In Memoriam!

A Witness and a Testimony!

ROBERT FORD.

” On January 28th there passed away, one who for very many years has rendered faithful service to the Methodist Church, in the person of Mr. Robert Ford, of Queenscliff, but until lately of the Barkly street Church.

He was born in Redruth, Cornwall, on June 14th, 1848. and was in the 66th year of his age when he was called home. When only nine years of age he came, with his parents to Victoria, and, settled for a time in the Ararat and Majorca districts. In his early manhood however, he removed to Ballarat, and from that time, till a few  months ago, when he went to make his home in Queenscliff, he was closely identified with the Barkly-street Church.

As a Christian worker, he was most faithful in the discharge of every duty he undertook.  For very many years he labored in connection with the Sunday school, and was greatly loved by the many scholars who passed through his hands. He rendered good service for years as trustee and steward, and when failing health made it imperative that he should retire from active work, his bright, cheery face was greatly missed at the  church door, where for years he had ushered in those who attended the services.

He regularly attended the week evening class, and his testimony was always given with no uncertain sound. His fellow class members were always helped by his bright and cheerful words, and when he was obliged to cease attending, through increasing weakness, his absence was greatly felt. For about two years our brother was laid aside. His disposition had been always a most active one, and his quick, active movements as he went about the business of the firm for which for 42 years he had given his services were always noted. It was therefore all the greater trial when he was obliged to sit down and, do nothing. His illness was, however borne with the utmost Christian fortitude, and it was always a privilege to visit him in his last illness. He was full of bright and happy reminiscences and his glad smile and bright words were an encouragement to those who saw him. He looked forward with calm confidence to the call, and over and over again witnessed to his faith in the Christ who had redeemed him.

Mr. Ford was married in July, 1875. For the widow, as well as the son and four daughters who survive him, the sympathies of all who know them have gone out, special and loving prayer was made for them at the Communion Service in the Barkly-street Church on the Sunday following his death. “(Spectator and Methodist Chronicle 13 March 1914)

In doing family research this article was found by me online. This gentleman was my great,great uncle on my mother’s side.

I leave it to speak for itself.

oliver heywood4

 

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In Memoriam!

Jehoshaphat and Ahab!

King Jehoshaphat of Judah was a godly man and zealous for the Lord. His main weakness seemed to be pliability and easily led. The great blight on his reign was his association and close relationship with the wicked King Ahab of the northern kingdom Israel.

Perhaps he had high hopes of restoring Ahab and Israel to the true worship of Israel’s God but instead was inveigled into a foolhardy attempt to restore Ramoth Gilead to Israel’s control.

Ahab attempted to placate Jehoshaphat’s religious scruples by enlisting the support of his resident prophets and they with one accord supported this ‘pious ‘Endeavour. Yet Jehoshaphat was not so simple as to take their word alone but called for a ‘Prophet of the Lord’ to be consulted as well.images344.jpg

Ahab was initially reluctant because his experience of God’s prophets was less than pleasing. As Jehoshaphat insisted, Michaiah the son of Imlah was summoned to appear. The officer who went and fetched Michaiah was unwilling to spoil all the ‘goodwill’ built up so asked the prophet to chime in with Ahab’s ‘trained poodles’. The prophet naturally refused, he was answerable to the ‘God of hosts’ and bound to proclaim His word faithfully.

Initially it seemed that the ‘Prophet of the Lord’ was going to weaken and fall in with the other ‘ soothsayers’ , repeating the ‘mantra’ of’ go up and you are sure to succeed’.

Support from so unlikely a quarter did not convince Ahab who confusingly adjured Michaiah to tell the truth.

Michaiah then revealed God’s purpose of judgment and defeat. One of Ahab’s prophetic lackeys was not pleased at this blatant contradiction and after slapping his face asked him which way the ‘spirit of prophecy’ went in order to arrive at Michaiah.

Ahab only response to God’s word was to lock the prophet of the Lord up on bread and water pending his safe return. Michaiah reassured him this was not going to happen.

True to form Ahab sets his fellow king as a ‘target’ to distract the Syrians and to make doubly sure disguises himself as an ordinary charioteer.

Jehoshaphat in the heat of battle becomes the focus of the Syrian soldiers who were ordered to get Ahab and forget everyone else. The royal robes that placed him above His people now became a ‘bull’s eye’ which if not for his hurried anguished prayer and the loving kindness of God, would have done for him. Through divine intervention the soldiers are turned to other prey.

The God of Israel was not by Ahab’s clever ploy and guiding a haphazardly fired arrow smites the evil king fatally.Ahab_shot_1141-8

Jehoshaphat rushes home regretting the whole enterprise.

The great question for the Church today is to determine the point when cooperation becomes compromise. When to know when contact and interaction with the ungodly has passed beyond safe spiritual bounds.

Jehoshaphat’s behavior in this instance reminds us of the need to heed our Saviour’s warning to have the sharp-eyed wisdom of a serpent while maintaining the harmlessness of a ‘dove’. Well meaning he no doubt was and his intentions may have been noble, yet his failure to consult God and seek His will before embarking on this alliance cost him dearly and set a poor example to his people.

Michaiah stands true in the line of faithful prophets of the Lord. They are the genuine instruments through which God reveals and declares His plans and purposes. They overcome the natural tendency to ‘tone down’ and vacillate, and keep the eye of faith on God and not the consequences attending the proclamation of His Word.

Ahab typifies to the life those whom God deals with in judgment and repeatedly warns yet consistently reject and ignore mercy and grace shown. Who of us would wish an end like his?

The parting of the ways!

I hate endings. As an avid watcher of ‘Old’ television, and in a climate of constant broadcast of repeats, I can tell when the end of a series is coming. My invariable response is (that if it was a series I really liked ) that even now after being so long discontinued that somehow more episodes were made.maxresdefault (1).jpg

This is made even more desirous if I considered the program series ending ‘anti climactic’ or needlessly tragic.

I have often grown attached to each of the characters and regret the loosing of their company and following of their adventures.

In regards to the highs and lows of the realities of life, this regret is more poignant because the ending of many loved things is more permanent and enduring in consequence.

The ‘if only’ feeling is endemic to us all even as Christians.

The wrong things we do and choices we make and the people we lose in the process are constant sources of grief and sadness.

Even without our input or action Times change and life moves on leaving an emptiness we cannot always fill.

We are creatures of time and as such bound by its limitations. God on the other hand dwells in eternity and the everlasting now. The answer to all our inherent longings and  our deliverance from  earthly regret is to make Him our dwelling place for now and eternity through our Lord Jesus Christ!

william jay 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jehoshaphat and Ahab!

Seeing but not Perceiving!

These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which He made with them in Horeb.

Now Moses called all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land— the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders. Yet the Lord has not given you a heart to [a]perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day. And I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn out on your feet…..Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.

10 “All of you stand today before the Lord your God: your leaders and your tribes and your elders and your officers, all the men of Israel,11 your little ones and your wives—also the stranger who is in your camp, from the one who cuts your wood to the one who draws your water— 12 that you may enter into covenant with the Lord your God, and into His oath, which the Lord your God makes with you today,13 that He may establish you today as a people for Himself, and thatHe may be God to you, just as He has spoken to you, and just as He has sworn to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

14 “I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone, 15 but with him who stands here with us today before the Lord our God, as well as with him who is not here with us today.” Deuteronomy 29:1- 14 NKJV.

 

The generation of Israel which was left after the forties years of ‘Wandering’ were standing on the brink of entering the ‘Promised land’.bd5c45a051dd06742ab9cc9a014dec6a.jpg

God through Moses, reminded the people of all those mighty works that He had wrought for them in bringing them out of Egypt and carrying them thus far and again that in the face of their repeated disobedience and stubborn unbelief.

The Covenant between God and his people was renewed at this time and two ways were set before them, the way to blessing and fruitful possession of the land or upon their disobedience, the curses of an angry God and war, famine, pestilence and exile.

The people’s proneness to disobedience and faithlessness is frankly laid at the door of their guilty and inexcusable lack of understanding and perception.

Despite all that the entire people saw, heard and experienced, God’s dealing with them and the mighty power He had exercised on their behalf produced no fundamental and enduring change in their hard hearted attitudes and sinful inclinations.

The mere fact that they had been sustained and constantly fed in a ‘howling wilderness’ when in normal circumstances they should have perished with hunger and thirst meant nothing to them.  Even the fact that their clothes and shoes had not worn out as they normally would have had not registered with them as anything miraculous.

It seemed that in common with most of us they had become blasé with the mighty works of God seen in panorama gloriously around them.

God reminds them of what their own eyes has seen of the rampant idolatry of the nations through which they passed and the degradation and futility that were its consequences.

The people were again warned of the consequences of dallying with the ‘left over’ relics and idols they would find in Canaan.

They may foolishly come to believe that there would be no dire consequences from ‘toying’ with the practices of the Canaanites. There would be someone who would come from their midst who would suggest a seemingly minor departure from God and His ways. Becoming bored with the worship of the Lord their God they would be tempted to dally with the flesh pleasing pleasures of idolatry.

But their God was not an empty nothing such as the gods of the nations. He was not one to be trifled with and His law broken without repercussions.

As he would bless them in everything they did and possessed if they continued in obedience so would disobedience bring upon the people a blight and curse on all they did and on all they possessed and on their health and fruitfulness.

Unfortunately some professing Christians, in this modern age have re-invented God as being somewhat different from the Old Testament reality.

The God of Modern Christianity has ‘mellowed’ somewhat with the passing ages.

Many have made him far more indulgent and less likely to condemn and punish for our grievous sinful indulgences.

We must remember that the Children of Israel were to be God’s (if I may use the expression) ‘display house’ in the world.

The ungodly were to see in Israel, God’ glory and grace and be drawn to like obedience and faith. How could this be accomplished if God’s chosen people were indulging in idolatry and behaved no differently from the Gentiles?

Surely the Christian must perform a similar role in the world today and yet how many of us live lives which are indistinguishable from our godless neighbours.

As the children of Israel were called to holiness and holy living, so is the believer.

It is our discarding of the need for Christian Sanctification and the encroachment of ‘worldliness’ and Post modern’ thinking that has weakened the Church’s witness in the world. It is our trivializing of sin and lack of desire for ‘Holiness’ that tarnishes all say and do.

The Christian through God’s grace  revealed  through Christ no longer seeks to be justified in God’s sight by works of Law.

Yet  the believer does not escape the Divine call to obedience and holiness.

It is the through the acting of the ‘new born’  heavenly nature and sanctified desires implanted in the believer that motivate him to seek to live in ways pleasing to God and according to His Holy Word!

Rather than ‘Unhitch’ ourselves from the Old Testament we should rather remind ourselves of exactly who this ‘Holy’ and yet merciful God is ,with whom we have to do; and in obedience to His Word, walk in faith, ‘holiness and newness of life’.

George bowen 3

That sinking Feeling!

sinkhole

One thought that occurs to me living as I am in a city built on Gold mining is that I can never be sure what lies under my feet.

We often find articles in our local paper about old mine shafts opening up due to heavy rain.

The strangest occurrence I remember is of a person pulling up floorboards in his house and finding a gaping void beneath them.

The phenomena of ‘sinkholes’ and the fact that our continental land masses are afloat on a sea of molten magma give us a reminder that stability and solidity are only ‘relative’ terms.

God alone offers true stability and should be the rock we trust in and obey. The Christian alone builds on a ‘Sure foundation’ which ‘wind, weather, Earthquake and Fire can never move or destroy.

john angel james 1

 

 

 

 

Seeing but not Perceiving!