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Showing posts from June, 2020

Book Reading Goal: Book 11

I have had Don Carson's The God Who Is There for a long time. At one point I lent it to a friend without reading it first and forgot all about it. Recently, I wanted to read something on biblical theology, so I decided to give it a go. I am so glad that I did! This is the first I have read a book by Don Carson, and it won't be the last! If this is anything to go by, Carson is an excellent author. 
Like all brilliant communicators his goal is not impress you with his vast knowledge, but to point you as clearly as possible to the goal he has in mind. For Carson, the goal is to showcase the beauty of God  revealed to us in the plotline of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. 
There are so many gems in this book. The first chapter on Genesis and the last chapter on Revelation shone brightly! The best chapter is probably s Chapter 10 which takes us through the passion native of Matthew and highlights the ironies of the crucifiction. The book is full of wonderful stories, poems, ana…

Have you no scars?

Hast thou no scar?No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.Hast thou no scar?Hast thou no wound?Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rentBy ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned.Hast thou no wound?No wound? No scar?Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,And pierc├Ęd are the feet that follow Me.But thine are whole; can he have followed farWho hast no wound or scar?
Amy Carmichael (1867-1952)
Amy Carmichael was a missionary to India where she rescued hundreds of orphans in the midst of terrible suffering. This poem fits well as a commentary on Carmichael’s life. She lived a life that abounded in compassion and was ready for self-sacrifice. The poem is also a challenge to all who profess faith in Jesus. A true follower of Jesus is called to pick up the cross and follow Jesus. To be crucified with Jesus by dying to self. That is the normal, transformed, Chris…

The Change of John Newton

I am not what I ought to be! Ah! how imperfect and deficient! - I am not what I wish to be! I 'abhor what is evil,' and I would 'cleave to what is good!' - I am not what I hope to be! Soon, soon, I shall put off mortality: and with mortality all sin and imperfection! Yet, though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be, I can truly say, I am not what I once was - a slave to sin and Satan; and I can heartily join with the Apostle, and acknowledge; By the grace of God, I am what I am!JOHN NEWTON(Source: The Christian Spectator, 1821)
In this era when statues of slave traders are being violently removed in cities in the western world, it is good to be reminded that of how God deals with human sin. The name of John Newton is familiar to all who have watched the film on William Wilberforce, Amazing Grace.  
Johnwas old slave trader who had become a preacher of the sensational good news of Jesus. Looking back on his life, he estimated that he h…

Jesus of the Scars

If we have never sought, we seek Thee now;Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars;We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow,We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars. 
The heavens frighten us; they are too calm;In all the universe we have no place.Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm?Lord Jesus, by Thy Scars, we claim Thy grace.
If, when the doors are shut, Thou drawest near,Only reveal those hands, that side of Thine;We know to-day what wounds are, have no fear,Show us Thy Scars, we know the countersign.
The other gods were strong; but Thou wast weak;They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne;But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak,And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.
Edward Shillito (1872 - 1948)
During World War I, several English poets (Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and others) wrote some very moving poems about the savagery of the war. One of the less well known poets of the time was Edward Shillito.

Moral Populism

"We've come to this place where history is viewed only entirely through the prism of the present" Those are the words of Emma Soames, Winston Churchill's granddaughter as reported by the BBC.  I call what she is talking about "moral populism". We know about "political populism", which has been associated with Brexit and Donald Trump. We now need to get used to the new reality of moral populism, where how the country thinks about itself is now based purely on who is shouting the loudest. Everything is seen through the prism not just of the present but as an opportunity to overturn existing moral consensus. The present is always better than the past.  
I would suggest that the reason why this is happening is that we have no referee. In every society or field (from sports to economics) there are some basic rules than govern the rules of the game. Prinicples that help those who belong to it to accept or reject ideas.  Western civilisation had such rule…

Rapunzel, Tears and Jesus

One the great blessings of having a daughter is that I get to read lots of books with her, which I simply never read growing up in rural Zambia. As a lover of books, I am genuinely fascinated by children’s stories and what they are trying to communicate.  Take the story of Rapunzel. In the version of the story that we have at home, the young girl Rapunzel is locked up in a tall tower by some very evil woman. The only person Rapunzel sees is this evil woman, who regularly climbs up the tower using Rapunzel’s beautiful long golden hair as a ladder.  

One day, a prince is passing by and sees the evil woman going through the routine of calling Rapunzel to let her hair down and climbing up. After she leaves, the handsome prince gives it a try and Rapunzel lets him into the castle. As we expect, the couple fall in love at first sight. At some point, the evil woman finds out the prince has been visiting. Incandescent with rage, she cuts Rapunzel’s hair and sends her away somewhere, while she …

The Meaning of Life

“I may, I suppose, regard myself, or pass for being, as a relatively successful man. People occasionally stare at me in the streets–that’s fame. I can fairly easily earn enough to qualify for admission to the higher slopes of the Internal Revenue–that’s success. Furnished with money and a little fame even the elderly, if they care to, may partake of trendy diversions– that’s pleasure. It might happen once in a while that something I said or wrote was sufficiently heeded for me to persuade myself that it represented a serious impact on our time–that’s fulfillment. Yet I say to you, and I beg you to believe me, multiply these tiny triumphs by a million, add them all together, and they are nothing–less than nothing, a positive impediment–measured against one draught of that living water Christ offers to the spiritually thirsty, irrespective of who or what they are. What, I ask myself, does life hold, what is there in the works of time, in the past, now and to come, which could possibly b…