Lord Woolton Pie.

Lord Woolton pie was a vegetable pie covered with potato pastry invented during the time of wartime rationing in England. It was meant to provide a substitute meal due to the shortage of meat and maintain public nutrition. It was not universally popular because to most people a pie by definition had to have meat in it.220px-Woolton_pie_(4653443530).jpg

“The recipe involved dicing and cooking potatoes (or parsnips), cauliflower, swede, carrots and possibly turnip. Rolled oats and chopped spring onions were added to the thickened vegetable water which was poured over the vegetables themselves. The dish was topped with potato pastry and grated cheese and served with vegetable gravy. The recipe could be adapted to reflect the availability and seasonality of ingredients.” Quoted from Wikipedia.wooltonpie

After the War this recipe was quickly forgotten having served its purpose.

“Professor John Fuller has noted that Woolton pie and similar wartime austerity dishes “were forgotten as quickly as possible when conditions returned to normal”.[5] (One notable exception to this pattern is carrot cake which, while not invented during the war, was popularised in the United Kingdom during that period because it used the widely available root vegetable in place of some of the scarce flour, fat and sugar found in other cakes.)” Anton-Cartoons-Punch-1941-04-09-340.jpg

A repetitious and bland diet is the bane of some people’s lives. We all like variety and new taste sensations. Many for health reasons are compelled to stay away from foods and beverages that they once enjoyed. They are conscious of the consequences to their health if they eat the things they shouldn’t.

Others due to time of war and famine are compelled to subsist on whatever is available and often they are just enough for subsistence.

The other end of the scale is the gourmet who disdains humble foods and is forever seeking new foods and flavours.

Numbers 11 tells that the children of Israel got tired of the “manna “ that God to them day by day.

 

It came to them without any more effort than it took to go and gather it.

No doubt they prepared it in every conceivable way and added what else they had in store to it but at last they had had enough and began to murmur against Moses and through him against the Lord.

18 And say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat, for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was better for us in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat. 19 You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, 20 but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the Lord who is among you and have wept before him, saying, “Why did we come out of Egypt?”’” 21 But Moses said, “The people among whom I am number six hundred thousand on foot, and you have said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat a whole month!’ 22 Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, and be enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, and be enough for them?” 23 And the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord‘s hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not._31 Then a wind from the Lord sprang up, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, around the camp, and about two cubits above the ground. 32 And the people rose all that day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail. Those who gathered least gathered ten homers. And they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. 33 While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord struck down the people with a very great plague. 34 Therefore the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had the craving.” 

Kibroth-hattaavah means graves of craving or greed.

In his anger God sent them quails in abundance and the people prepared them up but while the meat was still in their teeth the Lord smote many of them with a great plague.quail-in-the-desert-e1402282675584

The people had turned their nose up at the sustenance God provided for them and evidenced their greed and lack of trust in God by hoarding up the quails.

Instead of gratitude and reverence for  God who had done such wonderful things for them ,they abused the grace which saved and sustained them

To many of our modern “Christian thinkers” this judgment appears excessive and petty yet the reality is our God is a “consuming fire” and not to be trifled with.

The Christians reverence and submission towards God are important and pleasing in His sight. Our complaining, griping and grousing about His providence and purposes are not.

The “easy going”, all merciful and passively tolerant deity of today’s Christianity bears no resemblance to the Holy God of Scripture.

While we are indeed saved by grace through faith, our walk is to be one of obedience, submission and trust. When we forget this and walk in our own self pleasing , sinful ways and attitudes we can expect chastisement, if indeed we truly belong to the Lord.

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In one ear and out the other.

I have great difficulty in retaining in my memory many of the things people tell me.

I fear I would never make much of a waiter in a restaurant.

It makes me wonder how much of what God’s message to us,that we actually hear in church is kept in the memory and meditated upon at a later time.

The Puritans did all they could to encourage their hearers to go over among themselves and with each other what they heard in the preaching of the Word.

They also expected them to teach and examine their children as to their understanding.

Nowadays we content ourselves with retaining a few salient points from the message and maybe we remember an anecdote used to illustrate what the pastor was saying.

Others go away with a short lived glow imparted by the experience of uplifting worship and pleasure, interrupted by a few words of teaching , challenge or encouragement which we know are part of the routine and to be expected.

How many sit in our modern churches and hear reams upon reams of preaching good , bad and indifferent and are none the better for them?

Even among the sincere seekers after truth, how little is kept in the memory and remembered or utilized in the mundane events or trials and tribulations of life.

One often wonders why God chose such an ephemeral means as the preaching of the word of scripture as the main means of grace for the church.

The fault here does not “Lie in the Stars” and certainly not the wise purposes of God.

While allowance is to be made for our all too human frailty, there are many reasons why we do not gain more benefit and blessing from the hearing of God Word.

One obvious problem is that in many of the places of worship we attend today very little of the word of God preached in them.

In the vernacular of that “civil servant” Sir Humphrey Appleby we are only getting the simplified and palatable “Janet and John” bit. (Janet and John were characters in an infant “learn to read” book from some years ago).

Also when the “Word” is preached, very often it is not being mixed with faith in the hearers (Hebrews 4:2).

Often it is crowded out by worldly thoughts, cares and problems.

Sometimes we are overcome by drowsiness and lethargy due to our worldly pleasures and pursuits.

Either way we miss out on much that we could gain from the preaching of the Word and not preparing ourselves ,as much as we can for its reception.

How thankful we must be that the “Hand of the Lord is not shortened” and that by His Spirit’s work in our hearts and minds,  even the crumbs of the Word and its preaching carry power and fulfill the purpose He has for them in our lives.

Let us pray and strive to  be faithful hearers and remember-ers of the Word but also hearty and obedient doers of it.

 

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Lord Woolton Pie.

Arguing with God!

In all of God’s dealings with Job, the why’s and wherefore’s, for his sufferings resolved into nothing less than God’ Sovereignty over all. Apart from knowing that God was testing his faith the reason for his great trials remained unknown, at least for the present, to this man of God.

In a much later age, after the Jews had returned from the Babylonian exile, God’s people were perplexed by His dealings with them.

The prophecy of Malachi was the last to be received by the Jewish people before a long silence of several hundred years until the coming of Christ whose coming he prophesied.

It was a last warning to the people and their leaders to change their ways or face the terrors of “The day of the Lord”.Image result for The prophet Malachi

God’s message is delivered by the prophet to the priests who seemed to have a chief hand in the grumbling and grousing. While they bore most of the guilt, there is no doubt a wider application here to the people at large. It was truly said in the past “like priest ,like people”.

It seemed that despite their observation of the form and ritual of God’s temple and maintaining His worship, something was still not quite right. The showers of blessings the people expected to receive from God had not eventuated. God it seemed was not fulfilling His great promises or paying what He owed them and therefore they felt cheated.

God had indeed brought them back to their homeland, yet it was in reduced circumstances, in the midst of enemies and under foreign rule.

The temple and its ritual had been restored and but it was now far less spectacular in comparison to its former splendor. Despite this the Jews continued their round of observances and endured their tediousness with no visible results and acknowledgment by their God.

The returned exiles even if they did not outwardly express it, began to question the reality of God’s love for them and wondered whether it was really worthwhile to worship Him in the face of His seeming neglect to acknowledge and bless their efforts.

It was to deal with this situation that God sent His word by the prophet Malachi. The burden of the prophet’s message was to address this seeming discrepancy and answer the people’s unspoken questions and grumblings.

The Jews in Malachi’s time were really questioning God’s love for them.

In the light of God’s great mercies, deliverances and blessings in the past, why were they now eking out their daily existence and existing as strangers and slaves in their own land.

The foundation upon which the prophet’s message rested was God’s past and continuing love for His people.

“I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?”Malachi 1:2

This love was based on God election of Jacob over his brother Esau based on His own will and purpose.

“Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.”Malachi 1:2-3

(In this day and age when preachers are telling a person that God has a purpose for their life, they should remember that there are more Esau’s than Jacobs in the World.)

When God places His love upon a person it does not fail, the Jewish people were loved for the sake of the Election and choice of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

For us today, our salvation is based on God’s choosing of his people in Christ from all eternity without any regard for supposed merit.

In answer to this declaration of Divine affection the people can only exclaim “How have you loved us?” Where is the proof? Why are we living on crumbs?

For every charge God made against them the guilty parties turn back against Him with a mock surprise as if all was well and God was mistaken and unfair in His charges against them.

What a terrible state of affairs when God’s own people set themselves up to judge Him. Yet how often do we do it still?

Malachi lays the reason for God’s withheld blessings at the door chiefly of the priests, who should have known better, and to the people generally.

It was because of the fundamental lack of reverence among them for God and His ordinances and worship.

The people had so little regard for God that anything would suffice for an offering. Instead of giving their best they gave the inferior and polluted. They regarded the temple service with contempt and exhibited weariness with what should have been “Their reasonable service”.

For us today,this is seen in the unending search by the Churches for novelty, excitement and variety in worship and by congregations being discontented with simple Bible teaching and unadorned worship services.

As a result they are half hearted and lackadaisical in their worship and withhold their best from God’s service until they “get their money’s worth”.

Mostly they go somewhere else where they can find the “spiritual highs” they crave.

There is nothing new “under the Sun”.

It was not only the consequences which befell the Jews as a result of their lack of reverence for God, but it had a far wider aspect in regards to God’s standing and the glory of His name among the Gentiles and unbelievers.

“For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts”. Malachi 1:11

If God’s own people were contemptuous of His service then the Gentiles would be excused in thinking that The God of Israel was no more than just another deity of the sort they themselves worshipped.

Today if we believe that God’s worship requires “jazzing up”, worldly gimmicks or man pleasing teaching, what does it say of our idea of God? When we spend our time listening to the world and follow its trends instead of listening to His Word, what message does that send to the unbeliever?

Man already thinks he is the be all and end all,

The sinner wants a religion made to his measure. For the church to confirm him in this illusion makes it more difficult for him to ever come to the throne of God and hear the truth about his sinful state and need repentance and the genuine salvation found in Jesus Christ.

For the Believer to give less than his best for the service of God because it does not cater to his fleshly pleasure and desires or result in immediate and earthly benefits is a grave sin.

Our idea of what constitutes a blessing is often coloured by our carnal and worldly perspective.

We are already blessed far more abundantly than our inherent sinfulness deserves. Very often we are far more blessed in what God withholds as well as in what He gives.

For the priests as well as the people, God had a message which he expected to be listened to. He laid before them the alternatives, if they heard and obeyed they would be blessed in the highest and most enduring ways, if they did not listen and disobeyed they could expect more of the same curse only worse.

If anyone could be expected to adhere in faithfulness to God and His commands it should have been the priests. They were the ones who declared God’s truth, so when they went astray the nation was really off the tracks and heading for ruin.

So today, when many notable figures in the church are teachings doctrines foreign to God’s Word and many  follow their lead ,we can expect the same dire consequences unless we remain firmly holding the truth.

There is much in the book of Malachi which repays study and it was appropriate that G.Cambell Morgan entitled his particular work “Malachi’s Message for Today”.Image result for god's name to be glorified wherever the sun shines malachi

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Arguing with God!

Falling away!

They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.1 John 2:19 N.I.V

Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’Matthew 7:23

The evangelical church at the timing of writing this article is very concerned over the number of young people leaving the church. It seems that despite the church’s bending over backwards to be appealing to them they still drift away.https://i0.wp.com/www.transitionalleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/walking-away.jpg

(We may differentiate between turning away from Christ and leaving the church, but a churchless Christianity is a sorry situation.)

There are various reasons for people departing from the faith. The main one being the love of sin and this world, displacing any pretence of love for Christ.

Also it is sad to say that the church in its effort to get people in and appeal to the masses, has resorted to a watered down and sugar coated gospel that does not confront them with their sin and which does not exhort people to count the cost of following Christ. They supplement this with shallow and superficial worship styles which have little resemblance to the corporate worship of the “Body of Christ” in times past.

The church looks at the raised hand, a signature on a piece of paper, or a recited confession of faith instead of seeking a sound conversion and a changed life as a result of sound and full preaching of the Word of God.

The visible church has no on to blame but itself, if by using carnal and worldly methods they produce carnal and worldly Christians who fall away back into the world (because they most probably never left it).

I dare say that the result of any soul searching the church does will mean more attempts to make the worship services more exciting and “relevant” and “contemporary”. It will make the preaching of the gospel, if there is any, more appealing to the spirit of the times and the perceived needs of the attendees instead of the true desire to worship God and the Lord Jesus Christ and proclaim His Truth.

I have no doubt it will mean the music will be a lot louder.

Unreal professors of Christianity will always fall away. What is horrible, is when the professing Church falls away from the preaching of the unadulterated gospel “once delivered to the saints”…

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Falling away!

Worship and Doctrine

In the matter of Christian theology, doctrine and practice, to engage in controversy for controversies sake is wrong. It is quite another thing to stand up for God’s truth as revealed and reasonably deduced from scripture. There are many matters upon which we can differ and agree to differ without doubting each other’s Christianity.

It is in the fundamentals of the faith that we all must seek to preserve, each according to our abilities and circumstances.

Many of the peddlers of error are speaking via the media to many thousands of people and there are pastors and bible teachers who write books and publish video sermons to counter these false teachers. For the rest of us our influence may extend no further than our immediate family and friends and local church.

We all like a quiet life. No one wants to be at odds with those he fellowships with or his local minister. Yet we are all called to speak the truth in love. We must always deal with our differences in a loving caring way, conscious of our own fallibility.

There are methods and approaches in the church today which while they may not be downright wrong, are the inlets to practices and doctrines which are detrimental to the Church and its mission of faithful proclamation of the genuine gospel of Christ

I know from my experience that much in the church today in doctrine and worship does not accord with my understanding of Scripture or the emphasis needed on preaching the Word fully and faithfully. Being in the minority how am I to deal with this situation? Should I remain silent and let the will of the many prevail unchallenged?

It is possible to be sincerely wrong. It is therefore necessary to identify whether the errors we perceive in the Church come from our own misunderstanding. If what they teach and practice jars your prejudices or upset your sensibilities, it is probably best to look at the good in the church and pass over the things that are not according to your taste.

Yet making allowance for this we must “test all things” and not blindly follow where others lead.

I can only speak for myself, when I say that my opinion of today’s worship style in the church is not the reverent, preaching and prayer centered, corporate worship scripture enjoins.

It seems to me, that it takes away from the congregation and minister.

The singers and musicians put on a “show” a la charismatic (without the phenomena,) and call it worship. Whether or not the members of the congregation actually sing the  repetitive and sometimes, shallow theologically, songs is a matter of seeming indifference to them.

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Whatever of the heart goes along with the modern worship style, there seems to me very little scope for the mind.

Not only does the dominance of this form of “Worship” relegate the preaching of the Word to a subordinate position, I think it positively hinders it.

As for the actual preaching of the Word, it seldom reaches the heights it reached in past times. You can hardly see a Bible opened let alone expounded in any meaningful way. Sadly what with everything else that goes on in the service there is often not the time even if there was the inclination.

I have often gone to a church service and the Word of God is not preached at all but is supplanted by an interview, concert or video and it seems many delight to have it so.

Considering many people only attend one service a Sunday it makes one wonder how much teaching they actually get.

With the prevalence of false doctrine in the Church today, there must be sound and faithful preaching. People may condemn it as hate speak or whatever, but to tailor the sermon and service to soothe the scruples of non believers and not scare away mere professing believers is not going to achieve  lasting spiritual results. It will never combat the serious doctrinal errors and worldly inroads that beleaguer the Church in the twenty first century.

In saying all this I make allowance for the fact I am old fashioned and set in my ways. I am definitely in the minority but in good conscience based on years of bible study and attendance in various denominations, I can only ask of anyone who reads this, that they would have a good look at the things that we believe and do.

We must also remember that much of what we do in worship today is only of very recent origin and discards the historic practices of the evangelical church without adequately replacing them.https://i1.wp.com/visionofhopeumc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/traditional-service.jpg

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Why do we need Worldly hype and gimmicks in our Children’s Ministry?

Sunday at Church we had a lady from the U.S. who was in charge of her Arizona church’s children’s ministry.

From my hearing of what she described, it seems to me that ,what with the bright colours they use in their children’s area,  the games, invited celebrities and felt need to generate excitement,that they have taken their lead more from the World and marketing methodology rather than Scripture.

No doubt there was teaching and evangelism in the program, but it seems to me, it was only after the young people had tired themselves out having a good time.

If , as I suspect,the teaching was the usual pablum dispensed by “seeker sensitive ” churches, you may wonder how much was sugar and how little was salt. I hope this was not the case here.

If we use carnal, worldly and sensual methods in any of our ministries, the chances are we will produce Carnal, Worldly and sensual Christians. More likely they will grow bored with the excitement they find in the Church and seek the excitement found in sinful and worldly pleasures and fall away.

I can truly understand the desire to bring people and their children into the church and keep them there.First of all surely, we need to bring them to Christ and disciple them.

The desire and aim of these innovators is commendable.  However the approach they take is what we would expect from an advertising agency or business enterprise with no higher aim than increasing their customer base and profits.

They claim that traditional methods are boring and that we are being left behind in the growth stakes.

They use entertainment and catchy   gimmicks and methods to capture the attention and attendance of great crowds of people.

They hope that by getting people within the walls of the church they will become Christians.

They seek through their grandiose programs to bring children to Christ but does He really need the help of artificial hype and slick marketing to bring children to Himself.

I wonder how big a church needs to be and how big their budget to support this sort of program?

How many families are drawn away from smaller churches to the bright lights these churches generate?

How many times do I hear of people leaving a small struggling church because they do not have a “children’s program” such as is found in these type of churches?

The ends seldom justify the means. When the Church looks like the World chances are children will think the Church and the World are interchangeable.

Rather let us seek to stand apart from the worldly approach to dealing with problems and seek in simplicity to proclaim Christ and share His saving love in a way which is pleasing to Him.

Let indeed, the children come to Him and not merely to a Christian equivalent of the “Wiggles”.

 

Worship and Doctrine