Die betekenis van Kersfees: God met ons

Jy gaan sukkel om ‘n beter en meer volledige verduideliking van die ware betekenis van Kersfees te vind as in hierdie gedig van Isaac Wimberley. Sien hieronder die video en die woorde – uitstekend!

See the Advent Video here:

GOD WITH US

Poem by Isaac Wimberley

The people had read of this rescue that was coming through the bloodline of Abraham

They had seen where Micah proclaimed about a ruler to be born in Bethlehem

Daniel prophesy about the restoration of Jerusalem

Isaiah’s cry about the Son of God coming to them

So for them—it was anticipation

This groaning was growing, generation after generation

Knowing He was holy, no matter what the situation

But they longed for Him

They yearned for Him

They waited for Him on the edge of their seat

On the edge of where excitement and containment meet

They waited

Like a child watches out the window for their father to return from work—they waited

Like a groom stares at the double doors at the back of the church—they waited

And in their waiting, they had hope

Hope that was fully pledged to a God they had not seen

To a God who had promised a King

A King who would reign over the enemy

Over Satan’s tyranny

They waited

So it was

Centuries of expectations, with various combinations of differing schools of thought

Some people expecting a political king who would rise to the throne through the wars that he fought

While others expecting a priest who would restore peace through the penetration of the Pharisee’s façade

Yet a baby—100% human, 100% God

So the Word became flesh and was here to dwell among us

In His fullness, grace upon grace, Jesus

Through Him and for Him, all things were created

And in Him all things are sustained

God had made Himself known for the glory of His name

And this child would one day rise as King

But it would not be by the sword or an insurgent regime

It would be by His life

A life that would revolutionize everything the world knew

He would endure temptation and persecution, all while staying true

Humbly healing the broken, the sick and hurting too

Ministering reconciliation, turning the old to new

A life that would be the very definition of what life really costs

Saying—if you desire life, then your current one must be lost

And He would portray that with His own life as His Father would pour out and exhaust

And Jesus would be obedient to the point of death, even death upon the cross

So just 33 years after the day that He laid swaddled in the hay

He hung on a tree suffocating, dying in our place

Absorbing wrath that is rightly ours, but we could never bear the weight

So He took that punishment and he put it in the grave

And He died

And when I say that He died, what I mean is that He died

No breath, noheartbeat, no sign of life

God is a God of justice, and the penalty for our sin equals death

That’s what Christ did on that cross

Then… On the third day, in accordance with scriptures, He was raised from the grave

And when I say that He was raised, what I mean is that He was raised

Lungs breathing, heart pumping, blood pulsing through His veins

The things that He promised were true

He is the risen Son of God, offering life to me and you

Turning our mourning into dancing

Our weeping into laughing

Our sadness into joy

By His mercy, we are called His own

By His grace, we will never be left alone

By His love, He is preparing our home

By His blood, we can sing before His throne

Jesus paid it all

All to Him I owe

Sin had left a crimson stain

He washed it white as snow

So now we, as His bride, are the ones waiting

Like the saints that came before, we’re anticipating

He has shown us that this world is fading

And He has caused our desire to be for Him

So church, stay ready

Keep your heart focused and your eyes steady

Worship Him freely, never forgetting

His great love for you

Immanuel, God with us

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Ons droom vir Pretoria…

…is dat LIG.punt, deur God se genade:

• Sy waarheid met integriteit aan die hele stad sal verkondig

• Deur sy lede die samelewing ten goede sal beïnvloed, tot voordeel van alle mense

• ‘n Lewensstyl van vreugdevolle vrygewigheid sal kweek

• Met blydskap kwesbare en behoeftige mense sal dien

• In vennootskap met eensgesinde Christene sal staan oor tradisionele grense heen

• Sal aanhou om die dieptes van die evangelie en die implikasies daarvan vir elke area van die lewe te ontgin

• Veel-rassige gemeenskap op tasbare maniere sal nastreef, as getuienis tot die verenigende krag van die evangelie

• Kerk sal wees wat kerke plant wat ook kerke sal plant, oor ‘n breë demografiese spektrum

• Kerk sal wees wat sal onthou hoe dit was om in die duisternis vas gevang te wees

• Deurlopend, deur gebed, ‘n model wees van passievolle afhanklikheid van God

• Mans en vrouens sal oprig vir die verkondiging van die evangelie wêreld wyd

• Meer van Sy goedheid sal wys aan dié wat se oë geopen is om dit te kan sien, sodat hulle in verwondering na Hom sal smag

• Voorbeeld sal wees van ware gemeenskap, vir beide dié wat binne en dié wat buite die kerk is.

Cliché no10: “God het my so gemaak”

‘n Paar weke terug het Robert Sherwin (van Yale University School of Medicine) ‘n studie in die “Journal of Clinical Investigation” gepubliseer wat beweer dat daar moontlik biologiese redes mag wees hoekom sekere mense oorgewig is. Hy beweer dat die rede hoekom sekere mense skraler as ander is, is omdat hulle verstandelik “sterker” is om ‘nee’ te sê vir daardie ‘stoute’, maar lekker kosse wat so maklik in vet om sit.

My begeerte hier is nie om sy bevindinge in twyfel te trek nie (alhoewel my figuur en ongesonde eetgewoontes met sy bevindinge ernstig sou verskil), maar om eerder dit as ‘n illustrasie te gebruik van ‘n tendens wat meer en meer die norm in ons wêreld raak. Daar is die laaste klomp jare ‘n toenemende gevoel by baie, dat die mens se optrede – nie net sy eetgewoontes nie, maar ook dinge soos ‘humeur’, ‘verslawing’, ‘seksualiteit’ ens. –  bepaal word deur ons biologiese samestelling. Of, indien jy iemand is wat in God glo – ons gedrag is regverdigbaar, want “God het ons so gemaak”.

Nou of ons optrede inderdaad deur ons biologiese samestelling bepaal word is ‘n aanhoudende debat in wetenskaplikke sirkels. Selfs onder nie-Christene is die debat oor of ons optrede die produk van ons opvoeding is (“nurture”), of ons biologiese samestelling (“nature”) – of ‘n kombinasie van die twee – ‘n aanhoudende boksgeveg. En as ‘n Christen, wat oortuig is dat die Bybel inderdaad die korrekte weergawe van realiteit aan ons gee, is ek oortuig dat die hele gesprek, wel…eintlik irrelevant is. Laat ek verduidelik…

Die Bybel & die mens se optrede

Die Bybel begin met ‘n bekende, maar fundamentele waarheid. God het die wêreld GOED geskape (Gen 1-2). Daar was geen defek in enige aspek van God se skeppingswerk nie EN Hy het die mens (Adam en Eva) aangestel om as Sy verteenwoordigers oor Sy Skepping to regeer. Maar Adam en Eva was nie lus hiervoor nie. Hulle het hulle rue gedraai op God se goeie heerskappy (Gen 3) wat tot gevolg gehad het dat hulle (asook hulle nageslag) van hierdie oomblik af vorentoe in ‘n gebroke verhouding met Hom,  hulle-self, mekaar, asook die res van die wêreld sou verkeer. Rom 5v12 beskryf hierdie Gen. 3 gebeurtenis as die oomblik waar ‘sonde’ in die wêreld ingekom het (m.a.w. “die Sondeval”).

Dit is teen hierdie agtergrond waarteen Paulus in Rom 1v18-32 die mensdom se depressiewe realiteit beskryf. Paulus spel in baie duidelike terme uit dat ELKEEN van ons nou (net soos Adam en Eva), die waarheid van God onderdruk en die ware God verruil vir ander ‘gode’ (v18-23). En die ding is – God is nie blase oor ons rebelleering nie. Hy is woedend (v18). So veel so dat ons in die hede Sy woede kan sien in die feit dat Hy ons nou oorgee aan al ons sondige harts-begeertes (v23, v25, v28). Hierdeur sê God basies vir die mens: “Kry vir julle. Julle wil nie met my – die ware God – lewe as koning nie. Ek sal julle oorgee aan julle-self, sodat julle kan lewe as die konings van julle eie klein koninkrykies…en dan sien ons hoe dit alles uitdraai”. En die oorweldigende punt van Rom 1v18-32 is dat wanneer God ons so aan onsself oorgee, is die resultaat horibaal:

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves.
(Romans 1:24 ESV)

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error (Romans 1:26-27 ESV).

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them (Romans 1:28-31 ESV)

Die PUNT is dit: Die gedrag in ons lewens wat teenstrydig is met God se Woord (dinge soos ‘ongehoorsaamheid’, ‘woede’, seksuele immoraliteit, ens.) is NIE hoe God ons gemaak het nie. Selfs as dit waar sou wees dat ons biologiese samestelling ons met sekere inklinasies sou los, is dit steeds nie korrek om te sê dat “God ons so gemaak het nie”. Dit sou beter wees om te sê: “Die Sondeval het ons so gemaak” .

Die speelveld is vir almal dieselfde

Die realiteit is dat ons almal in ‘n sondige wêreld groot gemaak word wat ons optrede in ‘n mate affekteer (“nurture”) EN dat  die sondigheid in ons harte ons optrede affekteer (sinful “nature”)…MAAR ten spyte van hierdie realiteite gee die Bybel vir ons NOOIT ‘n lisensie om hierdie sondige optrede te regverdig nie. Ons almal worstel met verskillende ‘slegte’ vrugte in ons lewens wat alles maar bloot die uiterlike manifesteering van ons innerlike sondigheid is. En die evangelie roep ons almal om op presies dieselfde manier te reageer:

  1. Om te besef dat ons gedrag wat teenstrydig is met God se Woord, die uitvloeisel is van ons innerlike rebelleering teen ons Skepper (Rom 1v18-32)
  2. Om te besef dat die woede van God dus oor ons hang (Rom 1v18; 2v1-16; 3v10-18)
  3. Om na Jesus te kyk (in geloof) as die enigste Een wat as ons Verlosser, die woede van God teenoor ons kan absorbeer (Rom 3v21-26)
  4. Om aan te hou om in geloof na Jesus toe te kyk, soos wat ons uiterlike gedrag deurgaans in lyn gebring word met ons nuwe status by God (Rom 6)

God sal my so maak

Die Bybel is baie duidelik daaroor dat ons nie ons sondige gedrag kan regverdig deur te sê dat God ons so gemaak het nie.  Ons optrede is die produk van ons eie sonde en die sonde van ‘n gevalle wêreld wat ons deurgaans ‘n bloedneus gee. Wat ons almal moet doen is om met ons gebrokenheid en worstelinge na Jesus toe te hardloop vir vergifnis en vir nuwe lewe. Nuwe lewe, wat ons stadig maar seker in Sy ewebeeld sal transformeer.

Die goeie nuus is dat daar wel ‘n dag sal kom waar ons sal kan sê: “God het my so gemaak”. Dit sal die dag wees wanneer Jesus ons kom haal, om saam met Hom, vir alle ewigheid in Sy heerlikheid te deel.

Wat dink jy is die grootste behoefte in Rwanda?

Loots en Nancy Lambrechts is goeie vriende van LIG.punt wat tans sendelinge in Rwanda is. In die video hieronder vertel Loots en Nancy ‘n bietjie oor hulle eerste 12 maande in Rwanda – en wat hulle oortuig is die grootste behoefte in Rwanda is…

Cliché no9: “Jy mag nie oordeel nie”

Ek weet ek het hierdie stelling al vroeer in die reeks gemaak, maar ek trek alles terug – cliché no9: “Jy mag nie oordeel nie” – is VERSEKER die bekendste en geliefkoosde cliché wat beide onder Christene en nie-Christene die rondtes doen.

Buiten vir die feit dat hierdie woorde maklik verteerbaar is vir die gemiddelde post-moderne, relativistiese, polities-korrekte maag…is die aanhangers van hierdie cliché ook oortuig dat hierdie waarheid baie na aan Jesus se hart gelê het. Was dit nie dan Jesus wat in Mattheus 7v1 beveel het, “moenie oordeel nie, sodat julle nie geoordeel word nie”?

Wel, net soos met die ander clichés in ons reeks sal ons sien dat ‘n dieper en meer verantwoordelike lees van hierdie vers (en inderdaad, die hele Bybel) ons tot ‘n ander gevolgtrekking sal forseer.

“Jy mag nie oordeel nie”- regtig?

Soos altyd is dit belangrik dat ons ons geliefkoosde verse IN KONTEKS (Mt 7v1-6) moet lees. Sodra ons dit met Mattheus 7v1 doen, spring daar dadelik ‘n paar verassings na vore…

“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. 6 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

Die eerste ding wat ek wil hê ons moet raaksien is hoe dieselfde Jesus – wat in vers 1 sê “jy mag nie oordeel nie”, in v6 na sekere mense verwys as “honde” en “varke”. Wat!?!? Is Jesus dan self skuldig aan dit wat hy ander verbied om te doen? Is Jesus dan self een van die skynheiliges (v5) wat een ding sê en ‘n ander ding doen? Die antwoord is natuurlik nee…maar logika vereis dat ons dan ons oppervlakkige verstaan van “jy mag nie oordeel nie” moet verander.

Sodra ‘n mens Mattheus 7v1-6 in konteks lees, word dit vinnig duidelik dat die probleem wat Jesus het, nie so seer met “oordeel” (die uitwys van mense se sonde) is nie, maar eerder die persoon wat oordeel sonder om self onder die Woord van God te staan. Dit is die SKYNHEILIGE persoon (v5) wat nie mag oordeel nie. Jesus se probleem hier is met die persoon wat self met ‘n balk in sy eie oog sit, wat geen intensie het om daardie balk self uit te haal nie, wat geen daadwerklike lewe van bekering lewe nie, maar wat vir ander wil sê dat hulle die splinters uit hulle oë moet haal. So ‘n persoon mag nie oordeel nie.

Diskwalifiseer ons sonde ons?

Maar dalk is jou beswaar op hiedie stadium die volgende: “Ja, ek sien dan hoedat Jesus mag oordeel – wat hy self het met geen balk in sy oog gesit nie – maar hoe kan ons as sondige mense dan ooit iemand anders oordeel? Is ons almal nie tot ‘n mate skynheiliges nie? Is daar nie balke in ons oë wat ons diskwalifiseer om ander mense se sonde uit te wys nie?” Die antwoord is – “dit hang af”…

Dit is verseker waar dat ons ALMAL sondige mense is en dat ons almal gereeld droog maak. Maar wanneer die Bybel verwys na “skynheiliges”, praat dit nie so seer van ‘n persoon wat een ding sê en ‘n ander ding doen nie, maar eerder van ‘n persoon wat een ding sê en GEEN BEGEERTE en STRYD VOER om daardie ding wat hy sê, self te doen nie. ‘n ‘Skynheilige’ is nie ‘n persoon wat sondig nie, maar ‘n persoon wat doelbewus in sonde lewe, wat geen begeerte het om te verander nie, maar wat steeds ‘n front wil voor hou dat hy/sy vir God ken en lief is.

Mattheus 7v5 is hier insiggewend. Ons almal moet seker maak dat ons eers die balk uit ons eie oë uit haal (maw, tot ware geloof en inkeer kom oor ons eie sonde) voordat ons ander mense wil uitwys op hulle sonde. MAAR daar sal – om met Jesus se illustrasie verder te hardloop – altyd splinters in ons eie oë agter bly, wat op ‘n soortgelyke basis deur ander broer en susters (met splinters in hulle oë) uit gehaal sal moet word. Indien ons sou wag tot elke liewe splinter in ons oë eers uitgehaal is, voordat ons met ander kan gesels oor die splinters in hulle oë, sal die tweede helfte van Mt 7v5 NOOIT realiseer nie!

Bybelse voorbeelde van mense met “splinters” wat wel geoordeel het:

Jesus het op verskeie geleenthede mense “geoordeel” – beide skynheiliges wat skade gedoen het, asook ware gelowiges wat in sonde verval het (Mt 3v7; 21v12; 23v27, 33; Mk 8v33;  Jn 4v17-18; Jn 8v11; v24; etc) Maar buiten vir Jesus (wat anders as ons, sondeloos was) is die Bybel vol voorbeelde van sondige mense wat steeds “sonde” en “sondaars” op die naam genoem het:

Johannes die Doper:

  • 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (Mt 3v7)
  • 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” (Mk 6v18)

Paulus:

  • 2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. (Phil 3v2)
  • 11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” (Gal 2v11-14)
  • 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds(2 Tim 4v14)
Petrus:
  • But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction… 12 But these, like irrational animals,creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! (2 Pet 2v1, 12-14)
Johannes (die apostel):
  • 9 I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. (3 John 1v9)

Die punt is duidelik maar bly steeds baie onpopulêr: Dit is nie net toelaatbaar vir Christene om te oordeel nie, maar ook noodsaaklik (Spr 24v25; 1 Kor 2v15-16; 2v5-6; ens.) God het gepraat – en dus is daar objektiewe waarhede wat sekere dinge REG maak, terwyl ander VERKEERD is. Sekere dinge GOED maak, terwyl ander dinge SLEG is. Sekere dinge GESOND maak, terwyl ander dinge GEVAARLIK is. Die liefdevolle ding is nie om jou broer of suster met hulle splinters te los nie, maar om hulle te help om dit uit te kry (Mt 7v5)

Maar voordat jy dit doen, maak tog net seker dat die balk uit jou eie oog uit is…

This is discipling

Nogmaal(s) Nagmaal

Ons het gisteraand by LIG.punt ons maandelikse gebeds-samekoms (BID.punt) gehad. Een van die dinge wat ons elke maand by hierdie geleentheid doen is om die Nagmaal saam te geniet. Dit het my gisteraand weer getref – ek “love” die Nagmaal. Hoe ouer ek word en hoe langer ek ‘n Christen is, hoe meer geniet ek die Nagmaal en hoe warmer maak dit my hart.

Die lied hieronder (“The Communion Hymn”) is een van my gunsteling liedere. Die woorde (ook hieronder aangeheg) kommunikeer die ware betekenis van die Nagmaal op ‘n besonderse  manier…

 

The Communion Hymn / Behold the Lamb

Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away,
Slain for us – and we remember
The promise made that all who come in faith
Find forgiveness at the cross.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of peace
Around the table of the King.

The body of our Saviour Jesus Christ,
Torn for you – eat and remember
The wounds that heal, the death that brings us life
Paid the price to make us one.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of love
Around the table of the King.

The blood that cleanses every stain of sin,
Shed for you – drink and remember
He drained death’s cup that all may enter in
To receive the life of God.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of grace
Around the table of the King.

And so with thankfulness and faith we rise
To respond, – and to remember
Our call to follow in the steps of Christ
As His body here on earth.
As we share in His suffering
We proclaim Christ will come again!
And we’ll join in the feast of heaven
Around the table of the King
Words and Music by Keith and Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend

Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away,
Slain for us – and we remember
The promise made that all who come in faith
Find forgiveness at the cross.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of peace
Around the table of the King.

The body of our Saviour Jesus Christ,
Torn for you – eat and remember
The wounds that heal, the death that brings us life
Paid the price to make us one.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of love
Around the table of the King.

The blood that cleanses every stain of sin,
Shed for you – drink and remember
He drained death’s cup that all may enter in
To receive the life of God.
So we share in this bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice
As a sign of our bonds of grace
Around the table of the King.

And so with thankfulness and faith we rise
To respond, – and to remember
Our call to follow in the steps of Christ
As His body here on earth.
As we share in His suffering
We proclaim Christ will come again!
And we’ll join in the feast of heaven
Around the table of the King