Tag Archives: Abraham

Advent and Christmas

Long time no blog.

Yet another family crisis (how many can there be in one year I wonder to myself!) has rather occupied my life for the last three weeks –

BUT in that time, people have been beavering away on my behalf and I am delighted and quite excited to announce (cue fanfares, streamers, glitter explosions etc…)

2015-09-14 16.04.19

I have been encouraged to produce some of the reflections from this blog into a book, and decided to start with this collection of reflections for Advent and Christmas.  They are not new, but reworked for print.

Voices for Advent and Christmas contains 24 prayers and meditations on the familiar voices of the Christmas Story, from Adam through to Rachel weeping.  It covers the traditional readings of the Nine Lessons and Carols Service, plus others through to Jesus Presentation in the Temple.

It would work as a resource for worship, or as personal reflections to prepare ourselves in this busy season.

There has been a delay at the printers, but I hope it will be available later this week.

The price is £4 plus postage (70p second class within the UK, for other prices please ask)

To order or ask more please complete the form below and I can give you details for paying and you can give me your address.  Payment can be made via paypal or by sending me a cheque.

Thanks to everyone who has encouraged and cajoled me into this 🙂  And for anyone who is willing to buy one

 

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The Father Revealed iv

God’s Promise to Abraham

17 Abram was ninety-nine years old when the Lord appeared to him again and said, “I am God All-Powerful. If you obey me and always do right, I will keep my solemn promise to you and give you more descendants than can be counted.” Abram bowed with his face to the ground, and God said:

4-5 I promise that you will be the father of many nations. That’s why I now change your name from Abram to Abraham. I will give you a lot of descendants, and in the future they will become great nations. Some of them will even be kings.

I will always keep the promise I have made to you and your descendants, because I am your God and their God. I will give you and them the land in which you are now a foreigner. I will give the whole land of Canaan to your family forever, and I will be their God.

Abraham, you and all future members of your family must promise to obey me.

I make these promises to you
because I am your God,
I care for you,
I am watching out for you.

You worry
and fret;
you try to force my hand
and make things happen your way
and in your time;
you cannot see the abundance
of your future,
but I can.
You will be blessed
beyond your wildest imaginings,
bigger than you could ever dream.

I am your God
and I will continue to be your God.

Lord I hear your promise,
your word,
your love,
revealing yourself to me.
As you are faithful to me,
may I be faithful
to you,
walk in your ways,
and know your strength
to do so.

The God of Abraham Praise

Heroes of the Faith

Abraham, Sarah and the Angel, Jan Provoost

Who are your heroes? The people you look up to?

Are they a good example?  Are they worthy of your respect?

Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

The Great Faith of God’s People

11 Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see. It was their faith that made our ancestors pleasing to God.

Because of our faith, we know that the world was made at God’s command. We also know that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen.

Abraham had faith and obeyed God. He was told to go to the land that God had said would be his, and he left for a country he had never seen. Because Abraham had faith, he lived as a stranger in the promised land. He lived there in a tent, and so did Isaac and Jacob, who were later given the same promise. 10 Abraham did this, because he was waiting for the eternal city that God had planned and built.

11 Even when Sarah was too old to have children, she had faith that God would do what he had promised, and she had a son. 12 Her husband Abraham was almost dead, but he became the ancestor of many people. In fact, there are as many of them as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand along the beach.

13 Every one of those people died. But they still had faith, even though they had not received what they had been promised. They were glad just to see these things from far away, and they agreed that they were only strangers and foreigners on this earth. 14 When people talk this way, it is clear that they are looking for a place to call their own. 15 If they had been talking about the land where they had once lived, they could have gone back at any time. 16 But they were looking forward to a better home in heaven. That’s why God wasn’t ashamed for them to call him their God. He even built a city for them.

This is a roll call of Biblical history.  A list of those who lived by faith, following God.  For some reason the lectionary omits Abel, Enoch and Noah from verses 4-7, I don’t know what they have done to offend!

Some of you may have seen this article last week about teaching our children about the Heroes of Faith.  It argues that we have taught the heroes of the faith, not to teach our children about real human people, with real human foibles, who God still manages to love and use, but rather to use them to teach our Sunday School children to be good little boys and girls.  You may or may not agree…

This passage (if we read it all) tells us about the great figures of our faith, but it also uses them as an example of people who believed – even when they couldn’t see.  Who had to literally walk by faith, because they could see no other way in the situations they were in.  They had no proof, but plenty of hope.

Abraham was no saint.  He believed God’s promises, but also did all he could to make them happen.  He got fed up of waiting for God.  His faith faltered and he forgot that it didn’t rely on him.  His wife Sarah laughed when she heard God’s promises.  She didn’t believe, she was sceptical.  Their lives became difficult from their own efforts to bring about God’s promise.

So how about us?    Have you tried to make things happen yourself, to force God’s hand?  Have you laughed in God’s face when you’ve heard his plans for you?  I know I have.  Sometimes it can be difficult to believe what God says to us.

But that is ok.  Because we are people of faith, not sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).  Some things are hard, if not impossible, to grasp with our minds.  We are human.  People with our own thoughts and feelings, our own hopes and desires, our own plans.  The good news is so were Abraham and Sarah (and Abel and Enoch and Noah).  God has a track record of using very human people, with very human foibles.

We may not be perfect, but by faith we are heroes – for and with God.

We are all strangers and foreigners on earth, walking towards a better place.  So are those we live amongst.  We journey together – not as superior guides, but as fellow travellers.

Lord,
I walk by faith.
I have no other choice,
because life is confusing
and bemusing.
I don’t always understand your ways,
but I trust them.