Thursday, December 29, 2005

Narnia

Like a lot of other bloggers I have been to see The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. It was great. It has been a few years since I read the book but I was surprised how closely the film followed the book. The kids were great actors especially Lucy. I also really like the professor and I had been worried the producers might leave him out.

Of course if you want to know why there is a lamp post in Narnia you need to read the first in the series Magician's Nephew though interestingly enough C.S. Lewis didn't write this first.(But surely he must have known he was going to? The writer in me wants to know, how did Lewis do that-write a series of books out of order?)Anyway the Magician's Nephew also explains why the wardrobe leads to Narnia. So I hope I have excited your curiosity if you haven't already read the whole series.

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

The reward of not griping

"Do everything without complaining or arguing … in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe" Philippians 2:14-15.

God really hates it when we gripe. There are several incidents in Numbers where the Israelites griped and the outcomes were not good (Numbers 16:41; 21:5-6). When we complain we are really saying, God is not looking after me the way He should, that He is keeping good things from me or He does not know what is best for me. When we complain we are saying that God is not good.

The truth is that God has given us so much. He has given us love, peace, joy, eternal life, hope, grace, mercy even His own Son. But when we complain we are saying this is not enough, we want more.

It seems so natural to complain. Rich people complain, poor people complain and so does everyone in between. Complaining is not related to how much money we have or how much power we have or how intelligent we are. It is related to the attitude we have towards our circumstances. As Christians our attitude should be one of trust. Knowing whatever our circumstances God is in control and we accept whatever happens as coming from His hand.

This verse also gives us another very compelling reason not to complain. It tells us if we do not complain or argue it will be obvious to those around us that we are Christians. We will stand out like stars against a black background. Isn't it remarkable to think that we can have such a big impact by simply not complaining.

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Beyond the veil

Beyond the veil by Alice Smith (Regal Books, 1998), deals with intercessory prayer and explains why not all prayer for needs is actually intercession. Intercession is a powerful weapon to use against the enemy. Alice Smith clarifies the gift, the role and the office of intercession. She uses the Old Testament priesthood and the model of the tabernacle to explain the ministry of the intercessor. Smith also describes the different kind of intercessors in the body of Christ and the different prayer needs they fulfill. She teaches the different "triggers" that God uses to prompt intercessors to pray. Smith speaks about the necessity of living a godly life and the need to grow more intimate with God in this ministry.

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Golf and spiritual warfare

"… without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved – and that by God" Philippians 1:28

I often find parallels between sport and life. Just recently I was watching the play off hole between Allenby and Watson for the Masters Golf Championship. Both were on the green for two but Allenby was slightly further away and had the first attempt at a birdie putt. He missed but only by inches and tapped in for an easy par. Watson knew if he made his putt the championship was his. He also missed but by feet rather than inches. Consequently he also missed his next putt and handed the championship to Allenby.

Later Allenby said that he went for the birdie putt but also played safe because he thought Watson might three putt. What an amazing statement! Here are professional golfers who practice putting for hours a day and Allenby thought Watson might three putt, which he did. Really Allenby was saying I thought he might crack under the pressure. Watson could have played it safe, gone for par and waited for a better opportunity. He would have survived to play another play off hole, but too soon he went for the winning shot and missed.

Often when we find ourselves in spiritual warfare all we need to do is stand firm (v.27 & Ephesians 6:11)). We don't need to worry about hitting winning shots or trying to look good in the eyes of the world. If we stand firm in the belief that God is in control, without being frightened in any way by those who oppose us, then our enemy, the devil, will have to flee with his plans in tatters (James 4:7).

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Monday, December 12, 2005

On writing a book

A while ago I wrote a post about the challenge of having enough time. I have since been reflecting on that time. I did have a strong sense God wanted me to write but I couldn't figure out what I was suppose to write and writing a book seemed totally impossible.

Looking back on that time three significant things happened. Because I had time on my hands I read two non-Christian books, something I previously would have felt I did not have time to do. One was "The Artist's Way" which made me realize that I needed to write because I am a writer - getting published is just a bonus. (In the movie, Sister Act II, she tells a student you sing because God made you a singer). Secondly I read Stephen King's book where he made the blatantly obvious comment that if you write 2,000 words a day for 100 days (about three months) you end up with a book of 200,000 words. I worked out that I wanted to write 50,000 words so only needed to write 500 words a day for a bit long than three months since I couldn't write everyday. Suddenly writing a book was manageable. Thirdly, I was encouraged to get a blog. Blogging made me realize that I had a lot more to say than I thought!

The result of all this is that in the last few months I have actually written a book! Well, I have finished a first draft which is slightly under 50,000 words. Stephen King recommends you wait six weeks after you finish your first draft before starting on your second draft which seems like a really good idea because at the moment I'm really tired of working on my book.

It is amazing to me that for such a long time I said I could never write a book but because of God's working in my life, I have managed to do it in just three months.

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

Psalm 119:137-176 - part 5

Well, I finally finished Psalm 119. I find it quite remarkable that this psalmist could write 176 verses and in nearly every one of them mentions God's word, His commands, His precepts, or His law. In v.139 he talks about "my zeal wears me out"; in v. 145 he says "I call with all my heart" and in v.161 he talks about "my heart trembles at your word". He was one passionate guy. An inspiration for us to passionate not only about God's written Word but also the Incarnate Word (John 1:14).

Since lots of things are winding up for Christmas I think I'll finish blogging about Psalms. Next year my Bible study group is going to be looking at Phillipians so I might look at that over the Christmas break. Don't know if I'll blog about it or not.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

A Christmas thought

I wrote this recently:

"And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel". Genesis 3:15

This is an interesting verse to consider as Christmas approaches because it is the first reference in the Bible indicating that God will send a Saviour. "He will crush your head" finds its fulfilment in 1 John 3:8 "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work". In other words the woman's offspring would eventually bring a Saviour into the world.

After this initial prophecy, we find many more prophecies throughout the Old Testament that become clearer and more specific. We are told which race, which family, and which tribe He would be born into. We are told place of birth, type of ministry, type of death and about His resurrection. Yet when Jesus came many people missed Him. The Pharisees who knew their Scriptures so well did not even recognise Him.

The Pharisees were so locked into their preconceived ideas of the Messiah that they wouldn't even consider it could be Jesus. It raises the question are we so locked into our own ideas about Jesus that if He did something unexpected we wouldn't recognise Him either?

God will not be stopped by our finite minds, lack of understanding or preconceived ideas. If we miss what God is doing it will be our loss. This Christmas as we consider Jesus' coming into the world, let us be open to Him who comes to us in unexpected ways.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Psalm 119:97-136 - part 4

I've been wondering why this guy is so passionate about God's law. I think maybe because he appreciates God's holiness. I think sometimes we get blaise about God's holiness. We are so use to receiving mercy and grace we take it for granted. But in the Old Testament it seems they weren't as aware of God's mercy and grace as we are. In v.120 he is trembling in God's Presence and in v.136 he is distressed because God's laws are not kept. Makes me wonder if we are passionate enough about God and His Holiness.

I found v.98-100 quite curious, he says God's commands make him wiser than his enemies (this I understand), gives him more insight than his teachers and more understanding than his elders (does this mean his teachers and elders don't meditate and/or apply God's laws?).

Next week I'll be looking at the remainer of Psalm 119 and post about it next Thursday.

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