THE world, the church and the believers, all want to know from God: what is going on? Like the prophet Habakkuk, some are even demanding! Of course, we face two great problems in receiving any divine messages, and they are both clearly defined in scripture.
Firstly, we all want ear-tickling news; and don’t want to receive anything that doesn’t make us feel better and increase our comfort levels. And secondly, as the promised “end-time deception” increases, we find that spiritual discernment is woefully lacking.
COME, follow Me. How simple was the call that Jesus made to His disciples. “I will make you fishers of men,” He promised Simon Peter and Andrew. And their response was immediate. They left their nets and followed!
Symbolically, their nets represented everything they stood for. Fishing was their living, their passion, their very character and nature. Yet they were prepared to let go of it all.
CRICKET had always been an obsession to me. I had to be a Springbok! I had to succeed! I was single-minded about reaching the top and this was to become the major motivation of my life, in anything I did.
Then I met Jesus Christ. I had always known about Him but this was a life-changing experience. I would never be the same again! Within six years I had given up my fancy job, fancy salary and traded my Mercedes-Benz for a clapped out old Skyline. I had a Bible under my arm and I was off to live by faith and preach the Gospel.
THE Christian walk is about down-to-earth reality! It is not about head-in-the-clouds mountain-top experiences. It is not about being “super-spiritual” nor is it weird or eerie.
It is a matter of fact that you can’t pray against the laws of gravity or the laws of the universe, no matter how vibrant or confident your faith. God has set these laws into the system just as He has ordained that sin reaps its consequences.
OH, you foolish Galatians! How could you let it happen?
These are the somewhat distraught words of Paul as he faces the truth regarding this precious group of believers. Who has bewitched you? Strong words, indeed!
You have stopped “obeying” the truth. Such foolishness. Such madness! You had such a great start in the spirit but now you are operating in the flesh. Have you “suffered” all this in vain?
HAVE you ever tried filing accounts or speeding fines in a desk drawer, hoping they will go away? Or petulantly thrown summonses and demands into the waste-paper basket, trying to deny they ever came?
It doesn’t help! It doesn’t work! It just makes things worse. Yet we do it. Sadly, it has almost become a way of life for us humans, even as Christians, to listen with deaf ears and look with blind eyes. Anything that doesn’t please or fit our expectations we are loath to assimilate. We think that just turning the TV set off or plugging our ears, will make bad news go away. We only want good news!
“DESTROY the temple and I will raise it in three days.” So promised Jesus. The obvious human response: that is not possible! What took some 46 years to establish, cannot be knocked down and rebuilt in three days.
Of course, no human ear would have been able to understand because Jesus was proclaiming spiritual truth. It was much the same when Nicodemus came to Jesus and was told that he “must be born again.” How can a man be born again? Must he climb back into his mother’s womb?
WHEN you read or recite something over and over, the repetition and consequent familiarity tends to ensure that the words lose their meaning and impact.
Psalm 23 falls into this category! We read it so often. We sing it so often. Most know it off by heart. And so it has been taken for granted, almost rendered meaningless.
THE apostle Paul writes: “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then even Christ is not risen! If Christ is not risen, our preaching is futile, so is our faith! If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. If the Bible is not true we are false witnesses! Therefore let us eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.”
Dare I say, there are multitudes of Christians who would read those words and deep down would honestly and truly wonder if, indeed, it is all true!
TO claim that “the devil made me do it” will elicit ridicule and scorn. That’s for certain! Hansie Cronje, the disgraced cricket hero, was widely mocked when credited with this comment. But there is a certain degree of truth in the statement. The Bible tells us that God does not tempt us. But God has set up the system in which biblical principles are absolute, and sin always reaps consequences! God does allow us to be tempted. Our sinful nature and godless ways therefore open up a veritable minefield in terms of reaping consequences for our evil.