Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Month: December, 2005

All you need is love…

I’ve been thinking about stuff these days. I was thinking about the love of God. Us soteriologically reformed folk have a bit of a tendency to gloss over the love of God. We probably do that as an automatic reaction to some of the things we don’t like to see in the church these days. One of the biggest and most permeating subjects in the Bible is the incredible love of God. I think there is a distinction in the love God has for people. Kind of a special and a common love. God has common love given to all people where He gives them mercy in allowing them to live and treasures them as His creation. Special love is for those who have (or will) place their life in the hands of Jesus and value Him above all else. This love motivates the promises in Scripture and caused God to send His Son. When we think of the love of God we must be sure to relate it to His other glorious attributes. Let’s think about it for a second. First we assume that you, the reader, are in the Beloved. That from eternity past God set His special love on you.

God is Holy – You are not. Imagine the greatness of the affection God must have toward you if He decided to love you before you ever considered being clean.
God is Sovereign – Since God loves you He desires your good. Since God is sovereign He is able to work all things together for your good. Everything. A.W. Tozer made the point that nothing can hurt a good man. That is, a man on whom God has set His special love. Even death itself works for your good. If we could grasp this all fear and anxiety would go away. The One who controls the motions of the stars and gives life to all creatures of the earth and laid the foundations of the Universe is your friend. Jesus Himself calls us friends. Who can put fear in us or what problem can give us stress, when this thought is in our hearts?
God is Omniscient – You cannot surprise God; He already knows you inside-out. Before you were born God saw you commit your worst sin. He heard you blaspheme before you could utter a word. All the bad you have ever done or could ever do, He already knew about and He still set His love on you. No sin you can commit will ever catch Him off guard and cause Him to re-think His relationship with you. Nothing can separate you from His love.
God is Omnipresent – You are never alone. The greatest friend in the universe is by your side. No matter what your situation, no matter where you’ve gone or what dear friend may have left you, God never can leave you. There is a saying in this country that says ‘God is closer to you than your jugular vein.’ How true it is.
God is Immutable – His emotions don’t change with the tide. He doesn’t have bad days. He will never forget His promise to you and His feelings toward you will never change. He will always feel about you the same way He did before he laid the foundations of the earth.
God is Eternal – He will never stop lavishing Him love on you. Never. What an odd word. It describes something that we cannot understand because everything around us fades, fails and dies. God’s love to you will never fade. His affection will always be burning toward you and you will always be His dear prized possession.
God is Wise – He knows exactly how to maximize your joy and comfort as the eons and ages of eternity roll by. He has nothing planned in your life but that which will work for your eventual happiness. His plans are perfect. There is nothing beyond His staggeringly wise mind. The infinite intellect of God has set itself to plan an eternity in which you are infinitely happy and He is infinitely glorified.

A preacher once said that the point of preaching is to make believers happy and unbelievers sad. If you are in the Beloved and you consider the love God has for you I know it will bring joy and drive away whatever crap is bugging you.

One more little note before I go. I got a call from Todd. That’s right, I talked to Todd himself. Get Google Talk. I kid you not, the sound was crisp and clean. There was no delay in the talking. I still have to get some of the bugs out, but it’s showing promise! Get it. If you know me and have Gmail then my name will already be on your list. Talk to ya later!

On sale at K–mart…

The twitching eye was due to the sudden realization that Shan, a wise and sensible Jedi Knight, was partially responsible for the destruction of an advanced and peaceful society and now was trapped on a desolate land with two lads of negative wit and a lab rat that had yet to be accounted for. You can well imagine the stress that overcame with jedi nerves so as to cause an eye twitch. He was struck with pangs of guilt and hopelessness, not knowing what to do. Then he had a quick nap and those feelings went away.
When he woke up he noticed that the whisper in the north-east was a little louder yet. He organized his little party to investigate. He stared for a little while at the 9th, and tried to imagine where he came from, but dismissed the thought because he knew what minds were writing the story and found it wise not to question, lest he be given his negative wit back. Off the little group went, Shan bravely walking in the front-center with his light-katana at ready (a very expensive version of a lightsaber, with a +3 for style damage), Barbjohn ruining the dramatic picture by hobbling behind him on the right while trying not to slip on his own drool, and the ever faithful 9th, who was also trying to figure out how he fit into the story. The lovely lab rat from Texas, however, still remains unaccounted for…

The Chicken Walla

How do ya buy chicken in Canada? Pretty simple, you go to Zehrs or No Frills and walk to the chicken section. You look at all the packages of chicken and select a size and cut you like. You pick it, you pay, you go home. Now, let’s look at the same operation in Pakistan.
First, you should try to use the same chicken walla every time you want some bird. This way he gets to know you so if you have any special requests it’s no problem. Also, because I get a ten rupee discount every time I go. Make sure you head out for the chicken early in the day, because that’s when you’ll get the best, freshest, least bug-ridden cuts. You sit down and the chicken walla’s stall, shoo the cat away and drink the chai he offers. Chat about the weather a bit, about school and Canada until he finally ashes how much bird yah want. He’ll then either grab a pre-killed bird from his rack or go get a fresh one and off it’s head while chanting “In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate”. With two or three deft movements he’ll behead, skin and clean the bird. You know he’s done it right when you see a headless, skinless, footloose, cutlass chicken still twitching on the scale as he weighs it out. Chop, chop, chop and into the bag it goes. Chicken it great when it was alive half an hour before you eat it. Meanwhile the guy at the vegetable stall next door keeps on interrupting to tell a complicated joke in Urdu, thankfully you can tell by his voice when the punch-line comes, so you laugh politely and get out of there.

It’s the little things that make the difference, eh?

Yesterday in my English class I asked the question “What is your biggest fear in life?” One man looked very serious and said, “My biggest fear is that when I die and see God He won’t forgive the big sins in my life.” I thought that was a very good, rational fear, eh? Almost all of the men in my English class are part of a special Islamic sect called Qadiani or Ahmediyya. Orthodox Muslims call them Kafrs, infidels. All Muslims believe that one day Jesus will return to judge the earth. The Qadianis believe that he has already returned in the form of another prophet just a few decades ago. The men tell me that their motto as Qadianis is “Love to all, hatred to none.” It’s difficult for these people in this country. You know, every government document or application includes a spot for religion. There are four main religions to choose from. Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Qadiani. If you choose Muslim you must also check a little box that says “I believe that the Qadianis are not Muslims and do not follow Islam.” or something to that effect. Pray for these people.

Before I go, I want to invite you all to ask some questions about this country, or about some of our experiences here. Is there anything about Pakistan or Pakistanis that you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask?

Cook out.

How best to breathe

Sighing to himself the way his great-great-great grandmother taught him, and wincing at the pain of such an endeavour, Shan disloged his left arm from the tree, and set about finding a suitable oxygen snail. barbJohn and barbJohn jr. the 9th, who will now be referred to as the 9th, (except in the case of a constitutional document, wherby he will be called Johanne) were both sniffing at a strange rock, though the 9th was more sound then barbJohn in his form and technique. Shan ripped an especially juicy slug from the tree and placed it behind his left ear. It definitely was not as good as a snail in the eye, but for the moment it was enough to keep him going. Jumping down to the ground he wheezed his way over to where his companions knelt, like hunting dogs over their prey. A hush came over the gathering, and Shan had the overwhelming urge to burst out in “Kumbi-ya”. Suddenly everything started to grow dim, and cold. A faint whisper in the north-east began to grow louder. His eye twitched involuntarily….