Misunderstanding the Bible

By Dr Christopher Peppler

Why do various people understand the Bible so differently? Well, it’s really quite simple: it is because they wear different spectacles to read the Bible. One set of ‘spectacles’ we often wear is Tradition. Those who have been in a particular church tradition for a long time tend to ‘read’ the Scriptures through the lens of that tradition. The approach to preaching, the liturgies, teachings and practices of the tradition create a sort of spiritual optical prescription. Methodists will ‘see’ differently to how, say, Baptists will. Our traditions constitute spectacles that many have fashioned over long periods of time. They are thick-lens spectacles that are really quite heavy.

Divisive debate
Another set of ‘spectacles’ is Dogma (belief and doctrine). Church dogma forms a strongly tinted lens through which we view the Bible. Five Point Calvinist, for instance, is a pervasive dogma that strongly influences how people interpret the Biblical text. Dispensationalism is another dogma that tints the spectacle lenses. If Calvinism forms a blue lens then those wearing such spectacles will not be able to read anything printed with light blue ink. If Wesleyan dogma forms a red lens then light red print will be invisible… and so on.
Perhaps the most common pair of ‘spectacles’ found today is what I call Contextualisation. Instead of viewing the current social context through Biblical lenses, many people tend to view the Bible through contextual lenses. The issues, conditions and values of current society form the lens through which they see. In my opinion, this is the main cause of the current trouble in some denominations over the issue of homosexuality. The same can be said of the current divisive debate concerning female bishops. The conflict arises when one group, usually within a church tradition, view modern life through Biblical spectacles while another group view the Bible through the lens of modern life. What I mean by this is that one will seek to apply Biblical principles and values to life, while another will try to find Scripture to justify modern values and practices.

Different ‘spectacles’
Our presuppositions are another reason we see things differently. We all wear spiritual spectacles of some sort; no one can claim to read the Bible from a totally unbiased and objective perspective. We come to the Bible with an existing set of assumptions that we have built over our lifetimes. Assumptions concerning the authority of the Scriptures, what constitutes truth, and so on. If my starting assumptions are different from yours, then we will undoubtedly differ in the way we understand Scripture. The last set of ‘spectacles’ I will touch on is Exegesis (critical explanation or analysis of a text). Some people wear very tiny spectacles that only allow them to see one verse at a time. As a result they build doctrine on words and phrases taken out of the context of the passage, the book, and indeed the whole of the Bible. Others wear very narrow yet wide spectacles that allow them to see only the horizontal humanist dimension of the text.

Christ, our example
So then, it’s all a matter of what spectacles we wear. I believe we could resolve a lot of the differences between Christians if we would all chose to wear cross-shaped spectacles. If we focused our interpretation of Scripture on what Jesus said and did, then we would soon find ourselves largely in agreement with one another (or am I looking through rose-tinted glasses?). Christ-centred ‘spectacles’ are of course Biblical ‘spectacles’. If we insist on viewing the Bible through the lens of current culture, then we will continue to divide over issues such as the role of women in the church, same sex marriage and so on.
Jesus said, “… everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15

Dr christopher peppler, Lead elder of the Village Church, Lonehill, Founder and Chairman of SA  Thelogical Seminary. Author of several books. Dr Peppler ’s book ‘Truth is the Word’. Deals with contemporary issues around the Word of God. Available from  www.chrispy.co.za or Bless You Books www.blessyou.co.za or 011 465 9200

Karen Kingsbury, Daughter of the King

Karen Kingsbury, Daughter of the King

Fact File:
Karen and her family live in the Vancouver, Washington area, near Salmon Creek
She is 45 years old and has been married to Donald for 20 years
They have six children: Kelsey, Tyler, Austin, E. J., Sean, and Josh. Karen and Donald adopted EJ, Sean, and Josh from Haiti in 2001
After Karen’s father died from Diabetes, she determined to lose weight and in 2007, she lost 32kgs! Karen says she couldn’t have done it without prayer
She has written more than 30 novels and has nearly 6 million copies in print
This year alone, Karen plans to speak at 11 women’s conferences.
As the bestselling American author of inspirational fiction for the last two years, a mother to six children, a popular conference speaker and avid traveller, Karen Kingsbury is a talented, busy, lady. It’s not uncommon to find her sitting on the edge of the family pool with her laptop or cheering on her sons from the sidelines of a football game or other extracurricular activity. When she travels for book-related speaking engagements, at least one of her children or her husband always accompanies her.
Best known for her ‘life-changing’ fictional books, Karen is passionate about the power of words and their role in leading people toward the Author and Finisher of our Faith – Jesus. For Karen, life is not just about books though. Karen loves people and is known for her warm personality and gracious patience when conducting books signings (some which have lasted for several hours). JOY! spoke to Karen about her monumental success in the (often) cut-throat world of literature and how she finds time to live the life to which God has called her.
It is clear that you are walking in God’s Will for your life. When did you first come to know Him as your Lord and Saviour?
I was raised in a very loving home where we were taught to believe in Jesus Christ. However, we did not read the Bible, and our church practices were based primarily on traditions. When I was in my mid-20s, I met Donald – the man who would eventually become my husband. One day, after talking and spending time together, Don asked me out to the movies. He also asked if he could bring his Bible and read it with me before our date. I thought he was very strange, to say the least! I was very resistant to the Bible at first, and ultimately we reached a place where during a discussion on Scripture, I took his precious Bible, threw it on the ground, and split the binding down the middle. He picked up the pieces and left without an angry word or a comment. That was the beginning of a life-changing time for me. Throughout that weekend I couldn’t eat or sleep, because I was so disturbed that I’d thrown his Bible. Finally after 48 hours, I made my first visit to a Christian bookstore. I purchased a Bible and a concordance, intent on proving that my traditions were in the Bible. Half an hour later, when I found that they weren’t in Scripture, I felt God saying, “You can fall away with these man-made beliefs, or you can grab onto My Word and never let go!” I grabbed as hard as I could, and have never let go of God’s Word since. My husband and I reconnected, obviously, and began attending a non-denominational church. We were baptised together in 1987 and, to this day, I thank God for His unbelievable mercy and Grace.
You started out as a sports reporter for local newspapers long before you were a novelist. What first drew you to journalism?
I knew from when I was about 10 years old that I wanted to be an author, but I also understood that it was not a career than just anyone could succeed in. So as a back up plan, I studied and worked in journalism. The camaraderie of the newsroom is something I sometimes miss, but without a doubt my work as a reporter opened the doors for me to become an author. After working for a few years in the industry and praying with my husband Don for new career opportunities, an agent saw a story of mine and offered me a book deal. Many years earlier God had confirmed I should write Christian fiction after I read Francine Rivers’ novel, ‘Redeeming Love’, so I knew that this was my moment.
With six children, how do you find time to write?
I am blessed to have wonderful people (including my mother and sister who work with me) all helping make my writing career possible. There are two other huge factors that enable my career: firstly, God who allows me to write quickly, and secondly, Don who has put his career on hold in order to look after the kids full-time. He helps with my business and he home-schools our children. I could not do what I do without my husband at my side supporting me. He literally wakes up before dawn most days and walks around our house, praying for me and our family. He takes his role as spiritual leader of our family very seriously. While I’m gone on speaking or business trips, he is constantly praying for me, and telling me how proud he is of me. Most men might struggle with the way God has grown my ministry of Life-Changing Fiction, but not Donald.
What are the steps you take when you write a new book?
First, I take an idea that God has placed on my heart, and I find a title. Next, I flesh out the characters. I name them; give them biographies, strengths, weaknesses, etc. I figure out how the story will change them, make them stronger, and how God will be glorified in the process. Finally I write a very detailed chapter outline. From there, I write the book.
How much research do you do before writing on a specific topic like Cystic Fibrosis in ‘A Thousand Tomorrows’?
I research extensively, depending on the topic. To the degree that I need to explain and be familiar with a topic, I research it. Research cannot take over the storyline. Rather it is subtle, like the gentle backdrop to a picture. Though not the most important element, it certainly is crucial to the story. If I don’t have accurate research, the rest of the story will fail utterly. So, I take research very seriously and I spend days, sometimes weeks, researching prior to writing a book.
How do you find the characters for your stories?
I study people relentlessly. Once I had a friend who stopped hanging out with me because she said she was worried I’d make her or her family into characters! She was serious. The truth is that I don’t use my friends as characters. Rather, I think up an imaginary person and give them quirks or habits or traits or mannerisms that I might see in strangers around me
What’s your favourite and least favourite part of being a writer?
Favourite part – the writing. Least favourite part – the writing. Isn’t it funny how that can be possible, but it is. I love writing so much. But sometimes it feels like swimming. I love to swim, but swimming across the ocean is another thing. Right around the 50,000-word mark I feel like I’m in the middle of the ocean, paddling through water toward a shore I can’t even see.
Have you ever felt the Lord speak to you through your writing?
Definitely. I might be writing a scene and the characters are in a difficult situation, and often I’ll feel the Lord’s compassion and Grace, His mercy and strength, His peace . . . and I’ll know that God wants me to demonstrate that, to carefully craft that picture for the readers so that they can feel God’s Grace as well.
You adopted 3 boys from Haiti, which in itself is quite an interesting story of God’s Hand at work. What prompted your move to adopt?
Our lives were very busy and although we had discussed the idea of adoption from time to time, it was not something that kept us up at night. One night, while surfing the Internet, I stumbled upon a site that listed children available for adoption in Haiti. I saw a picture of a five-year-old boy named E.J who had big, brown eyes and a dimpled smile. I instantly felt a connection to him and after discussing it with Don, we decided to proceed with the paperwork. As we completed the paperwork, we came across another boy’s photo, named Joshua. We chatted to our children and they were excited about having two additional brothers.
Due to reasons we can’t explain, the orphanage told us that Joshua would not be a good fit with the family. Reluctantly we selected another six-year-old boy named Sean. Six months later, the orphanage director called saying we could collect the boys. I travelled to Haiti and whilst there, found out that Joshua was still up for adoption. After talking with Don, we decided to adopt all three boys (who did not speak a word of English!). Adopting three children from another race and country was the scariest thing we have ever done. When people comment on how we have been a blessing to these little boys, we correct them every time. The blessings have been all ours. The adoption took place over the course of two years and I can truly say it has been a wonderful journey of trusting in God and seeing His Hands skilfully at work in our lives.
What plans do you have for the future?
Only God knows what tomorrow holds, but in Him we can put our hope and our trust. He is the same yesterday, today and forever and we must never forget how much He loves us. I am confident that whatever happens, God is in control.
 “Reading a Karen Kingsbury novel is akin to experiencing a makeover.”
“Her Christian fiction books can draw you into the characters’ lives so deeply that you find yourself examining your own. Through believable twists and turns in plots, Kingsbury routinely delivers on her trademarked promise to give readers Life-Changing Fiction.”
“Kingsbury’s most recognised titles include ‘Ever After’, ‘A Time to Dance’ and ‘When Joy Came to Stay’. She receives hundreds of e-mails each week from readers around the world, who share how a particular book helped them recommit to their marriages, extend forgiveness or renew their faith.”

The apostle Paul – Mighty champion for Christe

By Gerald McCann

Abrasive! Opinionated! Arrogant! Woman-hater!  These are a few  words that have been used to describe the Apostle Paul. Yet few descriptions could be further from the truth. True, on some occasions, Paul was direct to the point of being offensive to some, but he did not waver one inch from speaking God’s Truth. When he was the mouthpiece and ambassador of the King, he stood out as a prince among men. But behind the scenes we find a man gloriously transformed by the living Christ; a man of deep compassion and humility, who knew the meaning of raw fear and even trembling terror.

Who was Paul?
I first encountered the Apostle soon after my conversion at the age of 20, coming from a background of ignorance of Godly Truth.  The Bible became a living letter from God. I devoured the Gospel accounts in the New Testament, utterly enthralled by Jesus and the disciples. Then, to my consternation, this unknown figure popped out of the Book of Acts – Saul of Tarsus, later to be known as Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles. As I read, I caught glimpses of a story of adventure, Christian heroism and faith that gripped my imagination. Who was this amazing man? Where could I learn more of the real man behind the often-austere figure painted by Luke and later reflected through Paul’s own letters and Church history? So began a search that has lasted a lifetime.
Like an archaeologist finding a priceless relic embedded in stone, I had to dig behind the Biblical account, sift my findings and assemble the evidence. Finally it had to be put together with meticulous care. A reconstructed life lay before me. What a find! What a man!

A man of adventure
Any understanding of Paul must start with his upbringing and formative years in Tarsus. He was the son of a Pharisee, raised in a cosmopolitan city with a strong Roman influence. There was a Roman garrison in Tarsus and the annual Cilician Games were held there. Paul’s life is shrouded in mystery and questions. Did he ever marry or have romantic involvements? Where was he when Jesus was about His ministry in Galilee? What sparked the fiery fury that turned Saul into the arch-tormentor of the infant Church? What drove him to Damascus to hound the Christians there? When and where did he have the experience of being caught up into heaven? Why is it that Luke recounts so few details of the sheer drama, high adventure and intrigue that plagued most of the Apostle’s life? 
The accounts in Acts and sketchy details contained in Paul’s own letters, only provide us with a rough outline of his life, with few graphic details. Yet there are clues and hints of enough intense drama, intrigue and adventure to fill two lifetimes. Here are some of the clues left by Paul in his writings when he ‘boasted of his weaknesses and humiliations’.“I have worked harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received  from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods,  once I was stoned and left for dead, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a  night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the run. I have  been in dangers from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles, in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger (from pirates) at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have worked hard and gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and gone without food; I have been frozen and naked.”  2 Cor 11:23-27

A man of courage
He also writes of facing insurrections, being bloodied and manhandled by riotous mobs, attacked by assassins and escaping plots against his life too numerous to mention. He speaks of fighting wild beasts in Ephesus (1 Cor. 15:32) and three shipwrecks not mentioned in Acts. We have only one account of his terrible floggings and beatings.
For over 40 years I have struggled to piece together probable answers to the many questions. In the process I discovered the little-known, remarkable man behind the theological mask.

A man of depth
Paul was a choleric in temperament – a driven man with clearly defined goals and a passion to achieve them; a man with amazing determination and self-control. As a young man he experienced furious outbursts of anger, bitterness and resentment. Yet the latent strengths of his temperament were already visible in the younger Saul.
Cholerics are not usually compassionate people, but Paul felt the sins of Christians deeply. He wept before God for them. He agonised over the Church. He loved fully and cared deeply.
Above all, Paul was intensely human, with normal human needs, hopes and dreams. He needed love. He needed affirmation and encouragement. He needed intimacy. He experienced paralysing fear, such as when he faced the prospect of being torn limb from limb and eaten by wild beasts in Ephesus. He experienced deep depression when he faced the nightmare monsters of utter despair and self-loathing. His mind was tormented to breaking point by the foul attacks of satan, accusing him again and again of unmentionable sins. What was the secret that enabled him to emerge from all of these trials as more than a conqueror?

A man of God
One great fear dominated Paul more than any other, and that was not the fear of his own pain, suffering, or even death. It was the fear that he would crack; that he would break under pressure; that he would bring shame and dishonour to the Lord who loved him so much. Like the coach of a great champion, he feared that, when he himself was in the arena, he might be disqualified for breaking the rules of the race.
How did Paul cope with the terrible, life-threatening beatings he endured without becoming bitter and twisted? We will never know the complete answer, but Paul himself proves the most important key – it was Christ within. Christ who endured the Cross, scorning its shame and emerging as a triumphant Victor. Coupled with this was God’s amazing Grace, the inner strength given by God that carried him through the most terrible trials.

A man of humility
At a purely human level, there is evidence that he practised two simple disciplines while enduring almost unbearable pain and suffering. He blessed those who persecuted and illtreated him, even while his flesh was being torn by the horrible lashes of the scourge. And, he prayed for his tormentors, both in tongues (in the Spirit) and with his mind even whilst being beaten.
He points to this in his letter to the Romans:    “In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us  with groans that words cannot express.”  Rom 8:26
Paul was a most self-effacing man. He was a man who had lived through enough high drama for two lifetimes. In today’s world, he would be in huge demand at seminars to recount his amazing adventures. The secular press would be clamouring for his life-story. Film-makers would want to make an epic film of his life. I believe he demanded that Luke write nothing about his trials and dramas – nothing that could exalt him to hero-status in the eyes of the believers. I can picture him tearing up some of Luke’s prize manuscripts with dire threats to the unfortunate physician.
“Write only of Christ,” he perhaps urged again and again. “People must see Jesus, not Paul.” He was quoted to have said, “Follow my example and role model. Live as I live.”
What a boast. What a man. Intrepid adventurer, warrior, soldier, gladiator for Christ and endurance athlete.  To follow Paul’s life story is truly inspiring, daunting and challenging. His is not just a story. It is a model that casts us back on to his letters with a new understanding of the man and the mighty Christ he served, with the call from Christ to follow in His steps.

GERALD McCANN, is a retired pastor and writer. He has just completed a comprehensive trilogy about the Apostle Paul,  To order part one, ‘Paul – Mighty Champion for God’, call  028 2849179, or P.O.Box 48, Botrivier 7285, or geraldmc@telkomsa.net.

The Marketing of Evil

The Marketing of Evil
What’s happening to the world? Media madness, gay rights, youth trends… what is really going on? What’s happened to the Christian values that societies were once built on? You may not believe how deep the rabbit hole goes.   
For prominent editor and writer, David Kupelian, “The plain truth is, within the space of our lifetimes, much of what (we) once almost universally abhorred has been packaged, perfumed, gift-wrapped and sold to us as though it has great value. By skilfully playing on our deeply felt values of fairness, generosity and tolerance, marketers have persuaded us to embrace as enlightened and noble, that which previous generations regarded as grossly self-destructive – in a word, evil.”
Perverted propaganda
All around our nation (and globally too) Christian values are being undermined by media propaganda. Sex, drugs, gambling, greed and alternative lifestyles are glamorised and subtly (but very strategically) normalised. According to Fox News anchor and commentator, Michelle Malkin, the media is deliberately eroding traditional values. She remarks, “From pitching promiscuity as ‘freedom’ to promoting abortion as ‘choice’, the marketers of evil are always selling you something destructive – with catastrophic results.”
Over the last 20 years (some would even say within the space of 10 or 5 years) the media and marketers of evil have methodically and aggressively promoted anti-Christian and immoral agendas. Generally, it is propagated under the guise of ‘political correctness’.
Perhaps because of the wonderful newfound liberties that have swept across the Western world in recent decades, few are willing to criticise it for fear of accusations of intolerance and bigotry. Whatever political correctness (or ‘PC’) is, it seems to be seriously compromising many of our traditional Christian values, not to mention basic democratic freedoms of thought and expression.
Big Brother is watching you
What do we make of the undercurrents of the modern age? Perhaps the best place to start is with ‘Political Correctness in South Africa’, a recent work based on a conference held by the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR), one of the most respected liberal institutions in the country, and for many years in the forefront of the fight against Apartheid.
Interestingly enough, the conference (attended by many of the most respected liberal figures in the country) was roundly critical of PC, condemning it as intolerant, anti-liberal and even a form of fascism. Economist, Temba Nolutshungu, calls PC “a form of moral terrorism”. For Australian statesman, Peter Coleman, PC is “a heresy of liberalism” – that is, something that looks like liberalism, but actually works against it. According to former DA leader, Tony Leon, it is “a form of cowardice, fuelled by paternalistic instincts and fed by guilt.” What this means is that PC is something both the conservatives and liberals need worry about, despite the fact that it is often passed off as mainstream liberalism.
PC has strong Marxist roots, with the term originating in Communist Russia in the 1920’s. In one early record, for instance, the term ‘politically incorrect’ was applied to those who did not tow the Communist party line. As the SAIRR conference pointed out, by the Sixties Marxism, as an ideology, had successfully infiltrated the West on a deeper, less obvious level. Few realise how Marxist ideas were embraced by leading Western intellectuals and key figures who gradually started to impact every area of society, whether politics, the law, the media, and yes, even the Church.
 “There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions of the past. It will originate with the individual and with culture, and it will change the political structure only as its final act. It will not require violence to succeed and it cannot be successfully resisted with violence. It is now spreading with amazing rapidity and already our laws, institutions and social structures are changing in consequence,” says Yale legal scholar, Charles Reich.
It is these Sixties, Marxist ideals that ultimately became what we today call ‘political correctness’. Few realise how many ‘fair-minded’ notions we take for granted – and which might look and sound like democracy, but are actually Marxist in origin. Marxist/PC ideals include: hostility to the idea of absolute truth, to traditional family values and conventional schooling, and even the promotion of radical feminism and a ‘new pornography’.
It is no coincidence that many early feminist and gay rights activists were Marxists at heart, who applied the false Marxist version of ‘equality’ to their own interests. For feminists this meant rejecting the Biblical idea of man as head of the family (which implies one having authority over another); while for gay liberation it meant putting the homosexual lifestyle on the same (‘equal’) level as the heterosexual (‘straight’) lifestyle. Therefore PC is also opposed to the view that Jesus is the only Way to God, for this implies that Christianity is superior to other religions.
Growing opposition
Does this all sound a bit like a conspiracy theory? Can a few elite power players really manipulate the masses? Is the media really this powerful? Former US Attorney-General, Robert Bork, is surely above petty accusations of conspiracy theory. In numerous writings, he exposes the current system as run by a small group of ‘cultural elites’ who, having infested politics, education, and even the Church, are ignoring the democratic desires of the majority and “exercising a profound if largely unseen effect on public policy.”
Intolerant tolerance
As Christians, we know the PC spirit all too well. We live in a society where anyone who has problems with gay rights is shouted down as ‘intolerant’ or ‘homophobic’, and where film and TV alike persistently portray those who oppose feminism, gay rights or abortion as a mindless, irrelevant minority.
Yet local surveys persistently prove the opposite. According to a 2003 survey of the Human Sciences Research Council, 75% of South Africans want capital punishment reinstated, while only 21% believed that abortion is ‘not wrong at all’. A recent survey by RS, the country’s leading marketing insights company, revealed that only 21% wanted same-sex marriages legalised. Despite claiming to be opposed to stereotyping social groups, therefore, the politically correct succeed in falsely stereotyping the majority of their own people. The irony is that those who call themselves tolerant are often the most intolerant of all. Often the plea for tolerance is really a means of pushing one’s own agenda, silencing opposition through guilt-manipulation or intimidation.
The Biblical response
As children of God, we must remember that we are in the world but not of it. We work and live by a different set of standards – those of the Spirit.  “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Gal 5:25. We cannot walk around with blinkers on and think that we are unaffected by television, movies, magazines, books, advertising campaigns, political speeches and the like. At JOY! we strongly believe that Christians need to be on TV, and be informed, educated and equipped to proactively and effectively address unbiblical agendas. Passivity and apathy are not part of a Biblical vocabulary. When you see offensive adverts and hear sexually proactive songs on the radio…do something. Complain. Take a stand. Educate others. Refuse to compromise. Protect your family. And do it all in love, as Christ Himself would.
In the next few issues of JOY! we will be analysing and exposing the marketing tactics used by companies and individuals to subversively erode family values and Biblical principles. There are practical steps we can take to combat the aggressive agendas of those who are hostile to the ways of God. It starts first with prayer and offering ourselves as a living sacrifice. “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the Will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Rom 12:1-2
“Greater is He in you, than he in the world!” 1 John 4:4

Mercy or Judgement – What is The Christian Response to Sin?

Mercy or Judgement – What is The Christian Response to Sin?
Most South Africans are traumatised by the crime statistics and more recently the spate of child-instigated violence and sexualised behaviour. JOY! readers in the Western Cape are probably aware of a shocking story recently circulated in local newspapers. (See headlines right). Basically, a furore erupted when an eight year old boy was suspended from a prominent school in Cape Town for committing heinous sexual acts on school property on various occasions. The child (who it later emerged comes from an underprivileged background) was suspended from the school and charged by the governing body for “assault” and “guilty conduct which is disgraceful, improper and unbecoming”. The child involved three other young boys in these acts and “threatened to kill them if they told anyone what had transpired.”

Further details listed in local newspapers are too explicit for me to mention in JOY!, but suffice to say that the perverted acts indicate a serious moral and sociological breakdown in the mind and conscience (soul) of this boy. The drama intensified however, when in a shock move, the Western Cape Education Board overturned the school’s suspension and decided to reintegrate the primary school pupil – stating that due to his age, home environment and social conditions he cannot be held responsible. In spite of this, the school has launched an urgent application to the Cape High Court to prevent the suspended pupil from returning.
Obviously embarrassed and outraged, the parents of the boy have cited discrimination and defamation. In a lawyer’s letter to the school, the father stated, “My child is a victim of circumstances stemming from the things that happened to him at the aftercare. He’s been a victim from day one.”
In the midst of this faction between the parties, other parents at the school are outraged at the possibility of the sexually deviant boy interacting with their children during school hours.
I am sure that many parents reading this article will breathe a sigh of relief that this isn’t happening at their child’s school. Unfortunately, research and social trends indicate that child-violence and sexual deviancy is on the increase and can affect anyone from varying socio-economic backgrounds. A concerning problem indeed.
So, what is the Christian response to this pervasive and intrusive sin?
A typical response would be anger, outrage and judgment. Parents have every right to want the boy expelled and ‘removed from society’ at least until he ‘undergoes therapy’. There is one flaw with this reaction though – Jesus, our example in everything, would not outcast the boy, leaving him helpless in his sin. Jesus would love the boy and lead him into a life pleasing to God. We as disciples of Christ are called to do the same. Though we live in a fallen world where sin abounds and (it appears) society is doing what they can to undermine Christian value systems, God has placed us here to be the salt and light to preserve the Gospel and the Will of God within a decaying culture.
“If you show favouritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it…Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?” James 2:8-13

In His Word, God tells us that mercy triumphs over judgment and that if we have faith but no deeds, it is dead! In other words, that we as Christians and as parents, would need to help this boy (and others in a similar situation). Though it is beneficial for him to receive counselling, only Jesus can replace his sinful heart. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezek 36:26-27
Christian counselling would be the ideal route to follow, as they would deal with not only his soul (mind, will and emotions) but his heart as well, for we know that: “the heart is deceitful above all things.” Jer 17:9.  Most probably due to his socio-economic status, the boy could not afford professional counselling and this would be a perfect opportunity for Christian parents to unite in love and sponsor his therapy. The boy also would need positive role models and mentors and that’s where the Christian parents and children in the school would need to step up to the plate and get involved.
With sexual perversion and sin abounding in these last days, let us as the Body of Christ, the hands and feet of Jesus, rise up and help those who cannot help themselves. God has commanded us to “occupy until He returns” which means that we cant simply turn a blind eye to the problems of others – we need bring the solution that is Jesus!

Deciphering teen depression

By Dr. Edwin Leap

Melissa, age 13, suffers from terrible stomach pain and headaches. In fact, she has come to the emergency room (ER) and seen her pediatrician 10 times in two months.  Her parents, educated and attentive, are frustrated with the medical profession. “No one does anything except order more blood work and more CT scans,” her mother says. “But my daughter still wakes up crying, can’t go to school and can’t do anything she enjoys because of her pain. Something has to be done!”
Melissa faces the wall, breathing slowly. Her eyes are vacant, her voice flat. When the doctor asks her parents if she could be depressed, they’re angry. “She isn’t crazy; she’s sick!”

A downward spiral
But later they take the doctor aside. “Her brother died last year, and so did her grandmother. Maybe she is depressed.”
Later the same night, Gene, age 17, arrives in the ER on a stretcher. Paramedics give the ER staff an empty pill bottle and a note written by Gene.
“I know everyone will be better off without me,” the note says. “I’m worthless, and all I do is disappoint you. Please forgive me, but I can’t live like this.”
He’s a bright young man who accepted Christ at age 10 and has always been active in church. But he has slipped away lately, talking to his friends less, no longer playing sports.  Once he tried his mother’s pain prescription when he was alone. He admitted it, so his family thought drugs were the problem. His behaviour was a hint that he was spiraling downward. His next real statement came when he overdosed.

No-one immune
Melissa and Gene aren’t alone. Depression visits small children with cancer, senior citizens grieving for lost spouses and every age group in between. But it seems especially common among adolescents; one out of 20 adolescents struggle with depression sometime before adulthood.
Not even children from healthy, loving families are immune to the problem. Faithful Christian teens are as susceptible as non-Christians; teens from stable families may develop it as surely as those from broken homes.

Identifying the signs
Depression is a disease with many possible symptoms. It can appear as Melissa’s perplexing physical problems or as Gene’s isolation and sense of worthlessness. Depression can cause apathy, boredom or a lack of energy. Young men and women suffering from it may feel guilt over nothing in particular and gain no relief from their repeated, sincere repentance. Because of the many forms depression can take, parents must be constantly on guard. The emotional cycles of even the healthiest teen can be confusing. So in watching for depression, parents need to look for inconsistent changes in behaviour.
A depressed adolescent may suddenly lose interest in his appearance or his future. Grades may fall, truancy and encounters with authority may occur, and alcohol and drugs may become a problem. While these things can seem like rebellion, they may be clues to depression. Substance abuse may simply be an attempt to medicate deep pain.
A depressed youth may be more emotionally unstable than normal. On the other hand, emotional withdrawal and even apathy may develop. The critical truth is that we need to know our children, participate in their lives and appreciate what they love and what they dislike. This is the foundation  from which we can notice worrisome changes.

Hope in Christ
Depression isn’t just temporary sadness; this debilitating disease robs young lives of joy. Tragically, depression sometimes leads to suicide as a kind of ultimate anesthesia.
Before they act, suicidal young men and women may mention death, give away possessions or withdraw from loved ones or sometimes, once committed to their act, they may seem suddenly at peace and affectionate. Tormented for so long, they see death as a way to the peace they want so much.
Parents should realise that depression is a disease, not unlike the diseases that afflict the rest of the human body. Depression does not suggest moral failure on the part of the young victim or the victim’s family, any more than lymphoma, pneumonia or diabetes does.  Our minds are as mortal and as fallen as our bodies. One day, when God gives us new bodies, there will be no disease – mental or physical. Until then, we must be on guard against depression. If it attacks, we need to respond with love for the young lives entrusted to our care and pray for our children constantly.

Dr. Edwin Leap is an emergency physician.This article is with kind permission from Focus on the Family Africa. For more info on this topic or to order helpful family rescources please call: 031 716 3300 or visit our South African  office on website www.safamily.co.za or see panel right for more.

Filling The Gap

Filling The Gap
The average person spends 4380 days (12 years) being educated in some kind of educational institution. During these years, we go through many learning experiences where our knowledge is expanded and our skills are (hopefully) developed. Towards the end of this experience, every young person is faced with one of the biggest questions for which they need to find an answer: What will you do when you have finished school? Study or work? If you are going to study, what will it be? These seemingly easy questions cause much debate in the minds of the majority. But surely after so many extensive years of learning and developing, the answer should be close at hand. Surprisingly though, it’s not!
The number of young people who have no direction for their future in their final year of school is bizarre, considering the many years of schooling they have completed. More and more young people are craving the need to travel with the mission of ‘finding themselves’. Others choose to take a year off and literally do odd jobs here and there to discover their purpose. Then there are those who do nothing, enjoying the comfort and privileges which their parents give them and spend their days doing anything from watching movies, sleeping till midday, partying hard at night – basically existing, but without a purpose! “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Prov 29:18
This distinctive lack of general purpose has caused what we know today as ‘Gap Year programmes’ to develop. According to the dictionary, a ‘gap year’ is a term referred to as a prolonged period between two major life stages – a year that a young person spends working and/or travelling between leaving school and starting university.
The origin of gap year programmes goes back to the 60’s when governments thought it would be a useful tool to do a cultural and youth travel exchange to create global understanding and, hopefully, prevent future wars. The 70’s brought an interesting change to this when Graham Screw Turner loaded a double-decker bus with paying patrons and took them on a travelling adventure for a few weeks. This emerged into a fully-fledged business that is still a popular tourism choice today. In the early 80’s the first ever Gap Year expedition – an around the world voyage – was founded. Gap years emerged as a popular choice for the wealthy in private schools. However, towards the late 80’s when there was a crash on the housing market, other organisations developed more pocket-friendly around the world tickets which set the scene for a massive increase in the 90’s. As the markets improved, the demand for travel increased which caused an explosion of activity in the UK as Gap Year Travel and Gap Year Volunteering took off. In 1998, Tom Griffiths (known as the ‘Gap Year Guru’) and Peter Pedrick launched www.gapyear.com. They brought the concept of Gap Year programmes into the new millennium.
Currently the Gap Year choices are endless. One can choose anything from sports adventure tours, game ranger guide courses, becoming part of a wildlife rehabilitation centre, volunteering in orphanages, being placed in a rural medical centre or joining the ever popular summer camps which take place in the USA. Au pairing is also a fast growing option for those who wish to travel, see the world and get paid for it at the same time. One simply needs to visit Google to see the countless options that are available to young people today in GapYear programmes.
In South Africa alone there are quite a few renowned programmes available. Gap Year Programmes have become a viable option for many young people who need to either gain vision and purpose for their lives, or simply have a year off. Whether choosing an international gap year or one available in South Africa, the choices are endless. Each person has a purpose to fulfil and the gap year programme must draw this out. So if you are looking for a gap year, then choose wisely as your purpose is waiting to be released! Pray and seek God. He desires the best for you. Every moment is precious and we must use our time wisely. Find out God’s Will for you today! “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jer 29:11

Building trust in marriage

By Dr Anthony van Tonder

Where does trust begin? It is a foundational issue. You cannot acquire it like a skill, it has to be earned. Imagine if you wanted to build a three storey building, what would the most important starting point be? It has to be the foundation. Scripture tells us: “Therefore anyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who builds his house on the rock.” Matt 7:24
Furthermore, it is fact that should the same three storey building be redesigned to become a twelve storey building, then the depth of the originally planned foundation would not suffice as the new height would require a deeper foundation.  1 Cor 3: 10b:11 points us to the most solid choice: “But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
The four solid pillars
The moment you want to build higher than one level, you will require four main pillars to support the structure. With the issue of trust, I have found four pivotal factors which undergird the processes of building trust. They are in no specific order:

1. Loyalty.
2. Forgiveness.
3. Holiness.
4. Romance.
These seem to fit together in the same way the Cross has a vertical axis and a horizontal axis. The vertical axis deals with the two issues where in direct relation to God, through your personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you are able to deal more appropriately with the issues of Forgiveness and Holiness. We need to cement these two factors in building trust. On the horizontal axis we are required to exercise Loyalty and Romance to further the building of trust in our relationships. It is as if these last two are more achievable through our self efforts.
Living out a life which portrays these four pillars, will take personal determination and commitment to building our trust relationship with others.
Loyalty is a perpetual test of one’s character.  D. L. Moody once said: “Character is who you are in the dark.” Loyalty is also an issue of the heart. No wonder Scripture says “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Prov 4:23. You can decide in your head to be loyal, but if it is not channelled through the emotion of your heart, it will never become a habit in application.
Areas to avoid whilst working on loyalty:

1. Do not have a deep one-on-one friendship with the opposite sex. It is disloyal to your partner.
2. Do not give in to temptation.Temptation in itself is not sin; it is what you do with temptation that becomes sin. That is when you become disloyal.
3. Do not criticise your partner. Choose selectively whom you want to embrace at a confidential level. (By the way, that person should never be your parent as they will naturally side with you and this could cause them to have a strained relationship with your partner.)
Maintaining loyalty at all times is a sure way to cement trust in your relationship.
“I’m sorry” does not really cut it. Why? Where is the control? The control is still with you. Asking “Will you forgive me?” is far more difficult as you would have to place yourself at the mercy of the other person.
You might be thinking, “But what if I do ask ‘Will you forgive me?’, and the other person refuses to do so?”  Well, then you are exonerated as you have done what you could if you really meant it. Time heals all wounds. Real life teaches that even when the wound has healed, it will sometimes leave a scar – that is unavoidable.
Steps to seeking forgiveness:

1. Be specific
2. Confess ( have remorse)
3. Ask God to help you (repent)
4. Ask your partner to forgive you.»
Forgiving unconditionally is an act of love through the Grace of Christ which will continue building the level of trust you desire within your marriage.
Note, the topic is holiness – not happiness. Society has a huge desire to influence our thinking that as long as everyone is happy, we will be morally strong. Just look around to see that the exact opposite is true. Happiness is not the key. Holiness is.
The word Holy comes from the word ‘sanctify’ which means ‘made Holy’, set aside for the Lord. This is our position in Christ because of His atoning death. We are progressively being made Holy by the continuing work of the Holy Spirit.Imagine if you were to ask several people to describe you as a person. Among the descriptions, would they refer to you as being Holy? Wow, what a thought. Society would look very different today if more Christians strived to please God in this way. As a pillar to build trust in our relationships, we have to realise that becoming Holy is not a self act. We need the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to live to  please God. Your partner will trust you if you live a Holy life.

So many people neglect this vital ingredient that builds trust in a relationship. Romance portrays outwardly what you treasure inwardly. Remember the days when he used to open the door for her, waited for her to start eating before him? She used to straighten his tie before he left and she whispered something into his ear…The list goes on and on, yet sadly, this relatively easy way of expressing your appreciation for one another dies over time in a relationship. It does not have to diminish.
Some reasons why romance disappears:

1. Loyalty is questioned.
2. Unforgiveness has deteriorated from unforgiveness to anger, to resentment, to bitterness, to vengeance.
3. Holiness is absent.

The Bible in Song of Songs 2: 2, 3 declares: “Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens. Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade and his fruit is sweet to my taste. He has taken me to the banquet hall and his banner over me is love.” Where trust is in place, it is easy to dream and romance about your spouse.

How to trust
• Start by giving trust.
• Stop being too jealous.
• Stop criticising yourself or your partner.
• Stop being too busy to spend time together.
• Become Loyal.
• Seek to Forgive.
• Prioritise Holiness.
• Enjoy Romance.

It is important to remember that unless we are dependant on God to meet our needs, our partner will always fall short. Actively decide to cast these four pillars as part of your permanent structure. You need to learn afresh how to manage your spouses’s emotional bank account. You cannot and will not be able to continue making withdrawals, if you do not make deposits. Often we want the quick fix by making a once-off large deposit. Results have shown that frequent small deposits on a regular ‘love’ basis sustain any relationship far longer. Be encouraged, trust is sure to return!

The Greatest Book in the World

The Greatest Book in the World
One cannot speak of the Bible without speaking in superlatives.  It is the most widely read book in the world.  It is the most translated book in history.  It has continued to be the number one best-selling book of all time.  It is the most valuable book in the world.  (A single copy of a Gutenberg Bible was recently sold for $2 million.  One copy of William Tyndale’s original printed New Testament was sold for over ₤1 million).  There is no question that it is the most life-changing book ever written.
The Foundation of Western Civilisation
The impact of the Bible upon Western civilisation has been absolutely enormous.  Western civilisation is founded upon the Bible.  Professor William Phelps of Yale observed:  “Our civilisation is founded upon the Bible.  More of our ideas, our wisdom, our philosophy, our literature, our art and our ideals come from the Bible than from all other books combined.”
The Bible has inspired the greatest literature, art, achievements of architecture (the cathedrals), the age of exploration, world missions, the rule of law, the separation of powers, checks and balances, representative government, the sanctity of life and so much more. 
It is to the Bible that we owe our legacy of the rule of law.  It is the Bible that ushered in an era of compassion, charity, liberty and justice.  The Ten Commandments are the moral and legal foundation of Western civilisation.
Most of the world’s languages were written down by Christian missionaries.  The first book in most languages in the world was the Bible. 
Educationalist Noah Webster declared: “The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good, and the best corrective of all that is evil in human society; the best Book for regulating the temporal concerns of men, and the only Book that can serve as an infallible guide…the principles of genuine liberty, and of wise laws and administrations, are to be drawn from the Bible and sustained by its authority…”
Even Napoleon Bonaparte admitted: “The Bible is no mere book, but a living power that conquers all that oppose it.”
The Foundation of Modern Science
All of the great pioneer scientists who laid the foundations of modern physics, astronomy, calculus, dynamics, oceanography, anesthesiology, and every other branch of science, confirmed the Bible as the foundation and inspiration for their work. 
This included Johannes Kepler, Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton, Karl van Linnius, Charles Babbage, Blaise Pascal, Samuel Morse, Matthew Fonteine Maury, James Simpson, George Washington Carver and many, many more.
Sir Michael Faraday, one of the greatest scientists of all time, who discovered electromagnetic induction and invented the generator, observed: “The Bible, and it alone, with nothing added to it nor taken away from it by man, is the sole and sufficient guide for each individual, at all times and in all circumstances…Faith in the Divinity and work of Christ is a gift of God, and evidence of this faith is obedience to the commandments of Christ.”
The Rule of Law
The foundations of the Common Law were made by King Alfred the Great of England who introduced his code with the Ten Commandments, the Case Laws of Exodus, The Golden Rule of Christ and other Biblical principles.
The Magna Carta of 1215 was the first statute, the first written restriction on the powers of government.  It was written by a pastor and thoroughly saturated with Scriptural principles.
The Greatest Best Seller of All Time
The Bible is the number one best-selling book in all of history.  The Bible Society alone has a world distribution of 24 million Bibles, 26 million New Testaments and 577 million portions of Scripture each year.  This does not include the over one million New Testaments distributed each week by the Gideons; the New Testaments distributed by the Pocket Testament League; the over 80 million Scriptures provided each year by the Bible League; or the over 30 million Scripture booklets and tracts given away so far by World Missionary Press and Scripture Gift Mission.  Then there are even more Bibles sold by Zondevan, Thomas Nelson, Tyndale and others.  It’s estimated that over 30 million Bibles are sold each year and possibly over 100 million New Testaments!
The Bible, New Testament, or at least Gospels, have been published in over 2,300 different languages worldwide.
There is no other book that can compare to the Bible in value, inspiration, importance and the amount of languages into which it is translated.  No other book could compare with the Bible’s worldwide impact throughout history. Yet, the Bible is also the most attacked book in all of history.  From the time of Nero, and throughout the ten waves of persecution by Imperial Rome to Diocletian, the Romans made successive attempts to eradicate all Bibles.  Yet, despite the waves of repression by Rome and the destruction unleashed by the Barbarians and the Vikings, and intensive campaigns of persecution such as under Stalin’s Soviet Union and Mao Tse Tung’s Red China, the Bible remains the best attested to book in antiquity.  Over 1,700 Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament still exist.  And there are over 5,000 Greek manuscripts for the New Testament, 8,000 Latin and 1,000 other ancient versions of the New Testament in existence.
As Dr Martin Luther declared: “It is a miracle how God has so long preserved His book!  How great and glorious it is to have the Word of God!” 
The Book of Books
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson declared: “A man has deprived himself of the best there is in the world who has deprived himself of this, a knowledge of the Bible.  When you have read the Bible, you will know that it is the Word of God, because you have found in it the key to your own heart, your own happiness and your own duty.”
The Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, declared: “Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the Book widens and deepens with our years.”
Noah Webster taught: “…all the miseries and evils which men suffer from – crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war – proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”
R.A. Torey said: “The truly wise man is he who always believes the Bible against the opinion of any man.”
Scientist John Newton declared: “I will put down all apparent inconsistencies in the Bible to my own ignorance.”
The author of the great Webster’s dictionary, Daniel Webster, observed: “If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we were to neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe can overwhelm us and bury our glory in profound obscurity.”
The Bible is the Word of God
Almost every page of the Bible contains words such as: “The Lord said…”, “God spoke”, “The Word of the Lord came…”.
The Gospel accounts are based on careful research, historical facts and eyewitness testimonies. The physician Luke introduces his Gospel account with these words: “They were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the Word.  Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning…to write an orderly account…so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”  Luke 1:2-4
The Apostle John wrote: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.  The life appeared; we have seen it and testified…we proclaim to you what we have seen and heard.” 1 John1:1-3
“No prophesy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation.” 2 Pet 1:20
“God spoke…through the prophets…and by His Son.” Heb 1:1-2
“The Scripture cannot be broken.” John 10:35
“The Word of the Lord stands forever.” 1 Pet 1:25
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.  That the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim 3:16-17
Overwhelming Evidence
We cannot accept the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ without accepting the authority of the Old Testament which He lived, taught, appealed to and fulfilled.  We also need to recognise that the Lord Jesus carefully chose and trained certain men to be His Apostles.  He gave them a special anointing with the Holy Spirit (John 20:21; Acts 1:8).  He promised to send them the Holy Spirit to guide them into all Truth.  Jesus taught that His Words have a unique power and life (John 6:63; 15:3); His Words would never pass away (Mark 13:31) and His Words must be heard and obeyed (Matt 5:17-48; 7:24; John 8:31-38; 14:23). 
We can also appeal to fulfilled prophesy.  During His life on earth our Lord Jesus fulfilled over 300 Old Testament prophesies.
Archaeological discoveries, manuscript and historical evidence support these internal evidences to the accuracy and uniqueness of the Bible.
Most convincingly of all, we can point to the unique impact of the Bible on millions of lives throughout the centuries, and now on our own lives, too.
Now, some sceptics may not believe that the Bible is the Word of God, but they have to ignore a lot of accumulative evidence to do this.
The Power of God’s Word
The Bible is:
 ·   The source of Truth: “Sanctify them by Your Truth; Your Word is 
       Truth.” John 17:17
 ·   The source of God’s blessings: “Blessed are those who hear the Word
       of God and  obey it.” Luke 11:28
 ·   A source of power: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for 
       it  is the power 
       of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” Rom 1:16
 ·   The source of Spiritual guidance: “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a
       light to my path.” Ps 119:105
 ·   Infallible: “The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the 
       testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” Ps 19: 7
 ·   Inerrant: “Every Word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put
       their trust in Him.” Ps 30:5
 ·   Authoritative and final: “For ever, O Lord, your Word is settled in the
       Heavens.” Ps 119:89
 ·   Complete: “For I testify to everyone who hears the Words of the
       prophesy of this book; if anyone adds to these things, God will add to
       him the plagues that are written in this Book; and if anyone takes away
       from the Words of the book of this prophesy, God shall take his part
       from the Book of Life, from the Holy City, and from the things which are
       written in this Book.” Rev 22:18-19
The Bible will accomplish what is has been sent out to accomplish: “So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”  Isa 55:11
Therefore we should believe  (John 6:68-69) 
                                          honour  (John 29:18) 
          study     (Ezra 7:10)
          love       (Ps 119:97)
          obey      (1 John 2:5) 
          guard     (1 Tim 6:20)
          fight for (Jude 3)
          preach   (2 Tim 4:2)    the Bible, the Word of God.
The Bounty’s Bible
On 28 April 1789, Fletcher Christian staged the most famous mutiny in history on the English ship HMS Bounty, in the South Pacific. The captain, William Bligh, and those loyal to him, were set adrift in an overloaded lifeboat which they miraculously navigated across the Pacific Ocean 3700 miles to Timor. 
The mutineers on the Bounty immediately began quarrelling about what to do next.  Fletcher returned to Tahiti, where he left some of the mutineers, kidnapped some women, took some slaves and travelled with the remaining mutineers 1,000 miles to the uninhabited Pitcairn Island.  There the group quickly unravelled.  They distilled whiskey from a native plant.  Drunkenness and disorder characterised their colony.  Disease and murder quickly took the lives of each of the men, including Fletcher.  Soon only one man was left – Alexander Smith – and he was surrounded by an assortment of women and children on the island.
Then Smith found the Bounty’s neglected Bible.  As he read it, his heart was transformed and he began to instruct the survivors of their community.  He taught the Scriptures and helped to implement its instructions.  The message of Christ so transformed their lives that, 20 years later, in 1808, when the crew of the Topaz landed on the island, they found a joyful society of Christians living in peace and prosperity, free from crime, free from disease and without murder and mutiny.