Sunday, May 29, 2011

*Warning* Sentimentality ahead

On Friday I went to our school's assembly and as is customary, they begin with a time of singing - full of energy and enthusiasm.

They sang a song that has been around for YEARS... "every step I take in you, you are my way Jesus.." together with all of the actions.

I spotted my little niece and her friends singing and doing the actions and clearly enjoying it so much and suddenly out of the blue, I was looking at my little girl 11 years ago.  I think it was the song that set off my memory because I remember her singing it and doing the actions to it. I remember us singing it together in the car and at home.  I am embarressed to say that I completely fell apart right there. Perhaps not very noticeably, but enough that my colleague sitting next to me slipped me a tissue. 

I haven't seen My Girl for over a week. I miss her.

OK. Sentimentality over. Let the new week begin!

*PS..NB.NB.NB:  
Please know that this is not meant to be a guilt-inflicting thing or a self-pitying thing. I realise that this is part of life - a necessary part. It just takes a little getting used to.  It's all good. :-)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Musings of Mediating

The fact that today was meant to be ‘the end of the world / judgement day’, has certainly added to the imagination, as well as some ideas I have been mulling this last week which have largely been stimulated by recent conversations, gatherings and comments from my blog and others.
The question is why do some have such a distorted view of God that they are more concerned with who gets ‘into heaven’ and who ‘is out’, than with God himself.
These are some of the thoughts I have had – naturally I am very open to correction, constructive criticism and conversation (Wow – those are all C’s! J)
Firstly, I wonder if, because we live in societies of injustice, corruption, murder and mayhem we feel this overwhelming desire for justice.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with that – I do think there is something wrong with making our way of seeking justice the way we think God should do it. 
Justice to us is seeking revenge and retribution – whereas justice to God seeks to redeem and reconcile.
His wrath, his judgement on sin was taken on our behalf by Christ to redeem us and reconcile us to himself.  Christ was interceding on our behalf on the cross, making a way for us, running interference on our behalf, so that it would be possible for all people to once again have a relationship with the God of love, mercy, grace and justice.
Which brings me to my second point: 
Is it possible that Scripture could have been misunderstood by us? I’m thinking of texts that mention that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us / on our behalf.
Is it possible that some may see a picture of Jesus editing our prayers and making them acceptable to a critical and angry God just waiting to zap us for not measuring up? Or Jesus begging God to listen and ‘be nice’?
What about this one in 1 Timothy 2:1-6:
3 …This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved  and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people.

  • What if he did all the mediating / interceding that was necessary on The Cross? 
  • The Cross takes away the need for any further mediator or intercessor between us and God.
  • The Cross restores our relationship with the Father.
The Cross is ongoing, it is eternal and it is forever interceding on behalf of all who desire reconciliation with the Father, because it is through the work of the Cross that nothing can separate us from the Father.
On the Cross, the curtain was torn and the Holy of Holies became a place that all people could choose to enter and find forgiveness, acceptance and love in the presence of the Father.
Like I said…. Merely musings, but next time you pray “in Jesus’ name’ at the end of your prayer and in your mind perhaps find yourself thinking that he is there editing and making it acceptable to God – know this:  that because of the Cross you can bring your deepest fears, angers, anxieties, and frustrations  as well as you greatest joys to God yourself, without the fear of his disapproving eye – because you are the apple of his eye.
He loves you.
He accepts you.
The Cross and Resurrection are proof.
What else can he do to show you?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Love Wins... (Initial thoughts)

One of the many things that I love about Psalms is that they are written by people like you and I - real people, with real life situations and real emotions, often unedited emotions - conveying their hearts to God. 

Have you ever tried to read just 4 or 5 verses from the middle of a Psalm without knowing what it says from verse 1-3 or 6-end?  Really?  Their poems had beginnings and middles and ends. How can one even pretend to understand the heart of the writer when we take a snapshot from the whole and pretend that we 'get it'

This is how I feel about "Love Wins".    Before the book was even on the shelves, people had read the flap, or the back cover, or seen a controversial excerpt, and dared to pretend that they knew exactly what was on the heart of the writer. Or worse still, 'somebody' told them something about it, and they just accepted their views without even reading the book for themselves.

Then, when it came out, 'they' hurriedly grabbed the book and opened it on Chapter 2. Hell. Read it. Then scream 'Heresy and Universalism' all over the place.

What? 

If I had done that I would also have had BIG questions. However, as it is my custom to do, I begin at the beginning of a book and generally finish it at the end.  This is usually a good idea if one wants to understand what's going on.

I wasn't really suprised to find that there was nothing in there that I had not read in other writings in the last 5 or 6 years by other authors. Sure, there is lots in there in terms of conversation - but is that wrong? Should we be gagged from thinking or discussing?

It is his style to ask lots of questions and not necessarily answer them - making you think for yourself. There are parts that as you read, you stop short and think "Oh, so THAT's what everyone is on about, hmmm." and you can be tempted to close the book and think "They were right".... or, you can carry on, you can read more, you can get to the end and find that Rob isn't a unversalist, or that he does believe that people can and will be seperated from God through their own choice.

Seriously, in a nutshell. That's his message. God loves everyone. He desires for all to be saved. He desires to have a relationship with everyone. However, because of His great love for us, he has given us the freedom of deciding whether or not we believe that that IS what He wants.

The moral of the story is that God doesn't send anyone to hell, He wants to rescue us from it. (In fact, very similar to my post about a week ago.)

We, all on our own, choose to go there when we choose to disbelieve the story of his great love for us. His love can rescue us from our sin but only when we allow him to.

I will read it again - but honestly, I don't know what everyone is so uptight about because really, if we truly believe that God is who He says He is: JUST, MERCIFUL, GRACIOUS, LOVING, etc... then surely we have to believe that however heaven/hell etc work out, that He will be fair.

So, why argue about ones personal convictions about the future?
  • Let's live in this moment.
  • Let's live for Him in this moment.
  • Let's be part of His story as we extend grace and mercy, such as we have been shown.
What a privilege to have the freedom to love Him.

I'd be interested to know your thoughts.....

More about what Rob believes here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Love Wins

My "Love Wins" by Rob Bell has finally arrived.

I have read so much (mainly) negative publicity surrounding this book and, never having been one to give an opinion of a movie/ book that I haven't read, I am excited to really get into it for myself.

I am expecting to love it, I am expecting all those negative comments made by people before reading it, to be pointless and empty.

If you've read it, and have anything you would like to comment on, please feel free to do so - I'm all for conversation!

Peace... see you again after the back page!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sometimes Words Don't Cut It...

I wish I had answers for those who find themselves in "crisis of life and crisis of faith" situations...

I don't know why sometimes it feels as though God doesn't answer prayer, I don't know why sometimes he feels absent, I don't know why ...  I just don't know.

I  feel so   h.e.l.p.l.e.s.s    to help.

All I feel I can say is that there are some things I am certain of:
I know that God made me, God loves me and God will keep me. (A timeous word I read this morning).

I also know...
  •  that even when he feels miles away - he isn't really.
  •  that when things feel unfair and I may not understand - that he is just.
  •  that when I am filled with grief - that he grieves with me and comforts me.
  •  that when I hurt - that his heart is moved with compassion toward me.
  •  that when I toss at night - that he wants to give me peace.
This is all I know:
God made you, God loves you and God will keep you too.

May his peace be with you, my friend.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

An Invitation

I have NO idea why this came to my mind today... perhaps it was some of last night's conversations with friends.

However, today I just had this... well, flash!  (I sound like CHUCK!) 

God sends everyone a 'Friend Request'.  It's up to you to 'Confirm'  or  'Ignore'.



But,
if you hit 'Ignore' - don't blame him for not choosing you.

He has chosen everyone, everywhere, for all time, in all generations, to be friends with,
just not everyone is willing to 'hit that button' and be friends with him.

It's never to late to "Send Message".

It's your choice.

The invitation was extended at the Cross. It is extended still today, it will continue to be extended tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that..... (you get the picture)

He's persistant this God - He doesn't give up easily.

That's Love. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

(Not really) A Midsummer Nights Dream

As I lay in bed last night tossing in the waves of frustration, the Puck that appeared was not a mischievous sprite but rather the literal bouncing around of ideas and thoughts in my mind. These involved the various events of the day which I will not elaborate on; suffice it to say that we had great expectations for yesterday, none of which came to fruition.
I sneaked a look at the clock – almost midnight. I heard it begin to rain, first softly and then it poured. 
I had a wonderful idea, a wild idea - the best idea ever!  (Remember it was late and I was tired! J )
Why not go and stand outside in the rain and in a grand prophetic gesture ask God to wash the day’s frustrations from me.

I may well have done this but for the mind’s eye movie clip which followed this idea:
Me: Drowned-rat-like, centre stage, in the rain.
Enter left My Man: “Hey, what you doing?”
Me: “A grand prophetic gesture to wash away today’s frustrations.”
My Man: “Of course.  Do you know what time it is?”
Me: “Grand prophetic gestures do not heed time.”
My Man: “Well, ok, then.”  (Departs stage left shaking head)
I decided that I would not wake my man from defending castles and slaying dragons (although his dreams are more likely to be about winning the lotto and rescuing the world with the proceeds), besides there would be wet clothes and wet hair and really, did I need that at something after midnight?  So instead I muttered something like “I really don’t want to post mortem my day anymore Father, help!”
I turned over and tucked my duvet under my chin.  It was then that I heard it; the familiar buzzing  of those kamikaze horrors  – how do they know where your ears are?
Somewhere amidst my wild ninja-like mozzie maneuvers I fell asleep.
This morning, the lesson I have learnt, is that God is quite capable of using a mosquito to distract one from thinking too much.