Watch an episode from my Gospel Blog Cast
Hello and welcome!
I’m inviting you to come along with me on my journey to truly know Jesus. I’m a proud Christian but wonder, do I really know Jesus as well as I should? Of course I’ve read the Bible but have I really understood what it means to follow Jesus? I’m on a journey of discovery to know more, to learn more and to be more. If you are a Christian too, fantastic; join me and let’s share what we learn and follow together. If you are not, come along and learn more about the book that has sold more copies than any other published, nearly 4 billion copies sold over the last 50 years! This blog is dedicated to reading and sharing the Word of God, as recorded in the Bible.
Faith is a living thing
Before I get underway, I’ll tell you a little about my faith today. It’s important because faith is a living thing. It grows, it dims, sometimes it stagnates and it comes to us all in a unique way. For some it’s love at first sight and for others it’s a long courtship. My faith first came to me in childhood, how easy it is before ones head becomes crowded with life. I lost it for a while and then it was restored in a single moment. All doubts, questions and confusion were replaced with an overwhelming feeling of complete trust and belief that God created Heaven and Earth, the sea, land, sun, moon, stars and gave life to everything living in this World. He sacrificed his only son, Jesus Christ to save us. I guess, I didn’t really feel the need to dwell on the Bible after that, what could it tell me? So, I simply thanked God every day, marveled at creation and put my trust in our Lord to look after me. I didn’t go to church, I’m a hermit. That’s another story and I’ll tell you about it later, maybe. Life ticked along and gradually I began to get a nagging feeling, a gentle nudge telling me there was more to it than faith. It was time to pick up my Bible and then I realise that my faith is sound but I’m not really following Jesus and I’m definitely not sharing his Gospel, I’m selfishly keeping it to myself…
Where to start?
I’ll write a blog, I thought. Share my faith and love of the Lord. I’ll make my faith active by sharing what I believe. Then it hits, how do I start? What shall I say? Well, the first challenge was a domain name and can you imagine how hard that is this far down the road in the midst of the internet generation. I’m late to the race and my first choices are taken. I wanted to call this blog, Amazing Grace because those lyrics really capture the essence of my belief.
I wouldn’t say I’m a wretch, in the true sense, I’m a pretty happy person by nature and I try but I’m not perfect, who is? My character is human, I make mistakes, I get things wrong, I’m tempted daily to put myself first, I forget to show compassion and be patient. I often think I’m right first and consider second, I eat too much, the list goes on. I hear these words and I get it, “Amazing grace, How sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me”. The next lines to grab me are, “How precious did, That grace appear, The hour I first believed”. My faith is precious, it’s my most valued possession, it guides me, comforts me, shields me, reminds me, reprimands me and will one day, by the grace of God deliver me. I’m not immune however and I went through a number of years when I became increasingly agnostic as I struggled to align science with my belief in God. In answer to a prayer however my precious and amazing faith was restored like the final words of John Newton’s great hymn, “I was lost, But now I’m found, Was blind, but now I see”. How lost was I when I hopelessly contemplated the meaning of life, how lost in a meaningless world, blind to the point of my very existence. Then, the amazing grace in that moment when my faith was restored.
I settled on Circular Grace. It’s beautiful really for my blog because faith and grace is circular. It’s a feedback loop, by the Grace of God, we have faith and our faith builds the Kingdom, it brings God’s Kingdom to the world… On earth as it is in heaven.
Finding Jesus in Genesis…
It seems right that my journey to truly know Jesus should start at the very beginning,
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
These are the first words we read when we open the Holy Bible. This is the first sentence in Genesis, which is the first of the five books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). I’ve really struggled with what to say next and if I’m honest, feel humbled by a total sense of inadequacy because I’m not a biblical scholar or historian and I’m a little embarrassed to admit that although I’d fill a postage stamp with what I know about Moses, there would be room left on a postcard. Writing this blog is a challenge on so many different levels but I’m excited and feel compelled to continue. As a Christian when I’m faced with a challenge, I ask God to guide me and I put my trust in him to deliver a path to follow. I feel the answer to my prayer for guidance, is that I should be honest as I write, not to try and be a teacher or try to be anything I am not. I want to avoid the temptation to tell others what to believe and instead, invite them to read the Bible and consider. So let’s be clear, my blog is an account of what I personally believe and what I learn as I travel through the Bible. Other people, rightly and justly have different opinions, they may legitimately interpret things differently, their faith is personal to them as mine is to me. Some may have learnt more than me, through a lifetime of following Jesus. I’m not setting out to declare in this blog that what I say is right but only that it is what I have felt, heard or seen so far on my journey to follow Jesus and read the Bible. I’m looking forward to discovering more from the experience of others as I share this blog and I pray that the fellowship of others becomes a key part of my journey to know Jesus better.
Everything is relevant
Now, I’ve got that off my chest, I’m keen to get underway and see how reading Genesis helps me on my quest to know Jesus. The first thing that strikes me is that everything in the Holy Bible is relevant but that faith doesn’t always or logically start when we first read about the story of creation in Genesis. I know for example that my love for Jesus preceded my faith that God was the creator but paradoxically, I encountered stories in the Bible before I grew to love Jesus. It’s the classic, what comes first, the chicken or the egg dilemma and just as I couldn’t possibly unravel that mystery, I’m not going to fool you into thinking I can explain exactly how God achieves what he does. For me one of the beautiful things about faith is that, in part it exists beyond the realms of human logic, it is a conviction that requires no proof. That thought brings us nicely back to those first words of Genesis. I have faith in my belief that God created Heaven and Earth. Do I understand how? No, I absolutely do not. I don’t understand how God exactly achieved this and I have no idea how he manifested this supreme power, or what exactly that power is, it’s beyond worldly by the mere fact it existed before our world was created. Frankly, it’s beyond my physical, mental capacity to understand, even if God tried to explain it to me, I wouldn’t have the capacity to comprehend it. For me it makes sense that God wouldn’t attempt to explain and so simply told us what he created in a way we could comprehend.
Who is the author of Genesis?
The Bible tells us Moses is the author of Genesis. I’m aware of all sorts of debates that centre around who the author of a particular book in the Bible really is. They delve into when the books were written, in what context and to whom they were written and so on. It seems sometimes relevant and not without interest and so I may delve into a few debates in future posts. Generally however, these are my guiding thoughts on who wrote the Holy Bible and in this instance, Genesis. God breathed Genesis into Moses and so ultimately God is the author. It’s like but not the same as the modern and secular concept of a ghost-writer, somebody who is tasked with writing something on behalf of another person. The difference being that a ghost-writer usually remains anonymous and in this instance it was fundamentally important that Moses would write Genesis and is known to have done so. That’s another topic for another post, so getting back to the point, God gave the story of creation to Moses who told the story to his generation. I’ve always liked the term ‘zeitgeist’, it means the spirit of a particular time and it’s a phrase that I find helpful when reading the Bible because the language used is very much of its time. When I read Genesis I feel God speaks to Moses in a way that Moses understand and likewise Moses wrote in the style of his day, so that his generation will understand. Profoundly it can be read and understood today too. Here’s what Moses writes to tell us the story of the first day
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
For me, one line jumps out, “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters”. I’ve been reading John’s Gospel and instantly I’m reminded of the opening paragraph. John begins his Gospel by reminding us of the story of creation as written in Genesis. I’ve read these words in Genesis often but it was only recently that I actually considered the full message. There is a message beyond what God did, there is also a message about who God is. It’s telling me that God’s Spirit exists as an extension of who he is, it moves, it has a function not separate but in tandem with God. It doesn’t say that God moved upon the water but that the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the water. The meaning seems clear, there is God and there is also the Spirit of God.
My faith before my journey began includes believing in the Holy Spirit as a dimension of the one God. I believe in the Holy Trinity, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. The revelation is that I’m beginning to see the three elements come together as one in a way I’ve not really given much thought to previously. Up until recently I’d focused on God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost as pretty distinct rather than see them creating an indivisible whole. I was quite astonished when the opening paragraphs of John’s Gospel completed the Trinity in my mind. John begins…
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
I’d often heard the phrase ‘Word of God’ and simply translated it in my head as ‘what is written’. I’d been somewhat confused by the context in which it was sometimes used in the Bible but gave it little thought. I guess I’m a little guilty of coming to a confusing bit and fast-forwarding to a point where it sinks in. Someone recently asked me what I thought of ‘the Word’ as we read the opening of John together and I can’t really remember what I replied but I know I was confused. I wanted to reply that it was the essence of the Bible and think I mumbled something about meaning, truth and the story captured in the Bible. They explained that ‘the Word’ was Jesus. That’s kind of amazing, or at least I think so. Once again, it’s something I haven’t considered in a logical way that really joins up the dots. I tend to dwell a lot on Jesus the man who was born in Bethlehem and walked amongst us. I think of Jesus living now with God in Heaven but hadn’t really thought about Jesus before his worldly birth. John tells us that Jesus Christ was with God when Heaven and Earth was created by the one God. The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost!
Wow, what a journey this post has been! I set out with an open mind and vague notion of starting my blog with Genesis but quickly moving on to John’s Gospel and Jesus. Instead, I found myself completely captivated by finding Jesus in Genesis.
Circular Grace Video Blog Cast
I’m creating a series of video readings from the Gospel. Each one contains a reading and my personal thoughts and feelings on the message being shared. Please take a look and share your thoughts to help me on my journey to know Jesus better!
Click on the link below to watch an episode reading from the Gospel According to John. I’m sharing my thoughts and feelings on what the words mean to me.
- Confidence in the unknown?
- A fresh start!
- Episode 3 – The Anatomy of PrayerWhilst on a quest to find out what Jesus taught us about prayer, I found myself absorbed in The Sermon on the Mount.
- Sunday WalkThis morning I walked and I was humbled by the beauty of God’s Creation. I looked down and saw frost glistening like diamonds on the grass and then my attention drifted to the birds hopping from branch to branch in the trees. By my side was my wonderful husband and ahead my mad dog sniffingContinue reading “Sunday Walk”
- Episode 2 – John’s Gospel 1:17-31My journey through these beautiful verses takes me back to Exodus and Kings where I learn about Biblical super heroes. I consider along the way if anyone has ever really seen God.
Episode three will continue reading from the Gospel According to John.
Please share so we can learn together!
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