How big is your God?

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Ever wondered how come some folks receive miraculous answers to prayer, live charmed lives, hardly ever get sick, depressed or even down, while other precious folks, true believers, kind, benevolent, seem powerless in the midst of troubles? I think the question above holds part of the answer. (For a great series on this see Mark Batterson’s “Chase the lion.”)
Which do you believe to be bigger/stronger/more powerful, God or cancer/adversity/ bankruptcy/etc. Understanding God is bigger than all these things put together and loves us unconditionally, not only gives peace of mind, it puts us in line for miracles.

Here are a few things about God I’ve come to understand over the years. (Perhaps you have others to share?)

1) A God “small” enough for us to figure out would not be God.
Man has a tendency to make god in his own image – ponder the old Greek and Roman gods for example with all their human flaws. One reason there are so many atheists around today is that they try to understand God with their intellect. A god who could be understood with the transient human mind would not be God. God cannot be put in a box and labelled, but He wants to be in intimate communication with us. He loves us, that’s why Jesus came, so we could understand better. Even so, our understanding is still as a child to a father, we take most things on trust, knowing “Dad can fix it”.

2) How can God be omnipresent (everywhere at the same time) in my heart, but also in yours, intimately concerned with every minute of our day? I found this hard to conceive till I realised if something is so much bigger it can envelope everything – best I can explain what I mean.

3) God is love.
There’s far more to this than the familiar phrase denotes. It doesn’t say “God is loving,” it says “God is love”. It also states, He is a spirit. Put that together. He is the spirit of love. When we feel love in any form we are feeling the tangible spirit of God. You might go so far as to say not, “I think therefore I am” but, “I love therefore I am.” When someone comes to Christ and/or receives the holy spirit this love is intensified.

4) Pride, (not immorality etc.) is the cardinal sin. The only folks Jesus ever got angry with were the Pharisees (the religious leaders of their day). They, not the Romans, had him crucified. Yet he was full of mercy toward the harlots and tax collectors etc. Pride is what caused Lucifer to fall from his top job as God’s light bearer. Pride destroys love, it’s humbling to love, it makes you vulnerable.

5) The “who made God” question. The answer to this is simple but hard to explain. As creatures born in time, living our lives in time, we cannot conceive being without it. Time is a part of the creation, God created time, He is not confined by it, nor will we be when we leave this life. Again, man tries to reduce God to his finite conceptions.

Well, there’s some of my Sunday morning thoughts. If you have any you’d like to add, please do. Have a great day everyone!

God’s ultimate back up plan.

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Yesterday I posted about how God always has a back up plan when things go wrong (Rom. 8:28). That set me to thinking of not just my little life, not even nationally, but about God’s global back up plans.
Yes, he has a back up plan for if/when we screw up this earth beyond redemption. It’s not about electing Christian politicians, edgy liberalist ideas, or law enforcement. It’s all explained in the book of Revelations (and a few other places). God’s ultimate contingency plan is to come rescue us (and the earth we were meant to care for).
It says, He’s going to take over with a whole new ball game, and this time we play by His rules, not ours. Finally, justice (and mercy – can’t have one without the other) will be meted out, our whole economic system uprooted, no more rich, no more poor, no more exploitation. The earth’s replenished land and resources will be shared by all, no more hunger, no more crippling mortgages. For sure there will be work, but wholesome, independent work, no more bosses! No more curse on the land, (no weeds, pests or fungus). Tame animals, less sickness, prolonged age expectancy etc. etc.
When I see us continually screwing up I remind myself – there’s a back up plan and its incredible!

What is a church?

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Many of us associate the word church with a building, but the original meaning was a group of believers. While a church building may be old, beautiful, a remembrance, or a masterpiece of creativity, it is an empty shell without the congregation. A true church is the sum of its members, whether they meet in a movie theatre, coffee shop, or simple home. Perhaps some of the strongest churches have met in forests, on mountains, even in cellars, during times of persecution (and still do in some parts of the world.)

A recent blog post set me thinking about churches. Probably the most diabolically clever move the enemy ever made was to make Christianity acceptable, safe. The ancient “church”, heartily relieved to no longer be hounded and persecuted, settled down to work in harmony with the prevailing worldly systems of its day. Sure, it had its revolutionaries, St. Francis, Luther, etc. But even Luther compromised when he saw where the truth of the scriptures was leading – the overthrow of the status quo. He sold out his followers and thousands died.

In every generation, and scattered throughout denominations one finds true Christians, always a minority. The proportion of these individuals in a church tends to decide how dead (going through the motions) or alive it is. A spirit filled pastor can sometimes bring a church to life, but the choice rests always on the congregation. It is not always shown by large numbers (think Noah and Jeremiah). In my experience small, personal churches tend to be more on fire, as they grow so do the problems. If you build something successful someone is sure to either try to destroy it or take it over – this happens!

The church I frequently attend is small, personal, accepting. They have all types and ages in their congregation, wealthy and privileged, to poor single mums from the counsel estate, 90 year olds to tiny tots (even teenagers). The pastors are sincere and loving. Testimonies, prophecy and prayer abound and are freely shared among the congregation both after and often during the service. It’s easy to see the love of Christ abounding. I notice how no one minds when a woman sings off key and two beats behind on every song, when several get up to help the one in a wheelchair, when someone breaks down in tears and the person next to them (not in any church position) puts an arm around them, when I see the free lunches offered to any that come (minus a sermon) and note the guy with a tattooed face I’d avoided sitting among them, greeted with a smile. While perhaps not as radical as my own beliefs (it still operates in conjunction with the “system”) I’d say it is an alive and growing church in the best meaning of the word.

 

The morning after.

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The morning after Christmas dawns

The tree bedecked with lights adorns.

But loved ones scuttled to their homes

No more the joy and laugher roams.

Only photos mark the place

And filial love and fun replace.

 

And yet, if I’m to answer true

My head is pounding, and I rue

The ceasless round of food and drink

I’ve got too old for this I think.

 

Not too old for joy, and hugs,

Not too old for cuddle bugs.

Love each moment with my kids

And their offspring and their vid’s.

 

But at my age I need to pause

Rest, recuperate from chores

Listen to the still clear vioce

That makes the inner me rejioce.

I am so blessed in all you see

I think old age is suiting me.

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

A Child’s Christmas gift.

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My youngest daughter suffers dreadfully from insomnia. After a particularly difficult night last night, her five year old son realised mum had slept badly. Dragging herself out of bed she was confronted by her golden haired son in his reindeer onesie. Blue eyes gleaming he said, “ I found something nice for you.”

He proceeded to put on a Netflix video of a fireplace with Christmas music.

“Mummy, I want you to enjoy it,” he said.

This is all the more special as generally he’ll hog the TV (when dad’s not home) for his Wild Krats and Dino Train programs. I think we have a “Christmas angel”.

“This is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light.”

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Why would we choose darkness? Because we have something to hide? We all have something to hide. Light exposes every wrinkle, every blemish, every imperfection, our flawed, secret self.

Ask yourself, could I stand naked in front of a room full of people, not strangers, people I interact with? The answer for most of us is no. Then think, could I be entirely naked before someone I love and who I know loves me, just as I am warts and all?

This is the secret of embracing the light. Knowing  God loves us with such perfect love He sees past our imperfections, we can yield ourselves in total, naked, honesty. Not because we feel we are perfect or beautiful, but because we trust totally in His limitless love for us. This is true humility and only in this way can we embrace the light.

The answer’s been there all along.

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It can get discouraging watching the news – violence, poverty, corruption etc. The problems seem so complex and unsolvable but the answer has always been there, so simple!

It was delivered to us by a lowly carpenter two thousand years ago, yet we haven’t implemented it. The answer is love (or it might be more clearly stated compassion). You see if you love someone you share with them, even down to your last mouthful. Jesus statement “sell all that you have and give to the poor,” or Acts, “All that believed were together and had all things common,” sound pretty scary, but imagine if everyone actually did that. Not at the barrel of a gun (as in communism) but voluntarily out of love, there would be plenty for all. God has always given enough it’s just not shared out evenly.  (I just read in among the many articles regarding the “Paradise Papers” half the world’s wealth is in the hands of just eight people – imaging sharing that out!) Capitalism and our various economic systems are not Christian ideologies, quite the reverse in fact. Sharing would end world poverty and much of the disease prevalent in poor nations (also probably in rich ones too, as the wealthy no long overindulged lol!) What about the loafers? I hear someone ask. Again simple, Love does its best and works hard for the sake of others. Communism, though admittedly a lot more biblical than capitalism, left out the love part (not to mention God) – that’s why it didn’t work.

“Do unto others as you’d have them do to you,” that means wars would cease – you can’t kill/hurt someone you love! Crime would cease because you also don’t steal from someone you love. Overall health would improve as greedy corporations, brought to their knees by love, ceased polluting and destroying the earth and big pharma became benign at last.

Of course I’m a dreamer, such changes would take hundreds of years to implement even were all to be willing (and many are not) as Jesus said “how hard it is for the wealthy to enter into the kingdom”. The change would need to be gradual one heart at a time. But it annoys me when I hear folks blame things on God. He gave us a good plan in the beginning, but we thought we were wise (what comes of listening to “serpents”) and put our own plans into action instead. You can see where that brought us! Then Jesus came to give us the plan again, and at first it worked, till the church itself became part of “the establishment” and compromised to stay safely under that umbrella, gradually getting further and further sucked in.

I have little hope of these changes taking place, (at least till Jesus returns to finally take over before we wipe ourselves out). It’s hard for most folks to even think outside the box of our present economic systems etc. but then there are always those wonderful individuals, who warm the heart by their courage in following the true plan for mankind, those of whatever religion, creed, or lack thereof, whose love and compassion overcome their fears to give all and in giving all find all, for “God is love.”

Why keep Christ in Christmas?

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I received an invitation, from my eldest, to celebrate “Chrimbo” together ??? My younger daughter enlightenned me….. First “Xmas” and now “Crimbo” – are people afraid of the word Christ? Without him there would be no Christmas! This post from Steve Maraboli explains.

Why keep Christ in Christmas?

feed the hungry

clothe the naked

forgive the guilty

welcome the unwanted

care for the ill

love your enemies

and do unto others

as you would have them done unto you.