Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: Birmingham

Keep right on til the end of the road

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Keep right on til the end of the road

2 Corinthians 4:16 (ESV) So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

I entitled this article “Keep right on til the end of the road” as I am reminded in this verse of the song by the legendary Scottish balladeer Sir Harry Lauder who sang this song and it became an anthem for many causes. One of the most famous is that it is the anthem of the supporters of “The Blues” a team in England’s second city Birmingham. The team is called Birmingham City and their fans use the song from anything to signing messages to each other “KRO” (Keep right on) to singing the song when the team are playing at home and away.

I find it mildly amusing that a team with such a history of almost making it to the pinnacle and then faltering, and then coming back and then faltering again would have the following words in their anthem…

…”When you are tired and weary, you’ll still journey on”

I get this as football (or association football or soccer depending on where you are reading this from) is like a religion, in my deepest throws of “worship” I have been in big cathedrals dedicated to the worship of the players and our “tribe” all wear similar colours and sing the same “hymns”. I have laughed, danced and cried based on the position of a size 5 spherical object that we call a football and where it is on the field. If it enters their goal I am euphoric, it is enters our goal it could ruin my weekend. Some may object to calling it worship, but it is what it is.

Do I still enjoy the game?

I do, but as I am 4000 miles away it has less of a pull on me than it did when I was younger. The last time I was in Scotland I did check the fixture lists to see how I could get a game in and I did. But I noticed a difference that it was still my team and regardless of whether I was there or not to cheer on my team (Dundee United) the gig went on, they didn’t postpone any games because i wasn’t here, they even managed to win the Scottish cup without me being there (2010) so i would say that it is a lot healthier than it used to be.

Getting back to Paul

What does this mean in the context of the verse? Well I am brought to thinking of the song as it is a song of endurance. A song to keep your spirits up during hard times, I once looked for the song on YouTube and the song that came up had many archive pieces of footage showing victory in wars.

Which is relevant for us, we are called to a battle, a heavenly war if you will. We will be “tired and weary” we will see injustice, we will in our flesh question God’s plan. For me, that is the most difficult part of my walk with Jesus, understanding God’s “big picture”. It is hard to do so when you are in the pit and your circumstances are real.

We are told in verse 17 that “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” so I encourage you, when you can’t pay your bills, when life deals you a raw deal, when I want “My will to be done” I have to buckle and say “Thy will be done”, whatever trial, whatever temptation, whatever it is you are facing God is big enough to take this. You are praying to the God who created the universe in one single spoken sentence. (We are still finding bits of that self-same universe)

We have to get beyond the temporary, when we are in the pit, it seems so hopeless. I must confess that I try to do God’s job for him at that point and find exit routes as I don’t like being tried and tested when I should just place it at his feet and say “LORD I don’t know how you are going to do this, but I need you LORD”.

Let’s look at the life of Joseph

Last night in our bible study, we took a very high level look at the suffering of Joseph, (Genesis 37-50) Joseph had a prophetic dream that his brothers would all bow down to him and he suffered by being betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery for 20 silver coins but through it all Joseph trusted God that it was all going to work out. He was sold into slavery, imprisoned even although he was innocent, (he resisted temptation in the form of his masters wife) this allowed him to meet Pharoah’s cup bearer and when Pharoah was troubled in his dreams, God allowed Joseph to interpret the dream, save the land of Egypt from famine and rise from being an imprisoned slave to number 2 in the country. All throughout this he gave God the glory. What a lesson!

Joseph subscribed to God’s plan, even when he was in prison, even in a situation where he would have got away with sinning against his master and God, he chose the righteous path even although it meant prison time. He knew that God was working behind the scenes and even if it was at his cost he was “all in” on God’s plan.

This is the encouragement, although we may not gain temporarily, we have a promise in Paul’s letter to the Roman church…

Romans 8:28 (ESV) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Application

For me I guess it is about enduring the trials and trusting God, if there is anything you are holding back then give it to him. Lastly trusting that God has “got this” and what we are going through is temporary and there is much more eternal to consider.

I get it, it is tough! People have their faith rocked on a daily basis; personally I have questioned God when people are taken away from me most of all, especially kids and people in the prime of life. I have had doubts and I have never been in jail, never been sold as a slave, maybe I need a little persecution to make me man up at times.

All I can do is do what God has called me to do and trust God to do the rest.

I pray this article was a blessing and please feel free to share, comment or like below
TGBTG
TTE

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The Jacobite experiment

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DISCLAIMER:- the views expressed are the views of the author alone, TTE does not normally comment on political issues but this is an important issue for the author. We will return to Bible studies in the next article.

The Jacobite experiment

John 1:45 (ESV) Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

As most of you who know me personally will know, I am a strong advocate politically of Scottish independence and the upcoming vote in September on whether Scotland should be an independent nation and secede from the Act of Union of 1707.

That being said, should a yes vote actually happen, in my view as Scots we have to lose the “English chip on the shoulder” as a good relationship with our neighbours to the south has to happen.

Just to see how plausible that was, I did a little experiment on my Facebook wall last night. I am a passionate fan of football (soccer for the US readership) and I love seeing my club team (Dundee United) and my national team (Scotland) win every game they play.

As most of you will be aware, the World Cup is happening in Brazil at present and Scotland have been unable to qualify. Our neighbours to the south England have, but in many cases the Scots will usually cheer on ABE (Anyone but England)

So last night I did what I call “The Jacobite experiment” over the piece I have stated that as I live in the US now I would like to see them do well and that is true. I hope the USMNT get as far as they can in the tournament, however everyone assumes that I as a Scottish nationalist, will actively be cheering against England.

I actually don’t see that viewpoint, I don’t hate our neighbours in the south, we share many traits and joint history since this “marriage of convenience” began. We have fought under the same Union flag and share broadcast, newsprint, currency and telephone exchanges with them. I just believe that rather than being a 9% minority where the vote does not count and having policies foisted upon us that hinder the growth of my country, it is time to go our separate ways. Nothing personal, it is just for the good of the country.

Back to the experiment, I placed a flag of Saint George (the traditional flag of England) on my Instagram wishing England well and a Facebook post urging England to beat the Italians.

Unsurprisingly I got a few queries, but the sad part of the experiment was not on my posts, but on the posts of others gloating over a 2-1 victory for the Italians.

My hope for my nation is that we can be grown up enough to want to see our neighbours do well, that way we can get past the “No true Scot” mentality that some of us have where we blame everything on the English. We may have to actually man up and look at some of “plooks we see in the mirror”.

I am not against “banter” but these posts have a more sinister feel, the actually could be described as hatred.

This article will not be popular and I am not all that fussed if it is or isn’t! We have to get past the idea that a vote for Yes is some “get it up the English” this is a one way street with no U turns.

Think of the nations who have declared independence from the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Canada, Australia, India, New Zealand, think if all the countries that at one time had a Union flag in the top left hand corner of their flag, Britannia no longer “rules the waves” and the Empire is over! Of these countries NONE are begging to be ruled again from London.

Why did I choose the verse above? Well replace the word Nazareth with “England”, “London”, “Liverpool”, “Manchester”, “Birmingham”, “Newcastle”, wherever and you may see what I am driving at.

Like I say, I am not anti-English or even anti-European, but what I do want is for the buck to stop in Edinburgh rather than London for the constitutional decisions that affect the people of Scotland.

The Yes campaign have had it hard, they have the mainstream media being their press campaigners, the message in many cases are not going through and quite a few headlines are twisted to a pro-Union viewpoint, in some cases, headlines are created to give a view that is not present in the article.

I love my country, there are times where the Union served Scotland well in the beginning, but in more recent times it has not been beneficial to Scotland. It is time for a change, that can be achieved in a vote in September for the Yes campaign.

I don’t get involved with US politics mainly because I can’t vote for a president!

God bless and I hope this was a good read for you and please comment below should you wish too
TGBTG
TTE