‘Let us pray that we are on God’s side.

Prayer, for many people, seems to be a way of trying to get God to support what they want to happen. This, of course, assumes that we, with our very limited understanding of the bigger picture of life, really do understand what is best – even though experience constantly teaches us we don’t. During the American civil war President Abraham Lincoln met with a group of ministers for a prayer breakfast. At one point one of the ministers said: ‘Mr President, let us pray that God is on our side’. Lincoln, who was not a regular church goer but was nevertheless a man of deep, though unconventional faith, showed far greater insight. ‘No, gentlemen,’ he replied. ‘Let us pray that we are on God’s side.’
Prayer is not a tool by which we get God to do what we want but an invitation to open ourselves to being and doing what God wants.

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Flatlanders

The world today is divided between those who think that our three-dimensional universe is the sum total of reality, and those who believe there is something more beyond this realm of time and space. It reminds me of Edwin Abbott, who once wrote a famous story about a place called Flatland. It concerned a group of people who live in a two-dimensional world. They have length and width but not height – like living on a sheet of paper. They can move across it and along it, but have no concept of anything above or below it.
And so it is with us. We live in a three-dimensional world; but the fact that humankind has always had an intuitive sense that there is far more to ultimate reality than that, reminds us that God exists in infinite dimensions which are as mysterious to us as we might be to the Flatlanders.

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If it feels good…?

Aleister Crowley was an artist, novelist, and occultist who founded a new religion he called Thelema. He saw himself as a prophet who would guide humanity into an age of self-realization. Even the Beatles were numbered amongst his fans. The guiding rule of his religion was: ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law’ or, put more simply, ‘If it feels good, do it’. The Sixties took that principle to heart and many people today still do. But is ‘feeling good’ enough of a guiding principle for life? Many of us look back and realise what disasters that philosophy created for us. We need something more permanent and dependable as our guide for life, and there’s none better than that ancient wisdom of the Bible that says of God: ‘Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.’

Posted in Abundant life, God's Will, Life, Life's journey, Life's lessons, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Acting our way into feeling

For most of us, the way we act is determined by the way we feel. So, for example, if we don’t like somebody, we’ll probably think it impossible to treat them nicely. But one of the great insights of the Behaviourist School of Psychology is that we can act our way into feeling rather than feel our way into acting. C.S. Lewis wrote, ‘Do not waste your time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbour. Act as if you did. As soon as you do this, you find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less’
It requires effort to change our way of thinking, but, as Jesus said: ‘If you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.’

Posted in Actions, Acts of Kindness, Feeling | Leave a comment

Frozen dead-guys

In the town of Nederland, Colorado, they have a strange festival called: ‘The Frozen Dead Guy Festival.’ It commemorates Bredo Morstoel, a local inhabitant who had himself cryogenically frozen and arranged for his remains to be stored in his shed. The annual festival includes all kinds of events such as coffin races, a polar plunge and snow sculptures, then culminates in a tour of Mostoel’s shed to view his frozen remains.
We do a lot of funny things to try to deny the reality of death, but it is still, as it always has been, the one inescapable reality of life. Rather than denying its inevitability, or hoping for science to one-day work out how to bring my frozen body back to life, I much prefer to live with the assurance of Jesus’ promise when he said: ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.’

Posted in Death, Denial, Eternal life, Eternity, Hope | Leave a comment

”Them that honour me, I will honour.”

Back in the days of the American pioneers, a man stood outside his country store and talked to his partner about selling up. He said: ‘I wouldn’t mind if we could just pay our bills and have enough over to buy a copy of Blackstone’s Commentary on English Law.’ At that moment, a wagon pulled up and the driver said: ‘I’m taking my family out west, and I’m out of money. I’ve got a good barrel here I could sell for fifty cents.’ The store-keeper slipped his hand into his pocket and handed over his last fifty cents. It wasn’t until late that day that he actually looked in the barrel and found a book: it was Blackstone’s Commentary on English Law; and that storekeeper was Abraham Lincoln, who went on to become America’s most famous lawyer and president.
Was it chance, or was it God honouring a man who honoured Him?

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It’s only true wealth if it enriches your soul

John D. Rockerfeller at the age of fifty became the world’s first billionaire. But three years later he had what appears to be a nervous breakdown. His entire body became racked with pain, he lost all the hair on his head, he couldn’t sleep, he wouldn’t smile and nothing in life meant anything to him. His doctors predicted he would die within a year. Then one morning he awoke with a vague remembrance of a dream that had something to do with not being able to take any of his successes with him into the next world. So, he called his lawyers and announced that he wanted to channel his assets to hospitals, research, and mission work. The result was the Rockefeller foundation which made possible the discovery of penicillin, and cures for malaria, TB and diphtheria. He learned just in time that wealth is only true wealth if it enriches your soul.

Posted in accountability, Achievement, Judgement, Treasure, Treasure in Heaven, wealth | Leave a comment