29 April 2010

FlashForward - part two

Do you remember my blog entry of the 30th September last year? It was about a new SF-based TV show called "FlashForward". It told the story of a mysterious event causing nearly everyone on the planet to simultaneously black out for 137 seconds, during which people see what appear to be visions of their lives approximately six months in the future — a global “flashforward”. Everyone got to see what they would be doing on 29th April 2010. Which is today!

In the 'real world', we don't have the advantage of such hindsight, and therefore many unexpected things have happened in everyone's lives since September 2009. Examples include the 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti this past January; the air traffic disruption from volcanic ash from the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland in April! To a lesser extent, even 'FlashForward' itself was affected - in December 2009, ABC decided to put the show on hold for a month or two, reportedly to allow the network to air the 2010 Winter Olympics without further interruption. Life can be so unpredictable...

The show has, however, explored a variety of issues concerning the future, and in particular the concepts of fate and destiny. It's revealed that the 'future' that the characters saw presented to them as a 'fait accompli' can in fact be changed.

It's the same with us. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It's up to each to us to decide how to live each day. We can each decide what we do - where we go - who we will serve...

22 April 2010

Storm in a teacup

"One drop of rain on your window pane
Doesn't mean to say there's a thunderstorm comin'
The rain may pour for an hour or more
But it doesn't matter
You know it doesn't matter...
It's a storm in a teacup
Brewin' up double, almost any little trouble
It's a storm in a teacup
It really doesn't matter
If it pitter pitter patters all the day..."
(lyrics from 'Storm in a Teacup', a top ten song by The Fortunes, written by Lynsey de Paul and Ron Roker)

I have been looking back on the year so far, intrigued a little about the different things that have happened so far in 2010. (More about this on the 29th April!) There are some major events, and a whole host of minor ones. Frequently, our minds are occupied by things which we consider at the time to be a big deal... but as time passes, most of these peter out, proving to be no great concern at all. A storm in a teacup, as we Brits have it.

It's important therefore to keep a good sense of perspective. This is something I struggle with, but I am working on it!

Matthew 6:34 (New International Version)
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

8 April 2010

Be a Blessing

Genesis 12:1-2 (New International Version)
1 The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you.
2 "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing."

A friend of mine recently signed off one of her emails to me with an encouragement to me to 'be a blessing'. How those words have stayed with me this week, eventually inspiring this email... 

You know, I'd like to think I was a blessing - I certainly don't set out to be the opposite - but in my haste to be a blessing to others, do I sometimes cut corners, inadvertently missing out on the blessings that are meant for me? I hope not.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
SASB 959 (Thomas Ken)

6 April 2010

Bearing the Pain

Isaiah 53:7 (New International Version)
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

During the past week I have been reflecting (as many others will have) on the suffering and death of Jesus. I have also subsequently been rejoicing in His resurrection.

An email I received this morning set me off down a different train of thought. On His reappearance, it was never recorded that Jesus ever spoke about the pain that He suffered on the cross. Such pain would have been well-known to folks in Jesus' time, as it was regularly practiced. Many have portrayed it and described it since, from the great artists right up to modern day and 'The Passion Of The Christ'.

Jesus suffered and bore that pain for you and I. But He didn't keep going on about it. And there is our example...

I would suggest that some of us spend too much time going over the problems of the past, living over again the pain we have undergone, perhaps getting bitter about it, perhaps just feeling sorry for ourselves. What's done is done, it cannot be undone. And we live to tell the tale...

The message for us today is an encouraging one - we have to move on, to push ever forward to new opportunities, and new challenges. We shouldn't dwell on the problems of the past, we're encouraged to leave them behind. That's because Jesus needs us to work with Him to tackle the problems of today; to enable us to bear the pain of today - and to prepare us for the opportunities and problems of tomorrow...

3 April 2010

Anger Management

Ephesians 4:25-32 (New International Version)
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbour, for we are all members of one body.
26 "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

I'm rather encouraged by these words. In being encouraged to act differently, there's clear evidence here that it's okay to get passionate about issues, just not to let your rage dominate you. God intends us to get out there and to make a difference, to stand up to injustice, to plead the cause of the persecuted.