On the issue of being politically correct. I found myself very challenged after I had been somewhat of a hypocrite. I heard that Joel Osteen had been on T.V doing an interview and that he had refused to make a stand on his views and beliefs on homosexuality and some other things. Touchy topic no doubt. We wouldn’t want to cause any problems by making irrational public outbursts. A lot of people condemned Joel (myself included) for that and I suppose that as a leader of the church if he doesn’t take a stance then it reflects badly on not only him but the faith as well.
However, so often we find ourselves censoring ourselves and checking what we say amongst those who do not believe the same as we do. I’m referring to christians that is. We want to make sure that everyone is happy and that there are no hurt feelings. Loving your neighbour does not mean accepting what everyone believes. I was challenged whilst watching a movie on the Gospel of John. Jesus went into the temple and chased away all the people that were dealing and embezzling people for sacrifices. He did not wait to ask anyone anything, He just went in there and cleaned up the place. I found myself involuntarily wincing, thinking that He is not going to get any points for tact. In my mind I thought surely He should have taken it up with the authorities of the temple. That is what we would do today, go take it up with the elders or pastor who are probably fully aware of what is happening. I was actually sympathising with the people whose money was scattered, those were losses they incurred. In that same time the pharisees came and asked Him who he thought he was for trashing the place and He told them He was the son of man and He would tear the temple down and rebuild it in three days. We always read it and judge the pharisees badly but I think if Jesus came today and started shouting at T.D Jakes or someone big in the ministry some of us would actually rebuke Him and tell him to watch His words. We like to think we are righteous and we do not think like the pharisees but we should check our hearts really. If you had been there witnessing this, chances are you were probably waiting to see how this madman was going to get it from the pharisees, because honestly that was just crazy! I saw in me how I can easily get caught up in calling ourselves righteous when we are behaving just like the pharisees. I have let the rules that run the world sink into my mind so much that I obey then subconciously. Many of us have to admit we also do that.
There is a place to be politically correct and a place not to be. If we really look at the life of Jesus and then compared our lives to His we would be seriously challenged. We spend our time apologising as christians for offending people. We are apologetic about our faith when that should not be the case at all, if we believe that we are believing in the right thing. Like Paul said, if we are wrong then we should be pitied most of all (1 Corinthians 15 v 19)… but we have the conviction that we are right. It starts small hey, in the work place wherever you are, are you a closet christian or do people know what you believe, and are they convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that you serve Christ. If we are being mistaken for anything other than a christian then there is a problem out there.
So like I said. I have been seriously challenged.
This is a very popular topic among christians and all people generally. It’s really hard to come up with anything new and really original when speaking about victory because generally everything has been said already. Fortunately I am not a prolific writer so there is no pressure there amongst other writers. I would like to share though that I have noticed that the theme of Victory, usually attaining victory is a very constant theme in my life. Every morning I basically have to determine and remind myself that I have victory over the many challenges that the day faces.
Most of the time I only remember that I am victorious at the start of the day when I am asking God to give me victory over the day. Then come day end I look back to see how I did. Some days I do well and some days I don’t do so well. What I’ve realised though is that there are few days when there is a consciousness of what is really happening. Its like I pray God help me to remember subconsciously that I have victory. I wonder though if that works. Surely if you are going to gain victory you need to be conscious of the battle you’re fighting. So there comes the challenge. If I am going to say that my strength is in God but am not aware of whose strength I am using during the day have I really lived up to the word? And when the bible says ‘not by might nor by power but by My (God’s) spirit..’ and then I don’t acknowledge or even call upon that Spirit, surely I am making that word redundant as well? Someone might say, ‘duh you can’t just blindly go through the day and not take the scripture with you.’ True it is only logical to engage with scripture(act) but then so many of us do the exact opposite. Lets actively get onto the other side of Victory by engaging in the battles that we are fighting. Just a thought!
Tell it to your children, let your children tell it to their children and let their children tell the next generation (Joel 1:3). God has commanded us to tell the world. What do we tell them though? In the book of Joel a plague of locusts had come God was instructing the people, through Joel, to speak about what had happened. In many parts of the bible the Lord commands His children to speak about what happened. To preserve the story of what happened so that the coming generations would learn and so that they would have the right perspective. We have a responsibility to the generations that are to come. We have a responsibility to our children. So that they would learn from our mistakes, so that they would continue the good things that we have done, so that they would worship God. We need to pass the information on and thus making every single one of us a teacher. To him who much is given, much is required. It really is not a small responsibility. We need to speak and to keep speaking, to write it down. Whatever it is that God has told us, we need to pass it on. You don’t have to be a pastor or someone with some really great anointing, you just need to be willing to pass it on; to the person on the street, that person you meet in the bus, in your office, wherever you get talking to someone or wherever the opportunity arises.
We are responsible for the generations to come.
I found this talk that Thandie Newton gave to be thought provoking. Escpecially with regards to identity and how identity is assumed. The first thing that struck me is that she actually sat down and analysed her situation and to understand it and propose a theory. I believe there is some truth in what she is saying and I also respect that it is a theory. I especially like the way she identified self.
We are living in an age where there are a whole lot of theories and ideologies that are floating around out there. It really does become hard to decide which one you should take. I don’t blame anyone really who decides that they are just going to live their life and forget about the whole meaning of life and the purpose of it. There is one problem with this though, and that is that we as human beings are created for a purpose. Whatever you may believe that purpose is and whatever religion you believe in we are created for purpose. Everything that we do in our lives is geared towards fulfilling some purpose and when we feel like we are doing that we begin to feel right. Take a look at Maslows hierarchy of needs. At the top of the pyramid of needs is self actualisation. Maslow suggests that after an individual has met all their needs self actualisation is left. I’m not sure exactly how Maslow interpreted it but then I believe that self actualisation is a need that is always there. It begins to be more prominent after fulfilling all other needs because there are no more distractions. To me self actualisation speaks of reaching a stage in your life where you are now solely seeking to fulfil your purpose on this earth. So we are always looking for the answer and today there are many proposed answers out there. If you know what you believe and why you believe in it then all the proposed theories and religions out there should not be intimidating. Christians get swayed often because they have not taken the time to understand what they believe and why. Some believe that after having chosen to follow Christ it is sinful to ask why. But then that is a big problem because then when someone else comes to question your belief, you will be swayed. One thing that can be noticed in the new testament is that when the apostles wrote their letters they always spoke of the reason that they believed and what they believe in. They knew and were therefore able to distinguish any false teachings. Today some of us are afraid of finding out what teachings are out there and why they are different from what we believe. I used to be like that. I felt that to engage my mind to think of what is being said out there would be wrong and sinful. That’s crazy because firstly my ignorance to what is out there disqualified me from being relevant to my age. Secondly it spoke of an insecurity in what I believed in and showed that my spiritual foundation was faulty. God says in His word come and let us reason together. He gave us a brain, we have the ability to think reason create and all sorts of other things. Blind Faith is sometimes taken too far and we start living in a bubble. Of course the bible also speaks about having wisdom and operating in wisdom. It also tells us that we shouldn’t get involved in useless arguments. We are in the world but are not of the world.
We are called to be the salt of the earth and light to all the world. Recently I have been thinking about doors and the significance that they have figuratively in our lives. We like to speak a lot about open doors. In fact I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t like open doors in their lives. Open doors usually symbolise opportunities and breakthrough’s in our lives. So what’s the link you might be wondering? Well I realised that usually we picture doors open and light shining through those doors. In a way its like that “go towards the light” thing that they do in movies. Its great and everything! Who doesn’t want to see the light at the end of the tunnel? Well what happens if there is no light shining through the doorway? I was challenged to consider these, open doors in a different way. Why can I not be the light that shines through the doorway? If you look at it there are two sides to a doorway….. the side that you are on and …. the other side! There is definitely something on the other side and if its life there are people on that side. I am challenged to be the person that brings the light to the other side of the doorway. I believe that this is a picture of what God wants us to be as His children and citizens of His kingdom. To be people who walk through doorways and allow God to use us as lights to light up people’s lives. So sometimes because of the lingo that we are used to, we disqualify some situations as doors, because in our minds doors should bring good things to us! Why don’t we consider opportunities to bless others as open doors. Bring on the doors!
Has christianity today become a fantasy that people exist in? The world that we are living in today is constantly evolving and some would believe or subscribe to the fact that christians need to evolve as well. Is christianity relevant to todays world, the challenges that people are facing and the way that the world is evolving. I have met so many christians, who when they discuss the issues that are on the discussion table today usually start their discussion with the words, “christianity aside”, or lets forget about faith for a moment and lets discuss this pertaining to reality. I find myself answering every question that pertains to life with God inside it. Does that make me disillusioned? Yes I do admit that I am not one of those people who sit and spend the entire day thinking about Global debt and other big topics. In fact I am one of those whose lives is actually quite simple not much on their minds really until now. I am beginning to realise that we are living in a world that has a lot of questions. The world is waiting for people to answer those questions. Each time someone comes up with an answer that answer leads to more questions. The age that we are living in is not an easy age. We are required to give more of ourselves than our fathers grandfathers and forefathers before that. I think that this should be an indication for us as christians about how we should be practising our christianity. If anything we should be greater men and women of faith than our fathers, grandfathers and forefathers. But funny enough we often speak of great men of faith like Spurgeon and the Martin Luther’s. Just as the world is being challenged to push to a greater level of performance we as christians need to up our levels of christianity. We need to become more relevant.
New International Version (NIV)
19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.
I think this scripture is relevant to every generation in their time. Martin Luther and Spurgeon they were relevant in their time. The word they preached has not changed since then. It is the same yesterday today and forever. However our generation needs to understand this word and it will only understand it through us. We need to go into the word and draw out the answers through the revelation from the Holy Spirit that relevant pertaining to this age that we are living in. Just like those men of God did in their time.
This is a challenge to myself as it is to anyone else. If people have heard this before then good. It needs to be spoken to us over and over again. We need to stop living in our Holy bubbles. We also need to stop thinking that God is exclusive to what is going on in the world. God is very relevant today. He is as real today as He has ever been.