Humour in the Bible

We’d gone to a production in the school hall. A well-known playwright from the big city had directed it, but imagine our delight when we saw that he’d cast our next-door neighbour perfectly… as herself! Idiosyncrasies that we saw daily, were all displayed on stage. Her little-girl voice, short stature, and animated mannerisms made us grin knowingly at each other throughout the performance. For us, she was the main character!

Recalling this experience from years past, I was reminded of a criticism I’d read long before that there is no humour in the Bible. I thought, there’s more than one reason for humour. But for me, its main purpose is to cheer us up; to lighten the conversation.

Of course, it depends on your personal type of humour. If your funny-bone isn’t linked to a well-tuned imagination, you won’t see the comical side to any Bible stories. If you tend not to laugh out loud, as many children do, you won’t giggle at the behaviour of people in the scriptures. There’s comic-relief, dialogue, and delight, but the ones I prefer, happen when I least expect them. For instance, I think Peter’s words, It’s only nine o’clock in the morning, are funny – Acts 2 : 15. The sense of the ridiculous is integral to the humour.

We can also take ourselves too seriously. In 1 Corinthians 12:15-21, Paul may not have made a classic joke, but I think he wrote with a humorous touch by using ‘talking’ body parts to explain God’s plan for each gift of the Holy Spirit. You may insist, ‘It’s a serious subject’, but humour makes it more memorable for me.

One of my favourites is in Judges 3:12–30 about Ehud, the left-handed Israelite who killed the king of Moab in a sleight-of-hand manoeuvre, then disappeared…after locking the doors. When the king’s servants couldn’t gain entrance to their master’s rooms, they thought he was ‘relieving himself’. To me, that’s humorous. Already knowing the background facts brings us right into the situation, and that’s one reason why humour works. Explaining it ruins the fun.  

Don’t say Balaam’s talking donkey isn’t hilarious – Numbers 22:22-3 – and it’s even funnier when his master talks back to him! David said that ‘God laughs at the wicked’ – Ps 2: 4, and how about old Sarah laughing at the words of an ‘angel?’ – Genesis 18:10-12.

When the Jews were regaling their children with stories about their ancestor Judah, they might have said, ‘You should have seen his face when his sin was discovered!’ By then the children would know the story well, and would always delight in Judah’s look of horror at his well-deserved exposure – see Genesis 38.  We can become so accustomed to these Biblical dramas that their humour is lost on us. 

Jesus told the Jews that they couldn’t add to their height by looking in the mirror! We can read that and allow it to ‘pass through to the keeper’, but using our imagination, how ridiculous it is! Try it some time when you’re feeling short, even short-changed! King Solomon of Israel also wrote that a cheerful heart does good like medicine ~ Proverbs 17:22 – The Living Bible.

Here’s another ‘relieving-himself incident’ when Elijah mocked the dancing prophets of Baal – 1 Kings 18: 22-46. He also suggested their god might be daydreaming, or on a holiday. That must have infuriated them, but the crowd of Israelites would have loved it!   

I believe God wants us to utilise the sense of humour he’s given us, but carefully. He doesn’t want cruel jokes that hurt others. He expects us to:

Say only what helps, each word a gift… and to be gentle with one another ~

Ephesians 4 : 29-32 – The Message Bible. 

 

Posted in Devotions and Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Memories of Mothers’ Day

On Mother’s Day in 2021, we were able to do the usual thing at our church, and honour the mothers in person, unlike last year, when we were confined to our homes, and had to celebrate online.

Now, in all three of our Sunday services, we mothers were called up onto the platform, and the pastor prayed for us, before the little children handed out gifts. I would have been quite happy with the prayer, but it’s nice for the children to be involved too. It speaks of the generations following on, which God really wants us to understand.

I remember Mothers’ Days from my childhood, where we little ones from the Christian Endeavour Society stood at the two entrances to the church property with a tray of white carnations, and pins to attach them to the lapels and dresses of the members of the congregation. I always felt special when I made this small gesture. The people were effusive in their gratitude. Some already had their own flower in memory of their mother, but others didn’t have any white ones in their gardens. We also had one for ourselves, setting the example in honouring our mothers. I remember how it gave me great pleasure because my flower lasted all day! This year, we were given a choice of mauve or yellow chrysanthemums to wear; no white ones appeared on the table in the church foyer! Traditions change, but the thought is the most important thing.

We jostled on the platform, trying to maintain proper social distancing. The only man on there was the pastor, who ‘happened’ to be standing by me at the end of the front row. He held the microphone, and asked, ‘Are you a mother?’ ‘Yes’, I replied. He continued. ‘Are you a grandmother?’  ‘Yes’, I said, guessing what was coming next, and I was right! He questioned again. ‘Are you a great-grandmother?’

Later, I thought that I should have answered ‘YES!!!!’ in a loud voice to that final question, but I quietly replied, ‘Yes’. Except for my happy smile, my answer didn’t say what I was feeling. What a privilege to be a great-grandmother!! I think I was the only one there in that early meeting. There are several of us in the church, but the others would be at the later services. This moment reminded me of a wonderful promise from God:

But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands ~ Exodus 20:6

When I first realised this, I was overwhelmed. For so long, I’d misunderstood God’s edict that the sins of the parents should be visited on three, or even four generations of a family. But this wasn’t the whole story. I only half-read it. We have such a loving Heavenly Father, surely I should have remembered that his love is everlasting, and he doesn’t give up on his children, and neither should we.

So I rest content in these words that the Lord has given to his people; not just mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers, even great-great-grandmothers, but all the fathers too. I think of Naomi with her grandchild, born of her faithful daughter-in-law, Ruth. What a blessing her wonderful Descendant, Jesus, is to us all.

For years I’ve prayed for my children and the spouses they might marry, and I’m still doing it for my grandchildren – and great-grandchildren! If they don’t marry, then there are many other children in the world who require prayer, but don’t have grandparents in their lives.

So none of us need to miss out on enjoying this promise from God!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Devotions and Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What would we do without them?

Sometimes I wonder how the economy would run without the people who work for nothing. If volunteers suddenly downed tools and went on strike, would services and  industries grind to a halt? Well, it’s not likely to happen because volunteers are always with us. Have you ever wondered why that is so? It’s worth pondering.

My daughter really appreciates the volunteers who help in the Aged Care Home where she works. She sent me a lovely poem she’d written for them, and I could see there were many tasks they performed with kindness and love. They make such a difference by sharing their smiles and using their skills in a self-effacing, reliable way. It helps when people are willing to give what they have. Although volunteers don’t look for praise, they’ll surely be touched when they receive her poem and realise they’re not taken for granted.

I suggested to my daughter that she might include a picture of a special camellia along with the poem. Its name is ‘Volunteer’ in honour of all those in the world who do just that. I was privileged to receive one of these shrubs – sadly left behind when we moved house – but we bought another one. A couple of weeks ago, it started to colour up – rather premature, as camellias don’t usually begin to flower for a while yet. But I suppose lots of volunteers can be relied upon to be early! And some paid workers are even willing to turn up before starting time, or stay late to finish a task without expecting extra payment.

The word ‘volunteer’ can be used as a noun, verb, or adjective. It’s main virtue is in the offering. Nobody can be forced to volunteer, but when they do, they’re freely proffering their service, their talents, and even themselves. This is so different to conscripts, who have sometimes been forced to serve in wartime. We’ve recently commemorated Anzac Day, which reminds us of the Australians and New Zealanders who fought to keep our world free. During World War One, my husband’s grandmother was shocked at the number of men who refused to go to war when her own son was risking his life in France.

There are two other integral aspects of volunteering, the first being that it’s a sacrifice. There’s always a risk when we offer anything for free. Some people, and some companies, take advantage of volunteers. The second aspect is that it’s to be given with joy! Who wants a volunteer moaning about how much they have to sacrifice for others? That kind of behaviour doesn’t fit with volunteering, or offering!

It was the same when Jesus died in our place. He did it with joy! Ahead of time, he saw the wonderful results. Many people don’t appreciate what he did for them; some don’t know yet. Jesus only needed to die once, but his sacrifice is still available to all who haven’t heard about it. What a wonderful Saviour!

The Bible says – But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins – Hebrews 7:27. He told the Pharisees that he’d lay down his life of his own accord – John 10: 17-18.

So what about that question? Will we always have volunteers with us? Even in a dictatorship volunteers exist, because those who are Christ-followers live everywhere, following his example, and showing the same fruit as he did. God’s love is eternal, and because he’s everywhere, it goes with him. He is love. We’ll never have to do without volunteers – and for Jesus, each of us can be one too!

 

.

 

 

 

Posted in Devotions and Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Don’t Want to Droop!

In my precious old secretaire, there are two small things that I’m keeping for posterity. I think they’ve been with me since I was married! I recently went to my desk and held them in my hand, running my fingers over them, and thinking about their history.

They are clothes pegs made of wood and metal. Each component would have a proper name in the peg-manufacturing industry, but I know one part is a spring. As for the other two identical pieces, maybe they’re called ‘legs?’ In one, there’s a tiny ‘nick’ in the end of each leg, as if a mouse has chewed it! The surface of the other is varnished and its dimensions are narrower – perhaps a finer quality one? All their inner surfaces have a washed-out look from sitting against damp fabrics.

I probably used these pegs on our honeymoon when I washed our clothes for the very first time! Since then, they’ve held hundreds of garments and articles on clotheslines in many places. Their springs have responded to thousands of squeezes, and the sun has faded them. In every moment of pegging out the washing, the owner of each garment has always been on my mind – real people who needed love, touch and tender care.

Now these two pegs serve another purpose: they retrieve memories for me. To keep them might seem silly to some, but all the washing I’ve done over the years wasn’t only because I couldn’t tolerate dirty clothes; it was because I loved the owners, and it was my way of serving them.

This particular type of peg is still available, although now it’s often made of plastic or wire. Clothes-driers have made them redundant in some homes. Mine are special representatives of hundreds of others over the years. Don’t laugh, but I asked God about them, and he reminded me that he also uses pegs in my life as a way of showing me how much he loves me. Ah! The prophetic connection.

Have you ever heard a prophecy given in your church, where the person begins to share God’s message and starts by saying, ‘I see a picture…’, or ‘I see a clothesline with wooden pegs holding a line of billowing garments that fill with air, making them look alive!’ They might even add: ‘God is saying that he wants to fill us with a deep longing for his life to complete us in a way we’ve never known’.

But I do know, that as I held my two pegs, God did speak to my heart. He reminded me that he wants to show me things about myself, our family, and most importantly, about him. Jesus used stories from everyday life so his listeners would remember his words, and the truths he wanted them to know.

I’d given this post three different titles before I saw where it was leading! How often do we give a ‘title’ to what we’re seeing, without realising God is also whispering a message to us? It could start with pegs and their utilitarian uses, but hidden in there is a story we would love to hear straight from the heart of God. Will we listen?

God’s pegs are words that he uses to keep us attached to his refreshing truths. How often have I been grateful for words such as these when I’ve needed them:

Heaviness in the heart of man makes it droop, but a good word makes it glad ~ Proverbs 12:25 – Modern English Version

I’ll keep my two pegs, and remember what God has told me about his great love for our family.

Posted in A Personal relationship with God, Devotions and Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Reward for the Fisherman and the Shepherd

Let’s think about the final event the apostle John wrote in his story of Jesus. It’s interesting that he used a similar scene to the one he described near the beginning of his gospel.

The first was on the beach when Jesus called Simon Peter to follow him. The last was when the discouraged Peter had gone fishing again and Jesus appeared with his final call: ‘Follow me’. On the earlier occasion, Jesus told Peter (the natural fisherman) that he would make him a fisher of men. At the last one, on another beach, he commanded him to be a shepherd.

Between these ‘bookends’, Peter walked with Jesus. We have many examples of the larger-than-life Peter! He often showed his love and dedication to his Master, but missed it at important times and needed to be rebuked, straightened out, and forgiven.

Some people have made a big thing about the number of fish in the last story. Maybe there’s nothing special in the figure 153, but after those three-and-a-half years, John still remembered how many there were! In the earlier event, he mightn’t have been able to count them because the nets were beginning to break. But this time, the net held. Perhaps Jesus was reminding them, and us, that he wants to keep all the fish whom his Father has given him; he loves each one. After all, he’d once said to his Father,

‘I didn’t lose one of those you gave me…’  ~ See John 17: 12, 13 and 18:8, 9

After the meal on the beach, Jesus had a chat with Peter. He reminded him that it would be because of his love for his Master that he’d be able to fulfil his calling.

And so it is with us: our calling depends on our love – not primarily the love we have for God’s children, but our love for him.

Here’s a song I wrote about this story from the 21st chapter of John’s Gospel. (Sorry, friends, no music, but I did sing it once at Communion as I played the piano!)

He’s Prepared a Miracle

A group went out to catch some fish; they toiled all night for naught.

Their net was limp, their bodies tired, their hearts with sadness fraught.

They didn’t know their Lord was near, or guess what He had done:

He’d prepared a miracle to feed them in the dawn.

*

The sun came up and Jesus stood beside the water’s edge.

They did not know it was their friend, ’til – ‘It’s the Lord!’ John said.

They hadn’t known that He was near, or guessed what He had done:

He’d prepared a miracle to feed them in the dawn.

                                                                             *

Jesus gave to them a catch that far outweighed their net.

But ev’ry fish was counted in: one-fifty-three – all kept!

Remembering the other time, they knew what He had done:

Wondrous was that miracle, He fed them – every one!

                                                                          *

He’d lit a fire and cooked some fish; a loaf He had right there!

‘Bring some of yours’, He said to them, ‘we’ll have enough to share’.

They saw His hands around the food: the broken fish and bread,

Like the time before he’d gone to suffer in their stead.

                                                                          *

Afterwards they gathered round to hear what He would say.

‘Oh Simon, do you love Me more than these ones standing by?’

‘I do, my Lord. You know I do’. ‘Then feed My lambs and sheep.

One day you’ll not be free,

but led unwillingly;

follow Me’.

                                                                          *

‘You’ll always know that I am near. I’ll show you what I’ve done:

I’ve prepared a miracle to greet you in the dawn!’

 Lyn Thiele

 

Posted in A Personal relationship with God, Devotions and Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rain on the Roof

Babies suck their thumbs, or carry a favourite blanket until it’s a mere scrap. Food is a comfort for some people, while others enjoy a warm drink for relief. Many go shopping to boost their contentment-levels. 

As a child, I loved to hear the rain on the roof when I was home in bed with a cough while the rest of the children were at school in the wet weather. Only a couple of nights ago, when I heard the patter of rain on our roof, I was immediately blessed with feelings of solace and security.

Familiar things: a comfortable chair, a well-worn garment, or a tidy home, can provide the same relief and contentment. I find pleasure in looking at a garden bed that an hour earlier was full of weeds, but now makes me feel as if I’ve given it some love. We all seem to have our comfort zone that we rely on. Do you have a go-to person for comfort in times of stress or when you need to share a blessing? Your spouse, a friend, or a carer? 

As I’ve pondered on this, I couldn’t help but think of the other Comforter – the perfect one whom Jesus promised would come and take his place when he’d gone back to heaven. I saw how Jesus was saying to his friends, ‘I’ve been with you and comforted you; now someone else will provide all that’. What ways did he comfort them? Well, just knowing he was there for them; being aware of his great power, and his amazing love in spite of their failings – all these must have been an enormous relief for the disciples. The serenity of Jesus in the storm on the lake when they thought they were going to perish; his firm hope in his Father’s provision when all they had to offer a large crowd of people was a boy’s lunch of a few rolls and two fish. And the great wisdom he brought to all the situations they experienced together. 

In the language of the 1830s, Charles Dickins used the word ‘comforter’ to describe what we in Australia would now call a scarf – something to wind around our neck in the winter as protection against the cold. It was a covering, and that’s what Jesus had been for his disciples. Today they’d say, ‘I’ve got your back!’ And now Jesus was telling them that it was time for their covering to be removed. Imagine their dismay! However, he’d never let them down before. And he surely sent them another comforter! 

When many people had turned away from him, he’d asked his faithful few, And will you also go away?’ Peter replied, ‘To whom, Lord, shall we turn? You have the words of eternal life! ~ John 6:67-68.

Comfort speaks of security. Where do we look when we need it – even a tiny scrap of security from Jesus was worth more than anyone else could provide. So when he said he’d ask his Father to send another Comforter to stay with them forever, and called him ‘The Holy Spirit’, it fulfilled their longing for the same security that Jesus was to them in those years when they walked with him. 

More than ‘rain on the roof’, the comfort of a baby’s thumb, or even a satisfying trip to the shops, the Holy Spirit will answer our call with an abundance of comfort. And that’s not all he does – he’s our guide, our advocate, our helper, and more! Why do we wait to ask him for it all when that’s what he willingly came to do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Devotions and Reflections, The Compassion of Jesus | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hope Deferred Makes the Heart Sick

I’ve often felt sorry for Hope. It’s up there with the best, but rarely gets a mention in sermons. Faith, yes. And Love? Well, it’s the best! But Hope… it seems like a second cousin to Faith, as if it were not quite as spiritual, and wouldn’t ‘work’ as effectively as faith; and ‘why do we need them both?’

That’s been my perception; others could think differently. People say, ‘I hope so’, when asked for a definite answer to a question, but I have a lot of affection for Hope. I even like Hope as a Christian name, as a young boy in our church is called. 

How many of us have been wishing that horrible pandemic would go away? Who has fervently hoped that their ‘normal’ life would soon return. Some people have even promised it would be over quickly, but then heavier restrictions have come in. People can’t be blamed for thinking it would be better not to have their hopes raised at all. I’ve often recalled the proverb that King Solomon wrote:  

Hope deferred makes the heart sick… ~ Proverbs 13:12 (Authorised Version)

I knew it was in the Bible, but I checked so I could include it here. I was only half-quoting it! That would have been embarrassing, wouldn’t it? Those of you who are more familiar with this verse will notice a bit missing there. Can you quote the rest? For many years, although I’d often read it, I must have only memorised half of it in the days when my brain was sharper, or perhaps I only ever heard it quoted that way, as happens with many proverbs! Well, here’s the whole thing, but in a different translation:

When hope is crushed, the heart is crushed, but a wish come true fills you with joy ~ Good News version.

Here’s how it’s expressed in The Message Bible: Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around.

They all give the same idea, but I really like the Good News. It is good news, isn’t it? There’s something about joy that’s hard to beat, especially in the difficult days we’ve been experiencing this year. How wonderful to finally rejoice when the news we’ve been waiting on for months – but never seemed to happen – turns up, and hallelujah, we’ve really got it! 

I think hope is knowing that God’s hanging in there with us until the good times arrive. He knows what it’s like to wait. He always knows when it’s going to happen, but when he promised that he’d send someone to save the world from the power of sin, it seemed a long time before Jesus arrived, but he did. And he completed his glorious victory.

Here’s J.B. Phillips’ translation of Romans 5: 2-5: let us grasp the fact that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have confidently entered into this new relationship of grace, and here we take our stand, in happy certainty of the glorious things he has for us in the future.

 This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys—we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles. Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character, and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us. Already we have some experience of the love of God flooding through our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us

Hope now!!

Posted in Devotions and Reflections, Life Challenges | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seeing Past the Brick Wall

In my 2015 post, A Brick Wall by the Family Tree, I lamented a lack of information about my husband’s maternal aunt, Irene May Hampton. Her line stopped at her 1926 marriage to Ernest Joseph Sheppard, a bachelor, we’re told. If only I’d been interested in family history when my father-in-law and his second wife went to England in the early 1960s! They probably visited the relatives of Maurie’s deceased mother. Now here’s an update.

I was thrilled when the great-granddaughter of Ernest Sheppard contacted me via Ancestry.com. What a story she had! At first I thought we weren’t connected. When her Ernest married Rene, he’d already been married in 1915 to someone else – and fathered a child with her – because the ‘widow’ declared that her husband had died in the war in France! But when the man returned, she went back to him, taking her young daughter, and leaving Ernest alone. Had he told Rene all this?

We’d presumed his first marriage was annulled, but to sort it out, we purchased Ernest’s birth certificate, and his first marriage certificate. When I saw his details, it was plain that the 1915-marriage-Ernest, was the same person who’d wed Maurie’s Aunty Rene!

But what about her? On the 1939 Register of England and Wales I found Irene working as a book-keeping clerk in a steel construction company. She and Ernest were living in Essex, but no children were listed.

Later I discovered another marriage record for her: in fact two – in 1945! One gave her surname as Hampton, and on the other, it was Sheppard! I wondered if she’d learned about Ernest’s child, and if that had caused friction between them. His great-granddaughter had supplied me with a photo of him and his daughter in what looked like her debut portrait, where he looked very proud.

So we bought Rene’s second marriage certificate, and found that she’d informed the Registry officer of her divorce from Ernest, hence the two surnames as a note on the one certificate. Her new husband was George Harcourt Johnson. This was during the Second World War.

Sadly, Rene died eight years later, aged 54, and George died in 1972. I could fritter away hours searching online for more, but the most important question for me is this: Did they know Jesus as their Saviour? I hope we’ll see them in heaven, and Ernest too, who died in 1965.

Merely living on earth and leaving a trail of dates isn’t enough. There’s a holy purpose for our lives. God has a plan for each one of us, and if we don’t allow him to fulfil it, it’s a complete waste. I know of two famous men who were not married, had no children of their own, and were not materially rich. But their births, the events of their lives, their dramatic deaths, and the amazing blessings they bequeathed to mankind, are all recorded. Their mothers were cousins: Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Elisabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, were both women of great faith in God.

We could all wonder – what will people remember about us after we’re gone? But as CT Studd, the famous cricketer and missionary, wrote:

Only one life, ’twill soon be past.

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Jesus Christ said no-one was as great as John the Baptist. And John declared that Jesus was the long-awaited one who would take away the sins of the world! What legacies they left! And we can be sure they both have a place in God’s Kingdom! What great gatherings we’ll enjoy there when we’ve made sure that heaven’s our eternal destination.

Posted in Devotions and Reflections, looking in the right direction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How are you, Nanni?

‘How are you, Nanni?’

I watched our dear little great-grandson talking to his paternal grandmother, and although she was far away from him, he could hear her and even see her as she waved to him from her hospital bed.

Again James asked, ‘Nanni, are you feeling well?’ He even prompted her: ‘You say, “Yes” or “No”’, and hinted – ‘Yes?’  There was hope in his eager suggestions for her reply!

I was also far away, but observing this touching exchange from my home. I had the Tinybeans site open on my computer at the daily-update my granddaughter faithfully sends me every evening. I love to get it!

James was able to recognise his grandmother because he was familiar with her voice. He knew she loved him, and although he couldn’t see her in person to give her a hug, he had no trouble believing she was real!

So why, I wondered, when we want to hear the voice of God, do we sometimes feel he’s too far away, or it’s impossible to really hear him speaking to us? Perhaps we wonder if he can hear our voice? We know that Jesus spoke to his heavenly father all the time, and he said we must come to God naturally, like a little child. How it must give the same heavenly father a thrill when we want to talk to him! God loves to know what we’re thinking and doing. He wants to be a big part of our lives. He wants to talk to us any time we’ll listen, just like James’s Nanni.

The technological systems that allow us to keep in touch with each other are not new to God. He created the airwaves, and the skills of the people who’ve used them to design communication systems. He placed talents in the minds of those who tap into the amazing resources available nowadays. These f0rms of communication are important. They should be used to pass on our feelings, our enjoyment in each other, and our love, just like we can do in our conversations with God.

Jesus loved little children. He called them to himself even when others sought to shoo them away. I often ponder on the words of the song by Jemima Luke that I used to sing as a child.

I think when I read that sweet story of old

When Jesus was here among men,

How he called little children as lambs to his fold,

I should like to have been with them then.

I wish that his hands had been placed on my head,

That his arms had been thrown around me,

And that I might have seen his kind look when he said,

‘Let the little ones come unto me’.

Yet still to his footstool in prayer I may go;

And ask for a share in his love;

And if I now earnestly seek him below,

I shall see him and hear him above.

But thousands and thousands who wander and fall,

Never hear of that heavenly home;

I wish they could know there is room for them all,

And that Jesus has bid them to come.


So as I continued to watch and listen to the short video on my screen, James, with his thumb in his mouth, mumbled,  ‘I hope you feel better soon, Nanni’. But then, with his thumb out again, he added words that I’m sure his grandmother will always treasure: ‘I love you’.

And that’s what God imparts when we tell him how much he means to us ‘I love you’, he says. What a wonderful father he is!

 

Posted in A Personal relationship with God, Devotions and Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Danger of Acting on Incomplete Information

I was reading an interesting article on the website ‘Desiring God’ when some of the text suddenly became jumbled and unintelligible like this?

It’s happened several times on my computer lately. In the first instance, I was typing an email to my daughter. I deleted it because I had no idea what else to do! But that night, I wondered. Maybe the strange text wasn’t as innocuous as I thought? Was it pointing to a dangerous event I’d been warned about? Should I have taken the doctor’s advice, and immediately called an ambulance to take me to a hospital in case I was having a Transient Ischemic Attack – a T.I.A, or mini-stroke? The medical people weren’t sure if the two similar incidents I’d already experienced, were mini-strokes. I’ve read that even experienced neurologists find them difficult to diagnose. But with this latest incident, it was now too late to check my brain! Nothing shows on a CT scan if it’s not done soon.

So I looked for other reasons, and asked some family members if this corrupted text might be a problem with another ‘brain’ – my computer’s inner workings! Yes, it could. Fortunately, I hadn’t jumped to conclusions when I didn’t have all the facts. Since then, I’ve had a few more text-corruptions on a variety of websites, including the one above. I knew I couldn’t fix the problem myself, and with our city in lockdown, nobody could come and do it for me. So please allow me to segue to this blog post about it!

I often find myself thinking of Jesus in these situations. He designed the human brain, but in the times of the Roman Empire, he hadn’t yet introduced the second-best copy to mankind – computers were still waiting in the wings. But the word ‘corrupted’ grabbed my mind in relation to the incorruptible man who walked the streets of Jerusalem twenty centuries ago. Everything he said was true. Everything he did was perfect. His life was holy; his message clear. Everyone could ‘read’ him. But whenever the Jewish leaders wanted to trap him with their questions, they reverted to their corrupt habits, even setting up false witnesses to get their way. But Jesus never flinched. He knew his purpose – and the plan of his Father in heaven – to show us all what God is like. And he succeeded in his mission. His message was never corrupted, and neither was he. 

King David prophesied about Jesus centuries before he ever lived in Israel, saying that God would not allow his holy one to see corruption ~ Psalm 16:10. Even though Jesus would die, his body wouldn’t decay; he would rise from the dead!

And Peter, one of Jesus’ followers, quoted David, explaining that the Messiah would not be abandoned in the world of the dead; his body would not rot in the grave ~ Acts 2: 31.

The apostle Paul also quoted that psalm where David wrote about Jesus: You will not allow your faithful servant to rot in the grave ~ Acts 13: 35. Corruption was never in God’s plan for Jesus. 

So we need to be careful not to act on incomplete information. As my daughter said, ‘Mum, if you’d been reading an ordinary book, rather than using the computer, you would have known the difference with that text’.  But novice that I am, I could have been fooled when I saw the corruption on the computer screen. 

Many people believe that Jesus lived. But do they also believe he was resurrected? If they accept the complete story, all of it, they won’t be fooled by corrupted words! Will you be among them?

 

Posted in Devotions and Reflections, Faith, Life Challenges | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment