It takes the biscuit. If someone were to treat us the way people, and God’s people at that, have treated Him through the ages, we wouldn’t put up with it. We’d shut that person off, stop hanging round with them. Yet again we have great cause to be thankful that God doesn’t operate like us.
I have just been challenged and moved by a blog featuring a 76-year old bridge that strikes fear into the …
You see the descriptions of the kings in this book are hugely interesting to me. Let me start by saying most of the kings are gash, their opening descriptions telling us how evil they were and how they followed the evil perpetrated by their predecessors. But every now and then you find a king who did a bit better. 2 Kings tells us that these kings ‘did right in the eyes of the Lord.’ But then adds a caveat, usually that these kings did not get rid of the high places, the altars where the people worshiped other Gods.
The lack of television must have been a challenge to the marketing people of the day. One company in the UK came up with the idea of using chimpanzees to market their tea. In the small island where I lived the children could go along to a church hall or other venue on a Saturday morning to watch films for free. The chimpanzees featured heavily in the films along with the manufacturer’s tea. At the end of the morning there were free gifts, including samples of tea to take home to our families.
I nerf myself frequently. Through false modesty and insecurity. When I don’t dwell in Christ and let Him dwell in me, I nerf my God given gifts and abilities and their effectiveness. I lose my edge. When I could be the wielder of a double edged sword I more frequently choose a spoon.
The other night I worked a late shift at my other job. I got home at something like 1am. Now we have one of these PVC doors, which means that if you try and open it when there are keys in the other side you are not going to be met with the warmth of your home, and the sweet taste of unlocking success. That is exactly what happened on this early morn. I slid the key in but it would not budge. I contemplated falling to my knees, hands held aloft to the heavens, screaming ‘Anna why have you forsaken me’ but decided that, on this occasion, that would be overly dramatic.
Even people who are insecure about themselves are self centred thinkers, they must be. It might not be the most positive thinking but it’s about themselves. When Jesus told us to love others as much as we love ourselves was it just a command or was it also a satirical observation on the state of humanity?
I’m worried that I am more bothered about being right than I am about loving my fellow Christian. The problem is that, even when I am right, unless I have love and unless that love is obvious then no one is going to want to listen.
I have never claimed to agree with everything Bell says, but I respect him more than I do most leaders because of the way he handles his critics – he ignores them. He doesn’t engage in the argument, he doesn’t defend himself, he just gets on with what he believe God is calling him to do. So while most of his critics appear rude and obnoxious, Bell comes off as genuine and humble. These critics also lose credibility in my eyes for failing to adhere to the Biblical principle of challenging someone face to face, before publicly. Bell is still a fellow human and a fellow brother in Christ, and should be treated as such.
Sometimes massive stuff happens to us and knocks us right off our feet. Sometimes there is nothing we can do about it. Some things are just too big
My problem was how? How do I do life well? How can I live a life that pleases God? It must be possible, the bible talks about people who please Him. I found little success. I’d been taught that grace was only about being forgiven. Forgiveness is awesome, but on its own it can be a fresh start ready to be messed up again. My gratitude for God’s forgiveness didn’t seem to achieve much more than good intentions.
Having recognised this I have a choice. Do I wallow in self pity, wishing I could change that which is already set in stone? Or do I use it to motivate myself to not waste anything else and to make the most of every opportunity I get to advance God’s Kingdom. The trouble is that I will invariably waste as I attempt not too.
I don’t know about you but I want to contribute to life – I want a chance to give something of myself: to God, to my ‘neighbour’, to creation.
Four years ago Anna and I started trying for a baby. It didn’t happen and in August 2008, just before my 28th birthday, our worst fears were confirmed – an operation I’d had as a child had left me with a dramatically reduced sperm count. The first Doctor to inform us was obviously not to practised at giving bad news and muttered something about an occasional sperm without looking away from his computer screen, while my world fell apart.
God allowed Joseph to fester in a stinking prison for years, while Moses initially lived the life of luxury in a palace.
For over 30 years on this fine earth my teeth had done me proud. I literally bathed them in all manner of sugary goodness but they would not bend, break or snap. I followed up candy floss with full fat carbonated drinks morning, noon and night, but my faithful nashers remained solid.
God loves me. I know it. I know it in my bones, but more than that I see it. Demonstrated in a plethora of ways each and every day. Hang on. I just lied to you. I said I see it every day.
I said I know it.
At the same stage in my life I was more focused on my career and saving the money I needed to get married and purchase a home.
In that moment I was a mix of anger and despair. Anger because despite following the instructions it still didn’t work, and despair at being reminded that here was another simple task I could not perform. While my friend, God bless him, who has just moved in down the road is building shelves from old drawers, painting the house from top to bottom, working shifts and looking after two kids under three, I was struggling to patch a hole the size of a pinprick. And if I couldn’t do that, in what other arenas would I fail to live up to my designation as a man? I have already failed to provide my wife with a child, she is the main breadwinner, my lack of DIY nous means I am relegated to performing even simpler chores such as hovering, ironing and emptying the dishwasher.
I was broken, and I was furious. How could this happen? How could he do that? How could society allow that? How could God allow that?
I make no claim to literary genius, I am just beginning to peel back the oppression of ‘adulthood’ to let my creativity loose!
Waves of Grace
As I swim my life matches the rise and fall of the waves…
The thing is churches often flip that around and expect people to behave long before they believe and certainly before they belong. Not only is it pious to the extreme but also it’s heresy. Yeah you heard me, I did just go there.
Now we have a foundation for our latching. Now we can examine everything they say and do to make sure that they are a better Christian than us. Now we can hold them up as an example to everyone who thinks Christians aren’t cool! Take that heathens! Now we can judge them more harshly than we judge ourselves, and expect them to live a life second only to Jesus in terms of purity.
I have two beautiful nieces and one terrifying nephew. They are all under six and all hail from the same …