Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Right Judgment

We should judge of things as to whether they help or hinder our main purpose; whether they further or hinder our judgment; whether they make us more or less spiritual, and so bring us nearer to the fountain of goodness, God himself; whether they will bring us peace or sorrow at the last; whether they commend us more or less to God, and whether they are the thing in which we shall approve ourselves to him most. We should also judge of things now as we shall do hereafter when the soul shall be best able to judge, as when we are under any public calamity, or at the hour of death, when the soul gathers itself from all other things to itself.
RICHARD SIBBES 
(Source: The Bruised Reed


Friday, 16 August 2019

All these are mine

And these, all these are mine
I know each sinew of their small frames
I hear their fear at night
I watch their fun
And when they laugh, so do I
in joy I see them invent themselves
even their shyness is a delight to me
I cherish their innocence
And these, all these are mine.
And if, when I return
I find just one who has been defiled
One desecrated by your corruption
One invaded by your lust
One chained to your perversion
One burgled of purity
One dominated by your tyranny

Monday, 7 January 2019

6 Lessons on Thinking Critically

Just finished reading the short book Thinking it through by Martin Salter. The book is very helpful in helping us to think clearly about issues. Here are some very helpful observations I picked up from it:

1. A helpful tool for processing questions is the "six honest serving men": who is the authority; why are they the best person to speak on the question; how do they come to their conclusions; what exactly is the question for consideration; where, geographically and culturally, is the question being discussed; and, when, historically, are we thinking about the question? 

2. The challenge of sound thinking is determining which authority (or combination of authorities) is best placed to inform a particular decision. We all appeal to some authority; the question is whether that's a good call or not. 

Monday, 5 November 2018

16 Lessons on Listening

Just finished reading a book that has been on the shelf for sometime - Listening Life by Adam S McHugh. The book has some real gems coupled with wobbly theology in few places. So sadly no blanket recommendation. But here are some very helpful truths I took away from it. 

1. We desire to learn how to listen better because we want to learn how to become more human. At the heart of listening is that it enables us to  love and welcome people into our lives. We all want to be story-hearers and not just storytellers because it is who God made us.

2. Listening is obedience! The word we translate into English as “obedience” literally means a “listening from below.” Obedience is a deep listening, a listening of the whole person, a hearing with your ears and with your heart and with your arms and legs. 

Monday, 1 October 2018

4 Lessons on Prayer

I have just finished reading Alexander Whyte's Lord Teach Us To Pray. It is a good read but the book requires careful reading. The author has a tendency to lose sight of the biblical SATNAV. So here are four helpful reminders I picked up from the book about prayer.

1. Pray continuously - when we pray to God to give us things many of us have a tendency to stop. Whyte borrowing from Rutherford cautious us, "even as we got those good things by prayer at first, so we have to hold them by prayer to the end".

2. Praying effectively requires time - we need to set aside plenty of time for prayer not because God needs our time. We need time to prepare our hearts to seek God. Whyte says, "without a liberal allowance of time, no man has ever attained to a real life of prayer at all". 

3. Reading the gospels imaginatively enriches our prayers - Whyte believes that as we read the Bible we should try and visualise the events described before us.  He says, "I demand of you-never, now, all the days and nights that are left to you-never open your New Testament till you have offered this prayer to God the Holy Ghost: "Open Thou mine eyes!" 

4. Sin and prayer do not go together - Whyte helpfully reminds us that, "all prayer, from the lowest kind to the highest, is impossible in a life of known and allowed sin...sin and prayer cannot both live at the same time in the same heart. Admit sin, and you banish prayer". The good news is that, if we  "entertain, and encourage, and practise prayer, and sin will sooner or later flee before it".

Copyright © Chola Mukanga 2018

Saturday, 1 September 2018

A Saviour for all seasons!

I am currently reading Alexander Whyte's Lord Teach us to Pray.  In a section on "The Psalmist and His Lord", he encourages to keep our focus on Jesus in every season of our lives:
Now, if David could set Jehovah always before him in his prayers and in his psalms, Jehovah, Whom no man could see and live, how much more should we set Jesus Christ before us? Jesus Christ, Who, being the Son of God, became the Son of Man for this very purpose. And, so we shall! For, what state of life is there? what need? what distress? what perplexity? what sorrow? what sin? what dominion and what disease of sin? what possible condition can we ever be in on earth, in which we cannot set Jesus Christ before us in prayer and in faith, and for help, and for assurance, and for victory? Who are you? and what are you? and what is your request and your petition? Open your New Testament, take it with you to your knees, and set Jesus Christ out of it before you. 

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

True Preaching

If true preaching does not subdue us, it is sure to exasperate us. The better the preaching is, the more it is either a savour of life or a savour of death to him who hears it.
ALEXANDER WHYTE