Oktober

Dag 1

THE TWOFOLD BUILDING OF GOD’S HOUSE – Austin Sparks

There are two aspects of the building of the House of God. We are rather inclined to take more account of one than the other. There is the numerical side. We think of building the House of God, we think of the gathering in of people, the adding of souls by their salvation and being brought into the truth, and so we think of the House of God being built alone in that sense referred to by Peter: “Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house…”, that is, we think of the numerical side, the gathering of the individual stones and their coming into their place in the spiritual edifice. Well, that is a true side to the building of the Lord’s House, but it is only one side, and only half of the truth. There is another side which is equally important, without which that will be altogether an inadequate thing; that other side is the spiritual and moral side of the building of God’s House. You may have a great number of individuals saved and still fail to have the truest meaning of the House of God. You may have a congregation and not have a church. You may have numbers, and not have the House of God spiritually. The House of God is not only a numerical thing, it is a spiritual and moral thing. That is, it has a character, and that character is what makes it in very essence the House of God. It takes its character from its Head and will eventually, in its consummation, be recognised, not as a great multitude merely of saved souls, but as something which bears the character of its Head, the Lord Jesus. The time is coming when the Lord will cause His Name to be upon all His own; that is, we shall receive a white stone and in that white stone a new name; we shall have a new name, and we shall be called by His Name, His Name will be in our foreheads. That is all symbolic language, and its meaning is just this: the Lord Jesus will be so fully manifested in His own that as you look at them all, and each, you will say: “That is Jes us.” “That is the Lord Jesus,” you will recognise so much of Him, He will be so much in evidence that you will simply have to say: “That is the Lord Jesus.” You have met Him in them, and in meeting them you met Him. And so He will be universally revealed through His own and His Name is His character, what His Name embodies spiritually and morally will be resting upon them, they will take their character from Him, and so there will be one universal displaying of the character and nature of the Lord Jesus. It will not dispense with His Own individual personal being, but His people will be a channel of His own universal expression.

Dag 2

STATUS SYMBOLS – A.W. Tozer

Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man….
Rev. 1:12-13

In our time we have all kinds of status symbols in the Christian church–membership, attendance, pastoral staff, missionary offerings. But there is only one status symbol that should make a Christian congregation genuinely glad. That is to know that our Lord is present, walking in our midst!…

No matter the size of the assembly or its other attributes, our Lord wants it to be known by His presence in the midst. I would rather have His presence in the church than anything else in all the wide world.

Hearing the proud manner in which some speak of the high dollar cost of their sanctuaries must lead people to suppose that spirituality can be purchased. But the secret of true spiritual worship is to discern and know the presence of the living Christ in our midst….

The Christian church dares not settle for anything less than the illumination of the Holy Spirit and the presence of our divine Prophet, Priest and King in our midst. Let us never be led into the mistake that so many are making–sighing and saying, ‘Oh, if we only had bigger, wiser men in our pulpits! Oh, if we only had more important men in places of Christian leadership!’

Dag 3

TOTALE VERLOSSING: VERGIFNIS ÉN BEVRYDING – Albert Theron

Ons hemelse Vader het nie net voorsiening gemaak vir die skuldlas van ons sondedade nie, maar ook vir bevryding van die mag van sonde. Soos met elke aspek van ons verlossing is God se antwoord altyd om vir ons meer van Sy Seun te openbaar. Ons het in die evangelie alles ontvang “wat tot die lewe en godsvrug dien” (2 Pet. 1:3). Jesus het as plaasvervanger die straf vir ons sondes op Hom geneem toe Hy gesterf het aan die kruis. Ons moet egter nie dink dat dit die somtotaal van die evangelie is en dat die res nou maar net ons verantwoordelikheid is om uit dankbaarheid te streef om ‘n heilige lewe te lei nie. Allermins! Die ander kant van die evangelie is dat God Sy Seun in ons geplaas het met die wedergeboorte en dat Hy nou in en deur ons die enigste lewe leef wat God kan behaag, naamlik die lewe van Jesus self (Gal. 2:20). Watchman Nee het gesê “The Son of God died instead of us for our forgiveness: [now] He lives instead of us for our deliverance.”

Dag 4

BEGIN HERE AND YOU WILL END WELL – Austin Sparks

The dominating objective of the divine dealings with us is that we may know the Lord. This explains all our experiences, trials, sufferings, perplexities, weakness, predicaments, tight corners, bafflings, pressures. While the refining of spirit, the development of the graces, the removing of the dross are all purposes of the fires, yet above and through all is the one object – that we may know the Lord. There is only one way of really getting to know the Lord, and that is experimentally.

Our minds are so often occupied with service and work; we think that doing things for the Lord is the chief object of life. We are concerned about our lifework, our ministry. We think of equipment for it in terms of study and knowledge of things. Soul-winning or teaching believers or setting people to work are so much in the foreground. Bible study and knowledge of the Scriptures, with efficiency in the matter of leading in Christian service as the end in view, are matters of pressing importance with all. All well and good, for these are important matters; but, at the back of everything, the Lord is more concerned about our knowing Him than about anything else. It is very possible to have a wonderful grasp of the Scriptures and a comprehensive and intimate familiarity with doctrine; to stand for cardinal verities of the faith; to be an unceasing worker in Christian service; to have a great devotion to the salvation of men, and yet, alas, to have a very inadequate and limited personal knowledge of God within. So often the Lord has to take away our work that we may discover Him. The ultimate value of everything is not the information which we give, not the soundness of our doctrine, not the amount of work that we do, not the measure of truth that we possess, but just the fact that we know the Lord in a deep and mighty way.

This is the one thing that will remain when all else passes. It is this that will make for the permanence of our ministry after we are gone. While we may help others in many ways and by many means so far as their earthly life is concerned, our real service to them is based upon our knowledge of the Lord.

Dag 5

DROP IT! – James Fowler

The LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it. Exodus 4:2-3

“What’s that in your hand?” “God, it’s just my new MP3 player, an iPod, and my new cell phone … oh, and this new laptop computer. Surely, there’s nothing wrong with utilizing the latest technological gadgetry, is there?” God is quite aware of the usefulness of the latest technology, but He might still say, “Drop it!” Electronics can be a useful medium within the kingdom of God, but if we are listening to the gadgets rather than listening to God, and our communication via the electronic instruments is more of a priority than our communication with God, then God might want to take the snake out of it, so that it can be a useful instrument in our lives. “What’s that in your hand?” An 80-year-old pastor with whom I recently spoke admitted that he was hanging on to the desire to stand up and speak to an audience. And he could hear within him the voice of God, saying, “Drop it!” God was saying, “Let Me orchestrate whatever opportunities for ministry I might open up for you, and there’s no telling what I can do through you.” “What’s that in your hand?” “It’s my family, Lord. I love my family … my wife and my children. Everything I do is for them. They are my life!” God might say, “Drop it.” “But, Lord, You say so much about loving families. Families are the microcosm of all real ministry. Our spouses, and our children, and our grandchildren are the core social unit for Christian living.” Yes, God loves families … but our families are not to be our life. The living Lord Jesus Christ is to be the essential core and the focus of our life. When we get that straight, then He Who loves our spouse, our children, our grandchildren – more than we could ever love them! – can be the source of life and love in our families. That thing “in your hand” can be anything that gets in the way of allowing God to be and do whatever He wants to be and do in you. “Drop it!”

Dag 6

THE SON OF GOD AS YOUR VERY OWN LIFE – C. G. Trumbull

To begin with, I realized for the first time that the many references throughout the New Testament to Christ in you, and you in Christ, Christ our life, and abiding in Christ, are literal, actual, blessed fact, and not figures of speech. How the 15th chapter of John thrilled with new life as I read it now! And the 3rd of Ephesians, 14 to 21. And Galatians 2:20. And Philippians 1:21. I had always known that Christ was my Saviour; but I had looked upon Him as an external Saviour, one who did a saving work for me from outside, as it were; one who was ready to come close alongside and stay by me, helping me in all that I needed, giving me power and strength and salvation. But now I know something better than that. At last I realized that Jesus Christ was actually and literally within me; and even more than that, that He had constituted Himself my very life, taking me into union with Himself—my body, mind, and spirit—while I still had my own identity and free will and full moral responsibility. Was not this better than having Him as a helper, or even then having Him as an external Saviour: to have Him, Jesus Christ, the Son of God as my own very life? It meant that I need never again ask Him to help me as though He were one and I another; but rather simply to do His work, His will, in me, and with me, and through me. My body was His, my mind His, my will His, my spirit His; and not merely His, but literally part of Him; what He asked me to recognize was, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me.” Jesus Christ had constituted Himself my life—not as a figure of speech, remember, but as a literal, actual fact, as literal as the fact that a certain tree has been made into this desk on which my hand rests. For “your bodies are members of Christ,” and “you are the body of Christ.”

Dag 7

WATTER DAG WAG JÝ VOOR? – Albert Theron

“In dié dag sal julle weet dat Ek in my Vader is, en julle in My, en Ek in julle.” Joh. 14:20

‘Dié dag’ wat Jesus hier van praat het reeds aangebreek amper 2 000 jaar gelede met Sy opstanding en meer spesifiek op die dag van Pinkster (Hand. 2:1-2), maar het hierdie dag al ten volle in jou bewussyn aangebreek? Weet jy dat jy weet dat jy in Christus is (1 Kor. 1:30) en dat Hy in jou is (Gal. 2:20) en dat jou ware lewe daarom saam met Hom verborge is in die Vader (Kol. 3:3)? Leef jy VANUIT vereniging met en volheid in Jesus of wag jy steeds vir een of ander dag vorentoe wat hierdie dinge vir jou ‘n werklikheid gaan maak?

Dag 8

THE MINISTRY OF THE NEW COVENANT – Warren Wiersbe

The Law was not given for the purpose of salvation, for there is no salvation through obedience to the Law. The Law produces condemnation, and is the mirror that reveals how dirty our faces really are. But we cannot wash our faces in the mirror. The ministry of the New Covenant produces righteousness and changes lives to the glory of God. Man’s greatest need is righteousness, and God’s greatest gift is righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. “For if righteousness [comes] by the Law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:21). The person who tries to live under the Law will find himself feeling more and more guilty, and this can produce a feeling of hopelessness and rejection. It is when we trust Christ, and live by faith in God’s grace, that we experience acceptance and joy. Second Corinthians 3:10 states that the Law really “lost its glory” when compared to the surpassing glory of the ministry of God’s grace. There simply is no comparison. Sad to say, there are some people who cannot “feel spiritual” unless they carry a weight of guilt. The Law produces guilt and condemnation, for it is like a bond of indebtedness (Col. 2:14), a guardian who disciplines us (Gal. 4:1–5), and a yoke too heavy to bear (Gal. 5:1; Acts 15:10).

Dag 9

VERGIFNIS: DIE DEUR TOT VOLKOME GENESING – Albert Theron

Genade is ‘n kosbare woord vir gebroke mense. Vir mense wat werklik by die einde van hulleself en al hulle slim planne en projekte vir self-verbetering gekom het. Vir mense wat geleer het dat niks op hierdie aarde werklik herstel kan word sonder die ontvang van die gawe van vergifnis uit die hart en hand van ‘n barmhartige Vader wat Sy Seun in ons plek gestraf het nie. Dit is eers in die oomblik van ‘n totaal afhanklike geloof in vergifnis op grond van die bloed van Jesus alleen wat jou voete stewig geplaas word op die pad na volkome genesing vir jou siel. Nie voor dan nie, en op geen ander manier nie.

Dag 10

THE DUTY OF OPPOSING – A.W. Tozer

The nearer we draw to the heart of God the less taste we will have for controversy. The peace we know in God’s bosom is so sweet that it is but natural that we want to keep it unbroken to enjoy as fully and as long as possible. The Spirit-filled Christian is never a good fighter. He is at too many disadvantages. The enemy is always better at invective than he will allow himself to be. The devil has all the picturesque epithets, and his followers have no conscience about using them. The Christian is always more at home blessing than he is opposing. He is, moreover, much thinner-skinned than his adversaries. He shrinks from an angry countenance and draws back from bitter words. They are symbols of a world he has long ago forsaken for the quiet of the kingdom of God where love and good will prevail. All this is in his favor, for it marks him out as a man in whom there is no hate and who earnestly desires to live at peace with all men. In spite of his sincere longing for peace, however, there will be times when he dare not allow himself to enjoy it. There are times when it is a sin to be at peace. There are circumstances when there is nothing to do but to stand up and vigorously oppose. To wink at iniquity for the sake of peace is not a proof of superior spirituality; it is rather a sign of a reprehensible timidity which dare not oppose sin for fear of the consequences. For it will cost us heavily to stand for the right when the wrong is in the majority, which is 100 percent of the time. We have developed in recent times a peace-loving, soft-spoken, tame and harmless brand of Christian of whom the world has no fear and for whom it has little respect. We are careful, for instance, never to speak in public against any of the false cults lest we be thought intolerant. We fear to talk against the destructive sins of modern civilization for fear someone will brand us as bigoted and narrow. Little by little we have been forced off the hard earth into a religious cloud-land where we are permitted to wing our harmless way around, like swallows at sundown, saying nothing that might stir the ire of the sons of this world.

Dag 11

KOMMUNIKASIE OF FRUSTRASIE?! – Albert Theron

Baie praat, baie woorde, baie verduidelikings en slim stellings is nie noodwendig kommunikasie nie. Slegs die goeie nuus van God se liefde vir ons in Christus bring ons by ‘n plek van sekuriteit waar ons werklik ons ware gevoelens met mekaar kan begin deel. Eerlikheid (waarheid) sonder liefde is egter steeds nie kommunikasie nie, maar toon dikwels ernstige disrespek teenoor ander mense wat na God se beeld geskape is. Liefde sonder waarheid is ook nie kommunikasie nie, maar eerder ‘n droomwêreld van fantasie wat weier om die bestaande probleme aan te spreek. Christus alleen kan ons in staat stel om die balans tussen waarheid en liefde reg te kry. Sonder Sy wysheid en krag maak ons altyd ‘n gemors daarvan en dit lei net tot meer pyn en misverstande, of frustrasie en onopgeloste probleme. A.g.v. die sondeval is menslike kommunikasie vir die meeste van ons eerder ‘menslike frustrasie’! Plaas die probleem in Christus se hande en vertrou die Heilige Gees om jou te lei na die plek van wyse en volwasse kommunikasie.

Dag 12

THE BLESSED CONSCIOUSNESS OF HIS INDWELLING PRESENCE – Andrew Murray

Let me ask you the question: Do you fully and truly believe in the indwelling Christ? You do believe in an incarnate Christ. When the name of Christ is mentioned, you at once think of One who was born a little babe at Bethlehem, who took our nature upon Him and lived as a man upon the earth. That thought is inseparable from your faith in Him. You believe, too, in the crucified Christ, dying on Calvary for our sins. You believe, too, in the risen Saviour, one who lives for evermore. And you believe in the glorified Lord, now sitting on the throne of heaven.

But do you believe as definitely – as naturally – in the indwelling Christ? Have you made that one of the articles of your faith, as really as you believe in Christ incarnate or Christ crucified? It is only as the truth is accepted and held that the others can really profit. The experience of the love and the saving power of our incarnate, crucified, glorified Lord depends entirely upon His indwelling in us to reveal His presence and to do His work. If you find you life feeble or sickly, you may be assured that it is because you do not know that Jesus Christ is in you. Do come to-night and begin at once to say: I want with my whole heart to get possessed of this wonderful knowledge, not as a doctrine, but as an experience; Jesus Christ is in me. Begin to believe it at once. Accept of Him, even now, as an indwelling Saviour. Day by day be content with nothing less than the blessed consciousness of His indwelling presence. He loves to reveal Himself.

Dag 13

STAAN OP EN BEGIN BEWEEG NA DIE LIG! – Albert Theron

Die magte en kragte van duisternis oorweldig selfs ware dissipels van Jesus soms tot so ‘n mate dat hulle gaan sit langs die lewenspad. Sonder motivering en sonder doel vloei die een dag in die ander en liggaam en siel word kwalik bymekaar gehou. Die boodskap van God in Christus in so ‘n situasie is duidelik en ondubbelsinnig; ‘Staan op en begin beweeg na die lig’! Treetjie vir treetjie sal Hy jou lei uit stikke duisternis na ‘n altyd-helderder toekoms in Christus. Moet net nie ophou beweeg nie, en as jy val staan weer op in geloof en hoop en maak net seker jy beweeg vórentoe met albei jou oë op Jesus gevestig!

“En ons het die profetiese woord wat baie vas is, waarop julle tog moet ag gee soos op ’n lamp wat in ’n donker plek skyn, totdat die dag aanbreek en die môrester opgaan in julle harte.” 2 Pet. 1:19 (OAV)

“Hierdie gebeure daar op die berg [van verheerliking] het elke woord wat die profete in die Bybel sê nog sterker vir ons bevestig. Hierdie boodskap is soos ‘n lig wat in die donker skyn. Julle moet ook aan hulle woorde vashou totdat die volle lig van God in julle lewe skyn. Soos die môrester wat wys dat die dag aangebreek het, sal Hy self die donker wegvat uit julle binneste.” 2 Pet. 1v19 (DB)

Dag 14

REMAINING IN GOD’S LOVE – D.A. Carson

GOD’S LOVE IS SPOKEN of in a variety of ways in the Bible. In some passages God’s love is directed toward his elect. He loves them and not others (e.g., Deut. 4:37; 7:7-8; Mal. 1:2). But if we think of the love of God as invariably restricted to his elect, we will soon distort other themes: his gracious provision of “common grace” (Is he not the God who sends his rain upon the just and upon the unjust? {Matt. 5:45}), his mighty forbearance (e.g., Rom. 2:4), his pleading with rebels to turn and repent lest they die, for he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (e.g., Ezek. 33:11). On the other hand, if this were all that the Bible says about the love of God, God would soon be reduced to an impotent, frustrated lover who has done all he can, poor chap. That will never account for the loving initiative of effective power bound up with the first passages cited, and more like them. There are yet other ways the Bible speaks of the love of God. One of them dominates in John 15:9-11. Here the Father’s love for us is conditional upon obedience. Jesus enjoins his disciples to obey him in exactly the same way that he obeys his Father, so that they may remain in his love: “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands, and remain in his love” (15:10). The context shows that this is not telling us how people become Jesus’s followers. Rather, assuming that his hearers are his followers, Jesus insists that there is a relational love at stake that must be nurtured and preserved. In exactly the same way, the love of the Father for the Son says nothing about how that relation originated (!), it merely reflects the nature of that relationship. The Father’s love for the Son is elsewhere said to be demonstrated in his “showing” the Son everything, so that the Son does all the Father does and receives the same honor as the Father (John 5:19-23); the Son’s love for the Father is demonstrated in obedience (14:31). As my children remain in my love by obeying me and not defying me, so Jesus’ followers remain in his love. Of course, there is a sense in which I shall always love my children, regardless of what they do. But there is a relational element in that love that is contingent upon their obedience. Thus Jesus mediates the Father’s love to us (15:9), and the result of our obedience to him is great joy (15:11). “Keep yourselves in God’s love” (Jude 21).

Dag 15

VAN DROOM TOT REALITEIT – Albert Theron

God het vir Josef drome gegee oor sy toekoms en oor sy roeping. Tog het dit baie jare en baie toetse geneem voordat dit wat God vir hom gewys het, gerealiseer is. Net so is daar in ons lewens toetse wat ons moet deurkom om in die volle krag, seën en vrugbaarheid van God se lewensplan vir ons te begin leef. Die meeste mense slaag nooit hierdie lewenstoetse om deur te breek in die volheid van hulle roeping in Christus nie. Die Vader het alles in Sy Seun voorsien vir ons om wel die toetse te slaag. Die beloning is groot as ons slaag! Dink bietjie oor Josef se lewe en die seën wat God vir die wêreld kon bring deur een mens wat oorgegee was aan Hom en enduit die pad gestap het totdat die volle heerlikheid deurgebreek het.

Dag 16

THE BODY IS NOT ONE PART – Jon Zens

I am challenging the “church” status quo by highlighting that there is no NT basis supporting the centrality or necessity of a pastor as the principal functionary within each local church. I have noted that pastor-dependence is contrary to Paul’s statement that “the body is not one part.” This being true, then it is no wonder that the one-pastor dogma creates a host of other problems for both churches and those who see themselves as clergy. We are mortgaging our spiritual future upon a bankrupt concept. In light of this, I ask you to carefully read and ponder the following observations made by those who believe in and defend the one-pastor doctrine. These shocking admissions cannot be dodged in order to deny that our house is sitting upon some very rotten timbers. One person gleaned data from several sources and published sobering information about pastors. He claims the following:
1,500 pastors leave the ministry each month in the USA from the unique pressures associated with their job.
80 percent of pastors and 84 percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their roles.
80 percent of seminary and Bible school graduates entering the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
70 percent felt God called them to pastoral ministry before their ministry began, but after three years of ministry only 50 percent still felt called.
80 percent of pastors surveyed spend less than 15 minutes a day in prayer.
70 percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.
This report also reveals the feelings of pastors’ spouses:
80 percent feel their spouse is overworked.
80 percent wish their spouse would choose another profession.
“The majority of pastors’ spouses surveyed said that the most destructive event occurring in their marriage and family was the day the pastor entered the ministry.”
And never should the feelings of the children of pastors be forgotten:
· “80 percent of adult children of pastors surveyed have had to seek professional help for depression” (The data was collected by Richard A. Murphy; cited by Ivan C. Blake, cf. “Pastor for Life,” Ministry, July/August, 2010, Ministry, July/August, 2010, p. 6).

The one particular heart-cry expressed by pastors’ wives especially touched and grieved my heart: “The majority of pastors’ spouses surveyed said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day the pastor entered the ministry.” This remark establishes — just from a pragmatic perspective — that there is something very dysfunctional built into the clergy-centrality doctrine. Why would God sacrifice His Bride in such a way? When linked to the fact that there exists no basis for pastor-dependence in the NT, the destructive nature of this system — for all parties involved — is confirmed.

Dag 17

PAUL’S END-TIME PERSPECTIVE – Gordon Fee

This new perspective about the end times absolutely determines Paul’s theological outlook—how he thinks and talks about Christ, salvation, the church, ethics, the present, the future, everything. This is reflected both in his explicit language and in a whole variety of presuppositional ways. “We are those,” he reminds the Corinthians, “upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor 10:11). On another occasion, he tells them Christ’s death and resurrection have already passed sentence on the present age (2 Cor 5:14–15), which is thus “passing away” (1 Cor 7:31). With the coming of Christ the new order has begun; all things have become new (2 Cor 5:17). It is no longer an option to view things from the perspective of the “flesh,” that is, from the “old order” point of view. The death and resurrection of Christ and the gift of the Spirit mean both death to the old and a radical, newly constituted life in the present. For Paul, therefore, salvation in Christ is a fundamentally eschatological reality, meaning first of all that God’s final salvation of his people has already been accomplished by Christ. In a sort of divine time warp, the future condemnation that we all richly deserve has been transferred from the future into the past, having been borne by Christ (Rom 8:1–3). Thus we “have been saved” (Eph 2:8). Since our final salvation has not yet been fully realized, he can likewise speak of salvation as something presently in process (“we are being saved,” 1 Cor 1:18) and as yet to be completed (“we shall be saved,” Rom 5:9). “Redemption” is both “already” (Eph 1:7) and “not yet” (Eph 4:30), as is our “adoption” (Rom 8:15 and 23) and “justification” (= the gift of righteousness; Rom 5:1 and Gal 5:5). This essential framework likewise causes Paul to see the church as an end-time community, whose members live in the present as those stamped with eternity. We live as strangers on earth; our true citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20). Ethical life, therefore, does not consist of rules to live by. Rather, empowered by the Spirit, we now live the life of the future in the present age, the life that characterizes God himself. This is why, for example, Paul appeals to end-time realities as the reason believers may not resolve present grievances before pagan courts (1 Cor 6:1–4). Their heavenly citizenship trivializes such grievances—and puts believers in the awkward position of asking for a ruling by the very people that they themselves will eventually judge. Believers have tasted of the life to come; and the full and final realization of the future is so certain that God’s new people become heavenly radicals as they live in the “already” but “not yet” of the present age.

Dag 18

GESOEK: GEESTELIKE VADERS EN MOEDERS – Albert Theron

As die hemel ‘n advertensie kon plaas in ons koerante sou dit waarskynlik so iets gewees het soos die titel van vandag se stukkie. Ons hemelse Vader soek mense wat Sy Vaderhart kan verteenwoordig op aarde. Ons is nie net gered deur die bloed van Jesus om hemel toe te gaan nie, maar om te groei en geestelik sterk te word sodat ons groot harte kan hê wat die evangelie bring aan ander, hulle liefhet, omgee, sorg dra, genesing bring, vrede bewerkstellig, versoening en verhoudingherstel bring, ensovoorts. Wie kwalifiseer vir dit? Almal wat die Gees van God in hulle het deur die wedergeboorte. Ons rolle mag verskil in die kerk en die koninkryk, maar ons kan almal geestelike vaders of moeders wees as ons toelaat dat die Vader verruiming in ons binneste bring. Geestelike vaderskap is nie net bedoel vir pastore, dominees, evangeliste, en ouderlinge terwyl die res maar vir dekades lank geestelike babas bly nie. In die lewenssfeer waarin jy beweeg kan jy of een van hulle wees wat maar altyd hulp nodig het, of maar net water trap en neutraal staan teenoor alles, of jy kan vir ander ‘n trooster, bemoediger, waarheidspreker wees wat die Vader se hart verteenwoordig. Ja dis waar, soms is ons so oorweldig deur omstandighede dat ons liefde en troos van ander nodig het, maar dit beteken nie jy kan nie opstaan in die krag van die Here en dan ander begin help nie. Wat weerhou jou daarvan om ‘n geestelike vader of moeder te wees? Miskien is dit net die manier wat jy dink oor jouself. Die Vader sê jy kán in Christus!

“Ek hoop om, as die Here Jesus wil, Timoteus gou na julle toe te stuur, sodat ek ook rus in my gemoed kan hê as ek gehoor het hoe dit met julle gaan. Ek het trouens niemand met dieselfde gesindheid as hy en wat julle belange so opreg sal behartig nie. Al die ander soek net hulle eie belange, nie dié van Jesus Christus nie.” Filippense 2:19-21

Dag 19

COMING TO THE LORD FOR EDIFYING GRACE – Bob Hoekstra

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5)
Coming to Jesus habitually for the grace that we need daily is at the heart of growing in grace. These closing verses of our previous meditation provide a profound example of this relational emphasis in the Christian life. The spiritual impact in view here is edification: “being built up.” As we saw earlier, God’s grace is the edifying resource for our lives. “And now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up” (Acts 20:32). Now we will look at the relational path that God has designed for accessing that edifying grace.

Jesus is likened here to a “living stone.” He is solid and reliable, like a rock. Yet, a rock is lifeless, insensitive, unresponsive. Jesus is a “living stone.” He is alive, tender, lovingly responsive. The Lord wants to build us up to be like Him (solid and stable, yet loving and caring). The Lord’s way to build us up “as living stones” is to call us to an ongoing process of coming to Himself: “Coming to Him as to a living stone…you also, as living stones, are being built up.” In order to practically grow “as living stones,” we must be coming to the one who already is innately what He wants us to become. He alone can provide what is needed in our lives.

How do we come to Jesus in this manner? Well, again, it is a matter of relating to Him. When we get into the word of God, we are not merely looking for more biblical information. Jesus is the one we are to be seeking. When we are praying, we are not merely “saying our prayers.” Jesus is the one in whose name we are praying and whose will and work we are seeking. When we are worshiping, we are not merely singing songs, we are singing to the Lord Himself. When we are going forth in ministry, we are not merely carrying out a valid task. We are looking to the Lord for enablement, while desiring to please and honor Him.

The more we come to Jesus in this way, to that extent His edifying grace will be building us up “a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Dear Lord, You are the true living stone, stable and loving. So often I am unstable and unloving. I need to be built up as a living stone. I need to be more like You. Lord, help me to come to You daily, habitually. When I am studying the Scriptures, praying, worshiping, or serving, help me to seek You in and through it all, in Your mighty name I pray, Amen.

Dag 20

LABORING IN CHRIST’S STRENGTH – Chip Brogden

“To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.” Colossians 1:29

The one who rests in Christ will produce more fruit than the one who strives with self-effort. This is demonstrated in Scripture and in the real-life experience of countless saints.

There is no question that Paul worked, labored, and toiled. But the difference with Paul is he knew that he was laboring according to Christ working in him. Was Paul lazy? By contrast, he was more fruitful than ever. The end result is his statement, “I labored more abundantly than them all,” quickly qualified with, “yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10). The “I can do all things” must always be followed with “through Christ Who strengthens me.” If we trust in the Life we will be anything but passive.

Dag 21

DIE GEHEIME VAN GOD VIR KINDERTJIES – Albert Theron

“In daardie tyd het Jesus gespreek en gesê: Ek loof U, Vader, Here van die hemel en die aarde, dat U hierdie dinge verberg het vir wyse en verstandige mense en dit aan kindertjies geopenbaar het.” Mt. 11:25

Die slim en geleerde mense in Israel kon nie verstaan wie Jesus was of wat Sy missie was nie. Hulle het nie besef dat al die ‘verborge skatte van wysheid en kennis’ net in Hom te vinde was nie (Kol. 3:3). Hulle het ‘die Skrifte ondersoek’ sonder om Jesus, die sleutel tot die Skrifte, raak te sien (Jn. 5;39). Die verborge skatte van die koninkryk word net openbaar aan die wat ‘weet hoe afhanklik hulle van God is’ (Mt. 5:3) en aan die wat ‘rein van hart is’ (Mt. 5:8), m.a.w. aan ‘kindertjies’. Maar let wel, net aan ‘kindertjies’ wat honger en dors na die openbaring van God en Sy koninkryk in Christus; aan dissipels wat ‘bly in Sy Woord’ (Jn. 8:31).

“Sodat julle geloof nie in wysheid van mense sou bestaan nie, maar in die krag van God.” 1 Kor. 2:5

“Maar ons spreek die wysheid van God, wat bestaan in verborgenheid wat bedek was en wat God van ewigheid af voorbeskik het tot ons heerlikheid.” 1 Kor. 2:7

Dag 22

LOOK TO GRACE IN THE SPARK – Richard Sibbes

We must acknowledge that in the covenant of grace God requires the truth of grace, not any certain measure; and a spark of fire is fire, as well as the whole element. Therefore we must look to grace in the spark as well as in the flame. All have not the like strong, though they have the like precious, faith (2 Pet. 1:1), whereby they lay hold of, and put on, the perfect righteousness of Christ. A weak hand may receive a rich jewel. A few grapes will show that the plant is a vine, and not a thorn. It is one thing to be deficient in grace, and another thing to lack grace altogether. God knows we have nothing of ourselves, therefore in the covenant of grace he requires no more than he gives, but gives what he requires, and accepts what he gives: `If she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtle doves’ (Lev. 12:8). What is the gospel itself but a merciful moderation, in which Christ’s obedience is esteemed ours, and our sins laid upon him, wherein God, from being a judge, becomes our Father, pardoning our sins and accepting our obedience, though feeble and blemished? We are now brought to heaven under the covenant of grace by a way of love and mercy.

Dag 23

GENADE VIR DIE GEKNAKTE RIET – Albert Theron

“‘n Geknakte riet sal hy nie afbreek nie, ‘n lamppit wat dof brand, sal hy nie uitdoof nie…” Jes. 42:3 (NAV)

Jesus se bediening is by uitstek gerig op mense wat verslae is en nie meer weet watter kant toe nie. Daar is barmhartigheid en genade in oorvloed beskikbaar vir sulkes. Ons Verlosser spesialiseer in die verbryselde hart (Lukas 4v18). Hy is baie naby aan die gebroke mens. Sy belofte staan vas en seker tot vandag toe: ‘Ek sal jou nie begewe en jou nie verlaat nie’ (Jos. 1:5). Hy is ‘n “held wat verlossing skenk” (Sef. 3:17). Hy is die muur van vuur rondom jou en die heerlikheid daarbinne (Sag. 2:5). Roep Hom net aan en plaas alles in Sy hande.

“Hy sal nie iemand wat alreeds op sy knieë is, in die grond in trap nie. Hy sal nie iemand se laaste bietjie hoop vernietig nie…” Jes. 42:3 (DB)

Dag 24

THE MISAPPLICATION AND ABUSE OF “KORAH’S REBELLION” – Albert Theron

In Jude verse 11 there is a reference to a man named Korah who rebelled against the God-instituted authority given to Moses and Aaron (Numbers 16) under the old covenant where a specific structure of leadership was at the order of the day. There have been many instances in church history where ambitious leaders have abused and misapplied ‘Korah’s rebellion’ and similar texts in order to maintain their own dominance over the Lord’s people and keep discerning believers who question their dubious authoritarian structures under their thumb. On a sliding scale of abuse they range from outright evil men who dominate, intimidate, and manipulate the flock to semi-ignorant souls who are only marginally aware that they are being ruled by their own lust for power. Yet they all twist the Scriptures (2 Pet. 3:16) and are either deliberately cunning or blissfully unaware that Jude’s real point in verse 11 was that we should not rebel against the apostolic authority of the God-ordained engineers of the New Testament who without exception taught the pre-eminence and headship of Christ, not their own. Compare 1 John 4:6 and 2 Corinthians 11:2-3. In the new covenant we stand directly under the headship of Christ through His Word and we should not pay absolute allegiance to any man other than Jesus Himself! If you doubt this you need to sober up and consider again what Paul as a called apostle was really saying in 2 Corinthians 11 verses 2 and 3. In the new covenant authority is never ever lodged in the person himself (the Roman Catholic error), but always representatively exercised with a view to exalting the pre-eminence of Christ and His authority. The terrifying irony is that those who abuse and misapply the teaching about Korah’s rebellion are themselves guilty of such a rebellion and sadly multitudes of ignorant believers unwittingly submit to this error and remain under a veil of religion that obscures the face of their true Master Jesus Christ.

Dag 25

GOD’S ONE ALL-INCLUSIVE OBJECT – Austin Sparks

There was a time when, if that ark went amongst Philistines, the Philistines were very glad to see the back of it. There was a time when that ark could be disposed of, and no one felt its impact at all. It was no longer accompanied by any sign of God, God doesn’t care for the thing. What was at the begin­ning a wooden chest overlaid with gold, became something which was full of the throne of heaven. There was a time later when it was no more than a chest like any other chest, overlaid with gold. See? Things that God raises up, He does not commit Himself to eternally so far as instrumentality is concerned. He only commits Himself to anything when the object for which He raised it up is being reached. And God’s one all-inclusive object is to secure men and women who are spiritual people. Anything, anything that claims to be related to God which is not serving that end has no place, no sacredness with God and the day will come when that can go. Tremendous things to say, but it’s perfectly true. It’s true to history, and it’s true today.

Dag 26

ACCEPT A WHOLE CHRIST – Andrew Murray

As you read of the life of Christ on earth, take every trait of that holy character, as the will of God concerning you. Study His holy humility and meekness, and say, this is the Christ who dwells in me. Look upon His deep dependence upon the Father, and the perfect surrender of His will to do only what pleased the Father, and say, I have yielded myself that my indwelling Lord may work this in me too. As you gaze upon Him as the crucified One, think not only of the Cross in its atonement, as the means of propitiation for your sin, but of its fellowship, as the means of victory over sin. Beware of only saying, Christ crucified for me, ever; say too, I am crucified with Christ. The one thing for which He lives in you is to breathe His own likeness into your nature, to impart to you His own crucifixion spirit, that blessed disposition that made His sacrifice so well pleasing to the Father. Do accept the whole Christ as dwelling in you. Especially, do not forget that the Christ who is in you is the loving One, the Servant and the Saviour of the lost. This is the chief mark and glory of the Son of God: that He lived and died, not for Himself, but for others. When He comes to dwell in you, He cannot change His nature; it is the crucified, redeeming Love of God that has taken possession of you. Yield yourself to Him that He may breathe into you His own love for souls, His own willingness to give up all, that they may be saved, His own faith in God’s almighty conquering grace. Do accept a whole Christ, a Saviour from all sin and selfishness, a Saviour, not only for yourself, but for all around you.

Dag 27

REINHEID VAN HART EN RESPEK VIR ANDER – Albert Theron

Dissipels met ‘n rein hart in Christus vind dit nie moeilik om ander mense te dien en in die algemeen welwillend teenoor hulle op te tree nie. Respek vir ander mense wat na God se beeld geskape is, vloei spontaan uit ‘n rein hart. Daarteenoor is ‘n onrein hart ‘n fabriek van disrespek teenoor ander. Iemand wat nie respek vir ander mense het nie bewys sonder twyfel dat hy dink hy is beter as ander. So ‘n persoon verwag respek van ander mense, maar self wil hy dit nie gee vir ander nie. Ons samelewing raak toenemend ‘n plek waar mense net nie meer respek het vir mekaar nie. Dinge soos vriendelikheid, gasvryheid, beleefdheid, goeie diens in die werksplek, bereidheid om werklik te luister na ander, om nie te gou te oordeel nie, jou woord te hou, nie ander mense lank te laat wag as julle ‘n afspraak het nie, is alles tekens dat jy hulle respekteer. Ons Vader verwag van ons om ander mense suiwer op grond van hulle skepping na Sy beeld en gelykenis te respekteer (Jak. 3:9). As mense disrespekvol teenoor jóu optree, moenie die hoë grond in Christus en jou reinheid van hart in Hom opgee nie. Neem die saak liewer na die Vader en kry wysheid by Hom.

Dag 28

THE POWER-GAMES RELIGION PLAYS – James Fowler

Religion often tries to help God out, because He appears so impotent. “Why isn’t God doing something? Why is God delaying? If God is so powerful, why doesn’t He knock a few heads together? ..smash a few obstacles? ..level the enemies? We want to see some visible action that will impress people. So let’s conceive big things and achieve big things, ‘for God.’ Let’s go to bat for God. Let’s plan, get organized and make it happen. Onward Christian soldiers! Let’s conquer for Christ.” Remember Constantine, the Roman Emperor, who allegedly saw a “cross” in the sky and heard a voice say, “By this sign, conquer.” ? Historically, that was one of the greatest perversions of Christianity into religion. But religion in every age engages in “activism,” encouraging people to “involvement” and “commitment” to “make things happen.” “We are saved to serve,” they tell us. They plan their programs and their pogroms. “We shall overcome!” is their battle cry. Whatever it takes to win; the end justifies the means; might is right; a “just war.” So it is that “religion” plays its power-games. On the other hand, in the Kingdom of God, although God is All-powerful He does not exert power just to force the issues. God’s power is an ultimate authority that is rooted in His character. That is why Chuck Colson quotes Max Weber as saying that “power involves the use of coercive force to make others yield to one’s wishes even against their own will. Authority is achieved by virtue of character that others are motivated to follow willingly.” God always acts in accord with His character, and exercises His “Lordship” accordingly. Isaiah 55:8,9 explains that “God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways.” That is certainly true when it pertains to how God exercises His Power. Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by the devil, but He refused to exercise power as the world does.

Dag 29

BIBLICAL AUTHORITY VERSUS MAN-MADE AUTHORITY – Bob DeWaay

The Reformation rightly rejected the authority of the Pope and church tradition and returned to “scripture alone.” This was a return to the true foundation of the church, the Biblical apostles and prophets who speak to us through the Scripture. This means that the decrees of men in church history are not binding on any believer unless those decrees are valid implications and applications of Scripture. This brings up an important point mentioned in the previous issue of Critical Issues Commentary: God only binds us to what is inerrant and infallible. Words from men that contain mixture and error and lack the qualities of inspired Scripture cannot be binding on the lives of believers. This truth was at the crux of the Reformation. The words of the Popes do not have this quality nor do those of latter day apostles and prophets.

Dag 30

FALLEN MAN IS AN INDEPENDENT RELIGIOUS BEING – Albert Theron

Since the first day that Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree that God said they should not partake of (Gen. 3:3) man became an independent religious being. We were created to live freely and willingly dependent on God in everything. God alone is the Creator and Judge of the universe and He created us to live by His wisdom and judgment. After the Fall man became his own center and source of judgment and the idol of self inevitably moved into the core of our beings. At the very heart of man’s existence he is a religious being. In fact, what we call secular life is just a non-identified religious existence where independent man tries futilely to be in absolute control of his own destiny. On the other hand, those who join a ‘religion’ have only exchanged a non-identified religious life for a structured system of religion that still keeps the self firmly in the center, albeit a disguised center. And so human beings fool themselves into thinking they are now worshiping a deity who is in absolute control, when all the while they are still worshiping the fallen self that is cunningly protecting its own center of operations. In Christianity there is of necessity, because of the nature of fallen man, a cross planted in the center of God’s eternal purpose. This cross signifies the end of the idolatry of self. It signifies a change of source. It is the place where the religion of self died and was replaced by Christ, who is more than willing to move into the center of the regenerated life. Yet, sadly there are multitudes in the Christian ‘religion’ who live by the same principle as any other religion, namely self in the middle fooled into thinking it is worshiping the supreme being in the universe. By contrast the heart of true Christianity is found in Galatians 2 verse 20 where Paul says ‘I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me’. This is the radical core of the only legitimate religion in the universe, and it is the only truth that can liberate man from the devastating religion of self-worship with a view to placing Christ in the center of such a surrendered life.

Dag 31

DIE GEMEENTE WAT JESUS BOU – Albert Theron

In Mattheus 16 vers 18 verklaar Jesus onomwonde dat Hy sélf sy gemeente sal bou. Al maak Jesus gebruik van mense bou Hy sy gemeente só dat Hy en sy Vader die eer kry en verheerlik word. Daarteenoor is die gemeentes wat mense bou gebaseer op die beginsel wat ons in Genesis 11 vers 4 sien, “kom, laat ons vir ons ‘n stad bou en ‘n toring waarvan die spits tot aan die hemel reik; en laat ons vir ons ‘n naam maak…” Die ‘church growth’ beweging wat dikwels ‘n kwalik verskanste self-gesentreerde projek is om ons eie koninkryk te bou en ons eie naam populêr te maak, is ‘n gruwel in die oë van die Here. Een van die duidelikste toetse wat wys of dit Jesus of mense is wat ‘n gemeente bou, is die lojaliteit wat ons toon aan die denominasie of gemeentegroep teenoor lojaliteit aan Jesus en sy ware dissipels. Die manier wat mense behandel word wanneer hulle gelei voel om na ‘n ander groep te beweeg, is ‘n duidelike teken of dit ‘n gemeente is wat Jesus bou of ‘n gemeente wat mense bou. Dit is maklik om lojaal teenoor mense te wees wat in jou eie groep is terwýl hulle ‘in jou groep’ is. Die wêreld gee ook daardie soort erkenning en lojaliteit vir mekaar. Die toets kom egter wanneer mense nie meer ‘in jou groep’ is nie. In werklikheid is alle wedergebore mense tog wél deel van dieselfde Liggaam en dus van die gééstelike gemeente wat Jesus bou. Juis daarom durf ons lojaliteit aan en liefde vir mekaar nooit beperk te wees tot ‘n denominasie of kerkgenootskap nie. Let wel, leiers wat in Jesus se voetspore volg, sal in hierdie verband die regte gesindheid by dissipels kweek. Die wat dit nie doen nie wys sodoende hulle ware kleure. Maak seker dat jy jou krag, energie en gawes belê in die soort gemeente wat Jesus bou.