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Entwined


n506016444_1462127_397753This morning, I was listening (www.dailyaudiobible.com – if you’ve never tried it – it’s brilliant!) to Deuteronomy 9 and 10.
  Well, some of it anyway – 9:23 really jumped out at me, so I wasn’t able to concentrate much on the rest 🙂: “You did not trust him or obey him”. Trust and obey.   The Israelites had sent spies into the promised land.  When they came back, most of them only saw the obstacles.  They didn’t trust God’s character and power enough to take the (admittedly scary!) step of faith and obey. 

n506016444_1462128_44205251

Can trust that is not in some way expressed in obedience really be trust at all?  Probably not.

A bit later, once they had realized their mistake, the Israelites decided to go in and start taking the land – without talking to God about it.  And were beaten comprehensively (check out Numbers 13 and 14 for the full story). 

n506016444_1462129_2153472“Doing the right thing” because I reckon I can do it and it seems like a good idea (or even to earn God’s favour) has nothing to do with trust and isn’t even really obedience.

 

n506016444_1462130_3925426What struck me most of all is that God is so amazingly relational!  He is not after us hitting a set of performance targets.  He wants us to walk with Him, to learn to trust Him more and more and within that relationship to obey.

n506016444_1462133_2857771Funnily enough, just a few days ago, I took a number of photos of things that were entwined.  Some man made, some nature doing its thing (http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=67177&id=506016444&l=cb3652274f).

 

n506016444_1462131_783843That expresses it so well: lives entwined – God as the Trinity – ours with God – with each other.

 

 

n506016444_1462134_25589321To top it all off, the sermon today was on John 14: “On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.  Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” (verses 20+21)

n506016444_1462132_3028568Couldn’t have put it better myself 🙂

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Strictly Come Dancing

Just as well I’ll never be invited to appear on Strictly Come Dancing (not being famous will see to that) – I think I would officially be the worst dance partner ever!  I can get the steps right (some of the time, anyway), I just struggle with following!  This is what happened last Sunday:

Forward – back – left – right – I get quite good at the Salsa steps as long as we all stand in a row.  But then we split into pairs and I can no longer see the teacher.  That should be ok, after all I can still hear what he is saying and anyway, I should just follow my dance partner’s lead.  Well, that’s easier said than done.  I really don’t much like following.  I like to know what’s going on, and at least feel in control (even if I’m not).  So I catch myself attempting to look over my shoulder to see what the steps are.  Only to discover that two people wanting to be in control at the same time really doesn’t work very well…  While I’m busy trying to catch a glimpse of what is going on at the front, I completely miss any leads my dance partner gives me.  With predictable results.  Which I guess could be disastrous if this was about something more important than a bit of Salsa dancing.

I wonder how often I have done that to God – been so busy looking over my shoulder, trying to figure out the situation, trying to stay in control that I completely forget to pay attention to what He is doing, what He is telling me and almost forget that He is there?!

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Planning the party

When the Bible describes the “City of Light” (or the new Jerusalem) and it says: “the kings of the earth will bring their splendour into it” (Rev 21:24) – I reckon that splendour should definitely include food!

I had a taste of that on Monday night, at the “Food around the World” event at the Globe café!  Since then, I have been working on the menu for the big meal in heaven 🙂  The Japanese sushi were very nice, so they’re definitely in!  As is the Chinese Spicy Chicken!  And I loved the Iranian dish (unfortunately can’t quite remember the name),  I kept going back for more!  The German fruit pudding (Rote Grütze) I made seemed to go down quite well, too.  And then there are all the other dishes I’ve tried along the way: Russian smetana – to die for!!!  Mexican food – very yummy! And so the list goes on… At least I won’t have to try it all in one day!

OK, so heaven is about an awful lot more than food – but I loved my little taste of what it can be like when all the nations and peoples come together!

PS:  I don’t think there should be a place in heaven for Marmite 🙂 Well, maybe in some far corner…

PPS: I’m still contemplating whether I would want there to be dancing in heaven.  I had a go at Salsa dancing and Arabic dancing this week.  Both good fun but elegant and graceful are not words that would readily come to mind when I’m involved!

A taste of heaven :-)
A taste of heaven 🙂
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Home Squared

I have just finished reading Barack Obama’s “Dreams From My Father”.  There is so much to think about and I’ll probably come back to it a few times.  But here is one thing that’s kind of stuck with me and that I have been mulling over. 

When he goes to Kenya to explore his roots there, some of the family take him back to the village the Obamas came from.  This is what they explain along the way:

“By the way,” Roy said to me, lighting a cigarette, “it’s not Home Square.  It’s Home Squared.”  “What does that mean?” “It’s something the kids in Nairobi used to say,” Auma explained “there’s your ordinary house in Nairobi.  And then there’s your house in the country, where your people come from.  Your ancestral home.  Even the biggest minister of businessman thinks this way.  He may have mansion in Nairobi and build only a small hut in the country.  He may go there only once or twice a year.  But if you ask him where he is from, he will tell you that that hut is his true home.  So, when we were at school and wanted to tell somebody we were going to Alego, it was home twice over, you see.  Home Squared.”  Roy took a sip of his beer.  “For you, Barack, we can call it Home Cubed.”

I felt a sense of longing and slight envy when I read that.  I feel more like I have just added new homes to old ones. They’re all different and special but there is none that is a solid foundation.  I go back to Hamburg, where I grew up, and I love it.  There are a lot of memories.  But I now have very few firneds there.  When my parents don’t live there anymore, will it still feel like home at all?

I go back to where I went to uni and again, almost every road holds memories.  What a significant time it was! 

But in both places I am only a visitor.

Birmingham is now home.  I know where things are, I know lots of people, I (sort of) know where I “fit” in many situations.  But roots?  Not really.

Where is my Home Squared?  Or Cubed? 

I’m beginning to think that is how it should be!  After all, all the amazing people in Hebrews 11 “were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland.”  (Hebrews 11:16)  And my “citizenship is in heaven.” (Philippians 3:20) 

That’s where I really belong, Home with a capital “H”!  And what an amazing blessing it is to have lots of other homes as well!

Maybe things only get confusing when I try and find my Home in a place that can only ever be a home.