[un]conscious-stream[ing]

Psalm 144:4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.

Monthly Archives: July 2009

Inclusivity

I was saddened this week when I heard of someone who, a while back, despite being part of a community of Jesus followers, had point blank refused to entertain (by which I mean provide a bed / food etc. for) a fellow community member.

At what point do you consciously decide to deprive one of your brothers or sisters the basic courtesy of hospitality that so many people who don’t even profess to be ‘Christian’ wouldn’t think twice about extending.

Galatians 6:10
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

I think that Paul is reminding the Galatians that their primary responsibility is to the Jesus family. Not to the exclusion of the rest of the world, but the emphasis is first on the people that hold to the way of Christ.

Correct me if I am barking up the wrong tree, but the whole passage in Galatians 6 speaks of caring for like-minded believers, extending to them Grace, Mercy, Gentleness and Humility within the context of the Church community setting (for me, this extends to all Jesus followers, regardless of creed, faction, sect or denomination: find me a verse that says I shouldn’t and I’ll back down). It makes it all the worse that the person refusing to display hospitality was one that had received considerable love, forgiveness, grace and mercy from many other fellow believers. (It is notable, but should not, I believe, really make a difference, that from some corners of the community, this person has also received a lot of hatred, pain, rejection and humiliation, albeit some time ago.)

I’m not arguing at all that we should ignore caring for non-believers, but Matthew 25:40 is a clear command from Jesus

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

That king is Jesus, he is king of our lives, king of our hearts, king of our actions and king of our faith communities, if we claim to be his disciples then we must follow him in action as well as proclamation.

Jesus (and then Paul) are saying “your first duty of care is to the family of people living the Jesus way”.

Then, the commission is to “look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (obviously not focussing on the former to the detriment of the latter), This is “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless”!

So rounding back to where I started, maybe sometimes we need reminding that “God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7)

Jesus came to show us what God is like. He then told us to show the world what God is like by the way we behave to each other. (1 John 4:12)

Our mission, surely is to bring God’s kingdom to earth now while we wait for it to be established permanently, on the day God will be ‘all in all’ (1 Cor 15:28) and Christ will be truly the king of everything. (Rev 1:5)

And surely, surely, that starts here, it starts within and like a pebble in a pond, gradually the ripples increase in ever widening circles:

1 Peter 2:17
Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

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All Christians are Hypocrites

Christianity actively encourages hypocrisy! Jesus did everything! There us nothing we can do that cannot be forgiven, and there is nothing we can do that will earn the grace that God offers freely!
So immediately, coupled with our propensity to go against what God commands us and our inability to love God with ALL our heart, soul, mind and strength, we fall into the trap of accepting the Salvation without owning the Grace.
When you own Grace, you are profoundly and deeply touched by just how far God has come to offer forgiveness and reconciliation. You live a life of thankfulness, motivated by love for God. You discover you don’t want to go against God’s commands.
Once we understand grace fully, we feel release – a freedom that pervades our lives. Freedom of choice to do whatever we want to, but the desire to please, praise and glorify God.
We’re bound to mess up occasionally or even frequently but how else would you want to live? Secure in the knowledge that Christ has made us right with God and if we hold to that belief and accept the forgiveness, nothing can get in the way of our relationship with God.
Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Exile & Relationship

When all we do is ritual and tradition, our religion becomes by wrote and habitual. ‘Habit’ is something we habitate – a hollow structure we live in with no substance.
If this is our approach to God, when we face exile, we will fall away and lose contact with our creator. Our faith will fail as happened to Israel when they went into exile. They no longer had the habits of the temple rituals because they no longer had the temple. They were in exile and were lost. They lost their identity, became absorbed into the culture they were exiled into and lost their special relationship with God. Are we prepared to let that happen?
It should be about relationship with God, as displayed by Daniel (amongst others). Daniel had a relationship with God that changed his life, he didn’t need to be in a particular place with customs, rituals or a special building. His life was spent in exile but he wasn’t lost.
When we find ourselves in exile, we will discover whether our interaction with God has been ritualistic religion or relational.
My prayer is that we cultivate a real relationship, that glues us to God regardless of our circumstances.
A relationship that crosses borders and boundaries.
A reationship that connects heart and mind.
A relationship that concretes faith and feeling.
Then if we enter exile, God can be with us, ready to sustain us before he restores us and brings us out of exile again.
Jeremiah 31 v 3+4
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
I will build you up again, and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt…”
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Wilderness

Matthew 4 v 1
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
It amazes me that when we are in times of wilderness, though they can be the most tempting and testing times in our lives, they can also, If we let them, be the times that bring us closest to our God.
Matthew 4 v 11

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

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God wants you to be rich

Israel left Egypt with a lot of stuff – they looted the Egyptians during their exodus. They arrived with next-to nothing and they left with fantastic wealth.
Exodus 12 v 36
The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.
The important thing was not that they had lots of material posessions, but what they did with them.
When they used them for themselves, they were cursed.
Exodus 32 v 35
And the LORD struck the people with a
plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.
But, when they used the same wealth from Egypt to build the Tabernacle and they all gave freely – (Ex 36 v 3), God blessed them –
Exodus 40 v 34
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
So, if we have lots of material posessions, that’s fine as long as we use them for God’s purposes and for his glory.

If we honour God with everything we have (it’s all his anyway), then it doesn’t matter how much we have, because we’ll be using our riches to give him glory and uplift His name.

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The Edge of Eternity

The blog description is inspired by the ‘dusty death’ speech from Macbeth

Macbeth:
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, 19–28
I realise that my life is lived on the edge of a precipice that I might tumble into at any time, and at that point, my next conscious moment will be in front of my creator who will not be asking ‘did you get a good tan?’
Life has to mean something, we have to make something of it to honour the one in who’s image we are made.
That’s what this is for, that’s why I tweet/facebook etc. To spread the gospel – the Good News of the Kingdom of God and to encourage Christ’s other followers to stay faithful and live lives that display the gospel and are worthy of the God who has made us in his likeness.
remember James 4:14
“Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”

Confession


“I’m a distracted busy mess with no priorities!”


Rob Bell gives an example of what we sometimes just have to say when we have forgotten something important or crucial to someone else.

I feel like this sums me up perfectly!

Why is it that it seems there is no time to do anything important that needs doing, yet I can start to populate the posts in a blog?

My memory is useless, which is part of the problem, the rest… I’m a distracted busy mess with no priorities!

I long for the day in 1 John 3:2

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

Contemptuous Leaders

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/8165684.stm
Excerpt:
“But the Home Office, having commissioned the research, ignored it and brought in the new regulations…”

And this…

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8165606.stm
Excerpt:
“The cross-party committee concluded that road users remained ‘an important source of revenue’..”

It strikes me that the government is treating the country and it’s population with complete contempt – purely as objects – “an important source of revenue’ and commissioning research only to ignore the findings and do what they want to do anyway. (It’s not the first time that has happened.)

Come the day our world will be ruled by the Benevolent Monarchy in Revelation 21:3
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.

Good works

Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Saved not by these works but for them!

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God’s world


Isaiah 45:12
It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.

Ezekiel 28:13
You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.

“This is God’s universe and he does things his way.
You might have a better way but you don’t have a universe”
J. Vernon McGee

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