The freedom of being a christian!

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Mark Batterson makes a statement at the beginning of his “Wild Goose Chase” series (if you haven’t heard it you really missed something!) He speaks of how a zoo just isn’t the same as seeing creatures in the wild. He ponders whether churches, well meaning, may shelter “caged Christians” safe, secure but no longer free. It’s a question to ponder.

In my own experience finding Christ was the ultimate in freedom. Free of worries for my needs or safety I could go anywhere, do anything! Being “born” outside the religious system I took His words quite literally when He said, “My God shall supply all your needs,” or “the angel of the Lord encamps about those that fear Him and delivers them,” etc. I lived on the promises and He met every one, wonderfully! In my innocence I knew no other way.

The verse, “He came that we may have life and have it more abundantly” does not (as it is often misapplied) mean we’ll get rich. It means when we receive His spirit in our hearts our new (spiritual) life begins, right then, overflowing with power, joy, and love. But even the life-giving spirit of Christ can be quenched if we bottle it up and turn off the faucet through fear.

I find it strange many non-believers view Christianity as restrictive. The opposite is true. Jesus sets us free, free from sin, from fear, even from convention. I suspect many might be surprised at my mental picture of Jesus – in action, overflowing with life, joy, love and power. My favourite Easter picture (above) shows Jesus racing from the tomb, full of power, eager to begin His future work. He often makes me laugh (usually at myself) and tells me I’m too serious – a worry wort lol! He really is a “free spirit” in every sense of the word.

I love that His first recorded miracle was to save a party by turning water to wine, that children loved Him. I love how he picked fishermen – even a tax collector – for His disciples. Even more I love that he roamed the land with no home, no job, no official stamp. He even had a notorious prostitute as a close follower! He must have gotten dirty, probably smelly, definitely not a member of “respectable society”, but love and power flowed from Him, healing, freeing, inspiring. That’s certainly not the image non-Christians have of the average church member.

Have we become caged, tame Christians, docile pets of the status quo? It’s a dangerous question to pose – it was the “status quo”, not the Romans that had Jesus killed – the Romans were just the tool they used. Being a real Christian is highly dangerous, but oh the thrill of adventure!

 

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A pregnant pause.

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I’ve always felt the days between Christmas and New Year a time of evaluation, a time to reset my compass. It could make sense to celebrate new year on the 23rd of December, winter solstice, when night recedes, and days begin to lengthen, but perhaps it’s better this way. No one knows when Christ was born, but Dec. 25th seems a good choice, when “light comes to the world”.

He didn’t come with a trumpet blast, a sudden dramatic arrival. Rather He slid in quietly, as a tiny babe. (Much like our deepest resolutions, known only to those closest). Though greeted by angels and shepherds, and later prophets and wise men, his arrival was unknown to the vast majority, who were unaware of any change.

It was thirty years before His big public ministry began. Isn’t that how change usually comes? Begun by a define choice, a point of time we commit to a course of action, it’s manifestation appears slowly. Often there are things we must learn and experience before we can fully embrace our goal.

Christmas was commitment when Christ took the first step, by being born in the flesh. He had yet to expose himself to public scrutiny, to heal the sick, to walk on water, to die for us. He had choice as we do. At any point in those 33 years he could have thrown in the towel and walked away to hide in obscurity, but birth was his first commitment, when it all began.

So, I like to take time to ponder my path. Heart cleansed by the remaining gifts of Christmas, love, compassion, unity, I pray about my path and reset my compass for the year ahead.

the message of christmas.

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To believe the unbelievable, and then to find it true.

To turn on the colour in a world of shades of grey.

To feel joy growing in your heart till it gushes out embracing all around.

To have a light, a candle, which, though it may flicker, can never be extinguished.

A flame to kindle others, as stars bedeck the night sky.

Happy Christmas from songbird! But, if not…

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Wishing you all a wonderfully happy Christmas full of love, joy, hugs and kisses from those you love.

For those alone this Christmas, for whatever reason, may the Prince of Christmas himself fill your heart with the joy of his presence, that never leaves, always loves, forgives, cares. No matter where we find ourselves in life he’s just a prayer away each and every day and would love to spend Christmas cuddled together with you, bringing with him the magic innocence of childhood and the implicit wisdom of the ages.

From this little birdie let me add my own love, brother, sister, and a long lingering hug to any that may need one. xxx

The light shines in darkness and the darkness comprehends it not.

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I heard the Kurdish version of the story of the wisemen while working in a refugee camp. Kurds are the descendents of the Medes (I didn’t know that either!) So, Daniel (of lion’s den fame) worked for the king of the Medes and trained a school of wise men to follow in his footsteps after he was gone. According to Kurdish tradition the wisemen were “descendants” of Daniel. That’s why they knew about the star and the coming king!

I love it when I discover a new piece of the puzzle. Just wanted to share this little known one. It seems powers that be have long been trying to eradicate much of Kurdish literature which sheds light on their ancient Christian roots. The friend that told me this tale hoped to one day make it to London to search the texts in the British museum, the only remaining sanctuary of these ancient books.

 

A child.

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Unto us a child is born,

Not just one, but many.

Following in steps divine.

In innocence and eyes ashine.

Within this earthly realm align

These blessed lambs.

 

Each one a touch of Heavens grace

The path from which we’ve gone astray

Endeavour to retrace.

Till sullied so by acrid fumes

Pollution of our strife

They yield at last their childhood faith

And enter into “life”.

 

Only one did keep the faith,

Emerged at last unscathed

From fear and darkness, hate and lust

And to us all proclaimed.

“To enter in become a child

Be born upon this day

And follow me both one and all

I came to show the way.”