Day 90

“A sensible person wins admiration, but a warped mind is despised.” (Proverbs 12:8 NLT)

I’m sorry but I’m really distracted. Just quote proverbs. Can’t go wrong with proverbs. Every verse a winner.

I don’t mean to be facetious. Sorry if that’s how I’m coming across.

I got into an exchange on Twitter on the subject of climate change. I’ll paraphrase the discussion…

Other: climate change is a government hoax.
Me: here is a link to research which proves that, according to their data, the global temperatures have gone up.
Other: where’s the data for over 50 years ago?
Me: what are you talking about?
Other: the world was covered with lava when it was first made. How hot is lava, wizard?
Me: I’m no wizard, neither are you and we’re not talking about 4 billion years ago, as you well know.
Other: aha! Just what I’d expect a sponge head to say!
Me: goodbye!
Other: you say you want to go, and yet you keep on replying!
Me: (I said nothing else)

The whole thing about talking to someone who may or may not be just out to provoke an argument leaves me feeling angry. What’s wrong with just having a normal conversation? Don’t people do that any more or are they all warped?

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Day 89

“Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the lord your God will bless you in everything you do.” (Deuteronomy 15:10 NLT)

Charity, my friends!

Do you give to charity? What do you get in return? A nice certificate? A thank you letter maybe! A sticker for your jumper which will fall off in a couple of hours?

Well Moses says there is something much better. God’s blessing is waiting for you. Elsewhere in Deuteronomy, Moses talks about giving one tenth of your income, but that’s not necessarily for charity. No amount is specified. It’s between you and God.

So, give generously!

Day 88

“The demons kept begging Jesus not to send them into the bottomless pit.” (Luke 8:31 NLT)

So there is something so terrible even the demons are scared of!

I wonder where/what this bottomless pit is? What is so awful about it?

If we think of it as literal, then the pit is not only a deep well, but bottomless. There’s no water in it. Nothing. Does it go all the way down to the centre of the earth? Does it go all the way through?!

There was such a pit in the Torchwood TV series. It was indeed a bottomless pit. Literally! But in real life, such things cannot exist.

So it must be a Metaphorical bottomless pit then. A metaphor for somewhere so horrible even demons don’t want to go there. They would rather die first. Which is what Jesus arranges in this chapter. He sends them into a herd of pigs, who then throw themselves into the lake and drown.

What is this place? I hope and pray that no one ever goes there. It is a dark place. Full of fear and hate. And a place from which there is no escape.

But there was a way to avoid it for the demons. Jesus gave them a way out.

Day 87

“Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots.” (Proverbs 12:3 NLT)

Humans have been worshipping God (or gods) for a long time. A very long time. Since the beginnings of history, according to archeological findings.

But non-believers have only been around for a short time. Now I am not saying that non-believers are wicked! Of course not.

But my point is this: people of faith have deep roots. Their story began a long time ago and has been retold and retold ever since.

This fits with the reading from Deuteronomy which was set for today which talks about the Israelites and their journey of faith (literal, as well as metaphorical). It also fits in with today’s reading from Luke where Jesus told the parable of the seed sower. Which seeds did best? The ones with the longest roots.

And these roots mean that for all the publicity which atheists, humanists and agnostics get from the media, people of faith have the deep roots to weather any storm. We will be around for eternity!

Day 86

“I tell you, her sins – and they are many – have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” (Luke 7:47)

There are several verses that tell this account of Jesus visiting the Pharisee’s house. The woman (who is not named, but assumed to be Mary Magdalene) anoints Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume.

Why does she do this? We’re not told directly, but we can suppose that it is down to her wanting forgiveness for her sins. She has brought a jar of perfume. Where from? Again, we’re not told, but it was the most expensive item she owned. And she poured it over Jesus’ feet.

Was the Pharisee looking for forgiveness? Quite possibly not. He reads like one of those pompous people who like to be seen rubbing shoulders with the influential. He wasn’t really interested in what Jesus had to say. He seems to be the sort who only wanted to be SEEN to be eating with the “right” sort of person. Imagine, then, his horror when the sinful woman arrived!

We are all, of course, sinners in one way or another. What can we do about it? Give all our money to charity? Campaign for better working conditions for people in the third world? Stand for parliament?

If you want to. Yeah, go for it.

But is that what Jesus wants, or what YOU want?

Day 85

“Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.” (Deuteronomy 6:8)

Now this verse jumped out at me for a strange reason. I read an interesting article recently about a number of minute scrolls believed to be 2000 years old. They were worn by devout Jews who took Moses’ words literally and wrote the commandments on small scrolls which they would wear on their arms and heads inside tiny leather pouches.

But, to me, if you take this verse in context, Moses is telling his followers, again (and again!) to keep God’s Commandments. Why is he so insistent? Because God has already told him he won’t be entering the promised land and they are almost at the end of their wonderings.

So, in my view, Moses is really REALLY anxious. He didn’t mean it to be taken literally, he was stressing the point. The modern equivalent is “I’ll write it on a Post It note and stick it to my forehead.”

Which is something I need to do a lot!

Day 84

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own.” (Luke 6:41)

It’s one of those rare moments when Jesus is telling a joke. Obviously you can’t have a log in your eye…

Or can you?

Can there be something so blatantly obvious that needs sorting right in front of you before you can go and sort out your friend’s minor problem?

Something like a metaphorical log? Something that’s stopping you being the person you could be? Something that is huge, easy to sort out?

That’s what Jesus is on about here. Sort yourself out first.

What’s the number one rule in first aid? What should you do when arriving at the scene? Deal with the patient? NO!!!! The first thing is to make sure that something in the scene will not endanger YOU. Check for danger. THEN sort out the patient.

Make sure your own problems are sorted BEFORE attempting to tackle your friend’s problems.