An Occurrence of Angels

Luke 2:8-14

The Shepherds and the Angels

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

John 20:11-14

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.

These are two of the rare occurrences of angels recorded in the Gospels. The first is taken from what is commonly referred to as the Nativity narrative or story and is a wonderful telling of how the Good. News that the Messiah was entering to world was announced to the lowly shepherds.

In first century Judah, being a Sheperd was not considered that honourable a job, they were relatively unskilled and possibly illiterate workers who worked unsociable hours a a lot of the time, hence why they were in the fields during the night time when the Angels announced the Birth of Jesus.

But look at the spectacular display that God put on for them, “Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude o the heavenly host praising God……..” One only has to take a read of some of the apocalyptic type writings predominantly in the Old Testament but also in the book of Revelation to realise that the Heavenly Host comes in many and varied forms.

This of the best firework display that you have ever been to. Maybe the New Year’s Day celebration on the stroke of midnight in London? Maybe, if you are old enough to remember, a similar display held somewhere across the globe at the turn of the millennium? Think of the best light show that you have ever been to, maybe a Pink Floyd Concert or similar (am I showing my age there making that reference?)

Well I bet that in every way possible the display of the multitude of the Heavenly Host beats your experience hands down.

All those beings right from the presence of God singing his praises in celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ! Magnificent.

Zip forward approx 33 years and we have a very different scenario, but one that is nonetheless any less exciting.

It is Sunday morning, and the previous Friday a day we now refer to as Good Friday, and Jesus had been killed in the most cruel torturous way devised by man at the time. His body had been hurriedly entombed in linen and expensive spices so as not to violate the impending Sabbath and all of the associated regulations that entailed.

The women who were followers of Jesus had got up early, before sunrise, prepared some more spaices and had visited the tomb in which Jesus had been lain to prepare his body. Weather it was because the job on the Friday prior had been rushed because fo the Sabbath, or because this was simply their act of honouring the man they had followed for the best part of three years is not clear, and is not important, what is important is that the Tomb was Empty!

A few things occurred from the initial discovery put to he point in the second set of verses above but we find Mary (Magdelane) on her own at the tomb crying over the disappearance of her Lord. Go read the whole section to get a full picture. And she encounters two angels sitting in the tomb, one at the head and one at the feet of a body that was not even there. And they simply ask why she is weeping?

There is no fanfare, there is no Heavenly Host, there is now chorus or orchestra of celebration just two angels asking a simple question.

Now, we have two thousand years of Biblical exegesis to benefit us and we know the end of the story, if you don’t go read it for yourself its right there in the Gospel accounts. We know that Jesus was raised from the dead that he was resurrected that he now sits at the right hand of the Father and all that, but what had just been achieved here is nothing less than the victory over sin and death. Re-read that, what has just happened here is nothing less than the victory over sin and death. The victory over sin that allows us, you me and everyone who accepts Jesus as Lord and Saviour to enter into relationship with God. And the victory over death because as we enter into that relationship we begin a journey that will last into eternity in His presence that whilst we may die in these mortal bodies, we have a hope of resurrection ourselves. And that some will not “taste” even death but at the appointed time will be caught this up in the air to be with Jesus. Transformed in the twinkling of an eye.

Of all the battles ever fought and won this is the most marvellous, most magnificent, surely the most praiseworthy?

But unlike in our first verses the angels who maybe have witnessed this great even do not offer up a single note of music of praise to God. There is no Heavenly Multitude here there are no lights in the sky, now merge presentation of worship to God for what Jesus has achieved by these beings.

Have you ever wondered why? No? Maybe not, but I have and maybe if you have managed to read this far maybe you are now?

Well I think the answer is simple. Of course the good news of the birth of the Messiah was some ting to celebrate and maybe something that the angels could get excited about because they could see the instigation of Gods plan of salvation.

But the significance of the resurrection relates only to us. To the Human Race. You see we are the ones made in Gods image, not the Angels or other elements of the Heavenly Host, you, me, mankind we are made in Gods image and it is for us that Jesus emptied Himself of all except love and became obedient, even to obedience to death on a cross.

So it is not for the Angels that it is incumbent upon to praise God for this event, rather it is for us, you me and all believers to offer up our praise and worship, be that manifest in song, music, service, works, attitude of heart and mind, whatever form our worship takes it is ours to give, ours to offer ours to make sure that it is given. Not the angels or other Heavenly Hosts.

My challenge is how am I going to make sure I do that?

NEEDTOBREATHE

I am not the worlds biggest fan of American rock. I prefer the stuff that I was brought up on good ol’ British stuff. and not necessarily just rock my musical interest spans almost all genres and I have everything from Beethoven, (who by the way wrote the best ever piece of music in his 9th Symphony), to Paul McCartney and Wings, ELO, Coldplay, with a healthy dose of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice in for good measure.

But I digress. Other than Meatloaf, and who can’t help but like a bit of Meatloaf, I have not ventured much into Americano music.

But this band, discovered on UCB1 with the sublime track Brother has had me listening to them almost constantly for the past 18 months. and like most good musicians, their music, as good as the studio stuff is, gets an extra dimension when they play live: Please take the time to let me introduce you to NEEDTOBREATHE. <- Click the link!

A gospel rock band that is not overtly gospel in their lyrics playing songs that show their struggles simply as human beings trying to do something that they love. After having a listen to them I encourage you to search them out, using your favorite search engine and discover more about them.

DOVES, TURTLEDOVES AND PIGEONS

The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” John 2:13-17



Have you ever noticed how, at times, you can be reading the Bible, siting in a sermon listening to the message on a very familiar passage or even just musing on things to do about God and suddenly, something strikes you. Oftentimes its in a passage that you thought you knew, and have probably read dozens and dozens of times and then suddenly a word or a single aspect of it jumps out at you? Often it can seem to be a quite insignificant detail, but as one preacher once said many, many years ago, every word is in The Bible for a reason. When you think about this, this is a major miracle in itself as the Bible has been translated into many many languages over the course of the past several hundred years or so. But back to the passage above.

We were in our Sunday morning service and Pastor Mike was preaching on the last part of the above passage. Launching a new series of messages on our passion for The Word, The Churc,h Christ, Our Faith, time will tell…………. But this morning it struck me that as Mike made reference to the fact that Jesus took time to form a whip from cords the passage above mentions another matter of detail. One that had been lost on me before.

After Jesus drove out the traders along with the animals, after he overturned the tables of the money lenders and poured out their coins the passage tells us that he told those who sold pigeons “Take these things away; do not make my Fathers house a house of trade.”

Now I remember this story from my Sunday School days and from the scene in Jesus of Nazareth, the mid 1970′ TV series that depicted the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in some meticulous if in places somewhat slightly inaccurate details, and I do not recall the specific mention that it was those who sold pigeons that Jesus told not to turn the Temple into a place of trade or as Matthew puts it much more dramatically a den of robbers. Ironically, (maybe), it is only Luke that does not make reference to the sellers of pigeons. Three of the four Gospel writers, consider this point important enough to include this detail in their narrative.

Neither, can I recall, in my entire Christian life have I heard a sermon on this point. So here goes…….

So what of it? (I imagine I hear you asking yourself). Well if it is in there, it has some significance. If it is in there more than once, it has some important significance and if you ask me, that both two of the synoptic Gospels and John make the point means its has some significance. (John in a sense is much more likely to concentrate on the spiritual rather then practical things and so to my mind is likely to omit this point more so than the Synoptics, but I would bow to greater authorities than myself on this point).

So who were these merchants in the Temple? Well for those of you who are unaware I will give. A very brief explanation.
The Levitical Law of sacrifice was still been practiced in Jesus day. This required, inter alia, every year a sacrifice be offered for the forgiveness of sins and the place that this sacrifice was to be made was the Temple in Jerusalem.

Quite simply, nowhere else would do.

So if you lived some distance away and had to journey to Jerusalem to make your sacrifice, it would be a bit of a pain to have to drag your sacrificial animal all the way over the Judean countryside to Jerusalem and so this system whereby you did the “pilgrimage” and when you arrived at Jerusalem, you purchased a suitable animal to offer as your sacrifice evolved or was set-up by some enterprising first century Del-Boy type character.

Very practical, but this practice in itself has all sorts of connotations and lessons for us to learn from regarding what true sacrifice is, laziness, legalism, responsibility and I suspect if I took the time to think about it lots of other things as well. But for now take it as read that this was an acceptable practice to the Jews of the day.

The only problem was, these traders tended to rip off the people selling them overpriced animals and/or sub-standard animals. The Levitical Law is very particular about the quality of the animal that was to be offered for a sacrifice and in particular that it was to be on the whole of a certain age and that it was to be without blemish. This last point is important for the Christian because Jesus who is our Passover Lamb was/is perfect and this requirement for the animal to be unblemished was, amongst other things, a forerunner to the perfect sacrifice that Jesus would make for all of us on the Cross.

But the Levitical Law, whilst particular was also practical in that Yahweh knew that within the Jewish society established through the ministry of Moses, that there would be some people less well off than others. Therefore the Levitical Law allowed for a sacrifice to be made that was less expensive than the ideal which was usually an ‘expensive’ animal such as a sheep or bull depending on the reason for the sacrifice. And in particular in relation to the sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin the law allowed birds to be used, which from a reading of the Levitical Law shows, would appear to cost less than a sheep or bull. The birds used were inevitably turtle doves or pigeons.
This allowance is important because it shows that one does not have to be rich, famous or even important to gain the forgiveness of sins, but that the forgiveness of sin was available to every strata of person in society. (There is even a grain offering, but for the purposes of this post I am going to concentrate on the birds).

The law of the Old Testament makes it clear that without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins, because the life of the sacrificial animal is found in the blood, and so this ‘consession’ to allow birds to be used fulfilled both that requirement and allowed the poor to seek forgiveness of their sins.

The use of birds however was no less stringent in its requirements for the bird to be without blemish than if a more expensive animal was sacrificed, and so quality not quantity is what God was looking for, again a whole study could be done on this aspect, but again, this is not the point of this post and I encourage you to go away and explore that aspect yourself.

So what do we have, we have the Levitical Law that allows those less well off to participate through the use of birds as the sacrifice, and we have Jesus clearing the temple with specific reference made in the Gospel accounts that he rebuked the sellers of pigeons about turning His Fathers house into a den of thieves.

Why then is it not recorded that he told the sellers of lambs? Sheep? Bulls? Or any of the ‘more expensive’ animals that were on offer not to do the same thing. Maybe He did, by its absence we can not conclude conclusively that this did not happen, but what we do know is that it was important that the pigeon sellers were told very specifically.
To be honest I do not know the answer to the question that I am posing, but I have an idea and I think that the reason this is highlighted is because it is God’s subtle way of including everyone in His plan of salvation. The society that Jesus lived in was influenced in varying degrees by the Roman occupation and they suffered from a very strong honour culture. The Jews especially the leaders and religious authorities were described often as a stiff necked people, that is proud and full of self-sufficiency. Jesus challenged the sellers of birds, I think, because it was possibly the lowest common denominator. In deed, Jesus ministry was in the main more inclusive of the outcast, the poor, the sick, the lame, the destitute those that on the whole would only be able to afford a pigeon or dove to sacrifice at Passover. This tiny little detail is consistent with the rest of Jesus ministry and harkens back over hundreds of years to the giving of the law, and projecting forward 2,000 years, teaching us even today that God’s plan of salvation was all inclusive from even before the foundation of the earth. That it is fair and for all, that it is obtainable by all, that it is offered to all.

In addition, for us as believers I think it speaks to us about exploitation. The traders exploited the ‘pilgrims’ by providing over-priced below par animals for the sacrificial practices. This is abhorrent at whatever level it was practiced. But Jesus has a heart for the poor. To know that the poor were being exploited, to know that the meek and mild were been ripped off would rightfully anger Him and it did, we have the record of the clearing of the temple in all four Gospel accounts. That this practice was endorsed by the religious leaders of the day would ‘rub salt in the wound’. The very people who should be protecting the vulnerable of society from such practices were at best turning a blind eye and in some cases probably profiting from it themselves. We as Christian need to take this warning on board. Do we, Do I seek to help, protect the vulnerable people that I come across? Or do I turn an Convenient ‘blind eye’ to their situation, simply because it is easier to do nothing than to do something?

We were challenged this morning about this very thing. How do we see other people, do we see problems? Do we see hassle? Do we see an opportunity to exploit them (heaven forbid)? Or do we see a world that is heading headlong towards hell because it is inconvenient for us to make a guest urge or take an action to help?

Remember from tiny acorns might oaks grow and that small actions no matter how insignificant they might seem can, and do, change peoples lives. We might not all be preachers or teachers of God’s word, we might not all be trained evangelists or think we have the skills to lead someone to Christ, but we all have a heart and mind and through the prompting and leading of the Holy Spirit I believe we can make an impact and instigate change for the better.

So as I challenge myself I challenge you too, when you walk down the road and see beggars or see someone struggling with something , when you speak to your neighbour, work colleague or non-Christian friend, seek God and how He would use you in that situation. In this way I am sure we can all fan the flames of that passion of our first love for Jesus into a roaring fire.

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday.

The beginning of Holy Week. Probably the most important week in the Christian calendar. Nay, the most important week in the Christian Calendar. This week we, as believers, should focus our attentions on the things that Christ did for us both on the run up to the events of Maundy Thursday and the events thereafter.

They are events that changed the world forever. Events that to all intents and purposes started on what we call Christmas Day. The day that God became incarnate and was born of Mary. Without Christmas there is no Easter. Without Easter there is no hope. It is through the events of that Passover festival that you and I can become Sons and Daughters of the Most High God. Can I challenge you, and myself, to meditate on that over the coming days.

God, the only God that created the heavens, the starry hosts, the whole of the material world and set the time machine in motion allows us to become Sons and Daughters of Yahweh.

If I am honest it blows my mind. Especially if I think hard about it. “For God so loved the world…………..”

Me a sinner not even aware of my state of sinfulness to begin with until God in His grace shone the light of His Holy Spirit on my sinful nature and showed me my rebellious nature. A nature that I still struggle with today, but one that I have the confidence in Him to know that through His love and grace is changing slowly, maybe, and much slower than it should be changing, but changing it is.

And why?

All because of what Jesus His one and only Son did on the Cross. But even more than that, not only what He did on the cross but what, through His righteousness he was able to do on that Resurrection Sunday morning and rise from the dead. The Passover began to “pass over” on that day because no longer was the blood of lambs required to solve the sin question. Jesus had done it and all we have to do is accept His free gift of salvation by trusting in Him and becoming Sons and Daughters of the Most High God!

Thank God for this time that we erroneously call Easter. It’s not Easter it is the true Passover. It is Resurrection Sunday It is after all salvation for all of mankind!

The Bible Project

Do you get loads of emails from various sites that you may have visited on;y once or twice and you end up entering your email to register with them and either inadvertently or knowingly end up subscribing to a regular email drop? They come daily, weekly, sometimes just irregularly and when these drop into your in-box you think “ah I haven’t seen anything from you for a while”, or, “err, what’s that?” 

I find these things at times a little irrritating, but then I suspect that me just growing up into a grumpy old man.

Anyway, most too the time I end up just going through my emails, because I have dozens of these things landing in my in-box, mostly from American Christian organisations but a few British ones too, and I find I have become de-sensitised to their message or the reason I originally signed up to receive the emails in the first place.

Even those from extremely well respected organisations such as Ravi Zacharias International Ministries or William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith site two excellent sources of apologetics material and probably the world two leading Christian Applogisits alive (heavy hint here, if you want to learn more about why you believe what you believe click on those two links). I still suffer from the syndrome of “familiarity breeding contempt”.

Sometimes it’s just that I don’t have time in my rush here rush there life. The emails come in, and invariably they get ignored or deleted. There is also an issue I have (not a big one mind you, but an issue all the same), with the way that some of these emails ape the world titles like 

  • “the best five ways to keep your congregation engaged”, 
  • “the top seven things pastors should avoid” or 
  • “5 Emotional Intelligence Hacks That Can Immediately Improve Your Leadership”, 

It is all a bit worldy and it’s all a bit “how to win friends and influence people” for my liking, but hey, I digress!
So why this post? I don’t want to come accross as though I am just having a bit of a moan (grumpy old man style) .

What I have realised is that amongst the things that I assign to the dross file, there are a few gems and I think I found one today! Some of you might already have found this but for those of you like me who pretty much live with their proverbial heads in the ground I encourage you to take a look at “The Bible Project”.

Now those astute users of the internet will have realised that that last bit is not a link, which would have been the sensible thing for me to give you given I am encouraging you to take a look at their work. They do have a website and I provide that link for you at the bottom of the page. However the Bible Project is predominantly on YouTube And you can get to their video’s here; The Bible Project. I checked out thir Job video and it is good. There is other stuff on there too that I will let you explore on your own but let me encourage you to take a look and perhaps share with friends, family and people who you are talking to about your faith and about Jesus.

I hope you enjoy!

Homepage of The Bible Project

Embryonic Christians

How do you view the unsaved?

If I am honest, I have a variety of responses to them and the response that I have very much depends upon the judgment that I make when I see them or as I get to know them. Sometimes I have to admit that my reaction is not the best or indeed the most ‘Christian’ response that it should be. You see to varying degrees we all make value judgements about others, and not only the unsaved, but also our brothers and sisters in Christ. I am a long long way from having that attitude of Christ who accepts everyone even the unlovely and I can only pray that day by day I allow Him to give me the grace that I need to be more like Him.

Anyway, the reason why I am writing this is because at the men’s Bible study on Saturday morning (30th April 2016), we did a study based on the story in Mark’s gospel regarding Christ accepting the little children when the disciples was trying to ‘protect Him from them’. It was a good study, contrasting that story with the story of the rich young man that comes immediately After it. It is amazing how through studying in this manner you get really get into the meat of the word and feel really really fed. And it all just adds to the validity and continuity and deep understanding of the Bible and what an amazing book this varying collection of books, letters and oracles really is.

But back to my reason for this post, the un-saved.

As we were closing the study I had this image come to mind that I would like to share and hope that it helps you, if like me you sometimes judge the un-saved thinking them uninterested, un-saveable (how arrogant does that make me?) or simply un-worthy of attention.

The image was one of the un-saved as embryonic Christians. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a believer in the universal salvation of all of mankind, I believe that in order to be saved one has to have a personal living relationship with Christ, and that as a consequence there are those who will choose not to enter into that relationship with Christ and will choose by default the alternative which is an eternity without God.

But there is a sense where everyone born is an embryonic Christian, in that we all have the potential to become Christian’s because God has given us all the opportunity to respond to Him in faith. But as in the natural world of child birth, not all embryonic babies mange to come full term, sad as that is when it happens.

But what of this image? Well those of us who are parents will know and fully understand how protective you are of your un-born child, nestled in the safest place that they can be, it takes 9 months for the baby to grow and develop all of the organs necessary for life outside of the womb. So it is with un-saved people. Remember they are on a journey and we should not repent of any input into their embryonic development that we might have. When you come across a person who is unsaved and they scorn or reject the things you say, it could be that they are right at the beginning of that journey in finding Christ.

I look back on my journey and at the age of 15 my best friend with whom I had held many many discussions and debates with about his faith pretty much admitted that whilst he still prayed for me, he had given up. Not long after my 16th Birthday I came to know Christ myself understanding the input that my friend had given me was a key part of my rationalising and coming to the decision to become a Christian. There were of course other influences and inputs, but you see we can also carry out the smallest act of kindness towards an un-believer and that will stay with them and speak volumes over and above debates and ‘arguments’ about our faith.

So what do I think God was trying to teach me in this picture that was in my mind?

I think it was that my attitude ought to be that of a protective parent, seeking their re-birth, seeking their spiritual birth being nurturing and caring until that day that they are at their full term and are born into His kingdom. And even then it does not stop, because just as new born babies need careful attention, feeding and loving to develop into well balanced adults eventually, so our new-born brothers and sisters need that careful nurturing and loving so that they too can grow spiritually and become mature believers sharing their faith with other people who need to come into the faith.

So rather than looking at the varying mass of people that I come into contact with as un-lovely, un-saveable and even unsavoury, I think I need to adjust my mind-set and see them as vulnerable un-born Christians

Lessons from Speed Cameras

I was driving home the other day, I forget where from but that piece of information is irrelevant to this post so if you agree not to worry about it neither will I. Anyway, I passed one of those yellow boxy speed cameras and thought how many times have I being in the situation where upon approaching such a speed camera I have had need to put my foot on the brake to slow the car down to the regulation speed limit so that I don’t run the risk of seeing that dreaded double flash in my rear view mirror that tells me I will have a £60.00 bill to look forward to in a couple of weeks.

Actually the last time that did happen I was in the car with Karen and we were on our way back from a wedding reception late one Saturday evening. And heading towards Huddersfield town centre from the Wakefield road end, you know that bit where it widens out to a four lane mega highway? I was doing around 40mph and the flash of a speed camera went off. Not that I am making excuses here, but it seems that they have dropped the speed limit to 30mph on that stretch of road and I had not seen the signs or realised that they had dropped the speed limit, so anyway a lovely night out was suddenly marred by those two bright flashes of light! I need not of worried though because unbeknown to me, either the camera was empty of film, or it had just been set to trigger to send any wary speedsters into a rush for their brake pedal to slow the vehicle down (funny how we instantly react to try and put something right the moment we have being caught isn’t it?),

Anyway, turning from my digression to what I originally intended to write about, I passed this particular speed camera, you know that one I mentioned I passed whilst on my way home the other day and it got me thinking when we know the route we are taking we oftentimes, or maybe it’s just me and if so then this is my confession, know where things like the speed cameras are positioned and we adjust our driving so that as we approach them we either let the car slow down till we have passed the danger of the white markings that allow the enforcing authority to work out exactly what speed we were travelling at, or as is the case on the steep road connecting Halifax to Huddersfield, we apply the brake to purposely slow down till danger has passed.

I then got to thinking that the effectiveness of such speeding deterrent looses some of its clout through the aspect of familiarity. You become familiar with a route and you can break the speed limit with aplomb knowing just the right time to slow things down a little.

I have often thought that the speed deterrents used on the motorway through road works is a much more effective way of managing speed control than the isolated speed cameras that are ubiquitously deployed on our road network. You see as you are approaching the road works, there is more often than not a sign that declares not only that there are speed restrictions up ahead but that those speed restrictions are been monitored by “average speed, cameras”. I am sure most of you know what those are, but indulge me whilst I explain. You see unlike the isolated yellow boxy things that are the usual speed deterrence the deployed on our roads, that cover an isolated section of road and catch you out if you drive through above the designated speed limits, the type used on the motorways are much cleverer and they actually measure how long it takes you to get from one set of cameras to the next, then the next, then the next until the last camera where you usually see the national speed limit sign and everyone puts their foot down on the accelerator and speeds up, naturally to the maximum of 70mph. (Ahem).

The point is, that these cameras are spaced out so that if you get to the second one in an earlier time span than the reduced speed limit would allow you too, then you must have broken the speed limit to do so. The vehicle registration recognition software tracks every car that passes through the beady eye of the camera and when you plate is flagged up the system issues a penalty notice and three points on your licence. It all very clever stuff and the health and safety of the workers implementing the road improvements in the road works and the nature of reduced lane widths and the protection of other drivers and their passengers are all good reasons why during road works such speed restrictions are more rigorously enforced.

You see entire stretches of road are protected using this type of speed camera and it prevents the pattern of speeding up, then sudden slowing down that the other form of speed cameras would tend to encourage if they were used. I’m sure like me, you have sat in lines of traffic cruising at a steady 50mph on the motorway because this very clever type of speed camera is present. It makes me wonder why some people don’t get it. I have at time seen other drivers treat these cameras in the same way as the other camera types and they slow down as they approach the average speed camera installation, only to speed up again till the next one. I wonder how many tickets they get doing that?

So what’s the point? Well I’m glad you asked me that!

It got me thinking. How do we as Christians live our lives at times? Are we living our lives like the fist type of camera where we know that Sunday is Gods day and so he will be watching, so we put on our Sunday best, behave, go to church and even do nice things for others, but the rest of the week we, with maybe the odd exception for the evening when there is a small group meeting or other meeting at church, live our lives pretty much they way we want to not paying God much if any regard?

Or do we live our lives like the second speed camera example, where we know that our God is always there, always watching and so we do our best to please Him 24/7?

Of course this analogy breaks down at this point because the presence of the speed cameras in both examples is to catch us doing something wrong and ultimatum to penalise us for getting caught. Thank God, that His presence in our lives is nothing like that at all. Instead He wants to be there 24/7 to encourage us, the help us in times of trouble or pain, to show His continuing love for us, not to berate us or condemn us or to issue the equivalent of a spiritual fixed penalty notice and three points on our licence!

But we can and we do sometimes forget that He is there and we go off and do our own thing, putting our foot down on the accelerator of our lives with scant or no regard to God and it’s then that we run the risk of loosing control and crashing in a spectacular way.