Keep together (1)

2017-05-11
1 Corinthians 13:4 MSG

Imagine you’re married. You and your husband/wife never disagree about anything and never get cross or annoy each other. Household chores are shared equally. Your priorities are identical. You hate spending time apart because you’re completely happy in each other’s company. And you’ve probably guessed by now that we’re not being completely realistic here. We can get so caught up in the idea of a ‘perfect marriage’ (think about all the ‘happily ever after’ stories you heard when you were little), that when we finally are in a serious relationship, reality can clash with the fantasy world we’ve built up in our minds. We forget that every relationship is made up of imperfect people with weaknesses and failings. So if we’re banking on perfection in a romantic relationship, we’re going to be disappointed when the difficulties and stresses of life start to test it. Perhaps we need to re-think our definition of a ‘perfect marriage’. The Bible tells us: ‘Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have…Isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others…always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end’ (1 Corinthians 13:4- 7 MSG). Unselfish love like this keeps us together. If two people who fall in love are willing to both stand together in love through whatever challenges of life they’ll face, they’re a pretty formidable team. It might not be all fairy tales and flowers, but isn’t that a great definition of a perfect marriage to aim for?

Verootmoedig jouself

2017-05-09
Daniël 4:34 NLV

God reageer altyd op ‘n nederige hart en Hy verwerp altyd ‘n trotse hart. Een oomblik het koning Nebukadnesar nog gespog dat hy die wêreld se mees gevorderde samelewing gebou het. Die volgende oomblik het hy sy verstand verloor, handeviervoet rondgekruip en soos ‘n dier gras geëet. Toe hy egter berou gekry het, het God sy koningskap aan hom teruggegee. Hy het gesê, ‘Ná hierdie tyd verby was, het ek, Nebukadnesar, opgekyk boontoe. Ek het weer tot my sinne gekom… As gevolg hiervan loof en verheerlik ek, Nebukadnesar, die Koning van die hemel. Alles wat Hy doen, is waar. Wat Hy doen is reg. Almal wat hoogmoedig is kan Hy verneder’ (verse 34, 37 NLV). Om te val is al erg genoeg; maar om te val en nie vir hulp te vra nie, of om te weier om berou oor jou sondes te hê, is erger as die val self. Miskien kry jy skaam om enigiemand te laat weet dat jy geval het. Is jou openbare beeld egter so belangrik dat jy sal voortgaan om in jou ellendige toestand te lewe? Is jy so mislei dat jy weier om jou behoefte aan God te erken? Hou op om so trots te wees! Is dit nie wat jou val in die eerste plek veroorsaak het nie? Hoogmoed is gevaarlik, omdat dit jou dwing om hulpeloos vir dae – en selfs jare – te lê. Die waarheid is egter dat as jy vroeër vir hulp gevra het, kon jy lankal opgestaan en met jou lewe aangegaan het. Die goeie nuus is egter dat dit nooit te laat is om berou te hê en jou behoefte aan God te erken nie. Toe Nebukadnesar dit gedoen het, het sy rede en verstand teruggekeer en het hy sy koningskap teruggekry. Dieselfde kan met jou gebeur.

Humble yourself


Daniel 4:34 NKJV

God always responds in love to a humble heart, and He always rejects a proud one. One moment King Nebuchadnezzar was boasting about having built the world’s most advanced civilization. The next moment he’d lost his mind and was crawling on all fours, eating grass like an animal. But when he repented, God restored him to his throne. He said: “I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me… Now I…praise…the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (vv. 34, 37 NKJV). To fall is bad enough; but to fall and not cry out for help, or refuse to repent of your sin, is worse than the fall itself. Maybe you’re ashamed to let anyone know you’ve fallen. Is your public image so important that you’re willing to continue on in your pitiful state? Are you so deceived that you refuse to acknowledge you need God? Stop being so proud! Isn’t that what caused you to fall in the first place? Pride is dangerous because it forces you to languish needlessly in a helpless state for days – sometimes years. The truth is, if you’d asked for help sooner you could have gotten up and gone on with your life. But the good news is – it’s not too late to repent and acknowledge your need of God. When Nebuchadnezzar did that, his reason and understanding returned.

Where humility leaves you


Daniel 4:34 NKJV

When we’re at our lowest, when we’ve sinned, or when we feel utterly left out or overlooked, right then we can choose to run after humility, or run after pride. It’s up to us. But if we choose humility, God loves to step in. God always rejects a proud heart, but he responds in love to a humble one. Both happened to King Nebuchadnezzar: one moment he was boasting about having built the world’s most advanced civilisation, the next he’d lost his mind and was crawling on all fours, eating grass like donkey. But when he looked up to heaven humbly, God restored him. He said: ‘I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me…Now I…praise…the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down’ (vv. 34, 37 NKJV). When you feel like you’ve got absolutely nothing left, and you look up to God, He does miracles. Pride’s dangerous because it forces you to loiter helplessly. Eventually you feel stuck forever, even though if you’d asked for help sooner you could have got up and gone on with your life. But the good news is, it’s never too late to repent (in other words, radically change everything), and acknowledge you need God. When Nebuchadnezzar did that, his whole mind returned, and he found it easy to praise God.

Calvary was always part of God’s plan

2017-04-14
Isaiah 53:10 MSG

The Psalmist wrote: “My God, why have You forsaken Me…I am…a reproach of men, and despised…All those who see Me ridicule Me…saying, ‘He trusted in the Lord…let Him deliver Him’…I am poured out like water…My bones are out of joint…My tongue clings to My jaws…They pierced My hands and…feet…and for My clothing they cast lots” (Psalm 22:1-18 NKJV). Think about it: David could be describing Jesus’ crucifixion in detail. Yet when he wrote these words crucifixion hadn’t been introduced as a form of execution. It was initiated centuries later by the Phoenicians, and long after that before it was adopted by the Roman Empire. Dr. Charles Augustus Briggs says: “You can take this psalm…lay it side-by-side with New Testament accounts of the crucifixion… and see how they dovetail perfectly. It’s astonishing that someone could describe something so intimately and intricately a thousand years before it happened.” Calvary wasn’t the result of happenstance. Long before Jesus came on the scene, God had a plan to reconcile us to Himself through Christ (See 2 Corinthians 5:18 NIV). Historian Paul L. Maier says: “In Isaiah chapter 53 we have almost a running commentary on what happened on Good Friday…It would be mathematically impossible for anyone else to fulfill all these parameters of prophecy in the Old Testament better than Jesus.” Bottom line: “It’s what God had in mind all along…that he give himself as an offering for sin.” That means long before there was an Easter, God was thinking about you!