Category: watching the news


regime change

What do you think about regime change?  Personally, I’m all for it.

But then again, it’s difficult to pray, “your kingdom come, your will be done” without some commitment to seeing things change.  Only God’s kingdom doesn’t come with armed uprising or intervention.  “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms,” Ephesians 6:12.

So whenever we pray in Jesus’ name, proclaim His truth, make a righteous choice in our lives, love the poor, bless our enemies, give our time, money and energy to His cause, we are furthering the growth of His kingdom.  And in the end, that will bring regime change.  As Daniel explained to Nebuchadnezzar, “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever,”  Daniel 2:44.

Regime change.  And some.  Are you up for that?

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Tucked away near the back of the paper today was a report on the effect of marriage on our health.  Apparently, two members of Cardiff University’s School of Medicine have assessed the evidence and citing a study involving millions of people over a number of years from seven European countries, concluded that, “medically speaking, the group with the greatest longevity are the marrieds.”

So marriage is good for you.

It boosts physical health in men and mental well-being in women.  And the longer the marriage lasts, the greater the benefit all round.  In general, married couples enjoy mortality rates 10-15% below the population as a whole.  And this improves with longer marriages.

I wonder if that’s why God thought that, “It is not good for the man to be alone.”  Maybe He knew something…

a royal wedding

Prince William and Kate Middleton We all love a royal wedding don’t we?  And now we have another one to look forward to as Prince William and Kate Middleton announce their plans to marry.

Of course we’re hearing about how “very much in love” the couple are, and the romance of a commoner becoming queen is inescapable.  I genuinely hope it works out well for them. 

But no bride, royal or otherwise, can compare to the church – the Bride of Christ.

No romance can compare with God’s love for His people, with His passionate pursuit of her.  No preparation can compare with ours and no bride will be as pure as the church on the day she is united with Christ.  No story of a rise to royalty compares to ours.  No dowry price is as high as the price paid by Jesus.  No king is greater than Him.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish,” Ephesians 5:25-27.

God’s love for the church is immense, immeasurable.  It has stood through the ages and will stand in eternity.  If we love what God loves, we must love the church.  I want to encourage you to let your life reflect God’s love for the church.  Let your actions and your words honour her.  Do all you can to prepare her for that day.  Be holy.  Be without blemish.  Be passionate for the church and for Jesus.  And be ready, because He is returning for His bride.

 

church is a team sport

I love the Ryder Cup.  It’s a unique sporting event when the top players from Europe and The United States, in what is almost always an individual sport, team up to play together for nothing more than pride.  The atmosphere is amazing – even on a rain-soaked day like today. 

Now I am slightly biased of course.  I love sport generally and I play golf specifically, so this sort of thing is my bag to begin with – but the dynamic of this event is unusual.  All sports have their superstars and every team has its outstanding individuals but team sports are always about the team.  A collection of brilliant individuals doesn’t make a brilliant team – and there’s a mentality about team play that can lift individuals.  A good team is more than the sum of its parts. 

Are you a team player?

I ask because church is a team sport.  Church is a body and each part matters.  As Paul says, “The body is not made up of one part but of many,” (1 Corinthians 12:14).  You can’t opt out and you can’t do without other members.

And if we don’t have a team mentality the church will not function  as it should.  Paul urges us to, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others,” (Philippians 2:3-4).  Because that’s what team players do.

Now that sometimes comes at a cost.  Sometimes great players have to sit on the sidelines.  Sometimes they take a knock for the team.  But they do it for the team.

The church is God’s team, put together to accomplish His purposes.  And whilst our role as an individual is important, it is not the most important thing.  It is most important that the team performs well so that God is honoured and His kingdom is extended.

That’s a tension that the world’s greatest golfers will have to live with over the next two days.

And if you want to be a truly great player, that’s a tension you will have to live with too.

prayer and the police

With grateful thanks to Eric Gaudion I have just read this article about the effect of prayer on crime and serious road accidents in Barnstaple.

The statistics are amazing and street pastors get a mention too.  Always a bonus.  I remember hearing a similar story told by a police representative from Manchester at a Caring For Ex-Offenders Conference.  It really impacted me.  Strange really.  All they are saying is that prayer works.

Challenging though, isn’t it?

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