3 min 25 sec read What is grace? Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable. It is being loved when you are the opposite of loveable. The cliche definition of grace is “unconditional love.” Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called “gifts” (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver, the one who loves, in relation to the receiver, the one who is loved, that negates any qualifications the receiver may personally hold. Grace is one-way love.
3 min read In 2018, I stumbled on Paul Zahl’s book, Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life, and read the book for the whole year. It was the only book I read besides my bible. Paul’s views on grace and the gospel are weighty. Many times I had to wrestle with his views on grace because they are otherworldly – too good to be true and impractical. The adage “Too heavenly minded, No earthly good” kept on ringing in my head. And yet, I kept on reading. Paul Zahl gives us a lofty view of what grace is, and yes, he gives you a heavenly view if you will be of any earthly good. Grace is lofty, heavenly and otherworldly. And grace helps you live in this base, restless, and evil world. Grace is in this world but not of this world. I thought I should share quotes from his book.
5 min read Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old. Matthew 13:52 (NKJV) Matthew 13 introduces us for the first time to the Greek word parabole. In Matthew 13, Jesus for the first time speaks in parables to his audience. Why not speak in plain language to them? It was an invitation to them to find out more—to go on a journey of discovery—to go deeper in search of meaning. His disciples got the cue card and did exactly that. They pulled him to the side and asked what the parables meant. The parables prompted the enquiry. The point of this post is not to unearth what the parables mean but rather to point out how teaching in the New Covenant should look like.
4 min 11 sec read Inevitably as a Christian, this question will be posed to you—will a loving God send people to hell? The assumption beneath this question is that because God is love, God cannot possibly send people to hell—that love and judgment are incompatible. Let’s examine this question in view of grace. Yes, the Christian faith agrees with this question, somewhat partly. Yes, the Christian faith acknowledges that God is love. In the Christian faith, love is the essence of God and God is the essence of love. (1 John 4:8,16 NLT) God and love are not mutually exclusive things. They are the same. But the Christian faith disagrees with the view that God sends people to hell. The unpalatable truth is this – people send themselves to hell. There is nowhere in the Christian scriptures to show that God sends people to hell. God will not shovel human beings in a wheelbarrow to hell. Human beings send themselves to hell.
3 min read This is my short response to an issue that a Christian brother raised on whether Christian ministers in Zambia should pass a government-sanctioned exam to authenticate their callings and ministries. After all, other areas of expertise have to pass exams to qualify to work in a particular area. My response was as follows Exams are not the issue; the issue is state control. I know with the rise of charlatans and heretics our governments want to protect its citizens from abuse and manipulation. Such is the case with the Bushiri’s here in South Africa. Unfortunately, because religion is inherently personal, such noble ideas by our governments are usually futile. What the Minister of Religious Affairs is doing is an overreaction and overreach. He or she will soon be challenged in the Supreme Court hoping that your courts are impartial, and not loaded with the religious right.
3 min Read And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; or a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. Luke 11:5-8 (NKJV) The first time I listened to this narrative, the premise of it was on persistent prayer. This story comes after Jesus had taught his disciples how to pray because they had requested him to teach them how to pray. Therefore, it is a logical progression for bible commentators and teachers to follow, assuming that Jesus was keen to have his …
3 min, 50 sec read So Marie Kondo or The KonMari Method is the new fad – the view you can declutter your life, keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. This concept has taken the world by storm. Marie Kondo has a Netflix show, Tyding up with Marie Kondo and has a #1 New York Times best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She is highly rated by various news outlets and listed as Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people. That’s how far-reaching her influence is. I also stumbled on this term “cleanfluencers.” It’s a term attributed to personalities on Instagram who share tips and ideas on how to clean your personal space. The power and reach of social media, coupled with Marie Kondo’s ideas have enabled the cleanfluencers movement to become so popular in recent months. In an interview on Mail Online, psychologist Emmanuella Murray explained that there is a perfectly good reason as to why people find looking at people’s clean homes satisfying. ‘We don’t like mess, it can actually make us …
© Schulter Etyang 4 min read There are only two ways through which we receive blessings from God. The one way is to deserve the blessings, and the other is to not deserve (undeserved) the blessings. Deserved way Undeserved way The deserved way So, how do we try to deserve blessings from God? Non-Christians try to earn their blessings from God through good works or living good moral lives. They work hard. They are honest individuals. They pay their taxes. They love their spouses and kids. They participate in community projects that uplift the poor, orphan, widow, prisoner and immigrant. They are good citizens. They obey the laws of the land. They are good people. Christians try to earn their blessings from God also by being good or in their case being spiritual. They fast and pray. They give their tithes. They go to Church. They love God with all their heart, soul, strength and mind, and love their neighbours as themselves. They participate in community projects that uplift the poor, orphan, widow, prisoner and immigrant. …
5 min read The answer to the question posed in the post’s title is—God shuts the heavens over you. God will not move on your behalf. Let me unpack this Israel was in decline. They had rebelled against Yahweh, his statutes and his prophets. Time and time again Yahweh sent prophets to warn them of impending doom but instead, they raised the middle finger to their God. Things got worse for them. They were struck with famines and droughts. They lost wars against enemies. They died from sickness and diseases. Yet despite their rebellion, God loved them, and when they turned to him he immediately turned their misfortunes into blessings. He healed them. He blessed them. He provided for them. He protected them. But as human nature loves to coil back to its default mode of sinning, they turned their backs against Yahweh time and time again.
3 min read We cannot do without New Year’s resolutions. That’s the truth. Goal setting is as old as creation itself. After God created human beings, he set goals for them — be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue and have dominion. (Genesis 1:28) Adam Alter in his book Irresistible, writes, goals … are a biological imperative rather than a luxury or choice (Pg. 107) We are intrinsically goal-oriented beings. Jenny and I make resolutions every New Year. We usually sit and write what we want to do in the coming year. We set goals and plans for the year ahead. We set goals as it concerns our health, spirituality, finances, friendships, in-laws, home, vacations, studies, career, ministry etc.