Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Scandalous Blood of Christ

When an innocent person is murdered a deep cry goes out for justice, vengance and vindication.

Perhaps the most prominent example of this at the time of writing is the Indian girl who was raped and murdered on a private bus in New Delhi.

Way back at the beginning of the Bible a man called Cain murdered his brother Abel (Gen.4:8) and the Bible says that Abel's blood cried out from the ground (for justice, vengeance and vindication).

The innocent murder victims and martyrs who stand around the throne of God in Revelation cry for this same vindication (Rev 6:10)

So when the writer to the Hebrews says that the blood of Jesus speaks a better word than the blood of Abel (Heb.12:24) he means that the shedding of Christ's innocent blood is sacanalously unlike any other in history, because the cry that goes up after this murder is not one of justice, vengeance and vindication, but one of peace, reconciliation and homecoming:
For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. Col.1:19-22
Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever you have done in sticking two fingers up in God's face, a scandalous and wonderful peace has been declared, if you would only hear the call and place your hand in Christ's?

Monday, 21 January 2013

My Desert Island Discs

Not in any particular order, here are six tunes which occupy sentimental space and evoke strong memories..

My father used to play this on the record player on the few occasions he had a night in. I was up in bed by then, and lying there hearing this made me feel very secure. As well as being a lovely piece of music.

I was mesmerized when I first heard this, at the tender age of 8. Futuristic synth sounds rocked my world back then.  Less so now...

The love of synth continued in one of my favourite rock anthems. Although I should probably say, I think if I had seen the video before I heard the song, it would have put me off:

Best modern pop piano solo ever in this song, I never managed to learn to play it...

I remember as a teenager crying buckets when I first heard this song at a summer camp!

Unrequited love has been a big theme all through my life from the teenage years onwards. I was probably too naive - amongst other things to know how to love.  But this song epitomized the frustration so well for me.

Glad to say that's no longer the case. :-D

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

A thought...

Like the proverbial pig trying to escape the forces of gravity, false religion, whilst trying to escape and deny the confines of reality will always, eventually, be brought back down to earth, with a thump.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Lance Armstrong Rewriting his Past

I must confess, it will be fascinating to see how Armstrong will rewrite his 14 years of denying doping.

When you've said things like...
Doping is an unfortunate fact of life in cycling, or any other endurance sport for that matter. Inevitably, some teams and riders feel it's like nuclear weapons – that they have to do it to stay competitive within the peloton. I never felt that way, and certainly the idea of putting anything foreign in my body was especially repulsive. It's Not About the Bike, 2000
...and repeated the like so many times, then viciously attacked those who accused you of misdemeanour. It's hard to know if he'll ever find redemption, at least in the public eye.

But then, perhaps it's not that hard to understand. It's part of what it means to be a fallen human. We're all burying the truth somewhere, both individually and together, so that we can get along in life and not find ourselves on the outside of the herd. The question is how much?

And when the light comes, and he will come, what will He expose in me? In you? What self-deception, what self-delusion will he lift the lid on? Let us humble ourselves and fall on him, 2Sam.24:14, that he may not fall on us! Rev.6:16.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Are you Self-Aware or Self-Obsessed?

A fascinating article appeared recently on the BBC website pointing out the devastating effects on a culture where "good self-esteem" is seen as a virtue. In other ages, it was called narcissm and was thought of as bad news.

Some quotes...
And while in the late 1980s, almost half of students said they studied for six or more hours a week, the figure was little over a third by 2009 - a fact that sits rather oddly, given there has been a rise in students' self-proclaimed drive to succeed during the same period.
Forsyth and Kerr studied the effect of positive feedback on university students who had received low grades (C, D, E and F). They found that the weaker students actually performed worse if they received encouragement aimed at boosting their self-worth.
Narcissists may say all the right things but their actions eventually reveal them to be self-serving.
As for the narcissists themselves, it often not until middle age that they notice their life has been marked by an unusual number of failed relationships.
Sobering reading.

There is also a test you can take to see how much of a narcissist you are.  To my surprise, I came out as an exhibitionist, amongst other things!!

Thank God, Jesus isn't like us!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

A Prayer...

This morning in our time of open worship, I turned the following into a prayer,

The 'we' refers to humanity, the 'He' refers to Jesus.

- We went from nothing to dust to delusions of grandeur.
- He went from eternal glory to flesh to crucifixion.

- We amounted to nothing and laid claim to everything.
- He had everything and made Himself nothing.

- Our come-down was deserved.
- His come-down was deliberate.

- Our uprising was demonic.
- His uprising was divine.

- Our story is self-exaltation then humbling.
- His story is self-humbling then exaltation.

- Our pride brought the fall.
- His humility brought salvation.

This wasn't my own inspiration, for the source, click here.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Adam and Eve, Christ and the Church, Heaven and Earth and the Prepositions which Connect them all.

I've started reading through a devotional book by Glen Scrivener called the King's English. (View it for free here. Buy the paper-based editions here.) He wrote it to commemorate 400yrs of the King James Bible. Each day he takes a (usually) well-known phrase from that translation of the Bible and comments on it. It is EXCELLENT and I HIGHLY recommend it.

Talking about the phrase "one flesh" he says...
There are three prominent prepositions used about Adam and Eve in Genesis 2. For, From, and To. She is for him. From him. Then brought to him.

Which means the whole thing is heading towards a fourth preposition. And I’m afraid I can’t avoid all the connotations of this next word, but let’s hold our breath and be as grown up as possible. No sniggering...

The whole thing is heading towards "in." Consummation will mean union. They become one flesh.
(Genesis 2:24)
For the rest of the post, click here

Here's what struck me...

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Neil Armstrong - Icon of an Age

Due to being out of the normal media loop when in Zimbabwe this summer, the news of Neil Armstrong's death was only brought to my attention by a recent BBC biopic on him.

For those of you who didn't know, Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon.

His life story is fascinating. His professional life was filled courage, adventure and achievement. His personal life had joys, but also sorrows, not least in the loss of his 2yr old daughter to a brain tumour.

It's available until 13 January and well worth a watch!