Category Archives: Runnaway Thoughts

Hang on to your magic carpet!

Serkan was a magic carpet rider. He came from a long family line of magic carpet riders; and as such he was respected and well known.

One day he was travelling from his hometown to the near-by mountain range, in order to milk the goats and feed the flock. As he surveyed the rugged and sandy countryside he thought about magic carpet flying: “I wonder where this power comes from?”

So he fancied himself to some unchartered musings about the origin of these powers. Particularly one line of thought reappeared: “the power must be with me”. The more he thought on this, the more truthful it appeared to him. He got bold: “I don’t think I need this rugged rag any longer!”, he exclaimed triumphantly.

Certain that his new found conviction would measure up to reality he stood up from his seated position and stepped towards the edge of the flying rug. As he saw the ground move ever so quickly underneath him, some slight doubt crept in, and so he resolved to keep one hand on the tapestry.

And then he did the unthinkable: fully convinced that the magic of the ride would lie within himself he pulled the carpet underneath himself out, chin high, chest out, expecting to hover alongside the old, stinking rag.

He didn’t even last a split-second.

There was Serkan, hanging onto his magic carpet, being dragged through the air. It was a sight for sore eyes, to be sure. The Bedouin shepherds underneath him could not help but crack into laughter: “look at this fool, he thinks he’s a falcon.” And “the fool” hang on for dear life.

Ok, so this story is just fiction. Not even all elements of the story hold up to magic carpet stories. But I have made that story up to illustrate a point:

The magic of flying through the air lay in the carpet. Our anti-hero was defined over and against the magical instrument, he was a “magic carpet rider”. Apart from this (albeit fictional) phenomena he would not have ever known anything about magic carpet riding, true?

Now, I have met and read of many a person that takes on the name of a follower of Jesus Christ (aka Christian). Where on earth do they get this idea from that such a person ever existed? If you ask them why and what they believe they would sight something out of the Bible, or at least speak of an “experience” that, upon closer examination, unmasks itself as a personalized version of what has been read in the Scriptures.

I have never heard anyone, who claims to be a follower of Christ, to have come to his knowledge about Him by mere contemplation … or maybe the reading of tea leaves.

No.

Knowledge of God (Yahweh) and Jesus Christ is, at least in its essential details, inalterably connected with the Bible. The definition of these two realities comes from this book. God has, in a special way (apart from nature, which is a general revelation), revealed himself to mankind. And He did so in language, a medium with rules and regulations precisely because one cannot just do with it whatever fancy dictates.

Apart from the Bible there is no Christianity.

Why? Well, because the very existence of that term and its essential features comes from the Bible. And, for this term to mean anything at all, it comes from a “natural reading” (a reading that takes into considerations the rules and regulations) of the language contained therein.

That associative title, Christian, would be devoid of any reality and sense if the Bible was just a mere story book, to be interpreted by shear whim. The title relates to a very definitive body of knowledge that, apart from Scripture, is just non-existent.

So now, when there are people that claim to be Christians, and yet deny the truthfulness and veracity of the Bible, then they act like Serkan in my story above: they are pulling the magic carpet out underneath them.

The result?

The same as in the story. Once they have no ground to stand on any longer they fall. However, because they do realize their dilemma, they still keep one hand on the carpet; a witness to their folly.

The world looks at this and reacts like the Bedouin shepherds. People are not stupid when it comes to intellectual dishonesty. They laugh at this “Christianity” (of course, without discernment generalizing all into this) and put it aside as yet another assault to reason.

They turn around and leave. Wagging their heads. Shacking off the life saving message as a joke (considering the witness given to them by liberal Christianity that is understandable).

And then they die into terror.

And you want to be responsible for that?

Please stop kidding yourself and stop lying to others. Unless you are truly convinced of the truthfulness of Scripture stop calling yourself what you are not.

You are not a “liberal Christian”. You are not “enlighented”, in fact, to quote Paul in Romans 1:21, you are “futile in [your] thinking, and [your] foolish heart [was] darkened”.

Not light but darkness. Not wisdom, but folly.

And please, hear me on this: I am not after you as a person. I don’t get kicks out of attacking an individual. But what grates my carrot is the philosophy you subscribe to. It is inconsistent, intellectually dishonest, wilfully misleading and serves to erode the one message that does have the power to save (c.f. Romans 1:26-27).

Do yourself, and the world, a favour and stop pretending. It will be easier for all involved.

And it might just lift the veil you are wearing. Maybe then you can see the truth, in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:6).

So, hang on to your magic carpet!

1 Comment

Filed under Apologetics, Convictions, Feuer!, Heresies, Runnaway Thoughts

Flying lesson

“but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

(Isa 40:31)

 

When you read things like this, i wonder what you think about. Do you think success in life? Do you think money raining down on you? Do you think health, wealth and prosperity? Do you think family, children, marriage … i wonder what you think.

We love to take powerful verses like this and rip it out of context, because we love what it seems to promise. Did you ever read the chapters leading up to this? From Ahaz to Hezekiah? What is God speaking about in chapter 40?

Here is a quick thought about “mounting up with wings like eagles”, a quick flying lesson, if you will:

You need to know that between Isaiah 6 and 40 there is a lot of stuff happening. You need to know that the people who read this first where awaiting the Messiah. Was it Ahaz? A most resounding no! In fact, he was likely the worst of them all. So, no! Bad. Bad Ahaz!

Oh, maybe then it was Hezekiah? I mean, he lived a faithful live, didn’t he? Sort of, but not really. He must have looked like the One for quite some time when he was reforming the worship in Judah, tearing down pagan altars and rebelling against Sennacherib. But he had his issues. Isaiah 39 ends with his ridiculous statement of “after me the flood!” (i.e. as long as things are going well when i am alive).

God’s people, the Jews (here Judah), had been through a lot. They have endured ransacking, bad kings, near destruction (the northern kingdom was taken away completely – and all their own doing too) and still no sign of the Messiah. Hezekiah died. Still no Messiah.

The Babylonians came and took also Judah out of the Promised Land. The Temple was destroyed, all hope dashed to pieces. And in the midst of that God says “comfort, comfort my people!”  (Isa 40)

When you are going through serious times, with enemies at the gate, the earth shaking and moving (Ps 46:1-7) where are you looking to? Are you also looking for salvation, or are you also losing hope?

We have this strange idea that God will be “mounting [us] up with wings like eagles” through comfort and success. The context says “no ways!” Have you ever thought about how eagles “mount up”, how they fly? Well, they don’t fly by flying away from where the wind comes from. No, they fly against the wind. That’s how they get drift.

And the way your life gets “drift” is the same way. The way to mount “up with wings like eagles” is to fly straight into the wind and then “be still and know” that He is God (Ps 46:10). He will lift you up. It is always He who does the lifting and strengthening, but you better be prepared to face the wind head on. We like to be “saved” by getting away from the danger, by lack of troubles and presence of security … a heaven on earth. But not with God. True faith grows like bacteria on alfalfa when it encounters trouble.

Don’t run away from the wind. If you do, then God says “there will be no flying today my son!”

Read Isaiah 40 and know who God is. Hang on to the cross and face the wind. Set your sight on what is to come, eyes wide open, fixed on Him. That’s how you fly.

In Him

2 Comments

Filed under Convictions, Devotional Musings, Runnaway Thoughts

Zealous for Christ’s Calvinism/ Calvinist Couch Potatoes

If the title has seduced you (wow, never thought I could use seduce positively) then my goal is achieved. This is my first time writing for ‘Fresh Words for Young Minds’. Hope you all enjoy it. I have been chatting lately with my friend Michael (from ‘Living Waters SA www.TenThousandDollarOffer.com); we notice, as I’m sure you do, that among the reformed, of any age, there appears to be a deadness… A blandness even… A lack of life. We all want sound expository preaching, and we mind our T’s, U’s, L’s, I’s and P’s (was that a bit to much? 🙂 ) We attend prayer meetings, go to conferences and really just generally gorge ourselves on some good solid Pink maybe some Gill (hyper dude, bit of a shame). But as some of the pagan prophets of our time say, “where is the love” (Note: I don’t think they are really prophets, was just trying to be cool like when Paul did it)

Yet if we look at men like Spurgeon, Calvin, Bunyan and Whitefield , modern day guys like MacArthur and Piper they all had (and have, that being the living ones) such an evangelistic zeal, such a fire for truth, such a depth of humility, such a love of the saints… Where is that today? Why is the same system of theology (I reject it as a system by the way, but thats another topic) that made them so on fire, turning our people today into Calvinistic Couch Potatoes?

Tyrell… What is a Calvinistic Couch Potatoes, is it a reformed dude, that watches too much TV?

Well, my dear Omnesimus (thats is a general term of endearment to you dear reader), A Calvinistic couch potatoes is one that that has this intellectual assent (acceptance) of the Doctrines of grace, which develops into a snobbery of intellectual dominance (they think they are smart cause they understand it, and now know the truth), which results in them gorging more and more, as I expressed in the beginning, thus become Calvinists in the head, but not the heart.

I don’t have this down, just the other day I stuck the Scripture on my door “Pride comes before the fall, and a haughty spirit before destruction” to remind myself every time before I leave my house; that blessed are the meek, and poor in Spirit, cause I forget all the time.

The following is part of an email I received, from friend (Michael, the dude I mention earlier), not sure where he got it from, but it really captured this for me:

The upsurge of Calvinism on the Internet in the 1990s seems to have spawned a large and unprecedented movement of jejune Calvinists who wear arrogance as if it were the team uniform. That kind of hotshot, shoot-from-the-hip Calvinism is ugly. I don’t blame anyone for being appalled by it. I’m worried about those who think it’s a good thing.

Obviously those criticisms are mostly generalizations, and they don’t necessarily apply to every Calvinist on the Internet. But (and here’s the hard part) I’m willing to admit that there have been times when every one of those criticisms could be legitimately applied to something I wrote or posted to a public forum somewhere. I’ll especially confess to my shame that I’m too much of a polemicist and not enough of an evangelist.

Historic Calvinism is not supposed to be that way. Yes, Calvinism is virile; it’s relentless when it comes to truth; and it’s not always easy to swallow. But it is full of truths that should humble us and fill us with compassion rather than swagger and conceit. The best Calvinism has always been fervently evangelistic, large-hearted, benevolent, merciful, and forgiving. After all, that’s what the doctrines of grace are supposed to be all about.

Until we get back there, some of the lumps the Reformed movement is currently taking are well-deserved.

And meanwhile, my advice to young Calvinists is to learn your theology from the historic mainstream Calvinist authors, not from blogs and discussion forums on the Internet. Some of the forums may be helpful in pointing you to more important resources. But if you think of them as a surrogate for seminary, you’re probably going to become an ugly Calvinist-and if you get hit in the face with a rotten egg, you probably deserve it.

Well, thats just my thoughts for now, will check in soon. Pray my brothers (and sisters), may God be gracious to us, may we love our Lord as much as we love of theology, no, more so.

2 Comments

Filed under Blogroll, Blogspotting, Runnaway Thoughts

Musings on the N1, #1

This morning i read in John Piper’s devotional book “Taste and See” about the two sides of God, namely Love and … well Him being God. He speaks there about the problem that often we want one but leave the other, or, that we are out of balance, leaning towards one side.

It got me thinking about who God is, while driving to work.

I got stuck on Jesus being the creator of all things. I was musing the fact that this world seems nothing like what we would expect it to be. I was wondering about some doubts that are expressed by unbelievers (and us at times alike) when they say that “how can there be a God when the world looks like it is?” I used to scorn at this question.

Not that i have changed my basic position, but I see now the vast gap between what and who God is and what we and this world is. In this context this question is a vital one; or rather the answer to that question.

Let’s just think for a moment who God is:

God is perfect. That means everything He does, is and encompasses is flawless.

God is holy. That means He is absolutely different from us. He is not a man, but spirit. His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways not our ways. His desires not our desires. He alone can make a claim to be worshipped. We worship Him because it is right.

God is good. That means that everything that happens under His control is for the good of everything (including you and me). It also means that nothing non-good can originate from Him. He is essentially good. We worship Him because it the best thing for us as well.

God is absolutely sovereign. That means that He is control of all things, at all times. Nothing in creation can stay His hand.

God is love. That means that God is longsuffering, out for the best of all of creation.

God is just. That means that no injustice exists with Him and His economy. It means that He can be forgiving as well as judging.

God is all-powerful (or omnipotent). That means that He can do everything He wants to do.

God is everywhere present (or omnipresent). That means that there is no place on this earth where God is not fully present in all His power and the rest of His attributes.

God is eternal. That means that for Him there is no past, present or future, everything happens at the same time.

God is also all-knowing (omniscient). That means there is nothing that evades his mind. He knows things before they happen (s.o).

God is a consuming fire. His holiness and perfection make Him unapproachable. He is fierce against ungodliness and His self proclaimed enemies.

God is righteous. That means He is not out there to trip people up. He is the defender of the helpless, the healer of the sick, the comforter of the lonely, the judge of the guilty, the avenger of the guiltless …

And many more things. Read your Bible.

Now. If we look at God how He picture Himself in Scripture, we see this amazing and pure God. The more we go one about His attributes the more awe struck we get (or should at least). He is everything that encompasses good, right, perfect and just.

Then the question this morning was: “why do I not see it in creation then?”.

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” (Gen 1:31)

All things were created in accordance with His character. I look around me and is see the complete opposite of that. Car fumes hugging the city like a giant cheese lid. People driving as if they got bonuses from killing others. I live in a country where you can’t open the newspapers anymore because of all the crime and violence that is reported. People are dying around us because others just don’t care about life. Every day we read of rape, women in the 60s, women in their 40’s, women in their 20’s and yes, even babies. Every day you can get another story of a family wiped out house breaking thieves … just for the heck of it. You read of people getting shot 8 times just because they were cooperative.

You read and hear about failing marriages, globally. In some parts of the world you have a 50% divorce rate, steadily climbing. You have people stealing from friends, impregnating girlfriends, ruining campuses because the fees are too high, burning trains, leaving family behind, abandoning babies and children, cursing loved ones, hating each other and being hated, blowing themselves and 50 others to pieces because of a lie, selling women for pleasure, degrading the elderly because of “uselessness”. We have become so accustomed to throw everything away that we deem “useless” that our morality went as one of the first things. You have countries glory in the fact that they hate God, even though historically their very comfort zones bear witness to their foolishness. It truly is a global “and everybody did what was right in their own eyes” (like in the time of the Judges).

We have an economy of people that disregard, hate, malign, swear at, make fun, curse and flat out ignore their very maker. We have a society that reckons themselves to be “ok” just because they sit in a building with a guy sharing his twisted thoughts on world peace, or reading from the guestbook (as witnessed in a church in Germany).

We all believe that we are good people doing bad things, that good trees can produce bad fruit in its entirety.

We live in a world that reckons evil to be good and good to be evil, white to be black and black to be white. The trend today is to self-deification, i.e. ‘i make the rules’. We esteem intellectualism over mercy and in the process become fools, because we have become “wise in our own eyes”. Today, as super intellectuals, we have even “grown out of” the idea that things are mutually exclusive. In our “intellectual society” we glory in the fact that everybody can have their own absolute truth … or better yet, that there is no absolute truth at all (except that statement, of course). It is a world and society that lifts up its hands in sheer glee on its way to self-destruction.

Do get how that is SO different from who God is? Do you see how the question to “where is God” is really not that silly? I actually think it to be good sign, if somebody asks me that after i showed them God, because that means they understood what God is saying about Himself.

Yes, He is HOLY!

But why does God not interfere? Why does He not come down and rain hell on all this unrighteousness, selfishness, godlessness, murder and crime? Is He blind? Can he not see? Is He distant? Or maybe He is just “opium for the people”, a rationalisation of the desperate?

I will submit to you that God is doing something about it. In fact He is doing it right now. What He does is actually in complete accordance with His character. He remains just , He remains love. He is both God and love.

God is patient because He loves: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. ” (2Pe 3:9)

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. ” (Rom 1:18)

The wrath of God is already being revealed. He is busy judging people already by letting them do what they want to do (Rom 1:24). But His final judgment is still outstanding (c.f. Col 3:5-6, Rom 12:19).

So, God is being God and he shows His love by not just clean sweeping the whole place.

But what is He doing about this evil that we so easily cling to?

Instead of doing the just thing, by destroying all ungodliness, He chose to have Himself pay for our evil. He died, in His Son, on the cross for you and me, so we can go free and have a new life (a second chance, if you will). He makes us new creatures.

And it is in this that He does something about this place. What is that? Well, it’s the changing of the world by the changing of hearts; one by one. This changing is the faith in Jesus Christ, the exact image of God, the righteous creator and finisher of all things.

The question is, will you trust in this message, or do you keep on searching for “signs and wonders” that could show that God is really in control? He is in control, you know? But He works in ways we don’t expect it … in the microcosm.

Be encouraged to hang on to this in a time where hope seems a withering word, wiser and more happy generations once new.

In the supremacy of Christ in all things!

Leave a comment

Filed under Devotional Musings, Preaching, Runnaway Thoughts

silence of God

Here are some word, pened by Andrew Peterson. The song is called “Silence of God”. I so love his music because it describes a real Christian, not the “all is well everyday” one. Christianity is not about winning! The winning has been done by Christ.

Anyway … here it is:

Silence of God 

It’s enough to drive a man crazy; it’ll break a man’s faith
It’s enough to make him wonder if he’s ever been sane (thought he sang “saved”, would have fitted so well too!)
When he’s bleating for comfort from Thy staff and Thy rod
And the heaven’s only answer is the silence of God

It’ll shake a man’s timbers when he loses his heart
When he has to remember what broke him apart
This yoke may be easy, but this burden is not
When the crying fields are frozen by the silence of God

And if a man has got to listen to the voices of the mob
Who are reeling in the throes of all the happiness they’ve got
When they tell you all their troubles have been nailed up to that cross
Then what about the times when even followers get lost?
‘Cause we all get lost sometimes…

There’s a statue of Jesus on a monastery knoll
In the hills of Kentucky, all quiet and cold
And He’s kneeling in the garden, as silent as a Stone
All His friends are sleeping and He’s weeping all alone

And the man of all sorrows, he never forgot
What sorrow is carried by the hearts that he bought
So when the questions dissolve into the silence of God
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not
In the holy, lonesome echo of the silence of God

… and all we know as Christians is that God never remains silent!

in love

Thomas

1 Comment

Filed under Runnaway Thoughts

What makes a good blogger?

To be sure, there are many bloggers out there that have tripple the vocabulary that i posses. There are people that have an amazing way of writing. There are also people (and specifically amongst the Christian guilde) that are widely read and extremely clever.

Having read through a few of those blogs (specifically their comments) i mused on the question of what makes a (christian) blogger pertinent?

I have come to the conclusion that all the above mention attributes one can possess are helpful in a way, yet they cannot give that ultimate ‘umpf’.

I am convinced that a useful (christian) blogger is one who is regularly in the school of the Master, by prayer and Bible study.

Now, Thomas, put your foot where your mouth is …

because of Him

T

Leave a comment

Filed under Runnaway Thoughts