dinsdag 7 juni 2016

The beast of Revelation 13

Revelation 13:5-8
5The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. 6It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. 7It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.bn

Satan does not come magically as a horned monster to frighten, hurt and destroy people. He needs humans to do his dirty work. The beast is a construct of man inspired by demonic forces. Not so long ago the beast was Nazi-facism, followed by Stalinism, Maoism and unbridled exploitative capitalism, Jihadism and so on. Satan is an anti-human entity and dehumanization in all its forms is its native language. Today the most succesful work of satan is seen in the evil political and economic structures of this world which excluded, marginalises, oppressed and hurts people so that those with wealth can prevent those who suffer hunger to share in their wealth. A system designed to protect those who live in peace and privilege from providing a safe haven for those fleeing war and danger fuelled by our weapon industry, foreign politics and lust for cheap oil and other natural resources.  Our system is the beast that devours the globe and yet is obeyed and worshipped by many. To oppose it means hardship. Not to oppose it may mean losing our integrity and our soul.

zondag 8 mei 2016

Share freely

I associate with people from all walks of life. Some of these are very well to do and others are very poor. I have noticed that those who are relatively poor are often much happier than those who possess a large fortune. Of course this is not to say that poverty is virtue and wealth is sinful. Some of the people I meet who are extremely poor suffer from extreme levels of stress, feelings of guilt, desperation, frustration and anger as they just do not know how to feed their families, pay for medical bills and afford the basic necessities in life.  On the other hand I meet plenty who are very rich but who are isolated from meaningful contact with other human beings as their arrogance and materialist focus has alienated others.  This gives a lot of stress too, even more so when as a result of their behavior they have made many enemies who are literally or figuratively speaking after their blood. The way of peace for both rich and poor is to seek, maintain and foster positive connection with God and others. The rich ought to be humble and generous, serving God with all their possession while the poor need to be forgiving and patient with those who are still stuck in arrogance and materialism and struggle to share. Their trust should be in the Lord and not in access to the wealth of the rich and powerful. Finally both rich and poor should be generous, generous in accordance to what one has, be it money, material goods, time, kindness or a listening ear….. Let us serve God and one another with whatever God has entrusted to us and so build up one another in love.

donderdag 7 april 2016

To know Him

Everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.(Philippians 3:8)
In life I tried it all. The pursuit of wealth, career, women, success, popularity, a PhD and even achieving religious success and a sense of self-righteousness. However all these proved futile and unfulfilling. Everything changed when I met Christ. Not the Christ who has been domesticated by western individualist and materialist culture to validate their way of life, but the radical Christ of the gospels. I did not meet Him in church but among the pieces of my broken heart and among the ashes of all that I worked for. It is then that I realised I had been an idolater and a worse sinner than I ever imagined. But His forgiveness was greater than my sins and his light stronger than my darkness as his love enveloped me. Now I follow Him with joy and I seek to reflect his grace by living a life of love and self-giving. In Him I found myself and a deep inner fulfilment while at the same time I am trulymaking a difference in the lives of others. Not because of who I am but because of whom He is.

dinsdag 1 december 2015

Away from narcissism

Romantic partners of narcissists often suffer post traumatic stress disorder, or suffer some form of breakdown in a long term relationship. Partners of narcissists have to live with the projection of the narcissist's inner world that is an environment of bitterness, suspiciousness, meanness, self absorption, reality manipulation, aggression and pettiness.

Partners are often reported to living with resulting feelings of self-guilt, self-reproach, self-recrimination, self-punis...hment, and self-denial, all which eventually cause a partner to collapse in some shape or form. Narcissists typically try to "educate" or mind-control their partners from a compulsive, incessant, harsh and critical position.
The effect is to erode their partner's reality and self esteem, to humiliate, create reality dependence, to intimidate, to restrain, control and isolate the partner. Narcissists often labour on the "sacrifices" they make for the partner, invoking guilt instead of accepting that such actions are just part of their adult responsibility in relationship.

Ex-partners of narcissists take time and often trauma therapy or counselling to recover their reality after living in such a chaotic hell with such a "loved one".

Many authors believe it is better to move away from a Narcissist than try to change them, manage them, bargain with them, or partner with them, in business or in a romantic sense. For many of them compromise is weakness in their reality, and they will punish and seek revenge as routine, if they can orchestrate that through others. You are only in a narcissist's life for as long as you have "utility" or value for them, as life is all about them, not you.

Read more here: http://energeticsinstitute.com.au/narcissism/

In contrast the love God gives us (Romans 5:5) is genuine and deep and is unconditional (1 Cor. 13) and shows itself in a life of self-sacrifice, compassion and goodness (Romans 12:1-16a).

donderdag 19 november 2015

Christian Jihad

Christians are also called to fight a Holy War. Only for us it is a war of love and not one of earthly terror. It is a war to save people from wrong beliefs inspired by evil spiritual influences that inspire wrong behaviour and evil actions that cause harm to people:

10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (Bible: Ephesians 5:10-12)
3We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 6And after you have become fully obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient. (Bible: 2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
Jesus (Bible: Matthew 5:14)

"Love your enemies..."
(Bible: Luke 6:27)

In contrast:

"If then anyone transgresses
the prohibition against you,
Transgress ye likewise against him"
(Qur'an 2:194)

"Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye
dislike it. But it is possible that ye
dislike a thing which is good for you, and
that ye love a thing which is bad for you.
But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."
(Qur'an 2:216)

"I will cast terror into the hearts of those who
disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads
and strike off every fingertip of them."
"Allah" (Qur'an 8:12)

"O you who believe! Fight those of the
unbelievers who are near to you
and let them find in you hardness."
(Qur'an 9:123)

So how do we respond to this as followers of Christ?

We do as He told us in Matthew 5:42-45

43"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' 44"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous

woensdag 28 oktober 2015

Victory over demons

Christ is Victor

In much of contemporary charismatic demonology we often come across a learned helplessness which results from focusing so much on the power of the demons who may be trying to influence us that people feel they are unable to resist them. Instead of feeling part of the victorious procession of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14) they feel victimized by the devil and anything he may have done to them in the past or still may be doing in their lives, Whether this is a case of trying to shift responsibility for past and present sins to the devil 'who made them do it' since they were 'helpless victims' or whether it is confusion caused by false teachers who put themselves forward as deliverance experts, this approach is not in agreement with the word of God. We are exhorted by the true apostles in the New Testament to focus on the far superior power of Christ who has already defeated and disarmed all of the demons. Christ is the truth by which we ought to live. Not just any Christ as he may be presented by some, but Christ as revealed in Holy Scripture in the writings of the apostles and prophets. Our faith should be build on Christ and His teachings as a strong foundation as laid by the apostles and prophets. We should not allow anyone, no matter how impressive his or her credentials, to lead us astray from simple trust in our victorious Lord. Christ is victorious over the powers and He has disarmed them (Colossians 2:15). The well-known church father St. Augustine understood this well when he described the demons as dangerous but limited in power: They are like fierce barking dogs already put on a chain. As long as we do not deliberately go to them they cannot bite. So why be intimidated by their barking? Lets trust in the One who lives within us and who has all power in Heaven and Earth. He should be our focus for in Him we find all the strength we need to resist even the prince of demons, the devil himself (Matthew 28:18, Eph. 6:10, James 4:17-18).

donderdag 8 oktober 2015

To follow Christ means to seek global justice

To follow Christ means to seek global justice

In 2014, Oxfam reported that the 85 wealthiest individuals in the world have a combined wealth equal to that of the bottom 50% of the world's population, or about 3.5 billion people. More recently, in January 2015, Oxfam reported that the wealthiest 1 percent will own more than half of the global wealth by 2016. What is our response as followers of Christ to such an injustice in the world where billions suffer because some hoard an immorally big amount for themselves? Through His prophet Isaiah God tells us that when such things happened in Israel that He hates injustice and He hates it when no-one does anything about it (Isaiah 59:15-16). He will bring judgement on both evil doers and those who collectively condone it (vs 17-19). But for those who repent and change their way and led by His Spirit stand for what is right there is salvation (vs 20-21). Those will follow God the way He has instructed in Isaiah 58:

6 I'll tell you
what it really means
to worship the Lord.
Remove the chains of prisoners
who are chained unjustly.
Free those who are abused!
7 Share your food with everyone
who is hungry;
share your home
with the poor and homeless.
Give clothes to those in need;
don't turn away your relatives.

8 Then your light will shine
like the dawning sun,
and you
will quickly be healed.
Your honesty will protect you
as you advance,
and the glory of the Lord
will defend you from behind.
9 When you beg the Lord for help,
he will answer, “Here I am!”

As James repeats in the New Testament:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (James 1:27).

So let us cleanse ourselves from the pollution of this world and its selfish desires, its never satisfied lust for more and more, and its boasting of earthly achievements, possessions and popularity in the eyes of humanity:

15Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever (1 John 2:15-17).