“Okay Google!.. Who Is God”

So there is a rising trend that has me concerned. We know that some passages of Scripture are quite straightforward but others are not quite so. Some passages require some effort and research.

I was sitting in a Sabbath School class and the question was, “what is Armageddon?”. One member of the class whipped out their phone and did a Google search.

I was in a church Bible study and we were discussing 1Corinthians 14:34 (let the women keep silent in churches), and while the facilitator was breaking down how we should study and interpret the Bible one member of the church brought forward the answer they found in a Google search.

There was a question raised in a WhatsApp group I am in. The question was about wine (topic for another day) and I had to fight back the thought that someone would just go pick up an explanation from Google and paste it on the group. I even wanted to check some answers on Google.

Should we really be using Google for Bible study? Sola Scriptura and Googlia? Is there a line to draw?

Well… It’s not all so cut and dried but I can definitely tell you some pointers.

Google is a powerful tool. But it must be used right.
It is certainly helpful when looking up definitions of words. Google is also a great place to find out the historical backgrounds and settings, giving more context to Biblical passage. It is also very useful when it comes to bringing forward the popular belief (which is not always a good thing if you are unsure). It is also a great way to bring up a compilation of different theories (again this could be bad) and allows one to see from different perspectives and not just see their own voice echoed.

However.

We must realise its limits. Running a Google search will only retreive what you ask it for and will bring forward the most optimised results first. And first does not always mean best in this case.
Popular does not always mean correct. We don’t know who is writing the articles we read on the net half the time. I mean, what do you think Google would have had to say about Noah if it was back in his day?

So what do we do?
I would suggest:
1. Pray. Pray. Pray – Whenever we are going to study scripture we should imvite the Author of scripture to guide our minds. The Spirit should guide us into all truth (John 16:13) as He is willing to do. Even with straight forward scripture.

2. Bible interprets the Bible – Back to basics. Sola Scriptura. Let the Bible interpret itself. Where there seems to be something that is confusing, there is surely a place in the Bible where the same principle is spelt out more clearly.
Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little (Isaiah 28:10)
To the law and to the testimony, if they speak no according to this word it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:20)
We see the New Testament writers use Old Testament Scripture this way. Building their belief on the established Word of God.

3. Get a solid grounded Bible answer – Dont be lazy. God is not trying to hide from us. Actually He longs to bring us into full knowledge (as far as we can) to who He is. So before checking concordances and commentaries, check the passages in and around that same text. Check similar situations of the same principle in the rest of the Bible. Even see where similar words show up in scripture. Study to show yourself approved (2Timothy 2:15)

4. Hold fast – it would be worthless to study and then come away and have no change in your life.
Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22)

So Google is not our Bible study enemy but always make sure that it is a tool used correctly if you need to use it at all. Don’t let doctrine be based on “but Google said….”, But on a clear, “It is written.”

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PreSense

Blindness tried to convince me
But simplicity fooled the lies
That which we don’t see
Is that on which the crow flies

Sound tried to frighten me
With waves behemoth in size
But in shore crashing waves we see
The command, beyond this you won’t rise

Taste tried to beckon me
Come just a little try
But He touched my lips and showed me
We are the apple of His eye

Aroma tried to pull me
When in rapture I closed my eyes
But the breath of life reminds sweetly
If faithful I won’t die

My touch was almost lied to by sensuality
But just a touch of His garment as He passed me by
Dispelled the filth and set me free
Hallelujah is my victory cry

Let my praise rise
Beyond the sight of eye
To heaven rise
Drown out the lies
Like sweet insence rise
In fire baptise
What in me is near demise

Let the Unmistakeably Divine
Make a foolery of what I deem wise

Make my self confidence
My worldly competence
Become in essence
Reliant on no sense
But knowing Your presence

Promise

This is His promise
The bow in the cloud is witness
Though its significance
We have tried to diminish
Remember this

When the world was an abyss
Chosen ignorance
The ark they missed
Despite the preaching of Righteousness
Thereafter Noah walked out in calmness
Sight of clouds caused him unrest

Imagine the stress
To see clouds the sky to dress
The wind, lightning, and darkness
Back to the ark would be my guess
Could water fall down to be a bless?

Thus God made a promise
On which they could rest their hopes
Not leaving them in darkness to grope
Or men’s promise, like sandy ropes

By His Word He caused light to shine
And in the sky
Stretched out a sign
A covenant between man and Divine
The oceans may rise
Rivers break the tide
But here, I draw the line
Never again would flood arise
To be the entire Earth’s demise

The bright bended bow is still in sight
With colours all burning bright
From heaven to earth it makes it’s flight
To remind us of His mercy in might
Yes, earthly winds may cause us fright
And sudden flashes your clouds alight
Suddenly overwhelmed with plight
Though disease and envy contrite
The haters blast and cold shoulders bite

My yoke is easy, My burden light
Keep His promise in your sight
He’ll make it right
He’ll make it right
This He says in coloured light
Rest I say, in His might
In this my towers exceed Babel’s height
The fire won’t on me kindle though the sparks they light

This is God’s promise
My only plea is this
Not to place Your bright grace amiss

My Neighbour Was An Adventist

My Neighbour was an Adventist
The whole ten commands, He would insist
A tried a trusted Sabbathist
No tattooed arm or bangled wrist
By proffession an evangelist
On the paper nothing amiss
No hidden tithe or mistress
His wife ticked the whole checklist

My neighbour was an Adventist
But then there was this
To me known this little twist
That wife that ticked the entire list
The only jewel on his wrist
Used to be my relationship
As my fiance she did exist
For her I had saved my first kiss
I intended for her eternal bliss
“Unequally yoked”, he said this
When I asked and he did insist
Trusted human counsel and therapist
“Unequally yoked” was his verdict

My neighbour was an Adventist
His sermons were the thunder’s fist
A powerful message of righteousness
Didn’t see him for a bit
Then she showed up on his wrist
A simple touch so intimate
And he wasn’t playing exorcist
A quick wedding was their insist
To the dagger in my back, a final twist

My neighbour was an Adventist
This act made his preaching to me a mist
I walked from God coz of the hypocricist
In my heart it was a cyst
The taste of gall and bitterness
Every time he hit the pulpit
Till God taught me forgiveness
Not forget but let go of this
For if you hold on to this
Your own heart will begin to consist
Of what you behold in the hypocrite

My neighbour was an Adventist
And so am I, I must admit
But now I view it different
Though many to the world are conformist
And no matter the jewel stolen from my wrist
Christ is the Centre and the Gist
The reason for my life and exist
Though my heart they rent and twist
The Eternal Source of all that exists
Is my Source and Comfortist

Now I’m the neighbour Adventist
And on this I often insist
Though the Judas knife they often twist
And I often see the hypocricist
Don’t be drawn amiss
Remember when you were lost in the mist
And Christ drew me out the abyss
Comforted you with ministering Spirit
The empathy you then missed
And now go treat them like this

Be the neighbour Adventist
That you in life had wished

There Are No Winners

Round 1…. Fight!
There are no winners in a break up
No matter the rules we make up
It was all happy once upon
Now the battle lines are drawn
The traits to which we were once drawn
Are now the reason for the gloves we don
The broken hopes shatter deep
Even the initiator just might weep
What has ended was once for keeps
Now let go on the abandoned heap

Round 2…. Fight!
There are no winners in a break up
No matter the rules we make up
Was there someone else better
Was I to your freedom a fetter
Did we not commit to prayer
Was this a game and I the losing player
Was it ‘coz we saved the physical for later
Did I unravel too quickly my layers
Too much Bible, should have just been a dater
Wait on the LORD, made me a hesitator
Forever became see you later
It was probably best because you were a faker
I now see your faults, you were the impersonator

Round 3…. Fight!
Now I see you happy again
As happy now as you were back when
What do they have that I didn’t then
Looks, character, a better friend?
I almost got over faster and then
You went and exposed my pretend
Just like our old arguments
Always quicker as was your trend
And you seem to gain back all our friends
LORD, is this how you will put to me an end?
I was loyal but I feel the offend
I am your child is this how you defend?
Like a stormed tree, I break and bend
Should I follow the rebound trend
At least I will find some comfort then
And in this break up find a win

Round…. No… Stop!
There are no winners in a break up
No matter the rules we make up
There can only be lessons learned
Who is to blame has no points earned
No matter which way it is turned
I will bury your faults as I hope you will mine
Your direction I will leave to the Divine
And in prayer He will draw the line
I hope through this I have helped define
What God will do in yours and mine
Separate ways and that’s just fine
I hope I have not marred the character of the Divine
Because from the start, you were not mine
I will put you back where you I did find
Hopefully in the hands of The Saviour Divine
And I hope the next hand is better than mine
And our friends can gather again given time

There are no winners in a break up
No matter the rules we make up
But in the unfortunate parting of Christians
Should be seen a difference

*When Christians go through courtship, the goal is marriage. This is the intent. To weigh every sentiment and trait of character to see if this will lead heavenward, onward to the character of Christ. And unfortunately this may mean we won’t get to the goal for there may be differences in character we didn’t see. Or God may say, proceed no further. And yes, sometimes sadly, the Devil may succeed in driving in a wedge. But please don’t conform to the world even in such a hard circumstance as a break up. Do not resort to who will win. Because there won’t be any winner in the end except the wily foe who has gotten you to bend or play pretend.

Ask God to let His light shine through you even in the dark time of separation.*

Metros, Mirrors & Mutts

*This was a story that was written for entry into the June Storytelling Sessions conducted by Ekari and her team. The theme was “cold”. More about her at http://www.ekariwrites.com or on Facebook @ Ekari Mbvundula – The Writer.*

The wind whispered past him as if mourning , in its own way. Its whisper not being understood it instead, kept trying to push him down from his vantage point where he could clearly see the two sides collide in battle.

Shepherd remembered a time when the worst of their problems were loadshedding and “blood suckers”. How fast it had all gone downhill.
Our nation was given funds to accelerate our renewable energy generation but the greed of our leaders took priority and before we knew it we were put under interdict for being a danger to the planet. Meaning whoever wanted to attack us had full rights to do so. Private companies came through with their mercenary armies and took over large portions of land to set up MetroSanctuaries (a fancy for what was once called Smart Cities).

Some surrendered and lived in the Metros. The comfortable solution. You got a house, a job based on your bio and social data profile, and a Trace. The implant that allowed you to get notifications, communicate, download limitless media on to your glasses or DLDs. However, privacy was a myth. So was free choice because the Trace put you online to the Hive Mind.
“Only fundementalists have something to hide.” That was the argument that justified getting a Trace. A Trace also gave you a glowing scarlet ring around your pupils.
Mirrors were outlawed. Cameras and screens took their place. Because mirrors could switch off a Trace for a few moments. Those few moments offline the Hive Mind were enough for anyone to be a “threat”.

Others rose up, trying to take back the land by force. Calling themselves Ghosts. They went in with old weapons. Bombs, guns and machetes Vs. Laser Turrets, drones, and UV Blades. The Ghosts would have success in getting to the Metros and causing havoc but they hardly ever gained land back for long.

Then there was Shepherd and his crew. The ones from Smyrna, the roaming city in the mountains. He turned around to look at his “family”.

On one knee petting his Bulldog with his huge left hand, was the one who had proven his determination to be free by cutting off his own arm to cast off his Trace. Bongani.
Sitting next to him, fidgeting and tweaking the bionic arm she had built for him was Humayra. Her innovations had helped them escape the Ghosts on many missions and avoid Metro drones. Her Greyhound had a spanner in his mouth waiting to be told what tool to get next.
With the usual serious look on his face, sack slung over his shoulder, his Terrier digging at the ground next to him was the ex-Ghost, One Wire. When he opened his mouth it was either to eat or say something a little crazy. His serious face often left you to wonder whether he was being serious or not. One Wire’s suspicious gaze was cast on the figure seated next to Shepherd.

Small, agile, very intelligent and quick to learn. Scary how they found her. She had walked out of a Metro on her own accord but she couldn’t remember what had driven her to get off the Hive Mind.
Her nightmares would tell where battles were going to take place. In her sleep, she would expose the tactics of the Ghosts and the Metro army. Shepherd called her Tumi. But it was Tumi’s eye that was suspicious. One of her eyes had that scarlet glow as if she had a Trace but Humayra had continuously proved that her Trace was offline. One Wire was openly wary of her.

Tumi stood up.
“Now! You will be able to awaken many if you go now.”
Humayra gave her tools to her greyhound. “Just in time.”she chimed
Bongani stood to full height and flexed his bionic arm. It hummed to life as he clenched his fist.
One Wire put the sack down, opened it and threw the balls at his companions. They were about the size of tennis balls. Each of them caught their’s with ease. One Wire paused before tossing one at Tumi. She fumbled when she caught it and she accidentally activated it.

The ball opened into a large shield. Its size reminded Shepherd of those old satellite dishes. It helped shield from the fiery lasers of the Metro army but unlike the matte black shields of the Ghosts, these shields had a polished surface, like mirrors. These were their weapons to set some people free.

Shepherd opened a hatch in the ground and whistled. First, silence. Then one bark and the patter of many paws. Several muddy dogs came rushing out the hole. The last one had a leafy branch in her mouth to show that they had successfully made a tunnel to the Metro. The dogs that had been replaced by RoboDogs were good for something.

“Tumi, today you come with us.” Shepherd said.
“Why?”she asked wide-eyed.
“Because, as the Old Book says, these are the last days. And the love of many has grown cold. Trying to impose their will on others, each side calls freedom. Fighting darkness with darkness. But we are sent to reflect light. To offer choice to people inside the Metro. Switch off the Trace for those few seconds and maybe they will see what they have become and come to Smyrna. To kill the Trace. Not kill the tracked. For what use is a land that has swallowed innocent blood?”
“No. I mean, why now?”, Tumi asked.
“Because I believe you are one of us, the Children Of Light in Darkness.”
“COLD!” Came the untied response from the others.
“Shouldn’t that be COLID?”, Tumi asked.
“Technically, yes.” Shepherd smiled determinedly at the city. “But what fun would that be?”
Shepherd looked up to the sky. “Prosper Your servants this day.”, He asked earnestly.
He jumped into the tunnel and pulled Tumi in with him.
One Wire shouted after them.
“Who knows? Maybe today, you could earn yourself a puppy!”

A Branch In The Tree

*This was a story that was written for entry into the Storytelling Sessions conducted by Ekari and her team. This was the first session my story had been accepted. More about her at http://www.ekariwrites.com or on Facebook @ Ekari Mbvundula – The Writer.*

Based on The True story

If you want to hear this story we must start from the beginning. And in the beginning we must disabuse our minds from two thoughts. You may not like either of them, but obviously (you being here) you like to hear stories so I will just use your love for stories as an excuse to tell you some uncomfortable truth.

First of all. Reality and fate are not married. That is to say, they are not one. While fate is a future that seems to ignore the freedom of choice that is inherent in all of us, reality says that our future is determined by our choices. By our free will. Let me explain. We have all come to a fork in the road, that point where we have to make a decision. Imagine if you had gone right instead of left. If you had said no instead of yes. If you had stopped instead of raced ahead. Imagine how different the future would have been.

If you don’t quite understand this, in the very least see this story as a letter from another reality. A story from the turn to the right.

Second uncomfortable truth. Love is not an uncontrollable emotion. Love far surpasses a mere emotion that can’t be helped. Love is alive. True love is an intelligent decision at the end of the day. Comparing love to lust is like comparing the mbaula to the matchstick. Yes, they all have flame but wind extinguishes one and invigorates the other. This is uncomfortable because true love is not all sugar coated. And this is a true love story so forgive me if it does not drip honey.

Our story starts in the garden. The birds are singing their carols through the warm, sweet scented air, the kind of fresh air we don’t get anymore. The rays of the sunshine filter through the tree canopies and each blade of grass that bathes in the glow of the sun radiates like precious jade. But the warm and vivid atmosphere is broken by the excited footsteps.

He could feel her before he saw her running towards him. They were connected like that. She was another part of him and every time she would come over to him he would fall for her all over again. He held himself back from turning around to see her coming just so he could surprise himself again. Just when he could hold back no longer, he turned around.

She was beautiful. Almost as if she were crafted from stardust and maple syrup and held together by the notes of a symphony. You could see the light in her eyes. That illuminated intellect shone forward before she even spoke a word and yet she was still so happy to learn. Her smile beamed with joy. A light that was only surpassed by the robe of light she wore. A robe like his own, only more… more… just more. He sometimes wondered what she saw when she saw him. Did he bring her as much joy as she did to him? Oh she was such a sight to behold. At least she was. For this was not the sight he saw now.

She was still beaming, bright, joyous, but something was wrong. It was first in her eyes. Like a beautiful palace with a broken glass window. And then as she came and stood right in front of him he couldn’t feel her warmth, actually it was a little cold. She wasn’t wearing her robe. Then a shiver went down his spine as he saw what was in her hand. He recognised it immediately.

“No. No! Eve. What has been done to you? Please don’t tell me you ate…”
“My eyes have been opened. I chose to open my eyes.”
“But you shall surely die!”
She laughed a little, it still had a melody to it but it was different. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it.
“That’s what I thought. But obviously….”
She smiled and turned around in front of him.
She was very much alive.
“Here. I brought some for you. Apparently, there was something He was keeping from us.”
She presented the fruit to him, and he brought his hand under her own. Her hands were no longer warm. Her eyes spoke with a deadly glimmer that told him that dared him to step up.

He knew that if he ate the fruit he would die. It wasn’t a question. But he was not ready to live without her. He had to make a choice. Either they die together or…..

He couldn’t complete the thought. He didn’t want to. Maybe it would open his eyes.

Then the thought struck him and before he set the fruit to his lips he looked her in the eyes. He embraced her in his strong arms and dropped the fruit. She went stiff in his arms and let the rest of the fruit she had carried fall on the ground around their feet.

What had she done? The thought made her go limp in his arms. He felt different from her. He felt…. There was no way she was going to be able to stay.

“It’s okay. It’s going to be okay.”

Her heart was beating fast. The air around her stopped feeling electric and she could feel a void opening up in her heart. She had never felt water come from her eyes, not like this. His robe cloaked her nakedness, she felt some relief but she knew what was going to happen.
And as if he could read her mind….

“I will go in your place.”
She pushed herself arms’ length away and looked up at him. He had a calm smile on his face, a resolve she had never seen in him. The joy was not gone but something was wrong. She stepped back and found that his robe had clung to her, had melded to her in restored beauty.

But he was now as she once was. She stepped back in horror and shame. Yes, he still stood tall and majestic but there he was naked with the fruit littered all over his feet.

They both could feel His presence now coming through the garden in the cool of the day. Adam stood his ground between her and He. He felt what he had never felt before. He had always felt such joy when He came around but now….

“What happened? Adam, why are you naked?” His voice was full of love and authority. Like the refreshing waters coming in a mighty torrent.
“She ate the fruit. I know she must have been tricked because You know she loves You just as much as she loves me. It’s not like her.” He looked over his shoulder at her. There were scarlet pearls of sweat marring his spotless brow. The resolve came back to his face. His voice was shaky but sure as he continued,

“Nevertheless. I know You have said whoever eats of it will surely die. And so I have decided that I will go in her stead, if you will accept my life in place of her own.”

storytellingmw