Deuteronomy: A Timely Reminder!

The Old Testament book of Deuteronomy is the written record of Moses reminding the Children of Israel of what brought them to this point in their history.2016445_univ_lsr_xl.jpg

He reminds them of the Mighty power of God shown on their behalf in bringing them out of Egypt and in sustaining them for Forty years in the Desert. He confronts them with their own unbelief and sin that had so long delayed their entry into the blessings of the Promised Land and warned them of the dangers and curses that would come upon them if they sinned by alliances with the people of the land or relapsed back into unbelief.

This current generation of Israel was too young at the time to be held responsible for their parent’s sin yet the same proneness to disobedience and faithlessness was constantly present in their hearts.

We would have thought that such warnings were unnecessary.

God’s blessings and providential sustenance were ever before them in the daily return of the Manna and also the water that gushed from the rock so miraculously.

They were daily reminded of the Wrath of God because they viewed His Sentence being carried out on the previous generation withering away for their past sin and provoking unbelief.

Added to this, they were forever reminded of the holiness of God by the constant requirement to approach the His indwelt Tabernacle bringing sacrifices for sin and atonement and thanksgiving.

Despite all these helps to remembrance, Moses recognized our human frailty and tendency to forget and take for granted God’s blessings, commandments and past judgments.

If there was ever a time in the history of Christianity when so many vital things have been forgotten that should have been remembered, this is it!

There is hardly any doctrine or commandment found in God’s word that has not been conveniently forgotten or treated as an obsolete relic from less enlightened times.

The fact that the flow of the ‘times’ has gone so much against Scriptural Christianity has only served to accelerate the ‘forgetting ‘ and ignoring of so much Scriptural teaching and Christian belief.

Whatever else we may forget, we should remember that God does not forget and as judgment came on the disobedient in the past it certainly will fall on the disobedient and unbelieving in the future.

A life on Rails??

I recently purchased an educational DVD on ‘the Valley of the Kings’ in Egypt. I am always interested in archaeology and am intrigued by this particular are.valley of the kings

I was no more than one third way through the program when I realized that I had borrowed this exact ‘DVD’ some years ago from the library and had forgotten I had ever seen it.

I am sure most of us have times when we believe that we are breaking ‘new ground’ and varying our routine yet find we are doing something we have actually done some time ago.

It is almost as if we are travelling in a large circle and gravitate back to the same places of interest and fascination.

We pick up books that look interesting and find we have read them long ago.

These and many other things give us the ‘déjà vu’ experience.

The influences that work upon us act largely unperceived and subconsciously. Even when we seem to ourselves that we have ‘gotten out of our rut’, we soon find that we have gotten into another.

According to Sherlock Holmes, his brother Mycroft’s life ran on rails and any deviation from his routine was akin to a planet leaving its orbit.Mycroft_Holmes

The ruts we get into are not always bad things.

In various parts of the U.S. there are still to be seen Wagon trails and wheel ruts from the pioneering wagon trains heading West in search of a new life and room to grow.784774bb41f8212a62bfdef17cdf992f--laramie-wyoming-wyoming-usa

The fact that these ‘trails ‘were successfully used by others encouraged many who would come after to use them as well.

Though this did not make the journey completely free from hazard and danger it at least gave those who followed a sense of direction and a known way to follow.

I guess if we must get into a ‘rut’ maybe we can choose the best of them.

For the Christian it is far wiser to choose the ‘good old way’ of the Scripture and the ‘path of the flock’ than walk in our own ways and hazard a departure from the Truth.

The Titfield Thunderbolt

MV5BZGMzY2Y1NjQtZTA2Zi00MGUzLTlmODUtNmFkODI0M2VmZjZhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjE3NjA1MzQ@._V1_

Was a 1953 British film about the effort to save a branch railway line from being closed down.

It well described the changing of the times and the passing of the old way of doing things.

Once something is lost it can seldom be recovered.

There is always the tension between what we preserve for posterity and continued use and what we replace as obsolete, outmoded or unsafe.

We are often so caught up in the tide of innovation and invention that we discard the tried and true without a thought or consideration and regret it ever afterwards.

At the other extreme we can hold on to something even when it has passed all genuine reason for keeping it.

The Christian especially must be wary of throwing aside truths and principals that appear to the casual observer outdated and outmoded just for the sake of keeping up with the times and trends.

It is these very things that have sustained Christianity when most under attack from its enemies and in danger of being overcome.

To throw aside Scriptural truths and God’s revealed way of Salvation and replace it with Man pleasing doctrines and hype and sensation is the surest way to final ruin and eternal regret.

On the other hand we must not preserve things that we have always done for no better reason than we have always done them and therefore see no reason to change.

The great wisdom is to know what to keep and what to get rid of.

We must cry for God’s help to preserve what He has given to us and grace to cast a way ,when necessary those things that had no business being there in the first place.

fly to christ

Advertisements
Deuteronomy: A Timely Reminder!

Assaulting the Almighty

During the Second World War blitz on England, falling bombs were not the only danger to the population.

aagun

The anti aircraft artillery barrage, while not very effective against German aircraft, did make the bombers fly higher and spoil their accuracy.

However what goes up must come down and shrapnel from the explosive shells rained back to earth posing a danger to those on the ground.

So when sinful man launches his attacks on the Almighty, the arrows he fires redound upon and injure himself.

The same goes for those who rejoice in contradicting God’s holy and wise laws and cast beneath their feet the message of Salvation.

Sadder still are those who pose as Christians yet do all they can to water down and relegate those parts of Scripture that do not conform to their own conceptions.

True, their impending judgment may be slow in coming but it is sure and certain none the less unless repentance and mercy intervenes.

Communication Breakdown!

Apparently one of the symptoms of mental illness is the fact that the afflicted cannot seem to make themselves understood by those around them and have difficulty comprehending what others are trying to convey to them.

In the same way sinful man has lost the ability to understand the things of God in fact they are hateful to him.

Man by nature is dead in sin and cut off from God and, unless aided by the Holy Spirit in conversion is unwilling and indeed  unable to obtain a fatherly hearing from God because his speech is drowned out by his willfulness in rebellion and sin.

As the blind man told the inquisitive Pharisees ” God does not listen to sinners. John 9:31″.

“We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.”

While most today make man the first mover in salvation, the scriptures lay the salvation of man first to last, in the will of God and power of His Spirit working in the sinner’s heart moving him to repentance and seeking to God through faith.

Sin is the great communication barrier between God and us and it is only when it is repented of and dealt with by the blood of Christ that the channels are opened and the way of fellowship cleared.

The mock turtle.

cary grant mock turtle

 

Believe it or not, this costumed character from the 1933 “live action” version of “Alice in Wonderland” is Hollywood heart-throb Cary Grant .

True it was early on in his career but it does display a willingness on his part to put aside his trademark debonair good looks to perform a role to entertain the young.

Many of the actors who played Lewis Carroll’s characters in this film were popular actors and comedians at the time, with well known faces and mannerisms and yet under some of their costumes they were almost unrecognizable unless you listened carefully and knew where to look for them.

Generally famous people are known for their self promotion and greedy seeking after publicity to further their career.

So for well known personalities to efface and disguise themselves in order to perform roles in which they may or may not be recognized is remarkable.

Self promotion is not something that sits well in the sphere of Christianity.

When the ministry has more to do with the charisma of the “personality” in the spotlight and his obvious talents and less to do with the glory of God and the salvation of sinners, spiritual failure is sure to be the ultimate result, regardless of the hype and hysteria.

We have no shortage of “show ponies’‘ in our churches today.

People who are the Christian equivalent of exhibitionists. Their overarching desire is to be seen as special or talented and be admired.

We are all prone to fall into this trap to some degree and we all have need to humble ourselves and do as John the Baptist did in like circumstance.” He must increase while I must decrease”.

While it is true someone must be out the front, they should not be there seeking fame or reputation for themselves.

Human nature being what it is, some notoriety is unavoidable for many in prominent positions in the church but we have no business seeking it as an end in itself: rather it is all about proclaiming the gospel message and bringing glory to Christ and He alone.

We ourselves are incidental in the service of Christ and all the reward we seek is his well done and all the glory belongs to Him.

quote-if-i-might-be-the-means-of-saving-one-soul-i-should-prefer-it-to-all-the-riches-and-asahel-nettleton-58-17-15

Esau.

Was in many ways an admirable figure. He was the sort of  “out- doorsy, self reliant man that is admired and envied by most.

He reveled in the wide open spaces and pushed himself to his limits in manly pursuits, especially hunting.esau.jpeg

Unfortunately while he spent much time abroad in nature, like many of our famous naturalists today, he never sought to know and obey the God of creation.

He had a very two dimensional and short sighted view of existence and could see no further than his next meal and   immediate carnal pleasure.

When cheated out of His birthright and blessing all he could think about was getting revenge on his devious brother rather than blaming his own short sightedness and foolishness and seeking repentance and trying to amend his life.

We do feel that during the years of separation from his brother, Esau may have mellowed somewhat.

We see this in the kindly way he received his estranged brother upon his return home.

Perhaps rather it was more to do with the restraining hand of God upon him than anything else

Yet the behavior of his descendants toward their kinsman in latter days betrays the continuance of a long held grudge and resentment towards the  Jacob’s descendants, the Children of Israel  because of God’s favour  abundantly lavished upon them ,contrasting with the passing over of Esau and his descendants.

While it is a great deep and beyond our comprehension, God’s sovereignty in election and choosing one over another is repeatedly taught in scripture. Yet it never diminishes the fact that we are responsible for the wrong we do and for our turning away from God and living in disobedience to Him and his Word.

Let us be diligent in our seeking the Lord while he may be found!

quote-the-stairway-to-the-ministry-is-not-a-grand-staircase-but-a-back-stairwell-that-leads-edmund-clowney-74-80-31.jpg

 

 

Assaulting the Almighty

Set down my name Sir!

Said the Warrior of Bunyan’s”Pilgrim’s Progress” when sword in hand he entered the battle to overcome sin and adversity and attain the glorious reward of God.

39_134723.jpg

 

I fear we today are of a more pacifist spirit when it comes to our Christianity. We want to lay back and enjoy the sweet things of Christ but will endure no pains to support His work and cause.

As the spirit of this world becomes more hostile to Christian morality and purity of life, the line will be drawn between those who will prevaricate and compromise and those who will pay the inevitable price of loyalty to Christ and His revealed commandments.

Many will stumble and fall before Satan’s onslaught, yet some will fall to rise again and others will fall to rise no more.

We can all suspect that we succumb to the temptation to flee Christ’s banner for fear of loss and suffering. When it comes to the choice of “Fight or flight” most would imitate Peter. Let us hope they would imitate him in his sorrow and repentance.

Let us all pray for grace to be given when it is most needed. We can none of us hope to stand without empowerment from the Spirit of God.

While we seek grace to maintain our faith in trying times we must also seek that courage which not only resists the wiles and attacks of the adversary but we must also seek for the fighting spirit to fight for God’s truth and the salvation of sinful men in the midst of hostile satanically inspire persecution and ridicule.

The soldier is not solely expected to stand in defense but to vigorously to attack the enemy’s strongholds.

Of course we mean this in a spiritual and Christian sense yet the victory obtained is far more real and substantial than that obtained in earthly war.

John Knox

index knox

One only needs to look at a person like John Knox to see Christian courage and fortitude in the face of powerful opposition. Such was his courage that the Earl of Morton regent of Scotland said over his grave, “Here lies one who never feared any flesh”.

Some would say he lived in different times and may have exceeded his purview as a minister of the gospel, yet many of the religious freedoms and civil liberties we now enjoy were won by people such as Knox.

Yet Knox was not a religious zealot or mere fanatic, his zeal for God and the reformation of the church was tempered by compassion and tenderness. He knew when to wield the Sword of the Spirit and when to be conciliatory.

While many would smudge Christianity so that it is more in accord with worldly trends, people like Knox knew that compromising God’s revealed commands and the pure Gospel of Christ would invariably lead to wholesale apostasy.

Are we not seeing the results of this in the “latinitudinarian” spirit in the visible Church? I mean by this the allowance of anything and everything in the Church regardless of its appropriateness or being based on  scripture .

In harmony with Worldly trends we hold to no fundamental doctrines or truths or at least fail to preach and teach them. No wonder we see our young people rudderless when it comes to Christian truth.

Those who point out this trend in the Church are met with the same accusations that come from the “god-less” World, you are unloving, judgmental and “troublers of Israel”.

Departure from the faith starts in small steps and with few noticing but the “end of the way is death”.

As I have pointed out before many of those who seek to make Christianity relevant to a post modern world have a tendency to turn away from  plain and historic teaching God in His Word and look anywhere and everywhere else for guidance and opinions and input to apply to the teaching and practice of Christians and churches.

The first Christians and the Apostles did no such thing. They received the message straight from God and delivered it to mankind without fear or favour and with no consultation with “flesh and blood”.

The completeness of scripture precludes the need for consultation with the theories and practices of the times. It makes no difference whether it is re-clothed in the garb of direct divine revelation in other words “God told me so”.

Again we see this wreaking havoc and uncertainty in the modern Church.

For many ministers and Christian leaders they more concerned with the feelings and rights of those they would reach for Christ and therefore they promise welcome to all regardless.

Christ indeed welcomes all who came to Him but when did He ever condone or encourage them in their sin. We all come to Christ as sinners yet how many come to a profession of Christianity and instead of obeying the call to repent and walk in holiness of life are remaining not only worldly but willfully engaging in sinful lifestyles.

They even call for acceptance of the ongoing sinful practice by talking about the love of God and Jesus accepting sinners.

This is where we have arrived by divesting the Church of a teaching and preaching role regarding scriptural truth or by re-interpreting the Bible in terms alien from our historic understanding.

The triumph of sin and sinful men in the church is not so much their victory but the “Church’s surrender”.

***************************************************************************

There are some that are apt to think , that if an angel should come from heaven and reveal God’s will to them, it would work more upon them than the written word; but I would have these men study the conference between Abraham and Dives, (Luke 16:27-31) “They have Moses and the prophets;” if they will not profit by them, neither would they profit by any that should come out of hell, or down from heaven to them; for it is the same God that speaks to them by the written word, and by a voice from heaven. The difference is only in the outward clothing; therefore if God’s speaking by writing will not amend us no more will God’s speaking by a voice.O bless God exceedingly for the written Word! Let us cleave close to it, and not expect any revelations of new truths, but say with the Apostle ,as in Galatians 1:8-9

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” N.I.V. ;

From  a Sermon “The Godly man’s Ark ” by Edmund Calamy the elder

edmund calamy the elder

Victor Mature: (January 29, 1913 – August 4, 1999

Victor_Mature_-_publicity

Is one of my favourite actors.

He does not readily fall into the Hollywood stereo-typical image yet was a staple of Epic films and a variety of film genres.

He was notorious for not taking his acting career seriously as he regarded it as merely a means to an end and a source of income.

He said himself that “he was pretty proud of fifty percent of his movies”. (wiki)

He appeared in some of the “Biblical epics” that were popular “box office” draws at the time. These were “spectacular “ dramatizations of Bible and religious stories with their meanings reduced to a sub Christian message of peace among men and human liberty surrounded by action and special effects.

One of the great failings we have as human beings is that we take ourselves so seriously and yet take God and His Word so casually.

One would have thought that the threat of an eternal hell and the hope of free salvation would have people frantically poring over the scriptures and gratefully taking by faith the salvation so expensively won by Christ on the cross.

sambo2

Instead like Samson (also played by Mature) in the hands of the Philistines, the gospel message is laughed at; it is distorted, watered down or rejected wholesale.

Others turn Christianity into a religion of superstition and holy objects as we see portrayed in the film “the Robe”images robe

 

 

 

We may take many things in life lightly but we should never fail to take seriously God and His Word , eternity depends upon it.

images compromise

 

 

 

 

Set down my name Sir!

Bypassing the Gospel !

In this country the current trend is to build “ring roads “and “By-passes” around our regional towns and cities so that travelers are not delayed by slower municipal speeds and “round-abouts” or traffic lights.index by pass

It is coming to the point where you can travel right round the country and not arrive anywhere.

I wonder if the same could be said about the current trends in Christianity “so called”.

Firstly, there seems to be a fundamental desire and flagrant attempt to detour around the Cross of Christ and the problem of sin and the need for repentance and change of life.

The old gospel and message of Salvation is skipped or hurried over so that people can get their hands on the “New life” and the promised abundant blessings of Christianity, though there is a still ongoing discussion about exactly what form they will take.

Worse still and I hope I am wrong, I feel there is also a move a-foot to bypass our Lord Jesus Christ completely and proceed directly to the Holy Spirit and the promised manifestations of His power.

A charismatic “preacher” on a visit to a former eastern bloc country told questioners that the crowds were not coming to hear him preach the Gospel of Christ but rather to witness and experience the power and working of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Since when does the Spirit of Christ work apart from the Word of Christ and the message of the Gospel?

Yes there may be some lip service paid to Christ but people want the promised gifts of healing etc. like Children, they cannot wait to open their presents at Christmas time, no matter who gave the gift in the first place.

They crave excitement and exhilaration to lift them out of the mundane tedium and inescapable stress of daily life.

They have no time for the hearing of teaching from Scripture and the necessity of meditation upon the Word of God that is the only real way to stand firm in the Gospel and united to Christ against the tidal wave of falsehoods and distortions heading our way.

So many today are unwilling to cast over board sin and self interest and therefore grasp eagerly and wholeheartedly the easy believe-ism that passes current in modern preaching. We are all out for what we can get at the lowest price and for the least effort.

The sufferings of the first Christians and subsequently in many times and countries is just their bad luck. To us moderns, persecution is no longer the necessary price for following Jesus.

We just want to get the good things we have and enjoy the good times.

How many plausible voices are out there revising people’s understanding of Scripture so they can hold their heads up and stay relevant and acceptable to a godless and perverted society?

These are the time in which we live, if nothing else they will separate between those who will cling to the truth of Christ and the Gospel from them from those who will be found at last with a “ship-wrecked “faith.

*********************************************************************

Many profess to admire the milder beams of the sun of righteousness, but burn with rebellion against its more flaming radiance: so it ought not to be: we are bound to praise a terrible, God and worship him who casts the wicked down to hell. Did not Israel praise him “who overthrew Pharaoh and his hosts in the Red Sea, for his mercy endureth for ever.” The terrible Avenger is to be praised, as well as the loving Redeemer. Against this the sympathy of man’s evil heart with sin rebels; it cries out for an effeminate God in whom pity has strangled justice. The well-instructed servants of Jehovah praise him in all the aspects of his character, whether terrible or tender.” Spurgeon’s “Treasury of David” on Psalm 99 verse 3

Chips Rafferty.

Bitter Springs_585315_display

Chips Rafferty: real name John William Pilbean Goffage : (26 March 1909 – 27 May 1971) was regarded and cast as such in many films as the quintessential “Aussie”.

He invariably played a “Tall, laconic, bushman type”.

In both Britain and the U.S. during the forties up till the seventies he was the first choice if you wanted a real Australian character and flavor for your film.

Although his type of Australian is becoming a rarity, it is still the way many in the world perceive us.

The way the people of this world perceive Christians varies greatly.

We are either “holier than thou” hypocrite or may be anachronistic throw backs to more superstitious times.

Either way your average Christian is out of step with the progress of mankind and if they do not get out of the way they will be trodden underfoot.

Hence the push for the re –thinking of Christianity and all the embarrassment caused by the Bible’s condemnation of the popular sins now calling for acceptance and even applause.

Despite the world’s sin inflicted blindness to right and wrong they will never be fooled by the ploy made by the compromisers of truth  to blend in and buddy up to them.

However dead the unbelieving World‘s consciences may be, they know that their beloved sin is wrong and displeasing to God. This may not stop them in the hardihood of their sinning: they may wish that those who tell them that God is all mercy and indulgent are telling the truth but they know in their heart of hearts that this is not the truth about God or Christianity.

However the people of this world despise the faithful Bible believing Christian they still have a grudging respect for those who stand against the tide of sin and Satan’s deceptions.

**************************************************************************

Michah 6:2 “ If the foundations be destroyed what can the righteous do ?” When there is no law for lewd or loose men . what can the righteous do but glorify God by mourning for the things which they cannot mend, and yet comforting themselves with this: verse 5 “The Lord is in His holy temple, and hath his throne in heaven,” q.d.  though all be in confusion, and we can see no help on earth, yet we will look unto God for aid, who sees and considers the sorrows of His people, and can and will help them, when man will not.” Thomas Hall “The beauties of the Magistracy”

 

Bypassing the Gospel !

Kith and kin.

You quickly discover doing family research that you have great aunts and uncles and second, third (and so on cousins) all over the place.

The fact is you may never know who they are or where they are and you are a complete stranger to them. Yet despite this you have a part of their bloodline and they of yours.

And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; Acts 17:26

This tells us that God has from the first original man, all the nations of the Earth. Therefore we must conclude that those of other races, no matter how different are our kin.

While many cannot see this the fact remains that the human race is one creation from the hands of God.

That mankind is of many different varieties and has developed diverse culture and language is obvious yet that does not detract from the fundamental kinship of the race.

The unity of all believers in Christ regardless of race is even more inviolable and should forever halt any superiority of one over another.

It may seem that God has favoured one people over another or dealt with them in a different way yet His Sovereignty in providence is based on His divine prerogative to act in His creation according to His infinite wisdom.

It does not give carte blanche one group of Christian people the license to lord it over another.

****************************************************

index gregson

  John Gregson(15 March 1919 – 8 January 1975)

One of my favourite British actors is John Gregson whose most famous role was in the film Genevieve co-starring another stalwart of the British screen and another favourite Kenneth More.

He always impressed me with his unpretending and sincerity as an actor. Like More his film acting career waned in the sixties and he was more often seen on television.

It seems that at that time the era of the plain man was being superseded by the era of the action hero and James Bond “action man” type.

It is regrettable that we all prefer our heroes to be larger than life.

Our Lord Jesus was to the casual observer an ordinary man. He was approachable and although conscious of His Divine mission and relationship with the Father, was never condescending.

Yet who was ever larger than life. Whoever spoke as He spoke or did what He did? Jesus transcended the ordinary and took the things of everyday life and raised and consecrated them to the glory of God.

So in our turn and in our degree must we.

 

Kith and kin.

Restoration!

Many years ago a work mate of mine was involved in the restoration of a “ Y” class steam engine which had been on static display near our local “Civic” hall. One Saturday afternoon I went to the workshops and helped push it onto a turn-table and saw it fired up.y112

On display at our local railway workshop is a “D” class engine and I asked him what would be involved in restoring it to working order. He reeled of all that would need to be repaired and replaced and the great amount of money it would require to complete the task. As of these many years later it still sits where it sat for so long.300px-D3658freight

Many people would take little notice of this fine old engine and show little or no concern for its fate. For the enthusiast however it is a project which if it were funded and staffed would be incredibly worthwhile.1280px-D3658k190

It is this desire we see projected to infinity when we think about God and the work of man’s salvation. He could have gone back to the drawing board and started again. He could have left mankind to its well deserved fate yet He in love to the work of his hands determined on man’s salvation, counted the cost and paid the price his only Son.

He in infinite mercy looked beyond man’s deteriorated and defiled condition and saw him as redeemed, sanctified and glorified.

Would that were more of this attitude in us Christians when we look at the unsaved; seeing the potential and renewal in man’s salvation. This would prompt us to greater efforts in proclaiming the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Buddy Ebsen

Long before he was “Jed Clampett and “Georgy Russell, Buddy Ebsen : (Christian Ludolf “Buddy” Ebsen, Jr.) (April 2, 1908 – July 6, 2003) was a song and dance man and ‘Vaude-villian”.

It was his unique dancing style and movements that were used to on the “grid” to animate Mickey Mouse’s dancing in the 1929 to 1939 Silly Symphony cartoons.

In a great opportunity for his career Ebsen was cast as the “scarecrow” in the “Wizard of Oz”.

Ray Bolger who was originally cast as the “Tin man” asked him to swap roles and he obligingly rehearsed and recorded the songs belonging to that role.170px-Buddy_Ebsen_Tin_Man

Unfortunately due to a bad reaction to the Aluminum powder he was unable to complete the production and the “Tin man” role was taken over by Jack Halley with a costume coated with safer Aluminum paste.

His fame came later when he accepted the role of the patriarch of the “Clampett “family. He is quoted as saying of this role “The one flaw in this is that you can’t hear the people laughing“.

Buddy_Ebsen_and_Irene_Ryan_from_The_Beverly_Hillbillies_-_1970

There are no doubt setbacks and failures are a major part of life some blight all our future life others are mere bumps in the road.

Christians are no different in this respect except for the fact they are imperceptibly guided through them by an all wise and loving guide.

God sends trials and tribulations to wean His children from love of this world and to try their faith and love for himself. He guides their path and equips them for His service and to face the hardships of “a good soldier of Christ”.

It may seem to us that some of our past life bears a close resemblance to what is left behind after a locust plague such as was often seen in Biblical times.imageslocusts

What was once green and promised great fruitfulness is now a barren wasteland.

However as Joel 2:25 reminds us, we have a Great God who can restore and replaced what we have lost and give abundantly more.

“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.”

194883024ff3f465a36714fcf0554571--book-of-revelations-son-of-god.jpg

Restoration!

Caricatures!

One of the criticisms of Charles Dickens works by other authors was that the characters he created were just caricatures and not full orbed or rounded people.

85c4e536cfb9bbe36bde265ac728dcd0

All the notable traits of his characters were accentuated and distorted for comedy and dramatic effect removing some of the true to life aspects of their portrayal.uriah heep.jpeg

I fear that many of us as Christians are little more than caricatures of Christianity rather than true examples of Christianity in living practice.

We may have some of the trappings of Christianity but are lacking in the most necessary attributes such as selflessness and genuine meekness.

Worse still we may have the “holier than thou” attitude savouring more of the Pharisee than the follower of Christ.

Others may have a Christianity which is all head and little heart, while others have only a sentimental or Sunday worship Christianity.

Still others are all good works but have little understanding of the truths of the Word and therefore miss the end in all Christ’s service.

How important it is therefore to have a sound understanding and wholehearted seeking for Christ , by His Spirit to graft Himself into our lives and daily lives and make us true imitators of our Saviour .

This is not to say that all Christians are to be alike or that they will no longer have their individuality and idiosyncrasies but rather that they will grow and grow proportionately to the full stature of Christ.

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,” Ephesians 4:11-13 E.S.V.

Standing for the truth!

I read in a book, (I think A.G. Dickens on the English Reformation), the story of a mentally handicapped man who was refused Church membership because He was not thought capable of understanding Christianity. On his way out of the church he was heard reciting, “Three in one, One in three, One in the middle, He died for me.”

This man, despite his deficiencies made the effort and understood something of the gospel message and believed it.

Many of us, despite much greater mental acuity content ourselves with little knowledge and even less understanding of the things of Christ and the truths of Scripture.

So it happens when our faith is assailed by false doctrine and heresy we “Drop sail” and yield.

There are those who make “discernment” a matter of knowing where demons are present and active. Rather the discerning Christian is the one who recognizes plausible counterfeits of Christianity and rejects them for the falsehoods they are.

The “Christian” leader will inevitably face criticism. Rather be criticized for being faithful, unflinching and honest in the bold proclamation of the “whole counsel of God”, than for watering down, glossing over or ignoring scriptural teaching.

Some church pastors and teachers may be highly successful in drawing great attendances, have lively and exciting worship and a great list of social programs etc. but if they are not proclaiming Scriptural Christianity and the Biblical way of Salvation then all they do will be only splendid sins.

Many say we should not judge lest we be judged.

I say “Preach the Word of God” be faithful to its teaching and do not yield to the fear or favour of men and modify your preaching to mollify them. Then we will have no cause for criticism and know that God is with you in truth.

Stopping Death in its tracks!

Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son

11 Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. 12 As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” 14 Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” 15 And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16 Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” 17 And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country. Luke 7:11-17 (ESV)

This portion of scripture is precious in that it is a foreshadowing of Christ’s ultimate conquest over death by His Resurrection.

Perhaps only someone who has recently lost someone dear can enter into the emotion and tragedy of this scene.

Death is seen at its worst. A young man, his mother’s only stay and support is cruelly  taken  away in the prime of life.

Yet even as the pall bearers are taking the lifeless body away they are stopped in their course by the one who is the Lord over death and the giver of eternal life.

The sorrowful tears of the bereft mother were exchanged for tears of joy when at the word of Christ; the dead son was restored to her alive.

It was no wonder that fear and worship gripped the amazed crowd of mourners.  God had indeed visited His people. If only they had realized the day of His visitation!

While we may not see the dead visibly raised, the day will come when we will.

In a Spiritual sense we know that through the power of Christ in the gospel, men and women, boys and girls, are being raised from the death of sin and delivered from the second death and brought to the only “life” worthy of the name.

We all have loved ones and neighbours who are as dead in sin as this young man was dead in body.

Let us all pray that like this young man, they will be stopped in their tracks on the way to a hope-less eternity and brought to salvation and life in Christ.

And to Him alone be the glory!

74056e90e44fe786de2a494161402ce1

index harker

Gordon Harker : ( 1885- 1967) was one of the unlikely “lads” who starred and supported in over sixty British films of the thirties, forties and fifties.

If anything he was an “anti-hero” who ended up on top more by good luck than good management.

He invariably played the “lugubrious, shifty cockney”.

imagesharker3(from “The Phantom light”1935)

He was noted for playing “Inspector Hornley” in a trilogy of films and was ably supported by Alistair Sim.inspector-hornleigh-on-holiday-1939-dvd-gordon-harker-alastair-sim-744-p

I confess I originally found him hard to take to and a bit unlikeable but he has a tendency to grow on you and after a while you come to admire him and his worldly wise ways.

In the Christian life we meet all sorts. Many of them are not quite our “cup of tea” and have little appeal for us.

It may be only upon closer examination that we see the truth of their Christianity and the Christ-like characteristics in their daily living. We owe some people a second look and the benefit of the doubt before we write them off.

Caricatures!