Random Ramblings

Reflections on my walk with God


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Reasoning not Ranting

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord , “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18 NASB )

Many people cannot “get their heads round” me being a scientist and a born again Christian. They assume that any religious person must be irrational and foolish. My background includes biochemistry, and cell & developmental biology although I have been teaching in an F.E. college for over 16 years. I have always been particularly interested in the organisation and functioning of cells. During my pregnancy (before I was reborn myself) I remember being in constant state of wonder at the new life that was growing in me. Each day I would look up the stages to see what the baby would look like ( yes, she was a baby to me right from the start). I did not have amniocentesis, as advised due to my age, we both knew that this child was a gift and we loved her ….. Before I had read the Psalms, I knew that she was “fearfully and wonderfully made”.

As I learn more about life and the universe and how all things are intricately woven together, it is more than enough to convince me that there is a Creator. However, I know that for many of my family, friends, colleagues, students etc. believing God is simply not something that they can even start to comprehend. Just this week I had an incredulous student ask if I believed in God. We were talking about DNA and proteins, they are truly mutually dependent molecules giving the classic “chicken and egg ” scenario. I carefully explained that there are no mechanisms known that can explain how these complex molecules arose, and invited him to have coffee with me sometime to talk in more depth….something I always when challenged on my faith….

Because I have often felt inadequate to answer some of these questions the last year or so I have started a journey to educate myself in apologetics. To help me to be “prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks [me] for a reason for the hope that is in [me]; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when [I am] slandered, those who revile [my] good behaviour in Christ may be put to shame“. (1 Peter 3:14-16)

I have read many commentaries and blogs. Some are well thought out and obviously written by a person who is deeply steeped in the Word. Others are less so. And then there are the rants – it’s like being yelled at from the page. The worst offenders, of course, are the trolls ranting in the comments box. The “new atheists” are often particularly vitriolic in their mission to convert all of us foolish believers. However, the “Christians” are often no better. Look at any article that is even a tiny bit atheistic and there are always hell fire and brimstone rants amongst the comments.

It is too tempting to have a rant at some of the verbiage that people spew out. But it has never seemed right to right to me to “yell” back:
“Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either”. (Luke 6:29)

As mature Christians it is essential that we engage our brains before opening our mouths or tapping onto our keyboards. As James tells us:
“So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. “(James 3:5-10)

There are so many scripture passages that I could quote but here are another couple which I think are particularly relevant:
“See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone”. (1 Thessalonians 5:15)

He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, And he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you, Reprove a wise man and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning. (Proverbs 9:7-9)

Whilst we should always be ready to answer questions about our faith, we don’t need to defend God.

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Being Random with a Purpose

Starting in 2010 and running into 2011, I had many months of ill-health (may write about that some other time…..), which culminated in me being off work for about 3 months. During this time, I was greatly blessed by having time to spend reading my Bible and just being with God. I journaled some of my thought and when I went back to work tried kept up my study. I have worked part time for years, fitting work around looking after my daughter and other family commitments. Up until last September I always had Fridays off and got into the habit of using my free day to spend an hour or more reading my Bible and writing a journal of sorts.

As part of this discipline, I started sharing verses with my house group family. At first these were typed out letter by letter on my old Nokia. Getting a smart phone meant I was able to get really clever and and copy verses over from my YouVersion Bible. I mentioned this habit to others in church and as they were interested I expanded my group and decided that it should be called “Tricia’s Random Bible Verses” or TRBV … The group of people to whom I regularly text verses now includes house group members, other church family, a gap year youth worker who was with us for a short while, and a couple of work colleagues. One or two of them regularly forward the verses onto several others.

I try to do it every day, but often don’t. If I have missed a few days it acts as a reminder to me that I have not been doing my Bible study and sends me to the Book. The verses may be from my daily readings (when I do them) or from YouVersion verse for the day or from a Twitter friend. Some days I am really stuck – like when I was reading Judges – difficult to friend uplifting material there – on those days I look through some of my favourite verses or just wait for “inspiration”. The idea that the verses are random has slowly been eroded by friends telling me that the verse that I sent on a particular day was “just the one that I needed to hear”. I always preface the verse with a greeting and sometimes a few words to explain my choice. On several occasions I have felt really sure that someone needed a particular verse, and have found out later who it was.

In February I heard something on UCB that really made me think and then shared this with my friends:

“This verse really grabbed my attention today:
Mark 4:39
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

Whatever storms we go through, Jesus can give us calm amidst them”

I also forwarded it to someone who was not on my list at the time. He was speaking to his sister on the phone at the time and shared it with her, and thought no more of it. The next day he was served with notice to attend court the following day. After years of prayer and trying to honour his marriage his wife is divorcing him and the proceedings had been rumbling on but the court appearance was completely unexpected….

More recently I shared the following with my friends:

“Some encouragement from Isaiah xx
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” ( Isaiah 41:10, 13 ESV)”

Two days later I was in the hospital with most of my family waiting whilst the medics treated my Dad for septicaemia. It was touch and go, we nearly lost him. I called on my group and church family for prayer – it was answered. Dad is still far from well, at 85 it will take time and God’s healing, but he is alive and I pray daily for his salvation. At the weekend I looked back on the verses sent out that week and realised that God had given me a really clear message through those words from Isaiah.

Slowly God has opened my eyes to the fact that he is using me to give words of encouragement, strength, peace to my good friends. I am humbled by this and give Him the glory.