‘Theology Matters’ . . .

‘Theology Matters’ . . .

One of the obstacles that I face daily is the feeling, (I want to write ‘reality’ but I’m unsure if that is the correct word as I struggle to look at my situation objectively), that I have very little to look forward to in my future. The things that I eagerly awaited and that excited me about life have been snatched away.

Spending my entire life with my best friend.

Travelling with him.

Making a home with him.

Starting a family with him.

Growing old with him.

In reality these things have all gone. They will not be happening. As a result of this knowledge I find myself living under in a cloud of colourlessness, dreariness and a lack of excitement.

Now, I know that as a Christian my satisfaction ought to be found in Jesus and despite my circumstances I am called to faithfully honour, glorify and follow him with joy (please note that I didn’t write ‘happiness’ as that is a very different word – they are not synonyms). I know this. But if I am completely honest, when I wake up each day and realise that my plans have been thwarted and have been overridden by God’s plans, the knowledge of God’s love and salvation sometimes doesn’t cut it. It sounds terrible, but right now for me it is true. A future here on earth without Matthew seems really bleak.

I will be praying against this. I will be praying that I can be fully satisfied in Christ and that he will renew in me a passion for life and ministry.

I do have some news though: I have applied and been accepted to continue my Diploma of Theology at Sydney Missionary Bible College (SMBC) as a part-time student. So starting in about a month I will be going up to college one day a week and will begin to chip away at completing my diploma.

Am I ‘looking forward’ to it? Yes. And no. I do love studying theology and getting deeper into God’s word, but I am also quite anxious about the social side of it (I have recently been finding great amonts of comfort in my hermit-like style of life). Having to face the world is daunting, but deep down I know it will be good for me to start getting out of the house and meeting people.

I find it interesting the amount of people who ask “So when you finish your diploma, what do you get? What does it give you? What sort of job do you get from it?” For me it’s not about getting a piece of paper or a job…it’s about getting to know God better. It’s about growing in my love and understanding of Him. It’s about learning to better understand the Bible and how to apply it to my daily life. It’s about so much more than a mark. (Surely our relationship with God is the most profitable thing to invest in!)

If you have a couple of minutes check out the video that I linked to the title of this post. I often watched this video when I started my studies a couple of years ago, and I sometimes even watch it before Bible study.

xx zs

 

The Week That Has Been…

It has been a long, wet and exhausting week . . . and I have not been doing much of anything. It’s interesting that often the days we laze-about are the days we feel most tired and void of energy or enthusiasm. So partially due to the never-ending rain, and partially to my own lack of motivation, I spent most of the week in bed, in front of the fire, in front of the heater (or ‘the Sun’ as I like to call it), reading, gaming, watching, thinking, writing and browsing the inter-webs. All-in-all it has been a particularly emotional week, and I have found myself frustratingly often on the edge of a blubbering meltdown.

That being said, the week ended brilliantly with a night out of the house, at a gracious friend’s home. You know those friends who you feel really comfortable with? The ones who know more about you than any others? The ones who will laugh and cry with you? The ones who give advice and counsel but also sit and listen? The ones who if you spend a year apart and you reunite, it feels like no time has passed at all? She is one of those friends, and it was a blessing to spend precious time with her both weeping and laughing hysterically. (She even made a little sign for my bed – on the left).

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This lovely notebook on the right was a gift from my equally lovely sister = )

One thing that struck me this week as I was reading the gospel of Mark (I feel like I need more of Jesus in my day and less of Zoe), were these words of Jesus’ from Mk 6:31 . . .

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

I don’t know why, but this verse has just stood out to me for the first time ever. I find it interesting and comforting that Jesus didn’t say “Go by yourselves by a quiet place and get some rest”, but he specifically said “Come with me…”. Now this may be talking the verse way out of context, but I believe that God spoke to me personally through this passage and it has been on my heart all week . . . I feel like as Christians, when we are weary and burdened, Jesus doesn’t tell us to take some ‘alone time’, but he invites us to rest with him and in him. So this week as I spent time ‘alone’ I was reminded that I am never alone in that sense…that Jesus is by my side always – comforting, encouraging, loving, providing for and interceding for me.

xx zs

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(easier said than done eh?!)

‘The Shack’ by WM. Paul Young

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Call me a heretic, but I enjoyed the novel The Shack. I have not read it until now because of all the controversy surrounding it. Some Christians promote and endorse it with great enthusiasm – while others label it as being blasphemous, heretical, misleading and unbiblical.

Having said that, I was given a copy by someone I love who knew my reservations, and was encouraged to read it anyway. I intentionally decided not to revisit any reviews of the book until after I had read it for myself, and I am quite glad that I did so. I did take a couple of precautions though; I let a friend know that I was about to read the book and gave her permission to strongly rebuke me if I started spewing false theology upon completion of it, and I also prayed before I started that God would reveal to me any parts of it that didn’t line up with his Word or what it says of His character.

If I am completely honest though, I struggled to put it down. I read it over two days and thoroughly enjoyed it. That being said, there were parts of the book that I did not agree with and would definitely not take as ‘gospel’ – and I am still not even quite sure if the book is meant to be factual or fictional.

The book itself is about a man named Mack who’s 6 year old daughter is kidnapped and murdered. Mack then receives a letter from God which says that God wants to meet him in ‘the shack’, the place where his daughter was killed. The story then goes on to describe Mack’s weekend with God. The interesting and controversial thing is that the Trinity is portrayed in an unusual way: God the Father is represented by an African American woman, Jesus is represented by an average looking Middle-Eastern man (quite normal), and the Holy Spirit, by an Asian woman.

It does sound very strange – and I personally think that it is. But I also think that the reason I was able to enjoy the story so much is because I have a (somewhat) sound theology and knowledge of God. I am able to read it moderately objectively and not be swayed by its misinterpretations of God. It is not a book of sound or systematic theology, but it is a beautiful story about a man who suffers unfathomable loss and grief, is sought out by God, and slowly starts to walk in forgiveness and healing.

One thing I will say about it though: I would not personally recommend it to a non-Christian who is seeking the God of the Bible, or even someone who is young in their faith, as I believe that at times throughout the novel the description of God does not align with the teaching of the Bible. As a Christian with a sound (but very much incomplete) understanding of doctrine and theology, I was able to relate to the character of Mack and have been blessed by reading his story.

So read it for yourself and see what you think!

xx zs