Duncan's Monthly message for April

 

The monthly message from Duncan for April:

Easter is nearly here. We know. You can’t avoid adverts, bunnies, egg hunts, even dinosaur egg hunts! Okay, it’s fun, but we forget what a great gift Easter is. A gift from a God who loves us without limit. 

Yet, with all God’s gifts, to live in it is costly. Faith in God is never part-time. Talk to musicians, artists, anyone with a talent, and they tell you they need to live in it, work at it, strive to use the talent, or it dries up. The acts that get through Britain’s Got Talent, always seem to be those who strove to use their talent fully.

God gives two main gifts - the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus - that’s Easter - and the Holy Spirit to dwell within us - that’s Pentecost. We could say, ‘I trust Jesus as saviour,’ and leave it at that. But we would miss out on so much. We wouldn’t know God. All of God’s gifts must be lived in, become part of our lives, or they are useless.

An old bible tale is of the Tower of Babel. There, the Bible says, God divided people through language and confusion. Why? Because they were getting too cocky. At first it sounds as if God is terrible. Yet, think about it: God had already given them everything in Adam. But Adam and Eve rejected God’s terms, and wanted their own. At Babel, their descendants tried to get everything again, also on their terms. So God confused them to save greater tragedy.

Thousands of years later came Pentecost, the reversal of Babel. Instead of everyone speaking different languages, not understanding each other, everyone heard and understood. It’s a great symbol. But what do they hear and understand? How to build towers? Gossip? The price of fish? No. They hear of God’s glory. When people want to go their own way, and glory in themselves, comes confusion. But, when they want to go God’s way, and glorify God, comes understanding and oneness.

That’s the outcome of Easter. The biblical book of Romans says the Spirit comes to make us children of God. Is that a blessing? Yes. Who wouldn’t want to be a child of God? But there’s a cost.

Try flipping a coin and only catching one side, without touching the other. Almost impossible. Pentecost is fantastic. God sent his Spirit to be with us, to make us his children. I’m sorry to upset those who think everyone is a child of God. The bible insists that becoming a child of God is trusting Jesus, and opening yourself to God’s Spirit.

The Bible uses several pictures to explain that. The Spirit comes as fire, to warm our hearts and stir our souls. He comes as wind - to blow away cobwebs. He is a companion - to accompany and help us. He comes as water, to quench our thirst. Great.

But think of the flip-side. The Spirit as fire is also to burn our selfishness; to remove the dross in our lives that we rely on - our possessions, money, jealousies. He teaches us not to rely on these things but on God. It’s painful.

The Spirit as wind blows like a hurricane. He tears from us everything that is unstable, or rotten, or has no roots. The Spirit as companion is a true friend who asks awkward questions. Such friends challenge you. They won’t let you ruin your life or hide behind a facade. God’s Spirit makes the real you face God properly.

The Spirit as river drowns us, so that we die to ourselves and live for others.

That’s Pentecost, the end-result of Easter. See the cost? God gives us much, but there are two sides. Maybe that’s why so many people don’t want this. But they miss so much: the inheritance, the joy, and the Father who welcomes you home. Happy Easter, and may Pentecost challenge you.

If you want to know more, please make contact through this website.

Duncan


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