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How does he do that again?

Christianity

Sometimes he does it in the form of an amazing miracle, such as sending manna and quail to feed the Israelites in the desert. Sometimes he does it through the voice of Jesus, who told Lazarus to come out of the tomb. Sometimes he does it through Peter’s shadow, healing the sick at the side of the road, and sometimes he does it through the great evangelists of today. Sometimes it is spontaneous, mostly it is through prayer, always it is because of love.

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Engaging the Silence

Christianity

A wonderful poem on unanswered prayer by Pete Greig in his book God on Mute:

first
there is
prayer
and where there is prayer
there may be
miracles
but where miracles may not be
there are
questions
and where the are questions
there may be
silence
but silence may be
more than
absence
silence
may be presence
muted
silence
may not be anything but
something
to explore
defy accuse
engage
and
this is
prayer
and where there is prayer
there may yet be
miracles…

What goes down!

Christianity

I have been reading an amazing book – Faith and Doubt, by John Ortberg. In part of the book, John explains that there are three kinds of faith:

  • the faith that we say we have. This is what I call “Sunday faith”. It is where we tell people that we have faith for something, but we don’t really believe it or live it.
  • the faith that we think we have. This faith is strong until it is tested. We might have faith in healing, for instance,  but when we fall ill the faith starts to peter out.
  • the faith that we really have. This is the faith that actually changes our behaviour.

Man on the edge, losing his balanceAn example of the third kind of faith is the law of gravity. My faith in gravity is absolute and changes the way I live. I know beyond any doubt that if I jump off the top of a ten-storey building then I am going down, quickly and with fatal consequences. My faith in the law of gravity therefore changes my behaviour – I don’t jump off. I keep my feet on the ground.

Just how much of my faith is like that, though? Just how is my behaviour determined by my faith? Do I ever step out in faith?

Taking courage and telling someone about Christ is not like jumping off a building, but it can feel like it, so I hold back, for fear of rejection or of making a mess of it. I keep my feet on the ground, perhaps with fatal consequences – I might be that person’s last chance of salvation. Then he/she is going down.

And that is the problem. Another kind of gravity is when we talk of something being serious, or grave. I know that I am playing with words here, but the gravity of the situation is the grave. My lack of faith can quite literally drop people in it. That should not be.

I have to change. My faith should be built on the solid foundation which is the risen Christ. My faith must rise, so that the laws of this world, including the law of gravity, are broken.

The only way is up!

Altar ego

Christianity

But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation

There is no doubt about it, we are complex beings. It is a delight to know that we are all different, physically, emotionally, mentally. I am sure there are many people who are overjoyed that they are not like me, and I have to say that the feeling is probably reciprocal! But we are even more complex than that, because I know for one that I am even different from myself at times.

a Photoshop manipulation of my photo, doubling me

I am not what you think!

Eh? What?

Well, I am. I have an alter ego, another me. I have quite a few of them, actually, but – at the risk of getting really complicated and carrying this too far – I am sure I am not alone!

There is an outside me, and an inside me, for instance. The person that people see is not the whole me, it is just the outside me, the me that I want people to see, the me who smiles and is glad to see everyone. Then there is the inside me, the me that wants to be alone. There is the good Christian me, but then there is the bad sinner me – I won’t elaborate on that one, you can do it! There is the thinking me and the speaking me – on a very few occasions these two actually coincide!

There is a me that perhaps even I don’t see, because there are parts of me I don’t want to see, or am too blind to see.

But the Father sees them. He sees all the types of me, he knows them and yet he still loves me!

Why do I try to hide so much of me from you, from the people around me, even from myself? Even worse, why do I try to hide me from the Father, my creator, my lover? Why do I so often go before him with my alter ego, the not me? I have to go to him with my altar ego, the one which is honest and true, the one which is neither concerned with what others might think, nor of what he might think, the me that my Father knows.

Then he will reward me.

Sea Through

Christianity

Stand at the coast and look at the sea in front of you. You don’t have a boat handy, no hovercraft, helicopter, no bridge – nothing that this world can offer as a “solution.” How would you feel if crossing the sea was the only way out?

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