01 December 2016

Just a shift in perspective

Going from thinking the first sentence to realising the second is just a change in perspective. What a difference a bit of faith (and a space) makes!

17 November 2015

Recent events in Paris and Beirut - some thoughts from me

It's been a while since I've posted, I know, please forgive me.

So I've been thinking on recent events in Paris and Beirut and I feel some calm perspective needs to be brought. Notice how I include Beirut, anyone who thinks it's only the west and non-Muslims being attacked is sorely mistaken.

I believe our primary thought right now should be based upon Matthew 5:43-48, we should remember that Jesus very clearly tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Christianity is  based on love first and foremost.

From this basis, I started thinking on the words "your enemies" and "those who persecute you". Lately I've been seeing some disturbing posts on social media shouting that Muslims and Islam are "the enemy" and are the ones persecuting us. As far as I'm concerned, this is not true.

About 15 minutes of browsing have turned up some videos by Muslims that I think put the lie to the claim that Muslims are "the enemy".

Video 1, by Waleed Aly of The Project, talks about ISIL (a.k.a ISIS) being weak and having the strategy of dividing the world into two "camps".

Video 2, by Gibran Malik, talks to Muslim leaders and to Muslims in general and points out how terrorists are wrong and do not represent what Islam is.

There are many more sources that show the same kind of thing, it just takes a bit of searching around social media.

So now my question to myself, and to you my dear beloved reader, is this. Is it right, and in line with the foundation of our Faith, to call Islam or Muslims "the enemy"? To that my answer is a resounding no, the enemy is not Islam or the Muslims living down the street or at work. The enemy is the evil one, the enemy of all that is good, who has corrupted people to the point where they commit despicable acts and claim they are acting the name of good.

20 August 2015

"Summarise your Faith in one word"

I've often thought about this one, what's "Word One" in our Faith? Is it possible to summarise Christianity in one word? I'd say no, but we can come close to finding the core concept and putting that in one word by looking at Holy Scripture.

37 Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” - Matthew 22:37-40
The same event is also shown in Mark 12:28-34. A similar event is also described in Luke 10:25-28, though in Luke's description Jesus asks the expert in the law what the most important law is and the expert answers, then Jesus tells him that he is right. In the event described in Luke 10, Jesus then goes on to tell the well-known parable of the Good Samaritan to illustrate who our neighbour is.

I think this parable is important because it makes it clear to us that we can't just call people we like, our friends, neighbours and ignore everyone else. When God tells us "love your neighbour as yourself" He means everyone, not just the ones we happen to like already.

So "Word One" if Christianity, to me, is Love. Once you think about it, it's everywhere in Holy Scripture.

Prayer thought: "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," - Matthew 5:44. Let's pray not only for the millions of persecuted Christians, but also for the persecutors.

19 August 2015

Clothe yourselves with patience

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. - Colossians 3:12
People who know me know that I have a real problem with patience. So this verse serves as a reminder to myself.

18 August 2015

Verse of the day - 18 Aug 2015

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. - Proverbs 1:7

So I'm starting a Devotional Journal on my blog... I was given a lovely journal as a gift on the recent Alpha Course I attended, but I want to share some of the stuff I think about too.

Proverbs is an interesting Book, it has a lot of very useful "sound-bytes" in it and quite a lot of them deal with how wisdom is from the Lord.

Today's verse of the day on You Version is Proverbs 1:7, which states very clearly that feat of the Lord ("fear of" here meaning "love for and obedience to") is where knowledge begins. Listening to the Lord is where we start getting smart, and the more we listen the smarter we get. It's a bit like the old Gary Player saying when someone told him that a specific shot had been lucky, he said "yes, and the more I practice the luckier I get".

It also has something to say about fools, saying they despise wisdom and instruction. For me this says quite clearly that people who despise the knowledge and wisdom we can get from the Lord are fools.