Friday, May 27, 2011

Spring Read

I have just finished two brilliant books which I want to share with you, although I am behind the times so you have probably read them!

1. Birdsong
This book has been on my reading list for ages - probably because I thought it would be boring or just too much of a guys war book... but it is far from it! Its a wonderful story that is quite graphic in areas but it grips you and you cant put the book down. Set in world war I, we are taken through the horrific details of wartime trenches and the life of a soldier called Stephen. Its about finding and losing love. Its about idols and the heart wrenching truth of when they fail us. Its about the dangers of power and the lusts of youth. Its brilliant and worth a read...

2. Time Traveler's wife
If you have seen the film, well the book is better...and less confusing!! This is about a time traveller who juggles time travelling un-expectantly, a marriage and other events! This is such a clever story and all credit must go to the author. The film doesn't do it justice. This book is a mixture of romance and suspense. You will wonder how this will all work out till the very end... worth a read.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The cold dull heart

Last night the Christian Union had a bring and share dinner overlooking the sea as the sun was setting. We enjoyed the food and fellowship and most of all we enjoyed the sunshine that was keeping us warm. But as the sun was setting, several of us were beginning to shiver due to the heat of the sun becoming less and less. We tried to wrap up warm, but it wasn't the same. As I got home, I reflected on this and realised it was an image of Christ and our hearts. 

We often think that as long as I go to church and my outward appearance looks Christian, then I am safe and I don't need to worry about my heart. But the real truth is that our hearts need Christ. Christ is like the sun to us, beaming his rays of warmth onto our heart, melting them, warming them to the point where they are inflamed with love and joy for Him. 

But what happens when the sun sets and Christ is no longer warmer our hearts?

I reflected on Romans 1 as I study this letter with a student. We notice that Gods judgement is not what we expected - we think he should be throwing down wrath on the wicked, but God does something that surprises us. He leaves us in our sin. - "And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done." (Romans 1v28)

This may not seem like a judgement at all and we may see it as a way to do what we want. But when you think about Christ being our warmth and our source of love and joy, we are reminded that this judgement is terrifying. Gods judgement is to allow us to go further into our sins and for our hearts to become cold and dull. To not have Christ shine his warming love into our hearts, is possibly the worst kind of judgement on this earth!

As I read through Exodus, I come across Pharaoh and I am told his heart become hard and God hardens his heart...we get so caught in "who hardens who", that we forget that this is Gods judgement on the wicked - Pharaohs heart is so bitter and hard and far from Christ that he cannot be warmed - his heart is cold and the outworking of that causing great distress. 

This cannot just be a warning to non Christians - but surely to Christians that dress up in Christianity or those of us who have hard hearts? You must ask yourself if your heart is adoring Christ, if the rays of his warming love is set upon your heart? Is your heart melting and becoming soft? “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3v15)...

Without Christ, just as the sun goes down, we become cold and dull. Keep in the fire of Christs love.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Created for a wedding...

Have you ever wondered why God created you? Why you are here on this earth? Edwards hits the nail on the head which may seem surprising...

"God created the world to provide a spouse and a kingdom for his son: and the setting up of the kingdom of Christ and the spiritual marriage of the spouse to Him, is what the whole creation labours and travails in pain to bring to pass"

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Sunshine of the Gospel

It seems that Richard Sibbes has come back from the dead and he is living in the South West. And what a joy that is!
This is no ordinary book and you may think that it being self published means that the content is not as good. You couldn't be more wrong. This is a collection of Sibbes sermons which are made accessible for todays reader by Dave Bish and this is one book you wouldn't want to miss...!

Sibbes has a way of speaking to your heart because he is trying to draw you to Jesus and warm your heart. He is not ashamed to speak of the struggles of man and how hard hearted we can be and he is not ashamed to point us back to Jesus and invite us to sit by the fire of his love. He is also not ashamed to draw us to the picture of the bride and groom and he does this through the song of songs and its wonderful - when you read this you will see how much Christ loves the church, how much he is wooing his bride to himself. The pictures and the language are rich and I really believe they will give you a different outlook to how you see church and how you think Christ views you.
So if you are a Christian that feels like everyday is a struggle and your heart is cold or you have forgotten that Christ loves you so much and that you need reminding of how to fall in love with Jesus again - then you need to read this book....seriously. I actually think that even if you feel like your relationship is great, you should still read this book and allow your love for Christ to grow stronger. You can never have enough of Jesus. 

Bish has done a good job here and I am not saying that because he is my friend and boss, but I am saying it because every time I read this book it made me look back at Christ and His word and Jesus made my heart softer and warmer each time. I so needed to read this and be reminded of Christs great love for me and for His bride.

So why not buy it here and see what I mean.

I would recommend that you take it in bit by bit, like fine wine or strong coffee - it allows you to enjoy it all the more!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The gaze of the groom

I had such joy watching the Royal Wedding on TV - probably because two weeks before I was doing the same thing (obviously not at Westminster Abbey!), but I was walking down the aisle with a lovely white dress on, holding on to my dad with my four beautiful bridesmaids behind me and waiting for me was my groom.

People love weddings and they should. It should be a time of celebrating and rejoicing. Two people are coming together to be man and wife - one flesh and the apostle Paul says this is a mystery, a wonderful mystery that reflects Christ and the church and the beautiful love story that is told in the pages of the bible. A marriage points us to something greater and whether its a common wedding like mine or a royal wedding like Kates, it still points us to the greatest wedding of all - Christ and the Church.

Em Bish made a point of capturing the moment that Tim and I looked at each other for the first time as I walked down the aisle. The first time that the groom gazes at the face of the bride. Em reminded me that this is a glimpse of Christ gazing at His bride, the church, for the first time and what a splendour that will be! I know for me that when I first saw Tim, I nearly cried with joy. Imagine what joy the church will have when they meet Christ and see Him face to face. Imagine the awe and splendour and beauty. At that moment everything slips away, the past no longer matters, the worries fade away - you are caught in that glimpse and you will never want to turn your face away.

I loved my wedding day and I am enjoying the gift of marriage, but I am also looking forward to the great Royal wedding between Christ and the Church. But in the meantime let us continue to enjoy the reflection that marriage presents and the mystery behind it all.