“I’m listening in”

“Two things stand like stone;
kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own. ‘ Adam Lindsay Gordon

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Someone said about “Facebook” that it is a place where everybody is speaking but nobody is listening.

Whether this can be said of the Church today  I will leave to our own conscience.

I suppose anyone who has been to a church business meeting when dealing with a contentious issue knows that differences of opinion are often vehement.

The Apostle Paul dealt with this in the church at Corinth where those who had revelations to make were competing for “air time”. He reminded them that God is a God of order not chaos, and that they should be willing to hear even more than speak. One wonders where this injunction was lost in much of the charismatic movement .

This is nothing new. The disciples themselves may have heard the words Jesus spoke but they interpereted them in their favourite context of Israel’s future glory. In the same way we can hear but not listen. We can air our views and opinions and assume we have said the last word on the subject.

We need to first of all listen to God’s word as it is written and expounded . How many times does Christ through His word need to say something before we take it on board and obey it? How many things in our lives and in the church are slipping through because we do not hear God  and obey?

We also need to listen to others in order to learn from them, to know best how to help them and show God’s love to them.

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Reckoning!

I have been casting up my finances lately to see how long I can last with no income. I have realized I can last a fair while but I will eventually run out of money and will have to manage on welfare (if it there is such a thing then?)

It reminds me of a story

An eminent

General having once overheard his soldiers

Reckoning how many their enemies were, and so

Discouraging one another, stopped them at once

With this question, “How many do you reckon?

Me for?”—How many do you reckon the Lord for?

 

We can calculate as accurately and minutely as we like but unless we take the Lord into our reckoning we will fail in our task.

The World inevitably reckons without God and we daily see the sin and misery that results. Even the church and we as individual Christians can leave Christ out of our reckoning and look only to our numbers, abilities and finances.

Let us rather add the infinity of God to all our “reckoning”.

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“I’m listening in”

Going Mouldy!

Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, Romans 12 :2  J.B. Phillips

This well known paraphrase is a very apt message for the Church today. It seems that that world and its ideas and values are squeezing the Church into forms of behavior and teaching conforming to its own wishes.

The drive to attract and keep young people is case and point they are drawn to certain things in the world and the church tries to provide substitutes to keep their interest and attendance up.

There is no doubt we have a generation gap and language barrier in the church. However wholesale throwing the baby out with the bathwater is not the way to solve the problem.

The minister getting rid of his collar and tie, ditching the hymnbook, indeed the whole seeker friendly mantra is the order of the day. Where in the end does this leads us?  Maybe to a large youth group yet with a shallower standard of Christianity

Cynical people may thing ministers and organizations are looking at their bottom line and profit margins rather than the long term cost of worldly methods instead of God’s truth and simple spiritual worship.

Belshazzar’s Feast

When this foolish king heard Daniels interpretation of the writing on the wall he did not seem very much affected by it. True his knees had knocked together when he saw this portentous happening. Yet afterwards he merely kept his word and promise in giving Daniel the robe and chain of office.

Soon afterwards we hear of Belshazzar’s death and kingdom’s conquest. Whether he disbelieved or postponed the inevitable fulfillment of the interpretation or resigned himself to it we do not know.

However it is he could never say he was not warned. The history of Nebuchadnezzar, his predecessor was ample warning if only he had taken notice and reformed his behavior accordingly.

We to have been warned. So often we have made light of God’s invitations and warnings, so often abused blessings and gifts as if they were a result of our desert instead of God’ s grace and mercy.

This is not just a message for the godless world. The writing is on the wall for many in the professing church. It is high time to read it and take it on board before the hand of judgments falls.painting of a biblical banquet interrupted by divine intervention

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Going Mouldy!

Knowing and Feeling.

I have before me two books I purchased which I have yet to read. The title of one is “Paul, apostle of the heart set free”: The other is called “Paul, an outline of his theology.” If you were to judge these two works by their title alone, which author do you think has entered more into the life and experience of the Apostle Paul?

Both writers are of high repute in Christian spheres, so I make no aspersions towards them.

I would point out that today we tend either to the extremes of intellectual understanding of Christianity and theology, without the vital experience of it in our lives or to the other extreme of seeking the experience of Christianity with only a passing and superficial understanding of its tenets.

The tendency today is to go for the experience as the main end of our religion.

Christ and Christianity involves the whole person. Our intellectual and spiritual capacities are different and have varying capacities. In the things of God there is ample scope for mind and spirit to grow and flourish, it would be wrong to favour one over the other as they both bring blessings peculiar to themselves with them.

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Even in the wildest storms the sky is not all dark; and so in the darkest dealings of God with His children, there are always some bright tokens for good.

Read more at: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/1403880

 

Knowing and Feeling.

Outside the Camp.

If you were to ask  an average Christian what some of the elements of the Jewish Old Testament ritual typified and foreshadowed in the New, very few would be able to explain much about them..

Alfred Edersheim in his book on the Temple in the time of Christ ,points out that even the Jews themselves were at a loss to explain the meaning of certain elements in the offerings and services.

Despite having the Tabernacle and then the Temple and the grand and glorious ritual  within its sacred precincts, some of the most vital sacrifices in the Jewish calendar did not take place in the temple at all: two of these being the “Scapegoat” and the “Red Heifer”. These were “outside the camp”, so to speak. The Goat being taken away to a wilderness place, while the Red heifer was burned completely well away from the Temple grounds.

Edersheim sees the significance of this in the fact that the most important sacrifice of all was offered outside the walls of Jerusalem and away from the Temple on Golgotha’s hill.

He also reinforces the impossibility of the mere offering of sacrificial animals to really deal with sin They were offered as a mere “covering” of sin till the time when the great Sacrifice was offered once only by the Great High Priest, to fully and finally deal with sin.

It is only by our understanding the absolute sinfulness of sin and the infinite worth and price paid by our Saviour that we can come near to fully value our salvation and Saviour.

Outside the Camp.