To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Noah Is Obedient

Amidst all the sin and degradation described in Genesis 6 we come across a man who found favour in the eyes of the Lord (Gen. 6:8b). His Name was Noah. Noah was a man who knew the gracious favour of the Lord undeservingly upon his life.

This grace was thereafter reflected in a life of obedience. It is striking how he was a man who moved in obedience to the call of God. So we see these statements.

  • Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him (Gen. 6:22). This was after the Lord had given the specification for how the ark should be built.
  • And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him (Gen 7:5). This was after the Lord had given Noah instructions about his entering the ark.
  • Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah (Gen 7:8-9). This is the comment upon Noah entering the ark.
  • They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the Lord shut him in (Gen. 7:15-16). Again in going into the ark Noah has done all he was called to do.
  • Then God said to Noah, “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him (Gen. 8:15-18). In Gen 8:13-14 we read how the earth had been dry for 57 days. But Noah would only move when God said.

And so it must be with us. We must move in obedience to the holy will of the Lord. Blessed people are obedient people. It is of course that way around. The error that many religions peddle is that obedience leads to salvation. This is a lie. No! It is rather the case that blessing leads to obedience.

Those who find favour in the eyes of the Lord by being granted faith to believe in the Saviour who is Jesus Christ the Lord, display such in the ensuing obedient life. We can talk and talk; we can profess and profess some more, but all is meaningless unless there is obedience.

Islamophobia

Let me make it clear that I am a lover of Muslims. I passionately love Muslims I pray for Muslims. I have Muslims, I would consider as friends. I am a total muslimphile; that means I am a  lover of Muslims. So as Eid is celebrated in the UK today I would want to declare that.

However, I have to acknowledge and declare that I am also an Islamophobe. I was pondering upon this in respect of the slogan on the man’s T-shirt next to Jordan Peterson here. I am, dare I say, a hater of Islam. And I am a hater of Islam because I am a lover of Muslims. I love Muslims so much that I don’t want them to follow a false religious system.

I would go further and say that any real Christian must be an Islamphobe. To be otherwise is a complete contradiction and denial of our faith. This is because the faith of God revealed in Christ is a faith about how we can reach God through Jesus Christ and Him alone. He, Himself, said to Thomas “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).

If we say that Islam or Mohammed is an acceptable way to God then we are declaring Jesus Christ to be a liar and should reject Him as a fraud. If, as is the case, Jesus Christ is true and the only way to God we should long that all Muslims, and all other followers of any religion, come to faith in Jesus Christ and be a follower of Him.

This Jesus is the one who died on the cross and rose again to bring salvation to all who believe. We believe that there is salvation in no other. We passionately want all, including Muslims, to come to faith in this Lord. We want them to turn from their false gods like the Thessalonian Christians did. It is said of them that they turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:9b-10).

I love Muslims so much that I want them to turn from their religion and escape the wrath to come. I want them to become followers of Jesus Christ the Lord who died to cleanse and lives to save them.

S.S. SIOSA

It is good to have S.S SIOSA as a motif for life. To embrace teh principles within thsi acronym is to set yourself up well for life. Livinng out S.S. SIOSA will make you a valuable person to have in any community of people. So what am I referring to here?

I am thinking about those situations in life where you are responsible for causing a difficulty, problem or just generally messing others around. Upon being aware of this immediately call S.S. SIOSA to mind. So you will:

  • Say Sorry: Go to the person(s) involved and apologize for what you have done wrong. Apologise to the doctor if you have missed an appointment. Apologise to your boss if you have forgotten to do some work. Wherever you are responsible apologise for your actions or non-actions.
  • Sort it out: Speak the matter through with the relevant parties so that you all now know how you are going to move ahead. Alternatively you may just have to write an email to inform others how you are going to rectify things.
  • Straight Away: When you become aware of having messed someone around unnecessarily get on to the matter immediately; do not delay. Allow no wounds to fester; allow no confusion to drag on. Leaving matters for a time tends to poison matters as people stew upon why you messed them around.

So enlist the S.S. SIOSA in your life and you will have gained a good life skill. And if everyone one lived out this motif marriages, families, churches, work places, communities and nations would all be better and happier places.

For Whom Christ Died

1 Corinthians 8 addresses the issue of how we interact with one another when we see things differently. In particular it is when we see that we have freedom in Christ to act in a certain way, whilst another Christian does not feel comfortable in engaging in that same behavior.

In such a situation we need to be careful about how we speak and act towards such a fellow Christian. Our freedom should never be a means for bringing the other brother to stumble in their faith.

Paul reaches the apogee of his argument when he speaks of how the brother you souls stumble is one for whom Christ died (see 1 Cor. 8:11. Christ gave up all of His freedom. That freedom entailed eternally and joyously being in the favour of God and heaven. He relinquished that in order to go to the degradation of the cross.  And he did all that in order to bring eternal blessing to your brother.

In view of that won’t I (and won’t you) be very careful about indulging our freedom in Christ. We should always act circumspectly to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Moreover, the passage continues in 1 Corinthians 8:12 to say:   Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. How serious this all is. When you act to hurt your brother you hurt one who is in the body of Christ. Thereby you hurt Christ. 

It is one of those things to have always in our minds in dealing with fellow Christians that they are ones for who Christ died. “One for who Christ died” is the label they wear.

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Definitive Statements

.I want to write here about how people make definitive statements This theme is closely related to that which I wrote about on Tuesday here. I am thinking about how we, without fully considering an issue, hastily rush to make definitive statements on a matter. Accordingly, people’s tendency to impose a narrative, can cause hurt and dismay by the definitive way people speak about situations without having fully considered those situations. Without fully considering a situation people make statements which categorically affirm a certain understanding of the situation or proposed course of action.

What we need to do is fully consider a situation by speaking with either the person or people involved. When we have fully considered a matter we can then make a response. Very often the most generous and tender thing to do is to make suggestions about what you consider the best way forward in the pertaining situation.

I, must emphasize though, that I am not advocating that there should be never definitive statements about anything. A parent who does not clearly establish what has happened when a child has carelessly used a knife and cut themselves. for example is being neglectful. And not to make definite statements about what the child must do is similarly neglectful.

Moreover, when someone has clearly done something wrong, as measured by the Word of God, we should be unhesitating to declare it to be such.

However, we need to be careful about making unconsidered definitive statements. This is, I would observe, very much against the spirit of our social media age where all sorts of things are slung out with unconsidered definiteness. Let us not fall into the trap of following that spirit in our dealing with others.

 

Church Newsletter

Here is our Church newsletter. It includes an article referring to being convicted about our sin.

Imposing A Narrative

What I am thinking of here is the issue of how we respond to peoples’ situations. This can be an issue for parents with their children, friends with one another, employers with their employees. In fact it applies in many situations. I want to think about how we interact we the situations of others.

General. In all situations we must impose the narrative of the gospel to understand the situation we are dealing with. The malaise of this world, as manifest in peoples’ lives, is caused by the entrance of sin into this world. The remedy for the issue of sin is the blood of our Lord Jesus. His salvific work to redeem lives, will work ultimately to retrieve this world form disorder and chaos.

There must be great wisdom and sensitivity in applying the gospel narrative into the situation with which we are interacting. Simplistic cause and effect reasoning are very much cautioned against in Luke 13:1-5. That passage reads:

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

However, that passage also indicates that in a destabilized world, it is sin in the world that is the root cause and as sinners we need to repent. In all this our Lord is imposing a gospel narrative on the situation.

Specific. On the other hand when we come to deal with specific situations we need to be wary of imposing any pre-conceived narrative. I have been very much aware of this through my being afflicted with depression. People may or may not have been right about the narrative they were bringing to my situation. However, what took me aback, at times, was the unwillingness to actually establish with me what had happened to me. People either would not ask or, if they did ask, would not listen to what was said.

I am arguing that always before we jump to conclusions we should stop and consider what has happened. This means we actually listen to the person and find out what there experience is and what they have been through to get there.  For parents, I feel we will fulfill the requirement to not exasperate our children (see Eph. 6:4) if we follow this approach.

Always remember, as well, that even though two people are experiencing something identical that does not mean that the causes of that experience are the same. So don’t assume when you come across someone displaying certain things that you have seen in someone before that the cause is the same in both cases.

It is very frustrating to be on the end of certain counsel or certain views about your situation from people you believe have not taken time to find out about your situation.

So my conclusion is when interacting with any situation always impose a gospel narrative, but never impose a personal narrative.

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