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What is peace

Peace is the rest one enjoys beside truth.

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They

Jesus was an exceptional men among men, even God among men. Yet even he was hated, prevented from being understood/explained (i.e. the truth about him rejected, refused – for jealousy/anger/hate/fear), plotted against and murdered. However, when those of us from any time post this event look back at Jesus’ life and crucifixion we think of the murderers and haters as ‘the other.’ One never thinks in terms of ‘us/we.’ As having been one with the guilty. But the truth is that had we been there around him, we would have just as much hated him for the truth he preached, feared standing by Him during his time of adversity, or simply refused to fight for his rights. It is not ‘They’ but ‘We.’ Not ‘them,’ but ‘us.’

Don’t finish it!

Don’t finish the bad that you started! Just leave it. Leave it unfinished right there! Switch back to the good. Immediately!

Good foundation bad house

A good foundation is even very good, but which of us lives on a foundation without a house?! The point of the foundation is for the house to be built and built well! It is possible to have a shabbily constructed structure over an invaluable and coveted foundation. E.g.? The marriages where the most important aspect of fidelity is in place, but every other aspect that keeps the marriage well-oiled and running is haywire, namely cooperation, communication, adjustment, hard-work, excellence, discipline, even service and accomplishment! That’s because of the visibility and necessity of even the relatively smaller parts of the system and the relative invisibility of the more fundamental/basic parts. As Jesus said, ‘Practice the latter without leaving the former undone.’

Mary’s insignificant Christmas

In the beginning, Christmas was a significantly private, localized, even both forgotten and insignificant event in the broader scope of attention, people, publicity, recognition, memory. For it was largely only the story of both Mary and Joseph, and only by extension their immediate family, neighbourhood or vicinity (during conception). And just a swift glimmer of unusual even momentary/passing visitors (after 9 months) at the time of birth: poor shepherds and some ‘Wise men’ i.e. Magi (known only to Mary n Joseph). Oh yep, some unwelcome (even feared) intruders as Herod and the Jewish leadership too were there (who only assisted him in his hatred against the child and his parents). For even the setting was only around a stable! So, largely it would all be the quiet and predominantly fearful anxious struggle of Mary and her kind husband (read the narratives to know Mary’s fears). In fact the story of Jesus’ birth was not even included in Mark (at all) and John (in essence) which were supposed to be accounts of Jesus’ life and works!! In fact only Luke (one single man) seems to give a very close account from Mary’s own words, limited only to the infancy narratives and one other single incident when Jesus was 12 (it is that many Christmases forgotten!). It is discernible that right through Jesus’ public life there was no special attention/focus on Mary or the birth story. As for Joseph, virtually nothing is known of him! In fact even after Jesus’ death and resurrection and the early church’s institution, Mary lived and died largely a quiet unknown woman. There is no indication from the early church that Christmas was either commemorated or celebrated!

But the words the Angel spoke to Mary wouldn’t fall to the ground, that she had found favour with God. The words of Elizabeth (about Mary), that she was blessed, would not be forgotten. Indeed Mary’s own song/prophesy ‘From now on all the generations will call me blessed,’ would come abundantly true! For God had not forgotten her contributions! For taking stock of where things stand today, it is the Christmas story that is most widely known and celebrated! It is acted and narrated (with Mary as a prominent player) with great fervour in every church, throughout the world!

So a lesson to learn: never regret the simplicity and lack of attention to your quiet, unsung, but invaluable and inestimable contributions in the economy of truth. Never grieve the lonely pathway to truth. The rich rewards will come, the glories will come, and much delight besides. God remembers. Remember Mary’s significant, no inSIGNIFICANT Christmas.

Why adultery is a disaster!

  • Adultery is lawlessness for it disregards the ownership/separation of relationships (commonly institutionalized in the form of marriage). E.g. that a certain man/woman belongs to another, a specific spouse. This becomes the equivalent of stealing what belongs to another. It is this principle that makes sense to reject even a married person who is willing to break faith against their spouse (for a fling/affair), for it is not just about the one erring/deceiving but also another involved. Therefore, any kind of ‘consent’ (the term ‘consensual’ that’s usually thrown in like dirt is just that, dirt!) in this context is a no-brainer, for it’s like a man ‘consenting’ to pluck out his own eyes, legitimate as it might seem it is profoundly dangerous/foolish/ridiculous – it has far reaching and devastating effects!
  • It disregards the design for sexuality, a system/order which is both necessary and important (too many of us are plain ignorant about the seriousness of it!) to meet innumerable human needs that span the breadth of the human make up, namely physical, psychological/emotional, social and other needs. E.g. there is a deep emotional need to be loved across the highs and lows of time, health, circumstance, accomplishment/failure and much else. Relationships without any long-term commitment simply do not possess the wherewithal to cater to such needs. Such false promises that claim to bridge these gaps without commitment are outright lies, an illusion, a preparation to fail!
  • Then there are other innumerable arguments such as children and their whole lives, the overall disregard this could lead to women/people, the bad influence it is on society, the fear and disruption it evokes in other responsible members of society and most certainly much much else such as health, economy, others.
  • It is also a violation against one’s own body, for the body is meant to be preserved and conserved for wellbeing, rest, health, honor, purposeful action, spirituality, others (these are all inseparably tied to the body). All these come from honoring marriage, not dishonoring it (as we are perennially lied to by popular media – of course by their chief exponents with their wrecked marriages and cleverly masked lies)! Such a violation is more fundamental than just something physical (for with sex comes an irreversible union, which is a mysterious thing that is physical first and only then the rest! Also evidenced by offspring who are a phenomenal wonder that are an illustration of such a mysterious inseparable PHYSICAL union). This violation is even at the level of soul and spirit, the former usually associated with the self (that which is accountable to God for deeds done in the body), the latter with that which is expressly spiritual/religious (which influences good/evil conduct – e.g. malevolent spirits are known to torment the body, while God’s spirit leads to light and life).
  • These are some of the reasons why society is built against the offence of adultery. However, to know or understand all these does not automatically mean the willingness to abide by it. However, the inability to withhold oneself from danger does not preclude the ill-effects that follow from such! To illustrate the necessity to both search out and abide by the laws of life, the example of a man swallowing arsenic either for ignorance or for being misled out of a sincere but wrong belief is usually given. And one can imagine what might result! So also with adultery. In the days gone by, the bulk of society kept the rules of marriage (its sanctity) and enjoyed the blessings that flowed out of it, however, sadly today so only less and less! It is for this reason we need to know, understand and persevere as a result. Initially the discipline of self-control and abstinence (in the context of singlehood, or from acting out in the context of a period of separation as during pregnancy etc.) might be difficult, but it is necessary to strengthen marriage, and develop a disposition of fidelity. Indeed this is a terrific (ultimate! Even non-negotiable!) investment in a delightful marriage (of course combined with other common sensical additions to brighten up a marriage)!
  • It is for these very reasons the wisdom of the ages containing injunctions to beware the dangers that trip one’s morality has been compiled at specific points in history. It is the truth and inestimable value of these instructions that have gained for them the authority and authenticity accorded as Scripture! Read the Bible and obey its commands to both learn the fear of God and stay away from pushing your life past the brink of utter ruin/disaster. Who can miss Proverbs 5, 6 & 7?! Adultery, flee from it.

I Cor. 6:18-20 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.

CALIBRE, the Unshakeable Man

We were all huddled into the principal’s den. It felt solemn and reprimanding. We were all about a dozen odd 15 year-old, still half-adult half-boys who were too hard for the teacher anymore to handle us and needed the Principal to fix us (it was some homework we hadn’t done!). Mrs. Michael, the tall and stately woman looked us all up through her stern spectacles. Toughening up her voice she demanded what was wrong with the bunch of us, why it was that we hadn’t done our homework. Between scanning workbooks maybe she reprimanded us, when something suddenly caught her eye. It was these words, ‘CALIBRE, the unshakeable’ written in stylized form in the front page of one of the boys’ books, the catchphrase of a new motor bike that had just come to the market. Looking up she shouted a string of words that instantly burned in deep for me: ‘Who is Barnabas? CALIBER the unshakeable! YOU MUST BE CALIBER THE UNSHAKEABLE FOR THE GOOD!”

The Bible too speaks of the unshakeable man. Here’s how he is so plainly described in Psalm 15:

He whose walk is blameless:

He is the man who is correct in his duty. Who isn’t a hindrance to people, simply considerate. E.g. none can look at him and say, he is a great guy, BUT …err he is this or that, namely, he is invariably late to work. Or he is difficult to get along with! Such is the man who does not play truant but is working at his best optimum. He takes enough caution to avoid stepping on others’ toes. He is discernibly an inspiration to others.

Who does what is righteous:

Such is the man who is courageous. Courageous to admit wrongdoing, courageous to fight for the right. He is knowledgeable to do what is right, the excellent way.

Who speaks the truth from his heart:

When asked, he answers with a simple and uncomplicated ‘yes’ or a ‘no.’ His eyes are not rolling for preoccupation to deliver a politically correct, a sly, or crooked answer, but a simple, honest, even timid but true and straightforward answer.

Who has no slander on his tongue:

He does not share the problem side of people unless necessary. He is sure of what he speaks. He weighs his words.

Does his neighbour no wrong:

His neighbour rests happy. By himself. This man isn’t too concerned what his neighbour does, and how he himself ought to either outdo or hinder him. He is kind and minds his own affairs.

Casts no slur on his fellow man:

He does not cast aspersions on people for competition or gain. Allows the other the benefit of doubt (of course within the bounds of common sense, wisdom, caution).

Despises a vile man:

He burns with fury against the unrighteous/unjust rogue. Fights against them, decimates them at the first opportunity (not as much to rid the bad as much to establish the good).

Honours those who fear the Lord:

Basically holds the good, godly, god-fearing and righteous in high regard. Such are his heroes, his role-models, his identity, his defence/case. Where it concerns goodness and uprightness he recognizes, honours and freely gives credit to those due.

Who keeps his oath even when it hurts:

His word is as good as a bond. He doesn’t give word carelessly, neither does he let his words fall carelessly to the ground. Integrity matters, loyalty matters, perseverance matters, perfection matters, excellence matters. Taking the trouble to keep one’s word matters supremely!

Who lends his money without usury:

He does not see an assistance to another in a time of need as an opportunity itself to generate wealth/money (what moneylending does as a trade!). Simply a kind and merciful human being! He pities those in need and does the little within his means to relieve suffering/a need.

Does not accept a bribe against the innocent:

He doesn’t budge on justice for gain/favour/advantage, even survival!

Such is Scripture’s Calibre Man who is unshakeable!! For Scripture bolsters these qualifications/prescriptions/expectations/conduct with the blessings that will come upon such: Such a man makes his dwelling place in God’s own sanctuary, His holy high place – God’s hill. That means God welcomes such a man into His own dwelling place! And this is the concluding guarantee: Such a man WILL NEVER BE SHAKEN!

Such simple requirements for all to try, both men and women, young and old, rich and poor, lettered and unlettered.

I can, you can, we all can be: CALIBER, the unshakeable!