Blog Break (25 Apr 13)

Here are some great links to feed your mind and form your heart.

  1. THE SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE SIN: “There’s one sin in particular that has pervaded our society and churches so silently we hardly give it a second thought, and that is the constant hunt for more over what is enough. Or, in an uglier terminology, what is known as gluttony.” Guilty.
  2. I’M JUST NOT WIRED THAT WAY: “I worry, though, about the possibility that embracing how I’m “wired” can become an excuse, a temptation to avoid opportunities/responsibilities simply because I don’t enjoy them or because they’re hard for me. When that happens, my strengths turn into weaknesses and I become my own enemy.”
  3. FACEBOOK FRIENDS AND SIN: “If you are a Christian and you are on Facebook, eventually you will ask yourself this question: “how am I supposed to respond to my so-called friends who promote sin on their wall?”…”
  4. WHY IS CHRISTIAN ART SO BAD?: “Rather than heaping more negativity onto the canvass of Christian criticism, I’d like to offer some positive tutorials the Bible offers on “art”. The Bible is an art masterpiece, created by a Master Artist. Here some of its pearls:…”

Have a blessed day, friends.

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Give Me a Perfect Marriage or Give Me Death!

“If we refuse to move, physically, morally, or psychologically, short of perfection, we will not have what we can have.” – Francis Schaeffer

The highlight of my 2013 reading list (so far) has to be the book True Spirituality by Francis Schaeffer. In this book, he talks about the various challenges that the Christian faces in his quest to be truly spiritual and live for Jesus in the everyday moments of his life. In Chapter 11: Substantial Healing of the Total Person, he  uses an insightful illustration about marriage. I thought I should share it with you. I found it quite helpful:

I am not to say, “I must be thus,” and if it is not thus, there is nothing but psychological despair. Some people are totally caught in this, but all of us have something of it within ourselves, swinging pendulum-like between conceit and despair. This is true not only in the psychological area, of course; it is true in all relationships of life. One does not have to have had much pastoral experience to have met married couples who refuse to have what they can have, because they have set for themselves a false standard of superiority.

They have set up a romanticism, either on the romantic side of love or the physical side, and if their marriage does not measure up to their own standards of superiority, they smash everything to the ground. They must have the ideal love affair of the century just because they are who they are! Certainly many of the multiple marriage and divorce situations turn upon just this point. One couple refuses to have less than what they have set as a romantic possibility, forgetting that the fall is the fall. Another may want sexual experience beyond what one can have in the midst of the results of the fall.

You suddenly see a marriage smashed – everything gone to bits, people walking away from each other, destroying something really possible and beautiful – simply because they have set a proud standard and refuse to have the good marriage they can have.

We wait for the resurrection of the body. We wait for the perfect application of the finished work of Christ for the whole man. We wait for this, but on this side of the fall, and before Christ comes, we must not insist on “perfection or nothing,” or we will end with the “nothing.”

There’s enough in there to munch on for weeks!

 

Stuck With the Gospel

CornellI am not a very good guy. Actually, I can’t even say that I am good at all. No, don’t judge me by what my friends say about me. I live with me, I am in my presence 24-7. I know my heart, and I know the evil that resides there here. It is hard for me to imagine a moment when there wasn’t some evil scheme brewing in my mind or heart. Selfishness, pride, impatience, envy, faithlessness are just a few of the familiar residents in my heart. I can’t think of a time when I was selfless without also recalling how proud I was of my selflessness. I can’t think of a day when I was so patient without acknowledging that there was something to gain from the wait.

OF BAD THINGS AND GOOD PEOPLE

I must be living in another planet, because I seldom experience life the way other people do. At least, not the way they talk about it. And  it’s not just my friends, it’s everyone around me. Continue reading Stuck With the Gospel

Blog Break (01 Apr 13)

Hi friends. I hope you had a blessed Easter. If you don’t know what’s so good about Easter Friday, check this out. And if you’re not so sure how the resurrection fits into your own salvation, this might help. Meanwhile, kick-start your week and month with these heart-searching reads:

  1. In WHAT SHAMES US, Tim Challies reflects on out uncanny obsession with killing sin without being equally bothered to put on holiness. “Here is something interesting I’ve noticed: While it is common for someone to ask how to put off a particular sin, it is rare for someone to ask for guidance in putting on a particular godly trait.”
  2. A WRITER’S CONFESSION. This writer’s confession is mine, and that of many other writers who idolize their craft; “One of the reasons I took a break from blogging for a while is because I was too consumed by checking statistics, subscriptions and comments. It started to become too much about me.”
  3. THE SENTENCE AGAINST GOD. “Can God judge us? How can He know about suffering?” snapped one woman, ripping a sleeve to reveal a tattooed number from a Nazi concentration camp. “We endured terror… beatings… torture… death!”
  4. YOUNG LADIES’ REQUEST. This is beautiful, from Njeri’s heart: “HE prepared you all this time for me to be with, yes you are the one that makes my Heart beat a thousand and One, You are my chosen one my number two, Cause we should have the same number one.”
  5. Finally, DO NOT DISBELIEVE – BUT BELIEVE. Jon Bloom reminds us that “doubting” Thomas’ experience is our experience, and we too can believe in the resurrection of Jesus because Thomas did. Jesus can rescue us from our skepticism: “The resurrection is a fantastic claim. Jesus’ own disciples didn’t believe it at first. And Thomas struggled more than anyone with his skeptic side. And in his experience1 in particular there is hope for all of us stumbling doubters. Jesus knows how and when to reach us.”

There you go. That ought to keep your mind and heart pruned for a few days. Oh, yes, I almost forgot that today is “April Fool’s Day” In spite of what you may believe about this day, David Mathis reminds us (in Pity the Fool) that every day is Fool’s day for you if Jesus is not your wisdom. So beware.

The Church Bus

busI think the bus is turning out to be one of my favorite classrooms in life. It happened again today, as I commuted to church this morning. We were running late and there was some traffic build up near Westlands. So, the driver decided to take a detour and pass through some back-roads to avoid the traffic. This is illegal by the way, but none of the passengers seemed to mind. We had everything to gain and nothing to lose. Personally, I was already running late for church. Furthermore, this is not the first time something like this has happened. Bus drivers take illegal turns and routes all the time. It’s normal. Except today. We hadn’t gone for more than 200 meters when the driver took a right turn that would lead to a great lesson on the importance of church and fellowship. Continue reading The Church Bus

I Blame God For My Sins

I doubt that you missed the story. It was all over international news about 2 months ago. A young woman was traveling back home from the cinema when she was attacked by five men on a bus. The five men beat up her male companion and proceeded to brutally rape the woman, leaving her for dead. Despite the doctors’ best attempts to save her life, the 23-year-old physiotherapy student later succumbed to the horrific injuries sustained during the assault. It is a sad and horrific story. But not as horrific as what the lawyer representing her attackers said in their defense.

JUSTIFIED RAPE

Manohar Lal Sharma, the lawyer representing three of the accused men, argued that the woman and her male counterpart were fully to blame for what happened to them. His argument was that the victim was not a “respectable lady”. He explained that the victim’s friend and male counterpart, Mr Pandey, was “wholly responsible for the incident as the unmarried couple should not have been on the streets at night.” At first glance, such an argument may sound quite unreasonable. But similar arguments are not uncommon in many rape cases, “the woman was dressed provocatively” is a common one. It is true that such cases are too emotive to give any room for reason, and the lawyer’s defense may seem unreasonable at first. But before we pick up the stones and take shots at lawyers, we need to confront another more familiar lawyer. Continue reading I Blame God For My Sins

The Point of Paul’s “Thorn in the Flesh”

thorns_thumb[1]I don’t recall ever hearing a sermon or reading a commentary on 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 in which the speaker or writer did not pause to speculate on what Paul’s thorn could have been. Somehow, the nature of this thorn seems important to us than it was to Paul, who chose not to reveal it. It is easy to get lost in a wild goose chase after theories and exegetical gymnastics that will help us uncover this thorn. But today, as I read through yet another reflection on that thorny passage, a thought crossed my mind: Our obsession with Paul’s thorn is a telling indicator of what we fear most about our own sanctification.

Consider these three famous speculations about the nature of Paul’s thorn: Continue reading The Point of Paul’s “Thorn in the Flesh”