God with us

16 June, 2010

I’m reading through Ezekiel and am up to chapter 34. You know, the one where God tells off the shepherds off Israel for looking out for themselves and then tells off the flock for doing the same.

Anyhoo, His remedy to this is the promise that one day, He himself will shepherd his people. He will search them out, He will establish them and He will personally provide for them. How? Via his servant David. Jesus himself takes up this theme when he calls himself The Good Shepherd (Jn 10).

Now, I’ve read this passage many times. But today, here’s what took hold of my heart and made me smile…

Ez 34:24
“And I the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken.”

A prince among them. With us. As one of us. Now that, right there, the Lovely Word, is beauty.


the hiding place

5 April, 2010

I’m probably the only follower of Jesus over the age of 40 who’s not read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. I only just finished listening to the audio version of the book, and am moved beyond comprehension by this amazing story of God’s grace in the midst of the horror of the Holocaust .

This autobiographical account is one of the best audio books I’ve ever heard.  The story so well told by Corrie ten Boom and narrated so faithfully by Bernadette Dunne, tells the story of a family of well loved Christian watchmakers who refused to turn their back on the suffering around them, but relied on God to lead them at ever turn, in order to save as many people as possible.

I listened to the book in my car as I’ve been driving around for the last week, and at times I admit, I had to turn it off before arriving at my destination, so powerful was the story that my emotions often got the better of me.  Corrie relates their experiences so well, that I genuinely felt invited into the situation, the family, their associates, those they cared for, and those they suffered alongside of, each making my heart sing, laugh and cry as their faith in their God led them on to stand up to the evil around them.

I cannot speak highly enough of this book.  A definite “must read” (or hear), for every Christian, if not for the story itself, and the amazing expression of faith, but also for a first hand account of man’s inhumanity to man and just how low we really can go. It’s a poignant reminder that  while it seems a million years away from where we are now, the Holocaust really wasn’t that long ago, and people just like you and me, were on both sides of this war, people very much loved by our God, ordinary people who turned on one another.  The Nazi reign is clearly one of humanities darkest hours.

I pray we never again see a time like this, but if we should, I also pray that there are faithful servants like the Ten Booms, out there serving their Lord with all they have.  I pray I may be as faithful as they.

In the interests of honesty in blogging.  I was provided with a free copy of this audiobook from christianaudio.com as a part of their reviewers program.  I was under no obligation at all to provide a positive review.


as the ruin falls

20 January, 2010

CS Lewis is one of my favourite Authors, and this is my favourite poem…

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love—a scholar’s parrot may talk Greek—
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.

~C.S.Lewis, Poems, “As the Ruin Falls” (1st pub. 1964)


the flabby body of Christ

23 November, 2009

Today I read an article on Wayne Jacobsen’s Blog and totally loved it. So rather than post my own thoughts today, I thought I’d share his post, which is in fact a post of another’s post.

It’s entitled The Flabby Body of Christ: Why is church so dull? A psychotherapist diagnoses the Sunday ritual. By Stephen W. Simpson and if you’re interested or even a little curious, you can find it here.

If you have a read, let me know what you think!


life as a spring shower

12 October, 2009

It’s Spring Down Under, and the weather is switching and changing and as usual in Melbourne it’s not unlikely to have four seasons in one day. I’m not a huge fan of the high winds and cold weather, but rather really enjoy the intermittent moments (and occasional days) of sunshine.

However, I have to say that one of my favourite things is a spring shower on a warm day. I love the big drops of rain. I love the smell after the rain. I love the refreshing a spring shower brings to my senses.

The serendipitous beauty overwhelms me. I sing for joy at the grace of refreshing.

Mercy and love
Blue skies
Gentle clouds that mean no harm shed their life on all below.
Cleansing
Feeding
Freeing

Turning my eyes towards the heavens I smile and wipe the water from my face and thank the One who refreshes this life.


lovely

27 September, 2009

From forever the Word existed
And the Word was The God
And God was the Word
He was from forever in relationship/communion with The God

The Word
God
Life
Light
Flesh/Man
Giver of Grace
Gives of Truth
Revealer of God

Lovely One.


the way to the father

8 September, 2009

A word of warning. My blogs tend toward repetitiveness. That’s mostly due to the fact that I’m obsessed with getting to know Jesus and the Way he did life. As such, I spend a lot of time in the Gospels, and this is often reflected in the things I think on and write about. Hopefully though, it’s not so much boring repetition as it is me “getting” something new.

Having said that, I’m making my way through the book of John again. It’s definitely my favourite Gospel. I love the extra material in John that’s not in the other gospels, I love the way he talks about his friendship with Jesus, and Jesus’ relationship with the Father. In short, it’s lovely.

Here’s what’s caught my eye this time around. It starts with the incarnation. “The Word” (which, by the way is always used in relation with Jesus, not the Scriptures – but that’s a whole other bugbear of mine) became flesh and dwelt among us.

So, the Word who was always with God, from forever, and who is and always has been God, the Creator of all things, the one who stretched out the heavens and put the stars in their place. This spiritual being who was without limit in anything He could do…. became flesh. Became human. He voluntarily limited himself by stepping out of eternity (as it were) and into our time, in the form of a little helpless baby. He (God!) chose to grow up on this earth and walk about and get dirty and deal with the broken humanity around him. In this man, Jesus, dwelt the the fullness of God. The God.

I love the way Thomas Merton put it in No Man Is An Island,

“Jesus is the theology of that Father revealed to us.”

How perfect is that!? It’s so true. If we want to get to know the Father, all we have to do is look at the Son. Jesus of course said as much, when he was talking to his disciples recorded for us in John 14,

“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

The first part of this quote is one of the more controversial statements that Jesus made, and is often quoted by his followers as proof perfect as to why what they believe is superior to that of someone with another faith system. It can come across as divisive and arrogant (yuk!).

The thing that’s struck me about this over the last couple days is that it’s not in anyway said in an arrogant manner. I think Jesus was just placing an invitation before those listening, because they didn’t get that he was in fact God. They didn’t understand that He was the Father. That God himself was sitting with them talking, just like he used to do in the Garden with Adam & Eve. God was present. The disciples of the day just couldn’t make that kind of leap of realisation.

Jesus is the only way to the Father because all that he is, and all that he does and all that he says is the heart of God. The Father had been trying to call us back to himself for the previous 6000 (?) years… but we kept running and hiding. Our shame wouldn’t allow us to dare to come before God. So he came to us. Jesus shows us the Father.

That, right there is what fires my heart. God is indeed knowable. God does indeed love us. He isn’t scary and fearful. He’s everything that he always said he was, and Jesus reveals this glory to us in a way that we never got before…

Exodus 34:6 says,

“And Yahweh passed before him and proclaimed, Almighty Yahweh is:

Merciful (compassion that moves to action)
Gracious (favour toward us)
Longsuffering (not touchy or overly sensitive, slow to anger)
Abounding (lavishing) in goodness (mercy)
Abounding (lavishing) in truth (trust worthy, faithful)
Having/Maintaining/extending mercy to thousands
Forgiving iniquity/wickedness
Forgiving transgressions/rebellion
Forgiving sin

That is why Jesus is the Way. The Way to the Father.