TGIF

Any plans for the weekend? Maybe you’ll have a beer and steak with friends, or Christmas get-together with the girls, or a stroll late afternoon or whatever you find yourself busy with and enjoying (or what you should find yourself enjoying) – all these things are good. They were created good. See what our disposition should be towards these good things according to Ray Ortlund:

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.  For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.  1 Timothy 4:1-5

As Francis Schaeffer used to remind us, the devil rarely gives us the luxury of fighting on one front only.  We see a monster in front of us wanting to devour us, and we back away in dread.  But if we’re not careful, we’ll walk right into the jaws of another monster right behind us.  We usually fight on two fronts at once.

Today we fight against materialism, especially the so-called Prosperity Gospel.  But there is also the danger of asceticism, which denies the goodness of God in all things.  This ultra-serious “holiness” is attractive, in a way.  But it is also fraudulent.  It tells an audacious lie about God and about us.

The truth is, everything created by God is good and is to be received gratefully.  This beautiful truth includes marriage and sex and food and mowing the lawn and flying a kite and paying the bills and sharpening a pencil and sitting on the porch in the evening and playing Monopoly with the kids and laughing at hilarious jokes and setting up chairs at church, and on and on and on.  There is so much divine goodness all around.  To push it away, to be above it, would insult our gracious Creator.

Our earthly human existence is where true holiness can thrive.  How?  By thanking the Lord for it moment by moment, and by applying the word of God to it moment by moment.  It is written, “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).

Not ultimate, but good.  Good enough for God.  Good enough for us too.

-Ray Ortlund, Thanksgiving

Magnificent Monotony

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

G.K. Chesterton (emphasis added)

Come High Water(s)

Take a saint, and put him into any condition, and he knows how to rejoice in the Lord.

Walter Cradock (c.1606-1659)

Die Harde Lewe

 

Maar IS jy gelukkig?

Alles wat jy gaan doen vandag is die resultaat, direk of indirek, van jou strewe vir geluk. Of ten minste so dink Blaise Pascal:

“All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.”

(Afgekyk by Desiring God, hier)

Hy’s natuurlik reg. Dis egter nie iets om oor skuldig te voel nie – dis hoe jy ontwerp is. Jy wil net seker maak jy mors nie jou lewe deur geluk te soek by die verkeerde adres nie. Dit kan, soos ‘n ander dooie profeet ons herinner, net op een plek gevind word, en dit is op die beste van tye vir die meeste (almal?!) van ons nie waar ons, ons dag-in-en-uit energie en tyd en geld spandeer om daarvoor te myn nie:

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

(CS Lewis)

Daardie ‘ander wêreld’ is die enigste plek wat vir ons die geluk wat ons so na smag, op ‘n diep, blywende, lang-termyn manier kan kry. Die goeie nuus is dat dit nie bloot ‘n ‘eendag’ ding is nie, soos baie van julle sal getuig wat dit reeds geproe het!

Vir meer oor hierdie onderwerp – en spesifiek oor ons geneigdheid om geluk in geld te soek, luister gerus na ‘n praatjie getiteld “The Pleasures of Money” deur Robert Glen. (Alhoewel dit gerig is op predikante is dit van waarde vir almal van ons.)

Heidelbergse Kategismus, Sondag 1 (Deel 1) – Enigste Troos

Die Heidelbergse Kategismus het in 1563 in Heidelberg, Duitsland, tot stand gekom om te dien as ‘n leerboek vir skole. Dit is opgedeel in 129 vrae en antwoorde. So hoe relevant is dit vandag? Sondag #1 se vraag en antwoord dink ek is steeds so relevant soos 448 jaar terug. Persoonlik onthou ek dat voor die troos, soos hier onder vervat, was vrae oor betekenis van bestaan en doel van die lewe genoeg rede om nagte lank wakker te lê. Gelukkig is die wat troos vind (en gaan vind) by die ware Trooster (Matt 11:28-30).

Vraag:

Wat is jou enigste troos in lewe en in dood?

Antwoord:

Dat ek met liggaam en siel in lewe en in sterwe nie aan myself nie, maar aan my gertroue Verlosser, Jesus Christus, behoort. Hy het met Sy kosbare bloed vir al my sondes ten volle betaal en my uit alle heerskappy van die duiwel verlos. Hy bewaar my op so ‘n wyse dat, sonder die wil van my Hemelse Vader, geen haar van my kop kan val nie. Alles moet inderdaad tot my saligheid dien. Daarom verseker Hy my ook deur Sy Heilige Gees van die ewige lewe en maak Hy my van harte gewillig en bereid om voortaan vir Hom te lewe.

Glimlag – Dis Die Christen Ding Om Te Doen

Soms lyk dit asof die Christen leefstyl een is van swaar, mismoedige en donker tye. So hoe sien paar van die ysters in kerkgeskiedenis hierdie “geluk” storie?

“Rev. Theodore L. Cuyler, the celebrated Brooklyn divine, was visiting the famous London preacher, Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon.  After a hard day of work and serious discussion, these two mighty men of God went out into the country together for a holiday.  They roamed the fields in high spirits like boys let loose from school, chatting and laughing and free from care.  Dr. Cuyler had just told a story at which Mr. Spurgeon laughed uproariously.  Then suddenly he turned to Dr. Cuyler and exclaimed, ‘Theodore, let’s kneel down and thank God for laughter!’  And there, on the green carpet of grass, under the trees, two of the world’s greatest men knelt and thanked the dear Lord for the bright and joyous gift of laughter.” – The Sabbath Recorder, 4 January 1915, page 157. (vanaf Ray Ortlund se blog)

“Should we not see that lines of laughter about the eyes are just as much marks of faith as are the lines of care and seriousness? Is it only earnestness that is baptized? Is laughter pagan?… A church is in a bad way when it banishes laughter from the sanctuary and leaves it to the cabaret, the nightclub and the toastmasters.” – From Encounter with Spurgeon by Helmut Thielecke copyright © 1963 Augsburg Publishing House, p. 26.

“Our sense of humor is a gift from God which should be controlled as well as cultivated.” – Oswald Sanders from Spiritual Leadership, Moody Publishers, 1967, p. 67.

John Calvin, Luther’s friend and fellow Reformer in Geneva also shared Luther’s views on beer.  In his Institutes of Christan Religion he writes, “We are nowhere forbidden to laugh or to be satisfied with food… or to be delighted with music, or to drink wine.” – From Reformation Brewery, The Condensed History of Beer: Part 3

Dink bietjie daaraan, God gee vir ons alles wat goed is –  dit sluit in lag en vriendskap en bier.  Gebruik en geniet goeie dinge, op goeie maniere, tot die glorie van God.

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” – 1 Tim 6:17