1: One of a christian ministries web pages speaks about spreading the “genius” of Jesus. To me this reduces Christ to the level of mere human geniuses in whatever field. More to the point the New Testament does not speak so.Christ’ was more than a genius, He was and is our God found in human flesh and our saviour as well as teacher and prophet. It is Christ and His’ gospel of salvation we are to proclaim. We cannot parcel out bits of the message and discard others. ( Although I hope that was not their intent). It is a whole Christ we preach and testify to.
Some years ago a great deal was written about “The prayer Of Jabez”. How much of it was valid I do not know. But if we look at what I will call material prayers , we can at least conclude that what is a valid prayer for you may not be so for me.
Jacob’s “setting out” vow is much like that of Jabez. ” If God will be with me and do this and this He will be my God”.
This may very well be the first real contact Jacob had with God. The prayers of a new believer are full of human frailty and self, yet the totterings in a child’s attempt to walk are acceptable to the parent. In a maturer person such tottering would be a sign of feebleness or age.
That we can pray for material needs is part of prayer. That our wants and wishes should take priority and our whole desire is not.
The children of Israel in the wilderness wanted a change in the menu but the motive behind the desire made the meat poison.
Our lack of right priorities is a problem to. Greed, lust , selfcentred-ness spoil and ruin our prayers.
Solomon was offered the life of his’ enemies, wealth or wisdom beyond all others, he chose wisdom and God was pleased with His’ prayer and gave him the other things .(I myself would have prayed for grace to be kept in the fear of the Lord all my life, and not have failed as he did.)
To subordinate our desires to God”s perfect will and His’ glory, is in my opinion a sign of spiritual maturity and the promise of more growth in the christian life.
O the Depths
The Puritan’s used to say” The Bible has shallows in which a lamb can wade and depths in which an Elephant can swim”. We are all still paddling
Watch how you read
While I think nowadays in depth ,thoughtful, Bible study is the exceptional. It should not be so. That ignorance of the scripture and distortion of the scripture is a crying sin of the times I am certain.
We should never read out of scripture what is not there and as important, not reading things into scripture which God does not teach or command. We also have today a focusing on the promises of scripture and neglecting on the commands and qualifications attached to them.
We must also not take verses out of their scriptural context. Some verses may stand alone as mottoes and stitching samplers but by enlarge we lose something by not reading the whole passage and see the forest as well as the trees.
Remember the little people
It would be an interesting if difficult exercise to preach a series on the “little people” of scripture. I take for example the people that the Apostle Paul mentions at end of his’ epistles. Some he only tells us one thing about them, others he only mentions by name.
What about those people in the various churches he does not mention at all? Were they jealous of those named or were they content to remain unsung, knowing they still had a place in apostles heart and being known”only unto God”?
Judging from those into today’s society seeking fame and attention, it is more required in the christian to place value on others more than themselves. Jesus got more of the limelight than many others but shunned it seeking the glory of God and the good of man.
The Bible is full of “Cameo” appearances, worthy of honourable mention. One such is Ebed-melech in the book of Jeremiah. A man of foreign descent in the kings court and a friend of the prophet at his’ lowest ebb. When the nobles of the court persuaded the weak willed king to throw Jeremiah into a dry but muddy well to slowly perish.He goes to the king changes his’ orders, procures help and with every consideration even to cloths to protect his armpits, pulls him out.
We see here someone going against the prevailing tide standing up for God and his’ prophet. And later we read of God remembering this deed and promising deliverance from the evils he feared and receiving his life when others perished.
We live in times where the standouts in christianity are few and far between but they are the “honourable ones” in God sight and have His’ favour and His’ promises
Forbodings prove false
Spurgeon relates the story of a grandfather kissing his’ newborn grandchild, and the times being troubled, lamented the terrible things the child would see in his’ life.As an old man the grandchild looked back over his’ life and said he saw nothing but God’s blessing and mercies during the whole of a long life.
And it is true to say many of the happenings and bad things we live in fear of never actually happen and we are kept in the midst of them all by the all mighty power of God in his’ love and mercy
“Dinna forget Spurgeon”
From a Spurgeon sermon, ” A missionary asked the Duke of Wellington whether It was worth preaching The gospel to the Hindus, he replied ” What are your Marching orders?’. Christ’s marching orders are to Go into all the world and preach the gospel. “.
We do not make up the gospel of Christ it is what it is. We do not like the jesuits keep parts of it back or sugar coat it or water it down We live by it and try by word and deed to proclaim it and leave the results to
God who sends the ” increase” and look to Christ as ” the Lord of the harvest”.
Fullness of Christ
Some puritan authors relate the story of an ancient king to whom petitioners came and to make sure of their petitions success took the king’s infant son in their arms. They drew the lesson that we come to God in and through His’ son the Lord Jesus Christ.
it has pleased God that all fullness should dwell in His’ Son. In the the Old testament Joseph opened the grainaries of Egypt to feed the famine stricken people , and all the blessing and aid God gives is in and through the Son. Blessed be God for Jesus Christ.
Preferences or belief
A Uniting church minister in a “sermon” speaking about Uzzah being smitten and slain by the Lord God for touching the ark of the covenant contrary to the Law of Moses, concluded ” Nowadays we prefer to believe that Uzzah died of a” heart attack.”( Dont you think the people there at the time knew the difference),
When it comes to God’s word what do you prefer to believe?
A Uniting Church minister in my hearing said that the Apostle Paul misunderstood Jesus Christ and His’ teaching and over complicated the Gospel. Do you think that?
Little is that ministry worth that never chides you. If God never uses his minister as
a rod, depend upon it he will never use him as a pot of manna, for the rod of Aaron
and the pot of manna always go together, and he who is God’s true servant will be
both to your soul. C.H. Spurgeon.
The chief danger of the twentieth century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, and heaven without hell. William Booth
Outward losses drive good people to their prayers and bad people to their curses. Matthew Henry.
Back to Sunday School
“Jesus help us to remember some sweet lessons from Thy Word, write upon my heart forever truths that I this day have heard. Every day be near to bless us bring us to our school again.Lord be with us guide and guard us for our Saviour sake Amen.” Sunday school song we use to sing.
I’m listening in , I’m listening in , to what God says about my sin. The way of life He makes so plain , Repent , Believe , be born again.- Scripture union chorus
Understanding all things,
This is God our Father.
What have we to fear?
from CSSM choruses
Down but not out (of God’s care)
If anyone had the right to think that God had turned against him and that his’ sins had finally caught up with him it was King David.
He was fleeing Jerusalem losing his’ crown and maybe his life very soon, so he and his ragged faithful few went weeping up the mount of Olives. even at this low ebb God proved his faithfulness in providing for his need. Among others we have Ittai the gittite from Gath , a phillistine of all people. Yet His faithfulness to his master and his’ God is moving in the extreme.1 Samuel 15:18-22. Also Barzillai the gileadite an old man, who among other brought food and drink to him at no mean risk to himself.
David no doubt saw the hand of God in these things and drew the conclusion that although we are sometimes faithless God is faithful. Read the scriptures and prove this for yourself.