Monday, March 31, 2014

Song of Songs

It is not all about sex.  Well..... maybe a little bit. :-)

There are many interpretations of this book.  Some say it is all about romantic love, some say it is a metaphor for God's love for us.  .

I think it is both.  Although the name of "God" is never mentioned, I think this is a picture of his love.  We are shown the beautiful, pure, love that a married couple have for one another.... but not a quiet, safe love.... rather a wild passion and dedication.

She says to him "Your love is better than wine" and she longs for the day when he will bring her into his chamber. 

He responds by saying "How beautiful you are, my darling, Oh how beautiful!"  

She says that he has taken her to his banquet hall, where "His banner over me is love."

The King loves his maiden, and calls her his beloved.  He flies a banner (of love) for all to see, like a military victory he is proud of.  

This is the sort of love the Bible espouses as pure and beautiful.  And it is the sort of wild, passionate love that causes God to lift up the skirt of his robe and run to meet his bride, rather than sit and wait for her.  It is the sort of love that causes God to destroy nations for the love of his people, and keep forgiving them and calling them back to himself.  Because He thinks we are beautiful, and worth it.
Love is his banner,
love better than any wine.
“Behold! Thou art fair!”

I think that the book is not about God and us, it is about love.  Pure and simple.
And what better love than the love he has for us.

Do we really love God like a bride loves her Groom?
Do we believe that he is as passionate about us as a King bringing his wife home to live with him?
If we did believe, how would we act differently today towards God?

Saturday, March 29, 2014


"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven" (Eccl 3:1)

Probably the most quote line from the book of Ecclesiastes, and maybe the only one that most people know.  This entire chapter that starts with this line is beautiful, and filled with many spiritual truths.
Read Chapter 3, and then meditate on these words.

For God, in his time,
has made beautiful all things,
and timeless our hearts.

Life doesn't always make sense, but God does.
Life doesn't always make sense, but God understands.
Life doesn't make sense... apart from an understanding of God.

Friday, March 28, 2014


No plot, no characters.  Just wisdom.

Collected sayings by many wise people, chief among them King Solomon, this entire book seems to be about achieving wisdom.  But not wisdom as the world knows it, but the wisdom that comes from "trust(ing) in the Lord with all your heart. Never lean on your own understanding." (Prov 3:5)

Each proverb comes back to Proverbs 1:7; "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

The fear of the Lord
is the heart of all wisdom.
Look to Him and live.

Solomon asked God to make him wise, and this was granted to him.  
Do we ask daily to be wise, not in the ways of the world, but the ways of the Lord?
What can I do today that might seem foolish, were it not for my faith in God?

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Despite being thought of as being the Psalms of David, not all the songs in this book were written by King David.  Many people were inspired to reduce their feelings to words, both to praise God, and to cry out in pain. 

Which means that whatever your circumstance of life, you will find something for you.  Whether you are in joy, or sorrow.  Whether you are in doubt, or feeling very faithful.

Ultimately though, all the Psalms come back to one central theme, which can be summed up in the haiku.

Praise ye the Lord.
In our joy, and our sadness,
our help comes from Him

Meditate on his words everyday, and sing Praises to the Lord.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


If ever there was a book of the Bible that was hard to read, it would be Job.  Job is depicted as being a perfect and faithful follower of God, and yet he suffers great hardships.  So much so, in fact, that we refer to the "patience of Job", or "suffering of Job" in modern idiom.

There is a lot of theology tied up in this book, but the verse I always take away with me is Job 1:21

"“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;    may the name of the Lord be praised.”
Our praise of the Lord needs to be constant, and not dependant on our circumstances.  I know I have a long way to go before I can take this one 100% to heart.  Even though my head understands, I still struggle with it on occasion.

JOBHold on to your faith.
Our God gives and takes away,
but always stays true.
Do we always have faith, and hope?  Even in suffering?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I think that Esther is one of those books of the Bible that everybody knows, even if they have never actually read the Old Testament past Noah and the flood.

Esther is a young Jewish girl who marries the King of Persia... talk about a step up from slavery.  When a plot to kill all the Jews in the country is hatched by a political official, Esther risks her life by going uninvited to the King, and gets his protection for her people.

Interestingly enough, the book contains no reference to (1) God or (2) prayer.  It is told as a history, and the story of one brave girl.  However it contains a lot of spiritual insight, most famously when Esther's cousin says to her "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

A woman of God,
Born for a time such as this.
Favoured by her King.

Esther showed courage, and faith in God.  She fasted before approaching the King, and took seriously the idea that she might have been put into the position she was in in order to rescue all her people.
God calls us all to where he wants us, and he uses us wherever we are.  We can either let him use us, or fight it.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Nehemiah, the cup-bearer to the Persian King, finds out that even though his people have been back in Judah for nearly one hundred years, they still have not rebuilt the city walls.  He decided to go rebuild the city wall, and gets permission from the king.

He gets the whole wall re-built in less than 100 years, despite the fact that the harassment from the pagan tribes is so bad that the builders all have to work with their swords strapped on.  The success of the project is due largely to the attitude of constant prayer that Nehemiah displays.

With prayer and with sword,
The wall of Jerusalem
rises once again.

In 52 days, they did what nobody thought was possible for over 100 years.  
And because of it, their enemies "perceived that this work was wrought by our God" (Nehemiah 6:16)

Do we constantly pray for what would otherwise be impossible?
Do we remember that our God is a God of the impossible, and uses all things for his glory?
What is impossible, or just difficult, in your life today?

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Even though they returned to Judah, the people had forgotten God.  Or at least they had forgotten his laws, and how to follow him.  After decades in captivity, they had started to intermarry with their captors, and brought back diluted practices and a watered down faith.

Ezra was a priest who returned with them, and "had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel." (Ezra 7:10)

Ezra begins a spiritual renewal for a people who have lost their way, and a return to God.

A heart that seeks Him.
Ezra prepares the people.
Hope will rise anew.

The people forgot God, but he never forgot them.

If God can offer Grace to his people after 50 years of being separated from him, how much more can he offer a second chance to us, no matter how far we stray, or how often we fall?
Today, forget how often you fall, but remember how often God picks you up again.

Friday, March 21, 2014

2 Chronicles

Sin leads to people falling away from God's plan.  After King David, the kingdom is led by his son Solomon.  And after Solomon, the sin and rebellion of the people leads to the splitting of God's perfect plan into a nation divided.

Israel falls, and even the stronger, more Godly, Judah eventually falls.  Jerusaleum falls, and the Babylonians take the people into exile.

But even through all of this, God never leaves them, or gives up his plans for them.

The final verses of Chronicles are echoed in the opening lines of Ezra. Cyrus, the king of Persia allows the Jews to rebuild the temple.

 A nation fallen
Still carrying God’s favour.
“I will bring you home.”

Do we ever see only pain and suffering in God's plan for us, where it is actually aimed at bringing us back to Him?
Do we know, and truly believe, that God desires to save us and bless us?  
Take a moment to think about what that means for your decisions each day.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

1 Chronicles

God chose Israel, and not even their sin would make Him change his mind.

This book is a re-telling of the events of Samuel.  However the emphasis is on David's reign, and the impact it will have on the future of God's chosen people.  "I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever, and his throne shall be established for evermore." (1 Chronicles 17:14)

God promises David an eternal line; a line that will one day lead to Jesus Christ, and our salvation.  Even though the people will fall away from God, he will not fall away from them.  Even though he will allow their nation to be destroyed, he will preserve them and their line.

Even though they deserve death, he will give them instead life.

The throne of David
established for evermore.
Grace in spite of sin.

Like Israel, we also lose our way sometimes.  
Do we remember that God treats us with Grace?
Do we remember to thank him, not just with words, but with our lifestyle.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2 Kings

 What happened to Israel?

After the events of 1 Kings, the people of God were divided into a North and South Kingdom.  Judah and Israel both thought they were the true followers of the Way of God.

Both of them drifited from the true path, and eventually both were destroyed.
But not completely.

God allowed them to be conquered, but he preserved a remnant in both cases.  Followers who would be able to spread the word, to their captors and to the other nations.

Judah and Israel.
Both nations carried away.
An exile begun.

Sinning, and turning away from God, has consequences.
But God never forsakes us, and always has a plan to bring us back, no matter how far we go from him, or how separated we feel.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

1 Kings

The wisdom of Solomon.

We all know that saying, right?

God asked Solomon what he could give him, and he asked for wisdom.

Which is a great answer by the way.

Then God instructs Solomon to do the one job he never allowed David to do... building a permanent temple for Him.  After years of meeting his people in a tent, God finally allows Solomon to build him a home.

Which all sounds like the end of a great story.  Roll credits.  Cue theme music.  Audience stands and applauds.


We know that this is only part 1 of the book of Kings, which was originally written as a single scroll with 2 Kings.  Problems set in almost as son as Solomon dies; which eventually lead to Israel being split into the two rival kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

Wise old Solomon
Building a house for the Lord
How long will it last?
 Even Solomon in his wisdom, made mistakes such as taking so many foreign wives.
Even the best of us drift from God on occasion, but he never stops loving us or watching over us.

Monday, March 17, 2014

2 Samuel

a.k.a Why I like King David.

After Saul, David took over as King of Israel.

Best. King. Ever.

I like reading about King David, and the reasons why could take up an entire 40 days of posting on their own.  But let me summarise.

King David appears to have had the closest relationship with God of anyone mentioned in the Bible.  (Apart from Jesus.)  God refers to him as "A man after my own heart."

Yet we know that David was far from perfect.  Very far.
He lied.  He cheated.  He committed adultery.  He murdered to cover up the adultery.
He made a few mistakes.  Big ones.

So what made him "a man after my won heart"?  Why did God keep forgiving him, and blessing him?

Because his heart was alway focused on God.  When he made mistakes, he did not try and excuse them, or tell himself that the had not sinned.  When he was convicted of his sin, either by God directly, or through a prophet, he would tear his clothes and repent and turn back to God with a sincere heart.

And God, who judged what was in his heart, would take him back with open arms.

Israel’s greatest King
A man after God’s own heart
Yet still so human

I fall.  I fail.  A lot.
But God does not judge me by my mistakes, but by how I deal with them.
He does not judge me for my sins, but for whether I turn from them.
I pray that God helps me to have a heart that is pleasing for him, no matter how many times I might fall.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

1 Samuel

Who is Samuel? 

At this time in the history of God's people, Samuel is the prophet who speaks with God's voice, and leads His people to defeat their enemies.

Unfortunately, the leaders of the tribes of Israel want a King to reign over them.  Samuel warns then that God is their King, and that a human King would tax them and oppress them... but they insist.

God tells Samuel that "they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them." (1 Samuel 8:7)

God then appoints Saul as King over all Israel, which is united under his rule. The people of God make selfish choices, such as asking for King instead of trusting in God alone.
God just wants them to follow him, and he points out to them that "Obedience is better than sacrifice" (1 Samuel 15:22)

But they fall short, and try to do things their own way.

And thus the Nation of Israel is born.

 A nation is born
Focus shifts from Him.
So hard to obey.

 Do you ever replace obedience with sacrifice?
Over this season of Lent, which are we focused on?  
Obedience, or just sacrifice?

What is God calling me to be obedient about today?

Friday, March 14, 2014


I am not saying that Ruth is my favourite book of the Old Testament, I am not saying that it is the greatest book of the Old Testament.  I am saying that I believe that in four short chapters, the author tells the entire story of the Bible.  

Our heroine, Ruth, is faithful to her Mother-in-Law, refusing to abandon her, even when both their husbands are dead.  She is rescued by our hero, Boaz.  He pays the bride price, and redeems here and takes her for his wife.  And from them comes King David, and ultimately the line that gives us Jesus; the ultimate 'kinsman redeemer' and bride groom.

 Bride Price paid for Her
Redemption for faithfulness
Saving line begun

Sometimes we don't understand what God has planned for us, but he always meets our needs and works out our lives in ways we could never have dreamed possible.  

Are you letting God work in your life?  Or are you trying to tell him how to fix your problems?
Do you have faith that, even if you can't see a solution, God can?
Have you thanked him today for always providing for you?

Thursday, March 13, 2014


This book is all about Israel falling into the same trap over and over again...
1. They forget all about God.
2. They sin.  A lot.
3. God punishes them by handing them over to their enemies.
4.  They turn back to God.
5.  God sends a deliverer (called a 'judge') to save them.
6.  They rejoice, and promise never to forget all about God again.
7.  They forget about how badly they messed up, and go back to step one.

Second verse; same as the first.

The most amazing thing for me, is step 5.... and how many times God does it.  If you read the book quickly, you realise how often Israel forgot about God and turned their back on Him.  Yet he never forgets about them.  He does whatever it takes to bring them back to him.  Again.  And Again.

Endless mercy.  Endless grace.

Endless love.

So quick to forget
We fall and are delivered
No limit to Grace
Every time they fell into sin, we are told that "They did what was right in their own eyes."
Do we do what it is right in God's eyes?  Or just our own.
Do we learn from our mistakes, or keep coming back to them.
What do I need to pray for help in putting behind me today?
Have I thanked God recently for all those times he keeps saving me?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


The book of Joshua is the first book detailing what happens to the people of God after the death of Moses, and when they prepare to enter the Promised Land.

Right from Chapter One, God tells young Joshua "Do not be afraid" and "Be courageous" for " ... I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.  Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates--all the Hittite country--to the Great Sea on the west.  No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Joshua 1 :3-5)

The whole book is about courage and faith.  The people are told they will be given the land, but only once they start walking to claim it.  For 40 years they walked around in circles, now they have to walk into the land they have been promised, and claim it in faith.

Over and over the book shows how God miraculously keeps his promises to his people; from stopping the River Jordan from flowing, to causing the walls of Jericho to fall down.  God blesses His people, and keeps his promises.  This faithfulness is what prompts Joshua to quip the famous line "
...if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, ... But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.(Joshua 24:15)

Our faith rewarded
He gave us the land we walk
My house serves the Lord

God is always faithful in keeping his promises.  And he loves us and watches over us, even if we think we have been forgotten.
Who will we serve?  God, or the things of this Earth?
What is God calling you to do today that is scary?  Where does he want you to plant your feet, so that he can claim the land?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Deuteronomy literally means "Second Law."
This books reflects the last words of Moses to Israel as they enter the promised land.

But it is more than just a repeat of what they have been told before, Deuteronomy makes it clear that the rules and laws aren't a list to try and frustrate them/us, but rather to benefit and grow God's people.

Interestingly enough, most of the scriptures quoted by Jesus when he is tempted by the Devil, come from Deuteronomy. ( Eg. Deut 8:3, Deut 6:16, Deut 6:13)

One of the most quoted Old Testament verses comes from here, " Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one." (Deuteronomy 6:4) and the 10 Commandments are all repeated as well.

Hear oh Israel
I am your God, I am One
This is all you need

God wants us to prosper, and he has provided us with the only thing we truly need... Him.
Do we remember this every day?  That God is first in our lives, and all we need in our lives?

Monday, March 10, 2014


So God brought his people out of Slavery in Egypt, and yet still they rebel and lose faith in Him.
A lot.

As a result, they wander the wilderness for forty years.  They complained about the food they were given, they complained about the leaders they were given, and they refused to enter the land they were given, because they did not have faith that God could help them to keep it.

So they wandered aimlessly for an entire generation.

But God never left them.  Despite their stubbornness and sin... "The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion." (Numbers 14:18a)

So quick to forget
We wander out our sentence
Yet still not alone

All of our actions have consequences.  We sin, and we face punishment.
For us today, Jesus has taken that punishment, so we no longer have to face death, or wander in the wilderness.  We can come back to God time and time again, and we are forgiven and loved.

And when we do fall.  When we do sin.  When we ask for forgiveness... We need to
(a) remind ourselves that God still loves us with all His heart. (And it is a BIG heart)
(b) remember that we are saved by Jesus' actions, not our own.  And be thankful.
(c) not let it stop us from standing up again.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


I think for many people, Leviticus is probably a good example of what they don't like about Lent. 
Be honest, what is the first think you think of when I say "Leviticus"?

Probably "Lots of rules."
Maybe, "Lots and lots of pointless rules?"

The book of Leviticus contains many examples of ceremonial laws, as opposed to the moral laws of Exodus.  It is largely a book for the Levites, who's job it was to make sure that the people were ceremonially clean.

And let us face it, most of the book is not directly relevant to us.  We are no longer living under the strict Old Testament codes of diet and behaviour. 

But Leviticus was not just a set of random rules that God set up to test us, or to make us fail.
Leviticus has one strong theme running though it...
"I am Holy, so You will be Holy."
God is a Holy God, and he wants us to be Holy as well.  More than that, he expects us to be able to be Holy.  

But he doesn't base our salvation on it.  He brought his people out of Egypt first.  (Salvation)
THEN he gave them rules for Holy Living.  (Sanctification)

He didn't tell them that if they broke the rules he would send them back to Egypt.  But he gave them rules to help them to sanctify (purify) themselves so that they could lives closer to him.  

He wanted them to remember to treat Him as Holy, so that they could become more Holy.  So that they could become more like Him.  So that they could feel closer to Him.  

We don't have to follow the rules laid down in Leviticus, but we also can't ever forget why He gave them to us.  And we can not forget the constant refrain of Leviticus...

As I am holy
So must all my people be
Do this and draw near
What one thing in your life right now is getting in the way of drawing closer to God?
What one thing could you add to your life today to help you draw closer to God?
Do we really try to be Holy?  Or do we just give ourselves a "free pass" because we already have the free gift of grace and salvation?
Lent is not about following rules, it is about taking a day (or 40) to think about how to draw closer to God.  Do we?

Friday, March 7, 2014


We all know the story of the Exodus, right?
God's chosen people have found themselves caught in slavery in Egypt.  They have suffered, and have called out to their God;  And he sends them a saviour.

Even after generations in Egypt, God did not forget His people, or His promise to them.
He leads them out of slavery, and into new life with Him.

And for 40 years, as the wander the dessert, still lost as a result of their sin and rebellion, he never leaves them.  He never forgets them.  He guides them miraculously with a pillar of flame by night, and a tower of smoke by day.  He feeds them with Manna from Heaven.  

And for 40 years they walked, and looked for a way to please God and draw closer to him.
They walked their faith, as they were given new understanding every day of what it meant to be a follower... it sometimes means blisters on your feet, but it means that as long as you are walking and following, God will always lead you and protect you.

God did not leave us
Fire by night, cloud by day
Our faith in our feet.
God saved us, and brought us out of sin as well.  Do we grumble about the long walk? Do we long to go back to Egypt, where we were comfortable?
Do we have blisters from walking the path each day?  Or do we just put our feet up sometimes?
Do we always remember that God is going with us? Even when we can't see him.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


The book of Genesis is not the oldest book in the Bible, but it is the first presented.  Because Genesis is the Book of Beginnings. 

God creates the Earth, which most people agree is a good idea.

Then he chooses a special people, and calls them to have a relationship with Him....
...which seems like less of a good idea when you see how they/we keep messing it up.

But God didn't create the Earth, and Mankind, just so he would have something pretty to look at, or to have something fun to watch, like a giant soap opera.

He created us to be in a relationship with Him.
He created us for love.
He created us, because HE is love.

He made us.  He called us. He showed us the way to live.

In the beginning
Made for love, called for my own
Follow me, and live

God chose us, are we choosing Him today?
God loves us, how are we going to show our love for Him today?
God wants us to have life in all its fulness.  How are you going to live your life for Him today?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Biblios Hokku

Biblios Hokku
By faith, for service
our worth only in His eyes
we are saved for Him.

A few years ago, I decided to write out the entire Bible in Haiku.  By which I mean that I wrote a Haiku for each book of the Bible, starting from Genesis and ending with Revelation.

It might sounds like a strange idea, and maybe a little pointless and contrived. And maybe it was. But it got me thinking carefully about each book, and how it fitted into the Bible and the Word as a whole, and trying to capture its unique essence in three lines meant I had to try and decide what really came out of that book...

Which was quite interesting.

So for the next 40 days of Lent, I will be doing something slightly different.  Each day I will meditate on one book of the Bible.  I wish I could say that I will read a book each day, but I do have to work (and sleep) sometime.

So I will be spending my Lent Discipline focusing on a new book each day, and sharing my Haiku, and my insight.

I will be focusing on the 39 books of the Old Testament, because I think sometimes we forget how important the Old Testament is, not just to our understanding of the New Testament, but to our understanding of God, and Jesus, and our faith.

Join me?