neighbour, compassion, forgiveness, grace, mercy, humility, patience, peace and so much more.

If that is fundamentalism then I am a fundamentalist. I do not see the issue with defending the principles and truth of the Word of God. Surely faced with a life situation my first option (and my only option) must be to the Holy Book for the answer?

If I do not believe in the inerrant truth of the Bible then can I pick and choose the parts I like? The gospel of me? Not the Word of God.

Let’s also accept that as in any situation there are those who can be labelled extremists. They are zealots not applying the full Word of God. In this context no allowance is made for grace and mercy. That’s not fundamentalism in my book – it is too extreme for the Holy Book.

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  James 3:17

 

Personally I prefer to think of myself as a follower of Jesus Christ and God His Father.

I believe the Bible is the true Word of God – literally. Therefore it is free of error.

I believe Jesus Christ was born of a virgin and conceived by the Holy Spirit.

I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He died and rose again for my sins.

I believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion.

I believe in the Holy Spirit.

I believe in the miracles recorded in the Word and I believe Jesus will come again to this world.

I believe God hears and answers my prayers to His glory.

Does that make me a fundamentalist?

Then that is what I am – and without apology.

Posted in Christ, Christian, Christianity, Durban Talk, South Africa | Comments Off on Fundamentalist me