Mandy's Musings

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Thinking about the future

I started reading a new book today '666 AND ALL THAT The Truth About The Future' by John Dickson and Greg Clarke. I'm only 2 chapters in, but have really appreciated the clarity with which it writes about an important topic - the content of the Christian hope.

Here's a teaser from Chapter 1 (pages 11-12)
Christian 'hope' is not wishful thinking. Nor is it the pie-in-the-sky longing some people feel about winning the lottery ... Throughout the Bible, hope is our eager expectation of God's promised future. It's the yearning, desiring, pressing forward part of Christian life - the part that makes everything here and now seem worthwhile.

It has been great to be reminded of where my focus is to be and how I need to ensure I am living in light of it. Looking forward to the rest.

If you are looking for a copy and in Sydney, it is available at the Cathedral bookstore at the moment for only $18.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Living Out Scripture meme

I've been tagged by Byron to post "that verse or story of scripture which is important to you, which you find yourself re-visiting time after time".

As Byron said on his post, there are so many passages that I could list. In some ways I have books for 'seasons' - 2 Corinthians is a book I come back to time and time again when I need to be reminded of the comfort that comes from knowing God, whereas Philippians is a book that seemed to chase me for years (in 1997 it seemed that everywhere I turned - uni, church, biblestudy or cell group we were studying it). There are Psalms I love and passages in Deuteronomy about out great God that changed my thinking and continue to challenge me.

But in the end the passage that I turn to time and time again to remind me of who I am, who God is and how I should live is Romans 5:1-11.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we [1] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith [2] into this grace in which we stand, and we [3] rejoice [4] in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

[1] 5:1 Some manuscripts let us
[2] 5:2 Some manuscripts omit by faith
[3] 5:2 Or let us; also verse 3
[4] 5:2 Or boast; also verses 3, 11

I'll tag Ali, Ros, BW and Andrew

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Kingdom of God in Luke's gospel

Any of you greek guru's out there up for giving me a hand on Luke 17:21.

This originally came up while in a Simply Christianity group with a few of people last school term. Someone in the group mentioned that they had read that Jesus had said that the Kingdom of God was 'within' and had taken it to mean that everybody had the kingdom inside of them, it was only a matter or realisation.

The problem was that until last week the person couldn't tell us where it came from, and as he'd described it I didn't recognise it as Luke 17:21, which in the greek is:
ουδε ερουσιν ιδου ωδε η εκει ιδου γαρ η βασιλεια του θεου εντος υμων εστιν

Variously translated:
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. KJV

nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you*." (*Or within you, or within your grasp) ESV

Now as far as I can work out Jesus is drawing a contrast here for the pharisees who are looking for the Kingdom of God in external signs. But he can not saying that the Kingdom is within or internal to the pharisees, because he has described the pharisees in Luke 11 and 16 as having wicked and evil hearts.

What do you think? Can you help me out in my ongoing discussion with our friend?

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Random acts of kindness

I've had a bit of a blah week but have been very thankful to God for the way that he has used other Christian brothers and sisters to encourage me.

From the generosity of a house guest in stocking the fridge full of gluten free food before she left, including a number of home cooked meals in the freezer and some home made icecream to passing conversations and lovely emails from people encouraging me to keep up the good work at The Bible Talks.

It is a great testimony to our gracious Father's love and care for his people and a reminder of the way that he works in and through us to achieve his purposes. I've seen God's love in action as his people having lovingly and self-sacrificially loved me.

It's 1 John 4:7-12 in action:
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

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