Psalm 27:1 NIV
What hope or help does the atheist or agnostic have? None! Writer and editorialist W. O. Saunders said in American Magazine: “I’d like to introduce you to one of the loneliest and unhappiest individuals on earth…the man who doesn’t believe in God. I can introduce you to such a man because I myself am one, and in introducing myself you shall have an introduction to the agnostic or sceptic in your own neighbourhood, for he is everywhere in the land. You’ll be surprised to know that the agnostic envies your faith in God, your settled belief in a heaven after life, and your blessed assurance that you’ll meet with your loved ones in an afterlife where there’ll be neither sadness nor pain. He’d give anything to be able to embrace that faith and be comforted by it, but for him there is only the grave and the persistence of matter. After the grave all he can see is the disintegration of the protoplasm and psychoplasm of which my body and personality are composed, but in this materialist view, I find neither ecstasy nor happiness…He may put on a brave front but he isn’t happy…He sometimes yearns for a staff on which to lean. He, too, carries a cross. For him, this earth is but a tricky raft adrift in the unfathomable waters of eternity with no horizon in sight. His heart aches for every precious life upon the raft – drifting, drifting, drifting, whither no one knows.” But when you put your trust in Christ, you can say with confidence, “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?”
Soul food: Lev 16; Lev 23:26-32; Heb 9:1-14; Heb 13:11-16
Psalm 27:1 NIV
Darkness can represent evil, fear and the unknown. Light brings all the opposites: good, peace and guidance. When light replaces darkness, suddenly we can see where we are and where we should go. We don’t fear light as much as we fear the dark. Sometimes we can feel like we’re in darkness, that we’re stuck in a bad situation and can’t see the way out. Or perhaps we’re not sure which direction we should take, or feel like we’re surrounded by fear. But God is light. And when we bring Him into the dark situation, His light changes things. The Bible says: ‘You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light’ (Psalm 18:28 NIV). His light can show us which way to go and show us how to get closer to Him. ‘Send me your light and truth to guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to where you live’ (Psalm 43:3 NCV). And when we do feel like we’re in darkness, there’s no need to fear. David wrote: ‘The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?’ and that’s echoed in Romans, ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31 NIV). Light has ultimately overcome the darkness, so we don’t need to be afraid. We can confidently say the same as David: ‘Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me’ (Psalm 23:4 NIV). No darkness is greater than God’s light and no evil can ultimately overcome God’s goodness. We’ve got God on our side, so who can be against us?
Lev 16; Lev 23:26-32; Heb 9:1-14; Heb 13:11-16
Psalm 27:1 NLV
Wat se hoop of hulp het die ateïs of die agnostikus? Geen! Die skrywer en redakteur W.O. Saunders het in American Magazine gesê, ‘Ek wil jou graag aan die eensaamste en ongelukkigste individue op aarde voorstel… die man wat nie in God glo nie. Ek kan jou aan so ‘n man voorstel omdat ek self een is, en deur myself voor te stel, sal jy voorgestel word aan die nie-gelowige of skeptikus in jou woonbuurt, want hy is oral in die land. Jy sal verbaas wees om te weet dat die agnostikus jaloers is op jou verhouding met God, jou geloof in ‘n hemel na die dood en jou geseënde versekering dat jy eendag jou geliefdes in die hiernamaals sal ontmoet, waar daar geen hartseer of pyn is nie. Hy sal enigiets gee om in staat te wees om daardie geloof te hê en daardeur getroos te word, maar vir hom is daar net die graf. Na die graf weet hy slegs hoe die liggaam en siel eenvoudig net ontbind, maar in hierdie materialistiese sienswyse vind hy nie vreugde of vrede nie. Hy mag dalk ‘n brawe front voorhou, maar hy is nie gelukkig nie. Soms smag hy na iets om op te leun. Hy dra ook ‘n kruis. Vir hom, is die aarde ‘n klein, skommelende bootjie wat in die waters van die ewigheid ronddryf, sonder enige horison in sig. Sy hart pyn vir elke kosbare lewe op die bootjie, wat vir ewig dryf sonder dat hulle weet waarheen.’ Wanneer jy egter jou vertroue in Christus plaas, kan jy met oortuiging sê, ‘Die Here is my lig en my redding. Vir wie moet ek dan vrees?..’
Sielskos: Lev 16; Lev 23:26-32; Heb 9:1-14; Heb 13:11-16
Isaiah 64:8 NLT
Ever watched a lump of clay being transformed into something beautiful? If the potter wasn’t shaping it, the clay wouldn’t change. Isaiah says, ‘We are the clay, and you are the potter. We are all formed by your hand.’ With God shaping us, we’re transformed into something even more beautiful than we were before. The things that we struggle with, our worries, phobias, habits and temptations, can all be left behind when we let God start to shape us. We might feel that we can’t change, that we’re going to be trapped by the things we struggle with forever. But that’s not true. There’s hope and a promise of freedom for us, because God works with us to create a beautiful life. In Jeremiah 18, God paints the picture of a potter who, when the pot didn’t go quite right, reshaped it into something else. That’s what God does with us too. When we feel broken or have lost our way, He takes us and reshapes us. All we have to do is place our lives in His hands. Trying to change ourselves only leads to stress because when it doesn’t work, and we go backwards, we can feel like we’ve failed. God wants to help us change permanently, He wants to gently mould and transform us. When we stop trying to change ourselves and surrender to God, true and lasting change can take place. And He won’t give up helping us to change, the Bible says: ‘he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 1:6 NIV).
1 Cor 12-14; Mark 15:21-32; Ps 60; Prov 25:21-22
Isaiah 64:8 NLT
Ever watch a lump of clay being transformed into something beautiful? The clay can’t change itself; the power to do that lies in the hands of the potter. Isaiah says, “We are the clay, and you are the potter. We are all formed by your hand.” That means you don’t have to live the rest of your life with your phobias and hang-ups; God can change you. Even if you’ve been a worrier all your life, you don’t have to worry for the rest of your life. So what if you were born in poverty or prejudice? You don’t have to die that way. Where did you get the idea that you can’t change? What’s the source of comments such as “It’s just my nature to worry,” or “I’ll always be pessimistic; I’m just that way,” or “I come from a family of alcoholics and addicts so I’ll never be free”? Would you make the same statement about your physical body? “It’s just my nature to have a broken leg. I can’t do anything about it.” Of course not. If your body malfunctions, you seek help. Shouldn’t you do the same with your sinful appetites, sour attitudes, and selfish tirades? What the world sees as trash, God sees as treasure. And like the potter, He can take you, mould you, and make you into a vessel of honour (See 2 Timothy 2:21). All you have to do is place your life in His hands. We sing, “Have Thine own way, Lord, have Thine own way. Thou art the potter, I am the clay.” When you stop trying to change yourself and surrender to God, true and lasting change takes place.
Soul food: 1 Cor 12-14; Mark 15:21-32; Ps 60; Prov 25:21-22