13 October 2011

New Look

After about a year of having the 'coffee cup' look for my blog, I have made changes and it has been long overdue! This blog-look was actually made for bloggers who love taking photos so they can update the little slide show of photos above regularly. I enjoy taking photos of beautiful scenes or things, the kind you can sell. And so all the photos above that I am not in, I took. Infact, all the animals are pets at home, the patterns are bed covers at home and the guitar is mine and the beautiful hand, my girlfriends!

I hope to update them as I take more. So if people don't come to read, perhaps, they can come over to see some good photographs!

The blogs new look however has a problem, it has one flaw when run using internet explorer 7. But we'll just have to live with that one.

10 October 2011

Talking To Yourself

A couple of months ago, I was in class and the pressures of some tests (or was a test?) that were around the corner were weighing hard on me. I hadn't touched a page of notes and the shear amount of work I needed to read left me pretty much despairing. In a state of anguish, I turned to my neighbour, a devout Christian from a pentecostal/charismatic background (I am yet to draw a proper line between the two -if any), and narrated my doom and impending failure.

He turned to me and grabbed me by the collar lifting me off my seat and asked me a series of questions.


"Yes." I replied a nervously.


"Yes." I replied getting concerned about how costly a wrong answer might be.


"Yes." I replied.

His tone and grip softened as he proceeded to give me the most encouraging and uplifting words I had heard in quite a while. Obviously I have exaggerated the incident quite a little but hopefully have made my point.

I would have tried to write what he told me but I couldn't possibly do his few but stirring words justice. Needless to say, I was ready to take that bull by the horns after the incident. My friend, like me hadn't touched a single page of notes either but left me confident that everything would be alright.

Well, we both failed. But I think my friend was onto something.

In life certain facts surround us, some positive and others negative. A balance is required to handle both. Sometimes we go to one extreme and dwell too much on the negative. Some people are like this by personality, pessimists, while others, optimists (and pentes!) may find themselves dwelling on the positive to unwise extents.

Human beings are always talking to themselves. Did you know that? When a challenge comes your way, you speak to yourself. Sometimes, you say, "I remember this, I failed last time." Other times its, "I remember this, I hope I don't fail again." Etc. I think it is important to speak to ones self positively, but realistically.

My friends encouraging words were true but my response to them (as well as his own response) was wrong. Where I'm I getting this? Well, David was always talking to himself as seen in many of his compositions. Here are a few, notice how he speaks of both positive and negative facts that surround him but encourages himself with the former:

1 LORD, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
2 Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”
3 But you, LORD, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
4 I call out to the LORD,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.
5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
6 I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side. ~Psalm 3

 8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, LORD,
make me dwell in safety. ~Psalm 4

3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.
7 But I, by your great love,
can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
toward your holy temple. ~Psalm 5

8 Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the LORD has heard my weeping.
9 The LORD has heard my cry for mercy;
the LORD accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;
they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame. ~Psalm 6

10 My shield is God Most High,
who saves the upright in heart. ~Psalm 7

3 My enemies turn back;
they stumble and perish before you.
4 For you have upheld my right and my cause,
sitting enthroned as the righteous judge. ~Psalm 9

I have left out quotes that are not direct (i.e. quotes that aren't I, me, mine, my etc) and have only quoted some of David's Psalms from the first few. That's six quotes from nine Psalms after a rough browse through leaving out the more subtle quotes -clearly the Psalms are littered with this kind of language!

You will notice that David also mentions the negative facts but the choruses of his songs, the refrains of his poems and the conclusions of his Psalms all say the same thing, David's emphasis is on those things that are true and encouraging to his own heart.

We are all guilty of indulging in self pity at times, speaking of things negative when there is so much that is positive in our lives one of the most outstanding being (and one which make the negatives pale in comparison) that we hold the hand that holds the world! We must emulate David's example. The man who spoke words of encouragement to himself. But lets be realistic while we're at it!

Thanks for reading.

06 October 2011

Is It OK To Take Alcohol?

"It must be surely!" Many say, "after all, even Jesus turned water into wine." That argument seems to be the most quoted by those on the "It's OK" wing.

Yes, it is true. Jesus attended a wedding where the wine ran out and saved the day by providing wine miraculously from water. There are many other positive references regarding the taking of wine in the bible. Wine was fermented in order to preserve it and so was certainly alcoholic even in those days.

He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts. ~Psalm 104:14-15.

Let beer be for those who are perishing, wine for those who are in anguish! Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more. ~Proverbs 31:6-7.
Note: In the preceding verses of this particular scripture, the writer says that alcohol must not be taken by those in authority lest they make decisions without sound judgement.

Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.~ 1 Timothy 5:23.

On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines. ~ Isaiah 25:6.

There are several more verses which can be used to argue that it is OK to take alcohol but there are also some verses that can be used to argue against it. I will not argue for or against taking wine necessarily, however, I will give reasons as to why I do not.

To begin with, the bible does not out rightly condemn taking alcohol, however it does condemn in no uncertain terms, drunkenness. Paul, for instance, mentions drunkenness, in his letter to the Galatian saints, among many other 'acts of the sinful nature' stating that those guilty of such, will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. ~ Galatians 5:19-21.

The only conventional way of getting drunk is to drink alcohol. I do not think it prudent to walk close the edge of the pit of drunkenness by taking alcoholic drink even if it be moderately. I think it would be wiser to avoid it altogether. That is the first reason why I abstain from it.

The second reason is because I want to love my neighbour. I would have said, "I love my neighbour", but most times I do not. However, I desire to.

In my culture (and by culture I mean the worldview of those in the region where I reside), alcohol and Christianity are antithetical. A pastor who spends his evenings drinking in bars will soon have an empty church. Any school boy/girl walking home with friends would not be proud to identify their Pastor if they saw him in a bar drinking. It would be shameful. Thus if I am going to be a light to those around, those in my culture, I will abstain from alcohol. No one can be attracted to Christ in a man who takes alcohol -not in my culture. And for Paul, his desire for people to come to Christ, i.e. to be saved, dictated how he lived only after the requirements of God. Thus he said:

19For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. ~1 Cor 9:19-23 (ESV).

It is always surprising to see 'Christians' in Zambia arguing that it is OK to take alcohol. How do they expect to reach a dying country/region with the gospel? Anyone with a bible in one hand and alcohol in the other will be mocked. If Jesus was born to a culture such as mine, I'd bet my life, he would not take alcohol simple because his desire for alcohol would be nothing compared to his desire to see men and women, boys and girls, accept him as the Son of God and be saved.

Those are the two reasons why I do not take alcohol.

Thanks for reading.