September

Dag 1

STOWWERIGE BYBELS WAT GETUIENIS TEEN ONS BRING – Albert Theron

“En hulle sal nie meer elkeen sy naaste en elkeen sy broer leer en sê: Ken die Here nie; want almal sal My ken, klein en groot onder hulle.” Hebreërs 8:11

‘n Wedergebore dissipel van Jesus het ‘n inwonende leraar wat die Vader se stem vir hom as’t ware hoorbaar maak wanneer hy die Bybel lees. Die openbaring van Christus en die gemeente in die Nuwe Testament ontsluit vir ons die plan van God vir ons lewens sodat ons nie nodig het om verward te wees of in die donker rond te tas op soek na waarheid nie. Die bedieninge van Efesiërs 4 vers 11 is deur God geplaas in die liggaam van Christus om die heerlikheid van die nuwe verbond so tasbaar te maak vir dissipels dat die Bybel ‘n persoonlike avontuur word vir elkeen van ons. Dit was nooit bedoel om ons eie lees van die Bybel en persoonlike hoor van die Vader se stem te vervang nie!

God wil jou direk en persoonlik lei deur jou eie hantering van die Bybel. Dit is waarvoor Jesus Sy kosbare bloed gestort het. Daai Bybels wat so stof opgaar in ons huise sal ‘n getuienis téén ons word as ons dit nie daagliks begin optel en lees met die geloof dat God persoonlik met ons wil praat nie.

Dag 2

THE FAMILY ALTAR IS THE THERMOMETER – Harry Ironside

Is your home such as the apostle is here [Eph. 5] depicting, where husband and wife walk together in mutual love and submission, and where Christ is honored? If not, it would be well to ask why it is not. Perhaps you would find that the true root of the trouble is in the neglect of family devotions. In 1 Peter 3 verse 7 we read, “Likewise, husbands, dwell with [your wives] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; so that your prayers may not be hindered.” Notice the words, “that your prayers may not be hindered.” When a Christian home is the way it should be, prayer like fragrant incense will rise unhindered to God the Father from that family altar. But where the home is not as it should be, where husband and wife are not submissive to God and one another, where there is not that delightful relationship, then prayer immediately is hindered. The family altar is the thermometer that shows what conditions are in the home. What a blessing when husband and wife can happily kneel together and bring their varied problems to the Lord, or together lift their hearts to Him when things are going well. But when there is reserve on the part of either one or the other, you may know there is a storm in the offing, or something has already taken place hindering their fellowship and communion. If in your home time is not given for the family altar, see to it that not another day goes by until husband and wife read the Word together and kneel together in the presence of God, commending one another and the children to the Lord. You will find it will make a great difference, and day by day anything that would hinder prayer can be judged at the family altar.

Dag 3

DIE GLIMLAG VAN GENADE – Albert Theron

“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.” Johannes 17:24

“…want dit is goed dat die hart versterk word deur genade…” Hebreërs 13:9

Jesus het ons deur Sy verlossingswerk gebring op ‘n plek waar ons kan leef in die glimlag van die Drie-Eenheid (lees die hele Johannes 17) en nou verwag God van ons dat ons met mekaar sal praat en saamleef vanuit die glimlag van genade. Ons gee maklik vir ons kinders, veral wanneer hulle nog klein is, die glimlag van genade. Dit is genesend, stigtend, en dit anker jou kind se hart in die tasbare liefde van ‘n ouer wat die Vaderhart van God verteenwoordig. Natuurlik is daar ook in die lewe van ‘n kind, en ‘n dissipel van Jesus, tug en dissipline (Heb. 12:5-10). Dit is egter juis in die sonskyn van die Vader se glimlag wat ons die hart agter die tugtiging raaksien en daarom reg reageer op die liefdevolle dissipline van ons Vader. Hy verwag van ons om nie net vir ons kinders nie, maar ook vir ons mede-dissipels die glimlag van genade te gee. ‘n Hart vol genade kan selfs met vermaning en teregwysing sonskyn bring.

“You fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.” (William Cowper)

Dag 4

OBEDIENCE AND THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS – Bob Hoekstra

But why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and do not do the things which I say? . . . Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them . . . [and] teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Luke 6:46 and Mt. 28:19-20)

As servants of the new covenant of grace, the Lordship of Jesus is part of our message. “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord” (2 Cor. 4:5). The early church proclaimed Jesus as Lord. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ . . . The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ — He is Lord of all . . . believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved . . . Then Paul dwelt two whole years . . . teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:36; Acts 10:36; Acts 16:31; and Acts 28:30-31).

The scriptures often emphasize the fact that Jesus is our Lord. The opening verses of Paul’s first letter to Corinth are a clear example. “Paul . . . to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus . . . with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord . . . Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ . . . you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:1-10).

Clearly, it is right for followers of Jesus to call Him Lord. Yet, to call Him Lord and then disobey Him is a contradiction. “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say? ” After believing in Jesus and identifying with Him in water baptism, disciples are to be growing in obedience: “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” As we are learning to walk in obedience, Jesus is ever present with us. “I am with you always.” Day by day, He offers the grace we need for obedience: “Declared to be the Son of God with power . . . through whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith” (Rom. 1:4-5).

Lord Jesus, I long for my verbal confession of Your Lordship to be validated by my daily growth in obedience. You are my Master. Grant me grace each day to be obedient to the faith, in Your sovereign name I pray, Amen.

Dag 5

DIE STEM IN DIE STILTE – Albert Theron

Stilte is nie net die afwesigheid van aktiwiteit en geraas nie. Stilte is ‘n geloofshouding voor God wat in aanbidding en met ontsag wag op Sy stem om innerlik tot ons deur te dring.

“En nadat Hy die skare weggestuur het, klim Hy op die berg om in die eensaamheid te bid. En toe dit aand geword het, was Hy daar alleen.” Mattheüs 14:23

“Want God spreek op een, ja, op twee maniere; maar die mens let daar nie op nie.” Job 33:14

Jesus het ononderbroke kontak met sy Vader gehad in die tyd wat Hy op aarde geleef het. Tog moes Jesus self tye hê van stilte om “in eensaamheid te bid”. Die Vader het baie dinge wat Hy persoonlik onder ons aandag wil bring, maar luister ons regtig? Gee ons vir Hom tyd in die Woord en gebed om kontak te maak met ons harte? Dit is verstommend hoe maklik mense vandag sê hulle weet nie hoe om God se stem te hoor nie en nie dink daaraan dat God nie kans gegun word om te praat nie! As Jesus tye van stilte en alleenwees nodig gehad het, het ons dit dan nie ook dringend nodig nie?

Dit is in die tye van uiterlike stilte en alleenwees wat ons die innerlike stilte die beste kultiveer. Kan ons generasie nog alleen wees en stil wees of is ons dalk verslaaf aan aktiwiteite met ‘n klomp mense rondom ons of iewers ‘n elektroniese geblêr in ons ore? Ware koninkryksaktiwiteit kom net uit intimiteit met God en intimiteit met God verg tye van stilwees en alleenwees. Máák tyd om stil te wees, selfs al doen niemand rondom jou dit nie. Skakel ‘n slag daai televisie en radio af, en vir die heel braafstes onder ons, sit jou selfoon af! God wag om met jou te praat. Aanvanklik kan die stilte ‘n skok vir jou sisteem wees, maar volhard daarin en jy sal die lieflike vrug van God se teenwoordigheid begin pluk en leer om innerlik gefokus te wees op die stem van die Vader.

Dag 6

THE NEW NATURE FOLLOWS AFTER RIGHT – C.H. Spurgeon

To put the matter very simply—did you ever hear of Mr. Rowland Hill’s illustration of the cat and the sow? I will give it in my own fashion, to illustrate our Saviour’s expressive words—”You must be born again. ” Do you see that cat? What a cleanly creature she is! How cleverly she washes herself with her tongue and her paws! It is quite a pretty sight! Did you ever see a sow do that? No, you never did. It is contrary to its nature. It prefers to wallow in the mire. Go and teach a sow to wash itself, and see how little success you would gain. It would be a great sanitary improvement if swine would be clean. Teach them to wash and clean themselves as the cat has been doing! Useless task. You may by force wash that sow, but it hastens to the mire, and is soon as foul as ever. The only way in which you can get a sow to wash itself is to transform it into a cat; then it will wash and be clean, but not till then! Suppose that transformation to be accomplished, and then what was difficult or impossible is easy enough; the swine will henceforth be fit for your parlor and your hearth-rug. So it is with an ungodly man; you cannot force him to do what a renewed man does most willingly; you may teach him, and set him a good example, but he cannot learn the art of holiness, for he has no mind to it; his nature leads him another way. When the Lord makes a new man of him, then all things wear a different aspect. So great is this change, that I once heard a convert say, “Either all the world is changed, or else I am.” The new nature follows after right as naturally as the old nature wanders after wrong. What a blessing to receive such a nature! Only the Holy Spirit can give it.

Dag 7

HOW TO MAKE A GOD – Timothy Keller

What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give. A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living. An idol has such a controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought. It can be family and children, or career and making money, or achievement and critical acclaim, or saving “face” and social standing. It can be a romantic relationship, peer approval, competence and skill, secure and comfortable circumstances, your beauty or your brains, a great political or social cause, your morality and virtue, or even success in the Christian ministry. When your meaning in life is to fix someone else’s life, we may call it “codependency” but it is really idolatry. An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, “If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.” There are many ways to describe that kind of relationship to something, but perhaps the best one is worship.

Dag 8

DIE VOLWASSENHEID WAT JESUS IN ONS SOEK – Albert Theron

Geestelike volwassenheid is nie volmaaktheid of superieure kennis of begaafdheid nie. Dit is nie eers noodwendig die volkome ontwikkeling van my gawes of ’n bedieningsvaardigheid en ervaring wat ander beïndruk nie. Dit is nie ‘n kompetisie met ander mense om bo hulle uit te styg en die reg te verkry om onder hulle die erkende gesag te wees nie. Dit is nie die eksklusiewe domein van die een onder ons met die diepste openbaring nie. Dit is nie nét die insig en onderskeiding om dwaling raak te sien en dit te ontbloot selfs wanneer duisende dit omhels en vir soetkoek opeet nie.

Geestelike volwassenheid word in my gevorm wanneer ek begin rus in die vaste wete dat Jesus na my omsien terwyl ek myself gee vir ander mense se heil, verlossing en geestelike groei. Dit is ‘n wegkyk van myself en ‘n raaksien van die swakkes, die verwardes, die misleides en die behoeftiges. Dit is om te volg in die voetspore van die Een wat gesê het” die Seun van die mens het nie gekom om gedien te word nie, maar om te dien…” (Matt. 20:28). Dit is eers wanneer hierdie diensbaarheid van Jesus in my gevorm is dat my kennis, gawes, openbaringe, insig en ervaring werklik bruikbaar word in die hande van God.

“En op ons wat sterk is, rus die verpligting om die swakhede te dra van die wat nie sterk is nie, en nie onsself te behaag nie.” Romeine 15:1

Dag 9

WE WANT TO BE AT THE CENTER – D.A. Carson

God himself, the Creator, is different from the creation, but all that he made was initially God-centered and good. The nature of evil is tied to revolution against this God. In Genesis 3, we saw how this is depicted as obsessive desire to challenge God—to become God ourselves, to usurp to ourselves the prerogatives that belong only to the Creator. Out of this idolatry come all of the social evils, the horizontal evils that we know. With everybody wanting to be at the center of the universe, there can only be strife. I know full well that nobody goes around chanting, “I’m at the center of the universe.” Yet if I were to hold up your high school or college graduation class photo and say, “Here’s your graduation class photo,” whose face do you look for first? Or suppose you have a really good knock-down, drag-out argument (a one-in-ten-years type). You go away from it seething. You remember all the things you could have said, all the things you should have said and would have said if only you had thought of them fast enough. Then you deploy all of these things as you replay the whole thing in your mind. Who wins? In my time I have lost many arguments; I have never lost a rerun. These sorts of reflections are the small indexes of how we want to prevail, how we want to control, how we want to be at the center.

Dag 10

GOD SE WIL IS SO NA AAN JOU SOOS JOU EIE HART! – Albert Theron

“En word nie aan hierdie wêreld gelykvormig nie, maar word verander deur die vernuwing van julle gemoed, sodat julle kan beproef wat die goeie en welgevallige en volmaakte wil van God is.” Romeine 12:2 (OAV)

Regdeur die Bybel gee God vir ons die versekering dat Hy Homself aan ons sal bekend maak as ons met geloof en ‘n rein hart nader tot Hom. Waarskynlik die grootste rede hoekom ons verward raak oor God se wil is omdat ons nie eers ons eie wêreldse idees, en begeerlikhede in baie gevalle, wil laat staan en toelaat dat Sy Woord inspreek in ons lewens nie. Na die mate wat ek my hart blootstel aan die besoedeling en verdraaide filosofieë van die wêreld sal ek verwarring beleef oor God se wil in my lewe. As ek aanhoudend hande vol grond in ‘n helder poel water gooi, sal ek later nie meer kan sien wat aangaan in die poel nie. Skuif eers al jou eie idees oor ‘n saak eenkant toe en neem nou die Bybel op met ‘n kinderlike geloof en afhanklikheid. God belowe dat Hy dan van binne af ‘n transformasie sal laat plaasvind wat Sy wil helder en duidelik in jou eie hart sal laat kristalliseer. Lees die volgende twee parafrases van Romeine 12 vers 2 om meer duidelikheid te kry oor hierdie kosbare belofte van God.

“Moenie julle leefstyl aanpas by die gedragspatrone van hierdie wêreld nie, maar laat God julle omvorm deurdat Hy julle denkpatrone vernuwe. Dan sal julle goed kan onderskei wat Hý wil hê dat julle moet doen, naamlik dit wat werklik goed en aanvaarbaar en volmaak is.” Rom. 12:2 (NLV)

“Moenie tuis raak in hierdie wêreld met al sy boosheid nie. Nee, laat God julle van binne af nuutmaak. Laat Hy julle manier van dink verander sodat julle kan weet wat Hy van julle verwag. Dan sal julle ook weet wat sy wil is en hoe julle julle hele lewe elke dag aan Hom moet oorgee.” Rom. 12:2 (DB)

Dag 11

THE ESSENCE OF TRUE CHRISTIANITY – A.W. Pink

An individual is profited from the Scriptures as Christ becomes more precious to him. Christ is precious in the esteem of all true believers (1 Pet. 2:7). They count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus their Lord (Phil. 3:8). His name to them is as ointment poured forth (Song of Sol. 1:3). As the glory of God that appeared in the wondrous beauty of the temple, and in the wisdom and splendor of Solomon, drew worshippers to him from the uttermost parts of the earth, so the unparalleled excellency of Christ which was prefigured thereby does more powerfully attract the hearts of His people. The Devil knows this full well, therefore is he ceaselessly engaged in blinding the minds of them that believe not, by placing between them and Christ the allures of this world. God permits him to assail the believer also, but it is written, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Resist him by definite and earnest prayer, entreating the Spirit to draw out your affections to Christ.

The more we are engaged with Christ’s perfections, the more we love and adore Him. It is lack of experimental acquaintance with Him that makes our hearts so cold towards Him. But where real and daily fellowship is cultivated the Christian will be able to say with the Psalmist, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee” (Ps. 73:25). This it is which is the very essence and distinguishing nature of true Christianity. Legalistic zealots may be busily engaged in tithing mint and anise and cummin, they may encompass sea and land to make one proselyte, and yet have no love for God in Christ. It is the heart that God looks at: “My son, give me your heart” (Prov. 23:26) is His demand. The more precious Christ is to us, the more delight does He have in us.

Dag 12

THE GULLIBLE MENTALITY – A.W. Tozer

The gullible mentality is like the ostrich that will gulp down anything that looks interesting—an orange, a tennis ball, a pocketknife opened or closed, a paperweight or a ripe apple. That he survives at all is testimony not to his intelligence but to his tough constitution. I have met Christians with no more discrimination than the ostrich. Because they must believe certain things, they feel that they must believe everything. Because they are called upon to accept the invisible they go right on to accept the incredible. God can and does work miracles; ergo, everything that passes for a miracle must be of God. God has spoken to men; therefore, every man who claims to have had a revelation from God must be accepted as a prophet. Whatever is unearthly must be heavenly; whatever cannot be explained must be received as divine; the prophets were rejected; therefore, anyone who is rejected is a prophet; the saints were misunderstood, so everyone who is misunderstood is a saint. This is the dangerous logic of the gullible Christian. And it can be as injurious as unbelief itself.

The healthy soul, like the healthy bloodstream, has its proper proportion of white and red cells. The red corpuscles are like faith: they carry the life-giving oxygen to every part of the body. The white cells are like disbelief: they pounce upon dead and toxic matter and carry it out to the drain. Thus the two kinds of cells working together keep the tissues in good condition. In the healthy heart there must be provision for keeping dead and poisonous matter out of the life stream. This the credulous person never suspects. He is all for faith. He accents the affirmative and cultivates religious optimism to a point where he can no longer tell when he is being imposed upon.

Dag 13

WAT IS EFFEKTIEWE BEDIENING IN ‘N GEMEENTE? – Albert Theron

“Ek wil hê julle moet weet hoe sterk ek my beywer vir julle en vir die gelowiges in Laodisea en vir al die ander wat my ook nog nie persoonlik gesien het nie. My doel daarmee is dat hulle bemoedig moet word. Hulle moet met liefde aan mekaar verbind wees en saam strewe na diep en volledige insig, sodat hulle God se geheimenis kan ken. Die geheimenis is Christus, en in Hom is al die verborge skatte van wysheid en kennis te vind.” Kolossense 2:1-3 (NAV)

In Mattheus 28 vers 19 het Jesus vir Sy apostels die opdrag gegee om dissipels van al die nasies te maak, hulle te doop en hulle dan te leer. Dissipels van wie? Dissipels van Jesus, nie van hulleself nie. Effektiewe bediening in ‘n gemeente het alles te doen met ware dissipelskap. Dit is net wanneer mense persoonlik met Jesus begin wandel en Sy stem duidelik vir hulleself begin hoor in die Bybel en gehoorsaam raak daaraan dat ons kan praat van effektiewe bediening. Dit gebeur so maklik dat ons, ons eie standaarde van effektiwiteit stel in ‘n gemeente en onsself flous dat dissipelskap plaasvind terwyl ons eintlik maar net mense lojaal probeer hou aan ‘n godsdienstige organisasie en hulle betrokke hou by ons programme. So begin “meet ons mekaar aan ons eie maatstaf” (2 Kor. 10:12) en vergelyk onsself met mekaar in plaas van aan die standaard van dissipelskap in die Nuwe Testament. Paulus het sonder om doekies om te draai gesê sy doel is om mense te onderrig en leer aangaande Christus om hulle sodoende te bring tot “geestelike volwassenheid in Christus” (Kol. 1:28). Waarvoor mik ons in ons gemeentes? Dalk om meer mense op ‘n Sondag in ‘n gebou bymekaar te kry? Dit is nie die Bybel se definisie van effektiewe bediening nie.

Dag 14

RELYING SOLELY ON THE REDEMPTIVE WORK OF CHRIST – Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The mere fact that people think they believe in God, and that they are pleasing God, does not tell us anything at all. The test of whether a man is godly is whether he believes in the revelation of God and His ways which we have in the Scriptures. Does he submit to that? Does he see himself as lost and damned? Does he see the absolute, utter need of relying solely upon the work of the Son of God on his behalf? That is the test – ‘Christ died for the ungodly’. He did not die for that Pharisee who stood forward in the Temple and said, ‘I thank thee that I am not as other men are … or even as this publican’ [Luke 18:11]. He did not die for people like that, for that man saw no need of Christ. He thought that all was well with him. But he was not worshiping God, he was worshipping himself. The Pharisee did not praise God, he praised himself. He thought he was very godly, but he was not. As the Apostle says later on in the tenth chapter of this Epistle concerning his fellow-countrymen, the Jews, ‘They have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. For, they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.’ ‘They think they are pleasing God’, he says, ‘but they are not. I was once like that, a proud, self-satisfied, and, as I thought, godly Pharisee; but I was pleasing myself the whole time, I had no righteousness at all.’

Let us be clear about this. There is no such thing as a naturally godly person – ‘all have sinned and come short of the glory of God’. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God’, and when you hold before them the full revelation of God they will soon let you know that they are ungodly. They say, ‘If that is God, I hate Him, I do not want Him’. Their god is a figment of their own imagination, a projection of their own ideas. They are ungodly. By nature we are all ungodly and opposed to God and at enmity against Him. Christ died not only for people who were without strength, but also for us when we were ungodly. That is the measure of the love of God.

Dag 15

THE BENEFITS OF READING A PAPER BIBLE – Albert Theron

Being on staff for a Christian club at a major university, I have many, many interactions with students around the Bible. I don’t think it will shock anyone for me to say that most students I meet with use a Bible app on their phone, not an actual Bible, when we read God’s word or open to a verse. The portability and near weightlessness of this option are obvious selling points to a student with a Biology textbook in their bag. But I hope that this is not the only way, and not the primary way, that people now use the Bible. I am not voting we turn back the clock to 2007, the momentous year when both the first iPhone and Kindle were introduced. I am also not against using the Bible electronically, but I believe there are significant benefits in using an actual Bible instead of one on your phone or tablet.

1. Distraction Free Reading
One of the greatest benefits to using an actual Bible is distraction free reading. The reading experience on a phone is beset with distraction. Texts, Instagram likes, Facebook comments, Snapchats, retweets, alets, email notifications, maybe even a phone call—a daily expanding social media universe with countless black holes to get sucked into. A smartphone is hardly the place to withdraw in order to focus. Especially if we are focusing on the Lord’s word to receive fresh light, which requires our eye to be single.

The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is single, your whole body will be full of light. –Matt. 6:22

Studies have shown that there is a cognitive cost each time we click on a notification to get an update and then switch back to what we were concentrating on before. Each time we make that switch our concentration becomes more and more fragmented. We experience the fractured simultaneity of a Cubist painting(an attempt to see all sides of a figure simultaneously, but from different viewpoints). On top of that, rapid back and forth multitasking depletes the nutrients in our brain and leads to exhaustion. In fact, the very possibility to quickly make this back and forth switch is detrimental to cognitive performance. It’s like standing on our tippy toes at the edge of a cliff swatting at a fly—the more we swat, the more likely we are to loose our balance and fall. That is to say, reading on your phone with just the realization that someone might like a recent Instagram post of yours massively detracts from your ability to be fully cognitively present.

Daniel J Levitin describes this process:
Multitasking has been found to increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol as well as the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline, which can overstimulate your brain and cause mental fog or scrambled thinking. Multitasking creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop, effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and for constantly searching for external stimulation. To make matters worse, the prefrontal cortex has a novelty bias, meaning that its attention can be easily hijacked by something new—the proverbial shiny objects we use to entice infants, puppies, and kittens. The irony here for those of us who are trying to focus amid competing activities is clear: the very brain region we need to rely on for staying on task is easily distracted. We answer the phone, look up something on the internet, check our email, send an SMS, and each of these things tweaks the novelty-seeking, reward-seeking centers of the brain, causing a burst of endogenous opioids (no wonder it feels so good!), all to the detriment of our staying on task. It is the ultimate empty-caloried brain candy. Instead of reaping the big rewards that come from sustained, focused effort, we instead reap empty rewards from completing a thousand little sugar-coated tasks.

Technology is like bamboo, it’s an invasive species. This is largely because a book and a smartphone are very different as tools. A book is only a book. But a smartphone can become other things: a movie, a game, a camera, a text. The tool is not benign. Holding a smartphone in your hand is similar to holding ten non-digital tools in your hand. And unlike a book, the screen is not passive. It is also a communicator that initiates conversation. Using a book is singular and definite; using an iPhone is multivalvent and indeterminate. To read the Bible on your phone is to welcome invasion and interruption. If we are to enter into our private room and shut the door when we spend time with the Lord, it makes sense that we don’t leave a few doors open on our phone.

But you, when you pray, enter into your private room, and shut your door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you. –Matt. 6:6

2. Better Retention
Another major benefit of reading an actual Bible is better retention of what you’ve read. This is because reading on paper is different from reading on screens. Studies have shown that when we read we construct a mental map of the text as we do with physical landscapes.

In an article for the Scientific American, Ferris Jabr says:

We often think of reading as a cerebral activity concerned with the abstract—with thoughts and ideas, tone and themes, metaphors and motifs. As far as our brains are concerned, however, text is a tangible part of the physical world we inhabit… the human brain may also perceive a text in its entirety as a kind of physical landscape.

This is why people often remember where on the page (top right) and where in the book (near the beginning) a sentence they are looking for is located. This only happens with actual books though, which means that our brains do not actively map the content of what we read on screens. This is in large part due to the physicality of books—that we flip actual pages, that text is forever fixed at a precise location on those pages, and that those pages indicate to us the remaining length of a book. We loose all these tactile details when we read on screens, which in turn affects our long term retention of information.

Jabr continues:
Turning the pages of a paper book is like leaving one footprint after another on the trail—there’s a rhythm to it and a visible record of how far one has traveled. All these features not only make text in a paper book easily navigable, they also make it easier to form a coherent mental map of the text. In contrast, most screens, e-readers, smartphones and tablets interfere with intuitive navigation of a text and inhibit people from mapping the journey in their minds. A reader of digital text might scroll through a seamless stream of words, tap forward one page at a time or use the search function to immediately locate a particular phrase—but it is difficult to see any one passage in the context of the entire text. As an analogy, imagine if Google Maps allowed people to navigate street by individual street, as well as to teleport to any specific address, but prevented them from zooming out to see a neighborhood, state or country. Although e-readers like the Kindle and tablets like the iPad re-create pagination—sometimes complete with page numbers, headers and illustrations—the screen only displays a single virtual page: it is there and then it is gone. Instead of hiking the trail yourself, the trees, rocks and moss move past you in flashes with no trace of what came before and no way to see what lies ahead.

This lack of navigational clarity, the loss of footprints on the trail, ends up impairing our long term retention of what we’ve read.

Establish my footsteps in Your word… –Psalm 119:133

Although it is much easier to whip out your Bible app and scroll through a chapter, we don’t leave many footprints in this kind of reading and the text doesn’t leave much of a lasting mark on us either. With what text could it be more imperative to have a mental map of the terrain than the Bible?

3. Discoverability
Another major benefit of using an actual Bible is its discoverability. A physical book has major flip value. It’s easy to flip around and discover new content and still retain a good sense of where you are in the text. Of course, you can jump around in an ebook too, but it is hard to see where you are going and understand where you land. To continue the illustration from the last point, reading in an electronic Bible is like teleporting from Austin to New York—sure, you get to your destination, but you never see what’s on the way. Reading a paper Bible is like driving. This way you end up discovering a whole lot more about America. Places you’d never have visited before catch your eye and charm you.

Growing up (let’s say early high school), this is primarily how I read the Bible. I’d randomly open somewhere, read a little, and them randomly flip somewhere new. Certainly not the most systematic approach, but great for discovery. I still remember certain verses I discovered and fell in love with that way (and I still remember exactly where they are on the page). If I read on a phone as a kid that never would have happened and the deep impression those verses left on me also wouldn’t be there.

I rejoice at Your word, like one who finds great spoil. –Psalm 119:162

We need to make new discoveries every day in God’s word. Regarding this, Watchman Nee says,

These freshly revealed truths are not God’s new inventions. Rather, they are man’s new discoveries. There is no need for invention, but there is the need for discovery.

With a paper Bible, you can discover things a lot more easily. Opening to Psalm 131 on my iPhone, I can only see 5 verses. Opening my actual Bible, I can see all of Psalm 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, and the beginning of 136. With an actual Bible, the text is an open field to explore, but a field that always remains in your sight no matter where you run in it. With a screen, the text is broken up into individual images that must replace each other and can only be viewed one at a time, like viewing that same field in a series of slides on a projector. This severely limits not only what you discover in that field, but even your desire to discover.

4. Visibility
Another benefit in using an actual Bible is its visibility. If you are reading a Bible on your phone, it is unlikely that anyone would be able to tell. But if you are reading an actual Bible, at a coffee shop or an airplane, everyone will know. There are very few books with gold lined pages.

Keeping the Bible visible does at least two things. First, it allows others to see what you are reading and possibly begin a conversation. It is hard to hide a physical Bible while reading it. Second, it sanctifies you. It sends a clear nonverbal message of your identity in Christ to those around you and that you live according to what is written in those 66 books. We are certainly less likely to audaciously live in the flesh while holding an actual Bible.

I think this should be especially true of those speaking during messages. The TGC had a really good article on pastors bringing their Bibles, physical ones, to the pulpit when they speak. But it’s even true for those listening. If a visitor walks in, looks around, and doesn’t see any Bibles, he may think the congregation is not that serious or interested in the Word. The truth may be that everyone is looking at their Bibles on their phone, but this again may be easily misinterpreted as distraction.

The point here is, in a culture that is trying to erode the authority of God’s word and its presence in society, it is a major loss if believers themselves, for the sake of convenience and having one less thing to carry, assist in removing the Bible from the public eye.

There may be other reasons to use a physical copy of the Bible, but these four come to mind quickly for me. I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on this topic!

Dag 16

DISSIPELS VAN MENSE – Albert Theron

“En Jesus het weer met hulle gespreek en gesê: Ek is die lig van die wêreld; wie My volg, sal sekerlik nie in die duisternis wandel nie, maar sal die lig van die lewe hê.” Johannes 8:12

Hoekom is dit dat so baie mense wat hulleself vandag Christene noem geestelik in die donker rond tas en so maklik verward raak en net eenvoudig saamgaan met die “winde van lering” wat hele gemeentes in ons tyd op ‘n dwaalspoor neem? In Johannes 8 sê Jesus met absolute outoriteit die wat Hom volg “sal sekerlik nie in die duisternis wandel nie”. Die frase wat ons maklik kan mis hier, omdat ons dink dit is ‘n gegewe, is “wie My volg”. Om Jesus te volg beteken dat my lojaliteit bo alles en almal by Jesus en Sy Woord is. Al sou almal rondom my wegval, moet ek kan staan onder die Here se heerskappy. Dit kan net gebeur as ek ‘n intieme, persoonlike verhouding met Hom het en as daardie verhouding my mees kosbare kleinood is. Miskien is dit omdat ons generasie derduisende dissipels van kerke en kerkleiers maak, in plaas van dissipels van Jesus, dat daar soveel kompromie en afvalligheid is. Hê respek vir goddelike en Bybelse leierskap, maar moenie dissipels van mense word nie. Dan bou jy op stof. Bou eerder op die Rots wat vir ewig sal bly staan, Jesus Christus.

Dag 17

A SECRET HISTORY WITH GOD – Austin Sparks

God, it seems, has never launched His servant into a public ministry without first a secret preparation. Let no one who longs to be effectual in service, imagine that he can escape having a unique history with God. Now that ministry of authority was born in secret preparation before it came out in public expression. The apostle James tells us quite definitely that “Elijah was a man of like passions with us, and he prayed fervently (you have no mention of that in the historic record in the book of Kings) that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth for three years and six months. And he prayed again; and the heaven gave rain.…” There is a secret history with God. He came into his public ministry with abrupt announcement. He simply stood there upon the platform of the universe, as it were, and made his declaration. But that is not all. There is a secret history with God behind that. All such ministry of divine authority has its beginning hidden from the public eye, has its roots in a secret history with God. That kind of ministry, born out from that secret history with God, needs very special government by God to preserve its safety, to safeguard it from all those forces which can destroy it, and that is why Elijah, having such a ministry, needed to be governed in every step by God. There must be no generalization of movement in his case, there must be specific movement, God dictating every step. So God preserves that authority as He produces it, that is, by a hidden life. Such a life and such a ministry must not be exposed, otherwise it will be destroyed.

Dag 18

A PURE CHRISTIANITY – F.J. Huegel

May it not be that the great world crisis, with its economic, financial and moral agonies, which has enveloped the nations in the dark clouds of pessimism, is due after all to the spiritual decrepitude of the Church? The Church is the Divine agency for the redemption of the nations. What they are going through, inasmuch as they are absolutely dependent upon Christ and His Church for the development of the moral and spiritual life-forces, without which nations as well as individuals become reeking carcasses of corruption-what they are going through, I repeat, is a sure index to the state of organized Christianity. The pending suicide of civilization which verily is causing men’s hearts to fail them for fear, can only be averted by that Divine impact which is the Spirit of Christ operating within the hearts of men, and which again and again, as history only too clearly reveals, has brought the nations out of chaos and charged them with new vigor and hope. The crying need of the day, as it has been of all times, is the expulsion of the monster of selfishness from the hearts of men and the opening up of the floodgates in the life of the nations for the free circulation of the great love of Christ. There is no other healing for the nations, there is no other hope for the individual soul.

Shall we not then give place to a pure Christianity? Christ cannot possess us, and cause the rivers of Living Water which He has promised, to flow forth from our hearts with healing, renovating, transforming, abounding force, unless we are willing to be dispossessed of our own life. Christ will not rear His edifices upon the old foundations of selfishness. It is not a case of simply denying ourselves certain things; but of a complete renunciation of ourselves. Christ took us with Himself to the Cross. The so-called Adamic life was potentially terminated at Calvary. Shall we not, drawn by that love which so moved the Saviour that He was willing to be spat upon, willing to hang between two criminals while the mob jeered, willing to be trampled under foot as though He were a despicable thing, that we might have Life-shall we not respond, with glad surrender to the unfathomable yearnings of the Crucified?

Dag 19

DISSIPELS VAN JESUS – Albert Theron

“Gaan dan heen, maak dissipels van al die nasies…” Mattheüs 28:19a

“My skape luister na my stem, en Ek ken hulle, en hulle volg My.” Johannes 10:27

Ons mandaat is eenvoudig; maak mense dissipels van Jesus deur die Woord. Ons is nie geroep om dissipels van kerkleiers of kerke te maak deur sielkundige en sosiologiese druk en manipulasie of deur kerktradisie nie. Dissipels van Jesus lees self die Bybel en leer so om Sy stem te hoor vir hulle eie lewens. Dissipels van kerke en kerkleiers lees gewoonlik nie die Bybel vir hulleself nie, of anders baie min daarvan. Dissipels van Jesus leer om te onderskei tussen die waarheid en dwaling en word nie meegesleur deur elke “wind van lering” wat verbykom nie. Dissipels van kerke en kerkleiers het nie onderskeidingsvermoë nie en gaan net saam met die stroom wanneer dwaling hulle kerk of denominasie binnedring. Dissipels van Jesus is van die begin af bereid om lering te ontvang van leraars en ander wat meer volwasse as hulle is, maar hulle vind groot vreugde daarin om dan ook self die Bybel te ondersoek m.b.t. wat hulle geleer is (Hand. 17:11). Sodoende groei hulle geestelik en word volwasse in die Here. Dissipels van kerke en kerkleiers word nooit volwasse nie. Hulle het ‘n ongesonde afhanklikheid van ‘n organisasie en die reputasie van menslike leiers wat veroorsaak dat hulle nie self die Bybel lees, bestudeer, ondersoek en leer om Jesus se stem vir hulleself te hoor nie. Dissipels van Jesus is onwrikbaar lojaal aan Jesus alleen en aan Sy onfeilbare Woord. Hulle hanteer kerkleiers met respek, maar nie met ‘n onvoorwaardelike lojaliteit wat Jesus se heerskappy in gedrang bring nie. Dissipels van kerke en kerkleiers leef met ‘n verdeelde lojaliteit (tussen Jesus en hulle kerk/leiers) en kan daarom nie opstaan teen die verkeerde en ‘n profetiese stem wees binne ‘n kerk of denominasie wat die pad byster geraak het nie. Hulle kan nie wanneer dit nodig is, onderskei tussen Jesus se stem en die invloed van hulle kerke en leiers nie.

Dissipels van Jesus is wedergebore mense wat geestelik een is met Hom (1 Kor. 1:30). Dissipels van kerke en kerkleiers is in baie gevalle nie eers wedergebore nie. Hulle het nodig om hulle te bekeer en hulle geloof in Jesus alleen te plaas, nie in ‘n kerk, kerkleiers of kerkdogma nie. Jesus vereis onverdeelde lojaliteit. Hy wil nie kompeteer met kerke of leiers vir mense se aandag nie. Leiers is veronderstel om Hom te verteenwoordig, nie te vervang nie! Hy roep jou en my om ons volle aandag aan Hom te gee, Sy stem vir onsself te hoor in die Woord, en dit kinderlik te gehoorsaam. Wees ‘n dissipel van Jesus. Dít is die enigste veilige pad en daar is geen groter vreugde nie.

Dag 20

THE BOOK GROWS UPON YOU – C.H. Spurgeon

The best compositions of men are soon exhausted; they are cisterns, and not springing fountains. You enjoy them very much at the first acquaintance, and you think you could hear them a hundred times over; but you could not: you soon find them wearisome. Very speedily a man eats too much honey: even children at length are cloyed with sweets. All human books grow stale after a time; but with the Word of God the desire to study it increases, while the more you know of it the less you think you know. The Book grows upon you: as you dive into its depths you have a fuller perception of the infinity which remains unexplored. You are still sighing to enjoy more of that which it is your bliss to taste. All this is true even of the psalm which is in itself nothing more than the eulogy of the divine testimony.

This wonderful psalm [Ps. 119], from its great length, helps us to wonder at the immensity of Scripture. From its keeping to the same subject it helps us to adore the unity of Scripture, for it is but one. Yet, from the many turns it gives to its one thought, it helps us to see the variety of Scripture. How manifold are the words and thoughts of God. In his Word, just as in creation, the wonders of his skill are displayed in many ways.

Dag 21

‘N NUWE BEGIN – Albert Theron

“Daarom, as iemand in Christus is, is hy ‘n nuwe skepsel; die ou dinge het verbygegaan, kyk, dit het alles nuut geword.” 2 Korinthiërs 5:17

Vir die persoon wat wegdraai van ‘n onafhanklike en ‘n self-gerigte lewe en sy volle vertroue in Christus plaas, is daar nie net vergifnis nie, maar ‘n nuwe lewe, ‘n totaal (totale) nuwe begin. “In Hom het ons die verlossing deur sy bloed, die vergifnis van die misdade na die rykdom van sy genade” (Efes. 1:7). Die man of vrou “in Christus” het volkome kwytskelding van die straf en skuld van sonde ontvang. Dit op sigself is verstommende goeie nuus, maar “in Christus” het ons meer as net vergifnis ontvang. Ons het ook ‘n nuwe lewe ontvang deur die wedergeboorte. Die grootste uitdaging van ons nuwe lewe in Christus is om te leer om die verlede agter te laat, insluitende ons ou manier van dink! God verwag van ons om te dink oor ons lewe, identiteit en bestemming as nuwe mense. Ons moet leer om in geloof die “veroudering” van die gevalle skepping af te skud en ons te beklee met die nuutheid en die voortdurende vernuwing wat eie is aan die nuwe skepping in Christus. Voel jy of jy ‘n nuwe begin nodig het? Dit is reeds ‘n werklikheid “in Christus”. Glo dit net.

“Daarom gee ons nie moed op nie, maar al vergaan ons uiterlike mens ook, nogtans word die innerlike mens dag ná dag vernuwe.” 2 Kor. 4:16

Dag 22

A SURPRISING ROOT – Sinclair Ferguson

What was injected into Eve’s mind and affections during the conversation with the Serpent was a deep-seated suspicion of God that was soon further twisted into rebellion against him. The root of her antinomianism (opposition to and breach of the law) was actually the legalism that was darkening her understanding, dulling her senses, and destroying her affection for her heavenly Father. Now, like a pouting child of the most generous father, she acted as though she wanted to say to God, “You never give me anything. You insist on me earning everything I am ever going to have.”

This may not look like the legalism with which we are familiar. But it lies at its root. For what the Serpent accomplished in Eve’s mind, affections, and will was a divorce between God’s revealed will and his gracious, generous character. Trust in him was transformed into suspicion of him by looking at “naked law” rather than hearing “law from the gracious lips of the heavenly Father.” God thus became to her “He-whose-favor-has-to-be-earned.” It is this—a failure to see the generosity of God and his wise and loving plans for our lives—that lies at the root of legalism and drives it. It bears repeating: in Eve’s case antinomianism (her opposition to and rejection of God’s law) was itself an expression of her legalism!

When this distortion of God’s character is complete, we inevitably mistrust him; we lose sight of his love and grace; we see him essentially as a forbidding God. Geerhardus Vos well expresses this in another context: Legalism is a peculiar kind of submission to God’s law, something that no longer feels the personal divine touch in the rule it submits to. Legalism is simply separating the law of God from the person of God. Eve sees God’s law, but she has lost sight of the true God himself. Thus, abstracting his law from his loving and generous person, she was deceived into “hearing” law only as negative deprivation and not as the wisdom of a heavenly Father. This is the distortion, the “lie about God,” that has entered the bloodstream of the human race. It is the poison that mutates into antinomianism both in the form of rebellion against God and as a false antidote to itself. Scratch anyone who is not a Christian, and this (whatever they may say) is their heart disposition. Any profession to the contrary is itself a further form of self-deception.

Dag 23

DIVINE FROM FIRST TO LAST – A.B. Simpson

The Incarnation is the sign of the supernatural character of Christianity. Two schools of thought divide the minds of men, the one is evolution, the other is the supernatural. The tendency of unbelief today is to explain everything on the principles of rationalism. The whole character of the gospel is opposed to this. It is not a development; it is not the improvement of moral and social conditions through culture. It is a revolution rather than an evolution and the apostle’s words are true of the whole process of redemption. “Therefore if any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away, behold all things have become new, and all things are of God.” Even Isaac, the type of the great Messiah, could not come in the ordinary course of nature, but the promise had to wait until Abraham and Sarah had outlived their natural strength and the birth of the seed of promise was through a physical miracle in their own bodies. Still more manifestly was the Messiah Himself born, not through natural generation, but through the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit.

But the supernatural did not cease there. Christianity is divine from first to last. The resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ were the fitting climaxes of His miraculous birth and the conversion of every follower of the Savior is a miracle just as divine. “Except a man be born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Sanctification, too, is not a mere process of self-denial and spiritual endeavor, but it is a miracle of the indwelling Christ incarnate again in every believer.

Dag 24

DIE GEVAAR VAN FAMILIARITEIT – Albert Theron

“Jy is vir hulle maar net soos iemand wat met ‘n mooi stem liedjies vol begeerte sing en die lier goed speel; hulle hoor wat jy sê, maar hulle doen niks van wat jy sê nie. Maar wanneer wat jy sê, uitkom, en uitkom sál dit, sal hulle besef dat daar ‘n profeet tussen hulle was.” Esegiël 33:32-33 (NAV)

“Hier kom Esegiël al weer. Ek wonder wat is sy boodskap vir die dag? So ‘n begeesterde jong man. En altyd so ernstig. Maar tog interessant om na sy ietwat oordrewe woorde te luister. Hy gee die dag ‘n bietjie kleur.” So kon ‘n tipiese gesprek tussen Esegiël se tydgenote oor sy bediening onder hulle verloop het.

Honderde jare later het ‘n jong man van Nasaret op ‘n dag in sy tuisdorp se plaaslike sinagoge gedeeltes uit die boek Jesaja gelees en verstommende uitsprake oor die vervulling daarvan gemaak. In Lukas 4 vers 22 lees ons dat die toehoorders “verwonderd was oor die aangename woorde uit sy mond”. Maar toe begin hulle vir mekaar te sê: “Is hy dan nie die seun van Josef nie”. Familiariteit met Jesus het hulle ore toegestop en sodoende het hulle heeltemal uitgemis op die belangrikste dag in die geskiedenis van hulle dorp. Hulle verlossing het gekom en gegaan, want hulle het nie die gevaar van familiariteit met die woord én die Woord besef nie.

In 1 Petrus 4 vers 11 kry óns die opdrag om so om te gaan met die Bybel en dit vanuit ons hart te spreek dat ons woorde sal wees “soos woorde van God”. Maar weereens loop ons gevaar om so familiêr te raak met die Bybel en met mekaar dat ons nie die heilige woorde van God ernstig opneem wanneer ons geliefdes of broers en susters in die Here dit met erns en oortuiging spreek nie. Ek en jy het die heerlike voorreg en ook die dringende verantwoordelikheid om die woorde van die Bybel in ons hart in te neem en met mekaar daaroor te praat; om op te wek, te stig, te bemoedig én te waarsku. Moenie dat familiariteit jou beroof van die impak van die woorde van die ewige God nie. Dit kan jou baie duur te staan kom aan die einde van die dag.

Dag 25

BUT WE SEE JESUS – Bill Freeman

“You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus.” Hebrews 2:8-9

There are two things to take note of in these verses: first, the fact that “we do not yet see all things put under him”; and second, “but we see Jesus.” These two things are going on simultaneously. This means that we may see many things in us that are not yet subjected to Him—things that are not under His feet, under His ruling. But even in such an unfinished state, we still see Jesus! Our heart can be positioned and focused on Christ, despite the existence of the unsubjected things. Do not be distracted by what you see in yourself. Keep your eyes upon Jesus and trust Him to subdue every unruly thing.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:16, “Nevertheless when the heart shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away” (KJV). Then he continues in verse 18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting as in a mirror the glory of the Lord . . .” These verses show us that to behold the Lord with an unveiled face, we need a turned heart, a heart positioned toward the Lord. Our heart has been turned in another direction, away from the Lord, and we need to turn it toward the Lord. Our heart may be distracted by many things, but our one and only need is to turn it toward the Lord.

Our tendency is to have our heart turned toward our problems, our defeated condition, or what we see in ourselves that is still not subdued by the Lord. But the most important thing in spending time with the Lord is to get our eyes off ourselves and onto Him. Regardless of how we feel or what we see in ourselves, we still need to keep our heart focused on the Lord.

Dag 26

12 WENKE OOR HOE OM DIE WOORD TE BIDLEES EN GEESTELIK GEVOED TE WORD

Voel jy gevoed wanneer jy die Woord lees? Word jy innerlik tevrede gestel, versterk en gevul met vreugde in die Here? Paulus het Timotheus aangemoedig in 1 Tim. 4:6. Die treffende uitdrukking in hierdie vers is “terwyl jy jouself voed”. Die belangrikste manier vir ‘n gelowige om geestelik te groei en ‘n normale Christelike lewe te leef is om gevoed te word met die Woord. Hoe maak ‘n mens jou kontak met die Bybel “voedend” en vol van geestelike voorsiening? Ons gaan twaalf wenke behandel oor hoe om geestelik deur die Woord van God gevoed te word. Met “Bidlees” bedoel ons eenvoudig om na die Woord van God in gebed te draai – om gebed met lees en studie van die Bybel te meng ten einde geestelike voeding te ontvang uit die Woord.

1. Roep na die Here en praat met Hom vanuit jou hart
Deur die naam van die Here aan te roep, oefen ons ons diepste wese – ons gees kom in kontak met die Here Self. Om Sy Naam aan te roep, bring ons by die etenstafel van ons gees – die plek waar ons almal kan voeding ontvang van die Een Wie die Brood van die Lewe is ( Joh. 6:48; 2 Tim. 4:22).
Praat eenvoudig net met Hom – “Here Jesus! O Here, Ek is lief vir U! Here, my hart is oop vir U. Ek kom na U toe in U Woord.” Omdat ons gees die orgaan is wat in kontak kom met die Here en van die Here ontvang, moet ons leer om dit te gebruik wanneer ons na die Woord toe kom. Ons moet bid met ons gees as ons wil kontak maak met die Here Wie self Gees is (Ef. 6:17-18, Joh. 4:24).

2. Lees ‘n paar Bybelverse
Twee of drie verse, partykeer selfs ‘n deel van ‘n vers, kan soms meer as genoeg wees vir ‘n geestelike maaltyd. Byvoorbeeld, sekere verse soos Joh. 3:16 kan meer as genoeg geestelike kos vir ‘n maaltyd voorsien.
Joh. 3:16 Want so lief het God die wêreld gehad, dat Hy sy eniggebore Seun gegee het, sodat elkeen wat in Hom glo, nie verlore mag gaan nie, maar die ewige lewe kan hê.

3. Met jou oë op die teks, neem ‘n kort frase en herhaal dit terug in gebedsvorm teenoor die Here.
Byvoorbeeld: “Want so lief het God die wêreld gehad… O Here, U is waarlik lief vir hierdie sondige wêreld!”

4. ‘n Hartlike “Amen!” is die normale manier om te reageer op dit wat jou hart raak in die Woord van God.
“Amen” is ons manier om saam met God se Woorde te stem. Dit beteken ferm, standvastig en betroubaar. Dit is ook ‘n naam vir Christus (Op. 3:14). Hy Self is “die Amen”, die vervulling van al die beloftes van God vir ons (2 Kor. 1:20). Dit is dus ‘n ander manier om kontak met Hom te maak in Sy Woord.

5. Sekere woorde kan beklemtoon word.
Byvoorbeeld, jy kan gelei voel om te bid, “SO lief… O Here, U het die wêreld SO lief gehad! Hoe lief is u nie vir ons nie!”

6. Jy kan gelei voel om dit persoonlik te maak.
Byvoorbeeld: “O Here, omdat U die wêreld so lief gehad het, beteken dit dat u MY liefhet! O, U liefde het selfs vir my bereik!”

7. Jy kan gelei voel om jou sonde teenoor die Here te bely.
Indien jy deur die Gees oortuig word van sonde, kan jy bely, “Here, U het my so lief gehad, maar ek bely, ek het u nie regtig lief nie. Ek is liewer vir ander dinge as vir U. Vergewe my, Here.

8. Jy kan geinspireer word om die Here te DANK vir dit wat Hy op jou hart lê.
Jy kan dalk se: “Dankie, Vader. Al het ek U nie lief gehad nie, het U my so lief gehad dat U U enigste Seun gegee het om vir my te sterf.”

9. Jy mag gelei voel om iets te verklaar teenoor die Here.
Byvoorbeeld: “sodat almal wat in die Here glo… Here, ek is ingesluit in die “almal”. Here, ek glo in U!”

10. Jy kan spontaan gelei voel om vir iemand in te tree wat die Here op jou hart lê.
Die lees van die Woord kan jou hart roer vir die nood van iemand wat jy ken. Jy kan dalk bid: “Here, my vriend Johan het nog nie tot wedergeboorte gekom nie. Werk in sy hart sodat hy ook die ewige lewe kan ontvang.”

11. Jy kan die Woord sing met jou eie wysie of een wat jy kan onthou.
Kol. 3:16: “Laat die woord van Christus ryklik in julle woon in alle wysheid. Leer en vermaan mekaar met psalms en lofsange en geestelike liedere, en sing in julle hart met dankbaarheid tot eer van die Here.

12. Jy mag dalk die Here loof volgens wat jy gesien het in die verse.
Byvoorbeeld: O Here, ek loof u vir die ewige lewe! Ek prys U naam dat U hierdie lewe gee vir elkeen wat glo. Vader, ek glo. Ek loof U daarvoor dat ek die Ewige Lewe het!”

Deur hierdie twaalf wenke te gebruik, glo ek ons kan daagliks die Here geniet as die Brood van die Lewe in die woorde van die Bybel. Wanneer ons kontak maak met Hom op hierdie manier deur so te bidlees, sal ons die beste geestelike voeding ontvang vir ‘n normale Christelike lewe.

Dag 27

DIE OPTIMISME VAN HUMANISME – Albert Theron

“As julle wat sleg is, dan weet om goeie gawes aan julle kinders te gee, hoeveel te meer sal julle Vader wat in die hemele is, goeie dinge gee aan die wat Hom bid!” Mattheüs 7:11

“Want almal het gesondig en dit ontbreek hulle aan die heerlikheid van God.” Romeine 3:23

Sekulêre humanisme het ‘n verstommende vermoë om ten spyte van die afgryslike geskiedenis van oorloë, moorde, verkragtings en mens-op-mens geweld steeds te glo dat mense in wese eintlik goed is. Die sielkunde , sosiologie, politiese ideologie en ander menslike wetenskappe hou aan om te leer dat mense wel in staat is om boos op te tree, maar dat hulle nie werklik boos ís nie. Daarteenoor leer die Bybel dat álle mense as gevolg van die sondeval in staat is om die mees afgryslike dinge te doen, juis omdat ons ‘n sondige en selfsugtige aard met geboorte ontvang het. Natuurlik is ons ook in staat om goeie dinge te doen, want almal is steeds ook geskape na die beeld van God. As ons egter nie op een of ander punt in ons lewens draai teen ons eie sondige aard en ons geloof in Jesus Christus plaas nie sal ons in absolute verlorenheid en wanhoop sterf, selfs met die ywerigste humanistiese optimisme ter wêreld. Die toenemende “wetteloosheid” van die wêreld waarin ons vandag leef, kan direk by die deur van die optimisme van humanisme gelê word. God self het wet en orde ingestel in nasies om die bose natuur van mense aan bande te lê en teë te hou. Wat is egter die punt as ‘n mens wette het sonder ‘n toepaslike straf vir die oortreding daarvan? Dan is daar geen “vrees” meer vir die gevolge van misdade nie.

“Want hy is ‘n dienaar van God, jou ten goede. Maar as jy kwaad doen, vrees dan; want hy dra die swaard nie verniet nie, want hy is ‘n dienaar van God, ‘n wreker om die een wat kwaad doen, te straf.” Romeine 13:4

Ware dissipels van Jesus het met die wedergeboorte ‘n nuwe natuur ontvang en as ons “wandel deur die Gees” het ons oorwinning oor “die vlees” (Gal. 5:16). Soms wonder ‘n mens egter of die kerk nie ook geval het vir die optimisme van humanisme nie, want baie van wat ons vandag in kerke en denominasies sien is niks meer nie as ‘n optimistiese humanisme ingekleur met Christelike terminologie. Ons moet terugkeer na God se uitspraak oor die mensdom en die enigste weg tot verlossing uit die aakligheid van universele verdorwenheid, die Here Jesus Christus.

Dag 28

KEEP THE ARK IN SIGHT – J.R. Miller

They took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people. – Joshua 3:6

The ark was the symbol of God’s own presence. God is always ready to lead us. To go without Him into life’s experiences, is to fail.

A little way back, when instructions were given for this crossing, Joshua said to the people, “You have not passed this way heretofore, and therefore you must keep in sight of the ark which will go before you.”

The same may be said of every day’s experiences. We have not passed this way heretofore. Although we have lived thousands of other days, each new day presents an unknown pathway to us, a way we have never gone over before. The only safe thing to do is always to keep the ark in sight, and to follow it.

One of the marks of the true Christian is that he follows Christ. Christ’s sheep know His voice and follow Him, and He goes before them. Children should learn in their earlier years that Christ is their Leader, and that every morning they can put their hand in His for guidance for the day.

Dag 29

A MATURE VIEW OF THE SIN ISSUE – D.A Carson

Read 1 John – doctrine, obedience, and love go together. Read Galatians and Romans – Christology, justification by faith, and the obedience of faith stand or fall together. Read 1 Corinthians – the gifts of the Spirit, the doctrine of the resurrection, transparent love, and moral probity stand or fall together. Jesus is Lord.

I do not for a moment want to convey the impression that Christians simply do not sin. Here, too, 1 John is of enormous help. Writing to Christians, John says that, on the one hand, if anyone claims he does not sin or has not sinned, he is a liar, self-deceived, guilty of calling God a liar (since God says we are all sinners – 1 John 1:6,8,10). On the other hand, John insists that Christians do not go on sinning, that they obey Christ and love the brothers (see especially 1 John 3:7-10). How can both emphases be true?

In fact, unless you hold both emphases strongly and simultaneously, you will go seriously astray. Stress the former, and you will become lackadaisical about sin; stress the latter, and you may gravitate toward some version of Christian perfectionism where you hold you have already attained perfection when all your colleagues (and especially your family!) can see you are deluded. The fact is that until Jesus’ return, we will sin. As we grow in holiness, we will become aware of inconsistencies and taints we had not even spotted before. Most of us will sometimes stumble and drift, at times rather seriously. There will be different rates of progress, different degrees of spiritual maturity; all of us will have to return to Jesus for renewed cleansing and forgiveness. But at the same time, if we are Christians, we will insist that there is never any excuse for sin. In no case do we have to sin. Though in our lives as a whole, we may ruefully recognize we will sin, in any particular instance we do not have to sin, and that particular sin is therefore without excuse. Sinning is simply not allowed in the Christian way. No provision must be permitted to encourage it; no excuse ever justifies it.

Dag 30

DIE GEMAKLIKE PAD OF DIE KRUISPAD? – Albert Theron

“Toe sê Jesus vir sy dissipels: As iemand agter My aan wil kom, moet hy homself verloën en sy kruis opneem en My volg.” Mattheüs 16:24

Daar is net een Leier (alle menslike leiers is ondergeskik aan Hom), net een Here, net een Herder in die Nuwe Testament (Joh. 10:16; Mt. 23:6-12). Hy deel nie Sy heerskappy met enige mens nie. God die Vader toets Sy gemeentes en Sy mense op hierdie punt dalk meer as in enige ander area. Hy soek by ons onverdeelde lojaliteit aan Sy Seun. Geen mens, geen tradisie, geen liefling van die siel mag saam met Jesus staan in die ereplek van onverdeelde lojaliteit in my hart nie. Die Vader verwag van my en jou om absolute gehoorsaamheid aan Jesus te gee en dit beteken soms dat ek moet kies tussen dit wat populêr is of selfs dit wat dalk ‘n eeue-oue kerktradisie is (let wel dat daar ook iets is soos goeie en Bybelse tradisies!) en dit wat Jesus van my vra. Die oomblik wat die lig van die Woord inskyn en God se wil oor iets vir my duidelik maak, is daar altyd ‘n keuse wat ek voor gestel word. Gaan ek die gemaklike pad van die skares loop of die kruispad van Jesus?

“Maar tog het selfs baie van die owerstes in Hom geglo; maar ter wille van die Fariseërs het hulle dit nie bely nie, om nie uit die sinagoge geban te word nie. Want hulle het die eer van die mense meer liefgehad as die eer van God.” Johannes 12:42-43