Thursday, 30 July 2009

most satisfied when God is glorified

comment on 2 Corinthians 4:13-15

'...following in the footsteps on the righteous who suffered before him, including Christ himself, Paul's delight in the manifestations of God's glory is the ultimate reason that he does not lose heart in the ministry.' (p 189)

Monday, 27 July 2009

edgehill - beach day!

Today we will be at Woolacombe (if the weather is ok!) - you might not be able to see us on the web cam as we tend to be a bit further along the beach!

Friday, 24 July 2009

And we're off

roll up! roll up!

the greatest show on the earth (of Bideford) opens it's doors on Saturday.

The Lord has been very good to us in getting us to the 'start' line.
60 11-14 year olds.
30 odd leaders. Well most of us are odd. Bdum!
A crack team of assistant leaders.
His powerful Word and dynamic Spirit to exalt Christ.

And Hockings icecream:

I can't wait.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Grace works powerfully

I don't know anything about where this comes from, but these testimonies (if true) are moving and illustrate well the power of God's grace:

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory,
are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory,
which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

(2 Corinthians 3:18)

Monday, 20 July 2009

...the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.

Notes from Calvin on 2 Corinthians 3:6

There is, however, no doubt, that by the term letter, he means the Old Testament, as by the term spirit he means the gospel; for, after having called himself a minister of the New Testament, he immediately adds, by way of exposition, that he is a minister of the spirit, and contrasts the letter with the spirit.

We must now enquire into the reason of this designation. The exposition contrived by Origen has got into general circulation — that by the letter we ought to understand the grammatical and genuine meaning of Scripture, or the literal sense, (as they call it,) and that by the spirit is meant the allegorical meaning, which is commonly reckoned to be the spiritual meaning. Accordingly, during several centuries, nothing was more commonly said, or more generally received, than this — that Paul here furnishes us with a key for expounding Scripture by allegories, while nothing is farther from his intention.

For by the term letter he means outward preaching, of such a kind as does not reach the heart; and, on the other hand, by spirit he means living doctrine, of such a nature as worketh effectually (1 Thess 2:12) on the minds of men, through the grace of the Spirit. By the term letter, therefore, is meant literal preaching — that is, dead and ineffectual, perceived only by the ear. By the term spirit, on the other hand, is meant spiritual doctrine, that is, what is not merely uttered with the mouth, but effectually makes its way to the souls of men with a lively feeling. For Paul had an eye to the passage in Jeremiah, that I quoted a little ago, (Jer 31:31) where the Lord says, that his law had been proclaimed merely with the mouth, and that it had, therefore, been of short duration, because the people did not embrace it in their heart, and he promises the Spirit of regeneration under the reign of Christ, to write his gospel, that is, the new covenant, upon their hearts. Paul now makes it his boast, that the accomplishment of that prophecy is to be seen in his preaching, that the Corinthians may perceive, how worthless is the loquacity of those vain boasters, who make incessant noise while devoid of the efficacy of the Spirit.

It is asked, however, whether God, under the Old Testament, merely sounded forth in the way of an external voice, and did not also speak inwardly to the hearts of the pious by his Spirit.

I answer in the first place, that Paul here takes into view what belonged peculiarly to the law; for although God then wrought by his Spirit, yet that did not take its rise from the ministry of Moses, but from the grace of Christ, as it is said in John 1:17 —
The law was given by Moses;but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

True, indeed, the grace of God did not, during all that time, lie dormant, but it is enough that it was not a benefit that belonged to the law. For Moses had discharged his office, when he had delivered to the people the doctrine of life, adding threatenings and promises. For this reason he gives to the law the name of the letter, because it is in itself a dead preaching; but the gospel he calls spirit, because the ministry of the gospel is living, nay, lifegiving.

I answer secondly, that these things are not affirmed absolutely in reference either to the law or to the gospel, but in respect of the contrast between the one and the other; for even the gospel is not always spirit. When, however, we come to compare the two, it is truly and properly affirmed, that the nature of the law is to teach men literally, in such a way that it does not reach farther than the ear; and that, on the other hand, the nature of the gospel is to teach spiritually, because it is the instrument of Christ’s grace. This depends on the appointment of God, who has seen it meet to manifest the efficacy of his Spirit more clearly in the gospel than in the law, for it is his work exclusively to teach effectually the minds of men.

Birmingham City Mission - 1966 and all that!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Praise through pain

This is a wonderful wonderful CD.
Click on the image for details or here.
Here is a taste of track one.:

When You lead me to the valley of vision
I can see You in the heights
And though my humbling wouldn't be my decision
It's here Your glory shines so bright
So let me learn that the cross precedes the crown
To be low is to be high
That the valley's where You make me more like Christ

Let me find Your grace in the valley
Let me find Your life in my death
Let me find Your joy in my sorrow
Your wealth in my need
That You're near with every breath
In the valley

In the daytime there are stars in the heavens
But they only shine at night
And the deeper that I go into darkness
The more I see their radiant light
So let me learn that my losses are my gain
To be broken is to heal
That the valley's where Your power is revealed

How often do we, do I, need reminding of this!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Abuse of Prisoners

cf. Matthew 27:27-31

They (the soldiers mocking Jesus) had been fighting what today we would call terrorists - Jewish rebels against Rome, desperate for liberty, ready to do anything. The Roman soldiers had probably seen some of their friends killed. They were tired of policing such a place, far away from their homes, having to keep the lid on a volatile and dangerous situation with all kinds of rebel groups ready to riot.
Now here was someone who'd been accused of trying to make himself 'King of the Jews'. He was going to die within hours. Why not have a bit of fun at his expense? Why not tease him, beat him up a bit, show him what the Romans thinking of other people's 'kings'? ... let him know that someone else is in fact boss.


Sunday, 12 July 2009

Macbeth - Act V Scene 1

[Dunsinane. Ante-room in the castle]
Enter a Doctor of Physic and a Waiting Gentlewoman

Doct. I have two nights watch’d with you, but can perceive no truth in your report. When was it she last walk’d?

Gent. Since his Majesty went into the field, I have seen her rise from her bed, throw her nightgown upon her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon ’t, read it, afterwards seal it, and again return to bed; yet all this while in a most fast sleep.

Doct. A great perturbation in nature, to receive at once the benefit of sleep, and do the effects of watching! In this slumb’ry agitation, besides her walking and other actual performances, what, at any time, have you heard her say?

Gent. That, sir, which I will not report after her.

Doct. You may to me: and ’tis most meet you should.

Gent. Neither to you nor any one; having no witness to confirm my speech.

Enter LADY MACBETH, with a taper

Lo you, here she comes! This is her very guise; and, upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her; stand close.

Doct. How came she by that light?

Gent. Why, it stood by her. She has light by her continually; ’tis her command.

Doct. You see, her eyes are open.

Gent. Ay, but their sense are shut.

Doct. What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs her hands.

Gent. It is an accustom’d action with her, to seem thus washing her hands. I have known her continue in this a quarter of an hour.

Lady M. Yet here’s a spot.

Doct. Hark! she speaks. I will set down what comes from her, to satisfy my remembrance the more strongly.

Lady M. Out, damned spot! out, I say!—One: two: why, then ’tis time to do ’t.—Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?
Doct. Do you mark that?

Lady M. The thane of Fife had a wife; where is she now?—What, will these hands ne’er be clean?—No more o’ that, my lord, no more o’ that; you mar all with this starting.

Doct. Go to, go to; you have known what you should not.

Gent. She has spoke what she should not, I am sure of that; Heaven knows what she has known.

Lady M. Here’s the smell of the blood still; all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!

Doct. What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charg’d.

Gent. I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the dignity of the whole body.

Doct. Well, well, well,—

Gent. Pray God it be, sir.

Doct. This disease is beyond my practice; yet I have known those which have walk’d in their sleep who have died holily in their beds.

Lady M. Wash your hands, put on your nightgown; look not so pale.—I tell you yet again, Banquo’s buried; he cannot come out on ’s grave.

Doct. Even so?

Lady M. To bed, to bed! there’s knocking at the gate. Come, come, come, come, give me your hand. What’s done cannot be undone.—To bed, to bed, to bed! Exit.

Doct. Will she go now to bed?

Gent. Directly.

Doct. Foul whisp’rings are abroad; unnatural deeds
Do breed unnatural troubles; infected minds
To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.
More needs she the divine than the physician.
God, God, forgive us all! Look after her;
Remove from her the means of all annoyance,
And still keep eyes upon her. So, good-night!
My mind she has mated, and amaz’d my sight.
I think, but dare not speak.

Gent. Good-night, good doctor. Exeunt.

Friday, 10 July 2009

What's that sound?

There is no dawdling in the face of fear. When we perceive it creeping up on us we want to keep moving. To slow down and listen to what it might be saying is counterintuitive.
But fear is speaking, and we should listen.
(Ch 3 'Fear Speaks')

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Put the light on in the landing

Some Highlights of Chapter 2 in Running Scared

'Your Fears'

Rather than minimize your fears, find more of them. Expose them to the light of day because the more you find the more blessed you will be when you hear words of peace and comfort.

Control and certainty are myths.

Heights? suffocation? crowds? terrorism? flying?


What are your dreams saying? The content can be silly and inscrutable, but listen for the emotional tone of your dreams. What do they feel like? Being pursued? Missing deadlines? Spinning endless plates? Being exposed and embarrassed? Keep track of them and in the course of a week you will hear them speak
Physical Clues

e.g palpitations, sweaty palms, perspiration, tension headaches, clenched jaws, impotence, rapid breathing, loss of appetite, increased appetite, problems sleeping, high blood pressure...

Take a quick inventory of your physical tension. Start at the top of your head and go to your toes. Unless you are on the tropical beach you once imagined or in a backyard Jacuzzi (loads of those in Tipton), you will probably notice that your forehead and neck are tightened. Your arms are much more constricted than they need

When we are aware that anxiety has registered at a physical level we call it stress.

Stress is saying that life is teetering on the brink, right at the farthest reaches of your ability to maintain some control.

Stress can also signify that there is something on your to-do list that will be inspected by others.

Anxiety and fear prefer to stay on the surface rather than linger to consider something more deeply. And you are too busy anyway. If you think about these things, you will just get farther behind.
Busy and Driven

Even when paralyzed by circumstances a stressed person is a driven person.

Listen carefully to depression and you often hear fear and anxiety.

Outside the covers is a world that is out of control with the potential for failure, rejection, and endless surprises we can't even imagine, so depression opts for paralysis.

A woman rages at her husband for coming home late with alcohol on his breath. Sue, there is the 'You are wrong' component. But there is also ' I am afraid you are losing interest in me. I am afraid you could be tempted by another woman. And when you add alcohol, I get even more afraid.'

The problem is compounded with men because men aren't supposed to be afraid. With no permission to discuss fears, men opt for anger. Sometimes their anger says, 'This is the only way I know to get some control in an out-of-control world.'

Today's parents were an under-protected lot. They grew up during a time when the divorce rate had spiked; they came home to empty houses. Not only were many of them self-parented, they also parented their parents, which means that
they had no parents. So naturally, they are protective now as parents, involved and exhausted. They are looking into preschools before their child is born because they sense that the wrong one could forever handicap his or her future. Fear has given birth to 'extreme parenting.' It looks like love, but it is love mingled with fear.

Do you have any? Ever scared that you will 'tempt fate'? {cricketers are especially terrible for this!}

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Friday, 3 July 2009

Bottled Parenting

I love this

And yet, as if from nowhere, the paranoia rises.
Should Simeon be able to roller blade ?
And are we 'holding him back' because we are not giving him this brand of bottled water?