Zebras at a Waterhole in Okaukejo, Etosha Pan, Namibia . PHOTO : J . Rieck

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What I said at the funeral of my cousin who was murdered

FUNERAL  SERVICE FOR Hans - Jörg Möller 
(b.15th  October  1965  ;  d.   18th JUne  2016) 
Sunday  3rd July   2016
Perspectives and Reflections 

Hans  and I on his catamaran, "Manatee"
My dear family  and friends,
Hans’ untimely  and  brutal  death has shaken our  family  and our  community  and it  has raised many questions in our minds. It  has also  brought  forth deep   grief  and a great sense of loss, for Hans was only 50 years  old  at the time of his untimely death.  

I speak to you as  Hans’s  cousin. He  was in many ways  a brother to me. We were always genuinely happy to see each other.

I also speak to you as a pastor, a shepherd of souls for  many years now, and so I speak  from a  family perspective,   and also   from  God’s perspective. 

A violent death has taken  a  family man  away in the midst of  his years.  Hans was murdered by unscrupulous men.  Why? This is perhaps the most fundamental question in our minds.  And  I suppose,  some related questions  would be,  Where is God in this?  What  shall we say about  this murder, and what about justice? What about the essential forgiveness that the Bible  speaks about? What about  Hans’s widow and  the children and his parents and his sister?

So then, as many people are angry, confused  and bewildered  and as many may be  asking  these ultimate questions at this time,   I come to you with the  perspective of God’s Word. Ultimate questions need ultimate answers, and  for this we need  the Bible,  the Word of God.

The ultimate  question is,  Why? I wish I could tell you why, but I can’t, and that does not mean  that I am now  confused  and that my faith in God is now destroyed. In fact when  asking  “why?” we are in very  good company.  Read the Psalms  of the Bible and  note how many times the Psalmist  asks that question of God, such as this one in Psalm  10:1,   Why oh Lord do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”[1].

The why of suffering is also  the great theme of the book of Job.  

The  cry of Jesus from the cross,  “My God , my God  why  have you forsaken  me?“,   is perhaps one of the ultimate  big why’s of the Bible. Even the Son of God, in His great hour of  anguish  asked, “Why?” [Matt  27:46] Aren’t you glad, that Jesus  never  made that anguished   “why” an excuse  to  escape the cross,   by which He would secure  the  salvation of all that would trust in Him   for this   work?  Aren’t you glad  that Jesus  persevered  through the agony of the “why”    to  finish the work that  God the Father  gave Him to do?   So, it’s not wrong to ask  “why”, provided that you are looking for a genuine answer from God.   

There is  however  also  the  angry  and defiant “why?”  that blames  God, turning  it  into a grudge against God and against others  by   allowing  it  to  settle in  your soul  in terms of  a  pathological  anger  and bitterness.  I warn you against  harbouring  such  ugly emotions which tend to make an ugly, bitter  person of you (Hebr. 12:15).

So, where does God  fit  into this? 

It is clear that  wicked men  killed Hans. As such  they  are  fully responsible  for this wicked act, and we will talk a little more about that in a minute.  But the  other fact we need to grapple with  is that God did nothing to prevent this  from happening.  This is true  whether we think of  the  people who recently died  at Brussels  airport or at Istanbul airport  this past week  at the hand of ISIS terrorists, or whether we think of our dear Hans. 

So, what is God up to  here?   In fact, what was God up to  when He  allowed wicked men to kill His Son on a  cruel cross?  I want to give  you a biblical and profound  answer to this question. In Acts  2, on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was sent, people  were confused and they needed clarity concerning  this  event. So the apostle Peter gets up and explains to  thousands of people  the purpose of the work of God on earth, and then in particular, he explains to them   the person of  Jesus  Christ and  the work He came to do on the cross. Listen to what he says in  Acts 2:22-24  :

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.”

There are two important statements made here :
(i)        Men  are fully responsible  for what they  did to Jesus and as such will suffer the consequences. 
(ii)             …and yet  we also learn that  God is positively  at work in the midst of  such chaos and calamity. Think of it. The cross was the cruellest form of death  that evil  men could think of at the time. It was slow and torturous.    But God  knowing that this would happen,  was able  to use this  terrible event by turning it into something so big and so spectacular  that it leaves us quite breathless. In  His horrible death on the cross God in Christ  did two great things  in securing   the salvation   for  all that would believe in Him.  Firstly, on the cross He  satisfied the just and righteous  wrath of God. Secondly,  he  fully justified sinners by  paying the penalties  accrued by  their sin in  His death on their behalf.  On the cross He fully paid  the penalty that was due to us.

So then,  Hans’ killers  are  fully responsible  for what  they did. They will have to answer to our  Namibian  system of justice for this  wicked deed, and  they must  bear the consequences  to the fullest extent that our courts will allow. But even more so,   they will have to give an account to God  for this deed.  I assure you from the Bible,  that  God’s wrath on defiant  sinners is  infinitely more  terrible than the Namibian justice system. It is much more terrible than our feeble sense of justice and the anger that  we  may  feel in our heart. Jesus  confirms this  for us in Matthew  12:4,5:

“I tell you my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you who to fear: fear him who after he has killed , has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!”  

So with this in mind  then,  I must counsel you further. You must now learn to think in a very different way about this sad  happening. You must learn   to  apply Christian logic and  not conventional logic.  Jesus  is giving you a  job to do right now, knowing   what awaits  these murderers before  God, should they continue in the hardness of their hearts. 

Jesus  wants you to forgive   your enemies, these murderers. He says,  “I say to you, love your enemies and pray  for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…” (Matt. 5:44,45). And just in case you tell me that  this  is easier to say than to do, I remind you  that Jesus  as a man himself forgave His murderers  on the cross, when He said: 

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do…” [Lk. 23:34].    

I tell you as I would  tell myself,… and  as one who is a close member of this family: pray for the murderers, and  do not  bear hatred in your hearts against them, whilst upholding the terms of earthly  justice that must be  done in our courts of law. In Romans 13 we learn that  God has given such  responsibility to the governing authorities.  But as for you,  I must remind you  that your heavenly Father will not forgive you, if you do not forgive your enemies (Matt. 6:14,15).

The apostle Paul  also  reminds us in this regard: 

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, vengeance is mine, I will repay , says the Lord…. Do not overcome  by evil, but overcome evil with good…”  (Rom. 12:19-21). 

Jesus says : “Pray for your enemies”.  

Pray that they may repent of this great sin which they have committed and pray  that they may live to tell others,  and warn  others  of the great  judgement of God  that is soon coming on the face of the earth (Matt 25:31-46).  

So the  big  question is this: “Can God bring good out of  this unspeakable evil done by men?” The answer is “Yes!”  Much more than you think. In the Bible and in the history of the Christian church, by this uncommon logic, supremely demonstrated in the cross of Christ,  God has  shown Himself to  be mighty  and awesome in this world.  Let us trust God to   show us  great and wonderful things  as a result  of this death, as we trust  Him for the outcome. May glory  come to  God  and may joy come to us!

One more word  concerning the  care of widows and orphans – our duty to  Carol Ann, Heidi and  Riana.  God’s heart  is with these vulnerable  people (James 1:27). It is our duty under God  to love them and protect them and not to exploit them. And to  you I say: the best gift that God has given you on earth for your protection, apart from  having a godly family  is  being  a member  of a  godly and  biblical church. Make sure that you are part of one.  

And  to  Heidi and Wilfried, the parents of Hans- Jörg, my aunt and uncle,  and to  Mischka  his sister and my cousin  we say: “May the Lord Himself comfort you and counsel you  in this dark hour.”  May He  direct you into  Christ  Himself, so that you  too will  know Christ  both now and in eternity.

May the peace of God the Father  and the grace of our  Lord Jesus  Christ,  and the  fellowship of the Holy Spirit  surround  you  all.
Amen !




[1] See also 2:1 ; 22:1’ 42:5,6,11;43:5;44:23 ; 52:1; 74 :1

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

HOW THE SPIRITUAL LANDSCAPE IS CHANGING IN NAMIBIA

Churches  exist in societies, and the changes that happen in these societies   tend to     affect the church.  Since  our world is  subjected  to the  effects of the fall described in Genesis  3  and illustrated in chapter 4,  and indeed  in the rest of the Bible, the pull is sadly   ‘downward’.  

Society, contrary to popular opinion, unaided  by the gospel  and left to  itself  does not  evolve  nor improve with time.  If it were not for the   continuous preaching of the Bible  in the pulpits of the world, and if it were not for  heaven–sent reformation and revival movements   given by God from time to time, and if it were not for the  common grace and the patience  of God,  and were it not for the true  church of the Lord Jesus Christ, acting as salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16) in all ages, the  self-destructive nature of  fallen men  would have brought about the total   demise of this world  far sooner.

Many people  are  not sure as to what the role of the church  ought to be  in  our ever changing society.  On the one hand there are those who maintain  that the church ought to accommodate herself to the times. Their representatives   call the church  to adapt her message to suit  the  times.  On the other extreme  there are those  (they are  not too many these days)  who believe that  the church ought to resist  the times, to the point of becoming isolationist and  non- interactive.  Therefore, since  they do not intersect with their society, they have no influence upon  their society, and  for all intents  and purposes,  they are irrelevant.

Jesus  never intended  His church to be an uncritical  follower of  culture or societal norms. Jesus Himself was not afraid to take on    religious and cultural establishments  in His day. What mattered to Him was  that  the truth  of God’s plain Word should be applied  to  man’s thinking,  thus correcting the  continuous  drift of society  into  evil and falsehood.  The church must do likewise.  

The church is  not a  cultural  phenomenon.  The church is not an institution designed by man.  The church is  not an uncritical  rubberstamp  of  her society. She  is  a creation of God.  She is the ‘ekklesia[1]  of God. She is the people  of God, purchased by the  death of Christ on the cross.  She represents  the people  that are ‘called  out’  of the world , and called to belong to God.[2]   She  is ‘God’s new society‘[3]. She is  called  by God to be God’s alternative society. She is  called  to proclaim the gospel  to this corrupt  society, declaring  the  good news  that God has made a way for sinners[4]  to be reconciled  with God  through believing in Christ and to be changed  by Christ once more  into a God  fearing, godly people. So, the  gospel  is not only  an announcement concerning how  sinners may be  reconciled with their Creator. The gospel  is also an announcement regarding ‘how we should live’.  

 SECULAR VERSUS BIBLICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 

In this regard  one of the  greatest  challenges in our day has become  the matter  of biblical anthropology (i.e. the doctrine of man)   severely clashing  with  an aggressive secular  and atheistic  anthropology  that is challenging  the way in which we have traditionally and biblically looked  at God and man.

I consider how the landscape has changed even within my life time. I find that the  greatest challenge started when society began  to   abandon  the biblical  distinction concerning the  different  roles of  men and women in favour of an ‘egalitarian view‘.  The biblical view is ‘complementarian’,  meaning that men  and women have been created by God  to complement one another, rather than to compete with one another. The egalitarian  world view recognises  no  functional  difference  between men and women, and therefore  men and women are now  competing  with one another, rather than completing  one another. The  gender wars  have become  not only a feature of  the international community, but indeed also of Namibian society. 

This ongoing gender  war  has opened a   proverbial can of worms. If  we  challenge the biblical view  of   the unique design of men and women  in terms of their unique design in terms of their  differing roles, and their  different  sex, then   we  must  not be  surprised  that,  following the abolishment  of  these biblical distinctions,   further cracks  appear.  The little  crack in the pipe has now become a  serious  water – leak.  Lack of gender distinction has now become gender confusion. And  all of a sudden,  and at a dizzying speed,   the gay, lesbian and transgender    agenda has appeared with an  astonishing  force and  strength,  challenging   everything sacred:  marriage, biblical sexuality, child raising principles, education.  

In the  church  the  prevailing trend    in  Namibia has  been   to  almost uncritically  endorse   the prevailing  culture, even to the point   to  which  the plain  meaning   of the  Bible,  the  Word  is of God  is challenged and re-interpreted  to suit  the  culture.   For instance, the  Bible  knows nothing of women elders and  pastors   leading the church,  and yet  it is true that more and more  women take over the leadership roles of  the Namibian church. The Bible  would  firmly challenge this development.  People would call this a fundamentalistic position, when in truth  it has everything to do with the authority  of Scripture  which is being plainly ignored.   
It is this  tendency to rebel against biblical authority in the church   which  ultimately gives way to the great  spiritual apostasy of the church  and thus ultimately to the  disassembly  of society. 

Namibian  churches and pulpits must be prepared  to see this and  to pray, preach and obey    the gospel, rather than pandering   to our society's  whims and fancies.




[1] From the Greek word  ‘ek’ & ‘kaleo’ -  literally, ‘ to be called out’. The church is  the people of God called out of this world and called to belong to God . She is  God’s  new society  
[2] 1 Peter 2:9-10
[3] John Stott : Commentary of Ephesians , BST Series (IVP) , p.26
[4] The  Bible  makes it clear  every man is a sinner :  “ All have sinned  and fall short of the glory of God.” ( Rom  3:9-26) 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

ON THE PUBLIC READING OF SCRIPTURE

Saturday Seminar 
Recently,   our  eldership,   which  ordinarily leads  the public  worship services has decided  to encourage  men in our congregation to participate under our oversight   in the public reading of the Bible. Subsequently  we have organised this seminar  on a Saturday morning to  prepare men for reading  the Scriptures. With the help of periodic evaluation we  have also committed ourselves to  practically help each other to become better readers  of the Word of God.  Below is the sum and the substance of what was shared at this seminar , followed by a  time of application.  


                         THE PUBLIC READING OF THE  SCRIPTURES

“Until I come , devote  yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching…”  (Paul to Timothy – 1 Timothy  4:13)

“ … man does not live by bread alone , but man  lives by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  (Deuteronomy  8:3 and quoted by Jesus in Luke 4:4)

The Bible is the very Word of the Living God. It  is  breathed out by God and given to us to train us in all that is necessary for life and godliness (2 Tim. 3:16).  As God’s people we are deeply reliant on Scripture, since  the Bible is the only means through which God speaks reliably by His Holy Spirit to us. For this reason  the   Scripture ought to  be central to our worship services. We ought to read it, sing it and preach it every Sunday,   trusting that this is a means by which the Lord blesses, instructs, pursues, convicts, heals  and draws us to Himself.

Because of the importance of the Word of God,  we  desire to help people to read  the Scriptures well.  The reading of the Bible,  is in fact  a teaching ministry since  the reading of the Bible imparts to us the knowledge of the Word of God, which means  that in public worship  this  is a ministry reserved for men.  Having said that,  all would benefit from reading the Bible well,  whether  it is in a Sunday School setting or  at a  women’s bible study or simply reading the Scripture to someone in hospital. 

 A SOLEMN THOUGHT: To stand  before a church and to  read the Bible is to stand in the place of God and to  proclaim his Word. This must  therefore be done  with  reverence and thoughtful  preparation.

         -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
        HINTS  AND HELPS  FOR READING THE SCRIPTURES

1.   PRAY!  Pray  for  the Spirit’s illumination on the passage  that   you are asked to read.

2.  UNDERSTAND!  In order to read a passage well, you first need to understand it. You need to understand the  message, the genre, the tone, the purpose for which this specific portion of Scripture  was written. You need  to have a general comprehension of what the passage says  so that you can reflect the tone which  the  specific Scripture  message bears.   Is this a triumphant passage proclaiming the glories of God?
·         Is this a poetic, meditative passage reflecting on pain and persecution?
·         Is this God speaking to man or man speaking to God?
·         Is this a story or a letter?
·         What is God seeking to communicate to us in it?

Use  a commentary  to help you understand  the text  better.  Although we use the English Standard Version in our public worship, it may be useful to read the passage in a couple of other translations for further help and clarity.  It may be useful (but not necessary)  to give a very short introduction  or explanation   to  the passage  you read.  Remember however that you are not called to  preach, but to  read  the Bible at this stage.

3.  PRACTICE: Once you have a basic understanding of the passage, you will need to practice reading it. As you read you will  need to understand its flow,  and to take notice of any natural divisions. You need to ensure that you know how to pronounce every word. Because you will be reading out loud, will need to practice  by reading out loud. Read the passage from beginning to end until you are confident that you will be able to capture its flow.  As you practice, learn which words or phrases you will need to emphasize, find natural places to pause and look for places where you will need to increase or decrease volume. Practice varying your tone and pace, but be careful that people do not become more overawed by your  skillful presentation  than  the Word of God.  Your task is to read the Scripture in a way that aids understanding without drawing attention to yourself. You have succeeded well if people are drawn to the Word of God and take no notice of you!
If you encounter any difficult names, places or other words, you can visit  websites like http://thebibleworkshop.com/category/bible-pronunciation/a-words/ to help you in your pronunciation.  Make sure  that you practice those difficult words enough times that you will not hesitate or mispronounce them   when  you read.   

4.  BEFORE THE SERVICE: Dress appropriately and according to the front-of-the-room dress code. Shorts and  T-shirts  are  casual wear, and   whilst not expecting you to wear a tie, be sure that  you look presentable to all.     Make sure  that the passage you will be reading has been bookmarked in your Bible so you can turn to it without  wasting time in finding your passage.  Adjust your microphone to your height. Make sure that the microphone is switched on.  Keep a distance of  at least  30 centimeters  from the microphone.

5.  READING: At the appropriate time in the service, walk to the front without hurrying, turn to face the church and open your Bible to the relevant  passage. We like to preface our readings with these words: “This is what Holy Scripture says.” Stand tall without slouching.  If possible, try to make  eye contact  from time to time with the people you are reading to. Use your hand to guide your reading, if necessary.  

Here are a few common mistakes that you should be aware of   when reading. 
a.   Too Fast!  Do not be surprised if you find yourself a little bit nervous at  the beginning. This nervousness typically causes people to  read too quickly.   This is why preparation is important. Preparation provides confidence.  Try to keep a good, natural pace. Your natural  tendency will probably be to read a little  too  fast.  Slow down, and read  with emphasis.  Through it all, remember that you are reading for the benefit of the church,  and so serve your brothers and sisters by reading God’s Word to them with love and care. 
b.  Not Enough Preparation:  Let us make this point again ! Do all you can to prepare properly for the reading of  God’s Word. God’s Word deserves our best efforts. If you are constantly stammering  and mispronouncing words, you may be irritating  those who  know how to read, and thus  you  are   not serving your brothers and sisters as well as you could. 
c.   Voice:  The key to good vocal projection is to take a good breath  before your first word and then to use  your  diaphragm to push the sound forward out of your mouth. Read clearly and loudly (without shouting)  as  if you  were  trying to help the man sitting at the back wall  to hear you without amplification.  Keep your voice constant  and  practice  clear pronunciation throughout. One bad   habit is   to project well  in the first part of a sentence, but  then   drop  off to a near-whisper by the  end of the sentence.
d.   Emphasis :  Here  are two dangers:  (i) Reading without feeling or (ii)  reading  with too much feeling.   By all means do all you can to “feel” the text as you read it. Having prepared well you will understand  the text, and  you will  allow the truth  impact your  own soul  and cause you to  interact appropriately with the  text as you read  it. Now, while you want to “feel” the text as you read it, be careful that you do not become an actor performing a dramatic recital, drawing attention to yourself rather than the Word of God.
e.   Lack of Authority :  God’s Word is  read  publicly to call people to listen  and to act, so learn  to read  as a messenger  or  as a town-crier[1]. You are  a messenger of the King  and you  have something to say and you must  expect those  before you  to give it attention.  Let this frame of mind  accompany you when you take up the Bible to read  to the congregation.  Much public reading of the Bible  fails  at this point, because the  reader does not carry the  authority of God with Him.

6.   ENDING WELL! At the end of the passage pause for a moment, look at the congregation before saying your words of conclusion: “This is the Word of the Lord. Amen.” Thereafter, go  back to your seat, but do not rush.

  





[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Town_crier  :   in England, town criers were the means of communication with the people of the town since many people could not read or write. Proclamations, local bylaws, market days, adverts, were all proclaimed by a bellman or crier. In Goslar, Germany, a crier was employed to remind the local populace not to urinate or defecate in the river the day before water was drawn for brewing beer.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Shepherd Bushiri - Namibia's Continued Love Affair With The False Prophets

"How long  will you go limping between two different opinions? If the  LORD is God, follow him, but if Baal, then follow him." 
1 Kings  18:21 - The  true prophet Elijah challenging the false prophets  of Baal 


Last week gullible   Namibians welcomed yet another false prophet, a man called  Shepherd Bushiri, a Malawian into their midst. He follows  a string of many self proclaimed  prophets   who follow the horrible  model   of  American  and African prosperity teachers. 


Here's what one  Namibian newspaper reported ....
http://www.informante.web.na/bushiri%E2%80%99s-shoddy-miracles.17267

Bushiri’s shoddy miracles
Gabby Tjiroze

The gala dinner hosted by self-proclaimed Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, which was supposed to be the event of the century in Windhoek last week apparently melted into a historic flop with social media erupting with calls of sham, deception and robbery.

More than 3 000 people paid N$1 000 each, while others paid amounts up to N$100 000 just to sit close to Bushiri. Attendees of the much-hyped dinner registered their displeasure at the way the organisers handled the event on Thursday, 28 January, at Ramatex complex in Windhoek. “I think the organisers were not serious, they did not put in much effort to ensure the success of the dinner. It was daylight robbery and not worth spending my N$1 000 on.” said a furious devotee.

On Saturday, about 20-thousand followers packed the Sam Nujoma Stadium to capacity, where holy water sold for N$70, anointed oil N$150 as well other memorabilia.

When Informantè tried to get hold of the organisers of the event to seek comments, the cellphone numbers on the advertising posters were all unreachable. After several attempts, a certain Alexia answered and immediately said “I have nothing to answer to,” and hung up the phone.

Bushiri is a Malawian-born self-proclaimed prophet who currently resides in South Arica. He calls himself a filthy-rich multi-millionaire, a business magnate and a miracle performer who has thousands of followers.

He has also been entertaining the media, not for his prophetic powers but for staging prophesies. Last year he challenged his church members that he can capture a photo of a child who was home using an i-Pad in the spirit kingdom in the presence of the father. The video was uploaded on YouTube, but attracted multitude of negative comments branding him as a fake prophet, when his finger was seen tapping several times on the i-Pad.

The self-proclaimed prophet also challenged his followers that he can walk on air in a wacky video displaying him walking down the stairs with both arms stretched out. As he reaches the bottom of the stairs, the camera pans down and he appears to walk on air for a few seconds with only his lower body in frame but then shadows of his two henchmen carrying him on both his arms was clearly visible in the video.
                              ----------------------------------------------------------------



All this  begs for serious  analysis  and answers  to  help Namibian Christians  to  make  a right judgement in this matter . 


Here are a number of indicators or marks of a false prophet, from the book of Jeremiah - a true prophet of God :

· They draw their inspiration from pagan sources e.g. Baal worship (2:8)

· They enjoy a great deal of influence and popularity (5:31)

· They are greedy for material gain (6:13)

· They offer misleading assurances of peace (6:14)

· They lack any sense of shame (6:15)

· They deal falsely with people (8:10)

· They end up being punished by God (8:12)

· They prophesy from their own imaginations (14:14)

· They were not sent by God (14:15)

· They were shown wrong by subsequent events (14:16)

· They drove Jeremiah (the true prophet) to tears (14:17)

· They were allied to a corrupt religious leadership (14:18)

· They were a result of widespread spiritual adultery (23:10)

· They were basically ungodly people (23:11)

· They were slippery and manipulative (23:12)

· They were a long-standing problem to true prophets (23:13)

· They told lies which hardened people against repentance (23:14)

· They encouraged widespread ungodliness (23:15)

· They encouraged a casual attitude towards God’s Word (23:17)

· They never had a real calling (23:21)


· They failed to proclaim repentance (23:22)

· They set great store on dreams (23:25) 

· They had nothing in common with true prophets (23:28) 

· They perverted the word of the living God (23:36) 

· They often left a bad reputation behind them (23:40) 

· Their behaviour often caused public controversy (26:7) 

· They persecuted true prophets (26:8) 

· They were closely associated with occultic sorcerers (27:9) 

· They told lies which led to disastrous consequences (27:10) 

· They told people what they wanted to hear (27:16) 

· They brought desolation (27:17) 

· They lacked a deep prayer life (27:18) 

· They counterfeited the work of the true prophets (28:1) 

· They used God’s Name to mislead others (28:2) 


A PLEA TO RETURN TO GOD! 

This message goes out with love and concern for all those who have been hurt by false prophets. You are probably depressed and ashamed that you have been deceived. You may wonder whether God still cares for you. There is hope for you! 

What can you do? 

· Repent from your sin of following man rather than God! 

· Accept the forgiveness that God gives you in Christ! 

· Live a life of humility and dependence upon God. Stop seeking signs and words from men!   Seek the Lord Jesus! 

· Read your Bible. Get to grips with it! Do what it says! 

· Attend a Bible believing and a Bible preaching church. 

· Pray for discernment! Always look to Jesus alone !

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Thinking about YOUR New Year











Every beginning   of a new year  is a good opportunity  to  re-evaluate and to re-think  our lives.  Whilst  the Lord Jesus Christ   does not encourage us to be anxious about  our life  in terms  of what we shall  eat or drink or wear (Matt. 6: 25-34)  there is    much encouragement  for us to commit our ways and our plans to the Lord. The Bible encourages  God-centered planning. 

Proverbs 16  offers  helpful guidance in this regard.  
  • "The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord"  (Prov. 16:1)
  • "Commit your  work to the LORD  and  your  plans  will be established" (Prov. 16:3). 
  • "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."  (Prov. 16:9)

So, as you  consider  your year ahead,  be mindful  of this fact that God encourages you to plan, but to do  this prayerfully and humbly, always remembering that  God  your heavenly Father knows best what is good for you.

  
I also recommend that you should consider  this article below which  Don Whitney  wrote some years ago. He  greatly   helps us here   to  think God centered thoughts as we make our plans for 2016. 

Ten Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year or On Your Birthday

1. What's one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?

2. What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?

3. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?

4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?

5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?

6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?

7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?

8. What's the most important way you will, by God's grace, try to make this year different from last year?

9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?

10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

In addition to these ten questions, here are twenty-one more to help you. Think on the entire list at one sitting, or answer one question each day for a month.

11. What's the most important decision you need to make this year?

12. What area of your life most needs simplifying, and what's one way you could simplify in that area?

13. What's the most important need you feel burdened to meet this year?

14. What habit would you most like to establish this year?

15. Who do you most want to encourage this year?

16. What is your most important financial goal this year, and what is the most important step you can take toward achieving it?

17. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your work life this year?

18. What's one new way you could be a blessing to your pastor (or to another who ministers to you) this year? 

19. What's one thing you could do this year to enrich the spiritual legacy you will leave to your children and grandchildren?

20. What book, in addition to the Bible, do you most want to read this year?

21. What one thing do you most regret about last year, and what will you do about it this year?

22. What single blessing from God do you want to seek most earnestly this year? 

23. In what area of your life do you most need growth, and what will you do about it this year?

24. What's the most important trip you want to take this year?

25. What skill do you most want to learn or improve this year?

26. To what need or ministry will you try to give an unprecedented amount this year?

27. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your commute this year?

28. What one biblical doctrine do you most want to understand better this year, and what will you do about it?

29. If those who know you best gave you one piece of advice, what would they say? Would they be right? What will you do about it?

30. What's the most important new item you want to buy this year?

31. In what area of your life do you most need change, and what will you do about it this year?

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The value of many of these questions is not in their profundity, but in the simple fact that they bring an issue or commitment into focus. For example, just by articulating which person you most want to encourage this year is more likely to help you remember to encourage that person than if you hadn't considered the question.
If you've found these questions helpful, you might want to put them someplace—in a day planner, PDA, calendar, bulletin board, etc.—where you can review them more frequently than once a year.
So let's evaluate our lives, make plans and goals, and live this new year with biblical diligence, remembering that, "The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage" (Proverbs 21:5). But in all things let's also remember our dependence on our King who said, "Apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).




Copyright © 2003 Donald S. Whitney.

Copyright Disclaimer: All the information contained on the Spiritual Disciplines.org website is copyrighted by Donald S. Whitney. Permission granted to copy this material in its complete text only for not-for-profit use (sharing with a friend, church, school, Bible study, etc.) and including all copyright information. No portion of this website may be sold, distributed, published, edited, altered, changed, broadcast, or commercially exploited without the prior written permission from Donald S. Whitney.