Is there a 'solution' to life?

Posts tagged ‘God’

Change, Christ, Challenge – Matthew 13:53-58


I’m not going to bother with an introduction (barring this sentence) today, it’s late and I want to get this down while I can still see straightish.

 

53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there.54 Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”

58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

 ( Matthew 13:53-58 NIV)

 

I find this passage challenging today. It’s the passage from the Biblestudy I was due to do on the tenth, but I don’t know if I would have really gotten it last week.

Previously when reading it I would think about the practical nature of things, it’s hard to accept somebody as different from the person you knew when they were growing up. However, Jesus didn’t leave home as a boy – He left as a man of around 30. This community knew Jesus well, he was a local tradesman in a pretty small town, he couldn’t have gotten by!

This passage has less to do with a radical transformation of Jesus in the time He was away (although He had changed, moving from a time of waiting into his ministry as the Son of God). Rather this passage is much, much simpler to understand than I had made it.

The passage is simple – The people didn’t understand exactly who Jesus was – they had an understanding, he was just another bloke, nothing special, just another guy like you or me – they didn’t realise he was the Messiah, the Chosen One. Just like the fire-truck in transformers, Jesus is more than meets the eye.

Jesus taught and clearly rumours had circulated after he arrived, because the people ask about Jesus’ change. However, when confronted with the fullness of Jesus’ identity, more than a wise man, more than a healer, more than a man they deny it. They explain it away, like a lot of people do today. “He’s just another man!” “His own flesh and blood are here with us, and they’re nothing special!” “Maybe Jesus had something worth listening too, but all this God stuff is a bit much, don’t you think?”

Then there is nothing more to follow. Jesus’ ministry takes a pause, there are no miracles, maybe the people didn’t bring Him any lame folk, maybe the blind didn’t cry out to Jesus. Perhaps they didn’t follow him out into the countryside without a packed lunch. We don’t know for sure, but my guess is that the people didn’t give Jesus any room to manoeuvre.

There is a lot of that in my own life. There’s a lot of that in the churches we are apart of. Some people pray “Lord make a difference here” but refuse to make changes. Some folks sing “Lord have your way with us” literally do what you want with us, and at the end of the service they leave the building and walk by homeless people without a second glance – I know I have, I know I do.

The point is this – If we really want to see miracles, if we really want to see a friend, a family, a city, a nation… the world changed then it has to start with us. It has to start with making sacrifices – taking the hard road when asked. Denying yourself, and taking up a cross and walking.

Maybe that means sitting down (again!) after a long service and chatting to some poor bloke who can’t afford to eat without begging. Maybe it means changing your prayer life. Maybe it means actually doing something when you know should, even though you don’t want to.

I think it means all of those things for me. I know when I cry out to God “Where are you?” or “Where were you?” The answer is always the same.

“Waiting for you to give Me a chance to help you.”

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Genesis 45 – At long last, all things are revealed.


It has been a long time since I have blogged.
I think that must be my most frequent opening, since it is almost always a long time since I have last blogged.

Quite a lot has happened since my last blog. Last you all heard via wordpress is I was employed part time, studying part time and I suppose I  was living part time, even though I didn’t express it, as I wasn’t aware of it.

I applied for the position of youth worker in a local church. I was really excited about the whole process really. The application went relatively smoothly, the interview went well, and I was invited to do a short teaching at the youth club as a follow up. That also went well! However, after missing several phone calls I received an email apologising two fold, firstly for the method of communication, and secondly that I was not the man for the job!
I have to admit, I was, and deep down still am upset about that, I thought I’d be good at the job, and to be fair, I believe I am correct in that thinking. They felt, and I honour and agree with that feeling that God was not calling me to their church, partly due to inexperience working with their kind of kids, and they felt I would struggle to drive forward their vision for the youth work in their parish.
Oh well! I believe God has something better for me in store, although from here I don’t know what that is. I do know that I’m glad to be staying at Central for the foreseeable future, and continuing to live with my community – my extended family.

How does this relate to Genesis 45? How have I managed to relate my story to that of Joseph and his brothers?
(more…)

Genesis 44 – Joseph’s plan in action.


Well, I’m back safe and sound from another week at camp! The last two weeks or so have featured a lot of stress – I had my resits to deal with, then I was off to camp with a little bit less time to prepare then I would have liked, but realistically you can never prepare too much for an SU camp!

Now that I’m back I’m resolved to take my bible study much more seriously, both privately and online here, with my blog. Hopefully this time I’ll manage to stick at it longer than a few weeks, and maybe even finish Genesis by Christmas and find something new (and shorter) to captivate my online musings.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2044&version=NLT

The title at the top of that link marks Chapter 44 as “Joseph’s silver cup, but in the English Standard Version (accessible through Biblegateway.com, or by changing the letters NLT to ESV at the end of the link above) it is given the title of “Joseph tests his brothers”.

I really like that as an overview for the whole passage, in context from Genesis 43 (see https://lifeisnotamystery.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/joseph-gets-his-act-together-genesis-43-and-a-springsummer-update/) we know that Joesph is no longer acting maliciously towards his brothers. He has given up trying to punish them, and now he is testing the to see if they have truly changed their ways or not.

Joseph wants to look after his full brother Benjamin, and make sure that Benjamin won’t get mistreated in the same that he (Joseph) did. In order to do so  (more…)

Words sometimes fail us… Revenge is a dish best served cold. Genesis 42


It’s been a wee while since I last blogged, so I’ll take the opportunity to update you all on me!
I’m finished at uni for the term, I’m more involved at both Central Church and Davidson’s mains Church, both in Edinburgh, as well as finally catching up on all my friends and chores etc.

Moving on from the dull stuff to Genesis 42, (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+42&version=NLT) we were left on a bit of a high point for young Joesph, the prime minister of Egypt, managing everything under Pharaoh. He has successfully managed the taxation and now the distribution of wealth during a time of famine, and he must have done a pretty good job, because he’s still around.

The chapter opens with Jacob sending his sons off to Egypt in order to buy grain. The lads arrive in Egypt and are eventually brought to Joesph to decide if  they are allowed to buy grain.

Since years have passed, and Joesph is probably dressed as a very rich Egyptian they fail to recognize their brother! A mischievousness glint takes the eye of Joesph as he realise, and he sets the stage for some ironic revenge. (more…)

Genesis 41 – the lines between humility, confidence and arrogance.


I’d love to tell you how busy I’ve been in the last few weeks, but that would require me to have actually been exceptionally busy. Big changes have been I’m now a regular gym go-er rather than an irregular one (regularity and consistency are not in my list of qualities unfortunately). I reorganised my bedroom so that my desk is now tidy enough to use, my furniture is now arranged so that there is room in my room. (A brief note on my desk, it’s clean tidy and ready to use, although I’m not actually using it, despite the fact it is trying to lure me over to it’s smooth wooden surface…)

I have now relocated to the desk. It’s awesome. (more…)

Out dated belief system, irrelevant, worshipping – What you need to know about idols.


This blog post was originally going to be about worship, and pinning it down and explaining a bit of Christian jargon. I went from worship to what not to worship, and idols leapt to mind.

Going from idols and worship I thought “Blogs should be relevant”, I was on to worship idols and the 21st century. Much procrastination and several sleepless hours later I’ve decided that worship, in a Christian context, is easy enough to define.

wor·ship wûrshp)

n.

1.

a. The reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object.
b. The ceremonies, prayers, or other religious forms by which this love is expressed.
2. Ardent devotion; adoration.
v. wor·shiped or wor·shippedwor·ship·ing or wor·ship·pingwor·ships

v.tr.

1. To honor and love as a deity.
2. To regard with ardent or adoring esteem or devotion.
Now, when you apply that to a  Christian worshipping God that can happen practically in several ways. I think the most common is praying, maybe not the first that leaps to mind, but it’s the second meaning of the noun worship “prayers by which this love [of God] is expressed” and the second would be by singing, the songs usually talk about how wonderful God is, or something wonderful He has done for us. Although the easiest explanation I’ve found was on wiki answers Q) How do Christians worship? A) They follow their heart and follow the moves of the holy spirit Christians believe there is no specific way to worship Jesus Christ!
Which is to say the highest form of worship is striving to be like the object you worship. Copying is the highest form of flattery… you can think it through yourselves.
That’s the veg and potatoes out of the way, onto the meat of the blog.
Idolatry is a common theme in the old testament, by which I mean every problem in the old testament is either directly because of idolatry, or because of God losing patience with the idol-worshippers and them suffering the consequences of ignoring God.

“This is the best Christmas present ever.” Wait, what did you get me again? (Also genesis40)


It’s been ages since I last blogged, I kind of regret that, and I kind of don’t. I’ve been very busy with uni exams, and then I got a job. Between work and rushing around between here and Glasgow for Christmas I completely forgot about my blog.

But I’m back, so prepare to receive irregular updates about my irregular posts.

Christmas is about family, and new year is about your friends. Has anybody else ever through about our winter period before? Both days are celebrations, one celebrates a thing that happened over 2000 years ago, and one celebrates the future.

One tends to be about our families, and giving gifts and receiving gifts etc. etc.  New years other (in modern times) seems to be an excuse to have a big night out, since there is a national holiday the day after, because heck, let’s start the new year with a massive hangover! What a great way to start the year!

Christmas and new year are relevant  (it’s a very loose connection to the very last verse in the passage but try to stay with me) because I have a terrible memory, and sometimes by new year I’ve forgotten half of what I got for Christmas, go on, ask me what I got last year (I remember a space hopper from my sister).

This blog actually has very little to do with Christmas or new year, it’s all about new today and gone tomorrow. Cool today, uncool tomorrow, and totally retro next week. (that’s a kind of sketch “this is what it’s all about” just another loosely related point) (more…)