No Better

From the Shaun Groves album Third World Symphony

I sometimes wonder how I can call myself a follower of Christ when I still sin. But God, in His inexplicable majesty, instead of condemning me on my confession, seems to chuckle and say, “You’re not the only one. Just know that your sin, and your confession, keep you humble, and that’s the best place to be. It’s not the best way to do it, but – I love you. You’re forgiven. Seventy times seven and all that…”

I keep quiet, knowing that I probably used up my 490 quite some time ago.

God Here, Among Us

 

Nightmares

 

I hate them. Sometimes they last all night, with fitful wakefulness in between. When I wake I am glad to realise it was only a dream, that the past hasn’t come back in all its horribleness, but still, such nights are emotionally draining. Daytime flashbacks are draining too. They still grab hold of me, but not usually with the same intensity that they did in the past. This is good. This is progress.

 

I recalled the poem I posted yesterday as I breathed in the fresh green of an English summer morning and sipped my also-green smoothie (recipe here). My mind drifted to thoughts both of thankfulness for what I have now, and of sorrow for our brothers and sisters, especially those in the Middle East, whose suffering is intense and ongoing. Come by here, Lord.

 

I was reminded of this song by Shaun Groves. Shaun writes songs with lyrics you won’t hear anywhere else, and a rare, tender honesty.

 

Be blessed, this June morning. Peace be with you.

Anointed

‘Anointed’.

 

This word puzzles me. I’ve heard it used a few times, purely in evangelical*** circles, though I’ve read it online a fair bit. I treat it with caution because of my suspicion that the person is speaking ‘Christianese’ (you know, a way to make yourself sound all good and holy and stuff because you say the ‘right’ phrases).

 

Amen, brother.

 

You know, like how anyone wanting to win an argument will say “ah, but it’s biblical, you know”. As if their utterance of ‘biblical’ makes it akin to the Roman Catholic pope’s ex cathedra (‘infallible’, if you’ve not heard it before).

 

Anyway, today Shaun Groves posted on this topic, and it reminded me of something a friend said last week: “I’m so glad Nick is coming to preach at our church. His preaching is so anointed!” Her smile as she spoke was filled with a brief, bright joy. For the next few days, I looked forward to the sermon.

 

After the service, my friend made the same comment. I gave a reply commenting on the bible verses used rather than the actual preaching. She’s not the type of person to feel the need to speak ‘Christianese’, but what was ‘anointed’ for her was decidedly underwhelming for me.

 

As I was sitting listening to a man who was obviously a very genuine person – caring, passionate about his calling, etc. – and feeling vaguely annoyed/bored/hot (it was very hot and stuffy – the new PA system means the windows can’t be opened so it’s like sitting in a greenhouse) I was mentally muttering to myself, “When is he actually going to say something? I’m not sure I’ve heard him actually say anything.” I must have also been muttering this to God, because I got the sense of God saying, calmly but deliberately, “It’s not for you. What he has to say is for someone else.”

 

That got me thinking. Maybe God works like that. Maybe something can be ‘anointed’ even just for one person? I still don’t think it’s a word I’ll use any time soon, but it comes down to this: sometimes it’s plain bad preaching, but other times…

 

 

 

It’s just not for you.

 

‘You will fully recognise them by their fruits. Do people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?’ 

Matthew 7:16 (Amp)

*** for my non-UK readers, I should qualify this statement by saying that evangelicals in the UK are decidedly in the minority and Christians are very much a minority in the first place.