A long-lost relative of an eccentric New York heiress, stood to inherit 19 million pounds (R320 million) of her 300 million POUND fortune. Unfortunately, the relative, Timothy Gray – a homeless man, age 60, was found dead from hypothermia under a bridge in rural Wyoming, in the US.
Timothy Gray was a millionaire but didn’t know it.
He ended up dying outside in the cold.
The Apostle John in his letter of 1 John said that Christian people must know what they have in Christ, and not forget it.
If Christians forget what they have in Christ, they will be like Timothy Gray, and miss out on many good things, such as Christian assurance and Christian confidence before God.
The title of this post is somewhat naughty, almost like the question, “Does God believe in atheists?” By “Calvinist” I mean someone who follows the teachings of John Calvin. The name John Calvin is a swear word to many, but I hope to show you that Calvin’s theology should be our theology because it was a biblical theology, indeed the theology of Jesus Christ himself.
One of the contexts in which we do ministry in Africa is the background and influence of African Traditional Religion (ATR). In ATR the sangoma (witchdoctor) has special access to God, the spirit world and the ancestors.
The sangoma is able to make contact with the spirit world in order to guarantee protection from evil spirits, to ensure good luck in a job interview or even to lift a curse someone else might have placed on you. The sangoma is able to provide blessing, healing, deliverance and protection (among other things).
As I mentioned in a previous post, one of our dogs died last week. Charlie, a dachshund, slipped a disk and started going paralysed and we had to have him put down. We were devastated. And even though Charlie was only a dog, I found myself asking, “Why did God allow this to happen? Charlie wasn’t a bad dog! Why not cause bad dogs to slip a disk? Why did he do to deserve it? What did we do that God is punishing our dog?”
Many in our church have suffered greatly, losing loved ones, parents, siblings, friends and even children. We have all seen the suffering caused by disease, death and disaster. Because we are created in the image of God, we instinctively know that there is something wrong with our world and this is not how it’s supposed to be. Perhaps the most common question people have is, “Why does a good God allow suffering and sorrow and slipped disks? Why do bad things happen to good people?”
In a little village in Germany in 1483 Martin Luther was born. Martin Luther was, under God, the instigator and one of the biggest drivers of the protestant reformation in Europe – with its subsequent break from the Roman Catholic Church. By the 15th Century Roman Catholicism was dominant religion in Europe. After school Luther went on to university and studied law. He decided to become a monk in one of the strictest orders in the Catholic Church. Priests taught Luther and the general public that one could save yourself by prayer, fasting and penance. The result being that Luther’s teachers were wearied by constant prayers, fasting and penance! Luther later wrote: “If ever a monk got to heaven by his monkery, it was I”. Yet he faced a long spiritual crisis, anxiously anguishing over how sinful man can come to a holy God. Luther finally experienced great joy and his eyes were opened to understand a radical, biblical truth. He wrote later, “I felt myself to be reborn, and to have gone through open doors to paradise.” What happened? What truth did he grasp?