Crimea

For Ballarat the 1850’s was an eventful time. It was the start of the gold rush and the unrest which led to the Eureka stockade. It was also the decade of the Crimean war. Some of Ballarat‘s suburb names echo the interest and patriotism generated by this far away war.

Sebastopol, Inkerman, Redan (a fortification type used by the Russians), Raglan after Lord Raglan, Cardigan after Lord Cardigan etc.

The Crimean war itself was full of heroism and courage and endurance. Unfortunately it was also poorly organized, supplied and provisioned as well as indifferently led.

It was full of opportunities which if they had been taken, would have shortened the war and gained victory. As it was the early failures caused the war to drag into winter and lives were lost due to the cold and terrible conditions.

Man very often gets it wrong. He is overconfident and fails to plan for unforeseen eventualities. Even when he thinks that he has crossed all the “T”s and has dotted all the “I”s things crop up he does not foresee and success eludes him. Often he has to be content with limited success or a “draw”.

With the benefit of hindsight we say that if we had been in that situation things would have been different and we would have won the day at less a cost.But if we honestly  look over the pattern of our lives the blots and smudges spoil the highlights and successes.

Despite man’s overweening sense of ability and pride in accomplishment, the truth is there is as much of man’s failure in the world as of his achievement. The world while it is not as bad as it could be is certainly not as good as it could be.

God’s ways are not like man’s ways. He never miscalculates or is caught by surprise. That thing which God purposes will be carried out.

To guarantee the success in your endeavors submit and conform them into the will of God. Do nothing that would displease Him and live your life to please Him and your only cause for regret will be that you did not do it sooner.

The Firing line!

Sad to say we often expect other people to do things we would be unwilling to do our self. We want people to stand up for the truths of the gospel but we are timid about it ourselves. We want the gospel to be proclaimed to the community in which we live and throughout the world but we have trouble sharing our faith. We leave many things in the hands of ministers and Christian workers and content ourselves with paying to support them.

We pray for a time of revival so that we will have supernatural ability to carry out evangelism and the church will grow as a result. Until then we are powerless and the sinful ‘Post -Christian” world will only howl us down if we say anything.

A minister friend of mine some years ago asked a visiting American minister why many of the U.S. churches were growing? He replied “Our people share their faith”.

I am as guilty as any.

The question we must ask our self is “Do we have a faith to share? Will we step into the firing line even a little?

Crimea

Carry on the fight?

During that war , a group of Boers offered to surrender to the British. Not liking the British terms they returned to their lines to continue the fight. When they got back they found themselves rubbing shoulders with men of the New South Wales Army medical Corp whose only concern was to tend to the wounded.
One wonders how they felt about continuing the fight after that?
In the same way when men see the love of God one wonders how they can continue to fight against Him.

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Sheep without a shepherd

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36

We see here the way Jesus looked at people. Compassion was first and foremost in His heart.

These people were ever on the look  out for the next big thing. They were ready to follow anyone and anything that would promise them freedom and material support. They pursued John the Baptist and with equal fervor they were crowding Jesus of Nazareth. Soon they would be following a false messiah who led them to national ruin.

While Christ knew the fickleness of the people who daily resorted to him it did not stop him trying to do them lasting good. We also should have compassion on the deluded people of this world and show them the answer to their spiritual emptiness.

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Over the centuries certain theologians have tried to explain the death of Christ in a way which robs it of its offensiveness to mankind.

Whether it is by explaining it as merely an example of self sacrifice intended to impress men with God’s love or a gesture intended to show God’s horror at man’s sin, nothing reaches the depth of truth that The death of Christ as dying in the sinners stead and satisfying the wrath of  God with an innocent victim becoming sin.

While there is much we have difficulty understanding no other doctrine of the atonement plunges the depth of sin and climbs the height of God’s love shown in Christ.

The more this plain doctrine is believed by Christians and preached in the church, the less it will be moved by the opinions of sinful men.

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Carry on the fight?