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“Are you encouraged in Christ? Are you comforted by His love? Do you share with the Spirit? Do you have any tender feelings or compassion for others?” Phil 2:1 (Simple English Bible)

Good questions!

What I like about questions is their directionality. A good question focuses attention on the right place. It clears the mind and points to an answer, which in itself, can emphasize a direction or make connections. It can also jog us out of our comfort zone and allow new ideas and thoughts to take shape. A sharp question is better than a lame answer. I’ve discovered that by asking specific questions can result in surprising answers.

Questions are helpful, informative and necessary if we are to embrace changes and progress. Unless we are challenged at times, we can grow stale and lazy.

The apostle Paul wanted the churches in Philippi to focus on their daily spiritual walk. The idea was to point them in the right direction and action their faith and love in Christ. I’ll bet the answers weren’t easy for some of them but the questions remained. Sooner or later, those Christians had to answer them.

How about you?

It’s Not Always About Sex

“Human nature does things which are wrong. These are clear: committing sexual sin, not being pure, having orgies, woshipping false gods, practicing witchcraft, hating people, making trouble, being jealous, becoming too angry, being selfish, making people angry with each other, causing divisions, envying others, getting drunk, having wild parties and other such things. I warn you now, as I warned your before: The people who do these things will not inherit God’s Kingdom.” Gal 5:19-21 (Simple English Bible)

I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of Christians don’t have problems with over half of this list. Social mores usually slow down immortality and many sexual sins, although in recent years, I have an increasing suspicion that the line isn’t too clear anymore. It’s real simple for some of these: if you don’t play around, you probably won’t be afflicted with AIDS or other such sexual diseases. It’s not rocket science.

But Paul included other nasty habits: hating, jealous, envy, anger, strife, dissension and making trouble. There is this human streak in us sometimes when we want bad things to happen to people, just to make our point. I think Christians just keep quiet when they hear a fight start and allow the trouble to escalate from there so they can claim that they weren’t really involved. Jealousy, power broking and backbiting among the Lord’s people cause more divisions and church splits that probably anything else.

The apostle wanted Christians to avoid such conflicts before they start!

Yes, we need peacemakers but also, we need mature believers to live the New Life as they should.


Dancing in the Rain

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” A wise man

It had been a pleasant afternoon. A friend came to visit, tea was seeping in the pot, fresh farm bread cut on the board, cheese and spread nearby. We laughed, joked and shared for a few hours before our guest left. I sat comfortably with my newspaper, trying to catch up on the latest. My wife and her friend returned, looking distraught. Our car had been damaged! I walked outside in my slippers as the two women followed, remaining very quiet. Sure enough, our friend’s Hummer had back into our car, damaging the hook, headlight and under tray. It was no good to cause a scene and our friend apologized profusely, offering to pay the damages.

It would be an insurance hoola-hoop session, quotations to be papered and a whole rigamarole involved in four part harmony and a fast foot routine. I had plans for this week and now had to squeeze everything in. As annoyed as I was, I also realized that people make just as many mistakes as I do. Yesterday, I met the guy giving the quotation, the lady at the insurance broker, my friend who was most apologetic and the people I had to cancel appointments with. All were polite, helpful and ready to swing into action.

Am I happy? Certainly not. It will take two weeks to sort this mess out. Can I cope? Sure, if I concentrate on what is important!

So, I’m learning to dance in the rain. How about you?