Sunday 03 February 2013

Thoughts..

”It is in vain, O men, that you seek within yourselves the remedy for your ills. All your light can only reach the knowledge that not in yourselves will you find truth or good. The philosophers have promised you that, and have been unable to do it. They neither know what is your true good, nor what is your true state. How could they have given remedies for your ills, when they did not even know them? Your chief maladies are pride, which takes you away from God, and lust, which binds you to earth; and they have done nothing else but cherish one or other of these diseases. If they gave you God as an end, it was only to administer to your pride; they made you think that you are by nature like Him, and conformed to Him. And those who saw the absurdity of this claim put you on another precipice, by making you understand that your nature was like that of the brutes, and led you to seek your good in the lusts which are shared by the animals. This is not the way to cure you of your unrighteousness, which these wise men never knew. I alone can make you understand who you are….”

- Blaise Pascal

This was quoted by Ravi Zacharias here. It led me to find my old second hand book by Pascal called Pensées, and flipping through it I found some incredible thoughts and perspectives. I highly recommend it. It's pretty much a book that reads like a blog. In my opinion, Pascal was an ancient blogger, putting his profound thoughts to paper.. He was also a brilliant mathematician. A true thinker..

News this week, I applied a new theme to the ministry site I'm overseeing, so take a look at Jesus.co.za and give some feedback.


Thursday 15 September 2011

The Lord is my Shepherd

Some words of encouragement for the tough times...

Psalm 23:
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
He leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honour to His name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid,
for You are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
you honour me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.


Psalm 3 says:
Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! 
Many are they who rise up against me.
Many are they who say of me, 
"There is no help for him in God." Selah

But You, oh Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice
And He heard me from His holy hill.
...

What I'm realising is that God is SO ultimately sovereign and victorious, that He calls us to love our enemies. He loves them, He seeks to show them mercy and kindness.. And He wants us to be like Him, at the ultimate cost. Oh what a glorious opportunity it is to be called to share in His sufferings...

Glory to God on high, the Lord of hosts, King of all kings and Lord of all lords..



Monday 22 August 2011

relaxed, ready for the next half of the year!

Just returned from an incredible weekend away at Magalies - went to mountain sanctuary park. I hope to definitely be returning there soon! (Next time with grounding for my sleeping bag). Seeing the stars display their array of beauty at night made me stand in awe of our Creator as well as feel quite small and insignificant at the same time.

I've also forgiven the baboon that took the meat we cooked Sat night (it was going to be our lunch on Sunday).. That took a lot, as I wanted to hunt him down with a paintball gun (I could have - I had mine with!) But then I thought he might have more friends and I don't have that many paint balls..

Swimming in the river was icy and awesome - it was a bittersweet experience, and wow, the trails were great.. I'm glad we didn't bump into one of the many snakes that inhabit the region, I think they all hibernating actually.

So yeah, I'm ready for the rest of the year - a bit late, but I'm amped now to get back into the trenches.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Today's gonna be good..

I have my reasons:


  1. I got this blogger interface to work again. It was having trouble under the old editor.
  2. I have FINALLY gotten MWeb to do what we asked them to do. 
  • I first informed them of our intention to transfer on the 7th of June. 
  • I requested a cancellation of my client's account on the 23rd of June.
  • After some back and forth, we got the document we needed to cancel, and my client sent it through on the 27th June.
  • No word from MWeb.
  • I followed up.
  • We get a request from MWeb on the 5th of July, asking what we want to do with this domain.
  • I, as the technical contact on this account, reply, and ask them to urgently open the domain for transfer.
  • This gets ignored.
  • We follow up.
  • It gets ignored.
  • I post my frustration on Twitter, and a friendly MWeb person assures me they will look into this. 6 July this is.
  • He escalates the issue.
  • Nothing happens.
  • 8 July I follow up, he escalates it again.
  • Nothing happens.
  • 9 July, I call Mweb Customer support. The lady on the phone assures me that this will get sorted this day, she will SMS me when this is done.
  • Nothing happens.
  • Today, I call MWeb again, speak to a friendly guy called JP who puts up with my rant. Once I feel better I give the account details and he looks into it. Finds out that it is still not up for transfer. He does what he can and actually sorts it out, for which I'm grateful. I then explain that MWeb owe my client an apology for taking so long. He comes back with something about a mail being sent to my client about what to do with the domain. I said I answered that. He said, she needed to.
  • So, transfer has been sent through, and I'm waiting to see if it goes through, I expect it will.
I have some advice for anyone dealing with MWeb:
  • If you want anything done, plan for it - they take 24 hours to get back to you with an automated reply.
  • If you want to cancel an account, plan to do it - I recommend 2 months in advance, start telling them and trying to cancel.
  • Add the MWeb Twitter guy - while not much happened, he did give me hope, and hope is powerful when dealing with Mweb.
  • Oh, and instead of getting a technical person to help you, learn the stuff your self. Or send ALL correspondence from the account holder's account, as the account holder; else it's pretty much not valid.

I think that's all... today's going to be a good day! Back to coding Ruby, my favourite language :)

Sunday 27 March 2011

Something by Tozer..

I just read this.. I love the way Tozer puts it. "And all that He is and all that He's done is for us and all who share the common salvation. With full consciousness of our own demerit we may yet take our place in the love of God, and the poorest and weakest of us may without offense claim for ourselves all the riches of the Godhead in mercy given. I have every right to claim all for myself, knowing that an infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children." By AW Tozer, the pursuit of man.

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday 31 December 2010

Ruby, Python and 2011

Well, after playing a little with both Python and Ruby, I must say, I really like both languages.. However, I'm leaning towards Ruby with it's native OO benefit. Like, everything is OO.
That being said, should I do the project in Ruby, I'll definitely do another site in Python too, as I see it a definite worthwhile language to have too!

Also, had a great idea for a simple Android app... So lots happening in the new year!
I'm SO glad I haven't heard any year rhymes for 2011... I used to hear them each year: 2009 (something something divine), 2008 (something something great)... bleh.. I'm sure someone out there has used "heaven", "leaven", or something. I don't wanna know! haha

Have a good rest of 2010 - catch you next year!

Tuesday 28 December 2010

the snake ate the stone to the music...

Where I was

OK, so a new project is starting in the new year. And I need to select a platform and possibly learn a new language in the process. In the middle of December, I had two choices: Symfony 2 (in PHP) or Ruby on Rails. Both would require a learning curve, but as I'm quite familiar with PHP development, Ruby would require a steeper learning curve.

There were a bunch of factors that I started considering in this decision, not only for myself, but also for my client. I want to develop a sturdy, fast and expandable solution (that's a given). But also, I want to leave them with a solution that doesn't tie them into using me as a developer. Not that I have any plans to abandon them, but I know of people who tie their clients in and I think it's a shocking scenario. Clients should come back to me because of my solid solutions and good service, not because they kinda don't have any other options.

So, obviously, the PHP as a language would be the most popular choice if you're talking developer availability. I found out that we have a Ruby community in SA, but I don't think it's near as big as the PHP one (that's my impression, at any rate). HowEVER (and that's with a capital EVER), Symfony is it's own beast. A PHP developer is not necessarily a Symfony Developer, and many PHP developers settle for more CMSey solutions like Wordpress and Drupal, or other popular frameworks such as ZEND, CakePHP or a simpler framework such as CodeIgniter. This, in my opinion, levels the playing fields between RoR and Symfony as developer support in SA.

The plot thickens

Being on holiday in Cape Town is a great thing. Generally, it's just a good thing. More specifically, it's always a place where I start to think outside the box. Maybe it's the mountains, maybe it's the sea. Whatever it is, I value the way it makes me think differently. So, being in a bookshop in Somerset Mall, I stumble upon a Python book. Something I never considered as an option. My relatively simple decision had gotten more complicated. Now there were 3 contenders: Symfony 2, Ruby on Rails, or Django (python based). I thought to myself, if I'm considering an option where I'd be learning a new language (Ruby), who's to say that Python shouldn't be that language instead. So I buy the book.

Having done some research the last couple of days, it appears that the Rails popularity of 2008 is in a mild decline, and Django and Python is in an increase... Though, that's no reason to choose one from the other. I've decided that 2011 I want to do a project in each (RoR and Django) but, which to tackle first, if not Symfony, is the big question. My gut feel tells me that Python will be easier to get into, but I'll have more support with Rails. So that's where I stand.

I've also just found out that Python 3 (the book I bought) is not usable with Django currently. So the book might show me things that are still un-doable if I do choose the Python route.

At least I can not be accused of making a rash decision when it comes to the path forward. I will know which solution I'm going with on Jan 3, for now, I'm reading more, playing more and hopefully clearing more pro's and cons for each.

Monday 22 November 2010

iBurst woe's and solution

I recently ran out of prepaid iBurst again (why I use prepaid iBurst is a whole other story).. and to my surprise, the normal recharge page had an error. I suspect that iBurst wasn't letting me see the recharge page cos I didn't have Internet left to see the page!

An oversight! Pretty much, what one landed up with, was an infinite loop of redirects, one which safari and other browsers (yes, I tried them all) intervened and showed a message like this:

It's hilarious if you think of what is possibly happening: "go somewhere... you have no internet, so go to this page... can't, you have no internet so go to this page.. can't, you have no internet so go to this page" x 5 million.

So, what to do, right? Well, fortunately, the URL of the frame of the recharge window was in my browser history... but, that didn't give me the navigation to recharge, only my account overview showing me zero balance. Then I took a guess, which paid off, I changed the content.php to index.php, and voila, the whole page appeared! I was now free to recharge my internet. For those of you who don't have it in your history, the page is: https://customer.prepaid.ibcore.net/index.php?bw_depleted=1

Now if you don't have Internet, you're probably not reading this now, so I'd encourage you to bookmark that link for when you DO run out on iBurst, in case they haven't fixed this.

Not exactly hacking, but not exactly what your average user can be expected to figure out. Nice one iBurst. You guys are all as bad as each other. I'm soon hoping to be hooking up with ADSL, and jumping into the uncapped world! Yea, that's right, it'll be like 1999 in America, here, in South Africa, today. once.



Friday 28 May 2010

new resource site

Hey - check out the new Christian resource site I've created. Feel free to give me any feedback:
www.crossreference.co.za

Monday 17 May 2010

I boast no more, by Caedman's call

This song has always blessed me, and it's particularly important when the LORD uses you for His glory, as a reminder, that we boast only in the cross of Christ, only in the grace of God at what He has done in our lives, and only in His power, without which, we wouldn't be able to breath one breath or lift a hand...

Praise God for what He is doing, how He is moving, His majesty is always there, it doesn't arrive only when we see it, the same way the stars and planets were just as glorious before we had the lenses to see them!

What an awesome song, I'm gonna listen to it again now:

No More My God, I boast no more
Of all the duties I have done
I quit the hopes I held before,
To trust the merits of Thy Son

(chorus):

No more my God

No more my God

No more my God

I boast no more

Now, for the loss I bear his name,
What was my gain I count my loss
My former pride I call my shame
And nail my glory to His cross

Yes, and I must, I will esteem
All things but loss for Jesus' sake
O may my soul be found in Him
And of His righteousness partake
Amen, amen

The best obedience of my hands
Dares not appear before Thy throne
But faith can answer Thy demands
By pleading what my Lord has done

Friday 16 April 2010

nifty little renamer

I'm pretty stoked about a little Automator function I set up to handle a problem I deal with a lot as a web developer - bulk renaming files...

So first, the problem. I get a bunch of 15 or 50 files to use as assets online, either documents or images for a gallery or something. So, more often than not they come like this:

Points tO the KEYNOTE SPEAKER.doc
NewsLETTER version 4.0.pdf
etc

Now, spaces are bad on web, and caps are dreadful. When dealing with a unix server it's worse because you have to match the case exactly. So, mac users - fire up nifty Automator... Let's create a Service:


You'll want to click on the Service option (selected in the image) because that way you'll have your function added to any right click!









Then you'll want to do a couple of things. What I do is create an output directly, which in this case I've called "sized" on my desktop, because my original outputs were all resized images. I digress, create this directory wherever you want it.

Now, you'll see your screen divided into two halves, as indicated in this image. The left half lists functions you can use (arranged in a sort of category -> function drill down effect), and on the right is your flow.

You won't have any items in your flow section yet, so for starters, select "files or folders" in the drop down. This sets the service to expect input as files and folders.

Now, after doing that, you've told automator you're gonna give it files, you need to tell it what to do. So, for safety, start with a copy:

On the left window, in the Library under Files & Folders, find the "Copy Finder Items" task, select it, and drag it into the right-hand window.

Select your desired directory (I've checked "replace existing files").

Then find the "Rename Finder Items" task, and drag it across. Select the dropdown to "Replace Text". Enter a space into the Find: textbox. (I selected in basename only). I then entered an underscore ( _ ) in the Replace: textbox. This is now set to replace all spaces with underscores. You can change your options accordingly.

I also added another Renamer task to set the name to title case. I'll yet do another task which will set the extension to Lowercase. Wow, and save - all done. It's added to the Services menu.

Feel free to download the workflow I did here. Put it in your Services folder, in the Library folder in your user directory. [/Users/_your_username_/Library/Services].

A toaster to the person who picks up the irony in the download...

Thursday 15 April 2010

A thought on testimony

In Deuteronomy 19:15 the LORD decrees that only by the testimony of two or three witnesses will a charge be sustained. It is a requirement of the LORD that this be so. Interestingly, a decree from the LORD is established and fulfills this requirement, there are two AND three witnesses, two witnesses in observation, three witnesses in agreement.

When the LORD said, "Let there be light" - it was declared, it was so, and it was established with two witnesses to the member of the Godhead who thus spoke, and with three witnesses in terms of agreement to the truth and validity of the speaking.

Everything the LORD does fulfills this - there is agreement, unity, and truth which is all established in any decree.

Rejection of the idea of the trinity, where the three Persons of God is One, means the falling away of the fulfilling of this requirement.

Check out John 5 where Jesus provides witnesses for his testimony - John the baptist, His own works, the Father, scripture, and Moses... that's 5 witnesses to His testimony. Everything fits! wow...

Wednesday 31 March 2010

My thoughts on the Apple vs. Flash battle...

Some history: Apple seem to be launching an all out offensive against supporting Flash on their mobile, mini devices.

I don't think that the Adobe and Apple fight over Flash is about technical issues with running correctly. I think this is what Apple are bleating, but I think it is far from the truth. Here's the real problem Apple face, and it's strategic. Apple are relying on their developer kit for iPhone to win over thousands of developers... and that has been working. A significant reward is needed to convince companies that it's worth developing in a totally new environment on a new platform: Enter iPhone Apps and revenue as the reward, and the Objective C and Apple developer stuff as the environment... Now, logically, once companies are developing for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, it's not a far leap to develop full-on Mac apps. What has happened, the Mac has become a developers platform, highly supported and tons of software being written for it. Can you see where I'm going here: Flash on these devices, will undermine their strategy of getting more developers, because suddenly people can bypass their precious Objective C platform, and simply use Flash and Flex. Apple don't want this. They REALLY don't want it, cos while in the short term it will benefit them to have more apps in the form of flash apps, in the long term, they go back to square one, and don't have a mass of mac developers.

Wednesday 05 August 2009

storms in life

I know I've posted this before, but again it's been on my mind and in my ears... the words to the song by Jars of Clay, Oh my God. Particularly this part:

Sometimes I cannot forgive

And these days, mercy cuts so deep

If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep

While I lay, I dream we're better,

Scales were gone and faces light

When we wake, we hate our brother

We still move to hurt each other

Sometimes I can close my eyes,

And all the fear that keeps me silent falls below my heavy breathing,

What makes me so badly bent?

We all have a chance to murder

We all feel the need for wonder

We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the thunder



Sometimes when I lose my grip, I wonder what to make of heaven

All the times I thought to reach up

All the times I had to give

Babies underneath their beds

Hospitals that cannot treat all the wounds that money causes,

All the comforts of cathedrals

All the cries of thirsty children - this is our inheritance

All the rage of watching mothers - this is our greatest offense



I've often thought how in the midst of the deepest joy, life even at the best times has a tinge of sadness to it. Like a shadow, our lives are marked always with the reminder of memories of a different time, the brevity of life, how change is constant and how love is the only thing that can endure all things. The brighter the life, at times, the more pronounced this shadow becomes.

One thing I want to ask of my Maker, is for Him to give me the courage and strength needed to weather these changes, allowing them to change me into someone He's more pleased with, then enduring the crashing waves and icy cold storms are worthwhile - because then my joy is found in Him, and I know I'm not alone, no matter how I feel.

Monday 03 August 2009

mac users - keyboards can be bad!!

Now the firmware of the keyboard can be hacked on a mac! Either we should stay away from software-crack sites and the likes, or we should use the character palette to click all our text onto the screen. Do Linux users also suffer from such security oversights? Apple, come now - watch a Bok game or two, and be more defensive as well as offensive in your strategy!

more info here: http://tr.im/v4DB.

Wednesday 29 July 2009

some more thoughts on Jesus

We're warned in 2 Corinthians 11:3,4 that it is possible to be led astray after another Jesus, other than the one Paul preached...


But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted - you may well put up with it! 2 Corinthians 11:3,4


And another Jesus, and another gospel, other than the one Paul preached are dangerous to tolerate - in Galatians 1:6-8 we read:


I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:6-8

Those are strong words, which means we must be very careful what kind of doctrines (teachings) about Christ we will embrace or reject. The question remains "Who do you say that I am?" - those were the very words of our Lord to the disciples, and that will one day make all the difference to you and me, when we stand before God. It is interesting also, to note that there is only ONE view of Christ that is biblical, as the very God become man to redeem us. This God who is love, did the very greatest act of love, which is to give your very life for your friends. All deviant views of Christ reject this. The cults who reject the deity of Christ are standing in the same corner as the muslims, the atheists, and all other world religions. Christianity alone is marked by it's clinging to orthodoxy on this very important point.

Fortunately truth is not determined by numbers or popularity! Truth will stand regardless of the onslaught against it. Truth was put to death over 2000 years ago, and three days later, Truth rose up, alive, breathing and powerful.

Some other thoughts:

never EVER in all scripture is it allowed to pray THROUGH someone or something to God... Also no prayer is ever DIRECTED TO someone besides God Almighty.
No angel received prayer, no human prophet or king... they didn't even receive it and let it pass through them to God. This is a heathen practice.


At the end of Acts 7, Stephen, when being stoned and facing death, full of the power of the Holy Spirit, prayed saying "Lord Jesus, receive my Spirit". He was not praying through, but to Jesus... but even if you want to believe he was praying through Jesus, this wouldn't be permitted unless Jesus is God.

never EVER in all scripture is it allowed that a person has the power to forgive sins. Even the priests of Israel did not forgive sins, but relayed the message of forgiveness after the legitimate sacrifice was made according to God's instructions.

This is why the Pharisee's were so enraged when Jesus forgave the sins of the man lowered to Him through the roof... and so, to prove the authority He claimed, He ordered the cripple to stand up and take his bed and walk!

never EVER in all scripture do prophets, judges or kings, or even angels, messengers from heaven, speak and declare the things of God, accept in the name of God and by God's authority.

Yet Jesus, when declaring things relating to God often said "I say to you", instead of "God says thus".

Sunday 19 July 2009

when all around has fallen...

Some more lyrics, after a totally fulfilling, joyful weekend; filled with good times, moving moments, reflective thoughts on life, its brevity and the shadow of sadness that is ever present as time passes and memories are made. Life is good, and love is true, comfort is real and joy is full.

Driving through Irene this afternoon made me stop to examine the memories that came flooding back. Riding bikes with my friends, stalk the lantern through the veld which is no more. Seeing Irene Farm and the country club... King Street now blocked off. A wild mix of things that haven't changed with new things. Life goes on. The world spins unwavering. We continue in it and I have to wonder am I doing all I can for my King? Am I doing all I can for my friends and for my family? Am I praying enough for those who were close now far and gone?

I'm thinking now of friends past who've fallen aside from the difficult path of truth. I yearn again for true fellowship, for serving the King as one, standing side by side in love and boldness. I'm listening to this song now, and it's for you guys...

When all around has fallen your castle has been burned
You used to be a king here now no one knows your name
You live your life for honour, defender of the faith
But you've been crushed to pieces and no one knows your pain

Come, come lay your weary head be still my friend
Come, rise I'll place my sword upon your shoulder
Come, rise with me

When tomorrow has been stolen and you can't lift your head
And summer feels like winter your heart is full of stone
Though all your hopes have fallen your skin is now your only armour
Wear your scars like medals defender of the faith

Come, come lay your weary head be still my friend
Come, rise I'll place my sword upon your shoulder
Come, come lay your faithful head, be still my friend
Come rise with me
(Song by Delirious)

valley song - jars of clay

This song has comforted me in many a tough time, and it's doing so now... Be glad my heart, for the Lord, and not for any other reason!

You have led me to the sadness

I have carried this pain
On a back bruised, nearly broken
I'm crying out to you

I will sing of Your mercy
That leads me through valleys of sorrow
To rivers of joy

When death like a Gypsy
Comes to steal what I love
I will still look to the heavens
I will still seek your face

But I fear you aren't listening
Because there are no words
Just the stillness and the hunger
For a faith that assures

I will sing of Your mercy
That leads me through valleys of sorrow
To rivers of joy

Alleluia, alleluia
Alleluia, alleluia

While we wait for rescue
With our eyes tightly shut
Face to the ground using our hands
To cover the fatal cut

And though the pain is an ocean
Tossing us around, around, around
You have calmed greater waters
Higher mountains have come down

Wednesday 15 July 2009

"Did Jesus actually ever exist?"

Some conversations I have had recently have gone on the topic of Jesus' actual existence. There seems to be a popular challenge going around these days to question everything we know, and even assume that which we know is myth or incorrect. Just under two years ago, I'd done some research which I added to a thoughtleader.co.za post, where the author had himself asked the very same question.

I replied with this response (edited), which I feel specifically is a strong argument. The reason I think this is that often the people asking the question of Jesus' existence logically don't hold a high view of scripture and it's accuracy. The accuracy of scripture is a whole other discussion, and could in itself be seen as a distraction from the main point, so I decided to reply from the perspective of extra-biblical accounts of the true historical Jesus. Here are some references and thoughts on that:

- Extra-biblical accounts of Jesus and Christians
There is more extra-biblical evidence of the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, than there is of Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great. This has been disputed and challenged, and so I reply with this:
Let’s start recently and move backwards. We have the Protestant Christians today, starting with Luther about 400 years back. So Christianity is definitely as old as that. We have the Roman Catholic Christians. We know that in the 9th Century AD there was a division between the Eastern (or Greek Orthodox) church and Western (or Roman) church. Hence we know it dates back to at least then. We also know that in the 4th Century AD, Christianity had become so powerful that it had pretty much taken possession of the Roman Empire, the mightiest power of the world at that time.
Going earlier, we have Eusebius in 315 AD who wrote a large volume, giving the history of Christ and his church. We also have the testimony of about a hundred Christian authors, dating to the first 3 Centuries.
Let’s set that aside, because if Jesus is in fact a myth made up by dubious early Christians (paranoid anyone?) - we’d need to focus on non-Christian accounts.
Here are 11 of the most noted authors and historians of antiquity, reaching from the middle of the fourth century back to the very days of Christ himself.

Julian (361 A.D.) Julian was a Roman emperor who saw fit to try very hard to put down Christianity. He wrote a book against Christianity, in which he acknowledged that there were multitudes of Christians in Greece and Italy in the days of the apostles, and that many of them were men of high character, such as Cornelius and Sergius Paulus, proconsul of Cyprus. [Lardner’s Works, vol viii. pp.394-411]

Porphyry (270 A.D.) This learned writer acknowledges that Christians were very numerous in the Roman Empire. He admits that miracles were wrought by the apostles (which he ascribed to a magic art). He endeavours to expose them to reproach as the cause of the calamities that befell the Roman Empire. [Horne’s Introduction, vol 1 p. 209]

Galen (220 A.D.) Acknowledges the virtuous principles of the Christians. [Lardner’s Works, vol. viii pp. 90, 91]

Marcus Antoninus (161 A.D.) mentions Christians as furnishing examples of an obstinate contempt of death [Id. vol vii. p 398]

Epictetus (109 A.D.) Mentions the fortitude and constancy of the Christians under persecution. He calls them Galileans.

Lucian (176 A.D.) in his numerous writings bears testimony to the leading facts and principles of Christianity. He says that Christ was crucified in Israel and was worshiped by the Christians. He mentions their contempt for this world, and how they courageously suffered for their religion. He mentions that they were noted for their honesty and integrity, that they were well known in the world, and that they were numerous in Pontus and Paphlagonia and adjoining countries. He ridicules many of their practices and doctrines.

Pliny the Younger (107 A.D.) wrote a detailed letter regarding Christians and seeking advice regarding carrying out his instructions to punish Christians.

Suetonius (65 A.D.) The first general persecution of the Christians was in 65 A.D. under Nero, the tyrant under whom Paul was martyred. This Roman historian said “The Christians likewise were severely punished, - a sort of people addicted to a new and mischievous superstition.”

Tacitus (65 A.D.) was a contemporary with the apostles, one of the most noted secular historians of the Roman world. Mentions Christ, and that he was put to death in the reign of Tiberius, as a criminal under the procurator, Pontius Pilate. He mentions Christianity as a pestilent superstition that broke out afresh and spread not only all over Judea, but Rome also. He continues by putting down the accounts of the persecution of the Christians.

Josephus was a Jewish priest who lived in the very days of the apostles, and in the land of Judea, in his History of the Jews, after referring to their sedition against Pontuis Pilate, bears testimony to Jesus Christ :
“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he performed many wonderful works. He was a teacher of such men as received the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him many of the Jews and also many of the gentiles. This was the Christ.”
He continues with how Pilate condemned him to the cross, how he appeared to his followers alive again and how they were known as Christians.

Pontius Pilate - the very man by whose authority Christ was crucified has left on record a careful account of that event. The Romans were very careful to make a record of all important events occurring within the empire. This record is preserved in their “Acts of the Senate”. This document was referred to by early Christians in disputes with gentiles, and it was referenced in some of their writings. They would not have done this if this document was not in existence.

Jews - Of all nations, the Jews are the very ones who ought to know best whether there ever was such a man as Jesus Christ, and whether he was put to death in Judea as the new testament affirms. Jesus was a Jew, he lived among the Jews, all his apostles were Jews. It was among the Jews entirely that Christianity was first founded. Now if all this was false, and Christ had never lived, what would the testimony of the Jews be on the life of Christ and his ministry? Could they be persuaded that all these things happened right among their people yet without their knowledge? No. The whole nation would rise up and declare that no such person as Jesus Christ ever lived or died among them. This would settle the point. But now if you were to ask a Jew if he believes that a man such as Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew, lived in Judea 2000 years ago, and that he was put to death on a cross. Every Jew would say “Yes, we have no doubt of that, though we do not believe he was the true Messiah”

To quote Josh McDowell, “the evidence is conclusive. Jesus really lived among us and accomplished powerful works that even hostile, non-Christian sources do not fail to confirm. The skeptics about Jesus’ historicity are simply wrong.”

*main source: New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell;

Monday 06 July 2009

the intimate friendship of Jesus

Last night we were extremely challenged to examine our lives, our faith, and our motives and heart. We were told about Jesus freaks as they were called, who lived and died for their faith - in persecuted nations giving up all to live for their Lord, and then not denying them even with the reality of torture and death. It reminded me of when I was reading about Christians in the persecuted church around the world, and reminded me how free we are here in South Africa. It challenged me: what I am doing with my freedom? Am I using this freedom to advance God's kingdom and show people near and far the love of God? Sadly, the answer to that was what was challenging to me, and my hope and aim is to make steps to advance that in my own life.

I found this this morning, some more writings of Thomas a Kempis. The "a" is meant to have an accent.. Anyhow, here's his 8th chapter from his second book in the Imitation of Christ. I trust is blesses you as it did me.

WHEN Jesus is near, all is well and nothing seems difficult. When He is absent, all is hard. When Jesus does not speak within, all other comfort is empty, but if He says only a word, it brings great consolation.
Did not Mary Magdalen rise at once from her weeping when Martha said to her: "The Master is come, and calleth for thee"? Happy is the hour when Jesus calls one from tears to joy of spirit.
How dry and hard you are without Jesus! How foolish and vain if you desire anything but Him! Is it not a greater loss than losing the whole world? For what, without Jesus, can the world give you? Life without Him is a relentless hell, but living with Him is a sweet paradise. If Jesus be with you, no enemy can harm you.
He who finds Jesus finds a rare treasure, indeed, a good above every good, whereas he who loses Him loses more than the whole world. The man who lives without Jesus is the poorest of the poor, whereas no one is so rich as the man who lives in His grace.
It is a great art to know how to converse with Jesus, and great wisdom to know how to keep Him. Be humble and peaceful, and Jesus will be with you. Be devout and calm, and He will remain with you. You may quickly drive Him away and lose His grace, if you turn back to the outside world. And, if you drive Him away and lose Him, to whom will you go and whom will you then seek as a friend? You cannot live well without a friend, and if Jesus be not your friend above all else, you will be very sad and desolate. Thus, you are acting foolishly if you trust or rejoice in any other. Choose the opposition of the whole world rather than offend Jesus. Of all those who are dear to you, let Him be your special love. Let all things be loved for the sake of Jesus, but Jesus for His own sake.
Jesus Christ must be loved alone with a special love for He alone, of all friends, is good and faithful. For Him and in Him you must love friends and foes alike, and pray to Him that all may know and love Him.
Never desire special praise or love, for that belongs to God alone Who has no equal. Never wish that anyone's affection be centered in you, nor let yourself be taken up with the love of anyone, but let Jesus be in you and in every good man. Be pure and free within, unentangled with any creature.
You must bring to God a clean and open heart if you wish to attend and see how sweet the Lord is. Truly you will never attain this happiness unless His grace prepares you and draws you on so that you may forsake all things to be united with Him alone.
When the grace of God comes to a man he can do all things, but when it leaves him he becomes poor and weak, abandoned, as it were, to affliction. Yet, in this condition he should not become dejected or despair. On the contrary, he should calmly await the will of God and bear whatever befalls him in praise of Jesus Christ, for after winter comes summer, after night, the day, and after the storm, a great calm.

Thursday 02 July 2009

the tough stuff

I've been thinking a bit about solitude and being alone... Not as a recluse, but in a healthy sense. I remember reading this a while back and I recently found it again... something I'm thinking over while life turmoils on furiously...

SEEK a suitable time for thy meditation, and think frequently of the mercies of God to thee. Leave curious questions. Study such matters as bring thee sorrow for sin rather than amusement. If thou withdraw thyself from trifling conversation and idle goings about, as well as from novelties and gossip, thou shalt find thy time sufficient and apt for good meditation. The greatest saints used to avoid as far as they could the company of men, and chose to live in secret with God.

2. One hath said, "As oft as I have gone among men, so oft have I returned less a man." This is what we often experience when we have been long time in conversation. For it is easier to be altogether silent than it is not to exceed in word. It is easier to remain hidden at home than to keep sufficient guard upon thyself out of doors. He, therefore, that seeketh to reach that which is hidden and spiritual, must go with Jesus "apart from the multitude." No man safely goeth abroad who loveth not to rest at home. No man safely talketh but he who loveth to hold his peace. No man safely ruleth but he who loveth to be subject. No man safely commandeth but he who loveth to obey.

by Thomas a Kempis

Monday 22 June 2009

security

It's been brought to my attention that putting my CV details on my site is a security risk. This could also be why my email address for my site is blacklisted on a lot of client's computers. I thought being free and open wouldn't cause too many hassles, and so far it hasn't... but I think I should be safer from now on. Goodbye CV, potential clients can ask for that directly... yeah.

Any thoughts?

On another note, yesterday was the middle of winter - woohoo, summer's on it's way.

Monday 30 March 2009

soul fire...

Busy reading Leonard Ravenhill (Why Revival Tarries), and every page is arrayed with ideas and points that are fiery and inspiring. Here are some of them:

Someone now warns us lest we become so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly use. Brother, this generation of believers is not, by and large, suffering from such a complex. The brutal, soul-shaking truth is that we are so earthly minded we are of no heavenly use.

He who fears God fears no man. He who kneels before God will stand in any situation.

Holiness teaching contradicted by unholy living is the bane of this hour.

God does not want partnership with us, but ownership of us.

We try to help God out of difficulties. Remember how Abraham tried to do this, and to this day the earth is cursed with his folly because of Ishmael. On the other hand, Elijah made it as difficult as he could for the Lord. He wanted fire, but he soaked the sacrifice with water! God loves such holy boldness in our prayers. "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession" (Psalm 2:8)

Oh! my ministering brethren! Much of our praying is but giving God advice! Our praying is discoloured with ambition, either for ourselves or for our denomination. Perish the thought! Our goal must be God alone. It is His honour that is sullied, His blessed Son who is ignored, His laws broken, His name profaned, His Book forgotten, His house made a circus of social efforts.

I know my late Pastor, Ross, used to read and quote Ravenhill a lot, and reading this book, which he incidentally gave me, brings back fond memories, and stirs my soul for hunger for a heavenly fire to purify my wicked heart.

Have a great Monday...

Saturday 03 January 2009

quick addition

Here's a quick update to the previous post, in addition to the link provided for Zeitgeist, check this one, which I think is brilliantly presented:

From Charlie Campbell's Always be Ready site, Analysis and Response to Zeitgeist.

Wednesday 24 December 2008

the sceptic who wasn't there (part two)

So, as I said before, there are a bunch of other movies (and books) seeking to debunk the claims of Christianity. So much so, that I would say that it seems to actually be a trend! We have Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, Brian Fleming's God who wasn't there (maybe his god wasn't?), The lost tomb of Jesus (executively produced by the same James Cameron who brought us Terminator and Terminator 2, koel né - haha), Zeitgeist, and then Bill Maher's Religulous. Methinks there might be some money to be made in this fad...

See, I would be quite troubled if these works were filled more with careful and good scholarship, more logical or feasible cases than mere mockery and slander... Now, I believe that the claims made in these movies need to be addressed, for a few reasons, namely:

1. There are answers. Not replying to critics would give the impression that the arguments are solid and unanswered.

2. Christianity welcomes questions, welcomes scrutiny and provides some strong answers for many issues raised. (Many other faiths do not take this stance).

3. Very often the critics offer no alternative, or an even weaker alternative (Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the DNA double-helix suggests seeding from outer space to explain the structure and design of it).

4. The bulk of the work presented here is very dubious, it makes weak illogical assumptions, purposefully distorts or manipulates the truth to fit a simplistic and skewed result. It deserves to be exposed at most, and at least not taken very seriously.

5. Serious questions should have a platform for expression, and the rubbish needs to be discerned from the authentic and challenging work.

6. We learn the trends of objections, and also, we learn a bit about decent scholarship by reading through good scholarship. For example, I learnt that it is good practice to list your sources when making statements or quoting people or writings. Don't just state a point about history without backing it up - give a reference. What book, page number, author, date of copy, etc. Most of these documentaries fail this in a huge way, it would not allow for them to twist the truth so deftly!

OK, so, here are some useful links that take up the challenge that these movies throw our way.

Religulous:
http://www.tektonics.org/religuguff.html

Zeitgeist:
http://www.xanga.com/JB_Fidei_Defensor/638110989/zeitgeist-rebuttal-speech.html

The God that wasn't there was linked to in my previous post...

Happy holidays!