Articles

Below are some amazing, life-changing articles written by members of the SAMCF.


Living with Cancer
The Lord's Day
Sin of Spectating
Message from SAMCF President
My Journey Living with Cancer

Authored by: A.R. Tjasink Cdr. SAN (Ret)


First where did it come from? When I retired in 1993 my medical category was N1G1K1 with specs. I continued on the active reserve until I had completed a combined total of 50 years when I received a thank you letter, you can go home now. I did not smoke; consort with undesirable people and in general avoided alcohol. However, I admit to an occasional beer and wine with a meal. In general I had a healthy lifestyle and kept myself fit and alert with regular exercise. In my young days in the navy I was exposed to cigarette smoke on the mess deck and from time to time I was exposed to toxic materials. (Mineral turpentine is the worst!) We all have dormant cancer cells in our bodies but what triggers the marauding hooligans to get out of hand, who know?

My Christian life has been a spiritual golden thread ever since childhood. I must admit it got a bit shaky at times until I met my wife. That is another story. However, we married young, had five children, have nine grandchildren and one great grandchild. On May the 6th 2011 we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary.

In February 2009 I booked for a medical check-up which did not reveal much other than a feces build up. The doctor did not seem too concerned. However, follow- up appointments weren't kept by the doctor as he went off on course without canceling. Not satisfied I proceeded to 2 Military Hospital (2Mil) out patients. The Doctor there was not satisfied so booked me for a colonoscopy. The results called for a CT scan which revealed all. I had stage 4 cancer in the colon and rectal area and it migrated to the lungs. It was estimated that it had been there for at least a year. The good news was that it had bypassed the liver. At this stage I did not feel stunned, shocked or angry. My question was what are we going to do about it? This all led to a visit to Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) cancer clinic. Consultation between cancer specialists at 2Mil and GSH planned the way forward. Remove the colon and rectal cancer surgically. This necessitated fitting a stoma bag to bypass the intestines and colon to allow for post operation healing.

On the16th October 2009 I booked in at 2Mil for surgery. A section of the lower colon and part of the rectum was removed and the stoma bag fitted. After being in ICU to recover I was moved to ward 8. Things took a turn for the worse when I vomited about two and a half litres black liquid. This caused considerable alarm and I was moved to a private ward. Recovery was slow. Initially I was told I would be out in two weeks. Six weeks later I had recovered sufficiently to leave the hospital. While I was recovering in hospital I had a visit by my minister and at the time he thought I was not leaving there alive. Nevertheless, I was on many prayer lists.

I was being given morphine for the pain. At night I was in a black hole of nightmares. Eventually I refused the morphine and the nightmares stopped. I had been where JOB had been and I understood. By this time I was devoid of all dignity. I was being coaxed to walk again. To contain the discharge I had to wear nappies. Even so the discharge ran down my legs and the smell was awful. Because of this I was moved to a private ward away from the thoroughfare and the rude comments. When this happened I overheard a nurse comment 'and what about us?' At this point I was taken back into theatre to flush me out. There was such a mess the theatre had to be cleaned and sterilized! After this things started to improve.

Spiritually I hung on by reading my Bible and 'Faith for Daily Living'. The love and prayers being offered for me and the visits by friends and family kept me buoyed up. Faith and hope are all important to climb out of this black hole.

On 17th February 2010 I attended an appointment at GSH and it was decided that I should have the stoma bag removed before starting chemo therapy. This was done on the 3rd March2010. When the surgeon was satisfied with the healing I was released from 2Mil on7th March 2010. It was fortunate that the muscle at the anus was saved intact. With time and practice my toilet scenes are to all intents and purposes 'normal'. In case of accidents I had to ware 'pads' which I made up myself from gauze swabs. I no longer need them! If the stool starts becoming loose I take a tablet to slow the process down.

31st March 2010 was the start of thirteen, three week sessions of chemo in tablet form. One of the effects of chemo is that it all but destroys the immune system, skin and hands become sensitive. Special cream is provided to protect the skin. I was fortunate in that I did not lose my hair. Gloves were necessary when doing chores about the house if feeling up to it. The routine was two weeks on and one week rest with a visit to GSH to monitor progress. I was blessed to have the Fish Hoek Methodist Men's League take turns transporting me, a six hour round trip.

At one point I developed an abscess in the scrotum. Attempts at flushing it out were not a success resulting in the scrotum being opened up to clean it up. By this time it was verging on gangrene. However, it took some time to heal with tender loving care. What was incredible was how quickly the scrotum sealed itself. The problem did arise again a while later but was quickly remedied by an appropriate anti biotic.

Regrettably the chemo did not produce the desired result. The blood and CT scan results were not good. I was referred to a Lung Specialist. My CT scan results were displayed on screen and the doctor pointed out 11 lesions in one lung and 12 in the other. He explained that they were small and distributed throughout the lungs and that they were inoperable. His advice to me; 'stop the chemo, don't see any doctors and go and enjoy your life'. Which, I proceeded to do. To all intents and purposes I felt a free man except for the peculiar odour of the urine in the morning. It tended to clear during the day.

My immediate task was to rebuild my strength and immune system. To this end I started taking appropriate food supplements. I gained weight to what is normal for my height; + 74kg.
By now my retirement was back on track. I continued to attend my meetings and functions as before.

On 25th May 2011 I went to 2Mil for a check-up. The carcinoembryonic antigen had risen to 13.8ug/L. The CT scan indicated that the lesions in the lungs had increased in size. I still had very little indication of the presence of cancer and life was good.
That alas is not so good now. On 24th January 2012 I was experiencing back pain and had a further medical examination. The blood test revealed the antigen had raised to191.1ug/L. this was followed by another CT scan which revealed good news and bad news. The good news was it had not spread anywhere else, the bad news the lungs were getting worse. A follow-up visit to GSH put the facts on the table. They could do nothing about the lungs and asked if I wanted to go back on chemo? I decided not to clutch at straws and refused the chemo. It would only make my life a misery, to what end?

So how am I now? I can still function normally in spite of the back pain when I breathe in deeply. If it is annoying a pain killer keeps it at bye.

Now, for what you can't see. From the word go I had to concentrate on getting my mind and thinking straight. It was important to recover my dignity and self worth. How do you exercise your sense of humour when everything isn't funny anymore? Remember denial is a dead end. My family, friends and the church were very supportive. In the end it is up to me to engage the beast in mortal combat. Choose your positive self talk and affirmations. My youngest daughter helped me to love myself by sending me a series of 16 positive affirmations.


No. 16 read:
"In the infinity of life where I am, all is perfect, whole and complete.
Accept health as a natural state of my being.
I now consciously release any mental patterns within me that could express as dis-ease in any way.
I love and approve of my self.
I love and approve of my body.
I feed it nourishing foods and beverages.
I exercise it in ways that are fun.
I recognise my body as a wondrous and magnificent machine, and I feel privileged to live in it.
I love lots of energy.
All is well in my world".

During my lame duck period during chemo I watched good, happy and positive DVD's such as; "The Young Hornblower" series, "Faulty Towers", "Dad's Army" the "Carry on" series and the "Audrey Hepburn Collection" among others. The trick is to maintain a positive frame of mind.
Faith Hope Love
To win this battle I place my faith in God, let Jesus take me by the hand and let the Holy Spirit prompt me in the right path.
Where there is life there is hope. Never mind the statistics, never let anyone deprive you of your hope. If the doctor informs you, you have stage IV cancer. That is not a hopeless situation. It might be from a medical point of view but you could possibly live on for years. Set your goals and strive to achieve them.

Let the love of God radiate from you as Jesus has taught us.
"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him". 1 John 4: 9 NIV.
Always express your gratitude to God. Every morning is a priceless gift from God. Thank Him!

I have two books that I read during my quiet time:
"A Season for Hope" - Daily Encouragement for your Fight against Cancer.
By Michael S. Barry Chaplain, Cancer Treatment Centers of America. ISBN 1-56292-283-1 (pbk.)
The book is a series of 58 letters of encouragement.

The other book is called "PROMISES from GOD for PURPOSEFULL LIVING"
© 2006 Christian Art Gifts, RSA. Compiled by Lynette Douglas. ISBN978-1-86920-589-8

My thanks and praise to 2 Military Hospital and Groote Schuur Hospital for the efficient way they managed my recovery. I could not have wished for better. Only a pity the chemo could not sort my lungs out.

I lay my life at the foot of the Cross, I can do no better.
A.R. Tjasink Cdr. SAN (Ret) Testemony April 2012

The Priceless Gift of the Lord's Day

Authored by: Jonathan Holdt


10 Reasons Why We Need to Celebrate the Lord's Day

The health industry is a multi billion dollar industry all over the world. Billions of dollars are spent each year on health foods, vitamins and getting exercise in gyms. People are becoming more conscious about what they eat and how they exercise in order to enjoy a productive and quality filled life. As Christians we are aware that the physical benefit we gain from this is of a temporal nature.

In contrast that which is gained in the spiritual realm will last for eternity. Ought we not as Christians to be concerned about what the Lord God, our heavenly Physician, has prescribed concerning living vital and effective lives as Christians that will have eternal value? God knows our needs both for eternal salvation as well as for living a productive, fulfilled and blessed life as Christians on earth below.

Eternal salvation is only obtained through faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus. We are not saved by works but by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone (Ephesians 2v8). But having believed, how can we as Christians live a spiritually fulfilled and blessed life? How can we know great joy and usefulness as Christians in God's Kingdom? How can we demonstrate our love for Jesus Christ and other believers? How can we use our gifts effectively to further the kingdom of Christ? Only if we submit ourselves to Christ and his wisdom as it is found in his Word.

Now one of the precious jewels of God's wisdom has to do with how we plan, structure and use our time. Each and every day is to be used for His glory - and yet, in his wisdom, God has set apart one day in seven whereby we are meant to deliberately set aside our usual secular pursuits and come together as believers in our worship of God.

The benefits of honouring the Lord's Day are immense! Yet sadly many Christians seem to be losing out on the tremendous blessings to be enjoyed due to compromise and neglect of the Lord's Day. This has tragic consequences: spiritual decay, lukewarmness toward Christ and his people, and also the terrible neglect of the spiritual gifts he has given to be used in the body of believers. All this calls for an alarm to be sounded! As Christians we must both value the Lord's Day and guard it. We must not allow the world to rob us of its blessing.

One of the sure signs of spiritual decay in the church is when God's people no longer regard the Lord's Day as special. It becomes a day just like any other - to go shopping, to play sports, or to go off to work. It is not uncommon for Christians to give in to the demands placed upon them in the workplace and to work seven days a week. Human wisdom may dictate that this is the only way to get the work done, yet its long term impact is negative and disastrous in terms of both the physical and spiritual health of a Christian. Still others allow shopping; sporting and entertainment purposes to be the reason why they choose to disobey the command to keep the Sabbath Day holy and neglect meeting with other believers in corporate worship.

While we are not meant to be bound by legalistic rules that suffocate the freedom we have in Christ, the Lord's Day, nevertheless, is in danger of losing its special glory. It is being muddied and tarnished by personal secular activities and pursuits. We need to return to basic discipleship.

Jesus said, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me' (Mark 8:34). Being a Christian means putting Christ and his kingdom first in everything. That means being willing to sacrifice personal interests for the sake of Christ. Sadly, this is not happening when it comes to the Lord's Day. Christians are no longer putting Christ first. Instead they fit Jesus into their plans only when it is convenient. This is not what it means to be a follower of Christ. We, as Christians, need to appreciate once again the value and blessing of keeping the Lord's Day special so as to become true followers of Jesus Christ. Here are ten reasons why we need to value and treasure the Lord's Day.

Reason 1: Keeping the Lord's Day special is a moral duty for all mankind.

After God had created the world in six days we read that he rested on the seventh day. 'Why?' you might ask. 'God does not need to rest. He does not grow weary.' The reason is quite simply to give to man a pattern for how he should live his life - working six days and resting on the seventh. Marriage is a creational ordinance and so is the Sabbath. The word Sabbath means to cease from work. 'So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy' (Gen 2:3). To make holy means to set apart. He thus made this day different from the other days, to be used for the benefit of all mankind, not only the Jew. This example in creation was not designed for a specific period, but endures from age to age together with the human race.

Moving on in God's Word, we see that this example in creation is of such a vital nature that it is incorporated as the fourth commandment in the Ten Commandments which God gave through Moses (Ex 20).i We should note that no other commandment is so strongly emphasised as the fourth commandment about the Sabbath. In Exodus the reason given is creation. In Deuteronomy the reason given is redemption out of Egypt. As slaves they were not free in Egypt to keep a day apart and rest on that day, but now they were liberated. Just so Christians have been redeemed and liberated and are called to celebrate that freedom in Christ on the Lord's Day. In this fourth commandment, God commands us to remember that the Sabbath is a special day of rest. He draws our attention back to creation, in giving this day to mankind. He commands us to keep it holy, that is, to set it apart as distinct from the other days of work and keep it as a special day to the Lord.

That this command is included with the other nine moral commandments highlights the moral obligation we have in keeping it. Under Jewish law it was preserved with ceremonial rules peculiar to the Jews. These ceremonial rules and their stringent penalties for breaking the command, no longer apply to New Covenant believers. Nevertheless the essence and substance of this moral law has not changed, and needs to be heeded by us today. While the New Testament does not specify what we may and may not do on this special day of rest, the moral obligation remains firmly in place for us to set apart one day for special worship, reflection and ministry to the Lord.

Reason 2: Keeping the Lord's Day special is a sign of your faith in Christ and love for him.

Jesus said, 'If you love me you will keep my commandments' (John 14:15). Keeping the Lord's Day special is one of his commands. There are those who argue that this is not part of New Testament teaching. That cannot be correct, however, because Jesus reiterated the importance of this command for all mankind. He said, 'The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath' (Mark 2:27). In that context he was contending with the Pharisees, who with innumerable manmade rules had turned the Sabbath into a burden and not a blessing. Jesus, however, asserts his authority and lordship over this special day of rest for all mankind.

As Christians we gather together on the first day of the week, which is Sunday, to commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ. It is clear that the early believers, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, made the first day of the week their special Sabbath day of worship. They were exhorted not to forsake the gathering together of the saints (Heb 10:25). In keeping the Lord's Day special through faithfully attending corporate worship services, we demonstrate our faith and love for Christ in submitting to his lordship over our lives and our time. What a wonderful day the Lord's Day is, then, to declare our love and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Reason 3: Keeping the Lord's Day special is a powerful witness to the watching world.

Jesus said to his people, 'You are the light of the world' (Matt 5:14), teaching them the importance of being a witness in this fallen, sinful world. Keeping the Lord's Day special is a way in which we witness to the world of our love for Christ, our love for his Word and our love for his people. By joining in times of corporate worship we give a clear message to the world that we believe in the gospel which has brought us eternal life.

What would you think of a musician who attracted but a handful of people to his performances? You would think he is perhaps not worth listening to. But if great crowds flocked to hear him perform, you would want to know why he is so famous and would perhaps be drawn to go and listen for yourself. So it is with how we regard the Lord's Day. If church services are poorly attended because too many Christians have other interests, the message being sent out to the world is negative. They may well be tempted to think that there is not much in the gospel since professing Christians themselves are not enthusiastic and do not bother too much with the Lord's Day worship services. On the other hand, if we are prepared to tell visitors or guests on the Lord's Day that we are going to worship and that they are welcome to join us, our enthusiastic response to worship acts as a strong message to the watching world.

Reason 4: Keeping the Lord's Day special is of great encouragement to other believers.

I refer again to that text in Hebrews which says, 'And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near' (Heb 10:25). Before us lies the Day of the Lord, the day when he will return to judge the world. Christians in anticipation of that Day, gather together on the Lord's Day for the purpose of encouraging one another in light of the Lord's imminent return. How uplifting it is when God's people have gathered together in corporate worship and leave the house of the Lord built up in their faith and challenged to live the godly life as they await the appearance of Christ in glory.

In contrast, how discouraging to see a church where many of the members are absent due to a lack of interest or because they have made other plans which they deem more important than attending corporate worship. A football or rugby team will not be highly motivated and do well on the sports field if players cannot be relied upon to practise. In the church, we are dealing with eternal issues and we cannot afford to be absent for frivolous reasons.

When Christians, however, make a determined effort to be present in the house of the Lord when the Word is being preached, their presence is a great encouragement to fellow Christians as well as to their pastor.

The sentiment that David expressed in Psalm 122:1 ought to be that of every believer who loves Christ: 'I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord!". What joy and mutual encouragement accompany those who gladly gather together on the Lord's Day to worship the Lord.

Reason 5: Keeping the Lord's Day special will result in greater worship of the Triune God, in which he and the church are uniquely blessed.

The worship of our Triune God is paramount. This is our primary focus in the Lord's Day services. Benefits accompany the exercise of corporate worship. God is praised and we are blessed. God's people have been given a variety of spiritual gifts, many of which can be used on the Lord's Day. For example, there are the gifts of teaching, of united intercession for missions and for countries in dire need. Christians are not only part of a local body of believers, but are members of the universal body of Christ, all of whom gather round the throne of grace on the Lord's Day; as the prophet Malachi declares, 'For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.' (Mal 1:11). What joy to know that when we gather together to worship the Lord on the Lord's Day we are but a small part of the greater universal church of the Lord Jesus Christ who are meeting to glorify His name and minister to one another in love.

This love for one another evidences itself in vital and practical ways such as extending hospitality to visitors, to students, to those from abroad, and to those whose lives may be lonely. Such hospitality brings with it a wealth of spiritual blessing.

How pleased Christ must be when he sees this happening within his Church! How blessed the church where the membership faithfully keeps the Lord's Day special and includes in it the valuable ministry of hospitality.

Reason 6: Keeping the Lord's Day special will result in many spiritual and physical benefits.

Keeping the Lord's Day special will undoubtedly lead to spiritual growth. The Word of God is the primary means of grace and spiritual growth in our lives. In every sermon that is carefully and prayerfully prepared, you can be assured that God has a word for you specifically which is designed for your wellbeing.

It is a great error to imagine that we are strong in doctrine and know well the central truths of Christianity and therefore do not need to sit under the ministry of the Word on the Lord's Day. Those who neglect the gathering of the saints on the Lord's Day are vulnerable to being led astray by false doctrine. The cults are always at work, ready to deceive the backslidden Christian, the weak and ill-informed. There are subtle twists in their teaching which undermine and destroy the central doctrine of justification by faith alone. That is why the apostle Paul is adamant that all believers need to be built up in their faith. Look at his exhortation:

'And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.' (Eph 4:11-15).

The Lord's Day is the unrivalled time for this building up to take place so that we may withstand the false doctrine that floods this world in which we live. I challenge you! Are you being built up in this way? How can the building up of the body of Christ progress if you do not regard the Lord's Day as special, since that is the day when the means of grace is in full supply. The English Puritans represent the strongest and best taught body of believers in history. They loved the Lord's Day with a passion and called it 'the Market Day of the Soul.' Christians who value the Lord's Day and make use of the means of grace, which is in rich supply through the preaching of the Word, will grow spiritually stronger and be able to stand firm against the winds of false doctrine and deception.

While there is a harvesting of spiritual benefits on the Lord's Day, one must not forget the tremendous physical benefits that are wrapped up as a real gift from the Lord on this, his special day. It is a medical fact that the human body and soul need to rest if we are to function at optimum level. Working seven days a week continuously will soon lead to physical exhaustion, lower immune levels and possibly mental breakdown. We need time to rest. God has designed us so that we need to sleep at night and take a total break from our normal work routine one in seven days. Resting from normal work commitments on one day a week releases the body and soul from much stress and recharges the body.

Physically, psychologically and spiritually, we benefit when we keep the Lord's Day special. Why then should you fail to place a high priority on setting aside the Lord's Day for the spiritual and practical purposes He has intended? What a waste of a valuable gift if we fail to keep it special!

Have you ever read in the newspaper of an item being advertised with the words, 'Unwanted Gift'? When we fail to keep the Lord's Day special we are advertising to heaven that it is an unwanted gift. This sends out a message that we prefer to do things our way and not God's way. We will be the ones to suffer as a result. But when we keep the Lord's Day special, we show our appreciation for this wonderful gift of God. Not only is he glorified but we reap the spiritual and physical benefits that God has in store for us in honouring him on the Lord's Day! Is that not what you want?

Reason 7: Keeping the Lord's Day special is of great influence in the salvation of children.

There are over 400 references to children in the Bible. This tells us how important children are in God's eyes. He expects children to be taught the Word of God by believing parents. In Deuteronomy 6:6-7 he says, 'And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children.' In Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.' It is clear from these Scriptures that God desires parents to teach their children the Word of God and so point them to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Parents do that by teaching their children during family worship time in the home. Another important way is by setting a faithful example in keeping the Lord's Day holy, i.e. teaching your children that when it comes to deciding between a school sports game on Sunday and going to church to worship God, God comes first.

By way of personal testimony I can look back on the faithfulness of my parents in honouring the Lord's Day. They impressed upon us as children the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy, of setting aside the Lord's Day for worship. This left a strong impression upon me as I grew up. Even in my rebellious years when away from home, while studying at university, I consistently attended corporate worship services in the local church nearby. It was this that kept me from hardening my heart even more against the Lord. As an unconverted young man, I sat and listened to the Word of God which when received with meekness is able to save one's soul from sin and eternal ruin. I was in due course saved by God's grace when I repented of my sin and trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. As I look back now and reflect on the means God used to bring me to himself, I am completely persuaded that the teaching we received as children - that the Lord's Day is special and needs to be honoured - was a vital means in preserving my soul from eternal destruction and ruin. Keeping the Lord's Day special is of great influence in the salvation of children.

Reason 8: Keeping the Lord's Day special magnifies the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Why do Christians celebrate the Sabbath day on a Sunday and not a Saturday like the Jews? The answer is that Jesus has fulfilled the strict requirements of the law. Colossians 2:16-17 tells us that the Jewish practice of celebrating their festivals, new moon celebrations and Sabbaths has been fulfilled in Christ. He is the essence and substance of Old Covenant worship. Now that he has come and offered up his life as a sacrifice on the cross, the Old Covenant has been done away with and a New Covenant has been inaugurated. That the old Covenant has been done away with is clear from Hebrews 8:13 which says, 'In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete'. It is, therefore, no longer required that Christians worship on the Jewish Sabbath, namely Saturday, and subscribe to its exacting restrictions.ii

While the Jewish Sabbaths and feast days have been fulfilled in Christ and Christians are no longer obligated to keep them, it is quite clear that the moral principle of setting aside one day in seven to worship God has never been abrogated. We need to remember that the Sabbath Day of rest is a creational ordinance and not peculiar to the law given to Moses.

The early Church, for good reason, chose the first day of the week to worship the Lord Jesus (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2). The first day of the week was special for Christians. The apostle John wrote, 'I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day' (Rev 1:10). The Greek literally means 'the Lordly Day'. Lordly here is an adjective describing the nature of that day, the day when Christ exercises his Lordship. It is true that he rules all days but this day is sanctified, that is set apart and special, 'the Lordly Day'.

Why did the early Christians keep the first day of the week? There is no doubt that it was to celebrate the victory of the Lord Jesus Christ over death. It was a day for the corporate celebration of the saving work of Christ through his resurrection from the dead.

It is of no small significance that Christ Jesus appeared to his disciples in his resurrected body a number of times on the first day of the week. Added to this, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the Church on the first day of the week as they met to worship God. It was on that day that the apostle Peter preached the magnificent, Spirit-anointed message that was used for the conversion of 3000 people (Acts 2:1-41).

Surely all this is substantial evidence that the Sabbath day for a Christian is now the first day of the week, which magnifies the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is therefore with joy and gladness of heart that we go to worship the Lord Jesus on his Day, the first day of the week. In this way we sound out the victory he has achieved over Satan, sin and death itself. These wonderful words of the Psalm ought to echo in our hearts as we think of the Lord's Day, 'This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it' (Ps 118:24).

Reason 9: Keeping the Lord's Day special is fundamental in spurring us on toward heavenly glory

The book of Hebrews was written to encourage the Hebrew Christians to persevere in their faith despite the trials and suffering they were enduring. One of the arguments that the writer uses to encourage these Christians was the fact that though the people of Israel had entered the Promised Land, the rest God spoke about was yet to come. He writes in Hebrews 4:8-9, 'For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.' In that same chapter in v11 he says, 'Let us therefore strive to enter that rest.'

What rest is he talking about? Some argue that it is the rest one receives in Jesus Christ when one ceases to work or trust in one's own efforts for salvation. That is only partly true. In believing in Christ we do find rest for our burdened souls weighed down by sin. Our sins are forgiven; we have peace with God and gain assurance of our eternal salvation. The shed blood of Christ on the cross has fully satisfied the demands of the law against us because of our sin. By humbly acknowledging one's sin before God and trusting in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ one is immediately justified and declared righteous before God for all time and eternity. The law can longer condemn the Christian who is now under grace. Yet that salvation Christ has purchased includes the grace we need to persevere in our faith until we reach eternal glory. And how we need this grace of God every moment and day of our lives! We know that as Christians, we still have to strive against sin and unbelief which harass our souls day by day. There is still much progress that needs to be made in the area of sanctification and becoming more like Christ. The writer to the Hebrews knows this and so he exhorts Christians to continue striving to enter the coming rest. What rest can that be other than our eternal rest that we will enjoy in glory? And so the Christian presses on through faith in his walk with Christ. He looks forward with eager anticipation to his eternal glory and rest to come: a rest from the struggle against sin; a rest from the temptations of Satan and a rest from the opposition he faces in this unbelieving world. This is the rest the writer to the Hebrews is exhorting believers to strive to enter.

The Sabbath day then is meant to be a foretaste of heavenly glory and eternal rest. It is a reminder to us of the need to persevere until we enter that rest above. The Word of God is preached on the Lord's Day and is a vital means of grace needed to spur us on in our faith. Knowing this can we afford to throw this crucial distinction away and say that the Lord's Day is like every other day? No! We stand to lose much in doing so. We must therefore hold fast to the belief that the Lord's Day is the Christian Sabbath and fundamental in spurring the Christian on toward heavenly glory and rest.

Reason 10: Keeping the Lord's Day special receives God's special blessing.

Another great reason for keeping the Lord's Day special is that we gain the reward of what God has promised to those who honour him in this way. When God makes a promise he keeps it. This is what he promises:

'If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honourable; if you honour it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken' (Isa 58:13).

Here is a promise given to God's people, that if they delight in him on the Sabbath, take their minds off themselves, their business pursuits, their pleasures, and make this day holy, using the time to worship God and to build one another up through godly conversation, then he will prosper them. They will ride on the heights. In other words they will be spiritually revived. They will be lifted up with renewed strength and vigour. They will enjoy God and find greater delight in him.

Matthew Henry in commenting on this verse said, 'The more pleasure we take in serving God the more pleasure we shall find in it. If we go about duty with cheerfulness, we shall go from it with satisfaction and shall have reason to say, "It is good to be here, good to draw near to God."iii Have you not found this to be true in your own life? When you have been to worship God on the Lord's Day with the right attitude, you have come away joyful, refreshed and blessed to have been among God's people and in the presence of Christ Himself who promises to be with his people when they meet in his name (Matt 18:20). What a wonderful promise this is then for believers - a promise that God will keep to those who through faith walk in obedience to his commands.

We have an example of this promise of God being honoured from the life of the athlete, Eric Liddell. Here is a testimony to this dedicated man of God.iv

During the summer of 1924, the Olympics were hosted by the city of Paris. Liddell was a committed Christian and refused to race on Sunday, with the consequence that he was forced to withdraw from the 100-metre race, his best event. While his British compatriots were competing in the race, he was in attendance at the Scots Presbyterian Church in Paris. Liddell ran in the 200-metre later on in the week and managed to win the bronze medal. He also qualified for the 400-metre final to be run on the Friday. On that morning back at the team headquarters Eric received a note from a team masseur in which he wrote the text from 1 Samuel 2:30, 'Those who honour me I will honour', referring to his decision not to run on Sundays. This note made a deep impression on him and proved to be a great encouragement to him. When the starter's pistol cracked Eric Liddell set off at optimum speed which seemed to some to be the height of folly. However Liddell kept up the pace and not only won the race but broke the existing world record with a time of 47.6 seconds. Horatio Fitch, the world record holder in the 400-metre race up until then, had struggled in vain to catch him. This was his testimony of that race: 'I could not believe a man could set such a pace and finish.He had sprinted the entire race, an unusual feat because most coaches believed then that a runner could not sprint 400 yards. Liddell did not weaken'.

What a testimony of a man who loved the Lord Jesus dearly and honoured him by keeping the Lord's Day special. What a testimony to God who honoured his promise by giving Eric Liddell the strength and stamina to run with unusual pace and power in a much more demanding race.

God is true to his promise. It requires faith on the believer's part to obey. Sometimes you may think, 'I cannot afford not to work on a Sunday. I have so much to do.' But faith trusts God to provide wisdom and strength to use the six days he has given to meet our work commitments. Faith takes a stand when it comes to the Lord's Day and says to demanding employers, 'God first and then my work'. Faith delights in Christ and His work of salvation. Faith rejoices in the incredible privilege to gather together on the Lords' Day and worship Jesus as Lord over all. Faith responds to God in anticipation of the Lord's Day in the words of the Psalmist 'How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord.' (Psalm 84:1-2). Faith puts God, Christ and His Word above all else on the Lord's Day - above work, above sport, above shopping, above entertainment. Faith values and guards the priceless gift and special treasure of the Lord's Day, a day given for our benefit and for God's glory.

Someone may ask at this point, 'But does this mean I can't watch T.V on a Sunday? I can't kick the football around on the lawn? I can't travel on Sunday? I can't buy a newspaper?' Here we need to be careful of turning certain applications one person may draw for himself into universal commandments for all Christians everywhere. That is certainly not the intention of God concerning the Lord's Day for a Christian. We must be careful that the pleasure and joy of keeping this day holy are not replaced by legalistic rules that God has never given us. That is where the Pharisees went wrong. Rather we ought to approach the Lord's Day with a sense of delight by asking not, 'What can't I do?' but rather 'What can I do for God's glory on this special day?' That makes all the difference! Then we can rejoice! We think to ourselves, 'Well, first I have the privilege and joy of going to church and worshipping with God's people. I have the pleasure of using my gifts to minister to others. I can open my home for hospitality to visitors to church on the Lord's Day. I can visit the sick and needy. I can go out and enjoy the beauty of God's creation by walking through a park or enjoying a picnic with family and friends. I can spend a little more time reading my Bible, meditating upon it or enjoying a good Christian book.' There is so much we can do on the Lord's Day to make it special.

Whatever we do though, the principle that the Lord's Day is special and set aside for our good cannot change. It has been given by God to us when he created the world that his people, those who would put their faith and trust in him, might become spiritually healthy, holy, and effective as witnesses for him. It is God the Father we honour then on this day. It is his Son, Jesus Christ our risen Lord and Saviour, we worship and adore on this day. It is through the Holy Spirit that we are filled with joy as we celebrate the blessings and grace the Lord's Day brings to every believing heart. It is then a priceless gift which we must value highly and cherish with grateful and thankful hearts.

What will your response be to the priceless gift of the Lord's Day?

Here are ten reasons why the Lord's Day is special and needs to be valued and guarded from compromise and worldliness. How important is this to you? Will you thank the Lord for the precious gift of the Lord's Day? Will you commit yourself to making this day special for yourself and for your family members? Barring ill-health, will you commit yourself to making every effort to be among fellow believers in corporate worship services on the Lord's Day? Will you seek to use your gifts and abilities among fellow believers on the Lord's Day? Will you commit yourself to practising hospitality, to fellowshipping with and encouraging fellow believers on the Lord's Day? Will you commit to praying for the universal church on the Lord's Day? Will you call the Lord's Day a delight to your soul and seek to guard it from worldly intrusions that seek to rob you of the joy and blessing to be received by keeping this day special?

If you will humble yourself before the Lord, thank and praise Him for His special day and resolve to be committed in honouring Him on it to the best of your ability, you can be sure of this: you will be honoured in God's eyes. The Lord has promised, 'Those who honour me, I will honour'.

May God be pleased to revive our hearts as believers that we might indeed call the Lord's Day a delight to our souls.

The Sin of Spectating

Authored by: Dianne Louwrens


No, this is not an article condemning you for going to your favourite sporting event, or being a couch potato during the Olympics, and I write this as much to myself as I do to you. The spectating I refer to is the watching of the many, the efforts of the few, trying to accomplish all for the Kingdom. Scripture is full of verbs ('doing words' as one English teacher explained). It tells us we are to 'go', to 'run the race', to 'pick up our cross', to 'endure', to 'suffer', to 'rejoice', to 'glorify', to 'persevere'... you get the picture. But nowhere in Scripture have I seen it said that we are to spectate, to be bystanders, watching others run the race (offering helpful comments and suggestions as to how they might run it better), and do all the other things we, as followers of Christ, are commanded to do.

The only thing we are commanded to watch is ourselves, our tongue, our hearts, our eyes, ears. Do we get it? We are to watch OURSELVES, not others.

In the military, we have Commanding Officers and a chain of command. They order, we do, usually without questioning. If we fail to obey an order, we expect to be punished; we bear the consequences of our decisions or our laziness. It would be unthinkable to say to the Captain of the ship that we can't plot the course of the ship right now as we don't feel like it; we don't think we can do it; we don't have the time; sorry sir, it is not my gifting.

When we joined up and signed on, we received training in areas we showed aptitude for, we were pushed to try out new things, to think outside the box, to take the plunge as it were. We learned what was in the training manual, applied it, and so gained confidence as we grew in our abilities. We had faith in those who wrote the manual.

So why, oh why, is it so difficult for us to apply what we read in Scripture? Probably because most of us have never read it. It is the instruction manual for our lives written by our Maker, our battle plan from our Commander in Chief, the final authority and infallible Word of God.

We are involved in a spiritual battle, but yet when we are commanded by God Himself to go and do/run, we have no problem whatsoever in saying 'I can't/won't; too young; too old; too tired; too sick; not qualified; technically challenged or I just plain don't feel like doing it.

We actually think that we can tell our Creator that in our humble (and usually it is exactly the opposite) opinion, we think He has made a terrible mistake, we just don't have what it takes, can't He see?

We are, in effect, calling God a liar, because even though we are told ALL have been given gifts and abilities, we think He doesn't mean us, or that somehow we are exempt. We are like the whining child: "why me, why can't he do it?"

And somehow we think we are not going to be punished for our disobedience; we dare to be genuinely amazed when we are disciplined.

A good example of this is Moses in Exodus 4 when God commanded him to go, he whined, he made excuses, to the point that verse 14 tells us that the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses. When Moses starts asking how is he going to convince the people, the Lord says to him "What is that in your hand?" He had already equipped Moses with what he needed. We are told in many places in Scripture that we have been given all we need to accomplish:

1 Peter 4:10-11 ESV : As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies-in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Romans 12:3-8 ESV (and I will highlight the important verses):.... For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them......

1 Corinthians 7:7 ESV : I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. 1 Corinthians 12:7 ESV: To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

As you read this, you might well be thinking: "But you don't understand my circumstances." You are right, I don't, but what I do know is that one day we will have to give an account of what we have or have not done with that which the Lord has given us. You can try and justify yourself to, for example, your Pastor or whoever else, but know this, one day you will stand before Christ Himself and have to give your excuses. And that includes me!

In James, we are clearly told that faith without works is dead. That does not mean we can earn our salvation by doing good, far from it. We are saved by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and as a result of that, we should be desiring to show our gratitude by doing.. There is that verb again. James 2: 14-26 (and I will only quote vs 14) : 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have work...

Christianity is not a spectator sport! We need to get serious about applying Scripture to our lives; we need to get up and go and DO as the Lord gives us the ability, whether it is in our church, local MCF, or daring to step out in faith and help with the huge task that lies ahead - the World Conference.

A Message from the SAMCF President

Authored by: Owen Witbooi


Isaiah 43:18-19 "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I'm doing a new thing..'

To dwell means to stay or continue in a given condition or state. It is shocking to observe how people dwell in the past, how people carry grudges against each other in their hearts for decades. To dwell in the past indicates that a person is living in unforgiveness. To live in unforgiveness indicates that a person is dwelling in the kingdom of darkness (flesh). It indicates that one is walking with the back facing the future. Unforgiveness could be the cause of many diseases and psychological conditions. The Bible says our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of darkness and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph 6: 13). If we harbor unforgiveness in our hearts, we are on the devil's territory because God's word says our struggle is not against each other.

The Military is not a place where peace prevails. It is a very hostile environment, because people are working for long periods in close proximity of one another in a challenging environment. When more than one person works in the same environment, turmoil is quite often the order of the day. The problem is that people allow negative forces to control their lives. So many Christians also allow negative forces to control their lives. Christians serving in the military need to allow the Holy Spirit to be in control of their lives. Going to church every Sunday does not make one a Christian. A true Christian has a relationship with God. Once one has a relationship with God, the conviction of the Holy Spirit leads to obedience. This will lead to forgiveness, which is a trait of the Kingdom of God. To dwell in the Kingdom of God give rise to the fruit of the Spirit that will become evident in our lives.

Christians in the military please arise!! Come out of the "submarines under the water". Come to the surface where you can add value to the Kingdom of God. Ignite the fire of respect and love. Walk in front. Lead the way. God is busy doing a new thing.

Shalom