Mary’s Song

Scripture records Mary’s song, as she celebrates with Elizabeth the joy of being chosen by God to give birth to the saviour. She declares that God is bringing order into a fractured society. God’s commitment is always towards the well-being of his creation. From its inception, creation was intended as a space that reflected God’s character and values.

I remember how Katey was forced to retire from teaching because of MS, and struggled to come to terms with her worsening health. Suddenly we were confronted with social workers and complex forms that had to be filled in with the certain words and phrasing to trigger appropriate benefits.

One day I came home to discover a stranger in the house asking Katey questions. He was sent to check on Katey’s eligibility for the benefit she claimed. I listened as he asked her, ‘When did you last go upstairs?’ Katey replied, ‘Last week’, an answer he duly wrote on his form.

But Katey was in denial and hadn’t been upstairs for years. I challenged the form-filler if he was allowing the answer to stand when a simple check would reveal that Katey could not weight-bear on her legs. I insisted we went back through the form, since his whole purpose seemed to be to slander Katey as a benefits cheat. Unlike God, he failed to have the welfare of creation at the heart of his work.

What a loathsome job, and how far from the kingdom Christ secured for us! Yet all of us can silently participate in the creeping process of penalising the most vulnerable among us, since they are usually the least able to defend themselves.

Mary proclaims that the least are preferred to the mighty, the hungry fed and those with sufficient expected to feed themselves and not steal food from the marginalised. We live in a world where vigilance is required that we might continue to proclaim Mary’s anthem and do the works of God on the earth, loving the least among us.

(Dr Micha Jazz)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Advertisements

Are You A Decision-taker?

I am by nature a decision-taker. I have long stated confidently, ‘Better the wrong decision than no decision.’ While I appreciate the sentiment, I’m not sure I can state these words with great conviction anymore.

Sometimes my need to make a decision is driven more from my own frustration with circumstance than any real conviction of its validity; it’s a decision for decision’s sake alone.

Love, to continue yesterday’s theme, requires decision. As Katey and I dated, there came a point that I assume we both recognised when the relationship had reached a stage where a decision needed to be taken, one provoked by a proposal of marriage.

On this occasion, I was a lie unto myself, for Katey proposed to me in the face of whatever convention might say.

At every point of our journey, where we have to make decisions, to choose a course of action, Jesus has promised that the Holy Spirit will be at our side. The spirit, says scripture, is a counsellor, advocate and a helper. In walking the way of love, we are never alone.

The obstacles found strewn on our path in pursuit of God are there more for our distraction than our detention. We are to turn to the spirit for guidance in how we might faithfully follow God’s commands and so live from a heart of love.

‘Law’ is a word we most often associate with a constraint to control our behaviours, one that to ignore brings a punishment. However, the Law of Love constrains us for our personal benefit as well as securing the flourishing of humanity.

Loving God and neighbour, forgiving 70 times seven, worshipping and praying, all lead me away from being self-consumed and towards self-realisation.

And the source of such self-realisation is always and only ever can be God. Love forever means I decrease and the other increases. It is the source of our ability to die to self.

(Dr Micha Jazz)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Scars

Some years ago, on a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.

His mother, in the house and looking out the window, saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could. Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his mother. It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him.

From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go.

A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator. Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal. And, on his arms, were deep scratches where his mother’s fingernails dug into his flesh in her effort to hang on to the son she loved.

The newspaper reporter, who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, “But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Mom wouldn’t let go.”

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past! Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go. In the midst of your struggle, He’s been there holding on to you.

The Scripture teaches that God loves you. You are a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way.

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Advent: A Window on our Lives

Today,I want to share with you the inspirational words of Sheridan Voysey which he wrote in his recent blog:-

I wrote a book recently about recovering from broken dreams. It tells the story of my wife Merryn and me spending a decade trying to start a family without success. To our surprise an American TV producer read the book, and a few months ago sent a film crew over to make a documentary on us.

The weeks leading up to the filming were intense. There was so much to prepare—like locations, caterers, clothes. Merryn is a private person and the thought of telling our story to camera made her understandably anxious. It all added up to some sleepless nights.

The finished documentary premiered in American last month and I’m glad to report it’s beautiful—particularly the closing scene, which centres on a dinner party. You see a silky tablecloth drop gently onto the table. You see cutlery set at each place. You see the guests arrive, you see food and laughter. You see that life can go on after a broken dream.

In the Church calendar, the weeks leading up to Christmas are called Advent. For Christians, Advent is a time of waiting and preparation. We remember the people of God waiting for their Saviour. We remember Mary waiting to give birth to her child. And we prepare ourselves for Jesus’ return, when we believe he’ll change things forever.

Advent is a bit like our experience preparing for that film. As Christmas Day approaches we’re thinking about locations and catering—where to spend the Day, what to cook, which gifts to buy. It can be a time of sleepless nights too—as we worry about the Christmas table being a place of arguments rather than laughter.

I’d say Advent is also a reflection of our broader lives too. Jesus said he had to leave this life so he could prepare a place for us in the next. And the first thing scripture says he’ll do when he returns is throw us a dinner party. After all the stress and tears and broken dreams of our lives, we’ll be invited to take our seat at a table full of joy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Praise For Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Marlene has just created a new Biblical Word Search – Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ – based on Ephesians 1: 3-14.

To freely download this new word search please go to:-

http://www.christianwordsearches.net/SpiritualBlessings.html

 

So far Marlene has created more than 150 Biblical Word Searches, all of which you may access by going to:-

http://www.christianwordsearches.net

 

We hope that in addition to finding these word searches challenging for your Biblical mind, that you will also take time to read the accompanying scripture upon which the word search is based.

For example, the word search today is taken from Ephesians 1: 3-14

 

May God Bless you mightily in everything you say and in everything you do

With many joyful blessings

Geoffrey

Good Friday

After that, Jesus, aware that all had now come to its appointed end, said in the fulfilment of Scripture,’ I thirst’.

A jar stood there full of sour wine; so they soaked a sponge with the wine, fixed it on a javelin, and held it up to his lips. Having received the wine, he said,’ It is accomplished!’

He bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Because it was the eve of Passover, the Jews were anxious that the bodies should not remain on the cross for the coming Sabbath, since that Sabbath was a day of great solemnity so they requested Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers accordingly became to the first of his fellow victims and to the second, and broke their legs; but when they came to Jesus, they found that he was already dead, so they did not break his legs.

But one of the soldiers stabbed his side with a lance, and at once there was a flow of blood and water. This is vouched for by an eye witness, whose evidence is to be trusted.

He knows that he speaks the truth, so that you too may believe; for this happened in fulfilment of the Scripture: ‘ No bone of his shall be broken’. And another text says,’ They shall look on him whom they pierced’.

After that, Pilate was approached by Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus, but the secret disciple for fear of the Jews, who asked to be allowed to remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission; so Joseph came and took the body away.

He was joined by Nicodemus (the man who had first visited Jesus by night), who brought with him a mixture of myrrh and aloes, more than half a hundredweight.

They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of cloth according to Jewish burial customs.

Now at the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden there was a new tomb, not yet used for burial.

There, because the tomb was near at hand and it was also the eve of the Jewish Sabbath, they laid Jesus.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today, we watch our Lord at the receiving end, taken in charge by the authorities and receiving at their hands and at the hands of the mob, insults, mockery and shame.

He is given up to the people’s will at the dictate of Pilate. He is the passive recipient of the men’s malice.

And yet, he is the great Actor in this drama of redemption. He reigns from the tree…….

Even in his death throes, he is sufficiently master of time and circumstance to be able to care for his mother in her loneliness; and sufficiently in control to heed his fellow victim’s cry for help and to assure him of a place with him in Paradise; sufficiently aware to be able to utter the great cry of achievement: “it is accomplished!”

O Jesus, King most wonderful, 
Thou conqueror renowned!

(John 19: 28 June-42)

With many peaceful and joyful blessings

Geoffrey

 

Monday in Holy Week

On the following day, they came to Jerusalem, and he went into the Temple and began driving out those who bought and sold in the Temple.

He upset the tables of the money-changers and the seats of the dealers in pigeons; and he would not allow anyone to use the Temple Court as a thoroughfare for carrying goods.

Then he began to teach them, and said, ‘Does not Scripture say, “My house shall be called a prayer for all the nations?”  But you have made it of robbers’ Cave.’

The chief priests and the doctors of the law heard of this and sought some means of making away with him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching.

And when evening came he went out of the city.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

T2 use the Temple as a marketplace was to engage in a blatant desecration of the holy.

To exchange money and to sell pigeons at exorbitant prices was to abuse the poor.

The anger of Jesus is apparent against these social sins. We see his anger in its fearless purity, and it is not a pretty sight.

The only frightened people in this story are the authorities! They are afraid of Jesus – he was too popular.

They are afraid of the crowd – they are too spellbound by this fiery teacher.

“Conscience  makes cowards of us all.”

“Fear him, ye saints, and then you will then have nothing else to fear.”

(Mark 11:12, 15-19)

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey