According to the film “Whiskey Galore”, people in the highlands of Scotland had it very hard and needed whiskey to brighten up their lives.
In the Royal Navy for many years they issued the “Rum ration”, to make up for the privations of naval life.
I wonder sometimes whether we treat Christianity and church attendance like this. We need our weekly dose to brighten up our lives and bring a bit of warmth and friendship into an otherwise mundane and difficult existence.
Karl Marx said that “religion is the opium of the people’, and some people treat it as something to make them forget their problems and fears.
Christianity is not a painkiller. Rather it comes to deal with the disease itself .
It puts it finger on man’s fundamental problem of alienation from God and reveals the way of salvation through Christ’s death on the cross and faith in Him. As a result flowing from this regeneration and new life are imparted and instead of making ourselves the centre of everything we put God where He belongs as supreme.
The joy and blessing we receive is a result but not and end in itself. We still know suffering and loss, poverty and sadness. It is counteracted by the fact that our time on earth is very short compared to eternity. It is balanced by the abundant joy that even now we have a foretaste of but will immerse ourselves fully in through eternity in Christ’s presence.
During the era in which Shakespeare flourished there was some latitude in the ways they spelled words. Shakespeare himself was found to have spelt his name different ways at different times. If you look at old books they seem to spell words phonetically according to how they sound.Some letters were interchangeableand they only had 24 letters instead of 26.
Many pronunciations were different in those days as well.
Shakespeare was famous for coining new words and new phrases.
In the process of time words became obsolete and fell out of use and new words and terms came into current usage.
In the Church past and present different groups have used the same words from God’s Book but spelled them in different ways. They also pronounced many words differently and with different accents but were trying to convey the same message and intended the same thing, God’s glory and the salvation of man. They differed in interpretation and emphasis but by and large held to the fundamental truths of God.
Unfortunately there were also those who use the same scriptural words but in a deceitful way, they use them to convey other meanings not in accordance with a true understanding of the Word of God. There are those who claim to understand scripture and its words in new, previously unknown ways, but instead of leading to a clearer understanding of the truth they lead instead into error and confusion.
The difficulty remains how to discriminate between those speaking God’s word and whose aim is conveying the truth and those using God’s word in order to distort it, and as a means of injecting falsehood and satanic distortions. Well may we pray for more light
Is Prayer wasted energy?
One of my former pastors had theological works by Paul Tillich on his bookshelf. There is a well know story that when Tillich was asked by the press whether he prayed, he replied “No I meditate”. He only saw divinity within himself.
Trawling videos on you tube, I come across some tele-evangelists who call their hearers little pieces of God. Where in Scripture they deduce this from I do not know.
It is one thing for God to exalt redeemed man and place him in the heavenly places. It is quite different when man exalts man and caters to his pride and ego. We may partake of the divine nature by His saving grace yet this goes not make us little gods.
God does impart a new and divine nature in the believer but the man remains man, the women remains a women. The “new age” may speak about small g, gods and goddesses. We would only speak about the one true Triune God and give Him the glory alone.
I think the whole point of Christian teaching found in scripture is that we are to look out of ourselves and look to Him. We have come to the end of our own righteousness. We are commanded to place no confidence in the flesh. We need the Holy Spirit to testify with our spirit that we are children of God. This is a long way from the “Word of Faith” teachers claim for their hearers that they are little gods.
Prayer is never to be an afterthought, never to be subordinated to ecstatic experiences. We may find prayer hard work, we may get tongue tied, distracted and hindered in many ways. Yet with the command of Christ to pray continually and persevere, he clearly teaches the vital need not to throw into the too hard basket.