Monday, 26 December 2011

A Saviour.

Keep Calm; it's the Queen's Speech
Thanks to James Doc for the image
Guest post today from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.
Well, it might as well be.  What an amazing speech she gave this Christmas. 
She spoke of inspiritation, courage, rescue, support, celebration, hope, forgiveness and love.  All these were brought together in her comments about Christmas itself - God showing His love by sending us a Saviour.
Without God's intervention, we'd have no hope of being saved, and no hope of being made holy. 
It's a great reminder that we should be praying for those in authority.  It's rare but wonderful to see someone in a position of authority speak so uncompromisingly about the truth of Christmas.  One of her titles is 'defender of the faith'.  She's certainly done that brilliantly.
How are you going to be a defender of the faith in the coming year?

Sunday, 18 December 2011

"I just live here"

I'm in the process of reading a book called, 'A Simplified Life'.  It's about Verena Schiller, a modern-day hermit, and her experience of living a life of solitude.  I think it's the gentlest book I've ever read.  Basically, she spends 25 years of her life living in a cabin overlooking Bardsey Island, a place rich in Christian history.
Though she lives a life very different to most of us, towards the end of the book, she says this:

"For some years now when I have been asked how I live, how do I pray?  Do I have a rule; a timetable; how do I spend my time?  I have come to reply:  'I just live here.'  There is nothing special or spiritualized about a solitary life.  It is just one way of responding in faith to God.   Every life has a rhythm punctuated by the need to eat and to sleep, to work and to relax with enjoyment or sadness, contentment or anxiety.  It is no different for a hermit."

Maybe that's the same for all of us longing to live a holy life.  Maybe we should be able to respond, 'I just live here'.  It's so easy to want to be living somewhere else or doing something else, but sometimes we need to put our energy into being where we are, not getting away.  Holiness is more about how we live than about where we live.  We can be set apart for God in almost any situation.  Right now, I am where I am, and you are where you are.  Let's make sure we 'just live here' while we can.  Make sure we are set apart for God wherever it is He's got us at the moment.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

What am I doing?

A person doing something very cool (for Jesus).
I've just realised something about Surfers for Jesus, Christian Surfers, and other such groups.  I remember when I first heard about YWAMs Surfers for Jesus, I thought, 'How cool! - Imagine becoming a cool surfer so you can tell people about Jesus'  But that's not the point.  These guys aren't choosing a cool lifestyle in order to appeal to other equally cool people (is this a generalisation about surfers being cool?).  They are just telling people about Jesus in the situation that they're already in.  They are surfers, and they're doing it for Jesus.  They're not Christians looking for a cool route through life, they're surfers looking for a Christian way of living life. 
Which means that I shouldn't be looking around to find cool things to do so that I can entice people into Christianity through the cool route.  Rather, I should be doing what I already do for the sake of Christ.  At this moment in time, that means I should be doing the school run for Jesus, changing nappies for Jesus, bottle feeding for Jesus, giving out pocket money for Jesus ... and everything else I do should be for him too.
Colossians 3:23 says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men".  Whatever you do!  Not, 'find something cool to do for Jesus', but, 'whatever it is you already do, you should be doing it for Jesus.'  Do you ever find yourself thinking, 'what am I doing with my life?'  We get into a cycle of doing the same old thing, and then wonder if we could be living a much more exciting life... 
So when, like the guy who wrote Ecclesiastes, we're thinking,
"Everything's boring, utterly boring - 
   no one can find any meaning in it.
Boring to the eye,
   boring to the ear.
What was will be again,
   what happened will happen again.
There's nothing new on this earth.
   Year after year it's the same old thing."  (The Message)
we need to remember that we should be doing everything for Jesus.  What we're doing might not matter as much as who we're doing it for.  We don't have to be doing the latest exciting thing before we can reach people for Jesus (although some people do always do the latest exciting thing, in which case they should be thinking about how they can do it for Jesus!)  Maybe that's part of what being made holy is about.  We're setting ourselves apart to work and live for Jesus.  Our attitude changes from, 'What's in it for me?' to, 'what's in it for Him?'