It was a noble action of Ezra not to ask for protection from the King for their journey to Jerusalem. Thinking it would indicate a lack of ability in the Lord their God to protect them.
It is the flaw of many in the church today to rely to much on earthly stays, means and methods, not to mention the almighty dollar. Where is our faith?
During the Boer war the British army drove the Boers before them, lifting the sieges of Mafeking, Ladysmith and Kimberly. Their main accomplishment was capturing Pretoria.
Lord Roberts the British commander returned to London as a victor and hero.
However the Boers unencumbered by the need to defend their cities resorted to guerilla warfare and the war continued bloodily on.
In like manner in the christian life we may forget that we are at war, We may believe we have conquered old sins, doubts and fears and not give them another thought. Then in a moment of weakness they come upon us with new force.
The Christian life is not merely a “lifestyle”, Unpopular as it is to say to many today, the christian is engaged in spiritual warfare, with spiritual powers and earthly snares and the remaining sin in themselves
The need today is for vigilance,self denial, watchfulness and prayer. Most of all we rely on the strength of a mighty Saviour.
Rock the Boat
I can imagine most of the modern church saying to Peter “,we don’t mind you leaving the boat and walking on water,just don’t rock the boat”.
John Berridge ,another of Spurgeon’s eccentric preachers was pulled up by His’ bishop for preaching anywhere and anytime . Berridge answered he only preached in two seasons; in season and out of season.
Advice to speakers:If you want people to remember what you say, say something memorable
Billy Bray the famous cornish preacher often built his own chapels. he built one round because he did not want any corners for the devil to hide in. He said that you could nail him in a barrel and he would shout”Glory’ through the bung hole.
The Glory has departed
What else did they throw out when they threw out the hymn book?
A friend indeed
It was said of Archbishop Cranmer that if you did him a bad turn he was your friend for life. He took seriously Christ’s command to love your enemies.It may not be hating of enemies that is our problem maybe it is dislike of the unlike. Sometimes our best friends are those who question our reasons and give a word of reproof.
Why is it we do not pray? Is it because our mother told us not to talk to strangers.
Bible in the Blood
C.H. Spurgeon said of John Bunyan that if you had pricked him with a pin he would have bled the Bible. No doubt the many years spent in prison gave rare opportunity for bible study and prayer. No wonder Pilgrims Progress is still read today. The Bible should be a part of us all, read devotion-ally yes, but studied and meditated on in depth and ardently as well. Our souls welfare very much depends on it.
A theologian I heard once said that” the Bible was not the word of God”, Christ is the word of God, but where else do we learn Christ but through what is the in-scripturated word of God ,The Bible.
Not a Monster
A petitioner approached the Emperor Augustus trembling like a leaf. The emperor asked him whether he thought he was giving a sop to an elephant. he did not want to be thought of as a monster.
How thankful we should be that the same God who hates sin welcomes the sinner, in repentance and through faith in Christ . The believer as well returning from his’ wanderings and failures finds as the prodigal found a Father’s welcome. Shun sinful reluctance.
“Come let us to the Lord our God with contrite hearts return; Our God is gracious,nor will leave the desolate to mourn- john morison’s hymn.
In the Heavenlies
Under a portrait of the puritan preacher Richard Sibbes was written this inscription,” Of this blessed man this just praise be given , Heaven was in him before he was in heaven.”
Rhyme and Reason
“Restraining prayer we cease to fight, prayer keeps the Christian’s armour bright, and Satan trembles when he sees the humblest saint upon his’ knees” .Also
” I steadier step when I recall that when I slip God does not fall”.
More to Follow
From memory Rowland Hill one of Spurgeons. Eccentric preachers of the eighteenth century was given a sum of money to give to a poor family.Feeling it was to large a amount to give all at once he set aside a portion and sent it with a note saying ,”and more to follow” And so on till the whole sum was given.The same way God blesses us according to His perfect will and our needs and there is always more to follow.
Archbishop James Ussher of Bible chronology fame said ” It takes all our learning ,( meaning preachers,) to make difficult things plain.”
John Wesley found that one the main problems of early Methodism was that it took people who were drunkards, wastrels and profligates and made then sober, thrifty and hard working. As a result they made lots of money and then set their hearts on it. His’ advice to his’ people was this ,” Earn all you can, Save all you can, Give all you can”.
John Wesley typified this advice. Whether he earned a few pounds or thousands of pounds he always lived on the same amount per year.
It is not the having of wealth or material possessions that matters it is setting our heart on them to the point they compete with our love for Christ and His absolute possession of us.
The Christian’s problem is not their mistakes or failings, but rather their lingering love of sin and this world and material things. Any “gospel” message which minimises sin and selfishness in the believer and fails to be faithful to the truth of scripture and the need for repentance and obedience is ultimately doomed to barreness even if successful in mere numbers of followers