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Showing posts from August, 2015

The message of Malachi

Malachi means ‘my messenger’ or ‘the Lord’s messenger’. It may well have been the name of the prophet who wrote these words, but it might be someone who wished to remain anonymous, and he simply calls himself ‘The Lord’s messenger’. And Malachi speaks particularly clearly of one who will come as the Lord’s messenger, who will prepare the way for the coming of the Lord himself. God says through Malachi (my messenger) ‘See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way’ (3.1). 1. THE BACKGROUND The people of Israel have returned from exile. They have settled again in the land. They have rebuilt the temple. They have seen amazing answers to prayer. But now the people have become complacent. They think that God does not really matter; they take him for granted They have forgotten that they have been called to be God’s holy, chosen people. They have become self-indulgent. And they question the love and justice of God. 1.1: ‘I have loved you, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How h

Baptism and the ring: a parable

When a person is baptised, whether as an infant or an adult, it is as if God gives to them a ring. It is a ring which tells me that God loves me and that I belong to Jesus. While I wear the ring, the church sees me as a fellow brother and sister. While I know what the ring means, I will cherish it. When I’ve messed up badly and wonder if God loves me or whether I truly belong to Jesus, I will look at my ring and I will be reminded of the love of God and that I belong to Jesus. But when I forget what the ring means, or when I choose to deliberately walk away from the one who gave it to me, there will come a time when I will take the ring off my finger and throw it away. And in throwing it away I will be throwing away the most precious thing that God could possibly give us in this world. There are many people who have been baptised, who are wearing this ring, but because they have not been brought up within the family of the church, they have never known or forgotten wha

Using our wealth wisely

Luke 16.1-9 Jesus, in this story, appears to commend someone who acts dishonestly. But in fact he doesn't commend the manager for his dishonesty - he commends him for his shrewdness and wisdom. 1. Here was a person who looked to the future. He was about to be jobless, homeless and penniless. He would be completely dependent on others. So he uses his master's money to make friends for himself. As St Augustine wrote, 'He perpetrates a fraud to secure his future'.  Jesus says, 'If only the Sons and Daughters of Righteousness were like that - not being dishonest, but thinking ahead, in planning for the future. Not just for the here and now. So many people, and Christians are no different, live as if the here and now is all that matters. We get educated, meet someone, settle down, earn some money, have children, buy a home, earn some more money, buy a bigger home, go on holiday, have grandchildren, retire, have a few more holidays, downsize, and then fall off our