December 10th – Messengers

Unexpected messages come in two sorts.  Nice ones and worrying ones.

Nothing is more exciting that a letter you don’t recognise in the post, maybe a padded envelope with something in it you hadn’t expected!

Nothing is more terrifying than a phone call in the middle of the night.  It brings terror in an instant!

Mary received a message that sounded like the first type but felt like the second type.

But she said “Yes” when God asked her to join in with his rescue plan.  She said “Yes” even though she was scared!

What are you scared of?  Tell God about it today.  Maybe he will send one of his messengers to you.

(btw God’s messengers are called Angels – that’s what the word means!)

December 9th – Promises

Promises are really important.  In our house when we say the word “Promise” it has meaning, it has teeth, and if we break that promise there are consequences, whoever promised!

Promises in the Bible are the same.  When God promises you can be SURE that He will deliver.  Sometimes people have to wait a long time.  The promise Matthew writes about in this verse today was made 600 years earlier.  That’s a long time to wait for a promise.

But God NEVER breaks his promises.  A virgin, a young woman, bearing a child who will be called “God is with us”.  Now that’s a promise that will be hard to keep!

December 8th – Science vs Religion?

Science vs Religion!  I get comments on that all the time. Being an engineer at heart I am a Scientist.  I love to understand how the world works and enjoy the amazing complexity of this wonderful universe.

But are Science and Religion at war?

My first response is that I don’t really  care about Religion.  I reckon religion is about what you do to try and make God like you and faith is about knowing that God loves you, no matter what you do.  I have faith,  I try not to be religious!

So,  Science vs Faith?  Not at all.  Isaac Newton was a great man of faith.  Darwin didn’t lose his faith after writing Of the Origin of the Species,  but after his daughter died! Science asks us to “believe”  that in order to describe how quantum mechanics works there must be an infinite number of universes where everything happens somewhere. I find that a lot harder to get my head around than Jesus – trust me!

Faith does not stand opposed to Science.  They ask different questions about the world, and we need both sets of answers!

But this I do believe.  This universe exists because God made it exist.  Human beings exists because God made them exist.  I exist because God wanted me to exist.  You exist for the same reason

We can argue about how,  but the important answer is “who”!

(For a view about how the Bible talks about creation try this post from earlier in the year!)

December 7th – Breaking through

As I write this the weather has been gloomy and misty all day.  This morning you couldn’t even see the Church from the Fire Station!  The day has been dark and gloomy.  The sun never managed to break through the clouds and mist and fog.

Even the Sun isn’t strong enough to burn away the gloom of today.  A massive fusion reactor in space cannot break through a few clouds, and it certainly can’t light up the dark places of our lives.  the places of hurt and guilt and sadness and rejection.

We need another source of light.  Real Light.  True Light!

 

December 6th – Something new

Walking along central avenue earlier in November I saw all the trees losing their leaves.  They looked barren, bare, dead.

But I stopped…  and looked.

On each branch were tiny lumps.  The beginning of next years leaves – already waiting – already prepared – just waiting for the right time to bud and burst and grow and bring new life to the tree.

Do you feel like life is like a dead tree – that your life has lost all its leaves.

God has buds of new growth planned already for you.  Look closely – you might just catch a glimpse of them.

All those years ago God had a bud that was planned to bring a new start for everyone.  It was nearly time!

December 5th – Light?

Light.  If this time of year is about anything it is about light.  Christmas Lights everywhere.  Lighting up the darkness.  My favourite time of day to be out at this time of year is after sunset but before the shops have shut.  With sparkling Christmas lights and shop displays glowing warmly the world looks enticing, exciting, special!

Light in a dark place.  That’s what we need.  The promise of LIGHT!

December 4th – We all get it wrong

We all get things wrong!  We all mess up.

The Bible makes it clear – “all have sinned, all have fallen short…” (Romans 3:23)

And the things we do wrong result in broken relationships, broken promises, broken families and broken lives.

What can we do?  It’s like an ink stain.  Like the marker pen a little child uses on a favourite tablecloth.  It will never come out!

We need a rescuer!  We need a Saviour!  Someone who can rescue us from darkness!

Isaiah was allowed to peer through the mists of time and had a glimpse of someone who would.  Someone who would take the punishment for us.

Who could it be?

December 3rd – God made you!

God made you!  

That’s a big claim.  Handcrafted by the creator of the universe!

You are special!  You are precious!  You are loved!  You are NOT a mistake!

But for some people this is a hard thing to accept, either because they don’t feel very special or because they have disabilities or health issues that make it hard to see themselves as “made in God’s image”.

A blog post is too short to answer all of those questions, but the truth that each of us is precious in God’s eyes is TRUE – always and for everyone.  That we live in an old and broken world and people suffer when it’s not their fault is ALSO true.

What we need is a rescue plan!

We need someone to put it all right!  To make everything new!

December 2nd – And it was Good!

When God made the world (oh let’s not get hung up with the hows and the wherefores – Christians Believe God created the world – Science tells us what the process looked like – anyone who thinks that this is about Science versus religion certainly doesn’t understand faith and usually has a very odd and unscientific view of science!”

So, rant over,  as I was saying – when God made the world it was Good!

Again and again that was said – so today – look for the good, look for the best, listen for the echoes of God’s voice in the world around you, look for His fingerprints in the good that you see.  Celebrate the good and today – don’t let the bad be all you see!

 

December 1st – It’s Exciting

December 1st – It’s a strange day to start an Advent Calendar really, because it’s nothing special.

It’s a Saturday this year (hooray).  All the Church excitement is tomorrow as we light our first candle on the Advent Crown.  The months are artificial – they are no longer “Moonths” – 28 day cycles to mark the phases of the moon – atomic clocks are much more accurate than moon, stars and planets.

Yet it causes huge excitement in me.  Every Advent I get a thrill as we get out the various objects and calendars that have become our family and church family tradition.  Something special is on the way.

Is that how Mary felt as her baby began to move and kick?
Is that how heaven felt as the Angel left to visit Mary?
Is that how God felt as he contemplated creation?

It’s exciting isn’t it!