Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The time on the ground is............

Having just got back from a great weekend in Germany a thought come to my mind on the way there. As we were coming into land, the pilot uttered this immortal phrase " the time on the ground in Stuttgart is" It got me thinking was the time in the air over the airport different than that on the ground, did we go through some strange time portal when we stepped onto the tarmac?.
Time is important to us, we are governed by it for large chunks of our lives, when we work, go to bed, get up, meetings, whats on the tv, opening hours etc etc. Time governs our lives, we can't live without it and most of us never have enough of it. Do we really have a lack of time or is it bad management of our time, which leads to problems.

The other day i was talking to a friend of mine who is a good and honourable Christian, we got onto the subject of the Bible, church and God. He had not been to church for about 4 weeks, and had not read his bible in about 3 months, prayed or done any of (as he put it) the usual God stuff he would do.
As we chatted and played catch up, i said to him lets just pray before we part ways, so in the cafe we did just that we prayed, we spoke to our God and communed with him as we communed with each other. My friend asked how he was going to get back into reading his Bible again and doing "his God stuff" It came down to his priorities, that which is important and that which we make important. We loaded a bible app onto his phone, so that when he is commuting to work in the morning he can read or listen to the Bible, Since then he has got back to going to Church regularly, and has made in roads into managing his time better. It's something we all need to do, many of us spend hours a day on the inter web (and yes i see the irony in a web based blog) debating and thinking we are doing good, when actually it's a lot of bluster in a fair few cases, and people thinking of their own self importance. We spend hours discussing how things will change, how they should change, and actually do very little about implementing the change. Sometimes the best times we have are when we are run ragged, other times it's when we are still and just chilling with our friends or with God. But time is always a factor, we need to wake up and see that, time is always going to be, even after we have popped our clogs and moved onward. What happens NOW is important, you will never get back the time spent reading this blog, i will not get back the time i spent writing it. Time is important, it's up to us how we use use it, its up to us to prioritise how we use it. We can choose to prioritise for good or for bad, for benefit or for hurt. But in all of this we have to give God the time he truly deserves, and for some of us that will take up something more important than our time, it will take up our decisions on where God truly fits in to our lives. A few years ago a friend told me a great cliche, and like a lot of cliches it's got an element of truth to it. He said" Jesus is Lord of all or not Lord at all" We need to decide, who governs our time, is it God, or Eastenders? i'm not advocating becoming hermits, i'm not advocating throwing tv's from windows, unless you are a rock n roll star that is. What i'm driving at is a better use of our greatest resource, for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Forgiveness is not unconditional.

Thoughts often run through my head at a rate of speed, that i cannot keep up with them, now is no different. I'm a few weeks away from getting married, and there is a lot of stuff to do, mostly niggly little things. But in the last few weeks i have been looking at whether forgiveness is unconditional, whether it requires something from us, or whether it is just thrown around like a cheap coat. The Bible does not teach that forgiveness is unconditional, it requires something from us. Many times Jesus said " go and sin no more", the requirement of that is the sinning no more part. It sets a boundary up that we have to do something. Many people get confused with this because i believe Gods love is unconditional according to Romans 5 v 8, and a vast wealth  of other verses in the good book.  Forgiveness and love are not the same thing, They are different and as much as they can be entwined they do have different ideas behind them.

David and Bathsheba is a great case in point, God forgave David for his killing of Uriah and his adultery with Bathsheba. But the up shot was that the people he led would know of Davids indiscretion, it was not a get out of jail free card, and was never intended to be one. Many years ago a good friend of mine let me down majorly, i was devastated but told him i was going to forgive what he did and that i bore him no malice, but i no longer wanted to see him on a regular basis. The hurt he caused me was very deep, but over the years i have moved on and lived my life. The point is sometimes Christian believe that f we forgive we have to roll over and get trampled on again and again, this is not the case.

Forgiveness has conditions God calls us to turn from our wayward lives. Make Jesus Lord of our lives and walk the narrow path. Forgiveness takes a lot of work, especially for us as we hold onto things for dear life, especially if we have been wronged. It tends to be the hurt we hold onto not the good. There are things we have to do, we have to forgive, we have to accept forgiveness and we have to turn away, from those things that drag us down into sin and stupidity. Forgiveness helps us move forward, helps us grow. We put it into action and let it flow from us. But it's not unconditional, Gods love is unconditional, but forgiveness is not.

The day we stop telling people there is a cost to following Christ, the day we make the Gopsel so watered down it's no better than dirty dish water, is the day we pack up shop, close the doors of our churches and let the people do what they want. There is no problem with calling sin what it is sin. Jesus did it, we can do it. Forgiveness is a wonderful thing, lets not degrade it by making it appear to the masses that we can just carry on as we were, with no remit to change our ways.