Get up earlier and do more work

One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that if you drive into London at 6am, half of the cars on the roads are Porsches and Astons. Whereas if you go in at ten to nine, they’re all Renaults. Simple solution, then. You want a nice car? Get up earlier and do more work.
— Jeremy Clarkson

Daddy, Can You Please Play Trains With Me?

No, sorry Archie, I’m busy cleaning this place up.

What a lousy response! He wasn’t asking me to play trains with him all afternoon long, but at that moment a clean house was more important than spending time with my little boy.

While I sit here and regret my response, he’s fast asleep now and has probably long forgotten me rejecting his offer.

But it scares me to think over this… one day this little boy will be all grown up, and the offer to play trains with him will be long gone.  I’ll probably be sitting in a clean house, wishing like anything I was back in this messy house playing with my kids.

So a note to self, next time my kids ask me to play with them… play with them you idiot!

Philippians 3:7-14 (Amplified Bible)

If any Bible translation captures the spirit of this passage the best, it has to be the Amplified version;

But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as [one combined] loss for Christ’s sake.

Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One),

And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law’s demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith.

[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope]

That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]. Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

– Philippians 3:7-14

Anytime I’m feeling a little unmotivated I get out my Amplified Bible and read through Philippians.

Truly Desiring God

There is a story of a man who, in search of God, came to study at the feet of an old teacher. The sage brought this young man to a lake and led him out into the shoulder-deep water. Putting his hands upon his pupil’s head, he promptly pushed him under the water and continued to hold him there until the disciple, feeling he would surely drown, frantically repelled the old man’s resistance. In shock and confusion the young man resurfaced. “What is the meaning of this?” he demanded. His teacher looked him in the eyes and said, “When you desire God as you desired air, you shall find Him.” – Francis Frangipane

In Those Days There Was No King In Israel

Judg 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

The last few chapters of Judges are pretty horiffic. From rape, to slaughtering to 600 forced marriages (to save the Benjaminites from extinction) it seems the verse which is repeated to explain such behaviour is that “…there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

The question I would like to put forward is this; Is there a king in our lives? Or are we just doing what is right in our own eyes? I regretto say that there are definitely times in my life where Christ is not king in my life, and as such I am prone to doing what is right in my own eyes instead of what is right in God’s eyes.

Let us all live in obedience to the King, and let is flee from dong that which is right in our own eyes.

How Arrogant Can We Be?

I was reading the story of Samson this morning (Judges 13-16) and it initially struck me how foolish Samson was in telling Delilah the truth about his hair.  He’d already lied to her 3 times before about the secret of his strength and on each of those occasions she’d attempted to deliver him over to the Philistine lords.

Samson’s intelligence is hard to judge from reading the text, however after reading another blog post, Samson – Stupid or Arrogant? (Or Both?), I think the truth is that Samson’s main downfall was his pride, not his stupidity or even his love of women (although that was a big factor too).

According to the Nazarite vow, after coming in contact with dead bodies he should have renewed the vow and shaved his head.  So after killing over 1000 Philistines in his reign as Israel’s Judge, why is there no mention of any renewal of his Nazarite vow?  And don’t forget his meal of wild honey from inside the carcass of the dead lion – eating anything unclean was against the Nazarite vow.

It is clear then that as a Nazarite Samson had already broken quite a few rules yet God had chosen to overlook this disobedience for a season.  Then, when Samson forsook the most visual element of the Nazarite vow God decided enough was enough and his strength was taken from him.  Of course, Samson didn’t realise this at first, “…he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.”  Samson wasn’t stupid, he was arrogant had believed his strength would remain no matter how much he disobeyed God.

How often do we think of our talents and strengths as something that is from us, not from God?  As I am starting my own business I am tempted to rely on my skills and efforts – after all, most of the successful entrepreneurs out there did not ‘have God’ on their side to become mega-successful, why then should I use God’s strength?  The answer is that as a man I have chosen no longer to satisfy the flesh, but to serve, honour and worship God.  What honour does God get if I build a business with my own strength?  But if I dedicate everything to the Lord and rely on His leading and His strength, all the glory must therefore go to Him.

So what should we do about this arrogance in our hearts?  The story of Samson doesn’t finish as bad as we often think.  Samson prayed a prayer of repentance and “…the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life.”  Some may say this was just for his sake, after all his prayer included mention of taking vengeance for his eyes that had been cut out by the Philistines.  However I don’t believe this was purely selfish repentance, as we find in verse 30 the final prayer, “Let me die with the Philistines!”.  Samson meant business in his intercession with the LORD, he was agreeing to lay everything down and let God take the final victory.  The result is triumph even though Samson the man was dead.

But isn’t that how it should be with us?  We need to die in order to live.  In order for God to truly be glorified we must put to death the deeds of the flesh (“So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.”).

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” – John 12:24

Samson – Stupid or Arrogant? (Or Both?)