February 26, 2016
A long time ago when I said something that annoyed my Daughter she told me to “Get a life”. This was actually a common expression in the 90s. It suggests that someone is just not getting it. They are not aware of what is really going on around them. It is a challenge to think and ‘smarten up – appropriate for the Brownies and Guides in church today for “Thinking Day”. The Bible Readings challenge us to think about our lives and get a better life – a spiritual life. Our parents give us a biological or physical life. God wants’ to give us a spiritual life – an emotional life based on being in a personal love-relationship with God. This spiritual life guides (are the Guides listening?) us, protects us and comforts us in this life – and is what we take to Heaven when we die. It is what we call our eternal spiritual life of love joy and peace.
1. Isaiah Reading (55.1-9) is an invitation to get a spiritual life
February 19, 2016
The Readings for the Second Sunday in Lent remind us of the terrible consequences of rebellion; and our need to examine our own lives to see if we are in any form of rebellion against God. Jesus grief over Jerusalem in the Gospel reminded me of my own grief over some of my family members and friends who are in a state of rebellion against God. Like Jesus we all know how hard it is to get those in rebellion to see their rebellion as pride, selfishness and self-deception. They think they are the smart ones and that believers are the deceived ones. The readings remind us that this is an old and sometimes unsolvable problem – and to stay focused on our own acts of rebellion.
1. In Genesis (15.1-18) Abram is questioning the power of God
February 12, 2016
The Readings for the First Sunday in Lent are chosen to help us prepare ourselves spiritually for the celebration of Easter through a time of deep self examination, repentance and confession. The goal is not to make us feel guilty but to help us draw nearer to God by overcoming the things – particularly the temptations to sin; that distract us and pollute our personal spirits and so we cannot survive in the presence of God who is holy.
- The Deuteronomy Reading (26.1-11) reminds us of our Old Testament Covenant and Baptism obligation to give thanks and acknowledge God as the one who gives us life.
- Psalm 91 reminds us that God also gives us protection and refuge in a dangerous world.
1. In Romans 10.8-13 we learn how God’s forgiveness of sin works
First of all we are told that the “Word” is near us, in our hearts. We do not have to go to a special place such as Israel or India. God wants an emotional relationship in our hearts – our soul and spirit. But God is so holy, pure and undivided He cannot be where there is spiritual pollution. Spiritual pollution would burn up in the fire of God’s holy love. This is why we all need to clearly understand and believe in the legal and spiritual process of “justification:
February 10, 2016
At the pancake supper last night someone asked me about the meaning of Shrove Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday was the day ancient monks and holy men went to Confession with a priest to be forgiven (“shriven”) of their sins to prepare for the season of Lent. This was symbolized in the outward form of shaving their head as a sign of being penitent. On Ash Wednesday we take this a step further by examining our lives, coming for Confession and having our foreheads marked with ashes as a reminder that we have come from the dust and our bodies will return to the dust. In the Readings first Joel reminds us why we need to examine our hearts, then Paul challenges us to choose between Earthly and Heavenly treasures and Jesus challenges us to take this seriously.
1. Joel warned the Hebrew People to prepare for the Day of the Lord
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