Just a country boy

Not everyone is mourning the passing of Billy Graham who died on Wednesday just past, 21/02/2018.


The vitriol and spitefulness of the most extreme demagogues on the political left was predictable in rearing its head, yet shocking in the depths of depravity and incivility it plumbed:




Now, Max Lucado is unfailingly polite and not as direct as I think human beings have a right to be when they have an opinion, so he stands in the starkest contrast to that lost soul Lauren Duca:




Only in the Kingdom, can a simple country boy and a preacher come to have such influence. I don’t necessarily agree with all the lives on Lucado’s list of great people, but I get what he’s saying. The world is poorer for Dr Graham’s passing.


I somehow think though that Billy would echo Paul’s sentiment, that it is better to be apart from the body and at home with the Lord…the body of Billy Graham was chugging uncomfortably up the final hill of life, and now he has been welcomed into the joy of his master.




I somehow think that Billy Graham would also echo the sentiment of Dr Carey (link below) who suggested that a friend speak less of Dr Carey and more of Dr Carey’s saviour.




On the passing of Billy Graham, he would point the way – and so should we – to Billy’s saviour, God’s one and only Son.


So, it’s not as much about Dr Graham as about Christ. I’ll wager Lauren Duca – disgusting as her sentiments are – is really angry and lashing out at Christ, rather than his servant Billy Graham.


I remember when my father’s mother passed away and we had her funeral. The pastor held a very respectful, modest service. But he also did his primary job, which was to use the opportunity of an audience (some who were not regularly churched), to make a gospel appeal.

The passing of anyone is a moment to ask the question – and particularly on the passing of such a world-famous evangelist – and if I may let Billy Graham speak for himself and ask the question…



Denis the ginger

I’m sure it was exactly as the publishers anticipated.


The title grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go: “The man who broke into Auschwitz”. It is a stain on human history that the Holocaust happened at all, amongst a people who were otherwise refined by culture, music, art and thinking.


Nobody who visits Auschwitz comes out of the place cracking jokes. It is a most solemn contemplation of the evil that men are capable, on an industrial scale.

Denis Avey was a British soldier who fought in WW2 in North Africa and was captured by the Italians and after a brief escape, the Wermacht. The telling of his tale is compelling and strange enough to actually be true.


In his obituary, written by the Telegraph, the writer casts a smidge of doubt on the central thesis of his book – that for a short time he swapped places with a Jewish prisoner and experienced the full spiteful wrath of a government pogrom in order to be a witness to history so that he could testify about it.




There is humour and British pluck in the midst of the account. It brings a smile to my face even now as Avey recounts a dysentery outbreak in a prison camp, and the ditch that the Italians had dug for the prisoners to do their business, how a skinny prisoner leaned too far back and fell in, and declared in absolute frustration that it was the second time that day he had fallen in.


And the time Avey and a chum were shuffling back to the POW camp near Auschwitz after working at the IG Farben factory with the chum hiding a (dead) chicken in his pants. The smuggling effort busted, and having to explain to the commandant through a translator…the cheeky blighter claimed that it was self-defence and the chicken had attacked him. They escaped punishment for that big slice of wit.


The whole episode of Auschwitz reminds me of a talk by R.C. Sproul – who has since passed on – and who tried to explore the nature of evil and more particularly where it came from.


Evil could not have come from God, and from this starting point, Sproul discussed theodicy: a defense of God in the light of evil and its existence.




This is a timely question to ask however neither Sproul nor his mentor has been able to explain precisely where evil comes from. We just know that it exists.


A school shooting in Florida, and half of our American cousins on social media level blame at the NRA and hyperventilate about gun laws.


The large elephant in the room is human evil and perhaps it’s too philosophical (or even theological) to examine the question about evil and the destructive proclivities of the shooter. Easier to lobby the least intellectual members of Congress to pass a law, any law. Ready, fire, Aim!



I’ll wager that R.C. Sproul, having entered into the presence of the Lord in eternity, has finally learned the mystery of human evil, and fully experienced the present grace of the Lord, that makes a way for us.

Standard tactical deployment

This Tuesday just past, the Bible app on the smart phone reminded the Christian who may have seen it that if you suffer for being a Christian to take it as an opportunity to remember Whose name you bear and to offer up praise.




I suppose that our first response when being pounded on by cantankerous unbelievers is to take it personally, which is why Peter does well to remind us what the big picture is about.


And then it occurred to me that my natural charm doesn’t make me immune from the grumpy godless, which begs the question, am I doing it right? Why aren’t I offensive enough as a Christian?


It may have something to do with the fact that my profile is really humble. I noted while reading news this week that a teacher in the UK got tattled on by a social justice warrior (SJW) with an axe to grind. And boy do they grind those axes. No buried hatchets there.




Not one, but several; students reported this teacher to the UK’s terrorist prevention program because they claimed she was a radicalisation threat. Her offense? Having a conversation about faith and directing a comment at a student: ‘God loves you’. O, the horror.


This lady almost assuredly had an opportunity to take Peter’s words to heart. Not just his, words inspired by the Holy Spirit.


You bear his name. Rejoice.


That may sound very passive, unpalatable, not very action oriented.

Gotta love the classics

It’s not often that the Christian finds himself (or herself) in a scenario like Samson in the temple of Dagon at the end of his life, with clear lines of good and evil and a stunning act to set things right.




Samson was God’s instrument to rescue the Children of Israel by thumping the Philistines. According to the New Testament, we are not at war with flesh and blood.




We are at war with spiritual foes, opposed to Christ and because we bear His name, we come into the firing line.


More often than not, the opposition we face comes at the enemy’s initiative and the most difficult thing is to have the wisdom to react in the moment. It would be so easy if our battle wasn’t spiritual. However, this is the battle and this is our place in it.


It’s spiritual. The warfare we know is physical and it’s very easy to understand. I read recently of the last stand of Alexander Prokhorenko, a Russian forward air controller in Syria who in an act of stunning bravery and sacrifice – when surrounded by IS fanatics and with no way out – called in an airstrike on his own position, taking the thugs with him. Like a modern-day Samson I suppose.




Combat like that is fairly basic to train for, easily understood, tactile, visual and practical.


The Christian soldier is engaged in a spiritual battle where the terms of battle are spiritual, taken on faith with results perhaps not seen.


Being a Christian soldier involves


  • Daily discipline
  • Hourly prayer, and
  • A lifetime of endurance,


For me, this starts with taking my cross up daily:




Which is why I’m thankful for Bible apps and smart phones in the morning, before coffee (B.C.).




  1. the state or quality of being holy, sacred or saintly;
  2. ultimate importance and inviolability
Water is essential to life, and He will not forget us

Sanctity Life Sunday occurred late last month, on the anniversary – it is said – of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1973 that legalised abortion in America.




Sometimes we take life for granted, until we’re reminded of its sanctity (especially as it pertains to us) and then we don’t take it for granted anymore. It is of ultimate importance and inviolability and if we think someone may take our lives from us, there is no other way to take it than personally.


When does life begin? If you ask that question, you will get many different answers, depending on who you ask in the abortion debate. Those who favour abortion try to narrow it down to a given week based on the latest thumb-suck.


Inviolability to me (and many others) is linked with the idea of absoluteness. Life, and its definition cannot be split and bifurcated into weekly measurements and foetal systems coming on line.


It’s absolute. Life either is in whole, or not at all.


Life begins when God says it does. And similarly it ends when He says it ends. There is nothing wrong with prolonging life via the intervention of medical science, since sin and decay were not His original design.


The idea of aborting babies or ending a sick person’s life with euthanasia or murdering someone for any given reason, these ideas and actions have been there since the year dot. In 2018 however, odious thinking spreads by way of social media, the internet, slick lies packaged in promotional video overlaid with the sound of deep-voiced actors and inspirational background tracks.


It’s unsanctimonious. It’s murderous. And as a society, we are apparently okay with all of it.


A bill was tabled in the U.S. Congress last year to ban abortion after 20 weeks since it could be demonstrated that the foetus undergoing abortion endures pain.




Unfortunately the bill did not pass the Senate, and Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse remarked via Twitter: “I can’t imagine the regret these 46 politicians will one day have when they stand before God, the Creator & realize the opportunity they had to do good, but they voted NO to protecting lives. They voted against human rights, the right to be born.”


Sanctity means something that we shouldn’t mess with, however as a society life is something that we mess with the most. Instead of life being sacred, organisations like Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes are sacred cows.


I suppose, after all the unborn cannot lobby the state, or protest in the streets and they don’t have a budget to buy off politicians. They are the most vulnerable and the easiest targets. The latest statistics available for South Africa indicate 89,126 abortions for 2014. These are official statistics but as with any information gathered officially, the true number is always higher.


It appears that in the mind of Creator God, people are known before they are born.


One of my favourites, Psalm 139, (NIV) on being known by God in advance:




God knew Jeremiah before he was born:




This doesn’t mean that we pre-existed before our bodies were formed, but that God, in eternity, knew us before our time of birth and death in regular fourth-dimensional space and time.


At the moment a sperm and egg fertilise, a brand new DNA chain is created and a human being comes into existence. For the rationalist and the strict atheist, since this life is not viable outside the womb, it does not merit the definition of a human being.


Which is really small thinking. Consider conception and birth on a biological level as well as a spiritual level and the complexity involved in keeping that straight in your own mind. Nicodemus didn’t understand it:




Biological life that begins, conducts and ends, but within that loop, the beginning of spiritual life that conducts along with the biological and when the biological ends, continues in an infinite loop.


Jesus’ explanation to Nicodemus:


The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]


John 3: (NIV)


Abortion advocates and atheists cannot bring themselves to understand biological life, although they have devised ways to lobby for its termination. Fortunately, they cannot comprehend how to snuff out the spiritual life of others. Unfortunately their spiritual pathology would ordinarily lead to death; death for the unborn and spiritual death for them and those influenced by them.


The following account by a Christian couple fighting for the life of their sick child illustrates the stake of why we fight for life:




This is why we fight for life, and eternal life. God is on the move…Hallelujah.