Friday, 24 March 2017

The equilibrium of suffering

Whether it is the wound of abuse or the disappointment of believing for but not yet receiving a physical healing, suffering puts humanity on a level playing field and points us to the one pain that is common to us all—our need for God to break into our lives and make the wrong things right. At its most basic level, every pain we experience reveals a longing within us to encounter God’s beauty, or the essence of who He is.
SHELLEY HUNDLEY


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

7 things I have learnt about J.C. Ryle


I just finished reading J C Ryle 'Prepared to Stand Alone' by Iain H Murray. This is first biography I have read on  J C Ryle. I enjoyed reading J C Ryle's book 'Holiness' so I thought I should read a bit more about the man himself. Here are seven things I took away from the book.


1. When Ryle was young, his father owned a bank which eventually collapsed and made the family bankrupt leading to some hardship. In his own words,"the immediate consequences were bitter and painful in the extreme, and humiliating to the utmost degree. The creditors naturally, rightly and justly, seized everything and we children were left with nothing but our own personal property and our clothes"

2. Ryle became a clergyman more out of forced circumstances than a deliberate choice. He says, "I could not see nothing whatever before me but to become a clergyman because that brought me in some income at once..." Elsewhere, Ryle says, "I became a clergyman because I felt shut in up to it, and saw no other course of life open to me". It seems God closed every other door in order to make it clear that this is only one open for him. God sometimes makes it easier for us like us like that!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Calling all sinners!

The gate of Mercy is opened, and over the door it is written, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Between that word “save” and the next word “sinners,” there is no adjective. It does not say, “penitent sinners,” “awakened sinners,” “sensible sinners,” “grieving sinners,” or “alarmed sinners.” No, it only says, “sinners.” And I know this, that when I come, I come to Christ today . . . I dare not come as a conscious sinner or an awakened sinner, but I have to come still as a sinner with nothing in my hands.
CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON

Friday, 24 February 2017

Union with Christ

Busy Christians in an iPhone age can look at Christ as though he were the battery charger and we are the smartphone. We ‘plug into’ Jesus during a quiet time, then go out and live on that energy until our spiritual batteries run dry— then it’s back to the next quiet time, conference, or retreat. But this is not a metaphor the Bible invites us to use when it speaks of our union in Christ. He is the vine; we are the branches
JONI EARECKSON TADA

Thursday, 23 February 2017

The weight of the Law

How long beneath the Law I lay
In bondage and distress
I toiled the precept to obey,
But toiled without success

WILLIAM COWPER

(Source: Ol­ney Hymns)

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Slipping

It’s scary when you’re slipping
And there’s no one there to catch you
In fact they catch a glimpse of you
And start to welcome you back
And with a heart caught between
Two situations
You begin to take in their semi-compliments
Like ‘you’re finally back to being you’
‘Remember that time when you were getting a bit dry
But now we’re all cool’
Cool is the last thing you feel

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

What is your Bethel?

The house of Joseph also went up against Bethel, and the Lord was with them. And the house of Joseph scouted out Bethel. (Now the name of the city was formerly Luz.) And the spies saw a man coming out of the city, and they said to him, “Please show us the way into the city, and we will deal kindly with you.” And he showed them the way into the city. And they struck the city with the edge of the sword, but they let the man and all his family go. And the man went to the land of the Hittites and built a city and called its name Luz. That is its name to this day.
JUDGES 1:22-25 

I have been thinking about success recently. What is success? How does it look like? That is partly because of change in personal circumstances. I am now just moved into this new pastoral role, a radical departure from my previous economic role in government. The other reason is that we have been hearing a lot of success from national leaders. Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to make a success of Brexit. What does that really mean? President Donald Trump wants to make America great again. How do we measure that?