Preparing A Room For Us

Preparing A Room For Us

My wife, Hayley, was having a conversation with a friend about preparing a room for our baby’s impending arrival. It seems to be common practice that parents, particularly the mother, like to “nest”. They like to get the baby’s bedroom ready for its arrival home. They might replace the curtains, or put pictures up on the wall. Some people even paint the walls a new colour! Parents want the room to be just right before the arrival of the baby.

In recounting the conversation about this, Hayley stated that she drew a parallel with one of Jesus statements. And it is a striking one.

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may also be.

The quote is from . Jesus comforts his disciples with the knowledge that when he departs he will be preparing a place for them; a room will be made for them to dwell in. Not only that, but where that room is, Jesus will also be. He will take us to dwell with him.

I have often found this a comforting statement, but find it difficult to imagine what it all looks like. If the room is in Heaven, or in the New Creation, then will there be houses? One big house? Will we be sharing a room with other people? Will Jesus be in every room?

Have you ever wondered why we build dwellings? Sure, it’s practical and they help us avoid the elements. In many cultures, our dwelling is our home. It is the place we belong. We build homes, I believe, because we long to be exactly where we’re supposed to be. We long to belong somewhere. Because of this, we construct dwellings in places we wish to settle. They are our homes.

Jesus says that God the Father has a house; and in that house there are rooms for his children. Jesus died, resurrected from the grave, and ascended to heaven, and there he is preparing a room for you, and everyone else who belongs to him. Like the expectant mother who prepares the nursery for her new child, Jesus prepares a room for his children. The love and care which the mother might show in preparing a baby’s room in this earthly home is a glimpse, however faint, of the care that Jesus is taking in his preparation of our room, the room where we can finally be at rest in the eternal kingdom of God. It is there that we will finally be home.

Picture credit: DanJackson_UK, some rights reserved

14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Jesus’ Wounds, His Resurrection Body, and Our’s

 

Picture Credit: L O O K, Creative Commons

A question that is occasionally discussed late at night around the campfire, or pizza boxes, is “Why did Jesus have wounds on his resurrection body?” Such a question will never be finally answered until the Second Advent, but I hope I am not straying off the straight-and-narrow with a bit of theological speculation on this subject.

Paul says that Jesus resurrection body was spiritual (), heavenly (), and imperishable (). Likewise, his body was very physical (, ). When Jesus appeared to his disciples in the days following his resurrection from the dead, he bore some of the marks of his execution on a cross (, ). What might this mean? And what might it mean for us? After all, we will receive resurrection bodies in the same way that Jesus did (, , ).

Here begins the speculation, because the Bible doesn’t really say what it means. I don’t think Jesus Continue reading Jesus’ Wounds, His Resurrection Body, and Our’s

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.

50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”

42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,

38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”

21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

The Dignity of Work

 idlphoto under Creative Commons

The doctrine of Work (NB: not “works”!!!) is a somewhat forgotten doctrine. In his excellent Disciplines of a Godly Man, R. Kent Hughes notes the following: “[Work] was given to man before the Fall, before sin, before imperfection.”

This is a pivotal point, as it is sadly the case that in our day work is often viewed as undignified, evil, and demeaning. This is patently false! According to the Scriptures, work is inherently good. God actually withheld from growing the plants until he created Adam, for “there was no man to work the ground.” (). Once he did create Adam, the plants grew (). Implicit in this is the fact that God definitely wanted Adam to work, and that he wanted Adam to tend to his creation in his work. That would  be his primary vocation. Continue reading The Dignity of Work

When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground,

And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The Fight Over Gay Marriage is Not Over

The Australian Federal Parliament overwhelmingly voted down a Bill to amend the Marriage Act. We should be thankful to God for that: our political leaders have shown some wisdom, even though gay marriage is a seriously hot potato at the moment. We should be thankful that we’re not yet over the precipice, and sliding down the slippery slope toward all sorts of abominations. Political victories are important and necessary, and should be celebrated when they come. It is sobering, however, to consider the Apostle Paul’s words in :

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became Continue reading The Fight Over Gay Marriage is Not Over

1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Whatever happened to good manners?

Vancouver SkyTrain

Photo reproduced under the Creative Commons License.

I’ve hesitated to write this as I know it will read as a good old whinge. But I just can’t help myself.

I just returned from seven weeks in Vancouver, Canada. (No, I’m not going to comment on the fact that Melbourne outdid Vancouver once again for being recognised as the “most liveable city in the world”.)

But I have to say, if good manners and politeness factored into this evaluation, I don’t think Melbourne would stand a chance.

So, upon what do I base this assertion?

Just imagine for a moment; you are standing at an intersection waiting for a break
in the flow of traffic so you can cross safely. 
There are no traffic lights to control the vehicle traffic. There are no pedestrian markings on the road to indicate a cross-walk. To your surprise, a driver three lanes over stops his car and waives you across. You do so reluctantly because you see oncoming traffic in other lanes. But lane by lane, all the traffic stops – it’s safe to cross.

Wow! It’s like the parting of the Red Sea. I felt like Moses! (). And Continue reading Whatever happened to good manners?

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

Would the discovery of life on other worlds be earth-shattering?

© charles taylor – Fotolia.com

I’m a Sci-Fi fan.

Yes, I’m a ‘Trekky’.  I’ve always loved having an imagination, and particularly love reading books by people who imagine what the future might be like (whether I agree with them or not; for instance I strongly disagree with the rampant humanism of Star Trek).  My favourite author is the late great Isaac Asimov, an astounding polymath who wrote fiction and non-fiction, including works on Shakespeare and the Bible.

My favourite living author is Alastair Reynolds, and I have read almost all of his books. In his latest book Blue Remembered Earth (Gollancz, 2012) one of the characters speaks about finding life on another planet.  It is assumed that this is an earth-shattering find that changes everything.  It seems to me that many people Continue reading Would the discovery of life on other worlds be earth-shattering?

“Hallmark Christmas” and the Incarnation

Did you know that Jesus was born in a beautifully quiet, warm barn, in Northern Europe somewhere? I didn’t. But I could swear that this is precisely how we think about our Lord’s birth.

You see, when we enjoy our “Hallmark-Christmas“, everything is calm, warm and peaceful in the stable where Jesus was born.

“Away in a manger, no crib for a bed. The little Lord Jesus lays down his sweet head.”

 


No mention of the pain that Mary was surely still enduring after the birth, and no mention of the blood our baby Saviour was covered in when he was born.

“The cattle are lowing, the poor baby awakes. But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.”

No mention that the goats smell really terrible, and probably are bleating and breaking wind. No mention of cow dung. No mention of rodents which might Continue reading “Hallmark Christmas” and the Incarnation

The Reason for the Season – Advent

You may not have realised, but we are in a season called Advent. When we reach December (or is it October?) we start to think of Christmas. We are all too hasty, though. It is not yet time for that! Advent is a season of expectant waiting. And wait we should.

You see, before Jesus was born, Israel had been waiting for centuries for their promised deliverer. From the beginning of the story of God and his people (found in the Bible), God had promised a deliverer – a Messiah. See . Continue reading The Reason for the Season – Advent

15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”

Two Reunions – GOD is Good!

This past week, I attended two reunions. The first was my high-school grad class 50th anniversary. The second, was the 100th anniversary of the Baptist church where my wife grew up and where we exchanged our wedding vows – a place filled with fond memories.

Now that I’m over the shock of almost no-one recognizing me at either event (I guess time has not been kind to me), I reflect on my observations.

Except for just a few people with whom I have kept in touch, most of my former class mates were strangers to me. Their lives had each taken different roads. Some had enjoyed success in business, some had struggled to make ends meet. Some had wonderful stories about their families whilst others had experienced the sadness and pain of break-ups. Some had overcome illness, accidents and the loss through death of children and spouses. Sadly ten fellow graduates had died as indicated in the memorial page of the handbook that was prepared for the reunion. Whilst none of this came as a surprise to me, never-the-less, it provided a microscopic view of life from ones late teens to late sixties.

And how was God working in these people’s lives during this period?

Continue reading Two Reunions – GOD is Good!