Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Mike's Psalm 10: The Simplified Version

Why are you hiding, so far away, God?
Some people: brag about evil desires, praise greed, curse YHWH,
oppress the poor, pour scorn on their opponents.
These people - Evil!

They are too proud to seek God.
They reckon God is dead.
The irony is: they are successful!! (so far, that is!)

Still sucks though!

Them - they are like lions the way they pounce on their victims.
It's survival of the fittest for those guys.
The helpless and innocent suffer 'cause of them.

They don't see though what's coming for them though, do they God?
Your noting it down.
You, after all, are with orphans, widows, and the weak.

So, you'll bring justice. It's coming.

And your kingdom will come, as you taught us to pray

On earth,

as it is in heaven.

Chrissy's Day ?: Biology vs Promises

Okay. Here goes.

Romans 9: 1-17

Romans 9 starts off by with Paul saying he is gutted that the Jews have gone so wrong with God. But thats not God's fault, he says. God's people are defined by his promise not biology. God demonstrated this when he turned Esau and Jacob's birthright's upside down.

But we shouldn't deduce that God is unfair (I admit, that was my first reaction when I read this). God is mercy and compassion - he created it and defines it.


Okay, finally after a long time of having this sitting in the back of my mind. Ignoring it cause I didn't understand. I think I'm getting a little clarity on some of it. Woop woop!

I think Paul is explaining that God's been doing some tricky stuff so that people (Jews in particular) can't claim that they have saved themselves. He's flipping things around and standing stuff on it's head. God's trying to say - It's not about biology or anything else that you might to - it's about me!

The example he gives is Jacob and Esau. God switched their birthrights. The reason he did this was to show that his purpose is based on his decisions not on anything that people do. As verse 11 says "not because of works but because of him who calls".

Another reason for switching the birthrights is to forshadow that the 'younger kid' would get the goods from God. That's us Gentiles! God decided to let us in the door and bless us.

It's helpful to look forward to chapter 11 to help understand this. The Message version talks about the Jews walking out the door and the Gentiles walking in:

11-12 The next question is, "Are they down for the count? Are they out of this for good?" And the answer is a clear-cut No. Ironically when they walked out, they left the door open and the outsiders walked in. But the next thing you know, the Jews were starting to wonder if perhaps they had walked out on a good thing. Now, if their leaving triggered this worldwide coming of non-Jewish outsiders to God's kingdom, just imagine the effect of their coming back! What a homecoming!
So yeah, I'm beginning to understand a bit more of this :) Yay!


Heavenly Father,

Thank you for helping me to understand this passage.
Thank you for the enlightenment you've given me today.

Please continue to whisper gently in my ear,
Please keep guiding me and teaching me.

I want to be your servant, your vessel.


Monday, 29 March 2010

Mike's Day ?: Psalm 9

Paraphrase and summary of Psalm 9:

I will sing and praise God,
my enemies will turn back because of you - you will destroy them.

The LORD reigns - he governs and judges justly, and never forakes those who seek after him
Sing praise to him, because he does not ignore the cry of the afflicted.

O LORD see how my enemies persecute me! Rescue me! that I may declare your praise
The nations dig their own graves.

The LORD is known for justice, the wicked entrap themselves
Wicked nations will perish
But The needy or afflicted will not be forgotten.

Arise O LORD - let the nations know they are but men.

(A lovely psalm, reminding us of God's justice and mercy)

Day ?: Romans 9

I got stuck on Romans 9. It was too hard so I gave up on the whole project. Slack, lazy, selfish.

So Romans 9. It's a really confusing passage. I can vaguely follow it until it starts talking about election. As a stand alone chapter it just doesn't make sense. But put together with the next few chapters Paul's argument starts to come together. So I've been reading chapters 9-11, struggling through (but mostly struggling with myself). I'll try to write something tomorrow.


Heavenly father,

I'm struggling.
I'm struggling with this passage.
I'm struggling with life at the moment.

Holy Spirit, hear my groans, translate them into God-speak and take them to our Lord.

Please help me to understand this passage of Romans.
Discipline me. Make me sit down and do some study tomorrow.

I want to be your servant, your vessel.


Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Chrissy's Day 28: Love, love, love

Reflection on Romans 8: 28-39

I was a bit scared of this passage. It's such a big important one. Full of famous lines and verses.

Strangely I sometimes find that the most familiar verses are the most unfamiliar... I hear them so often that they lose their meaning and I struggle to understand them.

So I'm just going to look at my summary from yesterday and reflect on that.

To me, this passage is all about love.

God didn't just let his son die. He sent his son to die. For us. Thats love.

And if he loved us enough to do that, then he'll surely fight off any baddies that come our way. Baddies like persecution, famine, demons, the future and well, anything you can think of really.

Jesus is interceding for us! Intercede means 'to plead on another's behalf'. How cool is that. I have this picture of Jesus sitting at the right hand of God the Father, whispering in his ear "oh, this one's a keeper Dad, go easy, forgive her, let her share in your glory".

Perhaps a little irreverent...

I have to admit I am steering clear of all the election/predestination/chosen ones stuff. That scares me a little. I don't know enough about it and frankly don't really want to. The idea that God has chosen just a few people doesn't sit well with me so I'd rather be ignorant. I know that if I start delving in to that area my little brain might start exploding. Lazy? Perhaps. Probably.


Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your love.
Thank you for expressing it in such an amazing way!
Please keep fighting off the baddies for me. Please stick by me even when I invite the baddies in to my life.

Show me today how I can be more faithful to you and carry out the tasks you'd have me do.

I want to be your servant, your vessel.



Monday, 15 March 2010

Chrissy's Day 27: Nothing can separate us from the love of God

Summary of Romans 8:28-29

We can feel certain that God will work our lives into something good.

God already knew us, and he designed us to become like Jesus. And then he called us by name, he made us right with himself and will complete the work begun in us and bring us in to his glory.

If God did all this for us - he even sent his own son to die! - then how can we lose? Who would argue with us? Jesus died and rose again for us, and he is now interceding for us.

So can anything separate us from the love of God? Trouble? Persecution? Famine? Suffering etc?

No, nothing. Nothing spiritual or physical. Not even life or death. Not even time.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God.


Dear God,
Thank you that there is nothing that can make you stop loving me.
You are so faithful! I want to be faithful too.
Please help me to be faithful this week. Especially with this lenten project.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Chrissy's Day 23: Preggo!

Summary of Romans 8:18-27

When I think about the glory that is to come, I don't even bother worrying about the sufferings we're facing now. That glory is so great, that every part of nature is eagerly awaiting it. Waiting for the time when we will be fully revealed as God's children.

Everything on earth was cursed by God, and so creation too waits for the time when it will be free from death and decay along with God's children.

It's been like childbirth, the earth has been groaning with 'labour pains'. And we groan too, waiting for our birth as God's adopted children.

We are saved by hope. (We must understand that we can't hope for something we already have, it has to be for something we don't yet have.) And we wait patiently in hope.

The Holy Spirit helps us when we are weak. We don't know what to pray for, and so the Holy Spirit does it for us. When words cannot express things properly, the Holy Spirit groans for us and God understands.


Having given birth in the not too distant past, I feel drawn to this passage. I should be able to relate.

Actually, I'm remembering back to when I was pregnant... I remember reading this passage and talking to Mike about it. I thought "how strange that a man (Paul) would think of childbirth as a way to describe something. And a single man at that." It made me wonder about how different his culture was from ours. Perhaps he understood labour more than most single lads over here do? Perhaps he saw is mother/sister/aunty/neighbour in labour? Who knows.


I'm loving the old Message version again. Verses 22-25:

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We're also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
Loving that idea of diminishing. Nope, I know that the longer you wait for your baby to be born the bigger that bump gets and the greater your desire to meet your wee one and the more excited you get.

I'm not sure if I really feel that way about our future deliverance. To be honest, I think the longer I wait the more blase I get. That takes me back to what I was saying at the beginning of Lent. I don't think I really get it.


Dear Lord,

I want to be excited about the future glory.
I want to expectantly await the time when I fully become your adopted daughter.

Please help me to understand.

I want to be your servant, your vessel.



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