The word of the Lord

I was reading the book of first Samuel this morning and was struck by this verse: “Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him.” 1 Samuel 3 v 7 KJV If you’re not familiar with the story, Samuel was a young boy who had been conceived after his barren mother had prayed at the temple. After he had been weaned, his mother had given the boy back to God to serve him in the temple.

I love the way God is sometimes described as The Word. The first verse of the book of John especially uses this description to associate Jesus as being The Word of God: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1 v 1 KJV

I relate this to the first chapter in Genesis where God said… And then there was. Without God’s words, nothing around us would exist. Without God’s words, we would not have life. Without The Word of God, without Jesus, we would not be able to know God, to talk to him, to hear him.

Until this point in Samuel’s life, the word of the Lord had not been revealed to him… Which seems really important to me. Samuel had been living in God’s temple, had been sleeping next to the Ark of the Covenant. It seems inconceivable that Samuel did not know of God, did not know who he was. Samuel must have hear about God from the priest Eli, must have heard and maybe even read some of the books of the law. Yet the word of the Lord had not been revealed to him…

Reading on, we see that after Samuel had been told to tell the Lord that he was listening, the Lord – the Word of the Lord – came and stood next to him. The Lord spoke and Samuel listened and finally we read “And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh: for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord.” 1 Samuel 3 v 21 KJV

It seems to me that it is not enough to know about God, not enough to read his word and hear about him. If we don’t have a relationship with God where we are able to talk, where we are listening and waiting for him to speak, then we do not know him.

God is speaking to us, to me, to you. Will you take time to listen, to hear what he has to say?

The Woman and the Dragon

Stumbled across an interesting article online this week: A great sign said to appear in the heavens as the year of Mercy closes.

Apparently for several months an astronomical event has been taking place that shares a striking similarity to the prophecy in the first part of Revelation 12.

“And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered.”

Right now, Jupiter (considered to be a symbol for a king) is visible within the constellation Virgo – within the womb of the woman… By the time Jupiter leaves the “womb” of Virgo, the king planet will have been visible there for nine and a half months… On 23 September 2017, Jupiter will be “born” while the moon is visible under her feet and the sun rises behind the constellation Virgo… The constellation Leo is always at the head of Virgo, but only has nine stars. However, on the 23 September 2017, Mercury, Venus and Mars will also be visible in the constellation of Leo taking the number of “stars” to 12…

The article refers to an earlier post on the Catholic site: The Remnant where Patrick Archbold wrote: Apocalypse Now? Another Great Sign Rises in the Heavens. (I couldn’t load this article on my phone, but was able to view it on a computer)

Both articles are absolutely fascinating and it is well worth comparing the projected locations of the planets with the constellations of Virgo and Leo.

On the Heavens Above site you can click on Planets, search for Jupiter and then type a date in to see the location in the past or future. Indeed, on September 23, 2017, the planets will align as forecasted and if you check the position of the sun and moon, they will also align.

The articles make reference to a term I hadn’t heard of: Retrograde Motion is an interesting one and the link I’ve included gives a useful explanation for it.

Reading through Revelation 12 it is almost impossible to know exactly what is being foretold. At times it reads like it is describing events that have already happened, like the birth of Jesus and the fleeing of Mary and Joseph to Egypt.

Some of the symbolism may point to the attempts of many to destroy the Jews and also the Church. Some seems to allude to a war between the angels which Jesus also prophesied. As with other prophecies in Revelation, there may be multiple layers of meaning and all of these events may be related.

I can’t say for sure that this alignment of stars and planets directly relates to Revelation 12, but it has my attention. What is your take on it?

Power

Last weekend the Edinburgh Book Festival came to Cumbernauld with the Reimagination event. They had a pop up library and book shop and cinema and a whole bunch of book related and Cumbernauld focused events.

They also had a dark tent. A blacked out tent with light sensitive boards that you could draw on with tiny torches. We were a bit hesitant, but curiosity won out and we stepped forward. We had to don UV sunglasses, were given a short demo and then left to play.

As the torches shone on the boards, the boards soaked up the light and immediately started to release it. It reminded me initially of Slow Glass which was “invented” in a series of short stories by Bob Shaw. Then I just started to enjoy sketching!

It’s stuck with me though, this idea of light slowly being released. Light… Energy… A form of power.

There are several stories of power remaining in the bones of holy men or in clothing they’ve worn.

“Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.” 2 Kings 13:21 NIV

“Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.” Acts 19:11-12 (NKJV)

“She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. ‘Who touched me?’ Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.’ But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.'” Luke 8:44-46 (NIV)

When I read passages like this, I wonder how much I am missing out on. What would it take for me to be so full of God’s power that people could be healed by just touching my clothes?

I imagine that a person who remains close to God, who is filled with God’s Holy Spirit, who is obedient to God and receives his power from on high becomes like a container filled with that power. A container that is not meant to keep it locked up, but is meant to leak, to gradually give that power away – to help others, to heal, to cast out demons, to set people free from sin and bondage.

Oh that I and the entire church of God would seek to be such people of power!

Burying my head in the sand

Was sharing yesterday’s blog post on Twitter when a Channel 4 video started playing.

I probably should have scrolled on, but was left like a deer watching approaching headlights.

Manchester.

22 dead.

“Terror” attack.

Despite having written a novel describing in some detail the ultimate “terrorist” attack on the UK, I find myself reluctant to share Fallen Warriors with that angle.

If the purpose of terrorism is to cause terror, then in that cause Channel 4 News, the BBC, Sky and undoubtedly most news organisations do the most to cause terror.

I replied to @Channel4News: “A horrific event. What evidence is there this may have been a “terrorist” attack?”

Perhaps I should have done more research before tweeting, but terrorism is a trigger word for me. I feel strongly that the media encourage terrorism through their reporting of it.

Someone responded, accusing me of burying my head in the sand.

I’ll ignore the insults and libel that followed that initial response and instead ask: is it healthy to fill our minds with fear all day, every day?

George Orwell warned of a world where the government kept us in perpetual war in 1984. A world where the population was kept in control through fear.

We have created a world where the smallest atrocity is beamed into our faces 24 hours a day whenever we pull out our smartphone.

In stark contrast to the media’s message is the message of Jesus: “Perfect love casts out fear.”

When I focus on the words of Jesus, on God’s word, I receive hope.

Hope for a future free of terror, a world free from fear. Now that is a message Channel 4 should proclaim!

All of my…

As I start writing this post, I’ve yet to write up a formal plan for how I’m going to complete this goal of writing 100 words a day for 100 days.

I feel it will be important to set milestones and at each milestone, review where I’m at. This will give me a shorter timeframe to focus on which will make it easier to keep going. Rather than focusing on the big, impossible 100 day target, I just need to focus on the smaller goal.

25 days may be a good milestone. Breaks the target into four manageable chunks.

Also, I’m already starting to think in terms of weeks. I’m considering making every Friday Flash Fiction Friday. Every Sunday I plan to post about Jesus and faith.

I’ve already realised that I need to be writing two posts on Saturday – one for Sunday and one for Monday so I can take a day off each week.

Yet with all this thinking around planning…

On Sunday we worshipped using a Robin Mark song: Jesus, All For Jesus.

The words always give me pause. My ambitions. My hopes. My plans. Can I really surrender these? Have I really surrendered them to God?

Who am I blogging for?

I confess that I blog mainly for myself. I write mainly for myself. I am ambitious mainly for myself.

I suspect I will always battle with an inner desire to do for myself.

Yet, may my focus turn outward. May I look to serve Jesus through my writing. I suspect this is what I was made for, that I will only find freedom and purpose by living for Jesus.