The hope of the Resurrection!

Preaching in 1856, C.H. Spurgeon reproaches himself for not imitating, as closely as he should have done the Apostolic’ ‘staple’ of preaching the Resurrection of Christ.download empty tomb

He goes on to say that even among professing Christians belief in an actual physical resurrection is not believed.

While many hold to the immortality of the soul as did the ancient Greek philosophers, the idea of the body rising to newness of life through Christ is mocked by many.

Witness Paul’s encounter with the Athenians and their final rejection of the Apostles message of Jesus and his resurrection and later on of his dealings with the unbelieving Jews on this very subject.

Some have complained recently of the lack of preaching on the Resurrection. Whether this is actually the case I do not know.

I know of one American preacher that focuses on the Resurrection yet would ‘unhitch’ a great deal of other Scripture and doctrine.

This would be like holding up the roof of a building yet removing the walls and foundation.

As a teaching, belief, doctrine and practice Christianity is all of a piece. You cannot grasp one part of it and discard all else without ruining and despoiling the whole.

The Resurrection is the ‘imprimatur’ of God on the saving work of Christ it is proof that ‘New life’ is available through His Son. Yet it cannot be separated from the ‘atoning’ work of Christ upon the Cross, the incarnation and the progressive revelation of the Old Testament.

Spurgeon further says that the Resurrection of Christ and the hope of our resurrection through Him comforts the believer in the loss of dear ones and strengthens in the face of their own death. He reminds his hearers that even the ‘dust’ of God’s people is precious in His sight and will raise the self same person although exalted at the last day.

Would that we believed and trusted in this hope more than we do!

Spurgeon concludes this section of his sermon by reminding his hearers and us, that if the bodies of believers are to be raised again and are precious in the sight of God, we should look after them not so much in healthy living although this is important, but rather by living holy lives and not misusing our bodies for sinful purposes and looking lustfully for sinful things.

We who are constantly reminded by the world that we are our own and to spoil ourselves need to hear the gospel message that we are no longer our own and have been bought with a price. It is because the Christian now belongs to God that we know He will not allow us to perish.

The’Glorious Revolution’!

The ‘Glorious Revolution’ in 1688 was a pivotal point in British history and Christian liberty.maxresdefault

The reign of the ‘Stuart’ Kings was one of almost constant persecution of ‘nonconformists’ and the enforcing of liturgy and regulated worship on the non-established churches.

The Puritan, John Flaveldownload (1) preaching at this time, Warns and advises young ministers of the necessity of using this new found liberty to preach the Word freely and unhindered and the spiritual attitude necessary to maintain it.

We in the West, have had liberty to proclaim the gospel message for many years yet one wonders how much advantage of this freedom has been taken by ministers and believers.

The period which followed the period of the ‘Glorious Revolution’ was characterized by a slide into moderatism, the preaching of morality instead of the ‘gospel’ and moral decline in the wider society. This was the state of society until the ‘Evangelical Revival’ and Whitefield and Wesley etc.

One point common was commonly made by the Puritans that we can sin away ‘the Day of Grace’ and by our sloth and faithlessness squander our opportunities for proclaiming the word of salvation.

It appears that the time will come when the proclamation of the gospel will be curtailed and limited by a society and belief system that reviles Christian truth and holy living. This fact gives impetus to the need to make fuller use of our Christian liberty while it remains to us.

It also increases the guilt of those who are even now ‘re-casting ‘the gospel message into something other than what it is.

The responsibility of how we use the short space of time we have left for the furtherance of the kingdom is upon us all!

Yet we must also remember that it was during the dire times of Church history that  it was at its most flourishing and Christians were at their most faithful and obedient and indeed holiest!

james haldane

 

Cures for all that ails you!

Rummaging through old newspapers brings you into contact with old advertisements promising cure and results that would now be regarded as nothing more than ‘quackery’. (Though I think we can see a return to this sort of advertising in many of our television ‘infomercials’)

You find products and tinctures that will cure your toothache by ‘killing the nerve and filling the tooth’.  Miracle lotions than will rid you of grey hair or pills that cure everything from lumbago to dyspepsia.Beechams_Pills-Scribners_189105.jpg

They have treatments for ailments using ‘new-fangled’ electricity that will spark new life into you no matter how lethargic you feel now.th1884_electric_nerve_pencil_toothache_japanese_pain_remedy_advertising_trade_card_1_thumb2_lgw.jpg

These ‘ads’ are sometimes accompanied by stirring ‘testimonials’ by ‘Mrs. or Mr.’ ‘whoever’, from a respectable distance away, extolling the virtue or ‘Dr Zoonbraums miracle pills’.

It was not until you sent your postal order for two shillings and either received a ‘placebo’ sugar pill or nothing at all that you realized you had been ‘Had’.

But still the advertisements appeared.

We humans veer between skepticism and gullibility. When the message of the Gospel comes it is often met by suspicion or otherwise as a ‘Quick fix’ to all our problems without looking to closely.

 

While we must not believe everything we are told, the gospel invites us to ‘Prove all things’ 1 Thess. 5:21 and when we find for ourselves the reality of God’s Truth and experience the ‘Love of Christ’ we are to ‘Hold to’ it.

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The hope of the Resurrection!

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

 

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!

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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’.

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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!

The rise of the Acronyms!

In the era of sound bites and ‘tweets’, the use of abbreviated language and ‘acronyms’ is becoming prevalent.download

For those finding themselves ‘out of the loop’ it is hard, at least initially to get the gist and meaning of comments and issues that use these terms.

This has the effect of limiting understanding to an initiated few while the many are bewildered and forced to play ‘catch up’.

I wonder whether the ‘in the know’ people that coin these ‘acronyms’ consider themselves to be in the numbers of the ‘elite’.

While ‘theology’ has a tendency to speak in a language all its own and the Scriptures contain things that are difficult for many to understand we are not without the means to come to an understanding of the Truth if we sincerely seek it.

The Spirit opens the Christians heart to Christ and the gospel and our understanding to the Scriptures. Our part is to be teachable and zealous to hold onto the Truth received.

The Tattered Gospel!

The authority of the Scriptures as the Word of God is being constantly assailed both by outright enemy and more often than not by professing Christians.

There have always been those who would gladly wean the Christians off one part of Scripture or another.  They tend to be more determined to relegate great tracts of the Old Testament to obsolescence but also explain away the less acceptable to modern ears portions of the New.

To be a Believer in the Bible as the Word of God Today is the worst thing anyone can be in this ‘day and age.’

How many parts of Scripture are said to be only relevant to those who lived in those days? How many are said to be only meant for those who lived under ‘The Law’ and not applicable to those who live under ‘Grace’?

So it goes on interminably.

Rather believe that ‘All Scripture is God Breathed and profitable’ and seek for its application to us, wherever and whenever we are!

The only Bible the early Church had was the Old Testament, later combined with the ‘Apostolic writings and gospels’. It has sustained Christianity throughout its entire history and will continue to do so.

Today the tide is high against Scriptural Christianity and even in many of our churches all we get is the ‘Expurgated ‘ version, devoid of teaching about the sinfulness of sin and the need for repentance and holiness of life.

True Christianity has always been out of step with Society at large and its culture and we always hear those asking how we engage modern culture with Christianity.

Why else are all our pastors throwing away their suits and ties and donning t-shirts, grasping hold of the latest ‘church growth gimmick’ and pursuing anyone, however theologically dubious, who promises to increase their membership?

Why else are ‘prayer times’ and ‘Bible expository’ sermons cast to the ‘moles and the Bats’?

Because in our desperation to keep our ‘fellowships ‘ alive we will do anything and anything to get the people in, without any regard to being faithful to God and His truth. We fear more than anything offending people with the unadorned Gospel of Christ and therefore Endeavour to re-package it for the modern age.

Rather be thought anachronistic and obsolete and try to uphold faithfully the gospel of Christ and the inerrant Word of God than like a poor tailor ‘ cut our pattern to suit our cloth’.

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“Crossing the line”

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Crossing the Line was a nautical tradition that was observed when ships initiated passengers and crew who were  for the first time crossing  the ‘Equator’.

All manner of high jinks were part of this ceremony and the resourceful sailors made up costumes and props,  such as dressing up as king Neptune and his consort.

We are familiar with the celebrations  and ‘carry ons’ that society observes on anniversaries and occasions.

In fact the tendency is to make up an occasion  for any time when one does not exist.

Christianity  too ,has its ‘rites of passage’ in Baptism and The Lord’s supper’, they remind us of what Christ is to us and what we are to Him.

Unlike the high spirited antics of the ‘seaman’ the Christian ordinances are not things to be taken lightly , thoughtlessly or frivolously. They call for self examination and thoughtfulness and if attended so are a source of blessing to all believers who so observe them.

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The rise of the Acronyms!

Faithful and True!

Judah was at its last gasp when the Prophet Jeremiah invited some of the ‘Rechabites’ into a chamber of the Temple belonging to chamber of the sons of Hanun the son of Higdaliah and offered them copious bowls of wine.rechabites_jeremiah

5 Then I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites bowls full of wine, and cups; and I said to them, “Drink wine.”

But they said, “We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, ‘You shall drink no wine, you nor your sons, forever. You shall not build a house, sow seed, plant a vineyard, nor have any of these; but all your days you shall dwell in tents, that you may live many days in the land where you are sojourners.’ Thus we have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, nor to build ourselves houses to dwell in; nor do we have vineyard, field, or seed.10 But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us. 11 But it came to pass, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, ‘Come, let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans and for fear of the army of the Syrians.’ So we dwell at Jerusalem.” Jeremiah 35:5-11NIV

We who live so far in time from these events fail to grasp the meaning of this passage of Scripture.

The charge this long dead Patriarch gave to his children is that they should avoid the dangers and excesses presented by partaking of wine and strong drink. Also by dwelling in tents and among their flocks, they would most likely avoid the temptations and evils that concentrated in the towns and villages.

To the ‘Rechabites’ adhered until force to seek safety in Jerusalem from the Babylonian invasion.

These times in Judah’s history were highly charged. The city of Jerusalem was facing the in-roads of the ‘all conquering’ King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzer and his allies.

The choices facing the king of Judah and his people were limited and fraught with peril anyway they turned. Most still hoped that despite all, God would deliver them merely because they were ‘the people of God’ at least in name.

The whole point of God’s setting forth through His Prophet, the faithfulness and obedience of the ‘Rechabites’ to their Father’s command, was to contrast it with the faithlessness and disobedience of the ‘Children of Israel’ and Judah.

While keeping up the appearance of worshipping the God of Israel, the people led by weak and idolatrous kings dabbled with the worship of idols and pursuing their own evil ways.

Despite the incessant warnings of the Prophets of the Lord down their history, the nation went from bad to worse to the point that their national existence was at stake.

The faithfulness of the descendants of Jonadab the son of Rechab to his commands put the entire nation to shame for failing to heed God’s commands and their base ingratitude for all His past blessings and deliverances.

For us today the choice is between faithfulness to Christ and God’s Word or compromise with the World. The choice is to grab for the pleasures and luxuries of this passing world or forsake the World and follow Christ.

 

Obedience or disobedience, sin or holiness, Trust or doubt, Standing true or sinful compromise, these are the choices the ‘Christian’ must make.

God give us all Grace to obey and hold the Faith and to our Saviour

17 “Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will bring on Judah and on all the inhabitants of Jerusalem all the doom that I have pronounced against them; because I have spoken to them but they have not heard, and I have called to them but they have not answered.’”

18 And Jeremiah said to the house of the Rechabites, “Thus says theLord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Because you have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts and done according to all that he commanded you, 19 therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not lack a man to stand before Me forever.”’” Jeremiah 35:17-19 NIV

 

The Ionosphere!

The Ionosphere is a  band of layers  in the atmosphere containing ‘ionized atoms’ and ‘free electrons’ and is used for ‘bouncing ‘ and ‘hopping’ broadcast amateur short wave radio signals of varying ‘Megahertz’ to farther distances ,especially at night than could be reached normally by low powered equipment .Simplified view of the layers in the ionosphere over the period of a day

In this way ‘Ham’ radio operators can communicate all over the world at different times of the night, depending on the layer of the ionosphere they hit.Image result for ground waves

This communication is effected by weather, sunspots and the state of the Sun. As a result radio communications using the ionosphere change from one day to the next and even one hour to the next.

No such restrictions effect our communications with our Heavenly Father because Christ is the ‘Ionosphere’ through whom our prayers are surely and faithfully passed to the ‘Throne of Grace.’

Faithful and True!

The Men of Whitby!

“The men of Whitby” is a story by Robert Blatchford relating the effort to rescue the passengers and crew from a stricken vessel in ‘Robin Hood’ bay in 1881.9457326879_8c2b42832f_z

The ‘Robin Hood’ bay life boat is damaged and out of action and the sea is too rough to risk rowing the ‘Whitby ‘life boat around the coast. They therefore hit upon the thought to take the boat overland despite warnings of it impossibility and dire weather conditions.

 

After super human effort and a groundswell of local support the boat crew manages to get the boat to ‘Robin Hood’ bay.

The first attempt is forced back by immense waves and half the oars are shattered and half the crew put out of action.

Taking the oars from the damaged local life boat and fresh men taken aboard but again they are forced back. But again they attempt to reach the vessel in its dire peril647033102

All this time the passengers and crew of the vessel are unaware of the mighty efforts being made on their behalf’s and only when the lifeboat men cheer do they realize that their deliverance is at hand.

The story ends ,

“Oh, it was a glorious day! a strife of giants! a triumph of heroes! Imagine the delighted enthusiasm, the frantic excitement of the crowd when the shipwrecked crew were landed on that dangerous rocky shore, snatched from the very jaws of death – saved, saved to a man! – saved by the dauntless courage and magnificently heroic devotion of the fishermen of Whitby, who brought their lifeboat overland.”

 

While making allowance for some poetic license, there is no doubt that this story has often stirred my soul and brought a tear to my eye.

In the spiritual realm it is this desire to save that made Christianity different from the religions of men.

The saving love of Christ seen in his life and death upon the Cross has always fueled the zeal and fired the hearts of Christians for the proclamation of the gospel of Salvation.

It can only be said that the malaise the modern Church finds itself in is largely due to its allowing this fire to burn low and be replaced with a desire for people’s mere acceptance of Christian profession.

Is Jesus indeed, the Saviour and the only one, or is He not? If so we who have experienced his mercy and grace must declare Him as such without fear or favour.

 

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Tongue Tied Christians in prayer!

A ‘Methodist’ lady on an emigrant ship coming to Australia in the 1800’s complained to the captain that there was no ‘prayer meeting’ on board ship. He replied that the Anglican minister on board ship read ‘prayers’ Sunday morning. She replied that they were only ‘Parson’s prayers’.

The Christian’s constant peril is falling into the habit of praying merely by rote and habit.

Books of prayers and artificial helps may have their place but only if they lay a foundation upon which we ourselves build.

To have needs, desires and concerns is common to us all but the teaching of Scripture about prayer is all about the way we ‘give them utterance’ in the presence of ‘Our Heavenly Father’.

What we say in prayer is less a factor than how we come. While we indeed come to God through Christ as sinners, we also come as children.

It is natural for us to want to come into our father’s presence as presentable as possible yet for all our washing and scrubbing we still come clothed in the righteousness of Christ. The washing away of remaining sin is from God so coming to him in all our sin and shame is unavoidable.

The ‘shopping list’ tendency in prayer may stem from our ‘business’ like attitude and not wanting to hold God up with extraneous matters and civilities.

No doubt the crises of life and our agitated states may excuse us many a time yet in the normal course of our lives we need to stop and consider who it is to whom we come.

To pray after the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer or if you prefer the Pattern our Lord gave us for prayer is a good starting place for those ‘ all at sea’ when it comes to prayer. Our application of its principals to our current situations and as it were filling the names and problems into the blanks is useful sometimes.

One major thing to is to not fall into the habit of neglecting prayer or forever putting it off.

The Holy Spirit graciously intercedes within us in our prayers and Christ all availingly intercedes for us at the ‘Throne of grace’ but all this depends upon us praying in the first place.

john Cennick2

 

The Men of Whitby!