Kingdom

Jesus, Children Of God, God Is Pleased
Pixabay

A kingdom not made by hands

Not the creation of any man

A people of power united together

The Lord God at their centre

The spiritual descendants of Abraham

Younger siblings of the Lion-Lamb

Seeking first the Father’s way

Having recieved blessings they cannot repay

But it is a kingdom with a mission

Prepared to share with the world their great commission


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Inspired by Pastor Vince’s first lesson of a series on the Kingdom of God.

Halyard

Hermitage, Romanesque, Heritage, Vall De Boí, Taull
Pixabay

Father Halyard was a true solitudinarian, though he preferred the term hermit.  He was a man without pretention and preferred the solitary life of prayer and devotion.  It wasn’t that he didn’t appreciate the visits from the novices that were occasionally sent to bring supplies to the hermitage.  He would receive not only food and reading materials but news from the mother house, though he would never allow conversations to descend into gossip.  What he missed most however was fresh daily bread warm from the oven.  Everyone has their weaknesses.


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Weekend Writing Prompt #208 – Solitudinarian in 90 words

See also:  The Hermit

                A Long Retreat

 

Nativity: An Etheree

Christmas Crib Figures, Jesus Child

Pixabay

Sweet
Infant,
Manger born –
Angelic Hosts,
Your nativity
To the shepherds proclaim.
In David’s town, as foretold –
Emmanuel to Earth, You came.
Born King of kings and the Lord of Lords
Yet in the humble stable’s hay you were lain.

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Bread

 

Bread, Communion, Eucharist, Church

image: Pixabay

Give us this day, our daily bread

A portion of the Bread of Life

Feed our souls with your great love

And fill us with your everlasting Light.

 

Five thousand feed by loaves but five

By grace the bounty multiplied

Expand your bread in us as well

To become your worthy bride.

 

Give us this day our daily bread

To share with all mankind

Let its life giving power

Our souls as one combine.

 

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What Are You Made Of?: A Review

Image result for russian doll traditional wiki

image: Wikipedia

I don’t usually make it a habit to read Christian devotional literature.  The scriptures?Yes.  Theological tomes? Those too.  But not much in the devotional genre.  I generally find them too formulaic and often shallow.

That said, I have recently read Amba Keeble’s What Are You Made Of?, which I found neither shallow nor formulaic.  This devotional work is based on Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth, and provides both thoughtful commentary and sincere personal sentiment.

Keeble’s book is rich in analogy and metaphor, and it is written in a very approachable and conversational style.  Her focus question: What are we made of? is a great lens to examine Paul’s letter from.  She humanises this approach to the modern reader by drawing a parallel to reality TV competitions, and the same question as put forward to contestants when they are on the verge of giving up.  What a great Christian parallel!  What are we made of when life is about to “defeat” us?

Sister Amba uses other illustrations which are wonderfully picked as well, such as Russian Stacking Dolls.  She examines these, and how they are constructed from a solid core outwards.  This analogy of a Christ-centred life (a solid core) runs throughout the book.

Popular cultural references as diverse as How the Grinch  Stole Christmas and misaligned shopping trolley wheels engage the reader with familiar modern parables to illustrate the apostle’s timeless words.

Keeble draws her key question together wonderfully in challenging us to live boldly,  live freely,  and to shine forth that which is at our “Russian Doll” cores, in our Christian walk.  I may not be a great fan of devotionals, but this work is one worth reading.

Amba and her husband, Rich are associate pastors at The Abundant Life (AOG) Church in Suffolk.

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Christian Fantasy Genre and A Review

 

The genre of Christian Fantasy is a sub-genre of the fantastical form.  These by definition are works “written by and/or for Christians.”   The plots, and events of these works are not always overtly “religious” in their content or feel, but generally reflect a Christian world-view and the associated values.   Some of the works are clear re-tellings of biblical tales, or of events of Christian experience.

Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress is an example of the latter form, in which the central character, Christian, makes an epic journey to reach the Celestial City.  Along the way he encounters Giants and trial.  The allegory is clear throughout.

The allegorical content, however, does not always make itself obvious within the genre.  C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a good exampleGenerations of readers have followed the adventures of Lucy and her siblings in the Land of Narnia, without necessarily seeing that Aslan’s defeat of the witch (the embodiment of evil) as a portrayal of Christ’s victory through sacrifice.  Spoiler alert!  Edmund has sinned and sold out his siblings for his own gain.  Because of this his life in forfeit.  When the witch comes to collect her prize (his life), Aslan gives his own life for the lost.  His death (including mocking by the crowd, stripping of his “clothing” (mane), and execution) parallel the events of Calvary.  As does his resurrection!

Some Christian Fantasy merely takes aspects of the Christian faith and teachings and weaves it into the fantasy.   In my own work, The Sisters Tales the character Breena has a prophetic gift, and in many instances shares spiritual values to her colleagues.  She also manifests her gift in a way reminiscent to that of  Saint Joan of Arc.

I have recently read Christian Fantasy author, Allison D. Reid’s,  Journey to Aviad (Wind Rider Chronicles Book 1).  This  work is well written and is engaging.  Reid  draws the fantasy genre together with allegory and Trinitarian theology in a subtle way, and it makes for some wonderful imagery as well as helping her develop her world-building.  I particularly like that her main character enters into the greater events around her by chance and circumstance.  This plays out in her undertaking an uncertain journey which is a wonderful metaphor for life and the question of purpose.   I  truly enjoyed Journey to Aviad and I have already begun to read more of Reid’s work.

As a genre Christian Fantasy has a lot to offer.  It provides some quality speculative fiction in which wholesome values are applauded, and in which gratuitous erotica is all but absent.  Christians (and other people of faith) will find familiar and enriching themes, while still enjoying the action and adventure of the larger Fantasy genre.

Try giving a few “a read.”

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Links to works mentioned:

Journey to Aviad

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Pilgrim’s Progress

The Sisters Tales

 

 

The Peach

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google

The Peach

They say she is a Georgia Peach

All sass, and confidence exuding

Men stare at her on the beach

Their gazes oft intruding

 

She is a belle, and proud of that

All blonde, long legs, and more

A flirtful tilt of her broad brimmed hat

Has won her admirers by the score

 

She is a Georgia Peach for sure

But she is no tramp or loose

Her faith and self-respect endure

For one only – could e’r her seduce

 

She is a Southern girl and Christian too

To her husband – more valuable than ruby

And to her darling little girl

She is just  – “My mommy.”

 

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Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

The Magi

magi_tissot868x600.jpg

painting by: James Jaques Joseph Tissot

Last year, Steven Colborne of Perfect Chaos posted a challenge to enter a four line poem with a Christmas theme. The end result on my part was the second stanza of the poem below.  I have since expanded it in keeping with the season.

 

The Magi

Watchers of the sky, they followed a star

Leading them westwards from afar

Its regal meaning they could attest

But journey was needed their theory to test

 

Learned yes, wise pra’ps not

For they went to the palace and not the manger cot

A king the sought, and two kings they met

But it was with babe king that their needs were met.

 

At stable humble, they did alight

Kneeling in the star’s guiding light

They proffered gifts

Of wealth and might

 

Scent and gold

Power in Heaven and on Earth

And dark ointment of death

To mark His birth.

 

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Preparation

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Preparation

Another winter closing in,

Dark evenings growing colder.

Violet candles will soon be lit.

Each one preparing for

Nativity’s

Throne of hay.

 

Padre


 

The Advent season is now here. This time of preparation and anticipation of the coming of Emmanuel is one of contemplation and focus on the spiritual rather than the material.  We so often get caught up in the X-mas hype, that we loose focus on the Christ.

Let us keep our eyes on the manger.

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See also: Beyond Paper Doors

2 ÷ 2 = 1: Beyond Division

“Welcome to the First  Assembly Fellowship Church of God in the Trinity Congregation. We are a new outlook, old school modern body with innovative Spirit filled worship, while honouring the solemnity of High Church traditions.” This fictional [I hope] church is an example of the two-headed monster confronting God’s people today. Consumerism and its “we have the church for you” with its something for everyone, everything for no one is one side.  While the “mine is better than yours” segregated, denominational exclusionist vein is the other.

Is our attitude that of “all have sinned and fallen short of the Assemblies of God, therefore repent everyone of you and be Baptists?” Is it about religion, or about our relationship with God? Jesus prayed that His people be unified even as he and the Father are one. Is that our approach?

We divide, we bicker, we compete.  We quarrel over minor points of doctrine, the number of cups used in communion, the mode and manner of music. Surely the outcome must be [and pardon the misapplication of scripture] that “Jesus wept.”

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