Saturday, May 28, 2011


A sad thing happened a couple of days ago.

The call of nature, when it beckons, cannot always be ignored. Alois Mabhunu didn’t. And it got him into big trouble. BIG trouble!

Police sergeant Mabhunu was on duty at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in the western city of Bulawayo, when he was summoned by nature. An unfortunate moment.

He looked around for the nearest restroom. He spotted one. And used it.

A disastrous decision.

The problem began when he exited. He was promptly arrested.

Apparently that particular toilet had been reserved for Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe who was visiting the fair on its opening day. Mr. Mabhunu was imprisoned for impudent invasion of the presidential privy. Some cheek!

Local radio station VOP reported that “Mabhunu, due to the call of nature, rushed to the toilets reserved for Mugabe and his guest Ekra, but was stopped by other officers guarding the toilets. Under intense pressure from the call of nature, the officer forced his way in and managed to relieve himself.” The poor guy.

He plans to appeal. Beatrice Mtetwa, a leading Zimbabwean human rights lawyer, argued that “There has to be a law saying the toilet is the president’s, but this was a public one.  They will have had to issue a proclamation in the government gazette specifying it [Mugabe’s ownership of the john]. I bet they didn’t do that.” In any case, we hope that our man, Mabhunu, will be exonerated on compassionate grounds.

Of course, Mr. Mugabe’s “reign of terror” has been internationally denounced as an oppressive regime. Its people are suffering, its economy is suffering. The Zimbabwean dollar, once worth US$1.47 is now in a freefall. (US$1 is now worth several trillion of the old denomination, if not more.) In the three decades of Mr. Mugabe’s rule, the country has slid into shocking collapse—“the most dramatic peacetime collapse of any country,” one analyst said. His honorary doctorates from Edinburgh and University of Massachusetts have been stripped.  Sanctions have been imposed upon his government by the US and the EU (the US still provides humanitarian aid to the tune of US$1 billion). Parade magazine has ranked him as the worst dictator ever.

So this is one guy, whose private toilet you should probably not invade. Even if he is not in it. Even if nature commands you at inconvenient moments. Even if “under intense pressure.”

Avoid, at all costs, dictators and their toilets.

Once when the disciples of Jesus began to have aspirations of greatness and lordliness, Jesus warned them.

Jesus said to them,
“You know that those who are
recognized as rulers of the Gentiles
lord it over them;
and their great men
exercise authority over them.
But it is not this way among you,
but whoever wishes to become
great among you
shall be your servant;
and whoever wishes to be
first among you
shall be slave of all.”
Mark 10:42–44

In the kingdom of God, worldly values are reversed and overthrown. Lord? No; instead, slave. Great men? No; instead, servants.

That is what Jesus would have us be. By being servants, we become great in the eyes of God.

And Jesus capped this lesson with the remarkable declaration of his own identity and mission.

“For even the Son of Man
did not come to be served,
but to serve, and to give His life
a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:45

So there it is: our task and our model. To serve like Jesus did. Not to lord it over others like some of our world’s dictators.

Let’s go serve.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


“Nope!” is right. We’re all still here, way past 6:00 pm on Saturday, May 21, 2011.

Another “prophecy” bites the dust.

Family Radio host Harold Camping predicted the rapture would occur at 6:00 pm on May 21. At first he said it was 6:00 pm New Zealand time. When nothing happened in that part of the world, he switched the time-zone to Jerusalem time. Jerusalem is still here. And so are we. And I think Camping is here too.

Of course, today he’ll probably announce a glitch in his calculations and push the date forward. Camping is a veteran at this and, around his apocalyptic claims, has built a $72 million- ministry, including Family Radio. His last attempt to date the rapture (or was it the end of the world?) fixed the event at 1994.

Needless to say, that didn’t quite pan out either.

Yesterday, when asked by a reporter what he’d do if this deal didn’t come to pass, Mr. Camping said: “It … will … absolutely … happen!” The man didn’t give himself any wiggle room at all.

The rapture would take 3% of the world’s population to be with Jesus, he said. Earthquakes would happen all over the world, he said, all at 6:00 pm local time, beginning in Christmas Island. It would hit the US at 6:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time, he said. The end of the world, though, would happen only five months later, on October 21, 2011, he said.

God must have changed his mind!

So much for doomsday “prophet” Harold Camping.

Lots of folks believed him. A couple of days ago, on May 19, 2011, the search term “end of the world May 21st” hit #2 rank on Google Trends. “Harold Camping,” “May 21 doomsday,” and “May 21 rapture” reached the top #10.

But some of his own employees took him with a good dose of NaCl. Esther, a receptionist at their Oakland office, declared to CNNMoney on Friday: “I don't believe in any of this stuff that’s going on, and I plan on being here next week.” Some of Camping’s coworkers questioned his “goodbye letter” that encouraged them to “steadfastly continue to stand with us to proclaim the Gospel through Family Radio.”

Did the dude not believe himself? Hmm ….

On this matter of the return of the Lord Jesus, one thing is sure. He is coming back.

Jesus, himself, proclaimed:

“For the Son of Man is going to come
in the glory of His Father
with His angels.”
Matthew 16:27

And part of that end-time complex of events will include the rapture of believers.

For the Lord Himself will descend
from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel
and with the trumpet of God,
and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive and remain
will be caught up together with them
in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,
and so we shall always be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:1617

But here’s the deal:

“… of that day and hour no one knows,
not even the angels of heaven,
nor the Son,
but the Father alone.”
Matthew 24:36

No one! Not even Mr. Camping.

Ours is not to fix dates and times and schedules and calendars. Our call is to be patient, to watch and wait for the blessed hope of the Lord’s coming.

Therefore be patient, brethren,
until the coming of the Lord. …
strengthen your hearts,
for the coming of the Lord is near.
James 5:78

It is. He’s coming. Soon.

“Come, Lord Jesus!”

Saturday, May 14, 2011


The other day, my neighbor, Timothy, invited me over for lunch. One of his children had gifted him with a bucketful of crawfish, and did I care for some, he wanted to know.

Crawfish? Me? I’m not a seafood fan, preferring dead cow as my choice of edible flesh.

Actually, crawfish (or crayfish, or crawdads), are freshwater crustaceans. But who cares? They still look gross.

With the warmer water temperatures, millions of these grotesque creatures awaken in muddy swamps and marshes, and begin offering themselves  to humans for consumption—an obligatory rite-of-spring celebration in the southeastern US.

Scaly monsters with disproportionate and asymmetric claws, beady eyes, creepy antennae, and seemingly impenetrable armor. No wonder they’re also called mudbugs.


But not for some. They think that this miniature Godzilla-like creature easily rivals its heftier saltwater sibling, the Atlantic lobster. Yeah, right! (Not that I care for this last specimen of flesh either, but, hey, “Atlantic lobster” at least sounds more respectable!)

Notice the huge pile of remains of deceased Procambarus clarkii (red swamp crawfish) piled on Timothy’s side of the table! Feeding frenzy.

And notice my share.

If you wondered about the newspaper, that is the prescribed method of eating these things. As one expert and crawfish gourmand recommended: “Take a few hundred pounds of live crawfish, plunge them into seasoned boiling water, spill whole mess onto newspaper-covered table. Pick up a steaming crawfish and rip it into two pieces—cephalothorax and tail. Strip shell from tail end, bite off exposed meat, and inhale deeply through the head cavity. Take long quaff of fizzy beer, then throw shell onto towering mountain of empties. Repeat as needed.”


The amount of meat per crawfish is miniscule, hence aficionados, like aforementioned neighbor of mine, go for high volume.


If you’ve seen a crawfish boil, you might have noticed how that mixture of reddish crustaceans, copious cayenne, and other stuff uncannily and eerily looks like a pot of boiling blood.


All this to say that I took one tiny bite and just about gave up the ghost. Not my man, Timothy. He kept on going. Love doth indeed cover grossness!

He spoke and said to those
who were standing before him, saying,
“Remove the filthy garments from him.”
Zechariah 3:4a

That’s God talking about Israel’s high priest, Joshua, whose “filthy garments” represent the sin of the nation, and by extension the sin of human kind. And “filth”? It literally means human excrement!


Even the seemingly righteous deeds we perform are like an unclean garment.

For all of us have become
like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds
are like a unclean garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
take us away.
Isaiah 64:6

For God is so holy, so absolutely, totally, perfectly holy, that he cannot even look upon sin.

Your eyes are too pure to approve evil,
And You can not look on wickedness with favor.
Habakkuk 1:13

Look, now, at what God does to Joshua and his “filthy garment.”

Again He said to him, 
“See, I have taken your iniquity
away from you and will
clothe you with festal robes.”
Zechariah 3:4b  

Filthy garments to festal robes.

Love does cover grossness!

But God demonstrates
His own love toward us, in that
while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Someone else paid for my grossness and gave me His garments.

He who overcomes
will thus be clothed
in white garments.
Revelation 3:5

Praise God!

Abandon all grossness … and crawfish, y’all!

Saturday, May 07, 2011


What a transformation.

From January 9, 1982 to April 29, 2011, she was Miss Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, aka Kate. From April 29, 2011, she became Her Royal Highness Princess William Arthur Philip Louis, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Strathearn, Baroness Carrickfergus.

All because of her bridegroom: His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, Baron Carrickfergus, etc., who, needless to say, was born His Royal Highness.

What a change indeed for his bride. The good lady was born a commoner. She is now royalty, after a wedding watched by over 2 billion people and reportedly costing upwards of $70 million!

From commoner to royalty. Doesn’t happen to most.

Wait, … it does. Or could.

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness,
and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.
Colossians 1:13

“Commoners” we all are, “by nature” sinners, estranged from a holy God, and deserving of the consequences of sin.

And you were dead
in your trespasses and sins,
in which you formerly walked ….
We too all formerly lived
in the lusts of our flesh,
indulging the desires of the flesh
and of the mind,
and were by nature
children of wrath.
Ephesians 2:13

But then, an amazing transformation takes place.

But God, being rich in mercy,
because of His great love
with which He loved us,
even when we were dead
in our transgressions,
made us alive together with Christ
(by grace you have been saved),
and raised us up with Him,
and seated us with Him
in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:46

Commoners to royalty with Christ. Sinners to saints in Christ.

And how does this transformation occur?

For by grace you have been
saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God;
not as a result of works.
Ephesians 2:89

Nope, it didn’t cost $70 million. In fact, it’s free. Free, because someone else paid for it, with his life, bearing the cost of our sins. And for those who, believing in Jesus Christ as their only God, place their trust in him as Savior, this free gift becomes theirs.

For the wages of sin is death,
but the free gift of God
is eternal life in
Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

Transformation. Royalty. Heirs. Reigning.

we are children of God,
and if children, heirs also,
fellow heirs with Christ.
Romans 8:16–17

You were slain, and
purchased for God with Your blood
those from every tribe and tongue
and people and nation.
You have made them a kingdom
and priests to our God;
and they will reign upon the earth.
Revelation 5:910

And one day it will be said:

“The kingdom of the world
has become the kingdom of
our Lord and of His Christ;
and He will reign forever and ever.”
Revelation 11:15

Not only that, there in that new kingdom …

the throne of God and
of the Lamb will be in it,
and His bond-servants will serve Him;
and they will reign forever and ever.
Revelation 22:3, 5

Both the King and his royal people, reigning forever and ever!

And so as commoners-turned-royalty, let us focus on royal things, eternal things, things of value.

Therefore if you have been
raised up with Christ,
keep seeking the things above,
where Christ is,
seated at the right hand of God.
Set your mind on the things above,
not on the things that are on earth.
Colossians 3:12

Transformed into royalty, not commoners any more.