Monthly Archives: November 2012

Unity With God Through Christ

The other day a friend directed me to an article in Christianity Today:

The Key to a Purposeful Life (click to follow link)

It’s not imitating Christ, but union with him that makes the difference.

It is a great message on how we can be connected to God through Christ and how that in turn reflects in the way we can live our Christian life. The Author, Sarah Lebhar Hall begins by reflecting on our fears and dashed hopes and then states:

“The good news from the Scriptures is this: No follower of Jesus is an isolated entity, living out a solitary, potentially tragic plot line. The life story of a disciple is inextricably linked with the life story of Jesus.”
 

Another line that particularly jumped out at me:

“Because of our union with Jesus we can join the Trinity’s family embrace”  

What an amazing truth to reflect upon!

This article is both challenging and encouraging and well worth reading in its entirety.

Categories: Bible, christian, Christianity, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Old Testament Advent Poem No. 4

Moses a Slave Saviour Ex 3:10

Moses

plucked from slaves and rushes

and made a royal prince.

Became a prophet,

priest and leader “king”;

called to

set God’s people free.

A Saviour

who only saw

the Promised Land

from afar.

His rod would rule and save

to a point.

Moses, an imperfect shadow,

Of The Word

The Priest

And

The holy King

who would

set his people free

forever

in a Promised Land

to which he has risen,

to prepare.

Categories: Advent, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Poem, poetry | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

What God Gives

Today, a short quote from that feisty nun, Teresa of Avila.

It is certain that the love of God does not consist in tears, nor in this sweetness and tenderness which we for the most part desire, and with which we console ourselves; but rather in serving Him in justice, fortitude, and humility. That seems to me to be a receiving rather than a giving of anything on our part.

Teresa of Avila . The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus . Kindle Edition.

Categories: christian, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Teresa of Avila | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Muesli

It was Muesli’s 35th birthday yesterday. He has had numerous face transplants and repairs. He has also had some fancy clothes made for him over time. His internals have been replaced on a few occasions – coconut husk was replaced with rice. I have no idea what it is today. His eyes are still original – but slightly glazed.

Muesli on a holiday to Tasmania. That is his friend Hot Milk in the foreground.

At 35 Muesli is frail, precious and a constant companion to my second oldest daughter. Muesli is like a member of the family.

When my daughter was about one year old she discovered him in our local Chemist’s shop window in Tasmania, with the perfumes, cold remedies and lotions. In her one year old way she made sure my wife knew that she had fallen in love with him.

1977 was the year we celebrated Christmas a month early as we were going to be travelling on Christmas Day. That is how we remember that Muesli has his birthday on the 25th of November. He was a special gift that year. Since then Muesli has travelled far and wide. Without a doubt he must be one of the most constant companions anyone has ever had. Every now and then he comes home so my wife can repair him or give him a face transplant.

Muesli is the elder statesman of a collection of inanimate but very real companions in our family. Fiona, Jessica and Grover are just some of the others. And do I have one? Do I have a cute stuffy toy to drag around like some toddler!? Excuse me! I am a respectable 62 year old teacher and ex – pastor. I have a reputation to maintain. Umm,  Sequoia is a cute little brown bear cub I found in the Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Park in California. He has been travelling with me since 2003. My kids have brought me up well.

Categories: Family, Reflections, Toys, Travel | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Old Testament Advent Poem No. 3

The Lion and the Sceptre Genesis 49:10

From father to son,
and father to son,
the king rules.

Long live the King!

With Sceptre,
the staff of authority
the honour continues
from regal generation
to regal generation.

The kingdom rises
and falls.

God’s promise
persists.

But we wait,
and wait
for the ultimate king.
The king!
The Lion will rule with
the wand of real power
over all nations
for eternity.

Categories: Advent, christian, Christianity, Faith, Poem, poetry | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Fickleness of the Human Heart

At an unearthly hour this morning I was awoken from my precious slumber by screaming and caterwauling as a domestic dispute turned the air blue a few houses away. This was a very unusual experience in our quiet neighbourhood. What makes two people who must have had some attraction towards each other descend into such an undignified and vicious state?

But even “respectable” people have disputes, that may not be so public, but are just as deeply broken.

In Dutch church history there was an ongoing debate about “presumptive regeneration” that continued through church synods in World War 2 even as the Germans occupied Holland and people starved and died through the “hunger winter” of 1944. It caused the church to divide.

The human heart, created for relationships, struggles to maintain them. Pride, greed, envy ( add your own special weakness) weasel their way in to destroy marriages, friendships, churches, businesses and so on.

Yet the triune God is a being of relationship. Relationship is at the very heart of our creator. The understanding of the trinity is one of the key factors that differentiates the Christian understanding of God to that of Muslim and Jew. It is an important understanding because it is in our God’s very nature to restore and heal broken relationships – with Him and with each other.

Christ’s sacrifice, God’s amazing love,  reveals to us  just how important restored relationships are to Him.

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The Christmas Poems from 2011

Last year in my Christmas poems I tried, with a number of them, to look at Christmas from the point of view of some of the participants. I have never before had so much fun writing poetry. It was a treat trying to get into the heads of these characters. Some of the ideas came from the Bible and others from my imagination.

What Lord?

The Innkeeper – Correcting the record

The Shepherds – a narrative

The Magi – another Christmas Poem

Immanuel

So You Think …

Advent – the joy of expectation

Categories: christian, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Poem, poetry, The Christmas Poems, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

My Nomination for the Worst Song Ever Written

My nomination is: John Lennon’s “Imagine”

“But it argues for peace and harmony,” you might protest. I’ll give you my reasons. It is not because it is boring and maudlin, although that might be reason enough. It is not because it is played ad-nauseum, for some reason, at Advent and Christmas time.

My main reason is because it destroys hope in the very first verse:

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

It might seem easy to sweep away heaven and hell but in the process Lennon brushes aside a transcendent God who comes to earth to deal with the causes of war, conflict, brokenness and death. To create harmony we need to deal with the cause of our disharmony – our brokenness. Lennon’s approach is akin to putting a bandaid over an infection without dealing with the underlying problem.

Advent and Christmas are reminders that we have God whose desire is to heal our brokenness – to go to the cause of our human illness. He sacrificed His son for our brokenness. This goes beyond “living for today” and leads to an eternity of perfection, peace and joy.

OK, it may not be the worst song ever but it is certainly shallow and not at all fitting for a time when we celebrate the incarnation of God.

Categories: christian, Christianity, Faith, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments

Old Testament Advent Poem No. 2

The Blessing Genesis 12:1-3

“Blessing” and “blessed” are abused words. They can often be used in quite trite ways. But …

Abram was promised

that he would be blessed

to be a blessing.

Blindly and faithfully

he obeyed

and went.

His family would bring forth

THE Blessing –

through, one, two, twelve

and multitudes – a nation.

His family line led

to a feed trough

in Bethlehem.

The Blessing:

a Kingdom, forgiveness

and life everlasting,

had come.

The promise fulfilled.

Categories: Advent, christian, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Poem, poetry | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Coming of Grace

Yesterday, in a short poem, I reflected on the promise of a Messiah in Genesis 3:15. This is often called the Protevangelium, that is, the first announcement of the Gospel.

But in a real sense we see the good news before that. God’s very act of creation is an expression of His character and nature. God creates a magnificent cosmos – the size of which is beyond our comprehension, and yet in the midst of this He plants earth with it plants and animals. He crowns it with humanity. We have a triune God of relationship who creates a being who can also share relationships and intimacy. For me, this is a declaration of “grace” – undeserved love.

So as we come to Advent soon, it is a good time to ponder the character of a relational God who would plant a creation, but also inject himself into that when his creatures had turned their backs on Him. That is truly amazing grace!

Categories: Advent, christian, Christianity, Devotional, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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