Fleece

Fleece, Hide, Wool, Sheep, Fluffy

In ancient times we are told

Jason sought a fleece of gold

His bravery is clear from that story old

But Gideon, I think was even more bold

For he used a fleece – God to test

Not once – but twice he made requests

And in the end he had to reflect

That he had to do what God expects

So if we wish with God to connect

The tasks He gives we shouldn’t reject

But like Jason and Gideon of times old

We should true to our missions hold


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Rag Tag – Fleece

What Do I Do?

Fandango’s provocative question for you this week is this:

What do you do for a living? If you are retired, what did you do before you retired? If you’re currently unemployed, what did you do before becoming unemployed?

The short answer is that I am a certified member of the God Squad. I spent four years working with the Navy Chaplains Corps, ten years as a minister, and thirty years or so as a theologian, and teacher of theology and religious studies. While there is some overlap in these roles, I have essentially spent my entire adult life either in biblical/religious studies or working directly in religious roles.

I realise in the climate of today’s world such a career path is alien, if not distasteful to many people, but in the end it is the road I have travelled and I view it not as a job but a vocation.


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He is . . .

Reflection – The Good Shepherd – St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Pastor Larry spoke today reflecting on Psalm 23. He noted that the first three words alone are a full sermon. While Brother Larry went on to reflect on the Psalm and its description of the Good Shepherd and His care for His flock, I pondered the first statement: a sermon in itself.

It is notable that when God speaks to Moses from the burning bush that He gives His name as “I am.” I am that I am, I am that I was, I am that I will be. It is such a powerful name! His name itself says – “He is!”

More direct to shepherd-hood is Jesus’ use of the same term. In John’s gospel Jesus notes:

  • I am the Bread of Life (John 6:35)
  • I am the Light of the World (John 8:12)
  • I am the Door (John 10:9)
  • I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11,14)
  • I am the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25)
  • I am the Way and the Truth and the Life (John 14:6)
  • I am the Vine (John 15:1,5)

Here in John 10 Jesus proclaims Himself to be that shepherd that leads besides still waters, whose rod and staff comforts, and who will follow us with goodness and mercy all the days of our life. He is! Do we need say more?


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For Unto Us A Child Is Born

Unknown years of Jesus - Wikipedia

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).


Pastor Vince gave an enlightening message yesterday in which he expanded on the passage above. This is the season when followers of Jesus focus on the prophecy and the implications of the child born in the City of David two thousand years ago.

One event in the life of this child that is born to us did tells us much of the fulfilment Isaiah’s prophecy. When Jesus was twelve years old (a year short of is Jewish age of majority) He accompanied Joseph and his mother to Jerusalem for the Passover.

Luke gives us some details in Chapter 2:

41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

He will be called “wonderful” – filled with wonders – and here we find a child (yes, unto us a child is born) conversing with the teachers of the temple giving answers to their questions that “amazed” them, and “astonished” Mary and Joseph. That is wonder! Not only that, but his understanding showed Him to be a “counsellor.”

The account ends with Jesus pronouncing that He was in His Father’s house – The House of God – making Him “a Son given” and heir to God. Fulfilled is the prophecy that he is “mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” He is more that just a babe in a manger!


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Oh, Come Emmanuel

Christmas, Shopping, Hamburg, Lights

It is a season when many feel the exuberance of the hunt. Finding that perfect gift or bargain becomes an end in itself. For others it is a time of fear and trepidation: the crowds, the expectations and the like weighing on them. Others still, remember a baby in a manger, three kings, a little lamb, and of course a little donkey.

The coming of the Christ-child becomes many things to many people, but its underlying message of Emmanuel is often lost. But the need of “God with us,” it is as important today as it was two thousand years ago.

Consumerism and the “hunt” underlies an emptiness which we feel needs filling. Fears and apprehensions – whether about the season, or racism, or Covid, or identity, etc. – still need the calming hand of God. It is also more than the trappings of a manger scene. That baby, whether accompanied by a lamb, little donkey, or panda bear (yes, I have seen one in a nativity play) was the ultimate gift of God’s own presence to a troubled human-kind. He came to redeem and comfort, to gift, and to be gifted.

Oh, come Emmanuel! Come and be the fulfilment of our sense of “missing something.” Come into our fears and anxieties and gently wipe them away. Come into our consciences and not just our decorations. Come Lord, into our lives.


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Household of Faith

A Mothers' Prayer Meeting | Faithward.org

A household of faith – standing side by side

For each other’s needs prepared to provide

Bound as a family – steeped in love

Like that shown to us from Him above

While we were yet sinners, we still had His affection

And He placed us on a path to develop perfection

While we may not have managed to attain it

We begin with things like the kindness we transmit

For each of our brethren have their needs

And we can easily provide for them – when we give up our greed

We are a household, one built on belief

And together we can change the world – giving to others relief


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Thank you again Brother Vince for a powerful message

Beyond Knowing

Graduation, Future, University, Cap, Graduate, College

I am educated

I know my stuff

But knowing about

Is not enough

The Word of God

Is a thing to live

Not just something some study to give

Yes love the Lord with all your mind

But also with heart and strength combined

Study yes – to show yourself approved

But don’t forget to be by the Spirit moved


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Narrow

Crops, Dawn, Road, Path, Farm, Fences

There are those that prosper with worldly gain

That think it nothing to cause others pain

We look with awe that they seem so blessed

But their fortune is an illusion at very best

We have been called true treasure to seek

Loving our neighbour and being meek

When repenting we change our way

Striving to not from righteousness stray

With faith and commitment our goal to achieve

Not looking back longingly sin to face

Like Lot’s wife’s gaze that was so unsafe

Let us then press onward ahead

And on the narrow way let us tread


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Martyr

Stained Glass, Man, Holy, André

Herod
By lust driven
On a tray of silver
The martyred John the baptist’s head
Displayed
Mob rule
Shouts and vile threats
Anger overflowing
Led to showers of stones killing
Stephen
By sword
James too perished
Herod’s act cynical
Political favour to win
Through sin
Pilate
Dirty hands washed
He too a crowd to still
Knowing not that Messiah, he
Did kill


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