Oktober

Dag 1

AN INCREASING IMPATIENCE WITH THINGS INVISIBLE AND ETERNAL

A.W. Tozer

 

One mark of the low state of affairs among us is religious boredom. Whether this is a thing in itself or merely a symptom of the thing, I do not know for sure, though I suspect that it is the latter. And that it is found to some degree almost everywhere among Christians is too evident to be denied. Boredom is, of course, a state of mind resulting from trying to maintain an interest in something that holds no trace of interest for us (the boss’s jokes, say, or that lecture on the care and nurture of dahlias to which we went because we could not resist the enthusiastic urging of a friend). No one is bored by what he can in good conscience walk away from. Boredom comes when a man must try to hear with relish what for want of relish he hardly hears at all. By this definition there is certainly much boredom in religion these days. The businessman on a Sunday morning whose mind is on golf can scarcely disguise his lack of interest in the sermon he is compelled to hear. The housewife who is unacquainted with the learned theological or philosophical jargon of the speaker; the young couple who feel a tingle of love for each other but who neither love nor know the One about whom the choir is singing-these cannot escape the low-grade mental pain we call boredom while they struggle to keep their attention focused upon the service. All these are too courteous to admit to others that they are bored and possibly too timid to admit it even to themselves, but I believe that a bit of candid confession would do us all good. When Moses tarried in the mount, Israel became bored with the faith that sees the invisible and clamored for a god they could see and touch. And they displayed a great deal more enthusiasm for the golden calf than they did over the Lord God of Abraham. Later they tired of manna and complained against the monotony of their diet. On their petulant insistence they finally got flesh to eat, and that to their own undoing. Those Christians who belong to the evangelical wing of the church (which I firmly believe is the only one that even approximates New Testament Christianity) have over the last half-century shown an increasing impatience with things invisible and eternal and have demanded and got a host of things visible and temporal to satisfy their fleshly appetites. Without Biblical authority, or any other right under the sun, carnal religious leaders have introduced a host of attractions that serve no purpose except to provide entertainment for the retarded saints. It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God’s professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.

Dag 2

PRIESTERSKAP VAN ALLE GELOWIGES – REGTIG?

Albert Theron 

 In 1 Korinthiërs 11 tot 14 reguleer Paulus met die apostoliese gesag wat God vir hom gegee het die samekomste van die gemeente in Korinthe.  Al het ons nie noodwendig dieselfde probleme in ons samekomste as wat hulle gehad het nie geld die beginsels wat hier verwoord is vir die samekomste van alle gemeentes in alle tye en alle kulture.  Ek wil net een vers uit hierdie vier hoofstukke vandag onder jou aandag bring.

 Hoe staan die saak dan, broeders? Wanneer julle saamkom, dan het elkeen van julle ‘n psalm of ‘n lering of ‘n taal of ‘n openbaring of ‘n uitlegging—laat alles tot stigting geskied.” 1 Korinthiërs 14:26

Hier sien ons dat Paulus die punt wil maak dat alles wat in die gemeente se samekomste gebeur tot stigting moet wees.  Dit moet die gemeente opbou in Christus en geestelike groei bevorder.  Let op dat dit die vierde keer is wat Paulus in hierdie hoofstuk die beginsel van onderlinge “stigting” beklemtoon (sien verse 3, 5 en 12).

Voor hy egter weereens “stigting” beklemtoon, sien ons dat hy ‘n aanname maak.  Hy neem aan (beskou dit as die abolute norm) dat al die gelowiges gereed is om deel te neem in die samekoms van die heiliges…”wanneer julle saamkom, dan het elkeen van julle ‘n psalm of ‘n lering of ‘n taal of ‘n openbaring of ‘n uitlegging..”.  Is dit vandag nog die norm in ons samekomste?  Maak ons enigsins ruimte vir gelowiges om deel te neem in ons dienste en kleingroepe met woord én lied? 

Ons bely dat ons glo aan die priesterskap van alle gelowiges onder ‘n nuwe verbond (1 Pet. 2:9).  Daardie belydenis beteken absoluut niks as ons dit nie in die praktyk toepas nie.  Dan sou dit veel beter wees om liewer net te sê ons glo steeds dat ‘n spesiale, professionele priesterklas (pastore en dominees) verantwoordelik is vir al die “stigting” wat plaasvind in ons samekomste.  Ten minste is ons belydenis en praktyk dan in ooreenstemming.

Dag 3

THE PRIMARY POSITION OF PREACHING

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

People say that the preachers stand in their pulpits and preach their sermons, but that there before them are individuals with their individual problems and sufferings. So the argument runs, you ought to preach less and spend more time in doing personal work and counselling and interviewing. My reply to this argument is to suggest, once more, that the answer is to put preaching into the primary position. Why? For the reason that true preaching does deal with personal problems, so much so that true preaching saves a great deal of time for the pastor. I am speaking out of forty years of experience. What do I mean? Let me explain.

The Puritans are justly famous for their pastoral preaching. They would take up what they called ‘cases of conscience’ and deal with them in their sermons; and as they dealt with these problems they were solving the personal individual problems of those who were listening to them. That has constantly been my experience. The preaching of the Gospel from the pulpit, applied by the Holy Spirit to the individuals who are listening, has been the means of dealing with personal problems of which I as the preacher knew nothing until people came to me at the end of the service saying, ‘I want to thank you for that sermon because if you had known I was there and the exact nature of my problem, you could not have answered my various  questions more perfectly.  I have often thought of bringing them to you but you have now answered them without my doing so.’  The preaching had already dealt with the personal problems. Do not misunderstand me, I am not saying that the preacher should never do any personal work; far from it. But I do contend that preaching must always come first, and that it must not be replaced by anything else.

Dag 4

WANNEER ‘N DISSIPEL KIES OM SWAK TE WEES

Albert Theron 

Die gees van die wêreld is self-handhawing , self-vertroue en onafhanklikheid.  Daarteenoor word dissipels van Jesus geroep om te lewe in absolute afhanklikheid van ons hemelse Vader.  Al ons vertroue moet gedurig as’t ware weggeskuif word van die self en op Christus in ons geplaas word.  Sonder Jesus kan ons niks doen nie.  Die opstandingskrag wat Hom uit die dode opgewek het, is aan die werk in ons (Efes. 1:19-20). 

Ons probleem is egter nie net onkunde oor hierdie geestelike werklikheid nie, maar ook die geneigdheid in ons almal om weer en weer terug te val op self-vertroue.  Hoe meer ons leer dat swakheid vir ‘n dissipel van Jesus nie noodwendig ‘n nadeel is nie, maar ‘n geleentheid vir die krag van God om deur ons te werk, hoe meer sal ons die voetspore van die verrese Jesus in die detail van ons lewens sien.  Paulus het dit baie goed verstaan.  Kyk bietjie na hierdie kragtige stelling wat hy maak in 2 Korinthiërs 12.

”Daarom het ek behae in swakhede, in mishandelinge, in node, in vervolginge, in benoudhede, om Christus wil. Want as ek swak is, dan is ek sterk.” 2 Kor. 12:10 

Dag 5

THE CALL TO LEAVE THE WORLD

A.W. Tozer

The world is constantly lashing the church because she has no solution for the problems of society, and the religious leaders who do not know the score wince under the lash. Every once in a while some churchman in an acute attack of conscience does penance in public for Christianity’s failure to furnish bold leadership for the world in this time of crisis. “We have sinned,” cries the frustrated prophet. “The world looked to us for help and we have failed it.”

Well, I am all for repentance if it is genuine, and I think the church has failed, not by neglecting to provide leadership but by living too much like the world. That, however, is not what the muddled churchman means when he bares his soul in public. Rather, he erroneously assumes that the church of God has been left on earth to minister good hope and cheer to the world in such quantities that it can ignore God, reject Christ, glorify fallen human flesh and pursue its selfish ends in peace. * The world wants the church to add a dainty spiritual touch to its carnal schemes, and to be there to help it to its feet and put it to bed when it comes home drunk with fleshly pleasures.

In the first place the church has received no such commission from her Lord, and in the second place the world has never shown much disposition to listen to the church when she speaks in her true prophetic voice. The attitude of the world toward the true child of God is precisely the same as that of the citizens of Vanity Fair toward Christian and his companion. “Therefore they took them and beat them, and besmeared them with dirt, and put them into the cage, that they might be made a spectacle to all men.” Christian’s duty was not to “provide leadership” for Vanity Fair but to keep clean from its pollution and get out of it as fast as possible. He that has ears to hear, let him hear.

* We have been commissioned to call unbelievers out of the world, not to comfort them in it.  

Dag 6

WOULD YOU CHOOSE A PHYSICAL JESUS OVER AN INVISIBLE SPIRIT?

Francis Chan

Have you ever thought about the significance of having “another” Counselor who is “just like” Christ? Right now, imagine what it would be like to have Christ standing beside you in the flesh, functioning as your personal Counselor. Imagine the peace that would come from knowing you would always receive perfect truth and flawless direction from Him. That sounds amazing, and none of us could deny the benefit of having Jesus here physically, guiding and enabling us every step of the way.

Yet why do we assume that this would be any better than the literal presence of the Holy Spirit? Those of us who believe in Jesus would never deny the truth that we have the Spirit of the living God, the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead, living inside of us. I’m just not convinced we’ve internalized this truth and enjoyed His blessings as He intends. It seems like this is mostly head knowledge to us, and that we have not owned it. It has not really made much of a difference in our lives, to the degree that if we woke up tomorrow and discovered that it is not true the Holy Spirit lives inside of us, most likely our lives wouldn’t look much different.

Jesus Himself said to His disciples, “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7 NIV). So Jesus is basically telling His disciples, “Yes, I was with you for three and a half years, but it is better that I leave you and the Holy Spirit comes to you.”When the disciples heard that two thousand years ago, I’m sure it was hard for them to grasp. How could it be better to trade a human Jesus, a man they could talk and eat and laugh with, for a Spirit they couldn’t physically see? Thousands of years later, I think most of us would also choose a physical Jesus over an invisible Spirit. But what do we do with the fact that Jesus says it is better for His followers to have the Holy Spirit? Do we believe Him? If so, do our lives reflect that belief?

Dag 7

DIE GODDELIKE UITNODIGING

Albert Theron 

Dit is een van die kosbaarste waarhede wat ‘n mens ooit kan ontdek om te besef dat God jou gedurig uitnooi om na alles te kyk vanuit Sy perspektief.  God wil ons lewens verander deur vir ons te wys wat Hy sien en ons sodoende in te lei in ‘n lewe van oorwinning. 

Ons het almal a.g.v. die sondeval ‘n perspektief op die lewe gekry wat deur die nou lens van ons eie-ek beskou word.  So asof dit wat ons sien die enigste werklikheid is.  Ons verabsoluteer so maklik ons eie perspektief en ons doen dit outomaties en instinktief. 

Die Bybel is God se perspektief op die lewe en daarom moet ons dit benader met ‘n gedurige neerlê van ons eie perspektief.  Solank as wat ons asemhaal, gaan ons daagliks aanpassings van perspektief nodig hê.  Dit is wat die Bybel so ‘n onontbeerlike en rewolusionêre boek maak.  As jy dit reg benader, gaan jy elke slag weer verras word deur God se perspektief en as jy hierdie perspektief omhels met neerlegging van jou eie gaan jy God in aksie sien in jou binnewêreld.  Deur jou binnewêreld te verander, bring God dan ook verandering in jou hele lewenswandel.

Dag 8

DIE DRIE WAT SAAMLOOP EN SEËN BRING

Albert Theron 

Geduld, vriendelikheid, en goedheid; wat ‘n wonderlike ketting van die liefde. Geduld hou uit, sien oor, is barmhartig en groothartig, bedek ‘n menigte sondes en vergewe gou. Vriendelikheid glimlag, gee drukkies, sagte woorde en tree altyd op met ‘n gesindheid wat lafenis bring in die hardheid en koudheid van hierdie gevalle wêreld. Goedheid het ‘n brandende begeerte om ander te seën en doen graag dinge vir mense wat hulle lewens makliker maak en hulle tasbaar die sonskyn van God se genade op hulle gesigte laat voel. Wanneer hierdie drie hande gevat het en saamloop in ons verhoudings is daar net seën op seën en heerlikheid op heerlikheid in huwelikke, gesinne en gemeentes.

Hoe goed, hoe mooi is dit as broers eensgesind saam woon!” Psalm 133 (NAV)

Hierdie drie vat egter nooit hande in ons binneste as ons nog self-gerig is en vertrou op ons eie vlees nie. Prakties gesproke begin die moeilikheid by daai ongeduld. Hou jou oog op hom! As hy sy hand begin losruk dan val vriendelikheid en goedheid ook van die bus af en daar gaan die verhoudings en die seën van God. Mag ons die liefde van God in ons harte bewaar en die Here vertrou dat hierdie kosbare drie vertakkings van die liefde hand aan hand sal saamloop in ons verhoudings.

Dag 9

EEN-DIMENSIONELE GENADE

Albert Theron 

 Daar word vandag baie gepraat oor die verkondiging van sogenaamde “hyper-grace”.  Dit is ‘n boodskap wat klem lê op die genade van God en al die voorregte van verlossing sonder om terselfdertyd ook die verantwoordelikhede van verlostes te beklemtoon.  Dit is inderdaad ‘n groot probleem in ons tyd, maar miskien is dit beter om te praat van “een-dimensionele genade”. 

Genade is per definisie “hyper”. Dit is amper onmoontlik om te veel te maak van die openbaring van God se genade in Christus.  Dit is iets wat ons vir alle ewigheid gaan fassineer en vreugde verskaf.  Die taal van die Nuwe Testamentiese skrywers m.b.t. genade is asemrowend.  Daarom moet ons so versigtig wees dat ons nie opstaan teen sogenaamde “hyper-grace” en dan in die proses die Nuwe Testament se verstommende openbaring van genade misken nie. 

Die probleem met die verkondiging van een-dimensionele genade is dat dit net bly by die eerste aspek van genade, naamlik ons stand in die geregtigheid van Christus en die voorregte van kindskap wat daarmee saamgaan.  Die boodskap van genade is egter bedoel om ons deur hierdie nuwe geregtigheid in Christus in te lei in ‘n heilige lewe en ‘n konstante geestelike groei wat ons daaglikse lewens wesenlik sal verander.  Dit is dus nie net ons stand in Christus wat afhanklik is van genade nie, maar ook ons wandel.  Hier in Titus 2 maak Paulus dit baie duidelik dat dit juis genade is wat ons leer om heilig te lewe.

Want die reddende genade van God het aan alle mense verskyn en leer ons om die goddeloosheid en wêreldse begeerlikhede te verloën, ingetoë en regverdig en vroom in die teenwoordige wêreld te lewe.” Titus 2:11-12 

Die antwoord is dus nie ‘n wegbeweeg van die boodskap van genade nie, maar liewer die volle prediking van genade met die oog op ‘n heilige lewe en geestelike volwassenheid.

Dag 10

HERWIN DIE GEKAAPTE GENADE-BOODSKAP

Albert Theron 

Genade is per Bybelse definisie net beskikbaar vir die nederiges wat weet hoe afhanklik hulle van God is. 

“Maar Hy gee groter genade; daarom sê Hy: God weerstaan die hoogmoediges, maar aan die nederiges gee Hy genade.” Jakobus 4:6 

Genade is nie meer genade as ‘n mens dink jy verdien dit omdat jy intrinsieke waarde of enige kwaliteit in jouself het wat God se genade as’t ware aktiveer of Hom onder verpligting plaas om dit vir jou te gee nie.  Genade kan net die onmiskenbare dankbare respons lewer in die hart van mense wat gesien het dat hulle heeltemal verlore en onder God se oordeel is.

Verder bring die Bybelse verstaan van genade ons nie net by gebrokenheid en dan geloof nie, maar dit bly ook deurgaans die bron en impetus van ons lewe en groei as dissipels van Jesus.  Daarom is dit so krities belangrik vir ons om die genade-boodskap wat deur satan gekaap is te herwin.  Ons het nodig om die hele spektrum van die genade-boodskap te heroorweeg en te hersien.  Van die manier wat ons ongelowiges blootstel aan die evangelie van genade tot die volle werk van genade in alle aspekte van die lewe van ‘n dissipel. 

In Handelinge 20 sê Paulus vir die ouderlinge in Efese in effek dat dit slegs deur “die woord van sy genade” is wat God alle dissipels opbou en ‘n erfenis in die koninkryk gee. 

En nou, broeders, dra ek julle op aan God en aan die woord van sy genade, wat magtig is om julle op te bou en julle ‘n erfdeel te gee onder al die geheiligdes.” Handelinge 20:32 

 Ons geestelike groei en oorwinning is volgens hierdie en baie soortgelyke tekste totaal afhanklik van ‘n suiwer verstaan van die genade-boodskap van die evangelie.  Kan iets daarom meer dringend wees vir die gemeente van God as om die gekaapte genade-boodskap te herwin?

Dag 11

LET US RETURN TO HEART-WORK

John Flavel

Put the heart in frame and the life will quickly discover that it is so. It is not very difficult to discern, by the performances and converse of Christians, what frames their spirits are in. Take a Christian in a good frame, and how serious, heavenly and profitable will his conversation and religious exercises be! What a lovely companion is he during the continuance of it! It would do any one’s heart good to be with him at such a time. ” The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of judgment; the law of his God is in his heart.”

When the heart is up with God, and full of God, how dexterously will he insinuate spiritual discourse, improving every occasion and advantage to some heavenly purpose! Few words then run to waste. And what can be the reason that the discourses and duties of many Christians are become so frothy and unprofitable, their communion both with God and with one another becomes as a dry stalk, but this, their hearts are neglected? Surely this must be the reason of it, and it is an evil greatly to be bewailed.

Thus the attracting beauty that was wont to shine, from the conversation of the saints, upon the faces and consciences of the world, (which, if it did not allure and bring them in love with the ways of God, at least left a testimony in their consciences of the excellency of those men and of their ways,) is in a great measure lost, to the unspeakable detriment of religion. Time was, when Christians conducted in such a manner that the world stood gazing at them. Their life and language were of a different strain from those of others, their tongues discovered them to be Galileans wherever they came. But now, since vain speculations and fruitless controversies have so much obtained, and heart-work, practical godliness is so much neglected among professors, the case is sadly altered: their discourse is become like other men’s; if they come among you now, they may “hear every man speak in his own language.” And I have little hope to see this evil redressed, and the credit of religion repaired, till Christians do their first works, till they apply again to heart-work: when the salt of heavenly-mindedness is cast into the spring, the streams will run more clear and more sweet.

Dag 12

THE INDIVIDUALITY OF OUR LORD’S INTERCESSION

Octavius Winslow

“I have prayed for YOU”. Luke 22:32

We must not overlook the individuality of our Lord’s intercession. As if forgetting for that moment the whole Church, and regarding Peter as representing in his person each tempted believer, Jesus makes him the especial object of His prayer. How much comfort do we lose in overlooking this truth – in not more distinctly recognizing the personal interest which each believer has in the love of Christ! “My grace is sufficient for you;” “I have prayed for you,” are the gracious words with which Jesus would meet each individual case. Think not then, O believer, that you are alone, unloved, uncared for, unthought of – Jesus bears you upon His heart; and if loved, and cared for, and remembered by Him, you can afford to part with some creature stream, however loved and valued that stream may be. Keep your eye intently fixed upon your Lord’s intercession. 

We too much lose ourselves in the crowd, and merge ourselves in the mass. We forget alike our individual interest in the covenant, and our personal obligation to glorify God in our different walks of life. But it is the especial privilege of the believer to concentrate upon himself, as in focal power, every thought and affection of God, just as the eye of a well-executed portrait may be said to fasten itself exclusively upon each individual in the room. “I have prayed for you.” O cheering declaration! Christian reader, lose not sight of it. Come and lay your hand of faith upon the covenant of grace, and say, “the fulness of the covenant is mine.” Lay your hand upon the covenant of God, and say, “the God of the covenant is mine; Jesus, its Mediator, is my Savior. He obeyed, suffered, bled, and expired, all for me. ‘He has loved me, and has given Himself for me.’ Lord! do you think of me? does my case come up before Your notice? do You bear my burden upon Your arm, my sorrow upon Your heart, my name upon Your lips; and do You pray for my poor, assaulted, and trembling faith? Yes, Lord, You do. I believe it, because You have said it, and press the precious truth, so rich in consolation, to my trembling, grateful heart.” 

Dag 13

‘N ORGANIESE LIGGAAM MET VOLTYDSE LEDE

Albert Theron 

As ‘n ware dissipel van Jesus 1 Korinthiërs 12 lees sonder vooroordeel of agenda gaan die werklikheid van die gemeente as liggaam van Christus vir seker radikale ingrepe maak in enige wanpersepsies oor gemeentelewe.  Die volgende kort uittreksel van tekste is meer as genoeg om hierdie stelling te staaf.

Want ook die liggaam is nie een lid nie, maar baie.” 1 Korinthiërs 12:14 

‘n Pastoor of dominee kan nie ‘n liggaam wees nie, maar is slegs een lid van die liggaam.  Die liggaam bestaan uit baie lede en elkeen het ‘n rol om te speel. ‘n Mens se liggaam het ook nie “lede” wat net een maal per week funksioneer nie.  Alle “lede” is voltyds in die liggaam.  Daar is dus nie volgens die Bybel iets soos deeltydse lede van die liggaam van Christus of dan deeltydse lidmate van ‘n gemeente nie. Daar is ook nie professionele lede wat net funksioneer omdat hulle betaal word om te funksioneer nie.  Pastore en dominees, ongeag of hulle ‘n salaris ontvang of nie, moet soos enige ander lid van die liggaam funksioneer uit die lewe van die Gees anders is hulle buite orde in die liggaam.

Maar nou het God elkeen van die lede in die liggaam gestel soos Hy gewil het.” 1 Korinthiërs 12:18   

God bepaal ons elkeen se funksie in die liggaam en daar is nie een lid sonder ‘n funksie nie!  Al is dit ‘n pinkie.  Daardie pinkie het net so ‘n belangrike rol om te vervul as enige ander lid van die liggaam.

Maar julle is die liggaam van Christus en lede afsonderlik.” 1 Korinthiërs 12:27   

Ons almal saam vorm die liggaam van Christus.  Daar is ‘n organiese eenheid tussen ons en tog ook ‘n diversiteit in gawes, bedieninge en funksies. Organisatoriese eenheid kan nooit vergelyk word met die radikale geestelike werklikheid van ons eenheid in Christus nie.

Maar beywer julle met die oog op die beste gawes; en ek wys julle ‘n nog uitnemender weg.” 1 Korinthiërs 12:31 

Elke lid van die liggaam moet die belange van die hele liggaam op die hart dra en streef daarna om die liggaam te bedien met die beste gawes tot daardie lid se beskikking.  Dit is onmoontlik vir een of twee begaafde lede om die hele liggaam se funksies te vervul.  Dit verg ‘n liggaam van voltydse lede.

Besef jy dat jy as dissipel van Jesus deel is van ‘n geestelike en organiese liggaam, plaaslik en universeel?  Glo jy werklik dat jy ‘n funksie en gawes ontvang het wat onontbeerlik is vir die funksionering van die liggaam? Ons het dringend nodig om ons idees oor gemeenskap en gemeentelewe te vorm vanuit die Bybelse openbaring van die liggaam van Christus en nie volgens ander minderwaardige modelle of die wêreld se standaarde nie.

Dag 14

DEPENDING FULLY ON GOD IN EVERYTHING

K.P. Yohannan

We will never come to a place at which we will no longer need to look to God, depending fully on Him to provide strength, life and power. No matter what comes or goes, this spiritual truth remains central to the work of God in us and through us.

Twenty years after experiencing God’s faithfulness [2 Chronicles 14], King Asa is faced with another battle. Baasha, the king of Israel, begins to attack Judah by walling in the city, letting no person or supplies in or out. King Asa panics and quickly sends word to the King of Aram, asking him to break treaty by attacking Israel, forcing King Baasha to abandon his attack on Judah to defend his own country. The king of Aram does so, King Baasha flees back home to fight off his new enemy and Judah is kept safe (see 2 Chronicles 16:1-6). We can just sense King Asa’s sigh of relief as his nation is saved from Israel’s attack. On the surface, his plan seemed to work; not only was he able to get rid of his enemy, but even gained a new ally in the process. But of this victory the Lord said, “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war” (2 Chronicles 16:7-9, niv).

From this Scripture portion, we see that God is not so much concerned with the end result as He is with how something is accomplished. If God were only concerned with the end result, He would have applauded King Asa for being so clever as to call on some distant king and devise such a cunning plan. But God clearly called King Asa’s plan foolishness because all of it depended on what man could do. In essence, for the end to honor God, the means must honor God. If we are seeking to establish a work that will remain for all eternity, if our lives and what we do are to last the test of time, then the motive and the means must be centered and dependent upon the Lord. What matters most is that God is the leading factor rather than our own strength and ability. This is because anything that is built on the ability, skill and expertise of men will never bear lasting fruit. We, like King Asa, can be deceived by quick results. True, everything may look wonderful in outward appearance—the elegance of buildings, the great number of people, the repertoire and esteem—but God looks past all these things into the heart. He knows whether or not a heart is fully committed to Him, leaning and depending upon Him above all else.

Dag 15

LIEFDE IS DIE EINTLIKE LEERSKOOL VAN DIE LEWE

Albert Theron 

Daar is so baie dinge om te leer op aarde en met die internet en Google het ons maklike toegang tot ‘n wêreld van inligting.   Een van die dinge wat ons egter instinktief oor voel dat dit ‘n abstrakte onderwerp is wat nie werklik bestudeer kan word nie, is die liefde. Wat moet ons nou eintlik leer daarvan?  Dit is mos maklik om te verstaan, indien nie so maklik om uit te leef nie!

Die Nuwe Testament openbaar egter vir ons dat die liefde nog altyd die groot onderwerp was wat God wil hê ons moet proefondervindelik bestudeer en as’t ware eksperts in word.  Ons moet nooit net in algemene terme en in die breë dink oor liefde nie.  Daarom word daar in die Nuwe Testament so ontsaglik baie detail vir ons gegee van hoe die liefde prakties lyk.  Ons word nie net deur God geleer dát ons moet liefhe nie, maar ook hoe ons moet liefhê. Hier is net enkele voorbeelde:

“Beklee julle dan, as uitverkorenes van God, heiliges en geliefdes, met innerlike ontferming, goedertierenheid, nederigheid, sagmoedigheid, lankmoedigheid.  Verdra mekaar en vergewe mekaar as die een teen die ander ‘n klag het; soos Christus julle vergeef het, so moet julle ook doen.” Kolossense 3:12-13

“Die liefde is lankmoedig en vriendelik; die liefde is nie jaloers nie; die liefde praat nie groot nie, is nie opgeblase nie,  handel nie onwelvoeglik nie, soek nie sy eie belang nie, word nie verbitterd nie, reken die kwaad nie toe nie.” 1 Kor. 13:4-5 

‘n Mens kan net werklik leer en ontvang as jy eers erken het dat jy níe weet nie.  Dit is eers wanneer ons nederig, gewillig en geduldig aanmeld by die Heilige Gees se leerskool van Goddelike liefde en verstaan dat dit die hoofvak is in God se universiteit van die lewe dat ons ware vordering begin maak op die pad van dissipelskap.  Wat is dissipelskap in wese anders as om te leer om lief te hê soos Jesus ons liefgehad het?  Ons studies oor die liefde begin en eindig by die kruis.

 ” ‘n Nuwe gebod gee Ek julle, dat julle mekaar moet liefhê; soos Ek julle liefgehad het, moet julle ook mekaar liefhê.” Johannes 13:34 

Kom ons bly in ons harte kinders wat nog leer. Laat ons nooit dink ons is kenners van die liefde nie.  God self is ons Leermeester in hierdie eintlike leerskool van die lewe en terwyl jy nog asem in jou longe het, is die skool nog nie klaar nie.

Dag 16

BY THIS SHALL ALL MEN KNOW YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES

C.H. Spurgeon

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35 

“By this shall all men know that you are My disciples;” that is to say, the outside world will know it. Let me tell you a remarkable instance of this. In the early days of Christianity, a terrible plague broke out in Alexandria. It was very dangerous to be near a person smitten with the disease, and to touch such a person meant almost certain death. When the plague broke out, the heathen in Alexandria thrust out of their houses every person who had the slightest sign of the disease upon him, and left them to starve, and would not even bury their bodies for fear of contagion. But the Christians visited one another when they were sick with the pest, and no Christian was left to die unattended. They were zealous to go and visit each other, although they knew that they would, in all probability, catch the contagion; and among the carcasses outside the walls of Alexandria there was not found one single corpse of a Christian; for, with sedulous care, they committed the bodies of their beloved to the earth in the sure and certain hope of resurrection unto eternal life; and the heathen said to one another, “What is the meaning of this?” And the answer went throughout all Egypt, “This is the religion of Jesus of Nazareth, for these Christians love one another.”

No sermon can be so eloquent to the world as a true manifestation of the love of Christ; and when God restores to His Church genuine, hearty, and sincere Christian love—I trust we have not wholly lost it—but when He gives us much more of it, then shall the world be more impressed by the gospel than it is at present.

Dag 17

NOBLE REVENGE

J.H. Jowett

“I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy.” Psalm 7:4

THAT is the noblest revenge, and in those moments David had intimate knowledge of the spirit of his Lord. “If thine enemy hunger, feed him!”

 Evil for good is devil-like. To receive a favour and to return a blow! To obtain the gift of language, and then to use one’s speech to curse the giver! To abuse a sacred sword is unholy warfare! All this is devil-like.

Evil for evil is beast-like. Yes, the dog bites back when it is bitten. The dog returns snarl for snarl, venom for venom. And if, when I have been injured, I “pay a man back in his own coin,” if I “give him as good as he gave,” I am living on the plane of the beast.

Good for good is man-like. When I requite a man’s kindness by kindness! When I send presents to one who loads me with benefits! This is a true and manly thing to do, and lifts us far above the beast.

Good for evil is God-like. Yes, that lifts me into “the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Then I have “the mind of Christ.” Then do I unto others as my Saviour has done unto me.

Dag 18

FIXING OUR GAZE UPON CHRIST

Austin Sparks

We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory. 2 Corinthians 3:18

The word “beholding” is a strong word; it is not just taking a look, it is“fixing our gaze.” That is what the New Testament means by beholding, behold. We all, fixing our gaze upon Christ, as He mirrors in His own Person the glory of God, the satisfaction of God, the mind of God in perfection. The point is that you and I must contemplate the Lord Jesus in spirit, and be much occupied with Him. We must have our Holy of Holies where we retire with Him. We must have a secret place where we spend time with Him. And not only in certain special seasons, but we must seek, as we move about, ever to keep Him before us. Looking at the Lord Jesus, contemplating Him, we shall be changed into the same image. The Holy Spirit will operate upon our occupation.

You become like that which obsesses you, which occupies you. Is that not true? You see what people are occupied with, and you can see their character changing by their obsessions. They are becoming like the thing which is obsessing them; they are changing; they are becoming different. Something has got a grip on them; they can never think about anything else, talk about anything else; and it is changing their character. Now Paul said, “For me to live is Christ – being occupied with Him.” It is the wrong word to use, but nevertheless it would be a good thing if He became our “obsession,” our continuous occupation. As we steadfastly fix our gaze upon Him, the Spirit changes us into the same image.

Dag 19

‘N GENERASIE WAT REIN IS IN SY EIE OË

 Albert Theron 

‘n Mens het die skrikwekkende vermoë om homself te flous en die rede daarvoor is dat die hart “bedrieglik is bo alle dinge” (Jer. 17:9).  Nie net kan jy jouself flous om te glo dat jy nie verlossing of ‘n verlosser nodig het nie (die ongodsdienstige ongelowige), maar jy kan jouself ook bedrieg met ál jou godsdiens terwyl jy in werklikheid nog nooit aan die voet van die kruis gekniel het nie.

Daar is ‘n geslag wat sy vader vervloek en sy moeder nie seën nie, ‘n geslag wat rein is in sy eie oë en tog van sy vuiligheid nie gewas is nie. ‘n Geslag—hoe trots is sy oë, en hoe hoog is sy ooglede opgetrek!”  Spreuke 30:11-13

Hoeveel mense is daar in ons generasie wat byvoorbeeld op ‘n vorm of werksaansoek sal invul dat hulle “Christen” is, maar hierdie “Christenskap” van hulle is alles op hulle eie terme.  Van die Heerskap van Jesus Christus weet hulle niks, of wil hulle liefs nie weet nie. 

Dit is so ‘n generasie wat “rein is in sy eie oë en tog van sy vuiligheid nie gewas is nie”.  So ‘n generasie wat al die bewegings en geluide maak van “Christene”, maar wat verstommend genoeg regkry om die eise van navolgenskap van Christus net eenvoudig te ignoreer of weg te redeneer. So ‘n generasie wat niks wil weet van enige vorm van gesag nie en wat ouers en onderwysers nie eer of respekteer nie.  So ‘n generasie wat steeds onder God se oordeel is en grootliks dwaal m.b.t. daardie feit.  Dit is ‘n gevaarlike generasie, want die self-bedrog raak ‘n kultuur en binne die kultuur ‘n geestelike epidemie wat aansteeklik is.  Net God kan so ‘n generasie se oë open.  Ons het nodig om baie ernstig te bid vir geopende oë.

Dag 20

ETERNAL LIFE ENJOYED NOW AND FULFILLED IN THE FUTURE

Tom Schreiner

The life that belongs to believers in this present evil age guarantees that death will never triumph, and so we can say that there is an indissoluble connection between the life that believers now possess and the future realization of life forever. Still, even though believers now enjoy eternal life and the future has been secured, the promises of the future have not yet been fully realized and obtained. Believers await the future with confidence because they have eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Several texts demonstrate that John did not surrender future eschatology and focus solely on realized eschatology. John, as we have seen, emphasizes that believers have already passed from death into life, and so they already possess the life of the new age (John 5:24–25). And yet a mere few verses later, the future physical resurrection of both believers and unbelievers is announced (John 5:28–29). Those who have practiced evil will be raised for judgment, whereas those who have done what is good will experience the resurrection of life. Even though John highlights the theme that believers already possess eternal life, he does not become one-dimensional and deny a future fulfillment. The present experience of eternal life is not the consummation of God’s purposes; instead, eternal life in the present age is, so to speak, the guarantee that believers will experience physical resurrection in the same way as Jesus the Christ. In the same way, John declares that unbelievers already stand under judgment in the present age (John 3:18) and God’s wrath abides on them now (John 3:36), and yet there will also be final judgment on the day when unbelievers are resurrected.

Dag 21

THE WILL OF GOD IN CHRISTIAN GIVING

James Fowler

Paul refers the Corinthians to the giving of the Macedonian Christians, and explains, “they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.” (2 Cor. 8:5). Christians have long sought to understand the “will of God” in their Christian giving.  In the most general sense, the will of God is always to express His own character within His creation, unto His glory. The will of God for the Christian is always to allow the life of Jesus Christ to be lived out in giving to, loving, and serving others.  As Christians we are to discern the specifics of God’s intent for the giving of that which He has entrusted to us. We must consult with God in the communion of prayer to determine how God desires to give through us: when He want to give, to whom He wants to give, how much He wants to give. We do not give just because the offering-plate is coming around and we have been conditioned by Pavlovian responses, or out of fear of what someone will think if we do not drop something into the plate, a response of false-guilt. 

Too often, because Christians know that it is the will of God to give and fail to understand the expression of God’s character of givingness, they give to “the wheel that squeaks the loudest,” to the person or cause that presents their “need” most persuasively.     We need to understand that Christian giving is not just responding to a “need.” There are a thousand and one “needs” that bombard our consciousness every day through the various mediums of news-awareness. There is no way we can respond to all the “needs” of the world. Major W. Ian Thomas writes: “The Lord Jesus Christ refused to be committed to the parochial needs of His own day and generation; He was not committed to the political situation in Palestine, or to the emancipation of the Jewish nation from the Roman Yoke! He was not committed to the pressing social problems of His time, nor to one faction as opposed to another… Christ was not even committed to the needs of a perishing world; He was neither unmindful nor unmoved by all these other issues, but as Perfect Man He was committed to His Father, and for that only to which His Father was committed in Him — exclusively!”

Thousands of earnest young Christians are challenged with the outworn slogan, ‘The need is the call!’ — swept to their feet on a wave of sentiment… You are not committed to a church, or to a denomination, or to an organization; as a missionary you are not committed to a Mission Board nor even to a ‘field,’ and least of all are you committed to a ‘need’! You are committed to Christ, and for all that to which Christ is committed in You, and again I say exclusively!  Christians are to be submitted to whatever God is committed to in them. Specifically we are to be submitted to discerning His will for us in our Christian giving.  It should also be noted that it is not wrong to make known a “need.” Paul was making known the “need” of the poor Christians in Jerusalem to the Corinthians. As Christians we do not merely respond to the “need,” but we respond to what God wants to be and do in us, the will of God in our Christian giving.

Dag 22

TOERUSTING MET KRAG UIT DIE HOOGTE

Andrew Murray

In die stilte van die nag het Hy na ‘n eensame plek in die woestyn gegaan. Toe sy dissipels Hom daar gekry het, was Hy nog steeds besig om te bid. Waarom het die Verlosser hierdie ure van gebed nodig gehad? Het Hy nie die seën geken om te midde van sy besige lewe sy siel tot God op te hef nie? Het die Vader nie in Hom gewoon nie, en het Hy nie in die diepte van sy hart onafgebroke gemeenskap met Hom gehad nie?

Ja, daardie verborge lewe was inderdaad sy deel. Daardie lewe, onderworpe aan die wet van ‘n menslike bestaan, het egter die behoefte aan voortdurende verkwikking en vernuwing uit die fontein gehad. Dit was ‘n lewe van afhanklikheid. Omdat hierdie lewe sterk en waar is, kan dit nie die verlies aan direkte en konstante gemeenskap met die Vader, met wie en in wie dit sy bestaan en seën te danke het, verbeur nie. Wat ‘n les is dit nie vir elke Christen nie! Verlengde kontak met mense is uitputtend en nadelig vir ons geestelike lewe. Dit bring ons onder die invloed van die sigbare en tydelike dinge. Niks kan vir die verlies aan verborge en direkte gemeenskap met God vergoed nie. Selfs werk in die diens van God is vermoeiend. Ons kan nie aanhou om ander te seën sonder om ons toerusting met krag uit die hoogte te vernuwe nie. Ek moet elke dag in die verborgene gemeenskap met die Vader hê. Soos Christus, is my lewe verborge in die hemel, in God. Dit het daagliks tyd nodig om uit die hemel gevoed te word. Die krag om ‘n hemelse lewe op aarde te lei, kan net uit die hemel kom.

Dag 23

WHO WILL BE THE KINGS OF THE NEW EARTH?

Randy Alcorn

God will choose who reigns as kings, and I’m confident some great surprises are in store for us. Christ gives us clues in Scripture as to the type of person he will choose: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. . . . Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. . . . Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3, 5, 10). Also, “ ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:5-6). Look around you to see the meek and the humble. They may include street sweepers, locksmiths’ assistants, bus drivers, and stay-at-home moms who spend their days changing diapers, doing laundry, packing lunches, drying tears, and driving carpools.

I once gave one of my books to a delightful hotel bellman in Atlanta. I discovered he was a committed Christian. He said he’d been praying for our writers group, which was holding a conference at the hotel. Later, I gave him a little gift. He seemed stunned, overwhelmed. With tears in his eyes he said, “You didn’t need to do that. I’m only a bellman.” The moment he said those words, it struck me that this brother had spent his life serving other people. It will likely be someone like him that I’ll have the privilege of serving under in God’s Kingdom. He was “only a bellman” who spoke with warmth and love, who served, who quietly prayed in the background for the success of a Christian writers conference in his hotel, his place of service. I saw Jesus in that bellman, and there was no “only” about him. Who will be the kings of the New Earth? I think that bellman will be one of them. And I will consider it an honor to carry his bags.

Dag 24

WAAR BEHOORT JY EN VOEL JY VEILIG?

Albert Theron 

Ons soek so maklik na sekuriteit (insluitende geestelike sekuriteit) in die bekende, in tradisie, in instansies, in “belangrike” en  geleerde mense en leiers en in korporatiewe entiteite wat vir ons lyk of dit lankal staan en nog lank gaan staan.  Daar voel ons sommer gou veilig en maak ons onsself vinnig wys dat ons hier behoort en ‘n tuiste kan vind vir ons bevreesde harte in ‘n onseker en gevalle wêreld.  Is dit egter die prentjie wat die Nuwe Testament skets m.b.t. sekuriteit? Kom ons kyk na ‘n paar tekste:

Niemand het ooit God gesien nie; die eniggebore Seun wat in die boesem van die Vader is, dié het Hom verklaar.” Johannes 1:18 

“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 

“Soos dit vir my reg is om dit van julle almal te dink, omdat ek julle in my hart dra, aangesien julle almal in my boeie sowel as in die verdediging en bevestiging van die evangelie my deelgenote in die genade is.” Filippense 1:7 

Uit hierdie tekste blyk dit baie duidelik dat God vir ons ‘n heel ander idee van sekuriteit wil deurgee.  Jesus se sekuriteit was tydens Sy aardse lewe in “die boesem van die Vader”.  In Sy gebed in Johannes 17 vra Hy die Vader dat ons saam met Hom in daardie onbeweeglike en onveranderlike fort van veiligheid sal wees.  En dan maak Paulus dit duidelik in Filippense 1 dat ons ook in mekaar se harte veiligheid en sekuriteit moet kry. 

Die veiligste plek in die heelal is in “die boesem van die Vader” waar ons reeds onsself bevind (sien Kolossense 3:3) en hier op aarde is ons veronderstel om ook ‘n tuiste te vind in mekaar se harte.  Dit is net wanneer ons in die liefde van God vir mekaar begin ruimte maak in ons harte m.b.t. gemeentelewe en familielewe dat ons werklike sekuriteit op aarde kan vind op die horisontale vlak.  Géén instansie, denominasie, tradisie, leier, geestelike groepering of organisasie van watter aard ookal kan ooit dit vir ons bied nie. 

Wanneer al die redes waarom ons by ‘n sekere groep tuis gevoel het platval, bly daar net een ding oor en dit is of ons werklik mekaar liefhet en ruimte in ons harte gemaak het vir mekaar.  Baie mense het al deur die lang geskiedenis van die kerk tot hulle skok besef wanneer hulle vir een of ander rede nie meer aan ‘n geestelike organisasie lojaal is nie, dat daar nooit ruimte in harte was vir hulle nie.  Die “kerk-verband” was bloot uiterlik, formeel en kunsmatig.  God het ‘n baie beter plan met Sy gemeente.  Gaan dink bietjie weer oor die tekste hier bo.

Dag 25

THE HEART IS THE CENTRE OF LIVING

Oswald Chambers

God never judges men by their brains; He Judges them by their hearts. The use of the Bible term “heart” is best understood by simply saying “me.” The heart is not merely the seat of the affections, it is the centre of everything. The heart is the central altar, and the body is the outer court. What we offer on the altar of the heart will tell ultimately through the extremities of the body. The heart, then, is the centre of living, the true centre of all vital activities of body and soul and spirit. When the Apostle Paul says “with the heart man believes” he means by the word “heart” more than we are apt to mean. The Bible always means more than we are apt to mean. The term “heart” in the Bible means the centre of everything.

The human soul has the spirit in and above it and the body by and about it; but the vital centre of all is the heart. When we speak of the heart, figuratively or actually, we mean the midmost part of a person. The Bible teaching differs from that of science in that it makes the heart the soul centre and the spirit centre as well. In dealing with the Bible the danger is to come to it with a preconceived idea, to exploit it, and take out of it only what agrees with that idea. If we try, as has been tried by psychologists, to take out of the Bible something that agrees with modern science, we shall have to omit many things the Bible says about the heart. According to the Bible the heart is the centre: the centre of physical life, the centre of memory, the centre of damnation and of salvation, the centre of God’s working and the centre of the devil’s working, the centre from which everything works which moulds the human mechanism.

Dag 26

DELIGHT IN GOD IS OUR DUTY

John Piper

One of the most important discoveries I have ever made is this truth: God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in him. This is the motor that drives my ministry as a pastor. It affects everything I do. Whether I eat or drink or preach or counsel or whatever I do, my aim is to glorify God by the way I do it (1 Corinthians 10:31). This means my aim is to do it in a way that shows how the glory of God has satisfied the longings of my heart. If my preaching betrayed that God had not even met my own needs, it would be fraudulent. If Christ were not the satisfaction of my heart, would people really believe me when I herald his words, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst” ( John 6:35, RSV)?

The glory of bread is that it satisfies. The glory of living water is that it quenches thirst. We do not honor the refreshing, self-replenishing, pure water of a mountain spring by lugging buckets of water up the path to make our contributions from the ponds below. We honor the spring by feeling thirsty, getting down on our knees, and drinking with joy. Then we say, “Ahhhh!” (that’s worship!), and we go on our journey in the strength of the fountain (that’s service). The mountain spring is glorified most when we are most satisfied with its water.

Tragically, most of us have been taught that duty, not delight, is the way to glorify God. We have not been taught that delight in God is our duty! Being satisfied in God is not an optional add-on to the real stuff of Christian duty. It is the most basic demand of all. “Delight yourself in the LORD” (Psalm 37:4) is not a suggestion, but a command. So are: “Serve the LORD with gladness” (Psalm 100:2), and, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4). The burden of my ministry is to make plain to others that the “steadfast love [of the Lord] is better than life” (Psalm 63:3, RSV). If it is better than life, it is better than all that life in this world offers. This means that what satisfies are not the gifts of God, but the glory of God—the glory of his love, the glory of his power, the glory of his wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. This is why the psalmist Asaph cried out, “Whom have I in heaven but you? Besides you I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever” (Psalm 73:25–26). Nothing on the earth—none of God’s good gifts of creation— could satisfy Asaph’s heart. Only God could. This is what David meant when he said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good besides you” (Psalm 16:2).

Dag 27

WATTER DAG WAG JÝ VOOR?

Albert Theron 

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

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

Dag 28

JESUS EERSTE IN ALLES

Albert Theron 

Die Bybel leer nie dat Jesus my eerste prioriteit moet wees, en dan volg my gesin, die gemeente, my beroep, ens. nie.  So asof ek eerste aandag aan Jesus gee en dan het ek die vryheid om in ander domeins van my lewe my eie ding te doen.  Eerder dat Jesus eerste in álles in my lewe moet wees.  Dit beteken dus Jesus is eerste en ten volle betrokke in my gesin, my gemeentelewe, my beroepslewe, ens.  Ek het nie ‘n aparte godsdienstige lewe waar Jesus in beheer is en dan ander lewens waar ek eintlik onafhanklik leef en maar net vir Hom vra om dit asseblief te seën nie.  Ek het net een lewe, en dit is Christus (Kol. 3:4). 

Dag 29

THE SPHERE OF THE ABIDING AND CONTINUOUS UNVEILING OF GOD

Austin Sparks

“The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham” (Acts 7:2). That is heavenly vision. In the New Testament we should call it Divine revelation, God revealing Himself. What is the Church? It is the place in which God is revealed, the place of heavenly vision. The Church is the embodiment of the revelation of God in Christ. The Church has to be the sphere in which men and women come to a knowledge of God, an ever-growing knowledge of God. The Church is not just something to carry out a set order of things, maintain a form. The Church is the place in which there abides the living unveiling of God, and just as soon as something claiming to be the Church ceases to be the place in which there is any living unveiling of God it ceases to be what God calls “the Church,” and when it fails in these Divine features God withdraws. It may go on, but God withdraws. When Jerusalem ceased to be the place of the revelation of God to the nations then God withdrew.

The purpose of the Church in God’s mind is that it should be the sphere of the abiding and continuous unveiling of God, the God of glory appearing. (See the first three chapters of Revelation.) It is a grand thing to belong to that Church, and to know that Church. Do we know what it is to be where God is showing Himself, making Himself known, where constantly, again and again, the God of glory is appearing? Are you able to say that from week to week in the local assembly to which you belong the God of glory is appearing? So often our hearts have warmed in the realisation that the Lord is showing Himself to us. That feature which was foundational to the life of Abraham is also foundational to Jerusalem, both earthly and heavenly. It is a governing law of the Church.

Dag 30

REST IS FOUND IN TRUSTING THE ONE WHO UNDERSTANDS IT ALL

Paul David Tripp

Your rest is not to be found in figuring your life out, but in trusting the One who has it all figured out for your good and his glory.

We were on our way to the local mall with our two young boys when the three-year-old asked out of the blue, “Daddy, if God made everything, did he make light poles?” I had the thought that all parents have, again and again, as they deal with the endless “why” questions that little ones ask: “How do we get from where we are to where we need to be in this conversation?” Or, “Why does he have to ask me ‘why’ questions all the time?”

Human beings have a deep desire to know and understand. We spend much of our daily mental time trying to figure things out. We don’t live by instinct. We don’t leave our lives alone. We are all theologians. We are all philosophers. We are all archaeologists who dig into the mounds of our lives to try to make sense of the civilization that is our story. This God-designed mental motivation is accompanied by wonderful and mysterious analytical gifts. This drive and those gifts set us apart from the rest of creation. They are holy, created by God to draw us to him, so that we can know him and understand ourselves in light of his existence and will.

But sin makes this drive and these gifts dangerous. They tempt us to think that we can find our hearts by figuring it all out. It’s the “If only I could understand this or that, then I’d be secure” way of living. But it never works. In your most brilliant moment, you will still be left with mystery in your life; sometimes even painful mystery. We all face things that appear to make little sense and don’t seem to serve any good purpose. So rest is never found in the quest to understand it all. No, rest is found in trusting the One who understands it all and rules it all for his glory and our good.

Few passages capture that rest better than Psalm 62:5–7: “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.”

In moments when you wish you knew what you can’t know, there is rest to be found. There is One who knows. He loves you and rules what you don’t understand with your good in mind.

For further study and encouragement: 2 Corinthians 5:1–10

Dag 31

JESUS SELF IS DIE WAARHEID!

Albert Theron 

Die gemeente van die Here word in 1 Timotheüs 3 vers 15 “‘n pilaar en grondslag van die waarheid” genoem. In ‘n wêreld van leuens, verwarring, verdraaide boodskappe, en ‘n massiewe verskeidenheid van uiteenlopende leringe is dit van kardinale belang dat ons styf vashou aan die suiwer waarheid van die evangelie.

Die belangrikste van alles is dat ons moet verstaan dat Jesus self ‘die Waarheid’ is (Joh. 14:6). Daarom moet ons alles oor Sy Persoon, Sy verlossingswerk, en Sy koninkryk verslind en koester.  Maar ons moet ook seker maak dat Hy alleen die middelpunt bly van ons gemeentelewe, en al ons leringe, besluite en aktiwiteite. Kinderlike gehoorsaamheid aan Hom bo alles, selfs al is dit onpopulêr, is die sentrale vereiste van ons Vader. Sodoende sal ons nie net in ons leer nie, maar ook in ons lewe, gesindhede en verhoudings die kosbare vrug van Sy Heerskappy sien.