Warning: This Face Cream Contains False Promises

Where does the time go? This time last year my wife and I were preparing for the arrival of our first baby. Now we’re preparing for Hannah’s first birthday. Last year we had a precious baby waiting to join us, today we have an almost-walking, almost-talking little girl with her own personality. It has been a wonder to see her grow and we now look back at old photos expressing amazement that Hannah was ever that small.
Many of us may also be looking back at our lives wondering where the time went. In our minds we’re still the vibrant youngsters we were but when we look at our bodies… well the less said the better.
The Bible is really matter-of-fact about this passage of time. It doesn’t sugarcoat it for us either. It says: “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass.” (Isaiah 40:6-7 ESV)
Oh, thanks. My life is like the grass and flowers that look great for a time and then fade away. That message goes against everything we’re told by TV adverts. They tell us that we can be young forever, if only we had the right face cream, clothes or gadgets. The Bible tells us something different.
This may seem depressing – perhaps because we’re so used to the message of modern life. But it leads to great freedom. The Bible continues to say: “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isaiah 40:8 ESV)
Everything around us is getting older but there is one who stands firm. There is one who is unchanging, who is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is the one who experienced our life – and death – and now is alive for ever more with the promise of the same for us. We won’t find the secret of eternal life in a pot of cream, a new jacket or an iPad.
We find it in Jesus Christ who stands forever.

This is the most viewed piece on this blog. I’d love to think it was for my great writing but the reality is that it’s got a picture of Calvin in it and people were interested in him during 2009.

Phil Baiden

john-calvin“When you stand on the shoulder of giants you should probably be able to see further than them.”

This year is the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin. He was a reformer of the church in Geneva. He was, by all measures, a remarkable man. He studied at university from the age of 13, firstly to train for the ministry and then for the law. He wrote a Latin commentary on Seneca’s On Clemency in his early 20s. In 1536 he wrote the first volume of his systematic theology, Institutes of the Christian Religion. He was press-ganged into serving the church in Geneva and after an initial false-start he spent the rest of his life there.

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