Friday, April 29, 2011

why don't we believe the bible?

Why don't we believe the bible?

When Jesus tells us not to worry for tomorrow (Matt 6:34) why do we stay up at night? And we he says not to worry about what we'll eat or wear, etc, why do I think I need to be a millionaire to help that homeless lady and her son I saw earlier?

When Jesus says when two or more of us are gathered he is among us, why do we sometimes act like he isn't in the room? (Matt 18:20)

When Jesus says "I am in my father, you are in me and I am in you", why do we sometimes say "I feel distant from God?" (John 14:20)

When the psalmist says "I have called on you, for you will hear me", why do we sometimes feel that God is deaf to us? And why do we sometimes feel like our prayers are useless?

When Paul says "count yourself dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus", why do we still believe the lies of sin to feel good instead if embracing him? (Romans 16:11)

When Paul says "I did not come to you in words of wisdom, but I decided to nothing among you except Christ and him crucified", why do we feel that we have to rehearse great speeches and study apologetics to share your love with others? (1 cor 2)

When Paul says "you are a letter written from Christ, delivered by us, written not with ink, but with the spirit of the living god on the tablet of your hearts", why do we sometimes feel like we have nothing to share about you?

Why don't we believe you sometimes?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Psalms, Prayer Book of the Bible - Bonhoeffer

Here are some quotes from Bonhoeffer's book on the Psalms. I really love this book, and it has opened up the wonder and mystery of the Psalms to me, and learning that Jesus prays the Psalms along with us is most wonderful thought.

All these quotes are from Chapter 1.

Prayer does not mean simply to pour out one's heart. It means rather to find the way to God and to speak with him, whether the heart is full or empty. No man can do that by himself. For that he needs Jesus Christ.

The disciples want to pray, but they do not know how to do it. That can be very painful, to want to speak with God and not be able to, to have to be speechless before God.

If one among us who is able to pray would only take the other along in his prayer, if we could pray along with him, then we could be helped!

If he (Jesus) takes us with him in his prayer, if we are privileged to pray along with him, if he lets us accompany him on his way to God and teaches us to pray, then we are free from the agony of prayerlessness. But that is precisely what Jesus Christ wants to do. He wants to pray with us and to have us pray with him, so that we may be confident and glad that God hears us,

The child learns to speak because his father speaks to him. ... So we learn to speak to God because GOd has spoken to us and speaks to us.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Healed for Easter

We've come to remember when jesus died and rose some 2000 years ago
But we might ask ourselves, so what? Who cares? Thats just a story! 
But this isn't a story, this event has changed history and lives, and especially my life.

800 years or so before Jesus came down to us, a prophet named isaiah spoke of Jesus, and he said,  "he has borne our griefs  and carried our sorrows" and "by his stripes, his wounds, we are healed"

You see, I used to suffer from chronic anxiety, one little worry and my body would shut down, I couldn't sleep or eat for days, and this would go on and on and on. Yet now it doesn't happen. Why? Because the real, risen, living Jesus bore this sickness, this anxiety on the cross 2000 years ago. This is why we remember jesus rising from the grave today, because in taking all this sickness and death on himself, and rising again, he defeated them and robbed them of it's power!

The same prophet went on to say "All we like sheep have gone astray;  we have turned--every one--to his own way;  and the  Lord  has laid on him  the iniquity of us all. " 
We are gods precious sheep, and on that cross Jesus took not only death and sickness, but he bore my sin and guilt, the things that kept me from god, so that we could come to god clean, pure and without blemish, and in the same way that jesus robbed death and sickness of power by rising from the dead, he robbed our guilt and sin of power, so we can approach him as sons and daughters and experience the life that he intended for us.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bread crumbs and sticky notes

I still have the first bible bought when I became a follower of Christ, it's a raggedy 'message' bible, held together with duct tape, and I have fond memories of it. It reminds of the initial excitement of receiving this saviour, of the hope I had knowing I finally had someone who understood me, the joy of having years of guilt and sin lifted from me.

Yet when I open this bible the fond memories soon melt away, when I see my poor, sloppy underlining and illegible notes and when I read these notes I think to myself:

"was I really that stupid?"

And I quickly close the bible lest I embarrass myself further.

But now I look at the notes fondly, because despite my lack of 'good' theology (whatever that means) at the time, I see that it's the first journal of my discovery of a new world, a world created by the God who won't define himself simply for me but simply says 'I am!', and I see myself as I still am, fumbling around in this great and complex book, trying to follow the bread crumbs that Christ has left for me, and finding the hand written sticky notes he's left for me on rocks in the desert and seeing my initials he carved into a tree.

When I see these notes, as silly as some of them are, I remember the way it felt when I first discovered these things, when I first felt the urge to use a felt tip on the thinnest most porous paper known to man to remind myself of something that seemed spectacular at the time and I hope to always have this feeling whenever I enter this 'world of the word', that it would never feel mundane or too familiar, and that I would keep finding the bread crumbs and the sticky notes.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Blessed be the poor [in spirit]

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Matthew 5:2-3

On my commute to work, I often see homeless people, and I try to help them out when I can, either with some food, or some money, but I often feel like it wasn't enough, I feel like my actions are not good enough, and this sucks.

I started to think about why it sometimes disturbs us to see the homeless, to see poverty and see these people suffering, and it occurred to me that it's because sometimes we see some of ourselves in these people.

Allow me to explain.

Our money defines a lot of who we are. It decides what kind of clothes we buy and wear, and therefore our exterior image and the initial impressions we make to people, it defines where we go, for example, if we have $$$ we eat at mortons, not so much - sizzler, it defines where we live. Our money is almost like a shell around us, things that need to be moved in order to get what's really inside of us.. our soul and our spirit.

So when we see extreme poverty, the homeless, the broken, we can see the vulnerability of the human spirit, what a man looks like without the shell of our money and our position. What would you look like?

So this gets me thinking to what Jesus says here, the poor in spirit. We're blessed, or perhaps, able-to-be-blessed, when our spirit isn't surrounded by a shell that we think defines us, but is open fully open to him.