Sunday, 29 July 2012

The Preacher's vanity

I knew a man once upon a time
Who went around the town saying all is vanity!
He began his sermon with an outright cry
"Vanities of vanities! All is vanity."
What shall we make of such speech
Shall we heed or shall we leave 
But wisdom calls to listen before a decree
So let us enter his court to give our ears.

"What man may gain from all his toils
What man may gain when all its done?
When all at last the grave shall call
bidding him to forsake all He has done!

The sun rises and the sun goes down
The streams run an ever ending race
The eye forever sees never satisfied
The years wearies man but the earth remains!

Tell me my hearers what tomorrow may bring
Joy or sorrow its all a striving after the wind.
And of laughter what use is she 
Unfaithful like today who will perish with all riches gained!

O vanity of vanities all is vanity
Once I did pursue wisdom forsaking the fool
Then sat I down under the eternal sun
Only to conclude what happens to the fool will happen to me!

Therefore my hearers hate your life 
For all is vanity a striving after the wind
All you've toiled worked and loved 
Will all be lost or given to the fools to come."

A sorrowful preacher his counteance display
Before we leave must tell him of this
That vanities breathes when God is dead
But God yet breathes and there is life to gain.


Thursday, 26 July 2012

Keep the Presence of God

On vacation, I kept a copy of Jonathan Edwards’ sermons on my bedside table as a way of going to sleep with a God-centered mind. One of those sermons was called “Keeping the Presence of God.” It was preached on a colony-wide fast day in April 1742. The second wave of the First Great Awakening had crested in the vicinity, and Edwards was seeing both the good and bad fallout of revival. He saw spiritual dangers lurking everywhere. In the next year, as he preached his famous series on the religious affections, he would become the most careful analyst and student of human hearts that had been wakened in the revival. What he saw in those hearts was mixed.
So in this sermon, “Keeping the Presence of God,” his aim was to stir up awakened Christians to be vigilant that their exuberance not become pride. He exhorted them to give themselves to watchfulness and prayer so as to remain broken, humble, and happy in the good work of God in their lives.
Oh, how different is the path of Christian maturity pointed out by Edwards from the path most Christians walk today. There is a kind of cavalier attitude toward our security today. There is little trembling, little vigilance, earnestness, caution, and watchfulness over our souls. There is a kind of casual, slack, careless attitude toward the possibility that we might make shipwreck of our faith and fail to lay hold on eternal life. We have the notion that security is a kind of mechanical, automatic thing. We prayed once to receive Jesus. We are safe and there is no place for “working out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). That is not what Edwards saw in the Bible.
Therefore, he pleads with his people, and I plead with you, to “keep the presence of God.” It is not automat ic. Edwards’ text is 2 Chronicles 15:1–2, which contains the words, “The LORD. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” Since we do not want God to forsake us, we must be watchful over our souls lest we forsake Him. It is true that God will never forsake His own children. But the proof that we are His children is that He works in us the vigilance not to forsake Him. God’s not forsaking us is the work He does in us to keep us from forsaking Him (Phil. 2:12–13).
The striking thing in this sermon that was new for me was the warning that even beholding Christ can be a pitfall. This seems unlikely because in 2 Corinthians 3:18 Paul says, “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” In other words, seeing the glory of Christ in the gospel is a great means of becoming like Jesus. This is how we are sanctified — seeing Christ.
So why would Edwards warn us that seeing Christ can be a pitfall? He did so because of what he read nine chapters later in 2 Corinthians 12:7–10. Paul says there that he had been “caught up into paradise” (v. 3) and that he had been given “visions and revelations of the Lord” (v. 1). Then he says that because of these visions and revelations of the Lord, he has been given a “thorn in the flesh” (v. 7) to keep him from being puffed up. Paul pleaded with the Lord to take it away (v. 8). But the Lord said that His own grace would shine the more brightly in Paul’s thorn-caused weakness than if he were whole.
This means that Paul’s visions of the Lord were dangerous for his soul. He had to be lamed by a thorn to keep these visions from hurting him. Here is the way Edwards says it:
There is great danger. I know great degrees of the spiritual presence of God tend greatly to restrain and keep down pride. But yet ‘tis not all grace. And though in such cases there be much to restrain one way, so there is much to tempt and provoke it another. Temptations in such cases are often exceeding great. To be highly loved and exalted of God tends to feed pride exceedingly, if there be any left. The apostle Paul himself was not out of danger (2 Cor. 12:7).
In other words, the danger of spiritual pride is so subtle that we must even watch for it at the place of greatest sanctification — seeing the glory of the Lord. If there is any remnant of pride in us, even pure glory can be twisted to feed it.
So I exhort you, and myself, in the words of Jonathan Edwards: “You had need to have the greatest watch imaginable with respect to this matter, and to cry most earnestly to the great searcher of hearts: for he that trusts his own heart is a fool” (Works, vol. 22, p. 531).

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Jesus and the Wild Animals


It’s one of the stranger asides in all the Gospels.

In Mark’s first chapter, verses 12–13, after Jesus’s baptism, “The Spirit immediately drove him into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan.And he was with the wild animals . . . .”

Say what? Jesus with the wild animals? What significance does that carry in this grand opening chapter of Mark?

No Random Detail

Mark has such limited space to tell about the history-altering life of the Son of God come as man. Why bother mentioning that in his forty-day wilderness venture Jesus “was with the wild animals”?
I doubt we should assume it’s a random detail. Mark’s narrative is much too carefully crafted to think that. Then what’s the point?

Back to Adam

The conceptual connection appears to reach back to the Garden where Adam was with the animals before the Fall. For Adam, the setting was perfect: a beautiful garden, more pristine than we’ve ever seen, with tame animals around him — animals over which he exercised a kind and happy dominion as God’s vice regent, created in God’s image. (Of course, there came that pesky serpent. But even he was tame enough to engage in discussion.)

But our father Adam transgressed his Maker’s regulation about abstaining from a particular tree, and in doing so, failed to exercise dominion over the creeping thing, and brought us all with him into sin.

Better Than Adam

The point Mark seems to be hinting at is that Jesus is a new kind of Adam, the new and ultimate Man. Instead of a beautiful garden, the ultimate Man faces his temptations in the wilderness, a wilderness created by Adam’s sin. And instead of kindly presiding over tame animals, the ultimate Man is surrounded by wild animals. This sinful world into which Jesus enters to accomplish his mission is less like a pristine garden and more like Jurassic Park.

Unlike Adam, the surroundings into which Jesus is put to live out human perfection are marred by sin’s corruption. Unlike Adam, Jesus faces a wild land and wild animals. While Adam was setup for success, Jesus must go against the grain.

But despite the conditions for our new Man being more difficult than they were for the first Man, Jesus succeeds, for our sake, in passing the test — in the wild land and among the wild animals. The new Adam does not succumb to the Enemy’s tempting, but stays his course to die sacrificially for the sin that entered in under the first Adam.

Confirmation in Psalm 91

Psalm 91 connects the tracks between Mark’s first chapter and the opening chapters of Genesis. In Matthew’s telling of Jesus’s wilderness temptation, he quotes from Psalm 91:11–12: “He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” And Mark alludes to the psalm in his mention of “the angels were ministering to him” at the end ofMark 1:13.

It’s the very next verse in Psalm 91 — verse 13 — that forges the link from the Garden to the coming Messiah’s majestic dominion over the redeemed creation, wild animals included: “You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.” Lions and tigers and bears — the God-man is reigning over them, with explicit mention of the serpent as well.

Fearless in the New Man
In Jesus, we have an escape from being born into Adam’s condemned family. With God’s amazing gift of new birth, we now are able to exercise faith in the new and ultimate Man, be joined to him, and included in the triumph of his family. In this new Adam, we’re delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Colossians 1:13). One day we’ll reign fully and finally with him in the new heavens and new earth, where the wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat — and a little child shall lead them (Isaiah 11:6).

For now, we live in a world where dogs bite, zoos need cages, and even the best crocodile hunters die. But while our fear of wild animals persists (and should), in Jesus we have the promise of the Better Day to come. Jesus is our champion and pioneer who tramples underfoot the serpent, and empowers us to stomp with effect as well (Romans 16:20). A day is coming when we too will be with the wild animals and rightfully able to enjoy the serenity of Jesus.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Women of the Bible: Rebekah

Genesis 24:58 And they called Rebekah and said to her, "Will you go with this man?" She said, "I will go."

Romans 9:10-12  And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad--in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls-- she was told, "The older will serve the younger."

Rebekah was the one whom God appointed for his servant Isaac for she was the one who met the requirement of Abraham servant’s proposal to God. Rebekah among all the daughters of the men of the city was the one who was advanced in kindness than all the other females who came to the well. She was the only princess who said to Abraham’s servant, “Drink and I will feed your camels also.” This sweet feminine spirit is of an unusual kind for she not only cares for the condition of the man but also of the animals. She loved all of God's creation and would not bid them to go thirsty.

We read of Rebekah like we read about Sarah that she was very beautiful in appearance, a maiden whom no man had known. Here we behold her feminine purity, saving herself to the man whom God has appointed for her. Her waiting was not in vain but was met with the highest of blessings in the sense that she was to marry the Son of whose father the Hittites called the prince of God and to whom God had chosen to bless the nations and through whose loins the Messiah will come.

Rebekah was to have her Isaac and all this she knew not - for she was about her task faithfully, fulfilling her father’s wishes to go by the well and draw water. Little did beautiful Rebekah know that omnipotent hands was shaping her destiny, fashioning her future for her highest good. Rebekah, engaging in her regular routine was to be blessed by a servant of Abraham who will change her life forever. O daughters of Eve, do not grow weary of your daily task, be faithful and kind in your doings like attractive Rebekah; and who knows what sovereign hands may have in store for you. Sovereign hands may have prepared for you your Isaac, He may have for you the open door which will change your life forever - O just be faithful in your duty - be pure in your living and diligently follow that sweet law of Christ which bids you not to lust after a man in your heart - lust not but seek God and his Christ.

In this early encounter with Isaac’s wife discoverer, we discover that Rebekah is a woman of great hospitality. She would not deny a stranger a place in her Father's house; she would welcome the sojourner and not look him with an awful eye but with warmth and hospitality. Rebekah ran home with a feminine delight at the news of a holy matrimony which will soon commence; like the women at the well with meek Jesus, she left her water jar for the message heard was far too sweet to be weighed down with an earthly burden.

It was finally time for Rebekah to leave her Father's house having spent her entire life there. She knew the mandate of marriage that a Man must leave his Father and his Mother and hold fast to his wife. Happy Rebekah was not hesitant to the working of the Lord and knew that all this God had appointed for her so she delayed not in her uniting with Isaac.

It was now time for Rebekah to meet Isaac and before their eyes meet we hear of Isaac that he went out to meditate. O what a godly man, a man who meditates on God, what a catch this is for Rebekah that she found a man who loves God. Isaac was not prying because he knew that they would arrive at this hour but he was a genuine seeker of God - he loved those divine exercises by which we converse with God and with our own hearts.

When Rebekah saw Isaac she dismounted from the camel and took her veil and covered herself. Rebekah behaved very decently not being overwhelmed to charm Isaac with her beauty because she knew of his wealth, but she covered her face. Her actions are a token of humility, modesty and subjection. Her beauty, courtesy, willing consent, modesty, all made her deservedly attractive, and secured Isaac's love at once and permanently. Look how different she is to Adah and Zillah who openly displayed their scenic feminine figure in order to gain the love of a man, but stunning Rebekah would not have it so. She would have Isaac to love her because He loves her. He would have her see that beautiful quiet spirit which is precious in God’s sight. Although later in their marriage march, Rebekah’s beauty tempted Isaac when in Gerar, through fear of being killed for Rebekah's sake, to say she was his sister. All compromises of truth, through fear of man, bring their own punishment.

They were brought together at last and poor Isaac having much affection for his dead mother (Sarah) was now only comforted by Rebekah. Isaac had lost his queen but now he has gained a princess. God gave Isaac a cross with the passing of his mother and a comfort with the marriage to Rebekah. O daughters of Eve, God has always for you a comfort, your beloved Isaac who is Christ. To him you may come any time, at any hour, only veil your face, yes come in humility, in modesty and in subjection and look how Christ will embrace you bringing you to His Father's tent and comfort you with his blood which washes away all of your impurities and makes them white as snow.

What a treasure Rebekah found in Isaac - she was his wife and Isaac loved her - He loved her so much that she was the only satisfaction that could heal his mourning heart. His heart had bled so long for the passing of his mother but here now is the salve to soothe it - to stop this bleeding and replace it with the life that has been lost. O daughters of Eve, I pray that you may be a Rebekah to your husbands that they may love you and you may be to them better than the finest gold and the choicest silver.

Rebekah was barren and in conceiving was to be one of her greatest ailments and undoing because she loved one over the other in such a great measure that she forsook the training of one only to focus her motherly maternity on the child of her heart.  This is a warning to all Mothers and to those desiring to be Mothers, for was it not the wives of the un-loved son who made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah. They made it so extremely bitter like drinking vinegar and gall that poor Rebekah loathed her own existence and forbade her beloved Son to marry from the tribe to which these untrained wives descend.

Rebekah loved Jacob and hated Esau so much so that she exerted all of her womanly strength and cunningness to take away his blessings and have it bestowed on the child of her heart to whom the divine voice long ago uttered to her that the older will serve the younger.  Before they were born she was told this in answer to her inquiry of the Lord and as the apostle to the gentiles will later unfold to us in Rom_9:10-12, that this happened according to the "the purpose of God, according to election, not of works but of Him that calleth," inasmuch as it was when “neither had done any good or evil.”

When it was time for a Father to bless his first born Son and grant him his blessings and give him all his properties, housewife Rebekah was present and listening to Isaac’s demand to Esau before He would bless him. Rebekah remembering the divine prophecy made known to her in her prayers and the tently motherly discussion between her and her beloved Son Jacob about Esau selling him his birthright, crafty Rebekah acted smoothly and decisively. She called her Son and instructed him to act deceitfully in order to gain the blessings. Here we see Rebekah’s unbelief for her blindness to the power of God to fulfill his promise in a holy way is compromised for she did evil that good might come. But God in his Sovereign ways works all for good to fulfill his unchangeable purposes.

Such methods of deceitful Rebekah are not spoken well of in scripture and wives are to flee from such a method as far as the east is from the west. But we all have our dark spots, we all have our shades of grey, we all have those impenitent sins which old age or history will bring to light. Some Mothers do have their Jacob’s and their Esau’s but you will do well daughters of Eve if you exert your motherly love to both your children in equal measure, purging what is bad in them and pruning what is good in them.

O poor Rebekah to have raised a son like Esau who wanted to kill your beloved Abel. Esau was almost a Cain and if not for wise Rebekah’s quick thinking, Jacob’s blood would soon be speaking from the ground, and how broken hearted Rebekah would have been. For she was broken hearted when she send Jacob away to find a wife and escape the wrath of her ungodly son, she knew not that she was sending him away from her forever and thus she brought on herself by the one great sin the loss of her favourite’s presence for the rest of her life, for she was not alive when Jacob returned, Isaac alone survived. Rebekah was buried in the same tomb as Abraham, Sarah and Isaac.


Friday, 20 July 2012

Woman of the Bible: Sarah

Sarah is introduced to us in the New Testament as a woman of faith. She was a friend and sister of Abraham but more his wife. Her conduct in marital life is the example exalted for all woman of faith to emulate as she obeyed Abraham, adorning herself with a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. Who Sarah was as a sister, a friend, a daughter, we do not know but we do know her as the wife of Abraham, a woman whose name God changes from Sarai (my princess) to Sarah (Princess), a princess not merely of Abraham but of all the families of the earth.

The first introduction of Sarah to us in the Old Testament is an introduction that causes a jubilation and pitiful lamentation. Jubilation because Abraham found a wife for it is written “whoever finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the LORD”. And what a good thing Abraham acquired, for Sarah became to him an excellent wife who did not bring shame like rottenness to his bones. Abraham loved Sarah to the end, He loved her so much that despite his wealth, he would have her as his only wife until after her timeworn comely death where he took another woman to be his wife. Hagar was not his choice but a yielding to Sarah’s good but unbelieving intension to not let him die childless. A Pitiful lamentation because she is described as childless and barren. Was it not this stigma which brought Hannah to hammer on heaven’s door and caused Hagar to look upon Sarah her mistress with contempt. It was this ignominy which caused Rachel to envy her sister and say to Jacob, “Give me Children or I shall die”. This barren fruitlessness accompanied Sarah to her old age that when the news of a child was to be sown in her aged womb, she laughed as almost to consider it silly and an unknown thing on the face of the earth.

It was on this cursed ground that she allowed the ugly head of polygamy to enter into her marriage. The bitter fruit of watching other seeds grow except that of her own caused wanting Sarah to make a firm decision that Abraham was not to depart from this earth childless. She had forgotten the promise of God, she had lost faith that the promise made to Abraham would be accomplished through her seed. Poor Sarah, being ever so beautiful and desired by kings and nobles was accompanied with a dear sorrow of barrenness. Hagar was handed over to Abraham and Hagar bore a child according to the flesh and not of promise. Hagar then looked upon her mistress with contempt and Sarah treated her harshly that Hagar fled from her as Moses fled from Pharaoh when Pharaoh sought to kill him. Sarah had her stroke of weaknesses but she is described as a woman of faith, who received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.

This faith we must say was given to her by grace, for was it not Sarah who laughed and muttered to herself that ‘Shall I have pleasure in my old age?’ and when confronted for her unbelief she denied it. The life of Sarah are painted to us with the colours of reality. No blackness was painted over but yet she was a woman of faith and her, the daughters of faith are to emulate. This grace given to her enabled her to conduct herself in her ordinary capacity as a wife according to the ordinances of God. Unlike Adah and Zillah, she was submissive to her husband’s will even in the hour when her feminine honour was sacrificed because of her husband’s cowardice. She submitted in gentleness and quietness. When Abraham began his pilgrim journey forsaking his familiar dwelling, we do not read of a complaining Sarah but we read of a following Sarah. She followed her master and readied her sandals to follow the footsteps of her blessed husband.

Sarah’s obedience to Abraham was rewarded for as his name was changed, so was hers. He was to become the Father of many nations and she shall become nations, kings of peoples shall come from her. Sarah’s womb was opened by a divine act of kindness. She believed in him who was faithful and what she first disbelieved of having pleasure in her old age became to her a sweet delight. She, staring at this miracle said with all of her feminine beauty “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me”. Should we not also laugh with Sarah and rejoice with her as Elizabeth’s relatives and friends rejoiced with her when they heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy in allowing her to conceive John the Baptist. Yes. We should celebrate, for from this child of promise was the Messiah to be born who is to be the Saviour of the world as to redeem Eve’s children from their oppression.


Witness the scenes from last night

The morning clouds cry

Witness the scenes from last night

Little kids fly something in the world ain’t right

Blasted in with a gonzo

Spraying the air with a weapon that shouldn’t exist

It’s a terrific madness strapped with major sadness

Mama cries, can you forgive the killers crime

I hear 14 dead, 14 less mouth to feed

Lay em down, the world breathes can’t stop to sleep

Shedding tears but they far away 

Can’t really cry for a fish I never caught

Gotta role, change the channel watch the next news

Can’t seem to shake last weeks persecution break

Can’t really relate but I seem to pray till the day break.

God give me a heart and a pen to live my life with ink

Living words bring hope, let me write it till I’m deceased. 


Olympian Shambles….

I accidently bumped into the Olympic torch last week. There was a happy queue of motorists smiling as the cavalcade of police cars, vans and busses passed by.

It was a different story on the M4 as a 32-mile tailback of irate commuters cursed the launch of the “Olympic Lanes” - a badly executed plan to supposedly help the athletes and their families arrive safely and smoothly into the Olympic village.

Chaos continued as some of the teams’ coaches, devoid of Sat Navs and experienced London drivers, took unconventional routes to Stratford. This was a problem almost prophetically foreseen by writers of the hit BBC comedy series Twenty Twelve. A case of sport imitating art.

Now further controversy has hit the headlines, as the Japanese world champion football team were forced to travel from Tokyo to Paris in economy class while their other (less successful) squad got to travel first class. The difference between the two teams: gender. The world champions are the women’s team, who travelled with the rest of the plebs while the rather average men’s team enjoyed the luxury of elite travel. It seems not just chivalry but equality is dead.

It is never an easy journey to get the Olympics. If the last leg of navigating London is fraught with problems, spare a thought for the other hurdles. Even the seemingly effortless Usain Bolt, who glides across the finish line smashing another world record while waving to the crowds, didn’t just cruise to the Olympics. He explains:  “a lot of people say it looks so easy… before it gets to that point it means a sacrifice day in and day out… ” In a recent BBC documentary Bolt described the training process in a single word: “dying.”

Perhaps he was referring to the physical agony the athletes put their bodies through in order to get into shape. Perhaps it is the death of every other goal in life to focus on the single goal of winning.

The apostle Paul would have nodded. I think he was a track fan, as he often drew on an athletics metaphor to describe the Christian life and he makes reference in Philippians, 1 and 2 Timothy to seeing the life of faith as a race worth running.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

The Bible consistently argues that the human race is not to a dead end. We were born to run. Not for medals, not for the adulation of the crowd, but to be torchbearers running home to God. We are being called heavenward and how we run our lives now is an indicator of who we run for. Like Usain Bolt put it, it involves dying. We are called to die to self to live for Christ.

Speaking of running, I am running out of time. With eight days to go before my ticketed event, I have failed to follow the advice to “Plan Your Journey” despite the many reminders by email and electronic motorway matrix signs. I must add this to my to-do list….

But more importantly, the Olympic shambles should remind us to check our spiritual journey. Are we just following our nose and hoping for the best, or are we following our Master, intentionally and resolutely pressing on toward the goal, the prize and the glory of our Lord and Saviour?

Dr Krish Kandiah, Executive Director, Churches in Mission, Evangelical Alliance

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Ken's newsletter 6


So much has happened in the last year that has increased my faith in God and my love for Him. I would like to thank you all, my friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ for your continual prayers and support for me. It has been a great pleasure to have the opportunity to work with Woodlands church in declaring the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ through speech and in practical ways. I am humbled by the greatness and majesty of God, and lost in wonder that he uses us, jars of clay to accomplish his sovereign purposes. 

One way recently that God has used me and us as a team (foundation team) was when we were in Romania for a short term mission. We had the privilege to work with Project Romania Rescue (PRR), the churches in Constanta and another organization that works with street children and the elderly. Our role was to help and encourage, and I believe that we accomplished what we set out to do there. 

PRR help children to come off the streets and provide them with accommodation in their houses when there are spaces. PRR strive to share the love of Jesus with them, pray with them, feed them, give them clothing, medical help, and a caring, listening ear -and with God’s help they try to give them a hope and a future - OFF the streets. I witnessed this good work first hand, as I got to speak with the kids and interact with them. They had so much love to give us and God is doing a mighty work in the children. 

In Romania

I spent most of my year working with students and what a year it was with them. I remember the feeding of the 5000 in October where we gave out almost 5000 burgers to students to welcome them. I remember the two alpha courses in the year with some becoming Christians (praise the Lord). I remember my small group and pastorate from whom I received sweet fellowship from and I am glad for the work that goes on at UWE with the Christian union. They are my joy and crown. For our last event we went to a place called jump where we played games and after we had a lovely dinner together. A fitting way to end the term.

What's next

I've enjoyed my year with Woodlands church and I've grown in my faith in Jesus. In whatever I do my aim is the same,namely, to know the Lord Jesus and the power of his Resurrection. I will be seeking his kingdom first and looking for a job. If you can be praying for me in this regard, that would be fantastic. 

Thank you all for your support and may the God of all comfort be with you.

Love Ken


Sunday, 15 July 2012

Women of the Bible: Adah and Zillah

The Sin of Adam and Eve resulted in the fall of humanity. Every generation after them became wicked and that is why scripture affirms, ‘that there is no one righteous, no, not even one.’ Mankind became enslave to the passions of its flesh, its desires became its ruler and men followed the natural dictates of their hearts; and were it not for Sovereign grace, the race of men would now only be read of by angels in the library of extinct creatures.
Adam and Eve witnessed the consequences of their sin in the death of their beloved son, Abel, by the hands of Cain who murdered his brother in anger and was thus sent away from the presence of God. My dear sisters, sin is not only sin when it is found in its extremes, sin is also sin in its subtlety and vanity. Sin is sin when one's affection is set on another and not on God, when one lives to please a thing or a being which is not God; this is also sin.

This becomes especially evident in the lives of Adah and Zillah the wives of Lamech. The breaking of God's law and ordinance of one man and one woman is thrown to the fire, as Adah and Zillah lusted after the same man and both accepted Lamech's call to matrimony. True, that there may have been genuine love to Lamech present in both of their female hearts, yet, one of them could have said to Lamech that you are only to take one woman as your wife. Two, is to introduce a new sin to our already cursed existence. But no, they would have Lamech and have him together.

Adah and Zillah’s names tell us something about who the women were. Adah means adornment or ornament and Zillah means the tingling of things that rings (bells) or a shadow. Both of these woman's names suggest nothing which would bring us to admire them as being righteous, but rather forces us to remember the sober words of the Apostle when he writes in 1Peter 3:3  “Do not let your adorning be external - the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewellery, or the clothing you wear-”.
O that these two women could have had the privilege of listening to such an instruction, having their conducts condemned and encouraged with these heavenly instructions, 1Pe ter3:4 “but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.”

Such a godly feminine spirit is scorned at by women in our modern society and it was ridiculed at back then too. Women, understanding beauty to mean being sexually appealing to men have sought with all of their feminine strength to appeal to the eyes of man, making him lust after them as to desire them and ultimately love them. But, all this commotion only produce the man to make them the object of his desires rather than the object of his love, for when the flesh is only what is appealed to, only the fruits of the flesh will be born, namely death.

Adah and Zillah are good examples of the outworking of the curse pronounced on Eve, namely, that her desires shall be for her husband and he shall rule over her. Adah and Zillah had eyes for Lamech, they saw him and both wanted him, therefore they enhanced themselves with worldly beauty. Adah adorned herself and Zillah decorated her body with jewelries and items which jingles so that she may be noticed from afar. Their entire philosophy was contained in the beauty of their appearances as to please the man, and being emerged in this vanity, Zillah gave birth to a girl and named her Naamah which means Stunning girl. Beauty is not to be hated or shunned but if it is what a women lives for, for the sake of attaining the attention of men, then she is to be pitied, considered more miserable than Eve when she lost the garden.

Adah and Zillah's desire were for Lamech and as a consequence he could rule over them. Although they may have sought to rule over him as it is found in many women today, hating the curse pronounced by God on their kind seek to rule over man by appealing not to his senses but living with an unquenchable desire to usurp man’s authority. Lamech had the advantage in this polygamy to choose as he saw fit. He was not tied down to one but to two; if one displeased him, he could forsake her and go to the other. Instead of friends he could make them enemies of each other, having both at constant alert on how to please the man lest they lose him completely to the other. Their beauty which they had designed to control him, he uses to control them.

The only words recorded of Lamech uttering to his wife were of those of a wicked spirit. He followed in the way of Cain and so wickedly so that his revenge is seventy-seven fold. Cain had killed his brother, yet his revenge was seven fold but Lamech is to be seventy-seven fold. Perhaps these words uttered by Lamech were taken in without care by Adah and Zillah and were extremely glad that it was not their husband whose blood was spilt on the earth; or perhaps they were of a lamentable self-pitiful spirit, cursing their hearts that why did we marry such a violent man, causing them to dwell in their imprisoned tents in sorrow and regret-fullness.

These women are not to be entirely written off without praise; for we can infer that they were good mothers to their children and taught them the way of gaining wisdom and understanding however far from the truth their conception of wisdom was, yet the principle is there. They bore children who were no less than geniuses for we read that Genesis 4:20-22 “Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron.”

Eve had lost her paradise and her daughters inherited the curse she heard uttered from God. Adah and Zillah's desire were for their husband, and he ruled over them. Both women were entertained in worldly beauty; they had surrendered the inner beauty and covered themselves in adornment, in those things which causes the eyes of men to lust after a woman. Our generation is no different; external beauty is queen and a gentle and quiet spirit, yea, those inner qualities that are so precious in the eyes of God are trampled upon. Only if women today spend as many hours as they do on their external beauty as on refining those inner qualities which are precious in God’s eyes, how much truly will woman now reflect that original image to which God created her.

I have seen such woman in the Church of Christ who have departed from the ways of Adah and Zillah, those whose nature has been changed. But as a warning to them all, as to every woman who calls herself a Christian, that she ought to be on the pursuit of that which pleases the eyes of God rather than the eyes of men, lest man, rather than Christ should rule over her and her desires.


Friday, 13 July 2012

I have betrayed Jesus

My poor saints of Christ, I see that your soul is very troubled and miserable because of the sins which you have committed. It pricks you like a thorn and crushes you like a heavy blow. You cannot breathe for it feels like there is a very large man sitting upon your chest and worst of all, you cannot enter into that sweet communion of your Lord. To put it simply, you feel as if you have betrayed the Lord. You feel like a Judas. After spending time in his presence and Christ was ever so good to you in bestowing to you his love and enjoyment and granting you great privileges in his kingdom, yet you have approached him with the heart of betrayal by kissing sin and embracing that which you promised to forsake. Oh miserable pitiful sinner, I feel the magnitude of your condition but I beseech you not to go and hang yourself or resolve finally to pick up your former trade because of the awful heaviness of your betrayal.

I beseech you with this considerations. Why poor sinner do you think that The Spirit of comfort gave us two accounts of betrayal in the gospels? Why any account of it at all and why two when one especially the one of Judas would have sufficed the plot. I shall tell you languishing saint, it is because of this very malady which you are currently suffering. The Spirit knowing all things and foreseeing the fragility of human nature knew considerably that many would fall in their faith who were truly regenerated. He knew that some who loved Jesus as well as any canonised saint could testify would by some measure, due to their besetting sins feel that they have betrayed their Lord. And in sinning we do betray him for we are those who have made a declaration to follow the narrow way of righteousness; to depart from evil and bid farewell to a life which bid our Lord to die. Yes we are; and every sin committed was a striking blow against the Saviour’s flesh and should we continue to strike him whom has been so kind and gentle with us? Nay! that is why the sins of the saints are like Judas’ kiss or Peter’s denial. The Spirit therefore records for us the denial of Peter to comfort us.

How is it comforting and may soothe my soul asks the poor sighing sinner. It shall comfort you in this. Have you the great privilege that Peter had in the sense that he walked with the Lord for three years, was admitted into his inward circle, was blessed with the eyes to see his transfiguration, was given the responsibility to be his shepherd to his sheep? Have you the great privileges of seeing Christ in action, of sleeping by his side day and night, of him coming into your mother’s house and feasting with him at Cana? Peter had an intimacy with the Lord that no saints here now living could ever experience even if Christ was to come to you every night because the Christ now experienced although the same Person is the resurrected Christ. You would not experience Christ in the same way but the experience of it is no less sweeter, in fact we shall enjoy him and enjoy him as closely as one knows one’s wife. Peter had an intimacy with Christ, a great privilege, and if any one knew Jesus it was Peter. Peter knew Jesus so well that it was revealed to him by the Father that Jesus was the messiah, the Son of the living God. Peter knew this and what did he do on the night that Jesus in his precious hour needed his faithful friend? I shall tell you, He betrayed him. Peter kissed him like Judas with his words, a word as untrue as the view of atheism. Peter knew the Lord but denied him out of fear of not wanting to perish with his master.

Peter committed his crime and the Spirit of grace did not shy away from recording this calamity for us. But the Spirit of truth did not leave the account here on the sinking sand of Peter’s remorse but hauls us to the scene where Peter would once again be personal with his Lord and the Lord would pronounce on him divine forgiveness by not heaping on him condemnation but affirmation to be his good shepherd to his scattered sheep.

Christ was gentle and meek with Peter, and he is meek and gentle with you. He has prayed for you that your faith will not leave you, the devil seeks with all of his might to sift you, but the prayers of Christ have more efficacy. The prayers of Christ are like a mighty waterfall upon the devil’s candle, for they quench his schemes thoroughly. Christ only asks of you poor sinner to pick up your mat and walk. Do not tie the rope to descend from the tree. Do not take up your bag to return to your former duties. No. Stand firm in the grace of God in Christ - will you make God to be a liar when it is said of him that He is faithful to forgive us if we confess? Confess now languishing sinner and your sins are remembered no more.

Peter’s betrayal is the chief of betrayal and Christ forgave him and He forgives you. You might say dear sinner, that you have betrayed him a thousand times and fear that you may betray him ten thousand more times. O sinner, is the blood of Christ not for all of your sins and will Christ not see to it about your sanctification? He will make you blameless. Think not about your sins of tomorrow but think about the sufficiency of his grace for the days ahead.

O sinner be lifted from your melancholy. Your sins have no cause, nay, they never do, to see you miserable. It's sting has been taking away, nailed to the cross. Acknowledge your sins, yes, and then nail it, bury it, yes, and burn it in the fires of hell where it shall forever dwell. The Spirit comforts you, He bids you to accept the works of Christ.


Thursday, 12 July 2012

More Short Poems

Its paramount, tainted love
Broken down again, the story is getting old
Can’t wait for the day to end
To forget to move on
Take up my picture
See your reflection smashing the mirror 
Burn my heart let the smoke rise
Smell the incense like rose
that’s the fragrance of my love for you.

You were my good habit 
Dammit sitting where you lie
Can’t try to even understand it
Everything is smelling just like you 
Gotta walk away - forsaking all my intentions
I just wanna knock on your door
Bring you flowers, my apologies
For running you down
Now I’m wondering why 
Too late now to introduce you my grandmother’s smile
Real diamond for a real girl 
Living a real life gotta say goodbye to my true love.

You and I still under one sky
But not reunited
Same city but still two hearts
Two houses two lives 
Two dreams 
Every time we meet
there’s always a good bye.

You can cut the ropes and let me fall
Letting her go I knew she would never love me back
I am healing but its taking so long 
I turned into her 
She’s pretty contagious
We die once, live once, find true love once.

I’m busy with 
Writing and dancing
Singing and laughing
To distract me from 
thinking about this 
One sided love.


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Preach God's Word

There is no doubt that if you were to ask those who hated Christ and his religion, they would say that Jesus Christ was a drunkard and a wine bibber. They would accuse him of starting a new religion, of departing from the way of Moses and incorporating new doctrines into the Monotheistic Jewish tradition that the prophets knew nothing about. To put it simply, they would accuse him of heresy, and as history for our sake has recorded, they crucified him. Yet, Christ maintained his doctrines and taught his disciples the way of God regardless whether the society at large loved them, understood them or cherished them. Christ would not bow down to the rule of Rome, to the cries of the masses, nor to the will of the religious rulers; but Christ did bow down to this, namely, the will of God. We see the evidence of this in Jesus’ own words “Joh 4:34  Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. And also in Joh 6:38  For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And in Joh 12:49  For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment--what to say and what to speak. And finally in  The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

Jesus was God’s spokesman to a world who would rather follow the dictates of their own hearts and be led by their own natural light of reason. God’s will and words was too abstract for them, they could not understand it lest they leave their dark dwellings and come into the marvellous light. Christ spoke to them in the night and look how they mobbed him, they jeered him, and mocked his words. He spoke to them about the pleasant mornings, the simplicity of following him in the light and O look how they threw stones at him as if he were speaking in a foreign tongue. At last they crucified him for blasphemy for refusing this world’s orders and ways. And is it not so, that in every generation, those who had the truth of Christ and preached it with great zeal and fervency were likewise subjected to the fire of madness by the masses. Their words were like falling rain, although appealing to their consciences, they put up their umbrellas and ignored its call, warning them of the judgement to come and of the sweet eternity if only they would comply and believe the message preached.

But nay. They reject the gospel. My friends reject the gospel. This gospel alone, which has the cure to all of life’s ails and troubles, they reject. It is not sensible to them, it is not wise. My generation would not so much have Christ crucified but they would denounce him a lunatic, a mad man, or simply a good moral teacher but those who have any sense, any wisdom would not come to a conclusion of him being a mere religious teacher, they would denounce him mad or say like doubting Thomas, My Lord and My God. 

If you call yourself a Christian, preach Christ and his message. If the world hates you, good. For they hated Christ. Stand up for him in the public square, do not be silent in the workplace, give him the glory in the media, stand up for his justice, live according to his will. The world will hate you but remember this, they hated him first. While they hate you, do not hate them for the message of Christ is love. While they curse we bless, while they hate we love and we love their very souls and existence. We would do as much for them as we would for our own sons. Here is the outrageous love of God for you, that while you were an enemy, a campaigning rebel to usurp his sovereign authority, He sent his Son to die for your wicked sins, yea those terrible deeds done in darkness. Jesus died for it all.


Monday, 9 July 2012

Miscellanies 48: There is a fountain flowing for the soul unclean

My friends have you not heard that there is a fountain flowing for the soul unclean, that is, if you have any filth, any guilt, any unclean thing inside of you that you know is unclean and that you feel yourself to be a wicked person, then let me tell you that there is a fountain flowing for you. There is a fountain as big as the ocean and deep as the sea that no matter how filthy your uncleanness is, there is enough to wash it all away. Do you feel yourself to be full of envy, strife, jealousy, deceit, maliciousness, slanderers, haters of God, and insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, and ruthless? Or do you feel yourself to be sexually immoral, a failure, worthless, to put it simply a sinner, then there is a fountain flowing for your soul unclean. The fountain my sinful friends is the blood of Jesus Christ. It is spotless, clean and without any blemish. In our world when anything unclean, let’s say that you were to add a piece of mud to a clean cup of water, the clean cup of water becomes unclean and therefore unfit to drink. But in the science of heaven, it is reverse. When you at last take the courage to dive into the sea of the blood of Christ, your uncleanness is dissolved and cleansed by his clear water. Your sins do not stain it one bit, it makes you white as snow, and it makes you pure and righteous and it implants in you the spirit of freedom rather than that of condemnation. O sinner, friends with souls unclean, will you not this very minute jump into the fountain of Christ. O why linger where you ought not, why stay in prison, why nurture unbelief - O sinner jump with faith; the fountain is deep enough, it is wide enough to accommodate you and Christ invites you. Jump dear sinner, jump and be cleansed. Have your soul unclean cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.


Nothing could ever cure it

(A rap)
Take a look outta window watch the rainfall
Your granddaddy use to tell me heavens crying all the things wrong
You gone, not for long baby I’ll be coming home soon
Wait for me cuz the sadness killing me quickly
Quicker than making money, aint nothing much now
I used to live it up with you now I’m running round
Chasing life round the corner, coroner close the casket
I used to hold your basket now we looking up to the sky
Like we had it. Your granddaddy,
I still see him don’t worry he misses you like me
Say my prayers eat my dinners aint blessed
My heart throbbing with pain what’s there to gain
Ball nights, cinema dates, declared together by fate
Now all there’s left is hate
Regrets and mistakes I shouldn’t have made.

Look at your name set in stone ingrained in the frame
In silence and tears we parted left me broken hearted
I love to hear you speak, O heaven a goddess release
Let me for one night please, see the love that changed me
Hark; how often my sorrow and tears be
The first day was bliss; I recollect it in the morning
Catching your smile so bright, cooled the evening
I touched you like a rose drawing near to hear your soft taken breath
Our summers weren’t fading, the earth was ours
Now I’m grateful for the past I wish it lasted
If ever two was one we were perfect illustrators.
I loved you with passion, freely, and purely, nothing could ever cure it.

Never could love again, I’ve reached the height, die now as a lonely man
Plan to be nothing better than what I was with you
Because I’ll do injustice to whoever wants to be with me
Cannot love you like I love her,
What’s a woman’s heart without her?


I am empty without you my Lord

I am empty without you my Lord Without you I am nothing.  May I not forget you when I wake May I keep you with me through the day And may I ...