1.11.19

Dona Nobis Pacem





Over the years I have written little snippets and poems on the theme of peace. This year on Nov 4th I am joining other peace bloggers from across the world to share on the theme: Changing your climate. I'm going to collect together a number of pieces I have written to express a yearning for peace, a deep desire for a better world and perhaps a glimmer of hope that things can and will be better. As these have been written over the years some may appear darker than others. Some may even appear optimistic. These come in no particular order, but in the end all reflect a longing for a change in climate. The toxic nature of politics and media these days needs challenged. The climate of division and misery needs to end. Let us not forget the other extinction threat - nuclear weapons. It is time to blog for peace.


1. Letter to the 'Leaders' 

From whence cometh wars and rumours of war?
Lust for power as you sacrifice at the altar of your gods. 
Lust for wealth, the love of which is the root of all evil.
Lust that fills the streets with rivers of blood. 
Lust that burns children alive in the name of "a higher cause."
Lust in the name of dark liquid and swords. 
Lust in the name of your false god Ares. 
From whence cometh wars and rumours of war?
Your lusts! 

2. War 

Blood and guts
Widows crying 

Where is the glory? 

Blood and guts 
Children dying

Where is the glory?

Blood and guts
People dying 

Where is the glory? 

War! 
What is it good for? 


3. Not in thy name 

Cruelty and punishment.
They say in thy name.
Do they know what manner of spirit they are of?
Killing and wholesale slaughter.
They say in thy name.
Do they know what manner of spirit they are of?
Not in thy name.
Not in my name.
In theirs.
Not in thy name. 

4. War Child 

Another body on an empty street. 
No wave of flags for this child. 
No red, white and blue. 
No streets lined with mourners. 
No drum beat or trumpet call. 
No red flowers or wreaths. 
No moment silence or vigil mass. 
Worst of all: 
No faith, 
No hope, 
No love, 
None is given. 
This is the death of another nations child. 


5. Fields 

Beautiful sunshine. 
Fields of buttercups. 
Lambs playing in the spring. 
Dark clouds of poison smoke. 
Fields of bones and bodies. 
No one and no creature plays in 'no man's land'. 
Sunshine breaking through the clouds in a blue sky. 
Fields golden and ripe for harvest. 
Blackened sky. 
No light or life. 
No one to harvest, no harvest. 
All that is left is the aftermath of slaughter. 
God forgive our heartless species. 
God forgive us! 


6. Vigil for Peace 

Alone it floats on the water, lit by a child, a call for peace amidst the wars. 
Its a sign to beckon the weary to come. 
Slowly more candles are lit, 
More people come. 
They come, not to curse the darkness. 
They simply come to light a candle.
Soon the water reflects so much light. 
Broken and surrendered they come. 
Softly without words or song they minister. 
In prayer and stillness they gather. 
The ever-growing, universal vigil for peace has begun. 


7. Collateral Damage 

You are someones baby, someones child; 
But they call you collateral damage. 
You are someones son, someones daughter; 
But they call you collateral damage. 
You are someones brother, someones sister; 
But they call you collateral damage. 
You are someones father, someones mother; 
But they call you collateral damage. 
They call you collateral damage.
For they know not what spirit they are of. 


8. To the ground 

He falls to the ground. 
Hands over his eyes, he weeps bitter tears of great pain. 
How had things come to this? 
Wiping the blood and tears from his face, he does something he hasn't done for a long time, he prays. 
With his rifle finally laid to rest, the young soldier looks to the heavens and then across a field of corpses. 
Among the dead he sees a child he killed in the heat of battle. 
The soldiers words echo in the valley of death, God forgive us. 
Forgive us all, sweet Jesus, forgive us. 
To the ground the soldier falls. 


9. They Lie

They send us off to die. 
Blood and tears we cry. 
In the heat of battle we live. 
Our sweat and life we give. 
Bang beats the drum. 
A war never won. 
Vanity and pride. 
The leaders hide. 
Why should this be? 
Indeed the name of the free? 
No, not in my name. 
This is not a game. 
They send us off to die, we shall not go!
For they lie! 


10. New World

I once had a dream of a new world.

I saw a city of crystals, pearls and gold, full of light, guarded by angels of old. 

There was no night
The city was bright. 

A river of pure love flowed through. 
There was no death for me and you. 

No dying, no crying, no sinning. 
A place of no pain or sorrow. 

It is the world of tomorrow. 


11. This is The End

Lay down together, friends.
Roar lion, roar!
Silent lamb to slaughter.
A child will lead them.
Lay down together, friends.
Speak and nations bow.
Swords to ploughs.
The harvest is plenty.
Lay down together, friends.
Prince of peace.
Hallelujah, angels sing.
Saints awake.
Lay down together, friends.
Lay down on holy ground.
Lay down your weapons.
Lay down your burdens.
Lay down together, friends.
This is the end.

***

CHANGE YOUR CLIMATE

DONA NOBIS PACEM
GRANT US PEACE

- DTH - 







31.10.19

Personality or Character?

Having good character was the great objective.
Having good personality became the objective.
Good character, like God character, was all about morals.
Good personality, like no character, is all about the self.
How do I do good?
Became
How do I look good?
Passion
Became
Performance
Genuine article
Became
Acting a part
How things change.
It changed.
Can it change again?


Manna

My life and soul were parched.
In a proverbial land of hunger and thirst, despair seemed inevitable.
I cried to you like many times before.
You, Lord are faithful.
Like Moses striking the rock my thirst was quenched.
Like Manna from heaven my hunger was satisfied.
You are faithful from generation to generation.
Blessed be your name.
Amen


Victory

Father, true and merciful
Thank you for saving a prodigal.
Your heart of love shines through
You give life fresh and new.
In hope I thirst for more
Christ is the only victory in this war.
The tempter comes knocking
How can one as I stop falling?
Only by you my rock and shield
In your palms my destiny is sealed.
Hallelujah my king
My heart shall ever sing.
Glory and honour to your name
Your Salvation is my claim.
Amen


30.10.19

The Heart of the Matter

Infinite human depravity and sin.
Infinite love and grace.
Without Him all is lost.
The heart of the problem is the problem of man's hearts.
'Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!' says the preacher.
In a world of cruelty and vanity a saviour came.
Triumphant war Lord?
Nay, a lamb.
Our weakness, he identifies.
Our suffering, he identifies.
The ultimate price buys our liberty:
Join Me!
Follow Me!
Take up your cross!
Liberty is ours!
Darkness and light collide.
Flesh and blood is spilled.
Principalities and powers beware.
The light has come.
Let thy light shine oh God!


29.10.19

Upside Down

On the road to Emmaus two fellows entered fellowship with God.
'Did not our hearts burn within us...'
These fellows of the fellowship of the upper room journeyed:
Sorrow? Fear? Is it over? Dead!
Joy? Courage? Just begun? Alive!
Turn the world upside down.
He turns hearts upside down.
The work is finished, but just begun.


28.10.19

Remember when life wasn't a series of screens?

Remember when life wasn't a series of screens?
'I' meant 'me' as in 'I am human' not machine.
Smart wasn't a phone it was our Sunday best.
Is this another rant? Well then, you know the rest...
Heads didn't hang low unless we were being told...and even then...
We looked up at the clouds and imagined shapes.
Saw the autumn leaves and snowflakes, all so majestic, no mistake.
Saw the Robins in the bushes and thought of Christmas.
Waited to see bluebell walks and spring unleashed.
Spent time outdoors at the beach.
We tried to look people in the eye as we spoke unmuffled by this digital joke.
Screen time or no time hadn't tried to replace family time or even 'quiet time' and 'rest time.'
Brains switched off, not to reboot but to refresh. Down time wasn't interrupted by digital guests. Breathe in the air, take a walk, be blessed.
Remember when life wasn't a series of screens?
Because that scene wasn't even that long ago!
If you a reading this on a screen. Excuse my irony. Switch off, be free. Addiction is the enemy of your liberty.


27.10.19

Passover

Passover comes - Calvary is near.
You are anointed in love.
Prepared for burial - You know what is to come.
Prophet, Priest, King
Anointed for a purpose.
'Seek first the kingdom', you say to rich and poor.
In this work you find satisfaction.
Teach us to do what we can for you, with the oil of love.
A broken jar, a broken saviour.
You are sold for less.
Your servants are ridiculed.
Yet Lord, third day rising.
You are our victory!
Let freedom reign.


26.10.19

It is Finished

Finished
Bloody Palms
Bloody Crown
Bloody Ground
Bloody Nails
Radiant Light
Third Day Rising
Finished, but Just Begun


This poem won a prize at All Poetry.

25.10.19

The Sunrise is Coming

(Written a number of years ago, but still with some relevance).

When I look at this world I feel a deep pain.
A burden in my soul.
This overwhelming sadness threatens to engulf me, to crush me with waves of despair.

Who can I trust but you?

Our Western civilization has fallen foul to false idols.
Community is replaced by screen's of various sizes.
Friendship is reduced to a virtual status.

Yet in You I find community.
In you I find friendship.
The wife you provided, the baby on the way.

The love of this world is enmity with you.
The world's love blows hot and cold.
A politics of hate, a muffled church, neighbourhoods of fear and pain -
Broken, All Broken!
But, Your light still shines.
Pockets of hope, sparkles in the night.
The Sunrise is coming!


24.10.19

The Light Has Come

Offer pigeon not lamb.
Not the wealthiest in the land.
Not the most religious plan:
'Hush now Mary, no one need know'
A righteous deed,
A righteous love.
'But, I am innocent my love.'
'I know, I know.
A silent divorce to save your soul.
To save you from the masses and the legalists.
From violent men and cruel hearts.'
Then he hears the Lord's voice.
'I have no other choice.
To obey I'm urged,
To obey I must.'
Protects all the more.
To the little town.
No donkey travel, a paupers birth in a stable.
Not so silent night, birth pangs, Animal noises,
Starlight to daylight.
Light, light, the light has come!

Offer pigeon not lamb?
Not the wealthiest in the land.
Not the most religious plan:
Not temple dwellers.
Shepherds come to see the new Shepherd born.
Could they even read?
They worked the Sabbath!
Worked with animals!
Unclean, Unclean!
Not so silent night, birth pangs, Animal noises,
Starlight to daylight.
Light, light, the light has come!

Offer up the lamb?
Wealthiest of other lands.
Not the most religious plan:
Maggi.
Foreigners from afar.
Wealthy gifts for a King.
Access to Herods court.
Not the powerless sort.
They had everything yet were seeking Him.
Wise men indeed.
Hearts seeking Jesus
Not so silent night, birth pangs, Animal noises,
Starlight to daylight.
Light, light, the light has come!

Offer up the lamb.
Most religious of the land.
A very religious plan:
Teachers of the law.
Knew the book word for word.
Could quote where he was to be born.
But did they seek Him out?
Did they practice or just know the word?
Knowledge without living it out.
Not so silent night, birth pangs, Animal noises,
Starlight to daylight.
Light, light, the light has come!

Offer up the 'wee lambs'.
Most barbaric of the land.
An evil, sinister, heartless plan:
Herod the great?
No, Herod the fearful.
Scared of what he would have to give up.
His precious crown.
Threatened by a meek baby.
Nurse Rachel weeps!
But, still Herod fails.
Not so silent night, birth pangs, Animal noises,
Starlight to daylight.
Light, light, the light has come!
Light, light, the light has come!
Light, light, the light has come!



23.10.19

Finders Keepers

I seek you.
I long for you.
I seek with all my heart.
In this world of sin,
We need a saviour.
'Seek and ye shall find.'
So, I seek, I hunt, I yearn.
I sought you, you whom my soul loves. I found you... You found me.
In sackcloth and ashes I am found.
You call me son, though I say servant.
So I arise.
You embrace me, 'Abba!'
Thankyou for loving me as I am, not just as I should be.
Thankyou for finding me, for keeping me.


20.10.19

Questions

Why are we here?
Why do the nations rage?
Why do the wicked prosper?
Where do wars come from?
Who am I Lord?
What must I do to be saved?
Revival, how long Lord?
In all our questions you have the answers.
Help us to keep asking questions.
Help us to listen.
Help us to be still and know that you are God.



19.10.19

Love Wins!

Love will win in the end, dear friends.
Love will win.
There are whispers of a word.
Amidst the chaos and confusion of a dark and angry world, it echoes through the mist.
My heart heard this misunderstood little word.
It heard and was blessed.
The word love caused my heart to skip a beat and my soul to become merry.
Could it be that even in mans darkest hours, love still lives?
Indeed it lives and breaths all things pure.
But what is the meaning of such a word?
Could it be the joy of babes playing a merry little din?
Is it the splendour of a spring morning?
Or the beauty of a maidens face basked in sunlight?
Or perhaps its just a word we use in season to gain something in return?
Maybe its just a word the poets like to write?
Nay, it is more.
Surely true love is self-sacrifice.
Its the laying down of ones life for a friend.
Even an enemy.
Its the will to bless those who curse us
To love our haters
To forgive our debtors as Jesus forgives his.
Love is not some superficial myth, but a dream of things better.
It was love that allowed Gods own Son to give himself into mans angry hands.
It was love that sent him beyond this realm to prepare a peaceful place for us.
Our Promised Land, our Paradise.
Yes, behold, it is love that is the greatest thing!

This poem won a prize at All Poetry.


18.10.19

Day of the Martyrs

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10 ESV)

Gathering of light. 
Sacred assembly of love. 
Age of war, hate, and strife. 
The day of the martyrs has just begun. 
Blood stained standing stones. 
Anabaptists tears, angels song. 
The day of the martyrs has just begun. 
Ice cracks, foe falls. 
Pilgrim saves. 
To burning he must go. 
Stands fast, dies slow, proclaims love for all to know. 
The day of the martyrs has just begun.


Published in the anthology Poetic Velocity. This poem reflects on the powerful faith and love of many Christian martyrs. The main one is the story of Dirk Willems who was an Anabaptist Christian martyr. He was being hunted for his faith and he turned back to save his enemy when his enemy fell through some ice. Dirk was burnt at the stake for his faith despite his merciful gesture. He entered heaven with a clean conscience.

You can buy the anthology at:
Poetic Velocity and appears at All Poetry.


16.10.19

Legions of Hope

We are the legions of hope.
We are his hands and feet.
We are the chosen.
Gifted by Grace,
Gifted to serve.
Called out of darkness,
Called to the light.
Voices in the wilderness,
His voice for the oppressed.
By His grace alone
We are the legions of hope.

This piece won a prize at All Poetry.


15.10.19

Hope in Jesus

What happens when I die?
The voice of angels that do not cry.
Ladder to heaven.
Death has won?
Nay, Life has won.
Death: where is her sting, where is her victory?
No shame in dying, no shame in living.
Crushed to earth, but rising again.
In Christ alone my hope is found.
What happens when you die?
The voice of angels that do not cry?


14.10.19

The Pig of No Compassion

Would we rather love winning?
Or the pig of a loveless comfort zone?
Would we rather a man be provided for?
Or the pig of no compassion?
Would we rather a man be clothed?
Or the pig of humiliation?
Would we rather a man be housed?
Or the pig of homelessness?
Would we rather a man be healed?
Or the pig of demonic legions?
Would we rather God's kingdom advancing?
Or the pig of the world, the flesh and the devil?
We want love, provision, clothing, a home, His kingdom!
Let's treat others as we would like to be treated.
Whatsoever we do to the least of these brothers we do unto Jesus.
Therefore, let's choose compassion, not the pigs.

(Influenced by the story of The Rich Man and Lazurus).


13.10.19

From the Heart

Written a number of years ago as I reflected on both the state of the world and personal life:

Life is a mix of emotions in the many matters of the heart:
FROM THE HEART
Sorrow at the loss of a friend,
Joy at the marriage feast of the Lamb.
FROM THE HEART
Fear and anger at gunmen on beach,
Heart beating for a better world.
FROM THE HEART
Recognition of my own imperfections,
Hope and celebration at our anniversary.
FROM THE HEART
O HEART, BREAK FOR HATE AND IMPERFECTION
O HEART, BEAT FOR LOVE, JOY, PEACE AND JUSTICE.


12.10.19

Celtic Cross

Tall, dark, towering, decorated with curves and angles.
Sign of the people, the passion, and the place.
The circle of life and resurrection.
Hands once held there, feet once nailed.
The inscription King of the Jews The reality King of all kings.
The King of the Celts died here.
Slain to reconcile man to God.
Art and heritage combine.
The story unfolds as it is retold.
God of our fathers bless us.
Bless us in the shadow of thy cross.


10.10.19

Prodigal

Here I go again, Lord.
Ever the Prodigal, losing sight of you.
Listening to the demons and eating with the pigs.
You offer an inheritance, the love of Abba, a future.
Yet I stumble, I fall.
"Pleasure" is as the vapor and endures for a short while, but then fades away.
Forgive me Father and strengthen me your servant, your son.
Help me draw close to you with a great embrace, to resist the devil so he will flee from me - and from thee protecting me.
Save me Lord.
Amen.


9.10.19

Eden

Perfection itself,
How we have lost paradise.
Eden falls.
Life is lost.
Nature, spirit and eternity crushed to earth.
We need a cure O God.
We need love.
We need You.
Keeper of life.
Restorer of faith.
Defender of eternity.
JESUS
Calvary slays death.
You are freedom.
You are life.
Without money, without price help us choose LIFE.
Eden rises.
Amen.


8.10.19

The Divine Kiss

"For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14 KJV)

For such a time as this, 
The divine kiss. 
God gives us position,
For the great commission.
His cause, 
The greatest there ever was.
Unique character of our time, 
Behold the shift in paradigm.
Clothe yourself in His apparel,
Neglect his voice at your peril.
No to cowardly sins,
Either way God wins!
For such a time as this,
The divine kiss.

This piece won a prize at AllPoetry


7.10.19

Angelos

You may not see me, but I am near.
Travel through time.
Travel through space.
Travel through eternity.
Some have entertained me, but were not aware.
The infants, ill, and dying see me most, as I bless them with the heavenly hosts.
You are not alone, we are around you, just as we stand before his throne.
I repeat, you are not alone.
Messengers of love and truth walk among mortal men.
You are not alone as we guide you home.


6.10.19

The souls conflict and deliverance

"Objection [To quieting the spirit in the soul's conflicts].  But I have often relapsed and fallen into the same sin again and again.
Answer.  If Christ will have us pardon our brother seventy-seven times, can we think that he will enjoin us more than he will be ready to do himself, when in cases of showing mercy he would have us think his thoughts to be far above ours?"
(From: The Soul's Conflict With Itself - Richard Sibbes)

There is a worship song that has a line '1000 times I fail yet your mercy remains.'
Of course like Paul we must ask:

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (Romans 6:1,2)

However, note that being a Christian does not suddenly mean we are completely perfect and won't make any mistakes along the way. Paul also admits:

“For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” (Romans 7:19)

God looks at the heart. A good self examining question is to consider 'do I love sin?' Or 'Do I desire to be free of it for the sake of my first love Christ Jesus?'

One thing that is certain is that if we truly love Jesus we will not want sin any more and will come to loath our sins (even pet ones that need His special grace to be done with). Furthermore if this is the case it is also certain that His desire will be to lavish us with His forgiveness as we come to Him in sorrow and repentance. 

"If Christ will have us pardon our brother seventy-seven times, can we think that he will enjoin us more than he will be ready to do himself, when in cases of showing mercy he would have us think his thoughts to be far above ours?" (Sibbes)


5.10.19

A Stand

The lone figure emerges from the mist, his long white beard blows in the wind. A peculiar sight for guard and prisoners alike. Soon more emerge as the old man advances. 7, 14, 21...soon a hundred unarmed saints. 'What do they want?' 'Who are they?' 'Are these the followers of Jesus?' 'Surely not, or they like others would sing louder as screams echo from death train.' 'No, no my brother it is them.' 'Why have they come?' The lone figure pushes gunmen aside. 'Can't go in there!' Guards cry. Heeding them not he stands in the midst of the prisoners. Eyes of surprised prisoners, Eyes of dumb struck guards, Eyes of bold congregation standing at the gate.'What will he do?' 'What can he do?' 'Tomorrow to death camp we go.' But then... Lifting up holy book he roars prophetically the words of Ruth 1:16, 17. A thunder of applause within and outwith the gates. Gates that will not prevail. Guards disband for the Word of the Lord has been spoken. Never again do they return, All because a few made A STAND to save children of the promised land.

Based on a true story. 

The verse from Ruth reads: "And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me." (from the KJV - public domain).


4.10.19

The beauty of salvation

The beauty of salvation is that the Lord saves us by his own merciful grace. But, being saved does not excuse us from good works. On the contrary as his handiwork we are created for good works. To produce good fruit. To be blessed and be a blessing. God has even set the path before us with opportunities to serve him and others. To be lights of love, in a world where dark and hate can be so prominent. We are not saved by works, but we sure are saved by grace to do them.



3.10.19

Life in creation

Life,
It's a journey.
Even better,
A pilgrimage.
We are born into the world needing love,
Needing peace.
One of the most basic human needs is to love and be loved.
Some may find that special someone,
Some may not.
Some may have the joy of children,
Some may not.
But, we can all seek and share love.
Wonderfully we can also all appreciate the love and peace of creation.
Birds chirping, flowers blooming, butterflies fluttering.
What a beautiful world it is.
This is life.


2.10.19

The sacrafice

"The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)

The sacrifice of lambs and goats couldn't do it. Mere religion and ritual simply wouldn't suffice. In steps Jesus. The God Man and gives of his own self, blood, sacrifice. The ancient priests use to lay hands on a lamb in perperatioin for slaughter and sacrifice. This symbolised the sins of the people being laid on the lamb. In a similar way Jesus takes the sins of the world on himself and becomes the final and only true sacrifice. His blood is poured out on the cross. The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. All this so that we may be forgiven our sins and iniquities as he manifests his love and grace to us.


1.10.19

A Hallelujah kind of love!

Worthy Father,
You are graciously loving us.
Your love we must discuss.
A Hallelujah kind of love!
This is such a glorious thought.
You wash without blemish or spot.
A Hallelujah kind of love!
Show us love, love that commits.
Teach us love, to live in the light of it.
A Hallelujah kind of love!
To love others and to love you.
Your peace to pursue.
A Hallelujah kind of love!
Amen

This piece won a prize at All Poetry.


30.9.19

A Statement of Faith

  1. Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh, and apart from Him the true God can not fully be known, worshipped, or acknowledged. Jesus is fully revealed as the God who is love and whose gospel is peace. 
  2.  Salvation is by faith in the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, apart from all human works and character. It is by Grace we are saved not by works, it is a gift from God, obtained through faith. 
  3. It is the supreme obligation of every saved person to obey the Lord Jesus Christ. We will fail no doubt often in this for we are mere humans - but our aim should be holiness. The two golden rules are to love God and love each other (even to love enemies). This is the kind of active faith that can change the world for the better.

 These three points are the pillars of my faith - the deity of Christ, salvation by faith in Him, obedience to His word. Do you believe these three things and if not why not take it into consideration?


What in the world?

"Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God." (From the Message paraphrase of Phil 2).

"What in the world?"

It is the phrase that comes to mind during family, school ground, work place, media and halls of power politics, alike.

In the world where joy is stolen by human bad behaviour.

In the world where fights and arguments break out daily from the home to the halls of power.

In this world we are to be lights. To show it a more excellent way.

This is no easy task, but by His grace may each of us be able to respond to "What in the world?" with a glimpse of another world.

A better world.



28.9.19

The Poor Man

We hid him.

The poor man.

His existence challenged our comfortable lives.

A prophet speaks out.

The vipers take him out, on our wicked behalf.

We say, "not in our name", but... How can the prophets compassionate humanity be tolerated when it challenges us this much?

Like trees with no fruit our true colours show.

We store up.

Moth and rust still win.

The grass withers and the leaf fades.

A puff of smoke, a vapour.

This to shall pass.

The empires crumble and fall.

Even the ecclesiastical tyrants meet their maker.

The rich shall inherit the grave.

Earth is for the others.




27.9.19

Good Friday

Scene 1 (The upper room): Take the bread. Take the cup. Be blessed. Foot washing. A final meal, a humble farewell.

Scene 2 (Betrayal): Watch with me! Bleeding tears. Anguish in prayer. Betrayed with a kiss.

Scene 3 (Peter and friends): Promises broken. Tearful regrets. Denial.

Scene 4 (The cross): A tear drop falls from the cross. A dying man's cry. The earth shakes. The temple trembles in the presence of God.

Scene 5 (Empty tomb): A king rises from the dark. The grave abandoned. Nature blooms in the presence of it's God. The victory accomplished!


26.9.19

Three Sixteen

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." (John 3:16 - 18)

What is the context?
In Theological College they often emphasised the importance of context when reading and applying scriptures. So the context is this: Everything was created by God. Jesus was the inspiration. He was at the beginning. There was harmony. The light was come into the world. But, the world didn't recognise him. (See Jn 1:1-3, 9). Humanity had a wonderful relationship with God and was appointed as earth's stewards. It was amazingly good. We had life (knowledge & experience of Him) purpose (stewardship of earth/creation) and choice (free will). (Gen 1:26-31) But, by humanity's choice this relationship was broken by rebellion. Amazingly good to amazingly bad. That story continues now in these verses.

John 3:16 is considered one of the most famous verses in the Bible. In the verse we find word of love, a benevolent Father and Son and a choice.

What is the object of God's love?
We the world are the object of God's love. His vast as oceans self-giving love.

What does he give?
He gives His Son. He gives Himself. In the words of Jesus "I and the Father are one." I don't subscribe to the notion that the Father turned His face away. Or if He did it would have been with tears of empathy and compassion, not in wrath or separation. Indeed even earthly Father's would also suffer if they sacraficed their son for others. The whole Trinity is concerned for us to be saved.

"Each of the three Persons in the blessed Trinity is concerned with our salvation: with the Father it is predestination; with the Son propitiation; with the Spirit regeneration. The Father chose us; the Son died for us; the Spirit quickens us."
- A. W. Pink (1886-1952)

Why the sacrafice?
To save us from our sin and rebellion and the inevitable consequences thereof.

What future will you choose?
You have free will, you have a choice. We all know all things are perishing. Those who don't believe are condemned already. It is like an illness that has spread to all humanity, but has a cure. The cure needs to be applied. The word perish means to be cut off from God. Without Jesus humanity is automatically condemned, cut off. With Jesus salvation is on offer. Instead of loss of life eternal life is on offer. His permanent presence. The ultimate cure. A gift and invitation from the giving reconciling Father is presented to you.

Belief is the pivot. (See Col 1:19,20). God desires all things are to be reconciled to Himself. Those who are in this new heaven and new earth have trusted in Christ alone for salvation and not in their own "righteousness." Choose life, choose Christ.


25.9.19

His Kingdom Come

Where is Hope?

The Saviour:"Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand."

The Martyr: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."

The Prophet: "The Kings of the earth are a vanity, the nations are as a drop in a bucket."

The Charlatan and Jester: "Make the mortal vanity and dust of empire great again. We are the greatest" wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

The Saints: "His kingdom come."

The Sinners: "All hail the wind", grasp, grasp, grasp.

The Philosopher: "Are we looking to earthly authorities and powers or above?"

The Saviour: "My kingdom is not of this world... all authority in heaven and in earth has been given to me...heaven and earth pass away, but my word is forever."

The Prophet: "Of the increase of His government there shall be no end."

There is Hope!*


*Notes and verses of interest: Kingdom - Mtt 24:14, Col 1:14, There is an eternal kingdom and the great king is God - Dan 4: 3, 34, The kingdom is for members of all peoples, for the saints who gain not only forgiveness but citizenship - Dan 7:14, 27, It is a kingdom of peace and justice unlike war like kingdoms of earth - Is 9:7, Entry is supplied by Jesus who makes His people citizens - 2 Peter 1:11, The currency of the kingdom is the light of His love - Col 1:12-14


24.9.19

One Thing

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1 John 4: 7, 8)

Hiding the poor,
Killing the prophets,
Generation of vipers,
Trees that bear no fruit.
The grass withers and the leaf fades.
A puff of smoke, a vapour.
Empires crumble and fall.
One thing remains.
His name is LOVE.


23.9.19

Be Still

“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”
(Psalm 46:10)

Once there was an old man who took his grandson a walk in the countryside. The old man's face was creased with wrinkles. Like the rings inside an ancient log tree, each signified age and wisdom. The man, to the boys surprise stopped suddenly. He was calm, so calm the boy didn't feel it right to interrupt this moment of solititude. 'Listen', the old man said. The boy listened. At first he could hear nothing but his own racing thoughts. 'Truly listen', the man said sensing the boys difficulty. So he tried again. He closed his eyes, took a breath and opened them again. 'I hear it', he whispered. They both fell silent again and listened to the gentle winds and the birds in the trees, and further a field the beautiful sound of a babbling brook. Then they listened to silence itself. 'This my child is real worship.' 'To Jesus?' 'To Jesus.'


22.9.19

If we render unto God...

If we render unto God all the things that belong to God, there would be nothing left for Caesar' (Dorothy Day)

I find Dorothy Day's interpretation excellent when it comes to the possible meaning of Mark 12:17. “Well, then,” Jesus said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” His reply completely amazed them." (NLT) What if the whole point is that he (Caesar, 'the man') owns nothing? Sure he'll have his coin for a time, but not for long. He can have his stinking taxes. Will it bring him glory? Will it lift his empire to be greater than the Kingdom of God? "No, for all the nations of the world are but a drop in the bucket. They are nothing more than dust on the scales. He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand." (Is 40:15 NLT)


20.9.19

Love, love, love

"All you need is love", the song says, "all you need is love." A simple yet hard truth. A Rabbi once said "Love, the rest is commentary." Yet we struggle in our own strength. In order to truly love God (who is love) and others (who are all created in His image), we best ask Him to be love through us, to be our strength.

"Beware of works religion", I hear the hardcore preacher say. Well, let's be very clear, all Christians are called to love and this manifests in fruit. Indeed we are saved by God's grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone, for the glory of God alone. But, this is not so we may warm pews and ignore a broken and needy world at our doorstep.

"Some wish to live within the sound of Church or Chapel bell;
I want to run a Rescue Shop within a yard of hell."—C. T. Studd

God has saved us for a purpose, His purpose. He has called us to love and good deeds. To be lights in the darkness. To love as He does. Let us Love, love, love!

Matthew 22:37-39 (ESV):
"And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."


19.9.19

He watches over us

“He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11

Lately I haven't posted anything here due to being fairly busy. Busy in a good way. On the 17th September 2019 God blessed my wife and I with a baby girl and Ezra with a baby sister. Both Mum and Baby are doing well, though being kept in hospital for some issues. So proud and full of love for them both.

We announced our new arrival online as follows:
"We are absolutely delighted to announce that our daughter Lilianna Blanche Holdsworth was born today at 2:45pm weighing 6lbs13oz. She is just beautiful."

I don't have an in depth reflection for today or anything particularly creative to write. My only thought for now is that God watches over His people. I could never have imagined years ago that at some point I would be married to my childhood sweetheart (well teen hood anyway). Nor that I would one day have a baby boy and baby girl. It has been an incredible adventure so far. In it all at various points it does seem that God or His angels have been there with us on our journeys together.

The verse I opened with appeared in my memories on Facebook from 6 years ago. It was a blessing to stumble upon it again today.

I am eternally grateful that He will command His angels concerning us to guard us in all our ways.




17.9.19

Rest and be thankful

I had a lovely walk with my beautiful wee boy recently. He did very well, being carried and walking all the way. Next time, however, I will choose a different route or perhaps take a buggy. Duddingston is a beautiful old vintage village in Edinburgh. The architecture is very old world. Our first stop was Dr Neil's Gardens. Full of lovely stone paths and pretty flowers, set in the midst of a wildlife reserve. We didn't have enough cash so didn't manage to sample from the cafe, but will next time hopefully. We visited the old Kirk and picked up a couple of bookmarks made by Amos Christian Trust, who also made Ezra's dedication invites this year. After that we journeyed past the Sheep's Heid up a hill to the community gardens where there are apple trees and chickens. We came here when he was even smaller and just started to walk (picture below). We kept going up the hill stopping at a bench with a sign that fittingly said "Rest and be thankful" which is what we did. The view was amazing, but the route we finally took down revealed a much more incredible view of the ocean and another Edinburgh skyline. We entered a more modern part of the village and to a local shop for snacks before heading home. The rain managed to stay off through out. It is a beautiful walk and I recommend it to anyone who is able. The phrase "Rest and be thankful" also lingered much of that day in my thoughts. It is sound advice.

16.9.19

The still small voice

"And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." - 1 Kings 19:10,11

The Still Small Voice:

God was in the still small voice.

In my travels I have encountered worship styles that are so varied. Lately I have been thinking of the loud nature of much worship in contemporary churches (both preaching and song). Whilst not being opposed to this style I have found that at times it has been draining. It may be my inner introvert or it may simply just be that the season of loud is over for me at this time. Either way it seems that my heart yearns for the calm, the gentle, the peaceful. It reminds me of verses in Kings that speak of Elijah seeking God.

In summary:
The winds came.
God was not in that wind.
The earth shook.
God was not in that shaking.
The fire came.
God was not in that fire.
God was in the still small voice.

Some additional thoughts:

The point of God speaking in the still small voice was to show Elijah that the work of God doesn't always have to be dramatic or loud. It is also of note seeming silence from God does not necessarily mean divine inactivity. Something we all should take heed of. There is further more a parallel here to the voice of judgement and the voice of grace. Judgement can be loud and frightening while Grace is often a gentle whisper. Elijah's experience was such a long time ago, but today we can also be assured God is still speaking. This largely happens through scriptures and things that line up with scripture. How God speaks to us is perhaps less important than if and what God speaks to us. The beautiful thing is God still speaks. Let us truly listen to his voice.


Notes on Cosmic Agape

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16 ESV

(Audio



Notes on Cosmic Agape:

Abba is generous to his people. Three times He gives us heaven: At Eden, at Calvary, and in Eternity.

In the story of Noahs Ark one man and his family were saved in a wooden vessel. Others perished refusing to be saved.

At the Cross one man dies on a wooden Cross to save the human family. He is not willing that any should perish. Though, alas, some may choose to.

The heart of Abba is Agape. Jesus His beloved son says he is one with the Father. In effect one son volunteers to be a sacrafice to have a shot at saving all the other children. He knows there is one way. In the garden he asks the cup to pass from Him if there is any other way. But, in that moment He knows Abba's will, that humanity be given a chance.

Would we be so brave?

The Father is not willing that any should perish, even if it costs. The trinity is a community. So Abba suffers with the son. He does not turn His face away. Each lash, jibe, and nail he feels. Just as any father who is good would.
Would we be so brave?

There is a call to all of humanity to:
Believe in the Father's love (agape).
Recieve the Father's love (agape).
Reflect the Father's love (agape) to God and others.

Will you be so brave?
How will you respond?

"O the deep, deep love of Jesus! Spread his praise from shore to shore;
how he loveth, ever loveth,
changeth never, nevermore;
how he watches o'er his loved ones,
died to call them all his own;
how for them he intercedeth,
watcheth o'er them from the throne."
- S. Trevor Francis