Tuesday, 31 May 2011

All ye that pass by

ALL ye that pass by,
To Jesus draw nigh:
To you is it nothing that Jesus should die?
Your ransom and peace,
Your surety he is:
Come, see if there ever was sorrow like his.

He dies to atone
For sins not his own;
Your debt he hath paid, and your work he hath done.
Ye all may receive
The peace he did leave,
Who made intercession, "My Father, forgive!"

His death is my plea;
My Advocate see,
And hear the blood speak that hath answered for me.
My ransom he was
When he bled on the cross;
And by losing his life he hath carried my cause.

By John Wesley - http://ingeb.org/spiritua/allyetha.html

Miscellanies 6 - He will never leave me in my sins

I am a man lost without God. When I feel the burden of my sins and contemplate on my rebellions, I feel lost and a great anger at myself for turning away from my Lord. I do not belong in this mire or pit but I belong in the spring of the Almighty. I belong in heaven and the devil longs to see me dwell with him but I will not have it so - I will not linger in sin and when I fall rejoice not over me my enemies for Jesus is coming for my deliverance. He comes for me caring nothing for the filth which may stain his garments but he reaches into the depths to pull me out. Because I am his He will never leave me and will always come for my rescue until I reach full sanctification where I can sin no more.


Monday, 30 May 2011

Is God a Monster?

Nearly fifty years ago, the British agnostic Bertrand Russell penned these words: “There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ’s moral character, and that is that He believed in hell. I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment” (Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian).
Philosopher John Hick echoed those sentiments when he called hell “a perversion of the Christian gospel.” He believed the doctrine of hell attributed to God “an unappeasable vindictiveness and insatiable cruelty.”
We expect statements like that from fallen, unregenerate minds. But what do we do when we hear similar things from prominent, professing evangelical writers? “How can Christians possibly project a deity of such cruelty and vindictiveness whose ways include inflicting everlasting torture upon his creatures, however sinful they may have been? Surely a God who would do such a thing is more nearly like Satan than like God...” (Clark H. Pinnock, “The Destruction of the Finally Impenitent”).
It’s become popular today for professing evangelicals to join the ranks of Pinnock, atheists, and agnostics in protesting the doctrine of hell. They are preaching sermons, writing articles, and publishing books, and some are wandering into the comment threads of Christian blogs. Here’s a small sampling from Grace To You’s blog in our recent series on hell:
  • “What kind of God torments people for all eternity?”
  • “…Satan loves the false doctrine of eternal torment”
  • “[eternal torment is] cruel and unusual punishment”
  • “[eternal torment] makes God out to be a cruel tyrant,” “absolutely cruel and malevolent”
  • “How can you in your right minds even consider this to be justice?”
If the doctrine of hell as eternal, conscious torment hadn’t been the position of the Christian church for two millennia, it might be easy to think we’re seriously out of step—a bunch of mindless minions who worship a monster-god! But when you examine the biblical evidence, without an agenda, you’ll find we sound a lot like Jesus and the apostles.
So, how could someone who claims to be faithful to Scripture ridicule the idea of eternal punishment? What is at the heart of their rejection of a never-ending hell? It’s simple, really—they minimize the seriousness of human sin and guilt, and they distort the perfection of divine justice. That’s the crime of Protestant Liberalism and every false religion.

Minimizing the Sinfulness of Sin
To one degree or another, we’re all guilty of minimizing sin. I remember the first time I read the account of Lot’s wife. God turned her into a pillar of salt as she was leaving Sodom. Her crime? A backward glance (Gen. 19:26). Reading that story as an unbeliever provoked me to ask the question: “Was that really an offense worthy of death—turning your neck to take one final look at your home?” As I explored more of the Bible, other accounts of God’s judgment appeared equally capricious and severe to me.
  • Nadab and Abihu deviated from the priestly procedures. God consumed them with fire (Lev. 10:1-2).
  • One man gathered wood on the Sabbath. God commanded Moses to stone him (Num. 15:35).
  • Achan took a few forbidden items from the spoils of Jericho. God commanded Joshua to stone and then burn Achan along with his entire family (Josh. 7:24-25).
  • Uzzah kept the ark of God from falling into the mud by reaching out his hand and taking hold of it. God immediately struck him dead (2 Sam. 6:6-7).
  • Ananias and Sapphira lied to the apostles. God killed them both in front of the entire church. (Acts 5:1-10).
We often struggle to understand how something seemingly so trivial could enact such a severe judgment. Our flesh wants to cry out in protest, “That’s not fair!” But responses like that reveal our failure to grasp the depth of sin. We see only actions—a devoted father gathering firewood to keep his family warm; a zealous Israelite anxious to keep the Ark of God off the ground—but God sees things differently, more clearly, than we do. He sees our sin as insurrection, rebellion against His holiness (Ex. 31:14Num. 4:15). What’s more, He sees the hidden motives and intentions at the core of our actions (Mt. 5:28Heb. 4:12).
One of the most basic tenets of justice is that the punishment must fit the crime. So, if the ultimate punishment for those who die without Christ is hell, then what is the crime? What do men do to merit the eternal sentence of hell? Put plainly, they sin.
You may think that’s a small thing, but the way John MacArthur explains sin, it puts it in its proper perspective. Essentially, sin is “an act of treason against the Sovereign lawgiver and judge of the universe.” The Bible describes our sin as “rebellion,” “ungodliness,” “lawlessness,” “wickedness,” and an “abomination” (Lev. 26:27Is. 32:61 Jn. 3:4Ezek. 18:27Pr. 15:9). Sinners then, are traitors, refusing to love, thank, serve, and obey the God who gave them life, breath, and every good thing.
Sinners spurn God’s love, despise His sovereignty, mock His justice, and view His commands with contempt. They are thieves and murderers, stealing God’s glory and assaulting His holiness. In fact, as Martin Luther once remarked, if sinners had their way, they would dethrone and murder God, which is exactly what they did at Calvary (Acts 2:23). Viewed through the lens of Scripture, sin appears exceedingly sinful (Rom. 7:13).
I find it ironic that those who protest the idea of eternal, conscious torment deride the doctrine with words like, “cruel,” “morally revolting,” “monstrous,” and “repugnant.” Why don’t they employ the same terms of outrage to describe sin? Simple: they fail to see as God sees. God finds our sin “cruel,” “morally revolting,” “monstrous,” and “repugnant,” and He’s absolutely right. If we can’t see our sin as God sees it, it stands to reason that we don’t see the just judgment of hell like He sees it either. We’re just going to have to trust Him.

Divine Justice
People who reject the doctrine of eternal hell also stumble over the justice of God. It seems unjust of God to cast someone into a lake of eternal fire for thirty years of sin. Is sin reallythat bad?
Yes, it is. In fact, you readily accept that there are escalating levels in the seriousness of offenses. For example, if you punch your neighbor, he may punch you back, slash your tires, or even report you to the police. If you assault your boss, he’ll fire you. If you strike a policeman, you’re in danger of getting tased, pepper-sprayed (or worse), and you’re definitely going to jail. Take it up a notch: if you even attempt to assault the President of the United States, you’re going to prison for a long, long time. And if you try those shenanigans with any other head of state, you’ll probably be executed.
Clearly, we live by an established principle—the seriousness of a crime is measured not only by its inherent nature, but also by the one offended. Furthermore, we readily accept the escalation of punishment, based on the status and position of the one offended. If that makes sense on a human level, why are we tempted to ignore the status and position of God? If we live by that principle on a horizontal level, why not on a vertical level?
Our sins have offended an infinitely glorious and holy Being, and punishment must correspond to that offense. God will by no means acquit the wicked (Ex. 34:6-7). He will give the unbeliever exactly what he deserves. Isaiah said “Woe to the wicked! It will go badly with him, for what he deserves will be done to him” (Is. 3:11). God warned the children of Israel: “If you do not obey Me, but act with hostility against Me, then I will act with wrathful hostility against you, and I, even I, will punish you seven times for your sins” (Lev. 26:27-28).
The righteous Judge of all the earth will one day rise up and call every creature into account (Gen. 18:25Heb. 9:271 Pet. 4:5). He will open the books and mete out a just sentence for every sinful thought, word, and deed (Rom. 2:5Rev. 20:13).
We’ve all assaulted God (Rom. 3:23), and we all deserve hell. Reject Christ, and hell is exactly what you’ll get. God will rise up in judgment and cast all unbelievers into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14), and all creation will praise His justice. To accuse God of injustice for sentencing sinners to hell is the height of arrogance and audacity.
Yes, God’s judgment is unbearable, but it is never unjust (Gen. 4:13). And that is why “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31).
Article by Tommy Clayton http://www.gty.org/Blog/B110518

There is only ONE GOSPEL

Paul writes in Galatians 1:6-7 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel - which is really no gospel at all”. 

In our day and age not many people are concerned about truth especially when it comes to doctrine. Doctrine is seen as impersonal and a division causer. But this is a false notion because the gospel is the very personal news of God’s call to you and if you turn to a different gospel you are personally turning away from God. Paul establishes in vs. 7 that there is only one gospel and if any one turns away from that gospel they are really turning away from God. Therefore there is only one gospel which Paul himself preached and this is the only gospel which saves. 

Paul throughout his Life was always concerned about upholding the truth of the gospel and he always feared the propagation of false doctrines and I hope that you have the same fear in you. When Paul was leaving Ephesus he said to the believers (Acts:20:29-30) “For I know this, that after my departing, grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears”. This is a remarkable concern from Paul and it is a shame to our modern churches that such concerns for truth in teaching is not equally upheld. The sadness of false teachings is that it ultimately leads people to hell - it leads them to forsake the God who has called them because now they have rejected the gospel which saves them. 

It should not surprise us if we find in many churches many false teachings because they care nothing for the truth and in their delusion and excitements they continue to live under a curse because they have forsaken the truth to believe a lie. John Piper writes that “There is a tragic pattern in churches and in history, I think. Renewal breaks forth on a church or on an age through a fresh encounter with the gospel and the Spirit. Hearts are filled with the love of Christ, and mouths are filled with praise. The concern for evangelism and justice rises. But in all the glorious stirrings of heart there begins to be an impatience with doctrinal refinements. Clear doctrine requires thought, and thought is seen to be the enemy of feeling, so it is resisted. There is the widespread sense that the Holy Spirit will guard the church from all error, and so rigorous study and thought about the gospel are felt to be not only a threat to joy but a failure of faith. The result over a generation is the emergence of a people whose understanding of biblical teaching is so hazy and imprecise that they are sitting ducks for the Galatian heresy”. Are you living under a false gospel?

The devil is a liar and he loves deceit and he appears as an angel of light. He has his own disciples in the church because the best way to lead people to hell is by distorting the true gospel. This is a reality and some in the church because of their itching ears are quick to believe any wave of doctrine especially those who appear to perform supernatural miracles. This is equally true of those who monopolize rationalism and intellectual superiority.  Paul writes to the Thessalonians that “the coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved”. Jesus gives the same warning alerting His disciples that “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect”, Matthew 24:24. You can avoid their deception by "standing firm and holding fast to the teachings we passed on to you (now revealed in the bible) whether by word or by letter", Thessalonians 2:15.

False teachers and false gospels are a reality in our churches and here is Paul’s indictment on those who preach such falseness. “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: if anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse”, Galatians 1:8-9.

It is an awful thing to call out a curse on an angel of God but such is the seriousness of the truth of the gospel that even angels are no exceptions to such a damnation if they should dare to distort the gospel of Christ. It is important to uphold the truth of the gospel because it is the only avenue by which sinners may be saved, it is the only avenue that glorifies Christ and upholds all of the sufficiency of His cross.

But it is with a caution and warning that there are souls out there who fail to distinguish between the gospel which is of first importance and secondary issues which are mere trivialities. So I will beseech you to have a right Spirit within you, to rightly divide truth from error and to have a spirit of grace in you when confronting errors because Paul himself aimed to edify and to lead back the wandering sheep of Christ.

Truth is important and because there is only one Gospel it is crucial that the right gospel is preached and that also you are believing in the true Gospel which Christ preached and the Apostles preached. This gospel is preserved for us in the Bible; that book which contains God’s truth and which leads us to the WORD eternal.

Peace and grace be with you from now to all of eternity.


* I know that the content of what the gospel is is not revealed here in this post. I have written of that else where or I have posted what others have said elsewhere on this blog.

*John Piper - http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/when-not-to-believe-an-angel  

I only Have ONE to please!

I only have one to please
One to see my life and sing!

 I care no more of man may think
I care nought at all but what my Lord wants me be!

I carry no sweets of words to thee
Except that which my Lord be thrilled!

Expect not from me a conforming frame
Except that which conforms to my Master’s name!

Let me the object of man’s chief hate
As Long as I the choice of Jesus’ taste!

Let other’s boast of heaps of Gold
But I will cling to the cross of old!

Beauty and Fame for myself I leave
For His fame my life will Live!

I only have one to please 
One to see my life and sing!


Sunday, 29 May 2011

Miscellanies 5: Dancing for God

It is my joy to see the saints of God in the congregation to be moved with such high affections for Yahweh, that their feet are forced to dance. There is much excitements in many of them, a festive excitement that with their whole body they engage in praising and delighting in Him. This I guess is a holy substitute or rather the natural expression of clubbing if one can call it that. For it is a strange notion to our culture that one should dance with such vigour for God. All of their (the ungodly) taste of such excitements and appetite are in secular environments laden with sinful desires but here is a holy party; more fun than any pagan arrangements. As it is natural for ungodly men to have high affections for ungodly parties or things, it is more natural also for the saints of Christ to have high affections for their God who brought them from their pitiful condition. Also, God has put such indescribable joy in the heart of his saints that it is almost a sin not to rejoice or be composed with such high affections for Yahweh. 

Therefore, let your heart be glad and feel no shame - have a party, have a feast; let only the world to see your ever-increasing joy in Jesus Christ your saviour and righteousness.


Thursday, 26 May 2011

Human Trafficking in God’s World

Genesis 3 records the terrible day when humanity fell into sin and shalom was violated. This was a moment of cosmic treason, when Adam and Eve violated their relationship with God by rebelling against His command and fell into the severe ignobility we all experience.
The entrance of sin wrecked the order and goodness of God’s world; it was the disintegration of peace. Sin inverted love for God, which in turn became idolatry, and inverted love for neighbor, which became exploitation of others.
One clear way this exploitation of others takes place is human trafficking. Trafficking is modern-day slavery and is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. It is the recruitment, transportation, harboring, or taking of people by means of threat, force, coercion, abduction, fraud, or deception for the purpose of exploiting them.
The United Nations estimates that 2.5 million people are trafficked annually. It deprives people of their human rights and freedoms, it is a global health risk, and it fuels organized crime.
Victims of trafficking are forced or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. Labor trafficking ranges from domestic servitude and small-scale labor operations to large-scale operations such as farms, sweatshops, and major multinational corporations.
Sex trafficking is one of the most profitable forms of trafficking and involves any form of sexual exploitation, such as prostitution, pornography, bride trafficking, and the commercial sexual abuse of children.
The United States is a destination country for international trafficking: foreign women and children are transported into the United States for purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. The State Department estimates that approximately eighteen thousand foreign nationals are trafficked annually into the United States.
Victims are brought to the United States from Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa. Most women and children brought to the United States find themselves forced to work in massage parlors, commercial or residential brothels, escort services, and strip clubs.
Sex trafficking also happens to United States citizens residing within United States borders. An estimated three hundred thousand American children are at risk for trafficking into the sex industry annually.
Traffickers coerce women and children to enter the commercial sex industry through a variety of recruitment techniques in strip clubs, street-based prostitution, and escort services.
Domestic sex traffickers particularly target vulnerable young girls, such as runaway, homeless, and fostercare children. In the United States, the average age of entry into prostitution is thirteen. One reason many girls working in prostitution enter the trade in their early teens has to do with the age at which many were victims of incest. The average age of incest is twelve. Incest and other forms of abuse often drive children to run away from home, making them vulnerable to the slick tactics of sex traffickers.
The pimp seduces a recruit with the lure of love, protection, wealth, designer clothes, fancy cars, and exclusive nightclubs. Pimps move from city to city looking for children and young women who are easy prey: alone, desperate, and alienated. Once a pimp moves a victim from her hometown into a strange city, the pimp can easily force her to work as a prostitute. Thousands of children and women are victimized in this way every year.
Human trafficking is a sin against the victim and a sin against God. Evil is anti-creation, anti-life, and the force that seeks to oppose, deface, and destroy God, His good world, and His image bearers. Simply put, when someone defaces a human being — God’s image bearer — it is ultimately an attack against God Himself.
Sexual violence is one of the most frequent and disturbing symbols of sin in the Bible. It is a complete distortion of relationship, a mockery and devastation of God’s intent in making us for relationships with Himself and others. By referring to sexual violence, God, through the biblical authors, communicates that sin has progressed so far that sex, an expression of union, peace, and love, is now used as a tool for violence.
Far from being a peripheral issue in the Bible, exploitation is mentioned frequently throughout Scripture, is depicted as sin against God and neighbor, and symbolizes how badly sin has corrupted God’s good creation.
The victim’s experience of trafficking is not ignored by God or minimized by the Bible, and it is not outside of the scope of healing and hope found in redemption. God’s response to evil and violence is redemption, renewal, and re-creation because of the gospel of Christ. And that should be the church’s response.
Evil and violence are not the final word. They are not capable of creating or ultimately defining reality. That is only God’s prerogative. However, evil and violence can pervert, distort, and destroy. They are parasitic on the original good of God’s creation. In this way, evil serves as the backdrop on the stage where God’s redemption shines with greater brilliance and pronounced drama. What evil uses to destroy, God uses to expose, excise, and then heal.
By Justin Holcomb 

Generous cutting

Yesterday was one of those days where I saw my countenance drift from high to low. The morning with its renewed mercy witnessed me a lonely soul acquainted with solitude reading with not much fellowship. The afternoon and evening would witness me in the company of many people which would cheer up my soul.

In the afternoon the UWE football guys played a charity netball match with the UWE netball girls team and it was a joy to my soul to have taken part. Although we lost and that by a distant margin it was a pleasure to be humbled and to play alongside such talented girls. I was amazed at their skills and couldn’t help commenting that if we were to play them at football then the score line would be to our advantage. I enjoyed learning more about netball and I wish the netball girls all the best for the year.

But the main point of this article is to talk about my volunteering at the wild goose café which is a charity organization that exist to serve the homeless people in Bristol. I was glad to have the opportunity to serve as there is a joy in serving for free knowing that your service is rendering a great benefit to many souls. I was particularly indebted to one girl who came to pick me up and drove me back safely home. It was the joy of my heart to see her again after such prolong absence without being entertained with her sweet presence.

The evening brought with it the usual company, some happy, some sad, and many indifferent but all thankful for the meal freely received. I took two responsibilities mainly buttering the bread and cutting the cake which brings about the title of this blog. A volunteer who is so kind in heart, satisfied the people by cutting the cakes in such large portions that many were eager to eat of the abundance provided for them. This brought about a reflection, well, it was a conscious reflection and as I’m writing this piece I am adding more to my reflection. I reflected that God is so kind and generous to us and his heart towards us is of a loving Spirit. He delights to give us blessings beyond what we deserve and when he gives us our cake He gives us so generously so as to never lacking or to be left wanting more. In the gospel he has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

God is generous and grace and peace is ours in abundance. This week I want to exhort you to go and do likewise - that is to be generous and kind. Let the grace of God so fill your thirsty soul that your heart is free to give abundantly and kindly. Let us be imitators of Christ our Lord and saviour and our hope of a future resurrection.


My Darling My Darling

My Darling My Darling 
So sweet you are to me
Like a precious ointment 
And priceless gold
You are the pleasant gaze of my inner soul.
I wish not to set you like a wooden idol
For you are full of life and cheer.
Happily I toast with a joyous dance 
The world and heaven all to see
Of my peculiar love to a dazzling girl.  
I remember the nights awake
When sleep evade my vivid mind
To see your sun shining beaming frame
Was all the thoughts I knew and had.
My Darling my Darling
So dear to my youthful soul
I love you more than life itself
But Christ is my all My God of LOVE. 


Failed prediction of the end of the world: How should I feel as a Christian?

89 year old tele-evangelist Harold Camping had made the prediction that the rapture was going to occur on may 21st 2011. Those who were followers of Camping took this prediction seriously and many of them took to the streets preaching this message of doom. Harold Camping is not a stranger in making pronouncements about the specific date and time of when the world will end because in 1994 he made the same predictions which also were incorrect. The world continued to roll on and may 21st was no different. His predictions had failed but in a press conference after the failed rapture* he re-interpreted the failed physical judgement as being a spiritual judgement that is that Jesus has truly come in the sense that he now has the world under judgement. He then proposes a new date for the end of the world which is October 21st 2011.

As a Christian I don’t know how you may feel about the idea of the world coming into judgement or more importantly how Harold camping as perhaps made the faith and the bible come into ridicule. Perhaps your reaction may be that of embarrassment and you feel ashamed of the Gospel and of Christ returning to earth. Whatever your reaction may be, this is an opportunity for us Christians to speak the truth about the Judgement of the world and the love and justice of God as demonstrated in the Gospel. This is not a time to shrink back or to feel ashamed but it is a time to suffer shame and ridicule for Christ Jesus because the gospel is the power of God that brings salvation to every one that believes.

The world viewing the gospel and the return of Christ as a foolish message is not something which is new to our post-modern world but the apostles and early Christians faced the same challenges. Paul writes confidently in 1Corinthians 1:18 ‘for the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God’. So, when you engage in discussions with your friends and housemate, do not feel ashamed if they view the message of the cross and Christ coming as foolish but rather declare it boldly with all gentleness and be willing to suffer reproach for the sake of Christ.

Harold Camping received international media attention in his attempt to put a date on the return of Christ and his endeavour was utterly foolish because Jesus warns us several times in the bible not to claim such knowledge. ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority (Acts 1:7) and also in Matthew 24:36 Jesus says ‘But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son but the Father only’. And here I may add Harold Camping as well. No one knows the time of the Lord’s return for he will come as a thief in the night. 

False preachers have come in the past who have made predictions about the end of the world and preached error but yet the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ continues to spread throughout the world. As God tells Jeremiah 'Let the Prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain? Is not my word (gospel) like fire, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces'? (Jeremiah 23:28-19)

But as Christians, how are we to feel about the coming judgement about the end of the world? St Peter gives us sound advice of how we ought to conduct ourselves and I leave you reader to ponder upon his words and to be ready to preach the gospel and not to be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope and pray that true Christians all over the world will rise and preach the truth and whatever scorn or reproach may come let us remember who it is who first preached the gospel.

St Peter writes:  (2 Peter 3:3-18)
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
 8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
 14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.


* Harold Camping holds to a pre-tribulation rapture which holds that when Jesus first returns, the church (or the elect) will be "raptured", or snatched up, into heaven to be with Jesus while God pours out his wrath on those who remain on earth.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Joy of Confession 12

Sinner: I am moved to tears once again with my palms placed over my face because of the wretch I am. I am deeply troubled in my soul, anguished by my lack of faithfulness and continual rebellion. I see the misery within and the uncontrollable nature of my sins, the unending depths of my depravity that I begin to wonder whether I am part of the Lord’s camp. Have I deceived myself to be with Christ when reality shows that I have never departed the devils prison. Whatever it may be, my present condition is in a pitiful state, a spiritual desert, a phantom existence that I can look no where but to hell wherein is my portion. I feel myself unable to look to Christ, that adorable face of which my sins nailed to that cursed tree and of which I continue to do so in as much as I continue in my rebellion. I am ashamed and I despise my soul but where to now? What road shall I walk now when I have so failed my beloved? It seems the day will end but my darkness remains. What shall I do sir?

Sir: Oh My troubled son - do this one thing. Pray and trust in His faithfulness!


Monday, 23 May 2011

No One Cared

Before my birth, a curse did spring
The night in which my first breath breathed.
Nothing I saw but the underlying theme
Of the song of which my life will sing.

The chords are few when mine was cut
The tears never stopped but poured yearly on.

Winter and night was all I knew
The shadow and darkness abundantly grew.
Every pair fell sweetly kind 
But I the odd of a singular kind.

Draw me down and curse the day
Of when the nurse her eyes did betray
A loveless child of a heathen clan
A giveaway trash no life could love!

The amber sunlight pales my feeble air
The gods have damned my empty brook.
But here asunder my existence do tear
No one cared for me but me. 


Saturday, 21 May 2011

What Beauty is

What beauty is; I ask the rain
Before the day pass away.
What beauty is; nature I must know
Before the light creeps away.
Tis sweet to look yonder up
To gaze upon the smiling stars
But ah! My fatigued soul does sigh
At the lack of beauty’s laugh.

I breathe a prayer; I must know
I must go to beauty’s lair.
Lest I sink in utter despair
And join in with the angel’s tears!
Hark! The seraphim do not sing
The flowers bend at love’s despair!

But I must know what beauty is
To draw my song which plays me sleep.
I bid thee please, my perplexity relief
To trace the path the leaves fortold
Long ago before God did spoke
The fragrance smelt and sparkled the rims
The incense bore the natural worship of thee!


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Changed by His grace

I had a call today from an old friend. He whispered to me words of which my soul needed to hear. He said ‘Ken, you have changed a lot since the old days, all I can really remember of you was of back then and how God as mightily worked in you’. I was moved with a solemn reflection and in all plausibility I was more amazed at the transformation of my friend and how God had plucked him from a depraved lifestyle and conformed his heart to love and cherish Christ of which back then many would have thought an impossibility.

His words were like honey to my soul because it brought about a sweet remembrance of the grace and providence of God which was at work all these years in my life and that God is not yet finished with me. I still have a great deal of sanctification and purification to walk through and instead of possessing a spirit of unworthiness, rather, I should possess a spirit of patience in the outworking of God to conform me to be more like His Son. In my failures I should not be to quick to despair and discouraged but should rejoice in the bounty of his grace and gospel and whisper to my soul ‘I am not what I used to be but I am on my way of becoming what I am to be’. 

God’s grace changes people and the final destination of our change is Jesus Christ. But this change is gradual and a process of which God is committed in completing. If you belong to God, you can be certain of your graduation because although we are not competent of ourselves, God is fully competent and an unbelief in the completion of your sanctification is an unbelief in the promises of God and a mistrust in God himself.

So my readers, do well to avail your souls of any doubts and musings but rest in the confidence of the good Lord who never fails. He choose you and then He called you through the gospel, and all whom God has called effectively will arrive at heavens shore although you may be scarred and trodden nevertheless your arrival is guaranteed, sealed by the blood of the precious Lamb.


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Does God have a 'second best' for you because You have failed in his first plan?

The bible declares that God is all powerful and has the power to influence our decisions. Paul tells the Philippians church that they should work out their salvation with fear and trembling and then he goes on to tell them that ‘It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose’, Philippians 2:13. God is in control of all things and He uses the evil intentions of people to work out His good purposes. The story of Joseph is a good example. His brothers did an evil thing in selling Joseph into slavery , ‘but God intended it for good to accomplish the salvation of many souls from famine’, Genesis 50:19-20. The cross of Jesus is another example, the supreme example where wicked men’s intensions were used for the salvation of the world.

God rules over everything and can use evil to accomplish his primary purposes as is demonstrated in the death of Jesus Christ. But some reject this notion of God’s power and ruling and they act and live their lives as if this is not true.

Phillip Jensen and Tony Payne in their book Guidance and the voice of God talk about the strange heresy known as God’s ‘second best’ due to the rejection of God’s ruling power. Some Christians would have probably heard or perhaps live their lives according to this teaching of God’s second best for your life. This teaching teaches that if God wants them to follow a particular course of action (marry Mary or go to Iraq) and they choose not to do it, then they are committed for the rest of their lives to God’s ‘second best’. God initially had something better for them but they blew it so consequently they’ve missed out on God’s best and now have to settle for his ‘second best’. People who live and think this way automatically believe that they are now outside God’s perfect plan for them. Is this how you feel because you have messed up so badly?

This view is a mockery of how the Bible portrays who God is and also this view has some errors to which Phillip Jensen and Tony Payne help illuminate.

Firstly, there is the misunderstanding of sin and its consequences. The ‘second best’ theory seems to assume that there are only relatively few decisions that might place us outside God’s will. However, our wrong decisions are not limited to a few areas (like marriage and carreer). We choose to rebel against God in hundreds and thousands of ways throughout our lives. Does each of these mistakes take us further and further away from the perfect plan? By the end of our lives, we are somewhere up around the ‘10,000th best’?

Most importantly, the ‘second best’ heresy denies the power of God. According tot his view, once I have chosen my course of action, God is powerless to redeem the situation. He cannot rewrite the script. In fact, he is no longer a God with plans; he is a God with hopes. He is unable to achieve his goals without my indispensable cooperation, and is depoendant on me making the right choices. He becomes subject to the whims and follies of human sinfulness.

This view of God is a far cry from the true biblical picture. As we have seen with Joseph that God is able to use bad decisions for good and yet his primary purposes still remains. Or for example take Peter, the great apostle as some would call him; did he not deny Jesus and yet when Jesus came to him, did Jesus tell Peter that ‘because of your denial you will now live outside of my perfect plan for you. Peter you will now be living a second best existence’. No, we see Jesus entrust Peter with the church and as Jesus promised Peter when they first met that he would make Peter a fisher of men; Jesus fulfilled his promises. But because of the view we have of God we are prone to react like Peter that is to wallow in self pity for ourselves and go back to our old ways because we’ve failed so badly. Jesus wants you to know that there is no failure which is so bad that his cross has not paid for. You only need to trust God and bath in his grace and generosity.

God is able to restore the years which the locust have eaten. God is able to restore all of the bad decisions you have made and heal all of your sins and take away all of your guilt. God is able to use all of your bad decisions for your good and in fact he is using it for your good because God works all things for the good of those who love him. If you are trusting in Jesus today, God is working everything to your good. All of your sexual failures, your pride, immorality, He is working it all for your good and wishes you to forsake them and come back to him so that He may restore you and make you abound in his generosity. For He is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose. 

So I beg you my brothers and sisters, forsake any notion that you can only live your life as God’s second best because you have failed so badly. It is a travesty on who God is and God who is your Father is wanting you to know that He is sovereign and able to use all of your failures to your good. Forsake this ‘second best’ heresy and cling to the God who is able to restore and repay you for the years which the locusts have eaten. 


Material  reliant on Phillip Jensen and Tony Payne book 'Guidance and the voice of God'.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Can never be!

It is a strange thing that I should fall for you

Although unwanted and undesired.
Yet I find myself in this static state
Of fixed emotion attracted to your ways.

But my love is a tragic play
A calamity at best the tale will portray
I must resist any notion of a happy day.

I speak thus for there is fear within
A plot which age has made more real
A scene I wish you no part to take
So silence must be the course I emulate.

Life is not life but death to me
Joy is but sorrow 
And love a dread
The passions I know are few and blue.

It is a strange thing that I should fall for you
And stranger yet that you should fall for me
But we as contrary as life and death
We like the seasons can never be!

( The last line of this poem is meant to mean that just like summer and winter can never meet that is to be at the same time likewise they can never be together). 


Psalm 11 - An exposition

This is a Psalm of absolute trust in the secure refuge of the Lord. David is in some trouble and his friends are warning him to quickly flee to the mountains where he can find refuge and safety. This is not a terrible suggestion but David’s reaction to their advice suggest that He should stop trusting in the refuge of the Lord and succumb to human protection and advice. David rejects their suggestion and places supreme confidence in the refuge of the Lord.

There is much to learn from this Psalm; the faithful of old have also secured their future in the refuge of the Lord and God has protected them and brought each of them home to his heavenly Kingdom. Likewise we also ought to possess the same confidence and be willing missionaries unafraid of the arrows of the enemies knowing with full confidence that we are protected and covered by the shield of Yahweh in which no arrows could penetrate.

David begins the Psalm by declaring Vs1 In the LORD I take refuge. If you are in continual danger and are prone to attacks from your enemies, this is a declaration of which you ought to begin your day. In the LORD I take refuge. God is the creator of all things and he is sovereign over all things so it stands to perfect reason that He is stronger than all things and therefore he is the safest and secure of refuge. Who is your enemy? Will they be stronger than God and who is your refuge? Will they be able to defend you better than God? In the negative for God is the absolute defender and protector and He delights in protecting those who trust in him. This is why Jesus could say to His disciples ‘Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God believe also in me’. If God is your fixed refuge then your reaction would be like that of David when your friends tell you to trust in their advise and abandon God’s protection. You will say to them How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to the Mountain. vs. 2 For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. Vs 3 When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”. David’s dangers were imminent and so maybe yours. His enemies are lurking in the shadows waiting eagerly to strike. David is aware of their wicked ways but yet he is firm. His friends are full of worry and in their tender care for David’s life they advise him to flee like a bird to the mountain because the foundations are being destroyed therefore there is nothing the righteous can do but abandon their faith and hope in Jehovah.  But David knows a different God, a God whose foundations can never be shaken, whose foundations is like the sun forever shining in its glory. David knowing the unshakable nature of God’s foundation rebukes his friends for their advice and maintains his stand that In the Lord will I take refuge. When trouble surrounds your soul and all seems to be falling down; your house is shaken, your fear is multiplied, when the cares of this world darkens your day, remember the beauty of His majesty. Remember the sure foundations of His kingdom and heed not to foolish advise from mortal men. Those who trust in the Lord are able to stand firm in the midst of great trials because God’s foundations are never shaken and can never be shaken. Has Christ not triumph over death and has he not taken away the sting of sin.  Christ is the victor and He is the Kyrios.

David is firm of the Lord’s foundations and goes on to declare the uprightness of God’s nature and How he will protect the righteous that is those who make God their refuge. Vs 4 The Lord is in his Holy Temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them. God sits in Heaven governing the affairs of men and we see sitting at his right Hand his precious Son who died for the saints. Why then should you fear? For Christ is forever interceding for us and it is written that nothing can separate us from Christ and just as Christ is committed to our protection so also is His Father. Did Jesus not say “Neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. My Father who has given them to me is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand”, John 10:28-29. You belong to Christ therefore you are secured as surely as the morning will come; do not fear but abide in the safety of His refuge.

It is a terrible and pleasing thing to know that God examines all men and his examination have concluded with one universal result; that is, that all men have fallen short of his glory and there is no one good not even one. All are worthless and deserve death, all are corrupt and wicked. This doctrine of universal depravity being true, yet, there are those who are righteous; that is, those who are trusting in the mercy of Yahweh and counting upon his grace as shown in the death of death that is of the death of his Son. The righteous are those who live by faith and a faithful man is one who makes Yahweh his refuge. If your soul confesses that Jesus is your Lord and Saviour then God delights in observing you for Vs 5 The LORD examines the righteous. This examination is all for your good; the LORD considers your ways and measures up how he may improve your character to be more like His Son. So his major concern is your sanctification; He notices your blemishes and He comes with a tender hand to clean you and wash you. Therefore you have no need to fear of the wrath to come for God has destined you for salvation. But those who are wicked, that is, those not willing to trust in Christ and thus be just and righteous, God examines their ways with a different look. His eyes his set upon them for condemnation and anytime he desires he could immediately let their foot slide and therein they shall enter the misery of his wrath for all eternity. But now while there is breath in them, he pleads with them to forsake their evil ways and come under his refuge, upon the refuge of his cross wherein all the eternal wrath have been absorbed by his Son. If you remain in your sins and do not come to Christ then you are wicked and it is says of the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion. Passion is described as being an intense emotion it is an overpowering emotion which only shows God’s perfect hatred for sin and against those who practise it. And because of this intense hatred which is perfectly just, loving and Holy, Vs. 6 He will rain fiery coals and burning sulphur; a scorching wind will be their lot. God does nothing in half measures, the Just receive in abundance of his divine love and grace likewise the wicked will be punished in the fullness of his wrath. Sodom and Gomorrah, the immoral twin cities were witnesses of the wrath of Jehovah and all perished except those who heed and trusted in Yahweh. History is available to teach us and wise men will be quick to trust and rest in the refuge of the LORD but those who are proud and self seeking, who want to do things their way will find out in the end that the wrath of God is their eternal portion. I wish you not to have this portion so I plea with you to have mercy and glory for your eternal satisfaction. Flee from the wrath to come.

God punishes evil and wicked men because Vs 7 the LORD is righteous, he loves Justice; the upright will see his face. Therefore do not grow weary in doing good, never repay evil with evil but delight in Justice and mercy; delight in the security of the poor and spend your time doing good. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled. You shall be filled with God himself; the whole trinity shall make their dwelling with you. Because the foundations of God is firm forever, what have you to fear oh feeble saint? Do you not know that Him who is with you is greater than all of those who are against you. Do not fear little one for it is your Father’s delight to give you the kingdom. Therefore do not be afraid but declare to the spiritual host of wickedness that Christ is your refuge and your deliverer.


Dedicated to excellence

I ought to be dedicated to excellence, that everything I do is done to the best of my ability. We ought to give all to God and do all as if ...