Tag Archives: Jesus

7 Days of Thankfulness – A reprise

I’m writing now in defiance. I received some deep prayer at church this evening and all kinds of ugly things surfaced. The things I said, I couldn’t even believe were falling off my lips. Memories of scowling, snarling, clawing in this irrational rage and fear at my spiritual mentor, who is precious to me: prayer warrior Jane, who hears my cringing, spluttering, shame-filled confessions time after time and reconciles me to God, with one arm holding me and the other hand free for me to squeeze…

The words ‘I bind you’ hitting my insides over and over, like a sledgehammer, wrenching cries out of me and leaving me clutching at the pew in terror…

The horrible sight of her cross pendant making me writhe as she drew close and stared intensely into my eyes with a bone-chilling, malicious smile, so that I had to push the cross away and cover it with my hand: “Get that thing away from me,” my voice cried… then my hands went for her throat… she and her assistant Debbie restrained me before I could reach it…

What had come over me? What was I thinking? How could I do that to another human being, let alone my precious Jane? How could I think that, or even feel that way, about the Cross that I so love? And yet, while I had seen and heard it all happen, I had only been observing my body and mind acting in spite of me. Nothing in me could misconstrue that sneer of perfect hatred in Jane as she glared at her soul’s enemy and commanded it to manifest itself through me, as being in any way addressed to my person. I could feel the thing thrashing in or around my belly, struggling up my torso. It was that thing which she was addressing. When we were done I felt like I’d been dragged backwards through a hedge. My knees were so weak that for a moment, I had difficulty standing up. It was a little like that wobbly, helpless feeling after a particularly violent episode of vomiting. Except that I hadn’t vomited, and I felt very, very clean.

Now I’m home. The freshmint ‘new penny’ feeling has faded and distressing intrusive images have been filling my head. So I’m writing in defiance. I’m going to be thankful to God in Christ Jesus tonight and I’m going to praise him even if it hurts.

I’m going to think of three things for which I’m going to thank God, and I’m not going to write them here. Please pray for me, whoever you are reading this. I hadn’t thought that this sort of thing happened to believers, either.

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A mediocre poem inspired by a reading of ‘The Cross of Christ’ by John Stott this morning.

O Christ, O God, sacrificed for me,
Can words capture all that you’re worth?
You made yourself nothing so I could be free,
God-man come down, sentenced from birth.

God-man come down, how fragile this life
That raw human will could destroy you?
O sacrifice lamb, you complied with the knife
That the power of the worlds reserved for you.

Statute of old for a world full of vice,
God-crimes are paid in blood sacrifice.
Their blood-debts ran rife, their hearts turned to dross,
So God gave his life for their crimes on his Cross.

O grave, silent Power that drives the earth,
O Master of woes, wails and sins!
The clamour of pomp but a flower-span’s worth,
You drove as a lamb from within.

O Almighty Power, O still small voice,
Quiet as the cosmos and deeper.
Invisible breath in the sails of choice,
O Sacrifice Lamb, be my Keeper.

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Why Jesus Aces Santa Claus

Santa Jesus
Santa isn’t real. Jesus is real.
Santa is an old man in a red suit with a herd of flying reindeer. Jesus is God made flesh.
Santa only visits once per year. Jesus promises to always be there.
Santa only gives you earthly, perishable things that don’t last. Jesus gives you eternal things and earthly things often come with them.
You can’t get gifts from Santa if you’ve been a bad boy or girl this year. Jesus’ gifts aren’t dependent on how many times you’ve stuffed up.
Santa cannot fix broken lives, he can only add a bit of sparkle to ‘okay’ lives. Jesus doesn’t just fix us, he brings us back from the dead.
Santa can’t forgive our sins, help us stop sinning or reconcile us to God. Jesus can, did and does.
Santa usually goes away after your parents die. If Jesus is with you, he will never leave you no matter what happens to your parents.
Santa has changed over the years (especially since a certain Coca Cola advert) and will be forgotten about one day. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Santa isn’t relevant to a lot of peoples and cultures in the world. Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords – and that covers every tribe, tongue and nation.
Of those who believe in Santa, Santa mysteriously seems to give more to the kids with rich parents than to the kids with poor parents. Jesus gives generously to all who trust in him, no matter how much their parents earn.

Adapted from John Piper’s podcast: Santa Claus: Harmless Fun or Christmas Disruption? (Episode 235) (https://soundcloud.com/askpastorjohn/santa-claus-harmless-fun-or). Some of the stuff on this list is my own or in my own wording, so check out the original!

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