Thursday, 18 December 2008

The reason for the season

In the minds of many people, Christmas is the season of giving and showing love to others. That's what makes Christmas so special, because most of the time we just give and show love to ourselves (which is a sad statement about our fallen human nature). But at this time of the year, for some reason, we are reminded and encouraged to think of and love other people. What is this reason? Christmas reminds us of Christ. Just over 2,000 years ago, God showed us the greatest kind of love and the greatest possible gift by sending His Son Jesus Christ to our world to save us from our sins. These themes of love and giving are summed up beautifully in what is probably the most famous verse in the Bible (John 3:16):

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.


For Jesus Christ, this ultimately meant dying on the cross for our sins, so that we could be forgiven and have eternal life through faith in Him.



This is the greatest love. This is the greatest gift. This is why we receive hope from a baby born in a manger. This is why we have a reason to celebrate Christmas.




That's Christmas! from andy pearce on Vimeo.

Monday, 10 November 2008

It started with one Bible...

On 10 November 1908, the Gideons placed their first Bible in a hotel room in Montana. That was 100 years ago. Today, the Gideons are active not only in the USA but in over 180 countries of the world, where they place Bibles in hotels, nursing homes, hospitals and distribute Bibles in schools, at universities, in prisons, to the armed forces and many other places. Approximately 1.3 billion (!) Bibles have been given away free of charge by the Gideons since they placed their first Bible in a hotel room 100 years ago. God's Word has brought hope to many people and many have seen their lives change for the better through the reading of the Word of God. God's Word can do the same for you, too, no matter who you are.

Take a look at the following short news article (with video clip) marking the 100th anniversary of the placing of Bibles in hotels by the Gideons:

http://www.turnto23.com/news/17951766/detail.html?rss=bak&psp=news

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Honour Obama?

No, I'm not an Obama fan. I was supporting John McCain and Sarah Palin all the way last night and was really disappointed to find out the US election results this morning - and around 46% of Americans might have felt the same way. The easy thing for many of these people would now be to show disdain not only for the result but also for the newly elected president, trying to find fault with him wherever possible and treating him disrespectfully. But that's not what God wants us to do. He calls us to treat persons in authority with respect, whether we agree with their views or not.

This really hit home with me later on this morning when I read the following article on the WORLD Magazine website (follow the link to read it):

http://www.worldmag.com/webextra/14617

It's true. All authority comes from God. Daniel in the Bible says the following words:

Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: and he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings... (Daniel 2:20b-23a)


So no matter what Obama may stand for, God is not the least worried about how on earth this could have happened, because he allowed Obama to win in the first place.

God's command in His Word is "Honour the king" (1 Peter 2:17). And I'm sure that that also should be applied to presidents, prime ministers, chancellors and other leaders of a country, no matter if his or her name is George W., Elizabeth II, Gordon, Angela, Nicholas, Juan Carlos, José Luis Rodríguez, Silvio, Dimitry or whatever.

Can we even honour Barack? With all that he stands for? To borrow a phrase some of you may be sick of hearing by now... Yes we can! =)





PS: I just read another excellent article on how Christians are to respond to an Obama presidency: http://mytwocents.wordpress.com/2008/11/05/tips-for-christians-obama/

Friday, 31 October 2008

Martin Luther and Reformation Day

Today is Reformation Day. But why is it celebrated on the 31st of October and what does it have to do with the Reformation? It all goes back to one of my favourite persons in history...

Martin Luther was born on 10 November 1483 in the German town of Eisleben. At the age of 17, he started studying law at the University of Erfurt, in accordance with his father's wishes. But one day, after being caught in a thunderstorm and fearing for his life, he vowed to become a monk. During his time in the monestery, Luther learned more about God, and in this light, he saw more and more of his own sinfulness and recognised that he could not please God through his good works. This was confirmed even more so as he started to study the Bible which did not yet exist in the German language and was thus a closed book to most people. Martin Luther was ordained a priest of the Roman Catholic church and then went on to become a teacher of theology at the University of Wittenberg. But the more he studied the Bible and the more he compared it with the teachings and practices of the Catholic church, the more he saw the need for a reform of the church. In particular, Luther condemned the sale of indulgences, which were written documents sold by the church supposedly to save people from torment in the afterlife. The church's teaching was that faith alone did not save anyone. Martin Luther saw this as a complete contradiction to the teaching of God's Word in Ephesians 2:8-9:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.


So Martin Luther wrote up a list of 95 Theses - different statements about true repentence and the sale of indulgences - and posted them on the door of the Wittenberg church to stimulate a debate on those issues. The date was 31 October 1517. It is considered by many to have been the start of the Reformation in Europe.

Luther never intended to start a new church, but since the Catholic church refused to be reformed and instead excommunicated him for his belief in Scripture alone (i.e. only God's Word and nothing added to it) and in faith in Christ alone as the basis for salvation, a new church did emerge as more and more people understood God's Word and recognised the errors of the Catholic church which persisted in holding on to its traditions.

In just under 10 years time, on 31 October 2017, will be the 500th anniversary of Luther's posting of the 95 Theses and of the Reformation. Last month saw the beginning of a series of events and special exhibits in Germany in the 10 years running up to this anniversary, which has been named the "Luther Decade".

I love the Luther movie that came out in 2003:



Martin Luther is one of my greatest heroes because he had the courage to stand up for the truth of God's Word and do what is right no matter what the consequences. He also had a passion to share the love of Christ with other people, in word and in deed, and to give them hope for the future. Finally, Martin Luther was also the first person to translate the Bible into the German language, which is in my eyes the greatest privilege a German person can be given. Luther's translation of the Bible became the basis for the standardisation of the German language and it is still the most used and recognised Bible in Germany today.

How thankful we can be for people like Martin Luther! That's what makes Reformation Day so special.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Here today, gone tomorrow

It has come to my attention that I have not blogged for quite a while... I've been keeping very busy with work and other things, but I'll try to find a few minutes now for posting something in relation to the global financial crisis.

A while back, I saw an advert from Fortis, a major banking and insurance provider from Belgium and the Netherlands. The advert included the following statements:




-Life is a curve full of ups and downs.

-Most people just follow this curve as if it were fate.

-But it's not fate.

-The decisions you make affect the rest of your life.



Unfortunately for Fortis, however, its past decisions brought about a sharp downward curve in the middle of the financial turmoil and it had to be rescued by national governments (see BBC news article).

But the advert also provides some good advice so that we don't make similar mistakes in life:

-So where are you on this curve? Take a moment to stop, to think, to evaluate.

-What could you do to start a new upward curve?

-Maybe now is the time to ask yourself, "Where are you today, and where do you want to be tomorrow?"

The whole advert but especially final slogan "Here today. Where tomorrow?" reminded me of the title of my blog (see also my very first blog post). In these days of financial turbulences, we are reminded that it is perilous to place one's trust in money and wealth. God warned us against this a long time ago in His Word:

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and so this, or that. (James 4:14-16)


The apostle Paul told Timothy:

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)


These two passages from the Bible show how futile it is to trust in riches. Why? Because riches are uncertain and because they are only temporal. Instead of building up our financial wealth, we should be concerned with building a good foundation for our life by placing our trust in God who never fails and promises us eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ.

So next time you hear about another bank going bust, think about the following: What am I building my life on?

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

In the footsteps of C.S. Lewis in Oxford

Taking a tour of Oxford is like taking a tour of the life of C.S. Lewis - and vice versa. That is because there are just so many places in Oxford that are associated with C.S. Lewis. I thoroughly enjoyed taking such a tour with some friends last Saturday and would like to share the experience with you...

C.S. Lewis was born on 29 November 1898 in Northern Ireland. He first came to Oxford at the age of 18 for the purpose of studying at the university. In his book Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis writes about his arrival in Oxford:

My first taste of Oxford was comical enough. I had made no arrangements about quarters and, having no more luggage than I could carry in my hand, I sallied out of the railway station on foot to find either a lodging-house or a cheap hotel; all agog for "dreaming spires" and "last enchantments." My first disappointment at what I saw could be dealt with. Towns always show their worst face to the railway. But as I walked on and on I became more bewildered. Could this succession of mean shops really be Oxford? But I still went on, always expecting the next turn to reveal the beauties, and reflecting that it was a much larger town than I had been led to suppose.

Only when it became obvious that there was very little town left ahead of me, that I was in fact getting to open country, did I turn round and look. There behind me, far away, never more beautiful since, was the fabled cluster of spires and towers. I had come out of the station on the wrong side and been all this time walking into what was even then the mean and sprawling suburb of Botley. I did not see to what extent this little adventure was an allegory of my whole life. I merely walked back to the station, somewhat footsore, took a hansom, and asked to be driven to "some place where I can get rooms for a week, please."

The method, which I should now think hazardous, was a complete success, and I was soon at tea in comfortable surroundings. The house is still there, the first on the right as you turn into Mansfield Road out of Holywell.


Here is a photo of the house where Lewis spent his first night in Oxford:



On 26 April 1917, Lewis - a convinced atheist - began his undergraduate studies at University College, where more than a century earlier, the poet Shelley (perhaps the most famous student of University College) had been expelled for atheism. However, as World War I was raging, Lewis volunteered to join the army and was deployed in France where he was wounded in battle and had to return to England. Following the war, Lewis resumed his studies at University College where he received various degrees in classical and English literature and philosophy. (University College is pictured below.)



On 20 May 1925, C.S. Lewis became a tutor in English language and literature at Magdalen College, a position which he held for 29 years. Below are some photos from my first visit to Magdalen College last week:







Lewis' rooms at Magdalen College were in the "New" Building, that is the one that was built in 1735:



His rooms are still identified today by red flowers in the window sills:



It was in these rooms in 1929 that C.S. Lewis converted to a theistic belief in God. He writes about that experience in Surprised by Joy:

You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.


The video clip below sheds more light on C.S. Lewis' struggle with atheism and how he came to admit the existence of God:



However, his new-found faith in God was merely a theistic belief in the existence of God and not yet a belief and faith in Jesus Christ. C.S. Lewis' friends Hugo Dyson and J.R.R. Tolkien (author of The Lord of the Rings) played an important role in leading Lewis to Christ. On the night of 19-20 September 1931, these three friends went for a walk just outside the college along Addison's Walk (pictured below).



While they were walking, they discussed religion and mythology (quoted from They Stand Together: The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Geeves):

He [Hugo Dyson] stayed the night with me in College... Tolkien came too, and did not leave till 3 in the morning... We began (in Addison's Walk just after dinner) on metaphor and myth - interrupted by a rush of wind which came so suddenly on the still warm evening and sent so many leaves pattering down that we thought it was raining.... We continued on Christianity: a good long satisfying talk in which I learned a lot....

Now what Dyson and Tolkien showed me was this: that if I met the idea of sacrifice in a Pagan story I didn't mind it at all: and again, that if I met the idea of god sacrificing himself to himself.... I liked it very much... provided I met it anywhere except in the Gospels... Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with tremendous difference that it really happened.... Does this amount to a belief in Christianity? At any rate I am now certain (a) that this Christian story is to be approached, in a sense, as I approach the other myths; (b) that it is the most important and full of meaning. I am also nearly sure that it happened....


Eight days later, while travelling in the sidecar of his brother's motorbike to Whipsnade Zoo, C.S. Lewis finally embraced Christianity, recognising that Jesus Christ was indeed the Son of God. Lewis' conversion to Christianity is explained in more detail in the following video clip:



After becoming a Christian, C.S. Lewis started attending the weekday morning prayer services in the chapel of Magdalen College:











On Wednesdays, C.S. Lewis would often attend the church of St. Peter's-in-the-East (now converted into the Teddy Hall Library) for Holy Communion:



In the early 1930s, an informal literary discussion group with the name of the "Inklings" was started, of which, among others, Lewis, Tolkien and Dyson were the most prominent members. This group also included atheists and the meetings were first held in Lewis' college rooms at Magdalen. From 1939 onwards, the Inklings started to meet regularly in "The Eagle and Child" pub (also called "Bird and Baby"):





According to C.S. Lewis' brother Warren, the Inklings had "no rules, officers, agendas, or formal elections" - it was simply a place to discuss and enjoy literary fiction. Below are photos of some memorabilia of the Inklings on display in the pub:









During World War II, the Eagle and Child often used to be full with American troops waiting for D-Day and so the Inklings would have to find another pub for their meetings. This was often "The White Horse" or "The King's Arms":





It was during World War II that C.S. Lewis preached what is probably his most famous sermon, "The Weight of Glory". The sermon was delivered in the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin:



In this sermon, Lewis talked about how the self-denial that Christ demands from His followers does not mean that a Christian cannot seek joy in this life. In fact, the Christian life is all about finding true and lasting joy, not in the pleasures that this world can give, but in Christ:

The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire. If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.


Another church where C.S. Lewis was asked to preach is St. Aldate's:



C.S. Lewis first meeting with the poet T.S. Eliot was in the Mitre Inn:



It was probably not the most pleasant of meetings. Lewis had earlier remarked that he hated the modernist poetry of Eliot and opening statement on meeting Lewis was "You look a lot smaller in real life." It was only for the sake of a mutual friend that these two men met, but they seemed to get on better afterwards and even worked on a revision of the Psalms together in later years.

C.S. Lewis wrote his famous Chronicles of Narnia between 1949 and 1954. During this time, he also first met Joy Gresham. In the movie Shadowlands, this meeting is filmed in the Randolph Hotel. However, the meeting actually took place in the Eastgate Hotel (which also served as a meeting place for the Inklings):



If you are wondering who this "Joy Gresham" is, you should definitely watch the movie. It's a beautiful and true story about C.S. Lewis and Joy Gresham. You can watch the trailer below:



From 1929 until his death in 1963, C.S. Lewis lived in a house called "The Kilns" outside of Oxford. Today, this house is located in a suburb of Oxford in "Lewis Close":





This is where Lewis wrote the Narnia books. During World War II, Lewis opened his home to some children who were evacuated from London because of the bombing. If you are familiar with C.S. Lewis' classic Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, you will undoubtedly notice the similarities to the four Pevensie children from London who come to stay at the professor's home during the war...

There is a lake close to the Kilns in an area which is now called the "C.S. Lewis Nature Reserve":





Lewis could see this lake and the surrounding area from his study window and was inspired by it as he wrote the Chronicles of Narnia. He also used to swim in this lake, as did the poet Shelley about 100 years earlier! Unfortunately, I was not able to go for a swim there last week... :-(

On Sundays, C.S. Lewis attended Holy Trinity Church, not too far from his home in the Kilns:



On the left side towards the back of the church, there is a small brass plaque that marks the spot where C.S. Lewis used to sit, and where I also took the opportunity to sit for a short while:





The church also has a special "Narnia window" which is dedicated to two children of the church who died at an early age:



When I visited the church, there was a poster at the back with a quote from C.S. Lewis' book Mere Christianity:



C.S. Lewis died on 22 November 1963 at the age of 64. He is buried in a grave in the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church:



There are a lot more places in Oxford associated with C.S. Lewis, which I did not mention. I would recommend you go for yourself to Oxford one day and enjoy this beautiful city that is so full of history. When I was in Oxford, I found this website of the C.S. Lewis Foundation to provide a good guide on C.S. Lewis in Oxford, as well as a booklet called The Oxford of J.R.R. Tolkien & C.S. Lewis, which can be bought at the tourist information.

Monday, 15 September 2008

In the footsteps of the Oxford Martyrs

Last week, I had the chance to visit Oxford for the first time and while I was there, I was able to learn a bit more about the three men who became known as the "Oxford Martyrs". During the time of the English Reformation in the 16th century, the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, recognising instead the sole and supreme authority of the Word of God. Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury at that time, played a major role in this. The Anglican bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley had also come to trust solely in the Word of God and the sacrifice of Christ for their salvation. But when the Catholic Queen Mary Tudor (also known as "Bloody Mary") came to the throne, she had these three men imprisoned and demanded that they recant their beliefs and accept the authority of the pope. Latimer, Ridley and Cranmer were held in a prison in Oxford. The prison door is now kept in the Saxon Tower at St. Michael's Church in Oxford:





Since they would not recant their beliefs, Queen Mary ordered to have them burned alive at the stake. Latimer and Ridley were the first to be executed on 16 October 1555. As the flames began to burn, Latimer said to Ridley: "Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."

The place were they were burned is marked by a cross of bricks set in the road on Broad Street:



Thomas Cranmer did recant his beliefs, but was sentenced to death anyway because Queen Mary did not believe him. He then recanted his recantation and when he was burned at the stake on 21 March 1556, he put his right hand into the flames until in burned away and said: "I have sinned, in that I signed with my hand what I did not believed in my heart."

In dying for their faith, the Oxford Martyrs show us that their faith in Christ was better than life to them. They recognised the truth of the Word of God and the importance of trusting God in every situation. One of the famous landmarks in Oxford today is the Martyrs' Memorial at the end of St. Giles Street, not too far from the place of execution:



The inscription on the memorial reads as follows:

To the glory of God
and in grateful commemoration
of His servants
Thomas Cranmer
Nicholas Ridley
Hugh Latimer
Prelates of the Church
of England
who near this spot
yielded their bodies
to be burned
bearing witness
to the sacred truths
which they had
affirmed and maintained
against the errors
of the Church of Rome
and rejoicing that
to them it was given
not only to believe in Christ
but also to suffer for His sake.
This monument was errected
by public subscription
in the year of our Lord God
M.DCCCXLI


Saturday, 30 August 2008

Love

What is love? Here are a few definitions of love by some famous people:

"Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired." (Robert Frost)

"Love is not consolation. It is light." (Friedrich Nietzsche)

"Love is the greatest refreshment in life." (Pablo Picasso)

"Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs." (William Shakespeare)

"Love is a gross exaggeration of the difference between one person and everybody else." (George Bernard Shaw)

"Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination." (Voltaire)


While looking up some of these quotations on the internet, I came across a blog called "Love is _____" which has the following tagline:

"Everyone has a different concept of what love is. Tell us what word or phrase you think best completes the sentence Love is ____! For us, it's Love is cupcakes."


One of the recent TV ads for the John McCain campaign also centres on the theme of love:



This ad talks about "another kind of love" and describes John McCain as "a man who has always put his country and her people before self". His love for his country is admirable. Not many people would be willing to give up so much of their own comforts and suffer so much for the sake of their country. This truly does give a new definition to the meaning of love.

However, I must say that even this admirable love that John McCain is portrayed as having really means nothing to me personally. What I mean is that his love and service is directed to the American people and not to me personally, especially since I'm not American. Fair enough - he is an American and he's running for President of the United States. I wish him every success in his campaign and hope he gets the chance to serve as the next American President, but my own life is not really affected by what he has done and is doing for his country.

The best definition of love is found in the Bible:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

(1 Corinthians 13:4-7, ESV)


This certainly is a different kind of love. More than a feeling and a passing pleasure. It is giving up one's own desires for the good of others. Unconditionally. Constantly. Completely. How can we ever understand this kind of love or get a picture of it? Again, we find the answer in the Bible:

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, ESV)

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10, ESV)


So we see the ultimate expression of love in Jesus Christ - in His life and His death. This love is shown to us as sinners and enemies of God. It is our sin that separates us from God. Because God is holy, He can have nothing to do with sin, and because He is just, He must punish sin. And our sin is so great that we all deserve to die. The good news is that God is not only holy and just, but also loving. So loving that Jesus Christ died in our place and took the punishment for our sins on Himself. The word "propitiation" in the second verse means the removal of wrath. Because the full punishment of our sins was placed on Christ, there remains no more wrath that God can direct towards us if we place our trust in Christ for salvation. The most well-known verse in the Bible says:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, ESV)


Stuart Townend wrote a beautiful song called "How deep the Father's love for us" which reflects on this amazing love (click here to listen to the song):

How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out amoung the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts no power no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom


Have you experienced this kind of love? Are you living this kind of love and passing it on to others? Or don't you even know this kind of love?

John Piper believes that most Americans don't really know what love is. In the following video clip, he tries to give a definition of love as he sees it in the Bible and apply it to our lives. May we know and live the love of Christ!


Sunday, 10 August 2008

Are you sleeping?

Yesterday, I went to see the Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian. I loved it! C.S. Lewis created a masterpiece in writing the Chronicles of Narnia and brilliantly allows us to see the person of Jesus Christ in the character of Aslan the lion. The following scene was one of my favourites in the movie.



Basically, the movie is about the fight against evil. The main characters draw up their battle plans, make all the necessary preparations and put absolutely everything into this fight. But they do not succeed. Instead, they are being defeated to the point where it is almost over for them. How could this happen? They did not look for Aslan and seek his help, but tried to do it in their own strength. It is not until Lucy goes on the search for Aslan and finds him that the tables are about to be turned. Aslan tells Lucy: "Now, I think your friends have slept long enough, don't you?" What a way to describe the actions of Lucy's friends. Throughout the film, we see them fighting almost incessantly and putting all their efforts into it, but Aslan says they have been sleeping. Without his help, they might as well have slept, because they managed to accomplish nothing other than defeat.

Martin Luther wrote the following words in his famous hymn "A mighty fortress is our God":

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.


I just wonder how many of us are struggling in our daily life and fighting against various forms of evil in our own strength, only to realise that we are getting nowhere other than conceding defeat time and time again. Isn't it time we stopped "sleeping" and wake up to the reality that we need God to help us in our struggles? He has already promised that He will.

Psalm 50:15 says,

And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Mexico photos - animals

Here are a few of the animals that we saw in Mexico...











Mexico photos - the brickyard

Welcome to the brickyard. This is a Tarahumara village outside the city of Chihuahua where some Tarahumara have been displaced from the rest of their tribe for the purpose of making bricks which are then sold in the city. They receive one peso (about 10 US cents) for each brick they make. It is not a place a typical tourist would want to visit. You might think at first that this is just their workplace for making the bricks, but then you realise that the Tarahumara people actually live here in wooden and tin shelters among all the piles of bricks and rubble and dirt. But they are lovely people and are happy whenever people come to spend time with them and help them in whatever way they can and teach them about God. I was so glad that our team was able to visit them and get to know them a bit better.