01 October 2010

5 Reasons Why Weddings Make Parents Happy

You want to make your parents happy? Get married!

Seriously, why do parents get so happy when their children get married? Just a few weeks ago my foster sister got married. On the eve of the wedding, just the night before, there was an unmistakable aura. The mood in the house was gloomy. You couldn't miss it. I didn't want to be part and parcel of what I thought didn't make sense but I couldn't really help it. I mean she'd literally live across the road from us, what was the big deal, why be depressed?! She wasn't going anywhere! 24 hours later we were all laughing and enjoying the evening, watching the pictures and videos shot during the whole event, it was great. My parents were especially proud and happy and having noticed it in the parents in most of the past weddings, it left me wondering, why? Why are parents especially happy at weddings? Well, atleast five reasons:

1) Its a final and definate indicator that their child has fully grown and matured.

Granted, there are many indicators of a child's maturity and growth. The physical growth, the taking up of greater responsibilities, the completion of high school and tertiary education, leaving the home, etc. But when a child gets married, the parents can pretty much rest assured that their child has fully matured. The very fact that the their child has formed a family of his/her own is testimony to the child's complete independence.

2) The prospect of grandchildren?

Need I say more? Maybe just alittle... There is obviously something gratifying about seeing one's ofspring's ofspring. Many times God pronounces posterity as a blessing to his servants (or a lack thereof as a punishment for disobedience, Isaiah 48:19). He tells Abraham that he will have as many children as the sand on the seashore or stars in the sky, Genesis 22:17.

3) It gives them a sense of achievement.

I've never raised a child but I would imagine that it is a daunting task. With the evilone working just as had to ruin the child's life as the parent is working to make something out of it, not withstanding the fact that parents make mistakes of their own, it is qiute an achievement to raise a child successfully even to a point of complete independence. If a parent has been a failure in all other spheres of life, they can throw the wedding photo of their child into their portifolio.

4) It relieves them.

These days, I feel highly indebted to my parents. I feel like I've given them enough trouble and worries that I feel its time I began the impossible task of paying them back. I am pretty sure I, along with my collegues am to blame for the grey hairs. When a child gets married, in many senses, its one less child to worry about!

5) It brings them honour.

In a world where many young people are not serious about life and are either dragging their feet to develop themselves and improve their wellbeing or messing their lives altogether, it is an honours a parent when a child makes something of themselves and achieves a point of independence and self sustainance whereby they can even wed.

Well, there you have it!

24 September 2010

On My Birthday

Every so often, the Lord, through His people, encourages me to continue writing on this blog. I say the Lord because they tend to come at times when I lose zeal perhaps or when I've been too busy to write. There are also times when I feel like a complete hypocrite (even contemplating throwing in the towel) with all my mistakes and failures and yet God continues to affirm His will for me to continue writing here. These nuggets of encouragement are too well timed to be coincidences and I'd like to share one. These come from various people from various places, sometimes by comments, word of mouth or emails. This particular one I got from Malaysia, today, via email and on my birthday! Coincidence? I think not. Thankyou to all who encourage me to continue by telling me about how helpful, encouraging, entertaining, thought provoking etc, they find my blog to be.

Thanks to my Dad, especially, for linking my blog on his busier blog inspite the risk involved (who knows what silly things I could have and probably have written). On this day when I've turned 22, I'm thankful to God for everything He has given and done for me. Special thanks to Carmichael H Singh whose name I have not even attempted to pronounce (let alone finish reading) as it is a tongue and brain twister. Thankyou for you email Carmichael H Singh:

Hello There

My name is Michael Haftar Singh and I am writing to you from hot humid Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia.

My reason for writing to you is say that I came across your site by chance, when I “googled” Is Obama a Christian President and your site is full of information for so many, and covers many aspects of good reading.

I am fascinated by your first and last name, I assume (though I am been told, plenty of times not to) your is an African name.

Anyhow, thank you for creating a wonderful site and my pray for you, is for the LORD to open the windows of heaven and pour down HIS blessing into your barn, till it so full that you would have to share this blessing with others. Amen!

God Bless and have a productive and safe week, month, year and decade.

Carmichael H Singh

17 September 2010

Soon To Be One

To Bwalya and Vernon, on the eve of their wedding:

Its busy, this evening, in our little hut,
reminiscent of bees around a beehive,
Some going in, others going out.

Some hover outside and others buzz busily on the inside.
Soon things will settle down as everybody disperses,
For in the morrow, the knot will be tied.

Its not about the suits or dresses, the hustle and bustle,
Nor is it about the hair or makeup, the decor or food,
Its about two people soon to be one.

This evening I saw them in the church,
Holding hands as they practiced their vows
With eyes fixed on each other without a flinch.

Its all about two people soon to be one
Let the glory be God's, the one who created the pair,
The architect of the love that they share.

14 September 2010

Criticizing The Cook

I remember when I was a child (some would argue that I still am), and was at the dinning table for a meal with my family. We prayed together and dug in. My foster sister had prepared the meal as usual. This time, something wasn't quite right. It was a long time ago and I don't recall what was wrong with it or what I said out loudly to let everyone know my grievances. What followed has remained with me to date. I got the worst scolding ever. I was rebuked so badly that I thought I had committed one of the top 5 sins known to man. Never again did I ever criticize someones cooking, at least not out loud! Even now, doing so is just not an option.

After I was rebuked by my parents (I think it was my mother), I never thought about it again really. I just knew never to do it again. The next time I thought about it was when I was in South Africa. I was staying with my Uncle and his family over there for a while. When I went to be with them, I remember sitting at the table that first evening and exhaling a sigh of relief and accomplishment having succeeded in leaving "Nshima land". I thought I'd never eat Nshima again for as long as I'd be there. My eyes almost fell out of their sockets when the dish lids were removed and there stood in front of me, a pile of Nshima. And I was even more disappointed to find that they ate it more than we did back home. Anyway, I remember one evening settling down to eat with fellow dependants when during the meal, the oldest criticized the cooking of one of the young ladies who had prepared the meal. I braced myself expecting to see some object flying towards the face of the critic or someone rebuke him for doing what he did, but nothing happened!

That happened many times after that and each time I looked at the face of the criticized cook, I realised why I got in trouble for doing so even as a child. Here is someone who is not getting paid to put in all those half hours and all that effort, and perhaps cooks for the family several evenings a week as weeks turn to months and months to years. Surely that person must be praised and thanked and not criticized. Even if their cooking is a four on a scale of one to ten, they should be honoured just for doing it. Probably the only person who is at liberty to criticize would be the fellow or co-cook. And so that experience in SA reinforced what I had learnt at home, "never criticize the cook".

04 September 2010

When Love So Desires

I sent this article to Dr. Claude Mariottini, the Professor of Old Testament at Northern Baptist Seminary in Illinois, USA (whose blog I follow, click here to visit his blog) asking him to assist me by letting me know what he thought of it. He was very kind and took time out to do so. Needless to say, I was found *very wanting yea even begging. I've attached his thoughts below the write up: Enjoy.

Of the 1005 songs Solomon wrote (1 Kings 4:32), one is considered to be his finest and is thus called Solomon's song of songs (Song of Songs 1:1). For some strange reason some believe it not to be his song either entirely or partly. I'll go with the text- 1:1. It is a brilliant and graphic description of the love between a lover and his beloved. In the course of this great poem, Solomon mentions a particular phrase at least three times over. The wisest man who ever lived admonishes, in the voice of the beloved (the woman), the daughters of Jerusalem (other women) not to arouse or awaken love until 'it' so desires. This phrase occurs after some sort of embrace in all three cases:

Song of Songs 2: 6-7 ~His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me. Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

Song of Songs 3: 4-5 ~Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves. I held him and would not let him go till I had brought him to my mother's house, to the room of the one who conceived me. Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.
Song of Songs 8: 3-4 ~His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me. Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

This raises all sorts of questions. Perhaps I should squeeze in a disclaimer before I go any further. Having done no studies in Hebrew or Greek, I am working with the NIV's translation, something which implies the possibility of error.

Now, I do not believe that this wise man and writer of this song, Solomon, would have done anything for no reason and would like to pick out a few things.

  1. The woman (beloved) is the most vocal in the entire song/poem. 
  2. The statement is uttered three times.
  3. The statement is uttered by the woman particularly on all three occasions.
  4. The statement (do not awaken love...) occurs after some sort of embrace each particular time.

First of all, the most prominent voice/speaker in this poem is that of the beloved (woman). This must not be ignored. I think Solomon was on to something. Its almost as if the woman is 'more in love' than the man. This comes as no suprise for that is the way God has ordained things to be. In my defence of this position I have two arguments, one lying on top of the other. The first and foundational argument is scriptural (thank God).
Genesis 3:16 ~To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

Just as a side note, I think the New Living Translation along with the Douay-Rheims Bible go off on a tangent here, they say respectively:

~Then he said to the woman, "I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you."

~To the woman also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband's power, and he shall have dominion over thee.

Well, that aside, there is my first argument. God has created women to have a unique and strong desire for their husbands and this regardless whether they have a husband or not. It is actually unfortunate, in my opinion how much time young women spend fantasising about their Knight-in-shining-armor-to-be, about courtship and about the wedding and ring etc. A young man will be content to be independent, with a job and living either with friends or by himself for a while. Not so, young women. They wouldn't mind leaving their father's house to go straight into marriage and live with their husbands. That is how God has wired them.

For a man, that in-between stage of independence from parents and commitment to wife is one he would not want to miss out on. But young women, they'd do just fine without it. Young ladies can get so consumed with getting into courtship and marriage. When they do get into courtship, they are soon overwhelmed with love for their partner. The young man is quite satisfied to know that he has secured the young lady for himself and can now concentrate on other things. This is not to say that he is not in love with the young lady but unlike her he can occupy himself with other things. This follows the women into marriage where they are satisfied only when their husband is beside them. (Am sure a couple of women after reading this will exclaim, "how dare he..."). This is lessened when children come along, but after the children enter teenage years (and become somewhat independent), the women revert to their husbands. It is simply a fulfilment of what God told Eve. The husband on the other end loves his wife no less but can easily be occupied with work and gadgets and appointments and sports, etc. But not the wife, her desire is for her husband. And that is why I am convinced that the woman's (beloved) voice in the Song of Songs is the most vocal. That is why she is restless until her lover is beside her.

My second argument which builds on the first is that God introduced betrothal in seeking to protect the heart and emotions of young women, knowing that he has set the hearts of women to desire their husband. When a man's father found him a wife in the Old Testament, the young woman was betrothed to the man and even though they only married months later, she was as good as his wife. Once a girl was betrothed to you, the only escape was death! Well, if she misbehaved you could leave her and it would be said that you divorced her! The best example being Joseph who planned to divorce Mary (called his wife when they weren't married yet) secretly when they hadn't even married yet, Matthew 1:18-19. Betrothal, therefore, was a way of protecting this tendancy God gave to the woman to desire, dare I say in a bid to paraphrase, "live" for or towards her husband or boyfriend or fiancee.

God protected the hearts of young women of that day from being broken by betrothal. In fact, men to whom women were betrothed were not allowed to go to war lest they perish and grieve the hearts of the women they left behind.

Secondly notice that apart from the woman being most vocal in the book, it is she who warns the daughters of Jerusalem not to awaken love until it so desires in all three cases. This again, I say, is not a coincidence. I think Solomon is trying to communicate something. Why wasn't it the man even just once? Well, this woman, has experienced the great feeling of requited love. She has felt the awesome experience of being consumed with love for another who is equally consumed with love for her. It has caused her to go through emotions that she has never gone through before. And she knows fully well that if a girl too young to experience such emotions were to do so, the outcome could even destroy her. She realises that these feelings and emotions are too intense for someone immature to handle. And at three seperate times when she is in the arms of her lover as he speaks to her and her to him and they are there overwhelmed with love for each other she turns to the girls watching on. She knows that they can't wait for their turn because it was once her watching on. And so she cautions them, "Young girls, do not awaken these emotions and these feelings too early!" Yes its great to be in love, but at the wrong time it can be destructive. At the peak of her feelings of love and emotion towards this man, as they embrace, she remembers her younger years and knows how destructive it would have been to go through such a thing when she was younger and immature. She therefore turns to the younger girls watching on and cautions them.

The feelings and emotions of love are just as intense for the man and thus it is not prudent for boys to experience them. And so this caution can be applied to both. It is unwise to enter a relationship when too young. How do you know that you are mature and old enough to handle these feelings and emotions? Well, thats were parents and guardians come in. Those who watch over you and know you inside out. They can tell you when you're ready because your welfare is closest to their heart. This book speaks to the husband who neglects his wife while giving attention to everything else. It speaks to the young man who enters the relationship with a young lady and does not take care to regulate the rate at which their hearts are knit together causing the young lady to be overwhelmed with love for someone who is not yet positioned to wed her. It speaks also to the young man who after engaging the heart of this lady begins to contemplate leaving her for invalid reasons. It says to them that they should not be ignorant and must therefore tread circumspectly. We must all be wise and be careful not to awaken love until the time is right.

Dear Mwindula,

Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope the material you are reading in my blog is helpful to you.

I have read the material you sent me and I have a few comments about what you wrote:

1. It is quite certain that Solomon did not write Song of Songs. The Hebrew of the text is late and contains many words that reflect the Aramaic of post-exilic times.

2. In your presentation, Solomon is the lover of the woman. However, it is possible that there are three people involved in the story: Solomon, the woman, and the shepherd. If there are three people, then Solomon wants to bring the woman to his palace but the woman is in love with the shepherd. Reread Song of Songs again and read it from the perspective of three lovers rather than two and you will gain a different perspective on the book.

3. Your views about women, love, and marriage is a little bit too idealistic, a view that does not match the reality of the biblical text and what happens in real life.

4. Your view of betrothal does not reflect the realities of Israelite society. Maybe you should read a book or an article dealing with the status of women in Israelite society and on marriage and betrothal.

I could go into moral detail on what you wrote, but what I wrote will give you an idea of what additional research you must be done in order to improve what you wrote.

Thank you for your email and for sending me this material.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

28 August 2010

Archilles' Heel (How Strengths Relate to Weaknesses)

I had lunch with my friends this afternoon and it was interesting to note through out our discussion how that ones strength could just as easily be ones weakness or "Archilles' heel".

Over lunch, after discussing various things, it was suggested that each of us share, one after the other, what we thought were our weaknesses after which the others would point out what they had observed to be weaknesses when the person holding the floor was done. We've known each other long enough so that would not be a problem.

I tend to ask people from time to time, if they have discovered what their gifts are to which the response is usually, "I don't know". But never have I asked anyone whether or not they are aware of their weaknesses. It dawned on me during our discussion how important it is for every Christian to know their Archilles' heel. If you don't know your weaknesses, there's someone who certainly does:

1 Peter 5:8 says, "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour."

My friends were quite excited about this passage not too long ago. I remember when one of them song led at McDonald's farm and shared a little from the passage. He spoke of how that the devil is similar to a hungry lion roaming the jungle. The lion roams the jungle with its eyes peeled looking to pounce on any animal that it can catch unawares. Any Deer that lets its guard down and drinks from the stream of water without paying attention to its surroundings, any ill Zebra that stumbles its way across the plain, any Wildebeest that finds itself behind the pack during migration, any fawn that leaves its mothers side becomes the target of the lion. The lion being a lazy and somewhat intelligent animal, not wanting to run any more than necessary, realises that there is no need to spend energy chasing the alert, strong and well prepared animals when there are other animals that will be the exact opposite.

The devil is like that. He will not waste too much energy on those Christians who have done what is necessary to prevent themselves from falling. He will scout for Christians who are inactive in church, those who are babes in the faith. He targets those who are in high positions and whose fall would affect many.

He also targets those who do not know what their Achilles' Heel is. The man who is unaware of what weaknesses are. But those who do know what their weaknesses are better equipped to evade the traps of the evil one. If pornography, for instance, is the weakness of a man, and he does not know it, he is liable to attacks from the devil. The evil one, knowing what the man's weakness is, will send temptations his way that focus on his very weakness. Unless he knows his weakness he will neither realise this, nor put in measures to insulate himself from those attacks.

Now, during our discussion, it occurred to us (or me at least) that a major strength was pretty much a major weakness for each of us. I think this is typical of most people, their strengths are easily translate into weaknesses.

There are various examples. It could be that your strength lies in that fact that you don't worry. Whether its losing a job or failing an exam you just don't worry. This can easily become a weakness when you go to an extreme of being laid back even when something deserves urgent attention. It could be that you are one who is never idle and always ensures that you are doing something profitable and constructive. This could easily translate into a weakness of being too busy to attend to certain people and and areas of your life whereby you find that you've been so busy that you have never invested in people, friends or family. It could be that you are self reliant and assured. This strength could easily translate into an "I-don't-need-anybody" kind of mentality. It could be that you are logical and only do things when they make sense. This could just as easily translate into arrogance where once you're convinced of something, nothing and no one can make you feel or think otherwise.

And so in our quest to discover our weaknesses, if we find our strengths, we've pretty much got our weaknesses as well. When we discover our strengths, our weaknesses are just around the corner.

14 July 2010

The Parable of the Four Boyfriends (Part 2 ~The Interpretation)

In truth, you have four boyfriends in your lives:

Your fourth boyfriend is your body. No matter how much time and effort you lavish in making it look good, it will leave you when you die.

Your third boyfriend is your possessions, status and wealth.When you die, it will all go to others.

Your second boyfriend is your family and friends. No matter how much they have been there for you, the furthest they can stay by you is up to the grave.

And your first boyfriend is your soul. Often neglected in the pursuit of wealth, power, fame and pleasures of the world.

However, your soul is the only thing that will follow you where ever you go. Cultivate, strengthen and cherish it now, for it is the only part of you that will follow you to the throne of God and continue with you throughout Eternity.

Matthew 16:26 ~And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? (New Living Translation)

09 July 2010

The Parable of the Four Boyfriends (Part 1 ~The Story)

By Kema Ching'ambu

There was a girl who had four boyfriends.

She loved the fourth boyfriend the most and adorned him with rich robes and treated him to the finest of delicacies. She gave him nothing but the best.

She also loved the third boyfriend very much and was always showing him off to neighboring kingdoms. However, she feared that one day he would leave her for another.

She also loved her second boyfriend. He was her confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with her. Whenever this girl faced a problem, she could confide in him, and he would help her get through the difficult times.

The girl's first boyfriend was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining her wealth and kingdom.. However, she did not love the first boyfriend. Although he loved her deeply, she hardly took notice of him!

One day, the girl fell ill and she knew her time was short. She thought of her luxurious life and wondered, "I now have four boyfriends with me, but when I die, I'll be all alone."

Thus, she asked her fourth boyfriend, "I loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?" "No way!", replied the fourth boyfriend, and he walked away without another word. His answer cut like a sharp knife right into her heart.

The sad girl then asked her third boyfriend, "I loved you all my life. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?" "No!", replied the third boyfriend. "Life is too good! When you die, I'm going to marry someone else!" Her heart sank and turned cold.

She then asked her second boyfriend, "I have always turned to you for help and you've always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?" "I'm sorry, I can't help you out this time!", replied the second boyfriend. "At the very most, I can only walk with you to your grave." His answer struck her like a bolt of lightning, and the girl was devastated.

Then a voice called out: "I'll go with you. I'll follow you no matter where you go." The girl looked up, and there was her first boyfriend. He was very skinny as he suffered from malnutrition and neglect. Greatly grieved, the girl said, "I should have taken much better care of you when I had the chance!"

Click here to view the interpretation.

08 July 2010

Question & Answer

A Question

Acts 12 tells of The Apostle Peter’s imprisonment, the church’s fervent prayer for him, God’s angel freeing him from the prison, Peter knocking on the door of the church, the church unable to believe that their prayers might actually be answered (finding it easier to believe that Peter’s angel had been seen rather than Peter himself!) and then finally rejoicing in his deliverance.

God orchestrated this amazing story that we celebrate as miraculous still today. But don’t forget this miraculous story includes the guards who were executed by Herod the following morning for falling asleep at their posts. I’m sure their families had difficulty seeing this situation as miraculous and worthy of celebration. They may have had a hard time seeing God as good when their son or husband or father, proud of his ability to provide for his family as a prison guard, was executed. Executed for something God apparently caused:

Falling asleep on the job.

Do you believe God is good? Do you believe His plan is perfect? What if you were a follower of The Way praying for Peter’s release…and your brother or husband happened to be one of the guards? How would you react? Would your faith remain?

An Answer
We see only a single fragment of a single piece of a 1000 piece puzzle. God forbid we criticize the one who not only sees the whole but created it. We read only a single line of a 500paged script, God forbid we raise a finger against the one who wrote the story line, Romans 11:33.

As for whether my faith would remain, Spurgeon (known as the prince of preachers) was once asked whether the Christians of his day would stand amidst the persecution of the 1st century Christians. In his response he said God gives His people the necessary grace to cope with the challenges of their time. If one of the guards was my loved one, God would give me grace to cope and trust Him. He cannot allow me to face a temptation or trial too great for me to overcome. Moreover, He will prepare for me a way out (1 Cor 10:13).
What do you think?

12 June 2010

Letter From A Dying Man

I wrote this under a year ago (8/21/09 at 8:41 PM), how time flies! It was about a certain lady I worked with. I wasn't well and wanted to dramatize everything. I played the dying fellow who needed to communicate a few things before breathing his last!

I feel terrible, the left side of my brain feels like it wants to part with my right plus I have a serious fever. Probably a bad flu. Anyways, I've been thinking, suppose I was dying...

First off, let me say that I wouldn't mind dying. I would love to leave this sinful self and go to a place where there is no sin- NO SIN! I definitely wouldn't mind dying. A few moments ago, I asked myself what I would do if I was dying. What would I do? Almost immediately, I knew what I would do. I would write a letter to Mrs. S. Mrs S is a great woman I have had the pleasure of being with the past number of weeks. Unfortunately, it has also been a painful experience. She loves the world and she loves sin.

Just today, I was momentarily happy, when a lady told me that she had just discovered that I am the son of Conrad Mbewe. "I've always wondered about you," she said, "you are so different from other young men I see around".

I was so excited because a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to preach at the Youth Meeting and my point was that the most effective way to evangelise is by "being different". People must see a difference in you. Finally, I had practice what I had preached.

My joy was short lived when I remembered my failure in being different with Mrs. S. Sure I was a good guy but I could have been a much much better testimony of my salvation. If I were dying, I would leave this note for Mrs. S.



Dear Mrs. S.

I feel very unwell and it is clear that my life is ebbing away. As soon as I realised that I was dying, I put pen to paper to write this note to you.

You are a wonderful lady. You have been so good to me during my time with you. You care so much for your colleagues. You always remember others when you have been blessed. In this matter, you have been a great example to me. Your selflessness has shown me the ugliness of my selfishness.

There is, though, something that has bothered me incredibly during our time together. Why do you love sin and the world so much? Your love for alcohol and parties distresses me to the core.

Didn't you ever wonder why I never retained you "Enjoy your weekend" wishes? I'll tell you why. Its because the whole week you would have been talking about how you would enjoy drinking your head off at a party. How could I surely wish you to enjoy that? I prayed that you would actually never enjoy your weekends.

Every time you spoke about how much you would drink over the weekend, about how you looked forward to the big party, I resisted the urge, each and every single time, to grab you by your collar and scream in your face: "How foolish are you?!!! You have a daughter at home who is under 10 and a son, they live with their father abroad, why not spend time with them??!! Why not spend your weekends with your children? You prefer to spend it with equally foolish friends and your alcohol instead, why??!! Don't you love your kids? Why not make the most of the time you have with them before they return abroad? Why??

You are enslaved to alcohol. Every time you were unwell and was given medicine that would require you to stay away from alcohol, it was the same line over and over. You literally searched the web to find out whether you would indeed have to stay away from your precious beverages. Why go to such lengths when no alcohol would mean more time with your kids?

5 days a week you work 6 to 6, no time for your kids when you get home tired and yet at times you even had time to drink. Your Saturdays would be spent drinking and partying through the night, and obviously Sunday, would be your day of rest. Weeks are passing and turning to months, months to years. Time is like a vapour, before you know it, your kids would have grown without actually knowing their mother, all because she preferred alcohol instead.

But even more important than your kids, is your soul. I know I was not the best example of godliness and true Christianity. In so many ways I was a failure but God loves you and calls you to quit living for yourself and start living for him. He speaks of his precious Son, Jesus, whom he gave to be slaughtered for you. There's an emptiness inside you that you cannot deny. You want to be happy and have a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment in your life. You may not admit it to anyone but at least admit it to yourself, nothing you have tried has given you real joy, real peace and real fulfilment. Don't despair, all that and so much more is found in the man who died for you. Go to God in prayer. Tell him about how you have tried it all and are ready to give it all up to try him. He will not disappoint if only you confess the wrong things you have done to him and ask him to change you and become your Lord and your Saviour. The second you call on him, he'll show up! His never let anyone down, do it and one day you will join me in heaven, where there will be joy everlasting!

Please think about these things,

Yours in earnest,

10 Reasons Not to Have Sex Outside of Marriage

By Mary Fairchild

Reason #1 - God Tells Us Not to Have Sex Outside of Marriage

In the seventh of God's Ten Commandments, he instructs us not to have sex with anyone other than our spouse. It is clear that God forbids sex outside of marriage. When we obey God, he is pleased. He honors our obedience by blessing us.

Deuteronomy 28:1-3

If you fully obey the LORD your God ... [he] will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God ... (NIV)

God has a reason for giving us this command. First and foremost, he knows what's best for us. By obeying him, we trust God to look out for our best interests.

Reason #2 - We Won't Miss Out on the Blessing of the Wedding Night

There's something very special about a couple's first time. In this physical act the two become one flesh. Yet it is more than just physical oneness — a spiritual union takes place. God planned for this exclusive experience of discovery and pleasure to happen only within the intimacy of marriage. If we don't wait, we miss out on a very special blessing from God.

1 Corinthians 6:16

Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, "The two become one." Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never "become one." (The Message)

Reason #3 - We Will Be Spiritually Healthier

If we live as carnal or fleshly Christians, we will seek to gratify the desires of the flesh and live only to please ourselves. If we live this way, the Bible says we cannot please God. We will be miserable under the weight of our sin. As we continue to feed our fleshly desires, our spirit will grow weak and our relationship with God will be destroyed. Complacency with sin leads to worse sin, and eventually, spiritual death.

Romans 8:8,13

Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live ... (NIV)

Reason #4 - We Will Be Physically Healthier

This one is a no-brainer. If we refrain from sex outside of marriage, we will be protected from the risk of catching sexually transmitted diseases.

1 Corinthians 6:18

Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. (NLT)

Reason #5 - We Will Be Emotionally Healthier

One reason God tells us to honor marriage and keep the marriage bed pure has to do with baggage. We carry baggage into our sexual relationships. Memories from the past, emotional scars and unwanted mental images can defile our thoughts and make the marriage bed less than pure. Certainly God can forgive the past, but that doesn't mean we're free from the baggage that can linger in our minds.

Hebrews 13:4

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (NIV)

Reason #6 - We Will Show Consideration for Our Partner's Well-Being

If we put our partner's needs above our own and consider their spiritual well-being, we'll be compelled to wait for sex. We, like God, will want what's best for them.

Ephesians 5:2

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. (NLT)

Philippians 2:3

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; (NASB)

Reason #7 - Waiting is a Test of True Love

Love is patient. That's about as simple as it gets. We can learn the sincerity of our partner's love by their willingness, or lack thereof, to wait.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking ... (NIV)

Reason #8 - We Will Have No Negative Consequences to Deal With

There are always consequences to sin. Some of those effects can be devastating. An unwanted pregnancy, a decision to have an abortion or place a child for adoption, broken relationships with family and friends — these are just a few of the possible outcomes we face when we choose to have sex outside of marriage. We should be sure to consider the snow ball effect of sin. And what if the relationship does not last? Hebrews 12:1 shows that sin hinders our lives and easily entangles us. We will be much better off if we avoid these negative consequences.

Reason #9 - We Will Keep Our Christian Testimony Intact

We don't set a very good example of godly living when we disobey God. The Bible says in 1 Timothy 4:12 to "be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity." (NIV)

In Matthew 5:13 Jesus compares his followers to "salt" and "light" when we represent him in the world. When we no longer shine the light of Christ, when we lose our Christian testimony, we lose our "saltiness." In other words, we become flavorless and bland. We lose our ability to attract the world to Christ. Luke 14:34-35 puts it strongly, saying that salt without saltiness is worthless, not even fit for the manure pile.

Reason #10 - We Won't Settle For Less Than God's Perfect Will

When we choose to have sex outside of marriage, we settle for less than God's perfect will — for ourselves and for our partner. And if we do this, we don't know what we might end up with. Perhaps we'll end up in a miserable marriage.

So, here's some food for thought: If your partner wants sex before marriage, consider this as a warning sign about their spiritual condition. If you are the one who wants sex before marriage, consider this as a warning sign of your own spiritual condition.

What Do You Expect?

Not too long ago, my cousin asked me one morning, "What is it with women and insecurity? Why is my girlfriend so untrusting and insecure? She's always asking me whether I'm misbehaving now that she's away and we are apart." My answer to that question was, "What do you expect?"

His query is probably an issue in many of today's relationships and marriages in the world. Trust is rare. The average man will not restrain himself as far as his girlfriend/fiancee is concerned. He will not respect her sexuality. He will pass comments which are sexually suggestive and will be flirtatious in his relationship with her. Many are so perverse and unbiblical, lacking all subtlety even as to demand physical intimacy and sex as a sign of true love! That's pathetic! True love is about the happiness and welfare of the other individual. In ignorance, some ladies will not discourage this behaviour and others even oblige due to the influence of western culture as portrayed in movies and songs.

Now, what happens in the mind of the young lady when they are apart? She worries that if this fellow cannot restrain himself with me, if he cannot wait for the right time (which in there unregenerate mind would be "when I 'feel' ready" rather than "when God says I will be ready i.e. when we're married"), what would stop him from pursuing others in my absence? If he can't restrain himself with me (when I am right there) how could he possibly restrain himself with others when I am absent. Consequently, she become insecure. Always calling him to task asking him to account for day or hour and asking friends to spy on him, always throwing accusations at any sign of secrecy or suspicion. And this follows into marriage making it a living hell.

The poor depraved fellow begins wondering in his ignorant mind, like my cousin, why? Why can't she trust me? Can't she see I love her? My response is, What do you expect? To me its like slapping yourself in the face over and over and screaming, "Why?! Why does my face hurt?!", what on earth do you expect?

But when a man decides to follow the word of God and respects his girlfriend/fiancee it leaves a certain impression on her. When he tells her that he has drawn certain lines that he will not cross in their relationship, he, in fact, wins her trust and respect. When he goes so far as to say, ours will be a hands off relationship, She wonders, "If this man will overcome his desire to say certain things to me or to touch me who is reserved for him, he surely wouldn't do it to anybody else." And when she hears that her fellow did this or that or was sighted here or there, she smiles and waves her finger in the accusers face saying, "Not my man! He has so much respect for me, and I for him I trust him entirely. You've got the wrong guy!" Who wouldn't want his girlfriend, fiancee or wife to say that of him? I sure would!

Many would say, "What? Restrain myself from my own girl? That's insane! That's not manly and masculine! That's unheard of!", well go ahead then, go that way and see what will become of your relationship. Otherwise, obey God and his law and be blessed in your relationship!

Deuteronomy 28:1-3

If you fully obey the LORD your God ... [he] will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God ...

11 June 2010

Psalm 151

Is not included in the canon of scripture we* embrace, i.e. the Protestant Canon, which comprises of only 150 Psalms. It will be interesting to know on the last day if it is authentic. This psalm is nicknamed Psalm 151, it is in fact a combination of two Psalms. One of these Hebrew psalms, known as “Psalm 151a”, is reflected in verses 1–5 of the Greek Psalm 151, while verses 6 onward are derived from the other Hebrew psalm, known as “Psalm 151b” (which is only partially preserved). The composer has brought the two Hebrew psalms together in a manner that significantly changes their meaning and structure, but the influence of the Hebrew originals is still readily apparent. The fact that it was found in the dead sea scrolls and was, therefore, originally written in Hebrew adds to its credibility.


This Psalm is ascribed to David and is outside the number. When he slew Goliath in single combat.

[This Title is given in the Septuagint]

1 Little was I among my brethren:

younger brother in my father's house.

2 My hands, they made an instrument of music:

My fingers, they prepared a psaltery.

3 And who shall bring back tidings to my master?

The Lord Himself, Himself gives ear.

4 Himself sent forth His messenger:

And took me from among my father's sheep;

And with the oil of His annointing He annointed me.

5 Comely my brethren were and tall:

And yet they found not favour with the Lord.

6 But I, I sallied forth to meet the alien:

And he reviled me by all his idols.

7 But I drew forth the sword that was beside him:

I cut his head off with it,

And from the sons of Israel removed reproach.

03 June 2010

Come Away With Me...

I was thinking about the phrase "Come away with me my love" and thought it'd be somewhere in Song of Solomon. I thought of how God is constantly calling His sons and daughters to spend intimate times of fellowship with Him, delibrately set apart. I googled it up and came across this lovely article. From Angelica's blog called "~a beautiful struggle~" Come Away With Me:

Recently I read Song of Solomon...and I fell in love with Jesus all over again. There are few different opinons on why this book is the Bible. Some people say that it's there to illustrate the love that should exist between a man and a wife. Some people say that it's there to illustrate the love that Jesus has for His bride (us). Well, since I'm not married, I got a lot of benefit out of looking at it as the way Jesus loves me, His bride.

Song of Solomon 4: 8

"Come with Me from Lebanon, my bride. Leave Lebanon behind, and come. Leave your high mountain hideaway. Abandon your wilderness seclusion, where you keep company with lions and panthers guard your safety."

As soon as I read this verse, I heard the words "come away with Me." In spite of everything that you're going through, in spite of everything that's going on around you, "come away with Me." In spite of your busyness, your worries, and your fears "come away with Me."

I am amazed, simply amazed at how much God loves me--even though I have so many faults. He longs for time with me!!! He wants me to come away with Him because that's where I find my peace. He wants me to come away with Him because that's where I am fulfilled. He wants me to come away with Him because that's where He can deal with the things in me that don't please Him. He wants me to come away with Him because that's where He heals every hurt and mends every wound. He wants me to come away with Him because that's where I can truly get to know Him.

He doesn't force me. He simply waits patiently whispering "come away with Me." I admit, I don't always listen. Sadly, there are times when I tell Him "not, now, maybe later." I don't stop to notice the sadness in His eyes that lingers as a result of being rebuffed by His bride.

Then there are times--those unforgettable times--when I take His hand. It is then, when I come away with Him, that I see everything that I've been missing. And I wonder how I ever refused His request before. And there I am, just me and my Love...I wish I could describe how incredible this feels, but words don't do it justice...it's something that you have to experience first hand when you hear the King quietly whisper to you, "Come away with Me."

08 May 2010

Haddon W Robinson

A post by a Dr. Mike, that I found on his blog eternalperspectives.com relating the wisdom of one of my most favourite preachers Haddon W Robinson, my favourite part being, ofcourse, "We're done here, aren't we?" ~Absolute classic!

If there is one person, more than any other, who has had a determinative effect on my Christian life, that man would be Haddon Robinson. This is remarkable since he has no idea who I am or the effect he has had on my life. He probably would not be surprised by my statement – he has impacted and changed the course of many a life – but perhaps he would be curious that he had done so with me.

For those of you who are not familiar with Haddon W. Robinson, I will attempt to provide a brief introduction to this truly unique man. Others who know him better could say much more; I offer only what I think significant for the purposes of this post.

Haddon was voted one of the most influential Christians of the 20th Century, due no doubt to his impact upon generations of preachers who came under his tutelage during his 40+ years of teaching homiletics. He earned a Ph.D. in Speech Communication from the University of Illinois, ostensibly in order to be able to communicate more effectively the word of God to believers and unbelievers alike. He taught preaching at Dallas Theological Seminary for almost 20 years and was president of Denver Seminary from 1979 until 1991. He then became the Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, a position in which he now continues.

It was at Denver Seminary that I met Dr. Robinson – as I referred to him in my pre-50 years. In fact, I had gone to Denver for my Masters Degree primarily because he was there: I had heard him preach many times (through the tape ministry of Believers Chapel in Dallas) and had concluded that he knew God in ways that I did not know God. So I went to Denver to study counseling, but also to be influenced by him.

During my three years at the seminary, I had only one conversation with Dr. Robinson. This is how it came about:

I was a first-year student (a tipoff for anyone who’s ever been or had to deal with a seminary student) and was frustrated with my professor of New Testament. Actually, I was indignant with him, feeling that he was not giving my particular doctrinal position a fair play in his presentations to the class. (If you own an NIV Study Bible, flip to the opening pages sometime and note the editors listed there. One of the three general editors is Dr. Donald Burdick, perhaps an unknown name to most but well known to the evangelical, scholarly community. This same Donald Burdick, who probably had been teaching New Testament longer than I had been walking the planet, was the professor whom I regarded with arrogant disgust and disdain.)

So I did what any grandiose, first-year seminarian would do. I made an appointment with the president of the seminary, Dr. Robinson.

As I look back on it, I am amazed by Dr. Robinson’s grace and patience. First of all, I am amazed that I was able to get an appointment with him. Although oblivious at the time, I now understand the demands upon his time and the humility it required for him to give an audience to – not just a virtual but – an actual nobody. Second, he listened to me carefully as I laid out my complaint about his colleague and friend, Dr. Burdick. What followed was, I believe, classic Haddon Robinson.

Dr. Robinson never addressed my complaint or concerns. Instead, he told me a story. This (or something very much like it) is what he said:

“I’m sure you know that Dr. Burdick’s wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s some years ago [Actually, being totally self-absorbed, I had no idea]. Despite his continuing commitment to his ministry here at the seminary, and despite maintaining a full load of teaching, he has refused to put his wife in a nursing home. He gets up in the morning and cares for her: feeding, cleaning, dressing, combing her hair, brushing her teeth. She can do nothing for herself. Nothing. Then he leaves for the seminary, teaches a class, and immediately goes home between classes to care for her again. Then he comes back to teach. The following day, he does it again. He will not allow a nurse or anyone else to do for his wife what he himself can do. He has been doing this for years now.

“I was talking to Donald one day and, knowing the load he was under, said to him, ‘How do you do it? How do you so faithfully attend to your ministry and, at the same time, give your wife the love and care and attention she needs?

“Donald looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, ‘Haddon, it’s the greatest privilege I’ve ever had in my life.’”

As if scripted, his phone rang even as his words were still hanging pregnant in the air. He listened for a few seconds, covered the receiver and, turning to me, said, “We’re done here, aren’t we?”

We were done. I nodded a stunned reply, rose quietly, and left Dr. Robinson’s office. My life had just been changed in ways I was only later to appreciate. What was important in the Christian life, my view of people, my relationship with my wife – it all began to shift at that moment. It continues to change more than 20 years later.

Dr. Burdick looked different to me when I next went to my New Testament class. He looked human. Or, more accurately, I saw that he was human: loving, tender, frightened, caring, weak, and struggling. At the end of the quarter, he gave me a C+ for the class. It was the only grade lower than a B that I ever got in grad school, either at the masters or doctoral level. But Dr. Burdick provided the platform and much of the substance for the best education I got at either Denver or Trinity.

What Haddon had done was to see through my indignation to the root of my problem: I was unloving, and I was unloving because I did not see Dr. Burdick as a fellow human being, an alien in the world, a struggler trying to be faithful to the God we both claimed to love and serve. I was unloving because I did not see him as a brother in Christ who needed my compassion and encouragement, not my scorn and criticism.

Haddon cut through the fluff and opened my eyes and heart. Those fifteen minutes were worth all the thousands of dollars (of debt) spent earning my degree. For the remainder of my seminary career, I studied my lessons carefully but I studied my professors much more closely. I looked for the hearts of these professors, trying to understand the motivation within them. Whether it was Bruce Demarest, James Beck, Vernon Grounds, or Robert Alden, I tried desperately to look inside them in order to get a glimpse of Jesus Christ. I was not disappointed.

But even more than before, I began to study Haddon. I devoured his books, read articles by and about him, listened to interviews and radio shows he did, and studied whatever sermons of his that I could find. I still do.

I am aware that he is not perfect – he, too, has feet of clay – so this is not a case of idealization or idolization. Haddon is quick to admit to his own struggles and missteps. But I do appreciate him as someone who has so committed himself to serving Christ and educating men and women in preparation for ministry. And I am admittedly still in awe of his insight, intelligence, and wisdom.

I will probably never have the opportunity to talk to Haddon and tell him of the impact he has had – and continues to have – on my life. But were such a time to become available to me once again, I would seize the chance to simply tell him thanks.

Thanks, Haddon, for teaching me how to think about God, about His word, and about His people. For continually and faithfully demonstrating a commitment to the Bible and people, borne out in your writings and sermons. Thanks for providing a living example of how great genius and tenderness can be melded together.

And thanks especially for teaching me that Christianity is not primarily about ideas, concepts, and truths, but is truly about loving relationships with God and people, about grace and compassion, about being and not just thinking.

I forget these lessons sometimes and, when I do, I slip a tape or cd into the player and listen to Haddon one more time. And I am the better for it.

2 Cor 1:13.

25 April 2010

The Heart Of The Matter

Just recently I was honoured with a request to sit on a board. It was concerning a new 'movement' that some guys wanted to start. They were calling young people from about three different churches to sit on that board. It was basically a bid to start what seems to be happening in other countries and was started by two guys in America who happen to be identical twins. Its called "The Rebelution", defined as a teenage rebellion against the low expectations of an ungodly culture. In essence it is encouraging teens to do 'big things' in their teen years. Its a 'good idea' but one I am not ready to throw my weight in due to... read on.

A friend of mine shared his dream and vision with me a couple weeks ago. It reminded me of something I learnt while away from home. He told me of how his University dilapidated and had never actually been completed since its initial construction some 50yrs (plus-minus) ago. His dream and vision was to see his school restored to its former state and completed. He attends the biggest and oldest higher institution of learning in the land and so it was no small deal.

He wanted to rally up as many sponsors as possible from graduate students, the government, well wishers, current students, NGOs, companies etc. It was a massive idea and would take alot to accomplish.

Well, I didn't really want to discourage him, but I did mention before commending him, that I once had dreams like that...

I know our nation is in bad condition. Jobs are hard to find, for many finishing school is like hitting a dead end, nowhere to go from there, colleges are either full, unavailable or unaffordable.

I know about the sickness and poverty and corruption. I know about the street kids. I know that AIDS is rearing its dark shadow over the nation. I realise that young men are drinking their lives away and how great a waste of resource it is for our country. Many times I have thought up ideas and solutions to solve these problems. "Maybe if I did this or that", I'd think. I even considered entering politics after school and causing some positive influence. I've always dreamed of changing our nation somehow or other, but all these initiatives, dreams and visions have since ceased. And that is exactly what I told my friend.

The question was, of course, why? Why'd I give up on those dreams? Dreams of changing the face of our nation as we know it today?

Well, those dreams ceased when I realised the heart of the matter. I was working on the presupposition that the more comfortable, developed and wealthy a society is, the better it becomes. I thought, the eradication of the many things that are pulling our nation down, would make things more pleasant and everyone would be happy.

I had the privilege of living in a society whose welfare was far better than where I was from. It was a whole new world for me. Proper roads and road networks, good health care, more jobs, availability of education, etc. It was a far cry from what I was accustomed to. I remember thinking if only home was like this, things would be better. It didn't take long for me to find that my ideal society was not ideal at all. It seemed that the more sophisticated a society was, the more sophisticated its sin was as well. I was hearing and seeing things I'd never even dreamed. The development, comfort and wealth of a society obviously wasn't the issue, there was a deeper and more serious problem other than the lack of the aforementioned, namely, the problem of sin.

No amount of development or sophistication could make a society better, because the problem is not a lack of development or sophistication. The problem isn't a lack of health care or education or the prevalence of corruption, poverty or sickness. The problem is the heart of man. Jeremiah says, "the human heart is the most deceitful of ALL things and DESPERATELY wicked, who can understand it?" (Jer 17:9). This is common for a poor or rich man. Educated man or uneducated man, Simple or sophisticated man. They all have one thing in common, sinful hearts.

Any efforts to better a man are useless without Jesus Christ. Its the same with a community or nation. The gospel is the answer.

I am not saying that we should not help people or engage in or aid humanitarian efforts but its not something you'd want to throw the bulk of your resources in because it doesn't change lives like the gospel does. Our energies must be spent, more than anywhere else, in something that actually cures and saves, the gospel. I wouldn't want to spend the rest of my life fighting and working towards a better economy. I'd just help where I can. I'd rather spend and be spent most for the spreading of the gospel because I know, that Jesus is the answer for the world today!

My buddy, if he goes ahead with his plan, will spend alot of energy, time and money. Imagine what could result if he spent those resources in the only thing that will ever make his University better, the gospel! I'd feel differently if the spreading of the gospel was included in his plan. The rebelution, as well, will improve lives (after a lot of sweat blood and tears [and time and money]) but again, what about the only cure for man kind, the gospel? Where is it in there?

Wealth doesn't improve a man's well being, the gospel does.

You can take a man from poverty and give him a better life but he will remain the empty sinner he was. Unless you give him Christ, you havn't given him anything.

We can rebuild our towns and roads, and improve our transport systems, and elevate our economy and educate and medicate the people but unless we offer our nation the Lord Jesus Christ along with that, we would have done nothing other than waste our resources. And besides:

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last."

21 April 2010

10 Things God Can NOT Do

1) God cannot lie.

"...a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time." Titus 1:2 (NIV)

2) God cannot love you anymore or less than he already does.

"...May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them AS MUCH AS YOU LOVE ME" John 17:23 (New Living Translation)

Have you read that verse? It floored me! God loves his chosen people as much as he loves his Son, Jesus. And we know that he loves his Son immeasurably. He loves you so much and has so much interest in you that he knows the number of hairs on your head. Has anyone loved you so much that they keep count of your hairs? He knows you birthday and knows when you sit and when you rise and even when you fall. Its not that his stalking you, its just that He's crazy in love with you- and me! Its not that God cannot love us anymore because we aren't lovable but because his love for us is infinite, such love!

3) God cannot change.

"I am the Lord and I do not change..." Malachi 3:6 (New Living Translation)

4) God cannot be unfaithful.

"If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is" 2 Timothy 2:13 (New Living Translation)

What a glorious thought for me! That no matter how many times I have been unfaithful in my relationship with him, God will always remain faithful, what a great God!

5) God cannot share his glory.

"I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols." Isaiah 42:8 (NIV)

I once thought that jealousy was a sin. Well, it isn't necessarily. A man will share almost anything with you if you're close enough to him. He will lend you his car, his clothes, even his own son (to mow your lawn or whatever). He will lend you money or his house to live in for a while. But he will never lend you his wife. You can mess with anything else of his but not his wife, why? Because husbands are jealous of their wives. Bringing it closer to home for those who are single, there's something we are all jealous of, that even husbands would have problems sharing with their wives, that is, wait for it... toothbrush. God is jealous of something too. He is jealous of his glory. You'd rather steal a man's wife (or toothbrush) than steal God's glory for it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of God (Heb 10:31)!

6) God cannot reject those who are his.

"Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and him who comes to me I will never on any account drive away." John 6:37 (Weymouth New Testament)

The almighty God is unable to turn away those who genuinely repent. No matter where you've been or what you've done, or how many times you've done it, he will never reject you, he'll take you back. God has as many genuine I-forgive-yous and you have, genuine, I-am-sorrys.

7) God cannot deny anything asked according to his will.

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us" 1 John 5:14 (NIV)

8) God will not be able to do anything for those would not have repented and believed by the last day.

"Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly , 'I never knew you. Away from me , you evildoers!' " Matthew 7:23 (NIV)

On the last day, God will be, as it were, powerless to save sinners. He is bound by his own word. Each of us has an opportunity to repent and turn from sin. If we either die or he comes back before we do, we are doomed and there is nothing anyone will be able to do, not even God himself. Time would be up.

9) God cannot bare sin.

"But you are pure and cannot stand the sight of evil. ..." Habakkuk 1:13 (New Living Translation)

Many people believe they will enter heaven based on what they have done. The very good things they do and offer up to God as gifts and sacrifices thinking they'd impress him (from going to church to being active there) are stained with sin and those acts disgust God (Isaiah 64:6). He cannot bare sin.

10) God cannot be mocked (dodged).

"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps as he sows." Galatians 6:7 (NIV)

This one would best fit under the title "Things that men can Not do to God" but its something everyone needs to hear. Many people are shrewd and have managed to trick others into gaining something or getting themselves of the hook. Maybe you've managed, on several occasions to get away with wrong doing at school, or at home or with an enemy or even friend. Its not like that with God. Do not be deceived! God knows each and every sin you have ever committed no matter how small you think it may be. He will punish you for every single one, even the ones you won't be able to remember. Unless you ask him for forgiveness, he will never forgive and forget your sin. God cannot be dodged.

10 March 2010


I remember my first impression of him. He seemed like a sort of silent burner. He was never noisy in class but he struck me as a rather naughty fellow.

I recall when our teacher of Math & Physics passed a comment. He was a funny man but very serious at the same time, never laughed at all. If something was very funny he'd tighten the muscles on his face just so he wouldn't be able to smile. So, we'd laugh alot in his classes. One day, after cracking one of his jokes, or saying something funny, he pointed at Chamu at the back of the class and teased him saying, look at that fellow, he has very little skin on his face and so when he smiles, his eyes shut! We has a good laugh. And it was true. His eyed would close when he smiled or laughed.

I could be pretty irritating sometimes. One day, all of us from our class were outside the class room. I found a small piece of mirror on the ground and started reflecting the sunlight off it onto people's eyes. I got a laugh out of the irritation people got. I did it to Chamu. I think he told me to quit it at first, I did it again and then he came after me! He started shoving me backwards and advancing after each push all the while telling me stuff I can't remember. I thought of retaliating but then two thoughts crossed my mind. First that I didn't want to be in a fight and second that I started it. Thankfully, that was the first and last time Chamu and I ever clashed.

Chamu started seeing a classmate of ours. I recall seeing him kiss her. I don't mean kiss her, I mean KISS her. It was a really strange sight to me. I had really only seen it in the movies plus I didn't realise those high school flings were that serious.

It seems he really liked his girlfriend. I remember laughing at him with the other guys when we were at the boarding house. We had all just gotten back from our classes. Chamu jumped onto his bed which was adjacent to the wall, and stayed on the bed facing the wall for hours. Apparently he had gotten into an argument with her and what we were seeing were the results. We all laughed at him since it wasn't consist with his manly front.

I was pretty good friends with his girlfriend (I'd like to think). One time, I forget what Chamu did, but I convinced her that we should "go tell Chamu how disappointed we were with him that he could do such a thing". I meant it as a joke, and his girlfriend seemed to get it. When we got to him, he was standing with someone or something, I started it, "Chamu, we just thought we should tell you that we are disappointed...". I was smiling and acting alittle dramatic, his girlfriend grew cold feet it seemed and only added some emphatic yes-es here and there. Well later when we were with the guys, Chamu expressed his disappointment in me. I was totally surprised, I thought we had all caught on!

He was a pretty good swimmer, or so people said. He didn't really impress me. He was really good at staying long under water. He'd take a deep breath and swim all around the pool along the wall and not come up for air. He was the only one of two at the school boarding house who could do that.

Most of the guys in my class had nicknames, actually I think we all gave each other nicknames, Chamu was called hamster I think! I forget how he got that name...

Chamu, I just learned, died after an illness.

The news of his death hit me pretty hard which surprised me because we weren't close. I always imagined my classmates and I would one day meet at a reunion, and bring our families and catch up and reminisce. Death was not part of the plan. I hope, somehow, he was saved.

10 February 2010

Moms & Wives

I recall when I was in grade 11, my teacher of Geography told the class, or was it just a few male students, something I've never forgotten. He spoke of how that generally, guys are attracted to girls who are similar to their Moms. In other words, if a guys mom is tall and slim, he'd be more inclined to tall-slim women. He said, the majority of men marry women who are like, in apperance and build, to their mothers. He mentioned that it was the same for girls as well. Girls with tall fathers tend to like/prefer tall boys etc. Well, I think he was right.

I think it applies to other areas aswell. My father is always explaining stuff to my mother. From what bluetooth is to whats wrong with the car to current affairs. And my mom is always attentive and interested. I can tell they both thoroughly enjoy it. My brother and I usually explain stuff to my mom as well, and I don't know about him, but I certainly enjoy it.

I suspect therefore that if I have a wife who "knows alot", it'll be a point of contention for a while atleast. Everytime, I try to explain something, she'll say something like, "I know" or something and i'll soon realise there's very little I know that she doesn't. Or perharps, unlike my mom, if my wife ends up being one who is not really interested in details or trivia, they'll be a big problem, definately.

06 February 2010

Excellent Commercial!

I have huge interest in trivia and behind the scenes stuff and consequently in the directing and production aspects of movies. Here is a brilliant advert/commercial followed by an excellent review by John Moore which I found extremely interesting. Something I'd love to do, some day, is make a movie. Check out this young (under 25 I reckon) film maker's blog- Life, by John

This was a remarkable change of pace from the typical PSA. It was beautifully shot, well directed, and had a good bit of forethought in the story being told.

Things that appeal to me about it are the environment. In the home, a father evidently teaching his daughter something about vehicle safety. It's cozy, it's warm, it's a place we all want to be.

The love between the members of the family is clearly portrayed as the commercial begins, and the daughter's panic stricken face betrays so much affection for her father that you can't help but resonate with the character. This is excellent casting, and excellent direction. If one were to look back at preproduction of this ad, one would no doubt find detailed storyboards and animatics prepared well in advance.

But the brilliance is also in the simplicity of the shots. One of the reasons the elements are so bold and so plain for the viewer, so memorable in the midst of a variety of other commercials, is the economy of shots. Thomas Jefferson said, "The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do." The same applies to shots within a film as well.

The breakdown of the commercial:

1. 00:00 Key Turning.
2. 00:04 Foot on the gas.
3. 00:06 Family watches, entertained - trucking right.
4. 00:10 Driving happily - push in.
5. 00:14 Family laughter, mid shot - push in.
6. 00:17 A happy father, - truck right.
7. 00:20 Daughter laughing, - push in.
8. 00:22 Fearful driver, mid-shot - push in.
9. 00:28 Panicked daughter, close up - push in
10. 00:31 Yanking the wheel, close up - push in
11. 00:35 Family leaps into action - push in
12. 00:36 Daughter at his side
13. 00:43 Her Fingers interlock
14. 00:46 Wife grabs him
15. 00:48 Her Fingers interlock
16. 00:50 Impact Close-up
17. 00:50 Impact Wide
18. 00:58 Glitter Falls
19. 01:02 A Family Embrace

You might say, "That's 19 shots in an 88 second commercial. That's averaging a cut every 4.5 seconds... How is that economical?" Well, in this instance, we're going to examine the setups and angles, or shots and not the number of times a shot is edited in, or cuts. There is a lot we were able to learn in this very short period of time, and a lot of action taking place. Yet the reason we were able to remember it all so very clearly, is that we didn't cut to a new angle every time.

The setups are actually very simple throughout the short. Shots 1 and 2 are throwaway angles. That's why the content in the shot is very limited. A key turns, a foot presses the gas pedal. But even though they pass by in six seconds, we know he's starting a car. There is very little to see in the shot, other than the hand with the invisible key, and the foot on the invisible gas pedal. This way, all our attention is devoted to the actions, not the environment.

This is true with every shot in the film; the environments are simple and unassuming, familiar to the viewer, so that the characters become the focal point.

Shot 3 we move the camera past the driver, to see the family on the couch. Now we have clearly established the locations of the characters, and the mood of the family. If we were to cut to the father first, his dopey driving grin would look ridiculous. Instead, because we see the family giggling and watching with awe, when we cut to the father driving, we realize he is intentionally entertaining them. His actions no longer seem silly, but noble, in a way.

Shot 4, with the father driving, is a setup (angle, lighting, dolly track, etc) that will be reused several times, with only slight variation. The same is true of shot 5. In all, there were probably only about ten setups in the whole film, allowing a lot of time for the audience to really study out each of the environments, characters, actions, and arcs within the short.

Even in the longest shot in the short, the end embrace, the environment is very simple. There are no props, no background furniture. The wallpaper is patterned but the pattern is so out of focus, we can only really study the family. They are even lit more brightly than anything in the background. It's a perfect close.

An amateur director would probably have had an entirely new shot every 3-5 seconds, to keep it 'interesting'. Rather than focusing on characters and clearly defining their goals, he would have distracted the audience with 20 unique setups, brightly lit and filled with distracting background props. This would not only hurt the audience's understanding of the short, but it would have also been twice as time consuming to shoot.

On a shoot like this, every setup would take 45 minutes to an hour. When storyboarding even your short films, consider the cost of every shot on a professional feature film. Choose your shots very carefully, and focus on clarity of the action for the audience. Remember, we're here to serve the audience with a story; not confuse them with unnecessary information.

Keep it simple, make it bold.

~ In Christ, John.

05 February 2010

The Unofficial Relationship (Part 1)

I love this picture of contemporary christian musicians Shane Bernard & Bethany Dillon's wedding, I think it goes well with the title of the post.

I'm on facebook and I changed my relationship status from "single" to "its complicated". Well, I was thinking one day (yes, I think, occasionally) and I realised that while I was not in a relationship, I wasn't really single. It was then that I coined the phrase "Unofficial Relationship" to describe what sort of situation I was in.

Many people are actually in unofficial relationships, from hence forth referred to as "UOR".

Here are two people who like each other but for some reason or other cannot commit. I've seen it happen between a young man seeking a young woman. He likes her and has made his position clear. The young lady does not give a no but doesn't give a yes either. Perhaps she says, give me time or not right now. The two begin hanging out, or talking alot. The young man buys her gifts and talks to her alot. They become close sharing what is happening in their lives, enjoying many benefits of being in a relationship but are not really. The two individuals isolate themselves.

Or perhaps its a guy, alittle too young to seek a girl, a teenager, still a dependant. He likes a girl and starts sending her alot of text messages or calling her and chatting with her. The girl likes him back and before long they become close and go for walks perhaps and he buys her gifts, maybe she does the same. They enter into an UOR. For teens nowadays whether Christian or non-Christian, I've observed, the chap sees the girl, likes her and pursues her. They get hitched and "breakup" in due course (ever noticed they just never last, these teen/post-teen relationships?)

Its not always the same, but the idea of isolation and developing a rather close friendship is prominent. The feelings are typically mutual or else there wouldn't be an UOR in the first place.

Basically an UOR is a relationship between a male and female (ideally) where while the two have not committed to each other they have isolated each other. While they may not necessarily do everything that two people in an official relationship do, they do things which two people in an ordinary friendship do not do, they are somewhere in between the mere friendship and the official relationship.

I call it unofficial for obvious reasons, if you ask the two individuals whether they are in a relationship, the answer will be a definite no. But if you ask them how often they talk to each other, how much time the see each other, how often they are together, you will soon find, that there is some sort of "thing" going on.

Now (Paul Washer always goes to the next point of his sermon like that, "Now, ..."), UOR are dangerous and unbiblical making them wrong. I hope to discuss that in Part II.

I have "charged" two people of being in UORs both of whom actually were, they both bitterly denied it, which is natural for people in UORs. The first person I "charged" was a young lady, she denied it because she had been approached by the young man and liked him but still wasn't so sure she wanted to see him and didn't want to feel or appear bound. Yet she entertained him and accepted his gifts and attention. The other was a man, he too denied it, I don't know why. In his particular case he sought the young lady and she basically said it was too early but she liked him too and now they are bound to each other by virtue of the fact that he had declared his love and she her like and now it would be betrayal on her part if she started seeing another man either now or later cause he's waiting.

I was going to give a list of things to help someone better judge whether or not they are in an UOR, but here is a simple test.

The official relationship and the UOR have alot of things in common but here is the clincher. In both, the individuals are bound. In the official relationship, it would be taboo for any of the mates to begin pursuing anyone other than their mate and it would hurt their partner. Its exactly the same in an UOR. The two are bound to each other. The man has shown his interest by the attention and gifts and the lady likes him and so entertains him. Should the man "move on", the lady will feel betrayed.

"He sent me all those signs only to leave me."

Were you together?


Then why are you hurt, why do you feel betrayed? I'll tell you why, you decided to enjoy a relationship without committing. You consented to an UOR.

Or perhaps the man is the victim when the lady accepts another man who approaches her.

"I sent her all those gifts, all those text messages, all those chats we had, all that time we talked and spent time together, yet she was just using me to pass time, I feel betrayed."

Were you seeing each other?


Then why feel betrayed? You were not in a relationship so she was still a free woman.

And the problem is, you cannot take your mate to task for leaving you because it wasn't official. The papers were not signed as it were. All it would take is for your mate to say, "No we weren't." and that would be it.

If your "friend" suddenly started seeing someone or entertaining someone other than you, would you feel hurt or betrayed? My dear friend, you are in an Unofficial Relationship and it is dangerous and it isn't biblical.

01 February 2010

I Got To Preach

Every week our cell group meets to go out into the neighbourhood doing door-to-door evangelism. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be following up those who attended our evangelistic Braai/BBQ which we hosted last year over Christmas. Well, I joined our cell leader as he was following up a young lady staying at a college boarding house. We bounced but opted to speak to a young lady whose room was just opposite.

During our chat with her, she mentioned that her father had died a few months ago and she was quite confused and had a number of questions. I made an appointment to meet her the following day. I planned to attempt answering her questions. I was not aware that my meeting with her would be the toughest I've ever encountered in all my door-to-door evangelism days.

Contrary to what I expected, this young lady wasn't impressed with God, not because he had taken her father away from her and her family. Her concern was that God had allowed her father, a devoted and active man in his Christian life, to suffer so much in the months leading to his death. Apparently her father had a tumor in his belly which the doctors miss diagnosed. They spent time treating a problem that didn't exist and in the end, when they finally pinned the real problem, it was too late. About 2 weeks before he died, he could not even speak.

This young lady told me openly that she no longer really cared about pushing hard in life but just lived each day as it came. She had lost her drive and will. Her father's relatives had not made life any easier, they had been a source of much pain rather than comfort.

The ball was finally in my court, what was I to say to this young lady? How was I going to "defend God" while maintaining sensitivity to her feelings. I stammered and flipped through my bible and stumbled my way through some sort of explanation.

I knew, though, almost immediately, that this young lady felt the way she did about God because she did not understand God's holiness and man's sinfulness. But I really struggled to make my point and she was certainly not convinced. I quickly discovered how much I needed to study this whole subject and be better positioned to respond to such questions.

During our conversation, I received a call from the leaders of a fellowship at DK (David Kaunda High), they wanted me to share a song or two at their meeting the next day. I asked to meet them that same day just to find out who the new leaders were and what they had planned for the year, etc.

I made my way over to DK as soon as I was done with my struggled chat with the young lady. There is a need for sound gospel preaching at the DK fellowship and so I am always keen to offer preachers for their meetings. Fortunately they needed a preacher for the next day and I promised to come with one. I quickly got in touch with my buddy who I thought would jump at the opportunity but he said it was too short a notice. As the evening progressed, it became clear that I probably wouldn't be able to find a preacher in time, and so I decided I'd prepare something in the event that I failed to find someone.

As I sat down to prepare, I had no doubt in my mind as to what I would share if I ended up preaching. I would answer those questions that that young lady had and basically answer the question: "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

Well, I preached at DK the next evening and it was a great experience, it was an awesome experience to share the gospel with 50+ youths. My text was Luke 13:1-9. One of the things I've lacked the few times I've preached is passion. I tend to just talk but this time, I think I thundered (for my standards at least) probably because it was more from the heart than all the other times. When I had exhausted much of my arguments I said something like, "I hope you have began to see why we deserve the very worst from God." And some guys (girls mostly, actually) shouted, "No!". It was pretty interesting, but I think by the time I was done, they could all answer a humble "yes" in their bowels.

The last time I preached, though, it wasn't so great...

Bebo Norman on Valentines Day

From Bebo Norman's blog, www.bebonorman.com. For those of you who don't know him, Bebo is just one of the most profound writers on the Contemporary Christian Music scene...


I recorded a Valentine’s Day promotional video today for my record label. This sort of video is a fairly normal thing to do for big Holiday promotions…you know, the standard “what’s your favorite gift you’ve ever gotten for Christmas/tell us about your favorite family Christmas tradition” sort of thing, or the ever repetitive “what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving” list, etc, etc. And no offense to the promotional folks at the label who really do work their butts off to make things happen, but I kind of feel like I might have to draw the line at Valentine’s Day. And I’m sorry if you happen to be a big box of chocolates kind of gal, but I SERIOUSLY don’t get it. I mean, if you don’t happen to have a “Valentine” it’s sort of like rubbing it in, and if you do happen to have a Valentine, it’s sort of like rubbing it in. Maybe it’s because my wife could seriously not care less about it (might just be THE reason I married her), or perhaps it’s because I feel like it’s mostly just a big racket for the flower and chocolate industries, but I find myself a bit cynical about this particular holiday. Is that wrong? I mean, is it wrong to feel like if I love someone I should try to let them know it every day, not just this one random day of the year? Is it wrong to think that it’s much more of a “gift” to surprise my wife with flowers every now and then instead of gathering up the scraps at the flower shop on the day that every lame man on the planet is hunting to “make up for lost time” and maybe, just maybe, get lucky when he gets home? I don’t know, I’m sure I’m overreacting, but…I don’t think I really care. So someone told me that when I’m not sure what to blog about on a particular day that I should come up with one sentence that sort of sums it all up. So here’s my sentence for the day: Valentine’s Day is d-u-m. (And yes, I left the “b” out on purpose).