Sunday, 31 July 2011
Singing in church today wasn't the greatest thing I ever heard, nor was it that "spiritual" where I felt like God was right in front of me. It was just the same old singing songs to God and Jesus. It was good for me to be reminded by the words of what God has done for me, but I get reminded of that every week.
But, something special happened to me today. For the first time I understood that I wasn't singing alone, or just for the people around me to hear. I was joining in with millions of others, all singing praises to our awesome God. I could imagine everyone in different circumstances, in different languages, different instruments, all singing their hearts out. The persecuted, who continue to sing in severe trials and suffering, and the lonely, who feel like no one cares if they sing or not. Even the angles singing praises to God in heaven.
That really amazed me a bit. Actually, it just blew my mind away!
Worship through song to God became more than just something I had to do, but something I wanted to do. Something that meant the world to me. Imagine not being able to sing. That makes you appreciate worship much more. We can tell God how great he is, (and he is very great)! We can sing to the creator of the universe, that just is indescribably amazing!
Finally, to end my babble about worship, we are joining with the people in the bible too, as they sing praises to God.
This bible verse puts it well "Let them praise your awesome and glorious name-- He is holy" Psalm 99:3
So next time you are in a church service or somewhere boring, remember that you are joining with every Christian, singing praises to the most high in the Universe, our God.
Saturday, 23 July 2011
"'For I know the plans I have for you' declares the LORD, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'"
It sound nice doesn't it. But in fact, it was actually written in one of the scariest books in the bible. It comes from Jeremiah 29:11, just chapters after God pronounced his judgement on Israel. Just after God sent the Babylonians to capture the Israelites. Israel was plundered by the Babylonians. They were forced to leave to a foreign land. They lost everything, their country was destroyed, their possessions taken, and their traditions ignored.
Then comes this message from God. They still have hope! God has planned all along, taken care of them all the time. He is going to make them prosper! They now have a future to look forward to!
There was actually another story happening in the background. Many Israelites were planning for a revolution. To throw off their oppressors, to make themselves independent again. Imagine what they would have thought once they heard God's message. God was planning for their future! God wanted them to be free! They had God on their side!
Jeremiah steps in then, with another message from God. Don't revolt, but seek peace in Babylon. That is the future God has planned for you. The Israelites must have been surprised. They thought God was supporting their bid for freedom, but no, he wanted them to stay? What kind of plan was that? In fact, God's plan was on a much bigger scale than theirs. The Israelites could still do great things in Babylon. In another book (Daniel) it tells of Babylonian kings who turned to the living God, because of the Israelites. God wanted the Israelites to learn to trust him even in the hard times.
That was really all boring history actually, so what does that have to do with us? Why is it my favourite bible verse?
I used to be in a stage where I loved saying "God is in control". Whenever life was not working out, I thought "God is in control, he will sort things out." I got that from Job, where after he went through intense suffering, he still got all his possessions back and more. But looking at this story, I was totally wrong. Sometimes things just don't turn out at all. We lose something, and never find it again, we lose our job and are forced to go hungry days on end, we become lonely and never seem to find any friends, or we lose a loved one who we know will never be brought back to life.
How do we cope when we lose something we know we will never get back, how do we go on living life? We need to remember that verse, and know that there is a hope far bigger than worldly things we desire so much. We need to trust in God's plans, not to fix our problems completely, but to use our weaknesses to glorify him.
A person I trust put how we should view God's plans very effectively. "As Christians, we do not believe that God is on our side, but that we are graciously allowed to support God's side"
So I want you to remember Jeremiah 29:11, not to charge through all your problems in life, but so that you can lift all your problems to God, to see what he has planned with them.
Monday, 18 July 2011
Monday, 11 July 2011
Blinded by the glare, the man continued to run. His eyes burned from the vicious rays of the sun, as they pierced through his heart. The sun illuminated the world beautifully, but right now, he would've given anything for the sun not be able to catch him running away. He felt exposed. No one could hide from the curiosity of the sun's rays, especially when the person has so much to hide.
His mind was becoming uncontrolled, drifting to where it pleased. Without the man's permission, his mind raced back to when he committed the deed.
Blood was splattered everywhere. Some of it was his own, but he was too scared to tie up the cut on his right hand. Blank eyes stared at his sweating face, accusing him, remembering what he looks like, if they ever were to meet again in the after-life.
The man kept running, away from the guilt, away from the consequences, but the sun kept him from forgetting, the sun kept him from hiding the deed even from himself. Whenever he tried to push it down, it surfaced to the top of his thoughts, impossible to throw away.
He could still feel the shock as the blunt weapon rebounded against the man's skull. Hearing the crack as bone became like shards of glass. The pulsing of the blood as it kept flowing out of the wound. The searing pain as the victim's final attempt of resistance sliced his hand.
Tears streamed down the man's eyes, a combined effort of the suns rays, and the beast inside him. His legs gave way, he hit the ground, and the ground swallowed up his face. He lay there, contemplating the evil he had done. The ground gave him strength, as though he had returned to the earth, was born again, and had a second chance on life.
He got up, and started running again. The sun this time, however, was behind him, supporting his mission. He was running toward his deed, embracing it, accepting it as his own. But he vowed to fix it. He did not want to live life with the guilt weighing him down. His mind worked overtime, forcing himself to remember all the details of the event.
He rounded the corner, entered the house, and stood exactly where he had stood an hour ago. Racing toward the bedroom, he fell upon the unconscious body. He knew he had no time to lose, he ripped his shirt, wrapped the wound, gritted his teeth, and put the man on his shoulders.
Again he went on running. He ran even when his legs were burning, even when sweat blinded his eyes. Still, the sun supported him, urging him to go forwards.
The hospital tower never seemed to get closer, but finally its doors where right in front of him. He laid the man down on the welcome carpet, kissed his forehead, prayed that he would be safe, and left, just as a doctor came around the corridor.
The man continued to run, the sun pushing him along.