A whisper in the wind

Man jumping over 2013Time flies! Everyone I speak to feels that the years are passing faster than ever. A few months ago 2012 was only just beginning, and now it’s nearly over! Here in the UK this year we’ve celebrated Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games and ‘enjoyed’ the wettest summer for 100 years. In Europe scientists announced the discovery of the elusive Higgs Boson particle, and the Costa Concordia cruise ship found itself at the centre of one of Italy’s worst maritime disasters. In Asia there’s been severe flooding in the Philippines, and Xi Jinping became the new Chinese leader. In the Middle East there have been worries over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the tragic Syrian civil war and a few miles further south nearly 800 Gazan rockets were fired into Israel in 2012 before Israel finally responded in November. Superstorm Sandy brought death and destruction in the Caribbean, before going on to wreak havoc in the north-eastern states of the USA. Over New Mexico Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian skydiver, made the highest and fastest jump in history from a helium balloon at an altitude of 128,100 feet.

Much has happened in a relatively short time – including many other important events, but that’s not always the case for us all. If we’re not careful time can quickly fly by with little being achieved. How was 2012 for you? Did you manage to accomplish as much as you’d hoped? Unless we take stock of our time it will quickly slip through our fingers. 3,000 years ago King David wrote, “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered — how fleeting my life is. … My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; certainly, everyone alive is like a whisper in the wind.” (Psalm 39:4-5)

In the light of eternity we are here for a relatively short time – “a whisper in the wind”, so the beginning of a new year is a good time to think about our priorities in life. The time quickly comes when we can look back twenty, thirty, even forty years over our adult life, and realise that we can’t change our past and that our future is shorter than it once was. So 2013 offers us a whole new start to make the most of our time, by reassessing our priorities and making the most of every opportunity. As Moses once prayed, “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. … So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a wise heart.” (Psalm 90:4, 12)

I hope that 2013 will be a blessed year for you, a year when you accomplish your goals yet find time to rest, when your priorities are ones that you’ll look back on with gladness, and, whatever your situation, may God be your guide. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Advertisements

It’s all your fault!

man in shop with wine bottle

The little man at the off licence was to blame for all the world’s evils according to a 1975 comedy sketch on the BBC’s “Rutland Weekend Television”. So he was arrested and taken to court, where he was charged with “fascism, racial prejudice, Any Questions, crime in society and the unfair distribution of wealth.” Despite his protestations of innocence he was taken away and hanged. The sketch was only humorous because it was so absurd. There was no way the owner of one small shop could ever be the cause of the world’s most intractable problems.

Yet it has become fashionable to blame one small country for all the world’s ills. Yesterday hundreds of anti-Israel activists mostly from Europe attempted to fly to Israel to protest. Those that made it were presented with a letter by the Israeli foreign ministry thanking them for their efforts. It read:

Dear activist,

We appreciate your choosing to make Israel the object of your humanitarian concerns. We know there were many other worthy choices.

You could have chosen to protest the Syrian regime’s daily savagery against its own people, which has claimed thousands of lives.

You could have chosen to protest the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown on dissent and support of terrorism throughout the world.

You could have chosen to protest Hamas rule in Gaza, where terror organizations commit a double war crime by firing rockets at civilians and hiding behind civilians.

But instead you chose to protest against Israel, the Middle East’s sole democracy, where women are equal, the press criticizes the government, human rights organizations can operate freely, religious freedom is protected for all and minorities do not live in fear.

Therefore we suggest to let you solve first the real problems of the region, and then come back and share with us your experience.

Have a nice flight.

Israel is not perfect, neither is the UK, nor any of the countries that the activists flew from. As Jesus reminded us, before criticising others we need to get our own house in order.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Luke 6v41-42)

Israeli Field Hospital in Haiti
Israeli Field Hospital in Haiti - 2010

Israel is involved in international disaster relief and medical care (see photo); it’s scientists are experts in irrigation technology and pharmaceuticals, and most of us rely on Israeli discoveries to power our computers and mobile phones, but when compared to Biblical standards Israel, like every other country, has some way to go. Nevertheless when delving back into Israel’s Biblical past we find that in instructing Israel to keep His commands, God says through Moses:

“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be His people, His treasured possession. The LORD did not set His affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you …” (Deuteronomy 7v6-8)