Popular Posts

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

‘I’ll huff, and I’ll puff,’ the Wolf threatens, ‘and I’ll blow your house down.’

It’s amazing, the power of a fairy tale villain. Children are right to be frightened by him. He zeroes in on the most vulnerable and attacks with a ferocity which is deadly. His breath is foul and it blows strong, so strong that it can collapse a house which has been built of flimsy materials and stands without foundations anchored in rock.

Our enemy is no fairy tale villain. His breath fans the embers of hurt until they begin to glow with resentment and flare into anger, which becomes a consuming conflagration. A conflagration fuelled by the sadness of disappointed expectations. 

Our enemy is no fairy tale villain. He seeks out our vulnerabilities and delights to find our deepest hurts, and then he begins to blow his foulness into them, nursing the coals that glow with even the smallest sign of life, the coals that can linger deep within.

Our enemy is no fairy tale villain. I have a friend who counsels that we shouldn’t put our expectations in anyone but the Lord, because everyone else will let us down. It’s human nature. It’s when we are affronted by the disappointment of a thwarted expectation in someone that the coals flare into fire, and if left to burn, that fire can consume relationships, can consume us.

Forgiveness is the water for dousing the flames of disappointment and hurt, of anger and resentment . Forgiveness sourced in God. Forgiveness empowered by the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness expressed by Jesus for the centurion, as he pounded the iron nails into his hands and his feet. 

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? We all should be, and yet none of us should be. We all should have a healthy respect for his undoubted power and his vile evil intentions. But if our foundations sink into our loving heavenly Father, he will hold us firm when the wild winds of destruction blow from the real big bad wolf. Rather than his foul breath fanning into flame the flickering coals of hurt, it will simply blow them out. 

And then, set free, we can truly dance and sing, ‘Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Jesus has dealt with him.’

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

The Big Bad Wolf

‘And he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew the house down!’

My granddaughter’s favourite story at the moment involves the Big Bad Wolf and his vicious attacks on the Three Little Pigs. There is a fascination with the ferocity of the evil wolf, a flirting with the fear that his attack raises in her.

I’m sitting at a table in the wee hours, listening to the wild wind howl round our home. I can feel secure inside the granite walls, protected from the piercing cold air. Yet I hear that wind as it moans through the cracks of ill-fitting windows, and I sense the cold penetrating despite the granite.

I can feel safe in my faith. I can presume that I am safe from the onslaught of the enemy. But I know that he prowls round like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. He is the real Big Bad Wolf, seeking always to destroy relationships, disrupt families, devour our faith and leave us desolate.

He huffs doubt into someone’s mind; he puffs rejection in someone’s heart; he seeks to bring down all that would glorify and celebrate our Saviour. 

We are safe in Jesus, but we are still vulnerable to attack, and far too frequently our complacency renders us powerless when an onslaught comes. Put on the armour, Paul says. Know your enemy, Peter writes. Don’t let the house come down because the fire of faith has burned low. 

The first little pig’s house of straw came down in the wind, and he sought shelter in his brother’s house. That little pig’s house of sticks likewise fell prey to the Big Bad Wolf’s powerful, offensive breath. The brothers streaked to the brick house of the prudent brother, who had spent time carefully constructing a house that could resist the wolf’s huffs and his puffs. 

So when that Big Bad Wolf finally, in fury, slid down the chimney seeking to reach the heart of the home, he was defeated by a hot fire and boiling water. Our enemy’s tactics aren’t any more sophisticated. He, too, seeks to invade my space by sliding down the chimney of my heart, but I am stoking the fires so that he may be consumed in the hot fires of my faith, built up with the Word of God, the presence of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit.

That enemy may huff, and he may puff, but he can’t blow such a house down.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Jesus, Diamond Extraordinaire

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the beauty of a diamond. The fact that each cut adds sparkle and beauty to the gem. As I walked today, I thought about Jesus, the jillion-carat diamond. By his wounds we have been healed. On the cross, our sin cut deep. The brilliance with which he shines just strengthened with each atrocity, with each suffering blow he took for me, for you.

Jesus, the jillion-carat diamond.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

December Mists

The mist steams above the fields as a cool winter sun beams down on Scotland. The ice underfoot has melted at last, and a stillness hangs in the air. There is a serenity about this morning which is lovely.

A serenity and a mystery. Mist always cloaks reality in a haze of mystery. Misty Advent moves us on towards Christmas morning, a morning of serenity and a mystery. A lovely morning, as the King of Kings slips into his world humbly and vulnerably and begins to walk us home.

I can’t say I totally understand, but deep in my heart, deep in my innermost being, there is a grateful YES pulsating through me as I fall to my knees and worship.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Back on the Straight Chair

Straight chairs again. 

I was so careful not to slip on the ice, wearing those Trekkers and walking like an old lady – which I am not (yet). And I didn’t slip on the ice.

But then, last night I popped into the bathroom to wash out the bath between bathers. What did I do? I seem to have leant too far, scrubbed too hard, or prolonged the operation beyond what was necessary. Whatever I did, as soon as I stood up again, I felt it. The stiffness radiating through the lower back. Pulled muscles I think, which is preferable to a slipped disk, obviously. But still...

So a hot shower, a hot water bottle, a warming massage with Ben-Gay, and now moving cautiously, sitting carefully, popping paracetamol and hoping that this all passes in the blink or two of an eye.
Whatever the precautions, life can ambush us. Jesus said that in this life we would have problems, but not to lose heart because he has overcome the world. And that start of that amazing story is what we are all celebrating now. What a Lord we have. What a Saviour. 

Walking into the last week of Advent with my hand in the hand of Jesus, and my heart full of gratitude and my mouth full of praise.

When I’m not walking, though, I’ll be back on the straight chair, thank you.

Friday, 15 December 2017


Sky is clear and blue, but underfoot the ice is treacherous. Interesting way of describing ice, isn't it? It looks pretty, but if you trust your weight to it too much, your likely to come a cropper. I've got my Trekkers to stretch over the shoes so hopefully I will stay upright.

Sometimes in life the sky looks blue and we may trust too much in the foundations on which our lives are constructed. Unless the Lord is in it, though, our lives are constructed on sand, or in this case, on ice. It's easy to get moving so fast, to be so busy, that we don't recognise the precariousness of our position.

Spiritual Trekkers can help. The bible. Faithful friends. Prayer. These are the foundations hammered into the Rock who is Jesus, keeping me upright today.

Time to go. Where are those Trekkers?