The Pilgrim’s Treasure, Part 3 of 3

In Part 1 and 2, I pondered… if I was forced to leave my home and possessions and could only take one article along, what would it be?  Without a doubt, it is my Bible because it is a super special book.  Psalm 138:2b says, ‘for You have exalted above all things Your Name and Your Word.’  In this blog I want to continue with the reasons for my decision.

#  The Bible has a supernatural Author.

‘You [God] spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David…’ 1  God spoke through the Holy Spirit to David.  Then David wrote down what God wanted him to.  

  • In this sci-fi age we could say the Bible contains the words of an ‘Extra Terrestrial Highly Intelligent Being.’  It is a unique claim, that an invisible Being, called the Holy Spirit, was behind the different writers.   
  • Does it mean that the writers were sort of automatons that wrote what was dictated to them?  No, they all retained their individual characteristic styles.  There is not an adequate human explanation for it.  Maybe the best explanation is that it was like the inspiration of Shakespeare or many writers, just on a heavenly level. 
  • The Bible is a unique book.  None like it has ever appeared in history, and none ever will,  ‘ …the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.’ 2

#  The Bible explains the opposition of the world  

  • If the Bible is a supernatural book and not the work of the human writers only, it should have the stamp of God’s authenticity on it, and it has.  
  • For example, in the Garden of Eden, Satan appeared on the scene.  He directly contradicted God’s command to Adam and Eve.  God told them, if they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, ‘THEY WOULD SURELY DIE.’ 3  The devil, in the form of that ancient serpent, told Eve, ‘YOU WILL NOT SURELY DIE’ and she obeyed him instead of God. 4 
  • That direct opposition to God’s commands, has become embedded in humanity: people increasingly reject, contradict and question Biblical truths.

#  The Bible warns us about a final judgement.

  • At the end of this age (when earth will have been destroyed by humans, and God takes over), there will be a final judgment.  It will be based on our reactions to God’s message in the Bible.  
  • It means that there should be only one ‘Constitution’ or Law book on which the Court will base its decisions.   Whether a person lived in 500 or 2000 AD, the Book remained the same.  Otherwise there cannot be justice.

Conclusion

I just love it that the Lord speaks to me personally in Scripture, and of course to my wife and to all who trust Him.  What a miracle that the Almighty God will stoop down and speak to us, ‘…have you not read what God said to you….’  5 

References

  1. Acts 4:25  
  2. Psalm 12:6  
  3. Genesis 2:16-17  
  4. Revelation 12:9; Genesis 3:4  
  5. Matthew 22:31

The Devil’s Dividing Strategies

In many countries of the world there is civil unrest.  It consists of ethnic divisions, social injustices, white privilege, black discrimination, liberals, conservatives, democracy, socialism, communism, doctrinally divided churches, diverse forms of marriage, et cetera. 

Divisions is the work of the devil to cause dissent and unrest.  

  • Jesus explained the principle to the Pharisees, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.’ 1 
  • That is evident in the results of those divisions.  Prime ministers, presidents, governments and laws come and go as people’s fancies and opinions change and cause divisions.  Hostility erupts in many cases.  
  • Vicious attacks in the press and the social media often spew forth hatred and retaliation.  ‘Divide and rule,’ is the motto of the devil. 
  • In the meantime, God accepts applications for people to join His eternal Kingdom.  What measures does He take to ensure the Kingdom will be trouble free and last eternally? 

God’s brilliant design:

#  Unity under Jesus  

While the devil scatters, Jesus unites. 

  • God unifies all things in His Kingdom under Jesus, ‘…to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.’ 2 
  • ‘And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church….’ 3
  • That means the applicants for citizenship will be unified under Jesus.  God’s people will have only one Leader. 

#  Love and obey Jesus  

Love unifies all the citizens under Jesus.

  • It is written, ‘This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His One and Only Son in the world that we might live through Him.’  The King loves His people. 4 
  • This exceptional love of the Lord Most High for His people makes the difference, ’We love because He first loved us.’ 5 
  • The greatest command is, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 6 
  • Love will hold God’s Kingdom together.  It is in stark contrast to what we experience in most nations today.  

#  A special Counsellor  

We have one Counsellor, the Holy Spirit who teaches the same basic principles of the Kingdom. 

  • ‘…the Holy Spirit… will guide you into all truth.’ 7   
  • One Spirit, one Lord, one God, one Kingdom, one Nation.  All God’s people are taught by one very Special Teacher, the Holy Spirit. 

#  Total freedom to reject God  

  • God gives all people the opportunity to reject the Kingdom-of-God-citizen-requirements. 
  • God never forces anybody.  So people choose to become citizens of God’s Kingdom and children of God.  They choose to be filled with the Holy Spirit and decide to love and respect the Godhead eternally.  It is a matter of the will. 
  • That means God gives all people the opportunity to exercise their free will to love or reject the Lord.  Divisive elements are free to choose to align themselves with the opposite kingdom of darkness. 

 

Conclusion

Those who submit to God do not become robots.  They remain individuals with their own strong points and gifts, but they will be united in their love for the Lord and will obey and serve Him.  No one in God’s Kingdom will ever cause divisions, since it was a free will choice.  Led by the Holy Spirit, all God’s people will love and revere Him.

References

  1. Matthew 12:25  
  2. Ephesians 1:10  
  3. Ephesians 1:22  
  4. 1 John 4:9   
  5. 1 John 4:19 
  6. Mark 12:30  
  7. John 16:13

An ode of praise to God

This day, exactly 47 years ago, on the 4th of July 1970 a man and woman stood before a minister, in a church in a small town in South Africa.  They were about to be tied together as husband and wife.

Two fathers

  • My father sat with tears in his eyes.  He could not believe that the in-laws refused to heed his warning that I was bad marriage material.
  • My future wife’s father was glad that his youngest daughter at last got a husband (at the ‘ancient’ age of 24).  He just hoped for the best.
  • My wife’s sister and mother told her that it is a disgrace not to get married, a disgrace to retain your maiden name.  She mustn’t be so finicky.  She should just get married.  If it doesn’t work out she can always get divorced!

Opposites attract.

It was strange that a man who had very little knowledge about God, married a young woman who became a follower of Jesus when she was ten years old.  I wondered:

  • Why do I get married in a church?  My answer was, tradition!  Little did I know that the Lord would in due time instruct me that marriage was His idea, that is why I got married in a church.
  • Why did she consent to marry me?  Heaven knows (which was true).  She said God told her to leave the matter in His hands and He will sort it out.
  • So, there we were, listening intently to the minister on how we should approach marriage.  For a follower of Jesus to marry someone who knows nothing about the Lord is hard at times.  However, things changed decidedly when I (Gerard), allowed the Lord into my hardened heart.  That saved our marriage so that today, we can celebrate God’s goodness to us together.

The war

  • I can’t remember what I promised the minister I would do.  When one rejected person unites with another rejected person, it is sure to produce friction.  So there were times of unrest, but also love, and four gifts from God, four children.
  • In God’s plan for us, a time of deep healing began in our thirties.  We began to pray together and still do.  It made a huge difference in our lives and marriage.

The miracle

  • Celebrating 47 years together, we can only give the honor to the Lord.  We are both followers of Jesus.  We are blessed by the Lord.  We are in love, happy and contented to be in each other’s company.  Jesus promised, when He frees a person he or she will be free indeed.  That is what we experienced.
  • I (Gerard) am a testimony to the power of the Gospel.  I was a man who had very little knowledge (none, to be more precise) of God or the Bible, but I married a godly woman.  I became a follower of Jesus.  I have a future as one of God’s ‘favorite’ children.  I rejoice in my great, glorious magnificent God and His blessings –  four plus four children and eleven grandchildren.

 

Why this ode of praise to God.

  • He changed our lives.  Both my wife and I came from families where we are the only ones who have the privilege to be married for 47 years, with children and grandchildren that we can cherish.
  • It is an absolute privilege to enjoy fellowship with the most glorious Father, the powerful Savior, and be filled with His wonderful Counsellor, the Holy Spirit.

Conclusion

Glory to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for what He did for us!