Born Again – Again!


This is a strange title I know, but it refers to something in my life that was and is important, especially at this time in history. I will try to explain that in due course.

This is about surrender, commitment and trust. These are the vital elements of our faith in the finished work on the Cross. We are saved by our faith in who Jesus is and what he accomplished on our behalf, but faith is not faith unless it involves trust, commitment and surrender.

For many, and in some ways for me, absolute surrender was challenging.

Continue reading

I Was a (Spiritual) Hoarder


When I started praying for cleansing and renewal, little did I realise what God would show me. Like a hoarder, I had been hanging onto things from my distant past as well as my present life.

Suddenly I saw myself as a house, the house in which I lived, and that house was crammed with garbage that attracted flies and rats. I had kept things that were no longer any use to me, thinking they were too precious to let go, but worse, I had stored up so many emotions, buried them under layers of trivia, thinking perhaps they would be useful to me eventually.

I also wondered if – like genuine hoarders – there was a sense of keeping things of my life around me to offer me some kind of protection against further hurt or disappointment.

Continue reading

We Are All Alike


Today I read a news report that totally sickened and disgusted me. Having said that, it’s not an unusual circumstance these days! However, the report affected me so badly that I cried out to the Lord, “what sort of person DOES that??

I’m not going to spell out in detail what this twisted individual did, because it’s not appropriate, apart from giving an illustration of what I mean.

Just take it from me, this person is the worst of the worst – selfish, psychotic, murderous, depraved, cruel – and if you really want to know the details you can look them up for yourself here. (However, the point of this blog post is not the actions of this person, as you will see as you read on.) Continue reading

Atonement or Ransom?


There’s nothing that brings out the theological nerd in me more than unpicking the true meaning of a word in scripture, and this one is a doozy! Atonement!

For a start, it’s not really a biblical word, but was coined by the bible translators for a Hebrew word for which they felt there was no near English equivalent.

Continue reading

Do You Have The Son?


eternal

God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 1 John 5:11

This is for everyone who saw the bible text above, thought “I know that one” but has never asked: what does that actually mean?

Let’s read on: “He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life”. 1 John 5:12

When I was a young churchgoer, that verse had me stumped. I knew that –

  1. I believed in God
  2. I read and believed the bible
  3. I went to church and enjoyed worship
  4. I prayed to God
  5. I wanted to be a good person
  6. I believed I would go to Heaven

BUT, when a friend showed me that verse, I realised I had NO comprehension of what it meant, in real terms, to “have the Son“. It worried me a lot that not having the Son meant that I didn’t “have life”. Would I therefore NOT go to Heaven when I died?

What’s The Difference?

On that same day my friend explained that I could meet and RECEIVE the Lord Jesus, and thus HAVE the Son instead of just knowing about him. That was news to me!

I had an external relationship with God, like the people of earth before Jesus died. I knew OF him but I didn’t KNOW him. He was WITH me, but not IN me.

On leaving his disciples, Jesus explained why he must go. It was in order to give them an even greater knowledge and experience of himself by the omnipresent Holy Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Father and the Son.

There was a reason for that: By leaving them he was actually improving their relationship with him, providing a much more intimate and powerful experience of himself than before.

Day-of-Pentecost

The Day of Pentecost

John 16:7
It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper [the Holy Spirit] will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.

And

John 14:16-18
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you do know Him, ***for He abides with you and will be in you***

I Missed the Main Point

Now you see that in my own life I was a bit like the disciples, knowing about Jesus but not being ONE with him. I knew about the Son but I did not HAVE the Son. I believed IN the Son but not ON the Son!

Somebody said, the difference is this: you might believe IN a train leaving your local station because you read the timetable, but until you go to the station, buy the ticket and commit to the journey you are not believing ON the train.

So I came to see that I needed to receive the Lord in Spirit, to move from the experience the disciples had on earth in the Gospels, to their experience in the book of Acts. ***for He abides WITH you and will be IN you***

Receiving the Lord

Bread-and-wineWhen Jesus knew he was about to die and leave behind his disciples who depended on him, he did something strange. He took the cup of wine on the Passover table and said “Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”  [Matt 26:27-28]

Of course every Jew knew that the blood of the ritual sacrifices purged them of sins, temporarily at least. However, they never DRANK that blood! It was an external cleansing only.

The blood was sprinkled, as in Exodus 24:8 So Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

But with both the wine and the bread used at the last supper, the Lord directed them to Drink, Eat!

The sacrifice of the NEW Covenant was not applied just to the outside but to the inside, to the heart, soul and spirit of man.

It was a sharing in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, a communion, a participation, a making-one in UNION with the Godly Sacrifice, so that it cleansed not just the outward appearance but the inward heart.

1 Cor 10:16
Is not the cup of blessing that we bless a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?

The disciples as they drank and ate were therefore knowingly participating IN the Son of God and WITH the Son of God. They were receiving the Son, being incorporated into him (IN-CORPorated means made into one body) and thus were also dying with the Lord and rising again to new life in him.

Eat My Flesh! Drink My Blood!

Earlier, Jesus had given the same message, but because his followers failed to understand it, many turned away on that day. Nonetheless we now see:

John 6:48-51
I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Let me quote from another website:

The people came looking for another miracle of bread. But Jesus offered them the kind of bread they were not looking for.

Then he said, “And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh” (John 6:51).

This sounded like cannibalism. His listeners balked. He pressed it even further:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” (John 6:53–55)

The “Jesus for King” campaign evaporated. The people walked away, shaking their heads. The crazy man wants us to eat his flesh! They completely misunderstood what Jesus was saying.  [Source]

Jesus explained that: “the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world”. John 6:33 and “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty”. John 6:35

It’s Not the Elements but What They Mean

I don’t want to get distracted into an argument about Holy Communion, so I will simply say that I’m not talking about real blood or real flesh here, and nor was Jesus at the Last Supper!

My point is this: unless we have entered into ‘communion’ with the Lord, that is, a sharing or participation with him in Spirit, then we do NOT “have eternal life”, for the life, as we see, is IN THE SON.

I do NOT mean attending a service of Holy Communion regularly!! I mean that we must receive the Lord in spirit as the disciples did at Pentecost, in order to HAVE the Son.

What IS eternal life?

When we read the words “eternal life” in the bible, do we think of it in terms of heaven? Or of going to be with the Lord? Or surviving the death experience so as to be “ever with the Lord”? These things are true, but it’s not what is intended by the eternal life that we receive when we have the Son.

We read that “As the Father has life in himself; so has he given to the Son to have life in himself.”  [John 5:26]

Clearly this does not just refer to human life, nor to life in Heaven because Jesus was on earth at the time. And, what does it mean that the Son can GIVE this life to those who believe in him?

Nicodemus [John 3:1-17] also did not understand. He said to Jesus, how is it possible to go back into your mother’s womb and be born again so as to have this spiritual life you speak of? For Jesus had told him that without being born again, being born a second time “in spirit”, a person could not see the Kingdom of God.

He said, “no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” [John 3:5-6]

So Jesus was offering to provide a NEW kind of life, a spirit-born life, which the bible calls “eternal life”.

There are actually three words for ‘life’ in the Greek New Testament. [See Here]

1. Bios, in Luke 8:14: “…anxieties and riches and pleasures of this life.” This Greek word refers to the life of the physical body and is where we get the word biology.

2. Psuche, in Matt. 16:25: “For whoever wants to save his soul-life shall lose it.” The Greek word here refers to the psychological life of the human soul, that is, the mind, emotion, and will. It is where we get the word psychology.

3. Zoe, in John 1:4: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” Here the Greek word refers to the uncreated, eternal life of God, the divine life uniquely possessed by God.

This word “life” in the bible is translated as ZOE.

Quote:
The tree of life in the Garden of Eden signifies the divine, uncreated, incorruptible, indestructible, eternal life of God—the zoe life. And in the Garden, God gave this tree of life to Adam as food. This was before Adam fell and sin entered the picture.

Although Adam was sinless, he possessed only the human life; he did not have the life of God. God’s intention was not just for Adam to be sinless, but even more, for Adam, representing all mankind, to take in and share His eternal life.  [Source]

tree_of_life

The Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden

We Are All Dead

So you see, although we are alive in a human sense, we are all DEAD because Adam robbed us of the ZOE life of God which is eternal, everlasting, powerful, healing, cleansing – and all things necessary to know and love God.

Then Jesus the Son of God, possessing this ZOE life within himself, called us to SHARE it (for he is the Tree of Life), to feed of him, partake of him, to be incorporated into him – in another similar metaphor – to become a branch that is part of the VINE of God. And dying, he enabled us to receive his ZOE life within ourselves just as he himself had life within himself.

The Vine and the Branches
John 15:1-7

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

john15_5

A vine is not separated into a trunk and individual branches. The vine IS the branches!

We are not joined into Christ like individual pieces stuck onto a stem, but we are PART of the living vine, we ARE the vine, just as we ARE the Body of Christ – living members.

Thus, Jesus is saying that by becoming part of himself and sharing the same sap, the lifegiving ZOE eternal life that is flowing constantly through him, we also have that same ‘sap’ flowing through ourselves – thus inevitably producing fruit.

Those who appear to be branches but in truth have no divine life in themselves, who HAVE NOT THE SON are dead branches, not genuinely part of the Vine. They do not bear fruit, but become lifeless and barren.

They may even appear to be good church-going, God-believing people who read the bible, but as Jesus warned:

“You pore over the Scriptures because you presume that by them you possess eternal life. These are the very words that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life.”  [John 5:39-40]

The life of the flesh is death.

Without the ZOE eternal life of God within us, we are dead while we still live! Death produces nothing but rotten fruit. Whereas the life of the Spirit of Jesus – when allowed to flow unhindered – produces good fruit in abundance, such as love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control [Galatians 5:22-23]

This is a natural process, just as fruit WILL appear on a healthy branch of any fruit tree.

(Just how much energy, sweat and toil did that apple go through to appear on your tree? None! It appeared as a natural product of the sap flowing through the apple tree!)

Come to Me

So to anyone who is struggling, to anyone who doesn’t KNOW the Lord Jesus in truth, to anyone who desires to have the Son so as to have eternal life: Look up, believe, ask for the “promise of the father” [Acts 1:4-5] and RECEIVE him in fullness and in reality, because this is the promise of NEW LIFE and LIFE IN ABUNDANCE without which nobody can truly know victory and blessing.

Romans 8 Life Through the Spirit
Therefore, there is now **no condemnation** for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. …

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.

***And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ***.  [read that one more time!!]

But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your MORTAL bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you….

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

[and] The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

The Empty Chalkboard


 

You lie awake, tossing and turning, night after night the same;
Blaming yourself, but more so, those who are really to blame:
What they said and did to you, how cruel, mean and heartless,
Leaving you angry, sad, despairing, frustrated and totally hopeless.

Listing the slights and injuries they committed without shame once,
Against the meek and vulnerable, who bore it with all patience,
How they cut you deep inside, a trauma that cannot be healed,
Brooding pain and anger about raw wounds you have concealed. Continue reading

Jesus Our Morning Star


Psalm 130 “My soul waits for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning.”

barkaiHere (left) we see illustrated a Temple Priest of the first century AD responding to the signal that “Day Has Dawned!” that is, “BARKAI”.

A specially appointed priest was sent to a high point [the so-called pinnacle of the Temple] to watch for the day’s dawning on the horizon.

When he did, he cried Barkai! See my full article on my website for more details

At that point, the Temple superintendent told the priest chosen by lot to go get the lamb for the morning sacrifice. This was the official start of the feast-day service.

However, it is worth remembering that, at Yom Kippur, the preparations have been underway long before that as far as the priests are concerned, from midnight or earlier. It is the public ceremonies that are heralded at the dawn of the day. Continue reading

HOW many years to build the Ark?


Noah-building-the-arkQuestion: How many years did Noah spend building the Ark? Hint: It wasn’t 120 years!

How do I know this? I read Genesis. I’m going to show you how to work out how long it actually took, according to the bible text, rather than Church tradition. Because everywhere, almost everyone repeats the myth that it took 120 years to build the Ark.

I don’t know who started that rumour, but I’m here to disprove it, biblically. And it’s EASY.

First go to Genesis 5:32 where the bible tells you Noah was 500 years old, and had three sons – Shem, Ham and Japheth. Now skip over to Gen 7:6 where it says that Noah was 600 years old when the Flood came. Already we are 20 years short of the target of 120 years. But that’s only the beginning. Continue reading

The Forgotten God?


pentecostwrite this more as a question than an answer. Something is not right! Let me just share my thoughts with you a little.

I have been reading the Acts of the Apostles, subsequent to the Gospels. After the death and resurrection of Jesus, obviously his followers were overjoyed to see him again, and possibly thought he would now stay on earth and set up the Kingdom.

Jesus told them that day would come, but not yet. Actually he was going back to heaven to be with the Father. BUT, he said “I will not leave you [like] orphans [comfortless]; I will come to you”. Then he described the coming of the Holy Spirit:

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you….I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you… and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. …These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

Returning – But How?

To read on, please click here to continue on my Birthpangs.org website.

Would The Real Antichrist Please Stand Up


HAVE WE GOT IT WRONG? Is the Antichrist really the False Prophet?

The Wrong Christ

Worshipping The Wrong Messiah

In these days of floods of teaching everywhere, we owe it to ourselves to stick very close to the bible in all that we believe. For that reason I’m going to correct an idea that most people (including myself) held to without really checking it out. That idea is about the person we call the Antichrist.

I am sure that I’ll find, when I check up on myself, the many articles, emails and other pieces of information I’ve shared where – along with everyone else – I identified the two main evil characters in Revelation as the Antichrist and the False Prophet.

Nothing wrong with that, you say. But is it biblical?

Up to recently it probably didn’t matter much, as it’s only a tag, a label. WE knew who we were talking about. NOW, it’s become more and more urgent to get all these things correct before we see them happening for real.

If you would like to read the full article, it is found on my website. Go there now by clicking on the link: “Would The Real Antichrist Please Stand Up” by Tricia Tillin of Banner Ministries UK (birthpangs.org)

That Old Dragon’s Waistcoat


Gems of the “King of Tyre” in Ezekiel 28.

Lucifer's Fall

Lucifer’s Fall

I have been working on research into the gemstones of the bible, and have found it very tough going. The resultant articles are going to be placed in due course on my website (www.birthpangs.org) but I have made a start by considering the gemstones mentioned in Ezekiel as being the covering of this mysterious character the “King of Tyre”.

I will not spend a lot of time discussing the various beliefs about this biblical person, except to say that the majority of evangelicals, including myself, believe this strange bible passage to be a reference to the archangel Lucifer before his fall.

The passage in question is here: “Lamentation for the King of Tyre”

Ezekiel 28:

Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
12 Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him,
‘Thus says the Lord God:
You were the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The sardius, topaz, and diamond,
Beryl, onyx, and jasper,
Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold.
The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes
Was prepared for you on the day you were created.
14 You were the anointed cherub who covers;
I established you;
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,
Till iniquity was found in you.
16 By the abundance of your trading
You became filled with violence within,
And you sinned;
Therefore I cast you as a profane thing
Out of the mountain of God;
And I destroyed you, O covering cherub,
From the midst of the fiery stones.

Before The Fall

We know little about Lucifer before the Fall, except hints from this passage, but it appears from Genesis and later comments throughout the bible that he was given a very important job of rulership in the Solar System. Later he presented himself as the sun-god, the centre of that solar system and the most important star within it. Such was his arrogance.

Our Solar System

Our Solar System

Rather like the later Jewish High Priest, Lucifer had a “covering of jewels” and therefore he was possibly a leader of worship in Heaven. We tend to associate the devil with music, and the passage mentions timbrels and pipes being prepared for him in Heaven – this fact could explain the power of certain types of music to enchant and to open the spirit to demonic power as now seen in the apostate churches.

Nine Gems – Nine Planets

But it is his role as ruler of the solar system that concerns us here, because it occurred to me that the NINE gems (instead of 12 in the priestly breastplate) might just have a relationship to the nine planets of the original solar system before the Fall.

But to prove it, I needed to know what those nine gems actually were, and what they looked like – no easy task, because hardly anybody knows! The Hebrew and Greek words for the gems are obscure, and the words have been badly translated in a number of cases, or have been educated guesses; also the gems have changed their names over the years so that – for instance – modern topaz is no longer anything like the ‘topazion’ of the bible.

I set myself the task of reading every commentary, old and new, that I could lay hands on and every scholarly book and article that has an opinion to offer. There was much confusion and disagreement amongst them, but some confirmations too where the writers could come into agreement.

Once having chosen the most likely candidate for each gem, without consulting a picture of the solar system (just to be fair to the study), I chose a photo of each gem as best I could in the circumstances, for photos of ancient gems are not abundant on the Internet. If possible I chose an ancient or Egyptian stone.

Then, having photos of the nine gems, I laid them out against the solar system, only to find an almost perfect match!! It went beyond even my best expectations.

I was left amazed at the handiwork of God and the prophetic word He had left us. [click to see the fullsize graphic]

Ezek 28 gems and solar systemOn the photo, as you can see, I have given the King James versions of the names alongside the Hebrew equivalents. Some bible versions use more up to date names for the stones, such as lapis lazuli for sapphire, now commonly accepted to be the true meaning of that word.

But Pluto isn’t a Planet!

There is another question mark to this research as you’ll see on the graphic: what about Pluto, which was demoted as a planet in 2006? Although some argue the point, it does seem Pluto is not a real contender for the ninth planet, so what becomes of my neat scheme?

As it happens, scientists agree that there must once have been a gas giant between Mars and Jupiter. Now there is just debris that we call the Asteroid Belt.

“The early solar system could have had five giant planets instead of four. By plopping an additional giant planet with a mass similar to that of Uranus or Neptune the simulation worked as planned. Jupiter jumped into place, the inner planets remained unharmed and the outer planets stayed behind.The possibility that the solar system had more than four giant planets initially, and ejected some, appears to be conceivable in view of the recent discovery of a large number of free-floating planets in interstellar space, indicating the planet ejection process could be a common occurrence.” [Source]

The Missing Planet

The Missing Planet

I could conjecture that a great disaster happened when Lucifer fell, disturbing God’s harmonious creation, but we do not know for sure. Another conjecture is based upon the words of Jesus after satan was defeated by the disciples that he commissioned. When they reported back that “even the demons are subject to us”, Jesus “said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven”.(Luke 10:18).

Barak is a Light Flash

Now it just so happens that the word for lightning is the SAME word (baraqeth) as the “missing gem”! So apart from the obvious and spiritual meaning of what Jesus said, there could be a reference to the baraqeth stone of Lucifer having fallen from his covering at the same time that the actual planet was smashed out of the heavens.

If we replace the stone in line we do see a much more sensible picture, even though I have chosen to show the baraqeth stone as “anthrax” or the “carbuncle” of some translations, that is, like a glowing coal in the fire.

However, Jesus referred to lightning in the sky, which has a brilliant greeny-white or purple tint. The word he used was translated into Greek as Barak (baraq, “lightning-flash”) and I’m well aware of the attempts to link Barak Obama to the satanic fall! I am not going to comment on that, except to say that the word for lightning-flash is indeed Barak and is linked to the fall of satan.

Is there, then, a hint in the bible that the missing gem and the missing planet were a flashing blue-white or purple-white, or perhaps a plasma-like light green?

This keys right into my comments on the supposed “emerald rainbow around the Throne” in Heaven as mentioned by John in Revelation. As I pointed out in my recent study (“A New Approach to Revelation“) the word that the King James translates as “emerald” is in fact the “smaragdos” in Greek which is much more likely to be the carbuncle, anthax or an unknown brilliant white-green gem than our modern emerald.

“The original meaning of the Greek word smaragdos is unknown. The word can be associated with the splendour that looks like the play of lightning among fresh grass. We propose that the Sanskrit word masdraka (not samaraka) was known during the Greek era… …. it is thought to be a word borrowed from the Sanskrit samaraka. Greek smaragdos became the mineral also known as iaspis. or possibly the ruby, or the plasma (‘the mother of emerald’). These have been described as having the greenness of a leaf. One Sanskrit myth describes smargados as the green bile of a god”. (Source, Indian Journal of History of Science, 1994)

But whatever the missing planet looked like, and whatever the baraqeth actually looked like (and we may never know) the fact remains that the nine planets DO have a remarkable and surely non-coincidental likeness to the gems mentioned in the King of Tyre passage.

Earth Stands Out as Special

One remaining thought: in the line-up of planets it seems obvious to any observer that the EARTH is strikingly different both in its colour and beauty. Its gem is the lapis lazuli, a

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli

gorgeous blue inlaid with sparkling gold! It is plain even to a casual glance that the Earth is something much more than just a random chunk of rock in a row of similar rocks. It shows God’s intervention and handiwork, set at exactly the right distance from the sun to sustain life without being burned up, or freezing over.

Since water is an essential requirement for all known life, the presence of water on Earth seems to be a key design feature. Earth orbits at just the right distance from the sun for temperatures to allow for liquid water. Earth’s atmospheric pressure is also just right for liquid water. All of these properties seem designed to sustain life.

What’s Going in YOUR Box?


Recently I’ve been thinking about the preparations we are all now making for the coming of the Lord. (At least, those of us who are aware of it!)

I liken it to this: a family know they are going to move house. Maybe not this week, nor next week, but soon and they have to make a start on the sorting and packing. They are down-sizing so not everything can be included, and the children have a LOT of toys and stuffed animals so something has to be sacrificed.

They hand the children a box each and say, “put in there ONLY what you absolutely need. You can only take the essentials. You’ll have to be brave and leave a lot of things behind!” This is like our preparations for the End. We have all – during this time of peace and prosperity – developed lives full of inessential clutter, and I don’t mean just material possessions. Actually, it’s the spiritual clutter that slows us down the most.

Now the time has come to sort through our lives and think “what do I actually NEED?”. We can allow ourselves plenty of  “things” while we sit at home in our large house, but when God begins to move we have to follow and then anything too big or cumbersome will just be a hindrance.

The Israelites found this out when they came from a settled way of life in Egypt into a dry wilderness. They were led by God who showed himself as a pillar of smoke by day and fire by night. Whenever the pillar moved on, the Israelites had to pack up and move. Imagine if you’d just got the tent the way you liked it, added a few shelves, arranged the food alphabetically in rows, plumped up the skins that you sat on, made a roaring fire and had just set the pan of water on it to have a nice hot drink (or whatever – excuse me but I have no idea what they’d do, so bear with me). As you lay back and sigh, contemplating a relaxing afternoon, you see through the tent door the pillar of smoke moving away. ARGHH. Now you have to hurry and pack everything up again!

How much better it would have been to be “always at the ready” as Jesus warned. He said we should be waiting for him like people about to go on a journey, ready-clothed, hat and coat on, bag slung round your shoulder, spare toothbrush in your pocket and you don’t need to rush down to the bank to draw out some cash. Don’t get too settled is my point. Travel light. If there’s anything in your “tent” that is going to cause a delay, get rid of it, that’s my advice.

Going back to the those boxes – what will you put in yours? If you don’t really need it, ditch it!