Jesus’ disciples were worried about the future. They wanted to know what to look for as a sign that He was on His way back.
“For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet” [see Matt 24:5-6].
Wars and rumours of wars… We don’t have to watch too much TV to see graphic footage of wars in the Middle East and Africa. Nor to hear rumours of wars between the US and Iran. Are they signs of the approaching end?
Well, Jesus said, “Not yet.” But that doesn’t stop apocalyptic cults and doomsday preppers from preparing as if the end was tomorrow. And it doesn’t stop many Christians from being fearful of the end.
But the truth is, these wars are far away from most of us. But there is a war much closer to home; one we tend not to give much thought to; one that should concern us much more than armed conflict in far-flung corners of the globe.
Have you ever noticed that the Bible is book-ended by marriage? Gen 2 tells us about the first marriage in history, between Adam and Eve; “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” [Gen 2:24].
Rev 21 tells us about a bride adorned for her husband; “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God” [Rev 21:9-10, see also 21:1-2].
And in between, we see all manner of marriages; good ones and bad ones, and even surprising ones, like Hosea’s marriage to the prostitute Gomer [see Hos 1-3].
Marriage is a major theme of the Bible, but it is my guess that few people understand why marriage is so important. Continue reading
It’s a beautiful thing to watch your children grow up – and for Mel and I, to watch our grandchildren grow up. They learn so much, especially in the first 4 or 5 years of life.
They learn to recognise and respond to mum and dad; to crawl, then walk; to talk; to feed themselves, dress themselves, to read and write.
It seems only yesterday that we were caring for our infant children, and now they are all raising beautiful children of their own. We are justifiably proud of them.
How quickly it flashes past; how quickly they grow. One of the grandchildren has reached the stage where he doesn’t want to sleep in the cot anymore. He wants to sleep in ‘the big boy bed.’ And he no longer likes the highchair at mealtimes. He reckons he is grown up enough now for the ‘big boy chair.’
It seems he is in a rush to grow up. Pity so few of us adults feel the same way.
Have you ever noticed that the more you learn, the more you realise how little you know? I find these thoughts, which may appear contradictory on the surface, fascinating and honest.
A great example, in the Christian life, is the growing awareness of the depths of our sin as we travel further down to path of sanctification. As we grow in holiness, by the working of the Holy Spirit within us, we see ever more clearly how unlike God we are in that respect. Continue reading