Friday, December 27, 2013

Good New Year to You

Article by George Cross in 1967
In 1967 George Cross predicted that in the 21st Century Ice Hockey games would no longer have boards round them to prevent the puck going out of bounds.  Rather, he surmised that the game would be surrounded by a force field.

This is rather a prosaic use of the futuristic concept of force-fields. However, lasers are used for life changing surgery on eyes and to improve self esteem in plastic surgery. They are not used that often as the weapon so beloved in Sci Fi stories of old. You never know what the future may hold.

One thing that George Cross did not predict was that Ice Hockey would not be around.  There were certain things he assumed would remain constant.  But with the culture around us changing at a dizzying pace there is little that we can assume will remain constant.  This is unsettling.  However we can be confident that the Lord Jesus Christ will be here, the same Lord, Saviour and friend.  He will be with us through next year - setting boundaries like an Ice Hockey force field might do and providing healing and self esteem like surgical lasers do.

What will 2014 look like?  I pray that whatever futuristic tech comes into everyday use, you will have a good year.  To have a really good year means to "trust in the Lord and not lean on your own understanding".  Let's trust the Lord Jesus Christ for not just a happy new year but a good year and a good eternity.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Importance of Christmas

At Christmas, Jesus was born. At Christmas, God became a human being to rescue us. This human being who came to rescue us was born in a stable in Bethlehem and laid in a Manger, he is Jesus Christ. All of us need to receive Jesus Christ, to receive him in the same way as we receive the King or President of our country when they come to stay. We need to invite him in and give him the run of the price. Without Jesus Christ, we "perish," as John 3:16 makes plain "...that whosoever believes in him should not perish..." The word "perish" means just what it implies and the only way to avoid this is to receive God’s grace by faith—his grace displayed in Jesus.  Without him, we are "lost" a terrible thing to contemplate—though millions of people today never give it a thought. In Acts 4:12 we are told: "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved." Christmas is important for everyone, whether they know it yet or not.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Happiness, truth and reconciliation

An article that appeared in USA Today had this title: “Psychologists now know what makes you happy.” And the writer discovered a not-so-surprising fact, forgiveness is most strongly linked to happiness and the Bible closely links forgiveness with healing. "Forgiveness is the trait most strongly linked to happiness", said University of Michigan psychologist Christopher Peterson.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, in removing revenge from the agenda, brought, to a certain extent, forgiveness and healing to the country. There are reported to be still deep divisions in the country of South Africa.   However, the situation would have been far worse, most political commentators agree, if revenge had been left to take it's course. Truth is important, but so is reconciliation.


At a personal level forgiveness also has a profound effect.  The psychologists are right on this one. Happiness is closely linked to forgiveness.  The truth is that we need to forgive and be forgiven in order to live peaceable and to be reconciled to God. 



Monday, December 9, 2013

Where is Jesus' Throne?

It is often claimed that the Devil currently rules over this world without having a physical throne and an earthly physical presence.  The Devil or the Satan showed that at least he believed that he had power over the kingdoms of the earth when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-10)

However, after the victory over evil on the cross, Jesus says “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18–20).  Jesus from that point on has been reigning over the world.

Jesus’ throne is in heaven: “Thus says the Lord, ‘Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me?’” (Isaiah 66:1; Acts 7:49). Jesus occupies David’s throne in heaven (Acts 2:29–36). When Jesus ascended to heaven, he “sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus is ruling from heaven, thank God. He rules, from heaven, a kingdom on earth which is gradually asserting its authority.  It is a kingdom of justice, love and peace and it spreads through evangelism (Matthew 28:18-20 again).  Let us pray: 

"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come, 
your will be done, 
on earth as in heaven
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, 
the power and the glory are yours. 
Now and for ever."

Amen

United Traits of America (satirical video poem)

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