Monthly Archives: November 2011

Advent and the Second Advent

I find this an exciting time of the year. Advent, that time when once again we reflect on God’s timetable as He prepared for His son to come into the world as the God/man. It is a time to remember the promises liberally sprinkled throughout the whole Old Testament: from the mysterious Genesis 3:15  And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” through to the glorious Isaiah 11, “1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—  and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.”

Advent is a time that reminds us of God’s faithfulness and the perfection of His timing. This is important, as right now we are in the midst of a second advent, we too are waiting for the God/man to come, but not as a tiny baby but as a glorious and triumphant king. So as we wait, sometimes impatiently, the first advent reminds us that God’s plans and timing are perfect.

So in the words of James,  “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming.”

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The Calling

Some further thoughts on Jesus’ calling of his disciples

Matt 4:18-22

I have always been amazed at the swiftness with which Peter, Andrew, James and John responded to Jesus’ call. O.k. it was Spirit inspired, but from a human perspective it was an amazing human decision. One, frankly, that I envy.

The irony that I find in my life is that the “faith” decision has never seemed difficult. Partly, I believe, because my parents and theirs had walked the same path. It was the “normal” path to follow. It was path that grew from a very age. Faith, worldview, ethics and the like have been, on the whole, the “easy ” decisions.

The choices I find difficult are the day to day choices. What calling should I (have) follow(ed), what decision should I make about both important life choices and minor ones. It is these I find that leave me to-ing and fro-ing. There are no snap decisions here!

However the joy is, whatever decision I make in the latter category, it is the first, faith, that gives me a comfort and calmness, that no matter what choices I make, God is always in control.

Still, I envy Peter’s ability to make a life changing, career changing, snap decision!

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The Christmas Poems – alternate angles

The Christmas Poems

Now that the Advent season has begun, I think I have finished my Christmas poems but if any readers have ideas that they would like me to pursue, please pass them on. It has been a lot of fun!

The series of poems can be found under “The Christmas Poems” category. Or click the link.


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Self Esteem vs “In Christ”

As parents and teachers we often try to instill self esteem in our children. “You are valuable”, “Your are unique”, “You are special” and so on. And there is some truth to each of these. However, to a large degree they are only half truths and these half truths can be dangerous because they can feed our human arrogance and self obsession that already dominates our age. Just note all the advertisements that push the idea that “You are the most important person in the world.” This goes directly against the Christian message of “loving the other” and service; agape love.

If you search the Scriptures for the phrase “in Christ” it becomes obvious that the apostle Paul uses this extensively. For example in Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Paul tells us that our esteem comes not from self but from faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The value we have as human beings is directly linked to the being and actions of Christ. He is the foundation of our value and purpose as a human being.

So when we tell our children they are special we should not leave out the foundation of that    value. It is Jesus who paid for us and redeemed us. Or to put it more bluntly, esteem outside of Christ is self delusion.

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The Innkeeper – Correcting the record

I’ve been given a bum wrap.
On the night in question
I’d gone to bed early.
The place was full
‘coz of this census thing.
I’ d been busy all day
fetchin’ this and 
and sortin’ that.
And I turned in.
I was bushed.
Now I find I am blamed
for leaving the Messiah
out in the cold.
How was I to know!
It’s not my fault!
The girl at the desk
(a bird brain!)
Never told me.
She told the pregnant lady
and her husband
to use the back shed.
I woulda had more
respect than that.
Years later 
people still blame me.
Matthew doesn’t mention me.
Neither does Luke.
But people
once again
jump to 
the wrong conclusions,
like they do so often.
It coulda been done better.
But still,
how many people can say
the Saviour was born
behind their pub!
Categories: christian, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Poem, poetry, The Christmas Poems, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Magi – another Christmas Poem

They laughed behind their hands
when we set off.
Our camels loaded.
What will it be?
A king?
A child?
A what?
We headed westward
with anticipation
and gifts.
The omen was clear
shining in the sky –
our compass and guide.
All of our studies seemed
what if we found
no child
no king?
Could we return?
Our reputations a joke!
But “something”
was felt by us all
as we travelled
the long miles west.
We found a king
in Jerusalem.
Too old,
Too mean,
Too unwise.
We vowed not
to return this way.
We stargazed on
and came
to a man, woman and child.
No pretensions.
but ALIVE!
Then we knew!
We were sure!
The child, king , messiah
was found.
We could return home
with stories
with hope
… and our reputations.
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How Would You React?

Fishing Boat Returning at Dusk

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him. Mark 1:16-20

My devotional book this morning asked me how I would have responded to Jesus when he made his call to Peter and the others. How would I have answered when he said, “Come, follow me.” I’d love to think that, like Peter, I would have dropped everything and heeded the call. The reality is, I like to mull things over. I don’t like making rash decisions on the spur of the moment, certainly not about important issues such as faith.

Maybe, I thought to myself, these fishermen had heard about Jesus and this was the last hurdle – Jesus’ personal call. Whatever the reality, they heard and responded. Their journey wasn’t a smooth downhill coast from there, yet they persevered. Yes, God had prepared them with His Holy Spirit and the truth is, every Christian since has been blessed because of their obedience to Jesus call. The Word has been spread, the church expanded and faith multiplied through their faithfulness.

This leaves me with two thoughts. For me, I am glad that I grew up in a Christian family and this call came quietly and steadily over many years. My faith grew incrementally. There was no command that required my instant obedience. God, in His grace, worked around my cautious character, nurturing me step by step in the midst of my family. My second thought reflects on the blessing that we have received from the obedience of God’s people in the past, whether the disciples, parents and grandparents, or other faithful Christians. Their investment of time, effort and often their lives, has left us with an amazing heritage. Will future generations be blessed through our heeding of God’s call?

So, Jesus says, “Come, follow me.” O.k. you’ve had time to think about it. What is your answer?

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A Prayer for Today

Day by day, dear Lord, of thee

three things I pray:

to see thee more clearly,

love thee more dearly,

follow thee more nearly,

day by day.


Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)
From The Lion Book of Children’s Prayer
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A Lesson from “Midnight in Paris”

Last night my wife and I went to see “Midnight in Paris.” It was “Back to the Future” for arty types. Like most Woody Allen films it was (in my humble opinion) a trifling diversion. The film left me with one lasting thought however, and that is, there is a human tendency towards nostalgia – a longing to look back at the past through rose coloured glasses and wishing it to return.

Christians suffer from the same syndrome. “The churches were fuller then.” “People lived Christian lives.” “Faith was respected in those days.” … and so on. We hearken back to a golden era when we perceive life to have been better.

The Christian faith, however, has never been a backward looking faith. From its roots in the Old Testment it is a forward looking faith. The people of God in the OT were to look forward to a land, nation, city and messiah.  Now we are to look forward to a new heaven and earth, the realisation of the kingdom,  and the return of the king. God commands us to be active in preparing the the way for the king’s return. We are encouraged to look forward in hope, anticipation and faith. Jesus’ return will not happen by facing the past, but rather by knowing the past, we face the future as we also know he will come from that direction.

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The Blank Slate

I’m new.
A blank slate
waiting for a life to be written over me.
I’m new, fresh
longing to know love
and family,
hope, home and future.
Mum, dad,
what will you write?
Will it be with intention
with hope and vision?
Will it be in the warm love
of family? 
Will you tell me
where the limits are,
the boundaries,
beyond which I may be hurt
and mis-shaped?
Will you show me
how to be wise;
how to make decisions well,
and how to live life
to the full?
I don’t know
what to expect;
what to be wary of.
Will you tell me,
hold my hand and
warn me,
and love me with a firm love?
Or will you let me walk and wander
on my own,
with no paths,
or guide?
Mum, dad,
what will you do?
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