Verhoudings is broos en breekbaa: Hanteer versigtig – Albert Theron
“Maar julle byt en verskeur mekaar. Pas op dat julle mekaar nie heeltemal verslind nie!” Gal. 5:15 (NLV)
Dit is verstommend om te sien hoeveel instruksies daar in die Nuwe Testament is oor die manier wat ons mekaar moet hanteer. God het ons gemaak en Hy is die Kenner van harte. Hy weet dat ons harte broos en breekbaar is en dat liefdeloosheid, disrespek, onbedagsaamheid en hardhandigheid ons verhoudings met mekaar ernstige skade kan berokken. In Galasiërs 5 gaan Paulus sover om te sê dat ons mekaar heeltemal kan verslind en sodoende verwoes. En hy praat met dissipels van Jesus! Die onomstootlike waarheid oor verhoudings is dat as jy iemand anders verwoes jyself in die proses verwoes word. Jy kan nie oor iemand anders se hart loop sonder om oor jou eie te loop nie. Hoe lyk dit met jóú prioriteite? Vir God is verhoudings primêr. As daar in jou lewe ‘n vriendskap of huweliksverhouding is wat soos ‘n stukkende kruik aan skerwe lê deur liefdeloosheid, bring dit nederig en biddend vir God. Hy alleen is die Hersteller van gebroke verhoudings. Wees egter ook gereed om te doen wat Hy dan vir jou sê. Hy kan en sál jou leer hoe om met ander se harte te werk. Sonder Hom is dit totaal onmoontlik en sal ons maar net weer verwoesting saai met ons gesindhede, woorde en dade. Ware verhoudingsvaardigheid is menslik onmoontlik, maar deur die krag en wysheid van die Gees ís dit binne jou bereik. Glo dit!
WE WORK FROM LIFE, NOT FOR LIFE – A.J. Gordon
In Christ Jesus we work no longer for life, but from life. Our high endeavor is not to shape our actual life in the flesh into conformity to an ideal life that is set before us in Him. It is rather to reduce our true life now hid in Christ, to an actual life in ourself. And so the summons of the gospel is, not that we behold what is possible for us in Christ, and reach forth to it; but rather that we behold what is accomplished for us in Christ, and appropriate it and live in it. Risen with Christ, the first-fruits of our spirits already carried up with Him into glory, our life hid with Him in God, how shall not our heart be where our treasure is? How shall not our love be ever kindling and burning upwards, purging itself of all earthly dross, till it is wholly intent on Him?
UNDERSTANDING JUSTIFICATION AND SANCTIFICATION – Francis Schaeffer
If we are truly Christians, we know how we were justified when we became Christians. The practice of sanctification is very much parallel to what we know from justification. In other words, if I am a Christian at all, I have been justified, and thinking back to my justification, all I have to do is to see the parallelisms between justification and the Christian life. When I see these, there is no reason either to be ignorant or confused, because there are these very definite parallels. In justification the basis is the finished work of Jesus Christ; in sanctification it is the finished work of Christ. In justification we must see, acknowledge, and act upon the fact that we cannot save ourselves. In sanctification we must see, acknowledge, and act upon the fact that we cannot live the Christian life in our own strength, or in our own goodness. In justification the instrument by which we receive the free gift of God is faith, which believes God as he has given us his promises in the Bible. In sanctification the instrument by which we receive the free gift of God is faith, which believes God as he has given us his promises in the Bible. It is exactly the same thing. There is one difference between the practice of justification and sanctification. As justification deals with our guilt, and sanctification deals with the problem of the power of sin in our lives as Christians, justification is once for all, and the Christian life is moment by moment. There is a difference in that one deals with the guilt of my sin, and the other deals with the power of sin in my life. If we are Christians, we have understood and acted upon the finished work of Christ once for all at our justification, and our guilt is gone for ever. Now let us understand and act upon the practice of that same work moment by moment in our present lives.
POWERLESSNESS IS THE BEGINNING OF FREEDOM – Tullian Tchividjian
Only when we come to the end of ourselves do we come to the beginning of God. This is a common theme in the Bible—desperation precedes deliverance. Grief precedes glory. The cross precedes the crown. Powerlessness is the beginning of freedom. This is not to say that every cloud has a silver lining, or some such nonsense. That would be a minimization. It is only to say that if the past five years have taught me anything, it is this: I would never have received any clarity about the beauty of the gospel if I hadn’t first been forced to face the ugliness of my sin and idolatry at the foot of the cross. As the apostle Paul exclaimed in 1 Corinthians, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1:18ESV).
HEARTS THAT BEAT IN TUNE WITH GOD – Jim Cymbala
The Pharisees could quote the Scriptures by memory, yet didn’t recognize the Son of the living God—the Messiah of Israel—standing ten feet in front of them! They were full of religion, but they knew nothing of God and his heart. Their stubborn silence drew a strong response from Jesus: “After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart…” (Mark 3:5 NASB). Jesus didn’t get angry often, but this was one time he did. What incensed him was the hardness of heart he saw among the religious leaders of Israel. They made a mockery of serving God and kept people out of his kingdom rather than leading them into it. It was they who were the “shriveled” ones in the synagogue that day. The poor man had a problem with one hand, but the religious leaders were suffering from withered hearts! And Jesus was not only angry, he was also grieved. How sad it is when “religious” folk become callous in their hearts by years of traditionalism and mechanical service. What does this have to do with you and me? Everything! We had better quickly discover whether we have mere religion or a real experience with Jesus, whether we have outward observance of religious forms or hearts that beat in tune with God. We can go to church every Sunday and quote the Bible but still not have a clue about what is really important to God. We can more easily drift into being a mere Baptist, charismatic, or Presbtyerian evangelical than being a tenderhearted, Spirit-filled follower of the Savior. I meet many people who know more about their denominational traditions than they know about God. This is a danger for all of us.
VREUGDE EN VRYHEID IS JOU VOORLAND – Albert Theron
“Verbly julle altyd in die Here; ek herhaal: Verbly julle!” Fil. 4:4
Ware vryheid vind ons net op die pad van vreugde in Jesus Christus. Hierdie twee loop altyd saam. Wanneer ek albei my oë op Jesus het en ek al my vreugde in Hom vind, kan ek nie anders as om vry te wees van enigiets anders wat probeer om my te bind en van my ‘n slaaf te maak nie. Ons is so aanmekaar gesit deur God dat ons harte net nooit tot rus kom voordat ons nie sien dat Jesus werklik totale bevrediging gee vir die wat op Sý liefde reageer het nie. En net daar lê die sleutel tot ‘n lewe van toenemende vreugde en vryheid. Die opdrag om ons altyd te “verbly in die Here” is nie bedoel om ‘n saak van vasbyt-en-deurdruk te wees nie. Laasgenoemde is een van die grootste leuens van vormgodsdiens. Ek vind my vreugde in Jesus wanneer ek Sy groot liefde vir my in die evangelie ontdek en dan gedurig my hart hou onder die invloed van daardie evangelie-liefde! En die vryheid sal áltyd volg. Sy liefde wen my liefde en die vryheid volg; salige genade-ketting en dis jou voorland in Jesus. Glo dit!
DAILY EMBRACING THE GOSPEL – Jerry Bridges
Do we really believe that every day our standing before God is based entirely, as the old hymn puts it, on “Jesus’ blood and righteousness”? Our natural drift is toward a performance-based relationship with God. So if my concept of sin consists of only the more flagrant sins of society of which I am not guilty, I will tend toward a confident self-righteousness epitomized by the Pharisee who prayed in the temple, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men” (Luke 18:11). On the other hand, those who have a tender conscience and see so much of their own “respectable” sins will often live under a continual sense of God’s displeasure. What is the solution to a performance-based relationship with God that tends toward either self-righteousness or a continual sense of guilt? It is a daily living in the reality of the Great Exchange. It is a daily believing that however vile my sins are in my eyes, God has said, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). It is believing that in every instance where I have failed to obey, Jesus has already obeyed in my place (see Philippians 3:9). In short, it is a daily embracing of the gospel, looking outside of myself to Jesus and His shed blood and righteousness.
THE POWER OF RESURRECTION LIFE – Austin Sparks
Everything was created through Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16 NLT)
The key to everything with God is Life…. We must realize that Christ’s ascendancy, supremacy, power, ability and all that goes with Headship, is in terms of His prerogative of Life. He is the Son, vested with Life; He has the right given Him of God to give Life to as many as believe. That is why He is Head. You can set up people in office and make Popes of them and they may make great claims, but what does it amount to? When you come up against death, what can they do? But bring in one who has the power of life over death, be he ever so humble on this earth, he is head, he is master, he is lord. You may bring all the greatest physicians that the world knows into the presence of death, and when death takes charge, they are helpless. But supposing you bring in a little, insignificant person who is nobody, with no capabilities whatever in this world, no training, and that one be invested with the power of life over death, he rules out all these others, they are as nothing in his presence, he is lord of the situation.
Christ is Head, not just by appointment, but in terms of Life. We may be very insignificant people on this earth, nothing at all to be taken account of by the world, but if only we have Christ in fullness of Life we are in a supreme position, we make all the great organizations and institutions as nothing. It is a spiritual thing, the impact of Christ; not tradition, not history, not theology, but the spiritual power of His presence in terms of Life through faith and righteousness.
THE CONSUMING PASSION OF A CHRIST-FILLED MAN – James Stewart
Here it ought to be said quite clearly that a deep spiritual sympathy and kinship with Paul’s own inner experience is the first requisite of any generation or Church or individual who would interpret his Gospel rightly. Those in whom that sympathy of experience is lacking, who have never been driven to the point of seeing that their own achievements are nothing, and God’s grace everything, and that real religion begins only on the other side of the line where everything human has broken down; who have not realized the subtle, desperate hold that self lays upon the soul, making its very piety a barrier to Christ, and its morality an offence in God’s sight ; who have never stared right into the eyes of moral defeat, nor known the lyrical joy which comes when God floods a life and God’s power takes control, nor felt the consuming passion of a Christ-filled man to impart his joyous secret to all the world they are for ever excluded, they exclude themselves, from the inmost shrine of the apostle’s mind and soul. For Paul’s life, from the day when he met Christ face to face, was lived in the atmosphere of Christ’s Spirit; and as Weizsacker does well to remind us, “the man who has this Spirit thinks with the thoughts of God Himself.” He is in a new world, a world where the calculus with which other men may be measured ceases to apply. His secret yields itself up, not to any footrule of theology nor any logic of Paulinism, but only to those who come to him through the door of spiritual sympathy and through the kinship of a great experience. Hazlitt speaks of some who could translate a word into ten languages, but did not really know what the thing itself signified in any language ; a statement which the history of Paulinism abundantly corroborates. Something which has been too often forgotten lies in these words which Frederic Myers puts into the apostle’s mouth: “How should I tell or how can you receive it, How, till He brings you where I have been?”
HOE DEFINIEËR JÝ “LEWE IN OORVLOED”? – Albert Theron
“…Ek het gekom, dat hulle lewe en oorvloed kan hê.” Joh. 10:10
Die frase “lewe en oorvloed” in Johannes 10 vers 10 is een van die mees bekende Bybelse frases in ons tyd, maar ongelukkig lees ons dit 90% van die tyd deur ons kulturele bril. Dit word ook dan dikwels aan ons opgedis as God se stempel op ‘n aardse lewe van voorspoed op alle terreine. Hoe sou ‘n dissipel van Jesus wat leef in haglike omstandighede en met die daaglikse gevaar van vervolging dan hierdie frase verstaan? Dit kan tog nie net van toepassing wees op dissipels wat toegang het tot al die geriewe en voordele van ‘n goed ontwikkelde infrastruktuur en ‘n vervolgingsvrye omgewing nie. As ons die frase interpreteer in die konteks van die boek Johannes sien ons ‘n heel ander prentjie. Dan word dit glashelder duidelik dat Jesus praat van die soort lewe wat Hy geleef het in verhouding met sy Vader op hierdie aarde. Jesus self het gesê dat Hy op hierdie aarde geen plek het “waar Hy sy hoof kan neerlê nie” (Luk. 9:58), maar tog was Sy ononderbroke verhouding met sy Vader vir Hom ‘n lewe van absolute oorvloed en blydskap. Hy is die “deur van die skape” (10:7) wat hulle inlei na ‘n “ewige lewe” wat gekenmerk word deur ‘n intieme verhouding met die “enige waaragtige God” (17:3). Jesus self is “ons lewe” (Kol. 3:4) en Hy gee vir ons toegang tot die hemelse lewe in verhouding met die Drie-Eenheid (Kol. 3:1-3), sodat ons daardie kwaliteit lewe en oorvloed enige plek, enige tyd, en onder enige omstandighede kan geniet. Hoe definieër jý “lewe in oorvloed”? Dink mooi oor jou antwoord, want die manier wat jy hierdie vraag antwoord bepaal die kwaliteit van jou lewe op hierdie aarde.
GOSPEL OBEDIENCE – Jerry Bridges
The New Testament letters are filled with imperatives — that is, exhortations and challenges to pursue holiness, put on Christlike character, and present our bodies as living sacrifices. But these imperatives are always based on the objective truth of what Jesus did for us in His sinless life and sin-bearing death. As a young Christian, I did not understand this. I went directly to the imperatives to learn what I was to do. And in my early years of Bible teaching, I taught from the same dutiful perspective. I would contrast the “ought tos” of Scripture with the sinful desires of the flesh. I taught that we should fill our minds with the “ought tos” of Scripture in order to fortify ourselves against the desires of the flesh. But the reality is that in the internal conflict between ought and desire, desire too often wins out. And even when ought wins, it is often a dutiful response rather than one of love and gratitude. But then in the midst of what I thought would be a fruitful and rewarding ministry, the Holy Spirit began to peel back the layers of my heart to reveal something of the corruption and depravity still there. There were no “big” sins, just an ugly nest of what I call “respectable” sins. I was driven to the gospel. Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned — every one — to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all,” became my lifeline. I began to sing some of the old gospel hymns I had learned as a child. Such words as “Just as I am without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me” and “Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling” took on new meaning. I learned experientially that as a believer engaged in ministry, I still needed the gospel — every day in fact!
LEIERSKAP IN DIE LIG VAN CHRISTUS – Albert Theron
“Laat julle lig só skyn voor die mense, dat hulle julle goeie werke kan sien en julle Vader wat in die hemele is, verheerlik.” Matt. 5:16
Dit gebeur so maklik dat die wêreld se idees oor ‘n onderwerp insluip in die manier wat ons dink daaroor. Leierskap is een van die areas waarin ons dikwels ongemerk ‘n vermenging van Bybelse en wêreldse idees handhaaf, met rampspoedige gevolge. Jesus het die mees radikale invloed op die geskiedenis gehad, sonder dat Hy ooit ‘n formele posisie beklee het. Sy leierskap het dus alles te doen gehad met sy Goddelike invloed. Nuwe Testamentiese leierskap is op presies hierdie beginsel gebou. Wanneer die lewe en karakter van Christus in ons gestalte kry, kán ons nie anders as om ‘n invloed op mense uit te oefen nie. In daardie sin is ons dus almal leiers binne ‘n spesifieke invloedsfeer. Die teendeel is egter ook waar. As jy ‘n formele posisie van leierskap beklee, maar jy tree nie op in die karakter van Christus nie is jy nie besig om enigiemand te lei in die Bybelse sin van die woord nie. Ongeag of ons dus bekend staan as ‘n “leier”, ‘n formele leierskap posisie beklee, of nie een van die twee nie, as ons reg dink oor leierskap sal ons besef dat die karakter van Christus deur ons áltyd ‘n invloed op ander het. Miskien het die tyd aangebreek vir ons om die Nuwe Testament se radikale openbaring van leierskap in die lig van Christus te omhels en ons eie te maak. Moenie jouself meet aan die wêreld se standaarde van leierskap nie. Maak liewer seker dat die karakter van Christus gestalte vind in jou op al die terreine waar jy beweeg en dáárdie voorbeeld sal ‘n invloed hê wat ver bo jou verwagting kan uitkring, en dit alles vir Jesus se eer en die verheerliking van sý Naam.
BORN AGAIN TO EXPERIENCE CHRIST – Titus Chu
Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
We were born again to experience Christ and gain Him. Thus, if we feel the Lord’s care for us is primarily to provide for our needs while we wait to go to heaven, we are treating Him unfairly. This concept makes Him into a Santa Claus, waiting for us to pray and tell Him what we need. We assume the Lord will give us everything we ask for, but we don’t seek the Lord Himself, because we don’t really care about the Lord.
God does not intend that we would live according to our own choice, and His existence is not just to meet our practical needs. The greatest need we have as Christians is for Christ Himself, and the Lord’s desire is to give Himself to us, so we must be very clear: we were born again to experience Christ and gain Him.
RISING ABOVE – Warren Wiersbe
Read 2 Corinthians 12:9–21
I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.… For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9–10
God does not give us His grace simply to help us endure our sufferings. God’s grace should enable us to rise above our circumstances and cause our afflictions to work for us in accomplishing positive good. What benefits did Paul receive? He experienced the power of Christ in his life. God transformed Paul’s weakness into strength. Something else happened to Paul as a result of his suffering: He was able to glorify God in his infirmities. This does not mean that he preferred pain to health, but rather that he knew how to turn his infirmities into assets. What made the difference? The grace of God and the glory of God. Paul delighted in these trials and problems because he knew he was suffering for the sake of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 12:10). “It is a greater thing to pray for pain’s conversion than its removal,” wrote P. T. Forsyth. Paul won the victory, not by substitution but by transformation. He discovered the sufficiency of the grace of God (v. 9).
Something to Ponder
How would your spiritual life be different if you focused more on converting pain than on asking God to completely remove it?
DIE EINDE VAN TEMPEL-GODSDIENS – Albert Theron
“Jesus antwoord en sê vir hulle: Breek hierdie tempel af, en in drie dae sal Ek dit oprig. En die Jode sê: Ses en veertig jaar lank is aan hierdie tempel gebou, en U, sal U dit in drie dae oprig?” Joh. 2:19-20
“Die God wat die wêreld gemaak het en alles wat daarin is, Hy wat Here van hemel en aarde is, woon nie in tempels met hande gemaak nie.” Hand. 17:24
“Of weet julle nie dat julle liggaam ‘n tempel is van die Heilige Gees wat in julle is, wat julle van God het, en dat julle nie aan julself behoort nie?” 1 Kor. 6:19
Die Jode het gesukkel om te aanvaar dat die koms van Jesus die einde van ‘n era van tempel-godsdiens ingelui het. Die van hulle wat wel die lig in Christus gesien het en deur die Gees wederbaar is, is toenemend deur God geleer om weg te draai van ‘n godsdiens wat fokus op aardse, mensgemaakte tempels en instede te fokus op die realiteit van Christus wat nou ín ons woon. Hoe lyk dit met óns benadering tot geestelike dinge? Het ons nie dalk weer ‘n tempel-godsdiens opgerig wat Jesus eintlik gekom het om af te breek sodat ons in die realiteit van sy 24/7 inwonende teenwoordigheid kan leef nie? ‘n Gebou is goed om die reën, wind en koue buite te hou, maar as dit vir ons ‘n heilige koei geword het en die middelpunt van ons verhouding met God en medegelowiges (of dalk die ding wat ons afskei van ander dissipels van Jesus!), is dit ‘n struikelblok wat die openbaring van die Nuwe Testament versluier en verdoesel.
EQUAL IN VALUE AND DIGNITY – Wayne Grudem
Very early in the Bible we read that both men and women are made “in the image of God.” In fact, the very first verse that tells us that God created human beings also tells us that both “male and female” are in the image of God: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27). To be in the image of God is an amazing privilege. It means to be like God and to represent God. No other creatures in all of creation, not even the powerful angels, are said to be in the image of God. It is a privilege given only to us as men and women. We are more like God than any other creatures in the universe, for we alone are “in the image of God.” Any discussion of biblical manhood and womanhood must start here. Every time we look at each other or talk to each other as men and women, we should remember that the person we are talking to is more like God than anything else in the universe, and that men and women share that status equally. Therefore we should treat men and women with equal dignity, knowing that men and women have equal value.
JESUS SE LEEFWÊRELD – Albert Theron
Jesus wil die heerlikheid van Sý leefwêreld stap vir stap vir ons ontsluit. Dit is slegs wanneer ons oë oopgaan híervoor dat ons fokus wegskuif van onsself en ons aardse omstandighede. Voor dit gebeur, is ons gedurig besig om Jesus te probeer intrek in ons leefwêreld. Nie dat Hy nie betrokke is daar nie. Geensins. Maar Hy wil hê ons moet leer om alles in ons leefwêreld te sien vanuit die hemelse perspektief en dan oor te gee aan Sy ewige plan ín die tydelike.
“Vader, Ek wil dat waar Ek is, hulle wat U My gegee het, ook saam met My sal wees, sodat hulle my heerlikheid kan aanskou wat U My gegee het, omdat U My liefgehad het voor die grondlegging van die wêreld.” Joh. 17:24
“Bedink die dinge wat daarbo is, nie wat op die aarde is nie.” Kol. 3:2
Wat beteken die teks in Kolossense 3 vers 2 vir jou? Het jy al ooit erns gemaak daarmee en besef dat dit op jóu persoonlik van toepassing is? Selfs mét al jou probleme en uitdagings hier op aarde. Mag die Vader vir ons lig gee op hierdie belangrike vers in die Nuwe Testament.
SAVED MUCH MORE BY HIS LIFE – C.H. Spurgeon
Paul says, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” How can it be much more? I answer, first, because when our Savior reconciled us by His death, it was the time of His weakness. Look, He is nailed to the Cross, the fever burns Him up, He cries, “I thirst.” He says, “I am a worm, and no man.” Weakness has come upon Him to the uttermost. He closes His eyes in the last dread sleep of death. They take down His poor body and wrap it in white linen, with sweet spices, and put it away in Joseph’s tomb. There could not be greater weakness, could there, than in the Crucified Christ? Yet, even then, He reconciled us! But now He is clothed with power! He is Head over all things, Lord of angels, King of kings! All Heaven resounds with His praises. Do you not see the drift of my argument? If, when He was in His uttermost weakness, He redeemed us by His death, “much more,” now that He is in all His power and Glory, He must be able to save His people by His life!
LOVED IN OUR UNLOVELINESS – Tullian Tchividjian
“As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (Jn. 13:34). So it’s not enough to love people in our self-satisfying, when-we-feel-like-it human way; we have to love as Jesus loves us! This is a reality check that Jesus is giving to the people He’s talking to. Yet God’s Word is creative. Jesus continues, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (v. 35). Miraculously, you find yourself loving and being loved. Now, we might admit freely that we love because Jesus first loved us, but we don’t love because we owe it to Him or because He told us to. We love because love for us brings out love for one another. We are loved by the Jesus who loved the people who weren’t good enough. We are loved by the Jesus who loved the people who came up short. We are loved by the Jesus who planted His love in our hearts. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus did not wait until we were loving before He loved us; He didn’t even wait till we asked Him to love us before He loved us—He loved us in our unloveliness. And His love for us births love in us, which bleeds love through us to those around us.
THE SHIFT TOWARD EXTERNALISM – A.W. Tozer
All of this top-heavy Christendom that we know today was never known in the book of Acts and in the days of the apostles. Utter simplicity was at the root of everything. Faith was the power, or at least the instrument, and the Holy Spirit the power that led them on and love throbbed at the heart of their worship and purity of life was demanded of them. So they had worship and love and faith and their moral lives were pure and their whole lives simple. And then as the years passed came the shift in externalism just as had happened in the days of Israel. A shift outward from the center toward the surface. Always remember this, that it could be the easiest thing in the world to live at the center but it usually is the hardest. It’s easier to live on the surface then it is in the center. The Church shifted toward externalism and institutionalism took over. Then came form and ceremony and tradition. Then came a slow shift from the center out toward the perimeter. Out from the beating heart, out to the epidermis, to the outside skin of things. Then externalism took over in Israel and a good deal of the long history of Israel in the Old Testament is the history of Israel yielding to the propensity to live on the surface and the prophets of God urging Israel back to the center. Always God urges men back to the center and always men by centrifugal force tend to fly out to the edge of things. Always God wants men to have content and always men seek to be satisfied with words. The whole problem is the externality of worship. This is the biggest problem the church faces now—the problem of externalism.
GESEËND MET ALLE GEESTELIKE SEËNINGE – Philip du Toit
Ef 1:3 “Geseënd is die God en Vader van onse Here Jesus Christus wat ons geseën het met alle geestelike seëninge in die hemele in Christus”
Dink diep hieroor na! As God ons reeds geseën het met alle geestelike seëninge in Christus, waarom soek ons dikwels vervulling buite Christus, of wil ons iets byvoeg by Christus? As ons nie ons diepste vervulling en vreugde in Christus vind nie, is dit dan eerder ’n teken dat ons nie hierdie waarheid werklik verstaan nie, of dat ons dit op een of ander manier weerstaan. As alle geestelike seëninge in Christus is, dan kan dit wat ons in die hiernamaals gaan ervaar ook nie die fokus weg van Christus self neem nie. Ons dink baie keer ons moet maar net soos in ’n bomskuiling maar “uithou” in hierdie lewe totdat ons uiteindelik eendag in die hemel alle moeite en ellende gespaar gaan wees, of totdat ons allerhande nuwe tasbare dinge gaan kry bo en behalwe Christus self. Ons kan nou reeds uit die volle geestelike seën leef wat daar in Christus is. Besef en beleef ons die volle geestelike seën daarvan?
WHEN GOD’S LIGHT SHINES ON US – Watchman Nee
Only those who live in God’s light will see the true nature of things. When a man is under the strong light of the sun, there is no need for him to use a torchlight. Those who are under God’s light have no need of human fire. If a man lives in God’s light, the true nature of things will be as clear and bright as light itself. If a man is under God’s light, he will discern the intrinsic nature of things. The only time a person genuinely knows himself is when he knows himself under God’s light. If we are not in God’s light, we may sin, but we will not feel the evil of sin. We may fail, but we will not feel the shame of failure. We may perform well outwardly, but inwardly we will not know how deceitful we are. We may be humble outwardly, but inwardly we will not know how proud we are. We may appear gentle outwardly, but inwardly we will not know how stubborn we are. We may appear spiritual outwardly, but inwardly we will not know how fleshly we are. When God’s light shines on us, our true condition will be exposed, and we will see and admit how blind we have been!
DIE KONINKRYK HET ALLES TE DOEN MET WIE JESUS IS – Albert Theron
Jesus is die essensie van die koninkryk van God en Hy ís die geregtigheid van die koninkryk.
“Maar soek eers die koninkryk van God en sy geregtigheid, en al hierdie dinge sal vir julle bygevoeg word.” Matt. 6:33
Om eers die koninkryk te soek, is nie kompleks nie. Dit beteken eenvoudig om te sien dat alles op aarde in Jesus “stand hou” (Kol. 1:17) en om dan seker te maak dat Hy werklik in alles nommer een is in jou hart. Is jou verhouding met Jesus die kern van jou lewe? Ons prioriteite raak so maklik deurmekaar en dan soek ons eers “al die dinge” en hoop maar die koninkryk word bygevoeg. Jesus verwag van sy dissipels om anders te dink en te prioritiseer as die wêreld en om te glo dat die detail van ons daaglikse lewens gevolglik deur die Vader georden sal word.
“En Hy is voor alle dinge, en in Hom hou alle dinge stand.” Kol. 1:17
Vroeër in die bergpredikasie leer Jesus sy dissipels om die Vader se naam, koninkryk en wil eerste te stel in al hulle gebede (Mt. 6:9-10). In die bekende vers 33 wat ons hierbo aanhaal, beklemtoon Hy weereens dat ons prioriteite radikaal aangepas moet word om in lyn te kom met die Een wat aan die hoof staan van die heelal en alles in Sy ewige hande hou. Die interessante is dat selfs “die koninkryk van God en sy geregtigheid” nie onafhanklik van wie Jesus is, gesoek kan word nie. Dit het álles te doen met wie Hy is!
PSYCHOLOGICAL GUILT AND TRUE GUILT – Francis Schaeffer
There is indeed purely psychological guilt, in the poor things that we as men in our rebellion have become. I feel that often evangelical Christians are very harsh here. They tend to act as though there were no such thing as psychological guilt. But there is, just as there are broken bones. Psychological guilt is actual and cruel. But Christians know that there is also real guilt, moral guilt before a holy God. It is not a matter only of psychological guilt, that is the distinction. When a man is broken in these areas, he is confused, because he has the feelings of real guilt within himself, and yet he is told by modern thinkers that these are only guilt “feelings.” But he can never resolve these feelings, because while there are merely guilt feelings, he also has true moral awareness and the feeling of true guilt. You can tell him a million times that there is no true guilt, but he still knows there is true guilt. You will never find a person who does not still find these movings somewhere in his conscience. Earlier we have discussed the question of salvation from our consciences. We have seen there is a strong parallel between justification and salvation from the conscience. I come now as a Christian; I call the specific sin sin; I claim the finished work of Christ; I can say, “Thank you” to God, and my conscience can be at rest. Let us notice that in this process the real guilt is not overlooked, it is not swept under the rug. Real guilt is placed in a completely rational framework, and it is met within the framework, with intellect and feelings of morality meeting each other, without any fracture between them. With all rationality in place, and consciously in place (on the basis of the existence of God and the finished, substitutionary work of Jesus Christ) my real guilt now is not overlooked, but is accepted as my responsibility because of my own deliberately doing what I know to be wrong. Then it is reasonably, truly, and objectively dealt with in Christ’s infinite substitutionary work. Now I can say to my conscience, be still! Thus real guilt is gone and I know that anything which is left is my psychological guilt. This can be faced, not in confusion, but to be seen as part of the misery of fallen man.
VERHOUDING VERWOES DEUR VALSE VEROORDELING – Albert Theron
“Staan dan vas, julle lendene met die waarheid omgord, met die borswapen van die geregtigheid aan.” Efes. 6:14
Geen verhouding kan floreer sonder guns en onskuld nie. Veroordeling bring altyd skuld, afstand, vyandskap en verlies aan verhoudingsintimiteit. Alles kom tot stilstand in jou geestelike lewe as jy onder veroordeling is. Die satan weet dat hy ons baie vinnig kan immobiliseer as hy ons harte onder ‘n valse veroordeling plaas. Daarom is die borswapen van geregtigheid in Efesiërs 6 so belangrik. Veroordeling is ‘n baie subtiele ding – dit kom dikwels in ons lewens in sonder dat ons dadelik bewus is daarvan, maar ons sien die effek! Net ‘n openbaring van die geregtigheid van God in Christus waarin jy as dissipel van Jesus staan, kan jou weerhou daarvan om weer terug te val op jou eie pogings om God se guns te wen en verhoudingsintimiteit met Hom te beleef.
“Want Hy het Hom wat geen sonde geken het nie, sonde vir ons gemaak, sodat ons kan word geregtigheid van God in Hom.” 2 Kor. 5:21
ENJOY CHRIST TODAY – Titus Chu
As believers in Christ, we should not consider ourselves as mere churchgoers, nor should we be satisfied with “going to heaven.” If we cannot enjoy Christ today, then what is the point of hoping for the future? We should not allow ourselves to be cheated. We were born again so that we could enjoy Christ today! The Lord might say to us, “The moment you were born again I brought you into a rich enjoyment. Your living should be filled with the rich enjoyment of Me! Don’t wait until the next age. Today, while you are on this earth, you should be in the rich enjoyment I prepared for you. One day the holy city, New Jerusalem, will come down out of heaven to the earth (Rev. 21:10). At that time I will display and exhibit all My riches for eternity. However, I do not want you to wait for the New Jerusalem and miss your opportunity to enjoy Me today. I want you to have a wonderful foretaste today of the New Jerusalem. I want you to enjoy all My riches in your living today.”
THE LIMITLESS RESOURCES OF GOD – William Gurnall
Perhaps you find the duty of your calling too heavy for your weak faith. Look to God for strength. When you are sick of your work and ready like Jonah to run away, encourage yourself with God’s words to Gideon: “Go in this thy might … have not I sent thee?” (Judges. 6:14). Begin the work God has given you, and you will engage His strength for you; run from your work, and you engage God’s strength against you. He will send some storm or other after you to bring His runaway servant home. Are you called to suffer? Do not flinch in fear. God knows the limits of your strength. He can place the load so evenly on your shoulders that you will scarcely feel it. But still He is not satisfied. His watchful eye is always on you, and when you stagger He picks you up—burden and all—and carries you to your destination nestled in the bosom of His promise: “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you can bear; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape…” (1 Corinthians 10:13). How can you fret when you are wrapped in His covenant? Your heavenly Father is so eager to care for you, that while you are timidly asking for a nibble of peace and joy, He is longing for you to open your mouth wide so He can fill it. The more often you ask, the better; and the more you ask for, the more He welcomes you. Go quickly now. Search your heart from one end to the other and gather up all your weaknesses. Set them before the Almighty, as the widow placed her empty vessels before the prophet. Expect a miracle of deliverance from the limitless resources of God. If you had more vessels to bring, you could have them all filled. God has strength enough to give, but He has no strength to deny. Here the Almighty Himself (with reverence I say it) is weak. Even a child, the weakest in grace of His family, who can but whisper “Father,” is able to overcome Him.
DIE BROOD WAT JESUS GEE RAAK NIE MUF NIE – Albert Theron
“Jesus antwoord hulle en sê: Voorwaar, voorwaar Ek sê vir julle, julle soek My nie omdat julle tekens gesien het nie, maar omdat julle van die brode geëet en versadig geword het. Moenie werk om die spys wat vergaan nie, maar om die spys wat bly tot in die ewige lewe, wat die Seun van die mens julle sal gee; want Hom het God, die Vader, verseël.” Joh. 6:26-27
Die wonderwerke wat Jesus gedoen het was tekens wat bedoel was om die rigting te wys na ‘n geestelike boodskap oor Sy identiteit en roeping om verlore mense te red en hulle geestelik te versadig met Sy wese en teenwoordigheid. Die meeste van die Jode in die tyd van Jesus se bediening op aarde het die doel van Sy koms heeltemal verkeerd vertolk. Hulle het vasgeklou aan die materiële en uitgemis op die geestelike rykdom in Jesus, wat vir hulle bedoel was! Hoe lyk dit in ons wêreld vandag? Dieselfde Jesus maak vandag deur die Heilige Gees ‘n appél op mense se harte om die geestelike rykdom wat Hy bied te omhels. Is dit regtig nog moontlik om in ons tyd Sy boodskap verkeerd te interpreteer? Is daar in óns tyd verskillende weergawes van die evangelie wat die geestelike kern van die boodskap wetend of onwetend misken en die klem skuif na materiële voordele? Wat dink jy?