February 11, 2018
Matthew 5:48 says - “Be perfect therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Now that sounds like a high bar to get over! “Be perfect”! How is that even possible if it means “sinlessly” perfect for the rest of our lives.
I think Matthew means for us to understand that God wants us to grow, for the rest of our lives, to become more and more, like the God who made us; to realise our God given potential.
In Philippians 2:12f., Paul helps us understand how we go about reaching that potential.
We’re to work out (practice/rehearse it), we’re to be patient and we’re to work hard.
May God help us to do it, to do those things that help us grow in Christ Jesus.
January 16, 2018
"Thank you, thank you very much" – Elvis Presley
We have just enjoyed Christmas. Most of us will have given and received presents? Were we grateful? Disappointed? Most of us had special meals. Were we thankful or did we take them for granted? How often do we say “Thank You”? What are we thankful for? How much of our lives do we take for granted? Giving thanks is hard when life is difficult. Even then there is reason to be thankful. When we experience blessing we often are thankful for a while and then forget our good fortune.
Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
January 10, 2018
These days, children being born out of wedlock is no big deal. Hey, we don’t even use that term anymore. Living together, having children without getting married … those are just, these days, seen as valid lifestyle choices. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they’re right, just that that’s how it is.
Back when most of us were growing up, the technical name for a child being born out of wedlock was, yep, you remember it: “a bastard”.
And as unsettling as it is, as disturbing as it is to our celebration of Christmas, that’s exactly what Jesus was and how He was seen when He was born, in a society far more prudish, far more legalistic, far more concerned with social morays, than even the one in which many of us grew up.
Jesus, the illegitimate God.
So, what exactly should we be celebrating, this Christmas?
January 10, 2018
Think about it - there is only one person in all of history who could have arranged the exact circumstances of their own birth. Jesus.
So, what did He choose for Himself? A castle? Royal comfort, prestige and wealth? Clearly not.
He choses a smelly, draughty and, shall we call it, an intensely unhygienic stable in which to be born. The most humble of circumstances, and, as things turned out, the most difficult and dangerous of circumstances that saw him becoming a refugee.
And yet, here we are, about to celebrate a nice, safe, comfortable, dare one say, ritualistic Christmas, with all its trappings, two thousand years on.
Here’s the question, then, that inevitably hits you between the eyes? What in the blazes was God thinking, schlepping His Son through this terrible place? And what is He trying to say to us, here and now, in our comfortable little Christmas ritual?