Thursday, 28 November 2013

Who's who and what's what? (What do we focus on?)

John 10:20-21

There was once a rich woman that decided once to have huge Thanksgiving celebration, she invited thousands of friends and their families, professional singers, dancers, next door neighbors, and anyone else she knew; and asked each of them to prepare a small presentation so that there would be an ongoing performance going on during this grand party. After the invitations were sent out and the party planned, the clock ticked down slowly till Thanksgiving Day came. The party was just what it was supposed to be. Everything was crisp, clean, perfect. This rich woman asked a very good friend of hers who was also quite a famous singer to start the acts. He did so by quoting Psalms 23 his favorite Psalm in the bible because of its focus to Christ the shepherd. He sang in such a pure and clear voice that there wasn't a dry eye in the room, and as soon as he finished there was a loud roar of applause... except... there was a noticeable sounds of distress in the midst of all this noise. Soon enough they realised that a young girl in the front was crying on the floor. The mother then explained that this little girl had been so excited for this party that she had prepared that exact Psalm to perform and now was really upset because she felt she couldn't perform it any more. The singer feeling a little guilty encouraged this young girl to come up after him to perform, and with a little coxing she did. She wasn't nearly as practised as the singer, she got word wrong and was very shaky all the way through. There was no applause
after this recital, it didn't have the same power or elegants that the Singer had shown.  Yet afterwards this singer immediately jumped on this stage and hugged this little girl with tears in his own eyes.  He softly whispered in her ear  "Thank you for that, you taught me that even though I knew the scripture better than you, you obviously know the shepherd far better than me"

I love this story so much. The crowd spends the whole time listening to this little girl and comparing her to the professional singer. Only the professional singer could see her act for what it was. He is the one that recognises the love this little girl has for her saviour, and I truly feel this applies as we think of those we know as well.

The scripture in John is an argument between the Jewish people after Jesus Christ has just healed a man. They were trying to decide if Jesus was a man from God or the devil and each of them are focusing on different part of what they know or have heard about him.

"20 And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?
21 Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?"

How often do we do similar things to other? how often do we look down on them because they don't do the things we expect? Or we compare what we know about them to other people? I have found that by doing this we miss who people really are. In the case above people mistook the saviour of the world. Is it possible that we mistake people God has put to help us, for people that are sent to hedge up the way?

Thursday, 21 November 2013

To write or not to write, that is the question (What does the spirit feel like?)

 Galatians 5:22-23

One of my favourite phrases of all time comes from the play "Hamlet" written by Shakespeare.  In scene 2 act 2 there is the line "many wearing rapiers are afraid of goose-quills and dare scarce come thither." or as its more often quoted nowadays, "the pen is mightier than the sword"

It's true that pens don't quite have the same ability to cut off the arms of people coming to attack you, but what you write and what comes from it has a huge effect on how people think and act.  A health book could well change you diet and you lifestyle, a well written fiction book can often make you see friends and family in a new light and reading scriptures can bring us so much closer to God. Just about everything you see today that makes you think will have had to have been put together with pen and paper to start with.

The Spirit of God is the same as the pen in this sense in that it is often because of something small that you are influenced in a big way. The difference is that the spirit doesn't work as much with what you see and hear but more what you feel. in Galatians 5:22-23 It says 

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

These feelings are always the result is some way of the Spirit working with you. and I don't now about you but these are the feelings I try to have every day, especially the peace part.  

So of all the things that Romans wear why does Paul compare the spirit to the sword? Because the sword is the most important piece of equipment they have. Of all the things they have to care for and look after this one takes priority over everything, all the protection in the world will never allow the Roman empire to grow. In the same way reading nothing but scripture all day everyday will do nothing to help you unless you learn how to recognise the spirit of God and how he talks to us.

So if the feelings in Galatians are the fruits of the spirit (the results), what does the spirit itself feel like? This is really personal, no person on earth can tell you how the spirit of God talks to you. For me, more often than not, its an idea that comes to mind, a small thought that will lead me to an answer I've been looking for for a while or will lead me to somewhere when I can use my ability's to help someone else. But I know for others it comes as a more urgent need to do something. basically its very very personal to you.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

That's today... *panic* (Preparation)

Ephesians 6:15

This blog post starts off with a bit of honesty. How many of you have ever gone into school or work only to realize that that big test or presentation that you have been putting off for the past however long happens to be today? I see a few of you out there looking at your shoes right about now; they must be rally interesting hmm? I hate it when it happens to me. It's just awful, the first thing that goes trough you mind is "Why didn't I do this sooner?" soon followed by "What do I do? what do I do?" constantly going around the inside of your head (just what you need at the time). This is normally the point where people promise themselves "I am never going to do that again, I will prepare
better next time"

Preparation is what sets one empire apart from another, This is especially true in the time Paul wrote about having your "feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace". Theses were the days of the roman empire, battles and wars were expected and a normal way of life, as such the Romans were always
prepared, there were always troops ready to go to war at a moments notice, by that I mean that there were always roman soldiers dressed up in full armor all day every day, just think about how much that would kill your feet, surly this would be a good reason to take off a little armor or even just your shoes. Anyone who has worked as a waiter or waitress will understand a little of what these guys went through even without putting on the however many tons of armor they wore. Yet those soldiers stuck with it, aching feet or no. They knew that if they were caught off guard one day then they would likely not live to see another.

Spiritually we are the same, we are in the midst of a war and we never know when the next attack will be, so wee need to prepare just as them. Just because our feet hurt or studying our scriptures every day is hard and boring doesn't mean that we can keep skipping it. Knowing how Satan works it will be that one week that you have not prayed so much, or maybe not studied the scriptures as well as you should have, that he will strike. Lets not give him any advantage he can take a hold of. When going into war, the more preparations you make the better.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Devil is in the detail, but so is God (Truth)

Ephisians 6:14

Today I will be focusing on "girt you loins about with truth" so to begin with a little history lesson so this makes more sense. Girt is the past tense of gird, girding mean to tie something around your waist, usually a strip of cloth or a rope, kind of like a belt.

Back in christ day they used to wear long robes that went from the neck down to the toes, they were usually very comfortable but when you needed to move in a hurry they restricted you movement a lot. This is where that "belt" came in useful they would use this to hitch up their robes a little, this would give them the maneuverability to run if an emergency happened.

Roman soldiers also used this idea in their armour, their lower halves were usually only covered in a cloth and leather "skirt" (I can't really think of any other way to describe it).This allowed them to use their legs with no limitations, allowing them to be more nimble on the battlefield. They would make up for the lack of armour by using their large shields to guard their legs. (hence why they needed a lot of practise with them)

So hopefully now you understand a little more about how such a small thing can make a big difference. Now the question becomes, "Why did paul compare this to truth?" Or if we go even further, "What is truth?"

Truth is how things; were, are, and will be. Truth doesn't change when new information is found or when it becomes more convenient. For example the Earth has always been round, even in the dark ages when people believed it to be flat.

Here is an riddle that might make it the idea more clear:

A father is taking a road trip with his 12 year old son, when they are both involved in a terrible car accident, both of them are quickly rushed to hospital but the father dies on the journey over there. As soon as the boy enters the hospital its clear that he needs an operation done on him immediately but the surgeon protests saying "I can't operate on him, he's my son"....

How is this possible ?

Highlight the blue box for the answer:
The surgeon was the boy's mother

For those of you that Got the right answer, well done. for those that didn't why not? My guess would be that you made assumptions (believing something to be true) that wasn't right and this limited you thinking.

We all need to be more open to truth (me included). We don't know everything, I'd even go as far as to say we barely know anything. A lot of how we think is based on the assumptions we make based on what others tell us, we all do it and we need to do it to get along with life but we must always be looking for the truth because otherwise we will find ourselves in difficult situations because we went ahead with an assumption we made.