Knowing The Time

For of times and seasons
You are not woefully blind
Unlike those in the dark
Staggering in the midst of mist

There are those that flounder
Away from the coming light
And go further from the star
These are children of the night

Not you – the sun of righteousness
Is rising before your eyes
No more dozing in unbelief
Or tossing to rhythm of lies

You see the signs of His coming
It is time to be sharp and sober
We are heading out at the shout
Onward – not like the rest
Snoring in a thousand year slumber

New Heart & Spirits

Ezekiel 36:26-27

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

 

New heart

He promised a new heart
Not at all like the old
Coarse with sins untold
The joys of the world desiring
Hiding away while God is seeking

But the new heart comes without
The force of forceps
Or the scar of the scalpel
The old one is renewed
Purged with fire by Messiah

New spirit

A new spirit He promised us
If the old departs like that
Then we are twice dead
The old man can not survive
Death or judgement of afterlife

Old becomes new by transformation
New senses pick new stimuli
Old notes become hated melody
No more harmony with imagination
That the Word terms highly contrary

His Spirit

In the midst of heart and spirit
Like the mainspring of the clock
He promised to send His Spirit
A balm to heal the soul
A wheel to steer and control

We can call it a seed now
Planted in a fleshy heart
Teachable now-unlike its stony
Past-when it played Cain’s part
Now God is conducting the Symphony

Enduring

He that endures to the end
He that fights his flailing
Faith and unbelief’s inertia
Shall smile on the day of winning

But to endure one must cure
The syndrome of uncertainty
For who can fight for a cause
That he knows not-with alacrity

The knowing is not for showing
For times come to dig and resolve
When what seems like defeat
Stalks wounded pride like salve

It matters not in the plot
For the whims and tides of battle
Do not determine the outcome
So be not like cowardly cattle

Might of the Spirit is right
Not fleshy warring with tech
And Grace lifts drooping hands
Far higher than sinews can fetch

When the race’s medals are given
After the veil of flesh is riven
The reward for forever running
Will be the crown of forever living

Christ The Redoubt

The Conies are a feeble folk
Yet they make their dwelling
A high and vaunted fortress
Far away from Satanic shelling

The conies are a simple folk
But they are wiser than most
For knowing their weakness seek
A great shield as their host

The Conies are on to something
When they see the Rock as home
For David looked to hills
When he needed help to come

He wished to be hid in a cleft
Till the storm passed
A parting in the side
Pierced by sin-spears massed

This redoubt created for us
Can hide a mass of sinners
A Shelter to turn those running
Helter-Skelter into winners

Those within have defeated sin
Not altogether by feeble exertions
But ordinary folk have found
A rampart against Satan’s accusations

A Rijkaard Reckoning

At the 1990 World Cup there was a crunch second round match between the (then) West Germany and Netherlands. This game was played against the backdrop of an intense footballing rivalry. The Netherlands had lost two world cup finals. On both occasions they were defeated by perennial foes, West Germany.

The Dutch team at Italia ’90 were star-studded. They had the outstanding trio of Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard. Van Basten provided the goals and Gullit was the maestro and playmaker. However the single most important player to the team was probably Rijkaard.

He was the truly irreplaceable one. He led the team from deep lying positions and was the fulcrum of the midfield. With his tackling ability and passing range, he could initiate quick attacks after defensive recoveries and interceptions.

With these glittering talents a lot of Dutch fans and football purists expected the team to do well.

The West German team was good too. Jurgen Klinsmann was their star player. They also had a dependable striker in Rudi Voller and a dominating midfielder in Lother Matheus.

In the course of the game, there was a running battle between Rijkaard and Voller. This was to be expected in a no-holds barred match from players who via their positions in the respective formations, were competing for the same zones on the pitch.

In the heat of the contest, Rijkaard allowed himself to get worked up by a pesky Voller and got sent off. In fact, due to the altercation Voller was sent off too.

Both teams were down to ten men. Honours even? Far from it. Rijkaard’s dismissal hurt the Dutch more than Voller did to the Germans. The Germans went ahead to win the game 2-1. They progressed all the way to the final and won the World Cup that year.

After the game, the Dutch coach was scathing in his criticism of his player. He acknowledged that there was some provocation from Voller but expected Rijkaard to know that he was more important to the Dutch than Voller was to the Germans.

Do losses cancel out?

In conflict or in competition, it is often assumed that once both rivals are losing the same amount of resources, then the game/war is even. That is not the case. It is a Rijkaardesque fallacy. Even when losses are equal, effects are not. For instance a man who engages in fisticuffs with his boss, which leads to the termination of both may be the real loser. If he is the sole breadwinner of his family while his boss is not, then in terms of effect and consequence, he is the loser. Thus a parity of losses does not lead to a parity of consequences.

A Pause or a Greater Cause?

Voller’s loss to the German team was merely a misstep on Germany’s stately march to the title. On the other hand, Rijkaard’s unavailability completely derailed his team’s quest for glory. The Dutch could not keep the Germans at bay without their elegant stopper.

An equality of losses on an individual level does not measure the impact on the greater cause/wider team. If you serve a cause that is greater than yourself, risking your time and resources in a ‘side’ fight with another, risks damaging that cause beyond the actual losses you incur.

In the face of many, varied ‘contests’ we face in life, career or business, we must determine if our victories/defeats would not damage our ideals and nobler impulses. If it is only a misstep/pause at worst, then risk it, if it would damage the cause, it is not worth it. We must pick our battles wisely.

We all have ‘Vollers’ that we wish to outwit, tame or fight. Do not win at the expense of your ‘Rijkaards’. Winning your World Cup is better than defeating your ‘Rudi Voller’.

God Rules – Not By Choice

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…this conjures an image of a sole deity who in His great will, decided to become a Creator.

He did not consult anyone. Yet, if He did, none could dare oppose or obstruct Him. For all things were made by Him and for Him.

The God of the Old Testament was a monarch. He ruled with equity and justice but His rule was unquestionable.

Once there was a being who thought that he could remove the Ruler of Heaven by a Referendum, perhaps if he got the signatures of majority of the angels, God would be deposed.

Alas, the plot failed. He only obtained one third of the angelic votes. Since Heaven was not a democracy, his dissent was punished with an expulsion and forced descent to earth.

Israel, the nation of God made the same mistake. For centuries after they settled in the Promised Land, they had been led by prophets. God was the King and his earthly governors were prophets. His Word was law and He had no term limits.

In the days of prophet Samuel, Israel acquired a taste for a manmade, modern and flamboyant monarchy.

Opinion polls suggested that prophet Samuel was unpopular. The people wanted a young and brave king who would lead them into wars.

Samuel was aghast. He was personally pained by their rejection. Yet God told him to allow popular opinion to prevail.

Though in rebellion, they got the king of their dreams, he was handsome, tall and courageous. He was a prestigious choice. Yet his reign was a disaster of disobedience. Israel had made a wrong choice in opting for regime change for the mere sake of pomp and pageantry.

In the new testament, Christ the King still proved that He rules and chooses as He pleases.

After the betrayal of Judas, the twelve disciples became the eleven. Peter realizing that twelve was a significant number (Jesus did not choose that number by chance), canvassed that a replacement be selected.

Matthias emerged from that process. He was chosen to be of the twelve in the place of Judas. He was a good and noble man. He was a devout follower of the Lord. Yet after that ‘promotion’ we do not hear anything of him.

God, sovereign in His design, choose Paul instead to be the apostle to the Gentiles and the ‘de facto’ number twelve. See how much he accomplished to make Gentiles obedient to the gospel! Once again divine design trumped popular will.

The New Jerusalem which we seek is not a haven of democracy. It cannot be. For it is not subject to the whims of human nature or the caprices of popular opinion. There, God’s Word is law. It is the place for unanimity and unity. A unity centred on Christ – Who is the Word.

But there is a period of acclimatization before we reach those holy heights. Now we must accept the Divine design, the straitjacket of the Word, and not the yin-yang of conventional wisdom. Only those who acclimatize on earth will be admitted to that Paradise. Let’s do it.

Just Ask The Rock

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While Israel sojourned in the dreary wilderness
They lacked water as they marched through dry land
They asked and received – God of the faithful band
Filled the thirsty throats from a flinty Rock
This Rock was ever present through the journey
Ever merciful, ever bountiful and always on cue
Paul tells us this ambulatory Rock was Christ
Smitten in type in the wilderness, He gushed to bless
A Fountain that saved millions of souls in distress
There He was struck that we be not dumbstruck
There He was smitten that we may never be beaten
He has since been crucified and then glorified
Speaking is the only way of accessing the Fount now
Say your need and make requests on any matter
Be not silent in the weary mode of a wary doubter
Speak to The Rock and He will bring forth His water