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.