‘If’ denotes a condition for an event, and that condition must render true before the associated event can be raised. Life abounds with situations where ‘if’ plays an important role in determining what gets done. Walking with Jesus is no different.

One of the first recorded ‘ifs’ is an encounter between God and Cain. Cain and his offering was not acceptable to God and Cain was angry about it (Gen 4:6,7). God responds to Cain with a fundamental truth:

If you had done the right thing, you would be similing. [CEV]

And this remains fundamentally true to this day. If you do the right thing, there should be no reason for your countenance to fall, as did Cain’s. Attached to the ‘if’ is an ‘else’ or ‘but’ condition. It’s the alternative event raised when the ‘if’ renders false. In the case of Cain:

But you did the wrong thing, and now sin is waiting to attack you like a lion. [CEV]

And we’re all too familiar with the ‘ifs’ in our lives. But looking back be careful of getting too fixated on the “what if” of the past. Tis folly. Focus instead, on looking forward and doing the next thing you need to do, “right”. If you do A, then what? Else, what? But do that which is right.

But now it’s also hard to know what the right thing to do is.

Pro 14:12 You may think you are on the right road and still end up dead.
Prov 16:25 Sometimes what seems right is really a road to death.

And more, the thing we do in and of itself doesn’t determine wether it’s right or not. 

Pro 21:3 Doing what is right and fair pleases the LORD more than an offering.

Since there are many accounts of God rejecting the offerings made by His people- even though they were doing what God asked of them, technically speaking.  Isa 1:11, Jer 6:20, Amos 5:21, Mal 1:10. But there were areas in their lives that were clearly not right. From the outside, it might have appeared to be good enough…

Pro 16:2 We may think we know what is right, but the LORD is the judge of our motives.
Pro 21:2 We may think we are doing the right thing, but the LORD always knows what is in our hearts.

So doing the right thing is related to the condition of our heart and is rooted in our motive, for a start. But motive without the right foundation can still go wrong. Our own experiences will testify that we thought we were doing the right thing, with the right motive, but it ended up otherwise. The proper foundation for Abel’s acceptable offering was faith (Heb 11:4).  And because he offered in faith, he obtained the witness of God that he was indeed counted as righteous.

So, if we have faith, we will do the right things, that is to say, do the things we need to do, “right”. If we find ourselves not doing the right things, we can always go back to God and His Word to help us get it right.

Heb 4:12 What God has said isn’t only alive and active! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts.

By working with God, He will teach us, His Word will be a lamp unto our feet and we will live right. But for this to take place; even if God does teach us; even if God does corrects us; if we don’t heed His correction, sin will wait to attack.

Pro 15:10 If you turn from the right way, you will be punished; if you refuse correction, you will die.

And to be taught by God, requires an attitude of obedience. This is what i’m learning. He will not break a bruised reed, but beware your stiff neck. But what does it mean to obey God? What do we have to obey?

The greatest commands Jesus gave us: love the LORD and love your neighbour. And these we are to do, not just speak. So what does it mean to love God? We keep His commands. And what does it mean to keep His commands? We have the love of God. For God is love and we abide in love. And only when we get this right, does everything else fall in place. 1 John 4:7- 1 John 5:3

Even as far back as dot, all the blessings and curses are according to one big “if”:
…if thou shalt obey the voice of Jehovah thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law; if thou turn unto Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul… (ia. Deu 30)

Mat 19:17 …If you want to have eternal life, you must obey his commandments..

Joh 8:31 If you keep on obeying what I have said, you truly are my disciples.

Rom 10:9 So you will be saved, if you honestly say, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death.

Joh 13:8 “You will never wash my feet!” Peter replied. “If I don’t wash you,” Jesus told him, “you don’t really belong to me.”

If you continue in God’s Word, love Him, only then is there access to the rest of what He says. There is only one door, and that door is Jesus. If you try climb over the wall, you’re a thief, trying to steal and claim that what does not belong to you. If we obey, we will do right, and if we do right, we will be smiling 🙂

Jam 2:8 You will do all right, if you obey the most important law in the Scriptures. It is the law that commands us to love others as much as we love ourselves.

1Co 7:19 Being circumcised or uncircumcised isn’t really what matters. The important thing is to obey God’s commands.

Rom 13:9 In the Law there are many commands….But all of these are summed up in the command that says, “Love others as much as you love yourself.”


Night Surfing

noooo, not the web kind of surfing… the Aloha-Hawaii-Dude!-style of surfing… at night!

it was a super day, saturday. started off with a wedding in the morning [wooohooo, Mr & Mrs Couvaras! 😀 ] and then settled into an evening braai at A+L. Great dinner, fantastic pudding followed off with a warm cuppa coffee. Just when you might have thought it was time to settle into a game of cranium, or slow down into some more good conversation- the *almost* full moon came out from behind the clouds!

well, there we were, 4 of us, scrambling for surfboards and wetsuits, hopping down to the beach at 10pm! a very odd sight indeed. splash! into the water and paddling out to … erm… well, just paddling out 🙂

the water was FROZEN!, the moon had snuck behind the clouds once more but luckily the waves were forgiving. once or twice you got to sit out backline *all by yourself* and more than once i saw shadows darting beneath my board! :S imagination is a tricky thing!

surfing the waves was awesome though- only the moonlight to guide you, not knowing if the section was going to break or not, not sure just how much the wave is sucking up- all you can do is just feel your way… awesome!

we surfed for about half an hour- the onshore started messing with us- before heading back home… an even odder sight since this time we’re all wet hehehe

highly recommended, but at your own risk!

i won’t hesistate to add that before we headed in, we prayed and during, we prayed, and after, we prayed. God is good and for that one sweet night, He protected us while we went about our crazy surf, just fully relying on Him for the rest!

Baby J II

First scan today… and awesome! The little peanut is only 5mm BIG and the heart is starting to form… brain about to develop some time soon… and the hands and feet are coming along. Thinking about all this, you cannot seriously believe that this creation of life is a result of “coincidence” and trial-and-error. Inconceivable (no pun intended) that a bunch of gasses and chemicals collided and somehow developed a purposeful reproductive system which is without defect- the process itself i’m talking about…

Fortunately, we all know that God Almighty knits us together in the womb, fences us in with bones and sinews… we don’t need to be ignorant about who designed this process and get on with endulging in the rapture of praise as we give thanks to Jesus as we get to know Him [and about Him] that much more.. each day… 😀

Baby J

Baby J’s Progress

He/She/They are looking sooo cute 😀 Little tiny hands… little tiny feet.. and look at that little biddy itsy teeny peanut…

>> ETA: June 25, 2007.
( although my guess is 1 July : )

Bible Versions

As part of my current course at World Bible School ( high recommended ) i was required to do some research into the validity and authenticity of the various works of translations and multitude of versions available today….

Heavy. There is sooooo much information available from such a wide range of audiences it made me realise on thing…

Nothing else has ever created so much of a response over so long a period of time- from believer, non-believer and even the anti-believer. It’s incredible how so much time, effort and money is dedicated to disseminating evidences, facts, opinions, arguments, counter-arguments, you-name-it on the Bible! Even the anti-believers are a dedicated crew spending their nights slaving away trying to convince everyone that God’s Word is.. well.. not His Word. So it seems the world’s biggest common interest and focal point, despite of and because of what you believe, is always going to be Jesus…

The very fact that Jesus has created so much “intensity” over so long a period of time, despite the controversy and critical attacks, by sooo many different people… well, for me.. that just proves that even today, God’s Word is alive, despite what we may want to believe…

Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

And whoever said that, wasn’t lying ‘cos you can see that in operation, even today. And if that remains true 2000 years later, you got to ask yourself, what else is true?


Sadly, this is too much of a regular occurence in South Africa… but of the many traumatic stories, there’s always the bit that inspires and makes me stand tall with a shout of “Hoo-rah!”

Chris Herbst- just an ordinary hero

For me, this epitomises the role of husband and father… willing to lay down his life to protect his family and sparing nothing to save his wife and kids. In this instance, he survives too, after being shot in the jaw and stabbed [hacked] in the back and the neck several times! Incredible reading!

To Chris Herbst… Hoo-rah!


We refer all the time to either the “Old Testament” or the “New Testament” but don’t really stop to consider what the word “testament” actually means. It’s become part and parcel of our vocabularly and in a sense has become a word that defines a part of the Bible, rather than a word which already has a definition. Reflecting on it’s intent has helped me understand something a little more…

Testament, on it’s own, can have various meanings, but all of them shadows of each other. 
> it can a be a profession of belief
> it can be a legal document, as in a will and testament
> it can be strong evidence
And this word “Testament” was chosen as a translation from the Hebrew word for “covenant”, which itself is a solemn contract, a solemn agreement. The Greek equivalent “diatheke” means covenant and is translated “testament” or “covenant”. So for our understanding of what God’s intention is in His Word referred to as the “New Testament”, we know it means covenant.

Where the concept of the new covenant is taken from is primarily Jer 31, and applied variously but most directly in Heb chapters 8-13 and sealed by Jesus:
(Matthew 26:28 KJV+) For this is my blood of the new testament [covenant], which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

(Jeremiah 31:31-34 ESV) “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

The new covenant promised from days of past, fulfilled in Jesus. Thus the new testament is a a new agreement between God and man and that agreement is mediated through Jesus. And as we enter into a the new covenant, it is an agreement: we agree to live as God has intended for us, and He agrees to give us every spiritual blessing. And like any agreement you make, be sure to make good on your part. There’s lots to be said at this point about the world and the way agreements are broken- but that’s another discussion.

What’s also interesting is that if we understand the word “testament” in the sense of “last will and testament”, the translation from covenant still applies. We know that your last will and testament is a solemn agreement, more so, it can only come into affect upon your death. Why is this the accorded state of things? The most consice explanation i can find:
“Where a testament is, where it acts and operates, there must of necessity by the death of the testator; till then the property is still in the testator’s hand, and he has power to revoke, cancel, or alter, his will as he pleases; so that no estate, no right, is conveyed by will, till the testator’s death has made it unalterable and effectual.” -Matthew Henry

Here too, the testament had to be put into effect by death. And so even legally and according to the natural order of things which God Himself ordained, the testator must die before the testament can come into effect. And so, Jesus offers His life so that the agreement can be sealed. And in baptism, we identify with that agreement and more so, we become partakers of that testament- in its death and its life.

(Hebrews 9:16-17 ESV) For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive.

If we understand testament as strong evidence, here too, the definition qualifies. There is overwhelming evidence through the ages [ancient texts and the testimonies of many a good man brought and paid for by their lives and their blood] which shows that the testament is indeed truthfully in effect. Us not believing does not change that.

Further, it is also a legal document. When it comes to judgement, standing before the throne of Our Mighty God, we approach the throne of Grace because we “know” [the definition of faith] we can enter based on the agreement made in the “New Testament”.

The testament, the covenant, the agreement and promises are all part of God’s plan so that we can live a life to the full. Not just a plain ordinary life on this planet. But an exceedingly joyful life. And yes, there are troubles ahead- everyone has their fair share, but dealing with them on God’s strength is far better than dealing with them on your own.

If you haven’t made an agreement with God, make it today! Repent! [turn to God- that’s what repent means] The kingdom of Heaven is at hand! And if you have made that agreement some time before, but need to examine your side of the deal, judge yourself and set your heart to re-engage your commitment with vigour… God is good!


while previewing Casino Royale, the new James Bond flick, i was struck by emptinees of the role models we create for ourselves. without a doubt, James Bond has played a part in shaping masculinity over the years, not that it was ever the intention of the author. but in shaping masculinity, those men who have looked up to Bond, have tried to imitate his behaviour. and then there are those who haven’t looked up to Bond, but end in some ways almost being the same: promiscuous.
call a spade a spade. it’s not acceptable for women [although that opinion seems to be on the change] but on some mass level, it’s justified, even glorified. the result of all that behaviour: broken men- sooner or later. yes: been there, so this is not a hypothetical discussion.
and then there’s a very different model for masculinity: Jesus. Here’s a man who wept, a man who cleared the temple of traders [armed with only a whip], a man who gave Himself up when arrested, a man who embraced children, a man with integrity, one not afraid to challenge or be challenged on weightier matters. A striking contrast. And even more importantly, the impact of modeling your life on Jesus: a whole man.

For where your treasure is, your heart is also.

If your treasure is sex, money and the world, well, that’s where your heart is. If your treasure is God, that too is where your heart lies. It’s up to you to make skippy sure the treasure you’re looking for is the treasure that you need. And the treasure you find will shape you as a man [and woman], complete with all the consequences that come with the territory.

Today, while it is called Today

from Matthew Henry’s commentary:
To what purpose have we thought on our ways if we do not turn our feet with all speed to God’s testimonies?

This comes as part of his commentary on Psalm 119:60
Psa 119:60 I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments.

On it’s own, we can have many opinions about delaying in following God’s commandments, but when i started to look at the rest of God’s Word, i was challenged to add a little sense of speed and urgency to my mission, knowing in myself that my current lack of speed is not becoming of a good and faithful servant… Moreover, when i pray and ask God to “not delay” and “be quick”, yet in my own life i reflect a sense of sluggishness… How we are saved in grace, but that we do not abound in that grace for an excuse to liberty and risk living impertinent and ungrateful lives!

Exo 22:29 “You shall not delay to offer from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to me.”

Deu 23:21 “If you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay fulfilling it, for the LORD your God will surely require it of you, and you will be guilty of sin.

And again.. not only you should not make a vow and not keep it, but don’t delay in keeping it.

Ecc 5:4 When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow.

Now incorporating a sense of action is an important attribute to cultivate. When the battle trumpet sounds, do we delay in getting to the frontline? When a friend is dire need of prayer or assistance, do we delay in getting round to it? Do paramedics take their time to get to a scene of an accident when lives are on the line?

Yet, what does the speed of our obedience to God reflect when souls are on the line? How does God understand urgency?

Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the Good News about Jesus. As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?”- from Acts 8.
Did the eunuch set an appointment and attend baptism classes for 3 weeks?

Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day (Acts 2:41).

“Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water?” . . . So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 10:47-48).

At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized (Acts 16:33).

On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 19:5).

And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized . . .(Acts 22:16).

Why the urgency?

Jam 4:13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”–
Jam 4:14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

simply put: everyone is but a heartbeat away from judgement.

Further, it is for our own good that we should not delay. God encourages a sense of nowness, not just because He demands it, but it is also for our own good:
Heb 3:13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

But if we don’t have a habit of “now”, how do we respond for real to a battle call? How can we effectively encourage each other if we are more often than not, cultivating a habit of procrastination? And how effectively can we minister, with urgency, to a soul “on the line”?

Pray about your repentance, think about it.. see how you feel about it and we can talk again next week? God forbid!

As often as i hear the response that we should be prayerful and patient and wait… then that attitude of delay should equally be considered with conviction as an express call to wait when the obvious call to act is abundantly clear.

Given the commands we have to make disciples, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, to teach to observe all that Jesus has commanded- if we are not doing any of this for any reason, in all that we do, then that reason should be based on a direct calling on your life not to do those things and not simply a result of delaying because…

Tit 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.


there’s a lot to be understood by the response we have to statements, particularly when our responses build up ill feelings. equally, this is applicable to those statements we respond to favourably. and because of the chemistry, you might argue, you naturally learn to incorporate only the positive statements into your life.

then Jesus comes along and says something like: “Repent!”

immediately, depending on who and where you are, you either embrace the command with love or you reject it outright, even aggressively. at another time in your life, you might hear the same command and this time, embrace it. what’s changed?

it’s got nothing to do with chemistry- it’s all about the condition of your heart.

and even as i say that, some of you will respond with hostility [how dare you!], others not….

and so we deal with each other and experience the same range of responses in everyday life, even in tight-knit communities which profess love. anything we say at any time is liable to set somebody off.

when our heart towards somebody is one of trust and love, we accept and receive what they say because we know them to be loving and it’s ok, in fact, encouraged for them to speak into our lives. when our heart towards somebody is less than what it should be, we immediately suspect the messenger’s motive; we become cynical; deafen our ears and stiffen our necks.

it’s exactly what happened [is happening] with Jesus. some believe Him, others not. the only difference: the condition of their hearts towards Him.

until your heart is softended, it cannot hear a message of love- it only hears criticism and with that comes a range of justifiable emotions to enable you to strengthen your heart against the message… and the messenger.

then there are times when things are said out of love [but not out of hate, the motive can be multiple, ie. pride, jealousy, political, hurt]- does that give you the justification to respond in like manner? no. all that does is drop the bar completely and the one to “win” that discussion is likely the one with the most experience at that level.

no, respond with truth and in love, in whatever form that may take. and so it continues…