Couldn’t Make It Up 2

Today, I set a reporting task to one of my classes. I explained exactly how I wanted them to lay it out, then I repeated the instructions to make sure they were clear. I then asked if there were any questions on the assignment. No one responded, so I told them to get on with it. About five minutes later a hand went up and the student asked if she could do it – well, exactly as I had described how to do it. There are times when I serious wonder if some of my students aren’t just memes waiting to happen.


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The Cut

Daniel Taylor scanned the team list which was posted outside the locker room. He blinked twice and then read it again more slowly. There was no question about it; he had been cut from the squad.

He was determined to be the better man about, so sucked up his courage and went to see the coach.

“Coach Wilson,” Daniel said in a medium tone as he knocked on the frame of the open office door.

“Taylor, what can I do for you?”

“I just wanted to say that I appreciate the chance to have tried out, and wanted to ask if there is anything that I might do to improve and have a better chance next season.”

“Taylor, I appreciate your thanks, and as far as how to do better as a wide receiver in the future. . . . Um, have you ever considered badminton?”


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The Summoning

The dark silhouette of a woman stood in the doorway, gestured for me to come forward, and whispered, “He’s in a right mood. Be careful.”

I entered into the elegantly appointed office and approached the desk.

“Have a seat,” the brooding figure behind the desk barked.

I took a seat and waited.

“Well?” he snapped.

“Well, what?”

“Well – let’s start with why do you think I’ve called you here.”

“I gather it has to do something with Christmas,” I replied.

“Exactly!” he roared.

“Do you have a particular complaint?” I asked.

“Why didn’t you give me a present?”

“Well, put simply – you were on my naughty list,” I replied.

“That’s a crock if I’ve ever heard one,” he challenged. “I did nothing wrong at Christmas.”

“And, it because of lies like that, and moments like this that you were on it.” Sometimes a Claus just has to make a stand, even if it is the Prime Minister you are dealing with.


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Books and Covers


It isn’t at all what you think

Like that husband of mine has drove me to drink

It has nothing to do with him – though he’s a pain

So I can hardly suggest that he’s to blame

And it isn’t that I drink that much

Just a glass here and there – after meetings and such

So do not judge me when I nurse a glass

For I’m just letting a little time to pass

Before I have to get up and reality suspend

And type up my copy to the editor send

For I write for a paper spreading celebrity gossip

It is that and not the whiskey that’s really toxic

Yet people read it, forming judgements and opinions

Like sheep in a flock, the big media minions


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Citizen

With the Queen’s Jubilee just passed and Independence Day tomorrow, the idea of citizenship seemed a good fit for today.

In an interesting address, the Apostle Paul spoke of his citizenship of a not insignificant city.   This is a multi-layered statement coming from Paul.  Which city was he speaking of?

Tarsus:

Citizen of no mean city: Acts 21: 39 Paul answered, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city. Please let me speak to the people.” 40 After receiving the commander’s permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in Aramaic.

Paul was born in this city in Roman Cilicia.  As such he can make claim to it.  But while this was an important city of its time, could he have meant more by the statement?

Jeruaslem:

22: 3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.

He builds on this in Philippians 3:

5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

Here Paul notes his Hebrew lineage and citizenship.  He was educated and came to some prominence in the city of God’s Temple.

Rome:

22: 24 the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and interrogated in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.” 27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”  “Yes, I am,” he answered. 28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship.” “But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied. 29 Those who were about to interrogate him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.

Today there are discussions of relative value of passports.  Where can it get you?  What protections can it provide.  Are you American, British, Irish?  Well, in the first century it was citizenship of Rome that was the one to have.  It is clear that Paul had citizenship by birth.  

But what did that mean?

Not everyone living in the First Century Roman Empire was a citizen.  There were slaves, freemen, people from client states, and citizens.

Slaves were everywhere.  Different types included civic specialist (often Greeks), gladiators, prisoners of war, house slaves, artisans, and the list goes on.  It should be noted that if the slave of a Roman citizen was freed, they themselves would become citizens.

Most citizens were Roman and Latin lower and middle classes.   Some of these Plebians were ex-auxiliary soldiers who were issued diplomas, others were wealthier or skilled freed slaves.  Others, those granted citizenship on their cities or tribes being absorbed into the Empire.

Above these were the Patricians including the Knights and Senators, Pilate was of the knight class.

There were rights and benefits associated with citizenship.  At Philippi in Acts 16: 37 we can see how Paul’s Roman  citizenship impacted his treatment. “But Paul said to the officers: ‘They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.” 38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city.’

And many of you may know Paul later used the right to have his case heard directly by Caesar. 

But I would like to suggest while all these citizenships were held by Paul, the greatest was as a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Kingdom of God:

In Acts 28, we are told that Paul stayed in Rome two full years in his own rented house, welcoming all who came to visit him. 31 Boldly and freely he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Yes, above all Paul was a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.  The Passport beyond all others and eternal.  

Matthew 13:44-46

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Matthew 19:14

But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Jesus speaks of the kingdom being made up of souls that childlike turn to him.  It isn’t about being a Hebrew of Hebrews, but about an open willingness to follow, and to repent.  We are all welcomed into this kingdom not made by hands.

For those that embrace the invitation we can get our Heaven passport.  For there is neither jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female, for we are all one in Christ.

Jesus the Son of God:

For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son — the firstborn of faith, but He is ready for adoption as well!  John 1:12. 12 – “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

Galatians 3:26 tells us “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”

For those that turn to God we are not only citizens of the Kingdom but members of the royal family for God allows us to call Him father. 

Look at the Lord’s Prayer – Jesus taught us to say: “Our Father” and as His kingdom comes (for which we are citizens) that His will be done.  For His Kingdom will be forever.

So, what is our citizenship?

1 John 3:1 “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”

No matter what your earthly passport says, this world is not our home.  We are only passing through. Our citizenship is in the Kingdom of God, and ultimately with the Father Himself.  Jesus said that in His father’s house there are many rooms, and he has gone to prepare one for you.


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Based on today’s sermon.

Two Sugars

His attitude was generally flippant, often making light of serious or stressful situations.  For example, there was the job interview in which he was asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” His response was, “Sitting where you are now while you bring me coffee with two sugars.”

Five years on, there he sat as the former interviewer asked if he would like some cookies with his coffee.  Sometimes humour pays off.


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All A Matter of Perspective

Flatmates Dave and Tony had a simple agreement. Each Saturday Tony would buy a five pack of doughnuts on the way back from his run and put them in the kitchen. Dave was welcome to share them, with the only stipulation being that he leave the last one for Tony. This arrangement worked well enough for about a month. Then, one morning after earlier having two each, Tony went to make a cup of coffee and to have the last doughnut.

“Dave, did you eat the last doughnut?” he shouted irritably.

“No,” his roommate replied.

“Then where did it go?”

“You ate it,” Dave responded.

“When?”

“This morning at breakfast,” Dave said.

“I never did!”

“Yes, you did. You see, when you brought them in and then went for your shower, I opened the box and reversed the order of the doughnuts. So, you ate the last one at breakfast, and I helped myself to the first one a little while ago. It’s all a matter of perspective.”


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Detained

I tried to do it, but became detained

Purpose and patience ultimately strained

There was that meeting that would never end

And home bound traffic – driving me round the bend

And so when I arrived home and attempted to write

It was virtually the middle of the night

So here are my words though well late

Reflecting how my day did truly frustrate

______________________

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Expression Perfection

“I love the celebrations and the way that they light up the sky,” Dale said.

“Why?  Okay, it’s pretty, but it’s also noisy and scares the dogs.  And surely, we could celebrate without having to stay up half the night, and then deal with the traffic jam that follows.”

“So, what do you propose we do instead?”

“Cake!”  It works for birthdays, and weddings,” Tina suggested.

“Cake?”

“Why not?  It lasts a little longer than some flashes in the sky and tastes a lot better too.”

“How about cake with sparklers on top?”

“Deal!”


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