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.

 

Lord Woolton Pie.

Haters of the Human Race?

Was how many Gentiles describe the Jewish nation in ancient times. The Jews were notorious for their contempt and lack of dealings with Non-Jews except for strictly commercial and financial reasons.

We have an instance of this attitude in Acts 22: 17-23

17 “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ 21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” 23 And as they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air,”

Hitherto the Jewish crowd had listened to Paul’s defense in silence. When the Apostle mentioned his appointed mission of proclaiming the Gospel of Christ to the Gentiles the mob went wild.

It seems that although the Jewish religious leaders had no use or desire for the salvation of Jesus Christ themselves they still resented the idea that it should be freely proclaimed to the Gentile World at large.

They would not partake of the food set before them and yet would not spare a crumb for the Heathen nations dwelling in darkness.

Lest we unsparingly condemn these people, we must beware that there is nothing of this attitude in ourselves. We must guard ourselves from looking at some people as so far “beyond the pale” that they are not worth preaching the gospel of salvation to.

Jesus, when He saw the multitudes coming to Him had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. In such a way we should look at the sin be-nighted people we meet each day.

The Saint’s Refuge!

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2

We have here the description of the person seeking protection and the identity of the One who protects. These are very concrete terms for something very intangible.

We can see and feel bricks, concrete or solid rock. We can vividly imagine mountain strongholds and other means of halting approaching enemies.

I fear we may all have a harder time in expressing like faith in our God as our fortress and defender.

Even when in the past, we have found God to be “a very present help in time of trouble” and a refuge from the assailing storm, we still doubt His ability and willingness to do so again in the present crisis.

Maybe it not actually the reality of God’s protection that is at stake but rather the fact of our abiding that is in question.

If we are seeking and putting our trust in other means of protection it is no wonder we are feeling exposed and vulnerable.

The non Christian indeed has hiding places he or she resorts to: unfortunately they will find at last that they are unavailing and futile.

If they do by chance resort to God it is coming to someone they know nothing of and have no relationship with.

It is only by believing in Christ and His saving work and taking God at His Word in the protection of His people that we can come into the hope and faith seen here in the Psalmist’s words.

“3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his opinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.” Psalm 91:3-6

The attacks we face are of various kinds, they are not always frontal assaults.

It could be the snare of a crafty enemy cunningly laid for us to fall into. It could be the virulent disease of false doctrine or moral laxity and compromise. The attack could come from any direction and at any time. Whether in the daytime of prosperity or the mid-night of moral, spiritual or doctrinal decline, God is as the mother hens protecting wings and sturdy shield.

No darkness, no stealth or cunning can prevail to thwart God’s perpetual keeping of His people at all times of peril.

‘7 A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
    and see the recompense of the wicked.” Psalm 91:7-8

What a contrast is the fate and experience of the wicked?

No shift or dodge, No mere carnal defense will prevent their fall and avoid the just consequence of their rejection of God. They will be a visible object lesson of the results of rejecting freely offered mercy through Jesus Christ.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
    the Most High, who is my refuge —
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
    no plague come near your tent.

Our choices in life have inevitable consequences even as Christians. By imitating the world’s attitudes and values we can fall into the habit of trusting in deceitful riches and carnal means of security.

God’s promises are truer than any insurance policy and our casting ourselves upon Him and His faithfulness are sure means of protection.

Despite the trials, tribulations and diseases that befall the Christian in common with others, the promise of verse 10 is still an absolute one, inasmuch as not only are we spared many of these ills by God’s grace, we also find the evil that happens to us transformed into lasting good and the plague that touches us is turned into Spiritual health.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

We have here the great mystery of the Angelic protection of the believer.

Satan used this verse to tempt Jesus into a presumptuous action to demonstrate His divine son ship which He totally rejected but it does not detract from the truth that the angels are ministering to and protecting God’s people in ways we know little of.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
    I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91 E.S.V.

These wondrous Old Testament promises hold true for the New Testament believer.

God had promised Moses and the children of Israel that He would send an Angel ahead of them to pave their way into the Promised Land. Yet Moses realized that no angelic being could substitute for the presence of God Himself.

Verses 14 to 16 show us that our security and protection is directly in the hands of God our Father.

While we are not promised freedom from ill we are promised ultimate deliverance and triumph.

Though we may indeed appear to be in peril and suffer in common with others, the difference is we will never fail or fall finally or fully through our being “kept by the power of God unto Salvation”.

The Day of our deliverance is at hand and our Saviour is ever near.

“Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
1 Thessalonians 4:18

 

 

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Faith finds its luster in action — and not just in notion. It enters our hearts — and not just our heads. (Samuel Ward)1577-1640.Samuel_Ward_(1577–1640)

 

Haters of the Human Race?

Return to Doubting Castle.

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Two great enemies the Christian has to face are doubt and despair. We can all come to the point in our life that we begin to question the solidity of our footing and feel things giving way under us.

Despite the firm foundation that God has laid down in Christ Jesus and regardless of the great and precious promises He has given, we “Peter like” sink in our perception of our circumstances and can see nothing but hopelessness.

The fault does not lie in our blessed Saviour. He has done all to blaze and signpost the way before us. He has put in place all the necessary helps and safeguards to bring us through all that befalls and besets us.

He has given us the Holy Spirit to indwell, comfort and intercede:  “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26

He has given us the Bible as our constant resort in all circumstances and at all times.

He has set up the Church as a spiritual “hospital” to help us to health and provide support and comfort in company with our fellow believers.

Yet despite all this, we see many faltering in the way.

If only they would turn to them, the hopeless and despairing would find that the whole field of Scripture is replete with great and precious promises. It is full of words of encouragement and calls to persevere.

The mists and fogs that Satan stirs up to hide our Lord and the means of His grace from our sight, and we give way to fear and doubt.

The Bible becomes a closed book to us and the voice of prayer is replaced by moans and groans. We close ourselves up from the only means by which help can reach us.

To some of our Brethren, instead of being objects of their compassion, we may be damps and drains on their spiritual highs and ecstasies. To Jesus Christ however, we remain lambs in need comfort and carrying back to the fold.

Even though our tear-filled eyes are blinded so that we cannot see them, the outstretched arms of Jesus are held out to us and will not let us go.

The tragedy of relinquishing of spiritual hope and a giving in to despair is that it turns us away and releases our grip on the only one who can help and deliver us. Also it isolates us from the body of Christ and the support of people who have felt as we felt and who have been delivered from like peril.

Despair is sinful because it treats our Lord Jesus Christ and His promises to us, as if they were inadequate to meet our needs in our extremity. It doubts the truth of His Word and His readiness to assist us in any circumstance.

Like Bunyan’s “Slough of Despond” the “Lord of the Way” has provided steps out of the mire if only we had eyes to see them.

When in time of trial, sorrow and temptation, let us not cast away those means and helps which God has provided for our support and deliverance.

Let us not cease from prayer or relinquish faith.

Let us cling to our precious Saviour and to His faithful people.

May we all place our hope in God, when all other hopes fail.

Key Fob!

When a member of a 24/7 gymnasium wants to enter in, out of normal manned hours, they require what is called a “fob” which they need to swipe before the door will open for them. Anyone else who does not have one, whether a member or not cannot open the door.

(Some people will push in when a member with a fob opens the door, but the gym owners frown on this.)

When we seek to obtain entrance into heaven, to have been merely a member of the Church or be a Christian in mere profession and name only, will not be enough.

Rather we will need to be genuine believers and followers of Christ and members of His body.

We will not be able to enter God’s presence on anyone else’s coat-tails but will need the garment of Christ’s righteousness and a vital relationship with Him to qualify for admittance to joys forevermore.

The Thin Man!

 

One of the great romantic and comedic pairings of the late 30’s and 40’ was between William Powell and Myrna Loy, most remarkably in “The Thin man” series.William Powell Myrna Loy

The banter, wit and rapport between these two lit up the screen in 14 films. They worked so well together that some people concluded that they were actually married to each other, they were not.

Myrna Loy was asked about the possibility of a relationship with Powell. She said it would have spoiled everything and they probably would have fought all the time.

Considering she was married four times, she did not seem to hold marriage in very high esteem.

Mankind may be fickle and faithless in their relationships but our Lord Jesus Christ is not. Those He brings into relation with Himself are cherished and loved to the end. Those who to human eyes fall away from Christ and depart forever were never truly His.

“Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
John 13:1b

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Return to Doubting Castle.

Speaking in “Absolutes”!

Affectation and eccentricities in English speech are constantly present and always changing.https://i2.wp.com/www.sciencemag.org/sites/default/files/styles/article_main_large/public/images/sn-vocalfry.jpg

The upper class Englishmen’s “I say”  or  eccentric Georgian phrases like “Don’t ya know’ and various others have always punctuated our language at sundry times.

Currently the addition of “like” to any statement is rife in the speech of young people, e.g. “When I got home I was “like” really tired”, “Because I missed my lunch I was “like” really hungry”.

You constantly hear this peppering their conversations.

The first thing I would ask is “Either you were or you were not?”There are no third alternatives.

I wish people would speak in absolutes!

The presence of this unnecessary word adds nothing to the statement and only serves to bring the person’s expression into line with everyone else in their age group and culture.

God has condescended to speak to human beings in speech that they can understand. The inherent weakness of human language is that it can never comprehend the being and nature of God and never fully describe the glory and attributes of our Creator.

We can only describe God in terms of what He is like through what he has revealed about Himself: (knowing all the time that He is absolutely far beyond the comparisons used to describe Him.)

God is the great absolute and when He speaks it in an absolute way. Here are no affectations, no superfluous words and no meaningless threats or promises.

All that God has said in His Word, Old and New Testament is to be heard and listened to.  His Word is to be studied and reverenced, His Commands are to be obeyed, His promises are to be relied on and His threatening is to be trembled at.

In these latter days God has spoken by His Son Jesus Christ and through His apostles as found in the Bible.

Today we have a real need to go back and hear what they have been inspired to record for our benefit, instead of tweaking it to adapt it to modern expectations and thereby take away its offensiveness to sinful man.

We need to hear what God has said and not merely what we wish He said!

Rear Window

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In this famous film James Stewart’s character (due to a broken leg) is limited for entertainment and takes to observing his neighbours in an enclosed block of housing units. Unbeknownst to them, he can see most of what they do in the privacy of their own homes.

What he sees amuses and saddens him and makes him feel embarrassed and ashamed due to his curiosity and obsession with what is going on with these people.

The film culminates when a murderer discovers his spying and comes looking for him.

What we are when people see us is often very different from what we are when we are alone and unobserved. We allow ourselves to do things which would embarrass and shame us if others were to observe us.

The presence of others often serves as a brake to speech and behaviours which would damage our standing and reputation in the perception of our peers.

The Christian has been told again and again that God is ever present and all seeing. He knows our thoughts and sees the motives which lie behind all our actions, even the best.

Despite all this we still try and fool our self that God will turn a blind eye to those things in our lives which are not pleasing to Him and contradict His holy nature and Law.

We tell ourselves that our sins are less sinful because we profess Christianity and God is ever ready to forgive. Also we think that we can hide our sin , extenuate it or be-little it as “venial” and of no account.

God does see!

The Christian  sins with a “higher hand”, because he sins against the knowledge and love Christ.

When we think we can forego the constant need for repentance and God’s forgiving ,renewing grace, we are deluding ourselves, because God sees even when we do not.

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Spiritual influence never coincided with material affluence. - F. F. Bruce

Quoting Spurgeon, “Preachers and Preaching”; “Old John Stoughton, in his treatise entitled “The Preacher’s Dignity and Duty,” insists upon the minister’s holiness in sentences full of weight “If Uzzah must die but for touching the ark of God, and that to stay it when it was like to fall; if the men of Beth-shemesh for looking into it; if the very beasts that do but come near the holy mount be threatened; then what manner of persons ought they to be who shall be admitted to talk with God familiarly, to stand before him,’ as the angels do, and behold his face continually;’ to bear the ark upon their shoulders,’ to bear his name before the Gentiles;’ in a word, to be his ambassadors? Holiness becometh thy house, O Lord;’ and were it not a ridiculous thing to imagine, that the vessels must be holy, the vestures must be holy, all must be holy, but only he upon whose very garments must be written holiness to the Lord,’ might be unholy; that the bells of the horses should have an inscription of holiness upon them, in Zechariah, and the saints’ bells, the bells of Aaron, should be unhallowed? No, they must be burning and shining lights,’ or else their influence will dart some malignant quality; they must chew the cud and divide the hoof,’ or else they are unclean; they must divide the word aright,’ and walk uprightly in their life, and so join life to learning”.

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Speaking in “Absolutes”!

Here come the Assyrians!

One of the most feared “super powers” in the Old Testament was the Assyrian empire embodied by the great city of Nineveh. For ruthlessness and cruelty in war and the treatment of captives they earned a well deserved and horrific reputation.

Yet in the providence of God, as seen in the second chapter of Nahum, they were soon to come to the end of their chain.https://i0.wp.com/lparchive.org/An-Egyptian-in-Scotland/Update%204/eis54.jpeg

Many countries fell before them and Judah looked certain to be next, but God had other plans. They who had rejoiced in the plunder would themselves be plundered. The mighty Assyrian empire would be payed back in its own coin and disappear into oblivion and shame.

For many, God’s work in providence is a great and perplexing deep. The Assyrians were followed by the Babylonians, the Babylonians by the Medo-Persians and so on and so forth through history. For every time of Blessing there was a time of trouble and trembling.

It does seem that God uses the “carrot and the stick” to bring His people into line. He gives great and precious promises to obedience and sometimes needs to send the Black dogs of sorrow and strife to bring His people back from their sinful wanderings and errors.

Lest we relegate this method of God’s working to Old Testament times, we should look at the history of the church up till the present day. How many great persecutions of the Church were there in the past and still happening today?

Trials and tribulations are necessary to purify the church from worldliness and doctrinal error. The professing people of God often lapse into a merely nominal Christianity marked by an attitude of just going through the motions.

The preaching of the Word gets replaced by gaudy ceremony and superstition or a sensual flesh pleasing worship devoid of substance.

The intercessory priesthood of Christ replaced by the money grubbing intercession of priests, angels and saints or as we see today a quid pro quo relationship with God.

How quickly is the synagogue of Satan foisted on ignorant people in place of the body of Christ?

Viewing much of the visible church at this time we are certainly due for a Divine wakeup call because of our prevailing love of ease and pleasure and selfishness, while the cause of God and truth languishes throughout the world.

I fear there may be some modern day “Assyrians” on the horizon. Yet we know that those who are true to Christ and are saints indeed will be preserved in life and death through His unfailing love.

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“Many have passed the rocks of gross sins – who have suffered shipwreck upon the sands of self-righteousness.”

– William Secker

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Someone asked George Whitefield whether he thought to see John Wesley in Heaven. Whitefield replied ” I do not think we will”. The man turned away thinking he recieved the reply he wanted. Whitefield continuedImage result for george whitefield

“The reason we will not see John Wesley in Heaven is because you and I will be so far away from Christ’s throne and he will be so near it ,that he will be lost in the radiance of Christ”.

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Here come the Assyrians!

Without a Trace???

“Of this blessed man, let this just praise be given. Heaven was in him, before he was in heaven.”Isaac Walton( author of the Compleat Angler) writing of Sibbes.

Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) was a famous Anglican Puritan.  When James Nicholls asked Alexander B. Grosart to edit his sermons and writings for an edition in the 19 century, Grosart searched for materials to write a short biography of this remarkable man.

Unfortunately, He wrote very little about himself and his contempories did not see it necessary to write any sort of account of his life.

So Alexander Grosart sifted the records of the time and mentions in other works etc. to piece together a short account of Sibbe’s life and times.

Maybe if one is famous, a person will leave a mark on history, and there will be some record of their life and times. For most however all that is left is a date of birth and death and maybe the name of his wife and children. Some people disappear from history as if they never existed.

For most of us, the mark we leave on history is negligible and no one would take the time to research or learn about us.

Perhaps our case is that of the old saw, “Where he’s gone and how he fares, nobody knows and nobody cares.”

Yet for the believer, he is never lost from the memory of Christ. Every member of his flock, no matter how insignificant to the world, is in His gaze.

The unmarked grave, the ashes of the martyr’s fire and the depths of the sea cannot hide the earthly remains of the member of Christ’s body.

The great Resurrection will vindicate the fact that many great and famous people, whom crowds idolized and were long remembered, will not be counted as highly as the poorest and humblest believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Forsaking all.

Putting ourselves in the position of a devout Jew in the time of Jesus, we can only imagine what was involved in espousing this self appointed Rabbi from Nazareth and what it meant in day to day existence. (The Jews of today still have the same difficulty).

For the rank and file of the people it was easy to be carried along by the crowded throng that was enraptured by Christ’s parables and astounded by his unique and undeniable miracles.

For all of what they saw and heard ,it was still possible for many to avoid giving to much thought to the implications of who Christ was and the object of his earthly ministry.

As long as there was a chance that he would get rid of the Romans and they could get a free feed and maybe some physical healing they stayed on the “band wagon”.

The minute Jesus taught things which did not accord with their hopes and world view then they began to have second thoughts and walked no longer with  him. The time of wine and roses was well and truly over.

The arrest and crucifixion confirmed them in the wisdom of getting out while the getting was good.

For the more devout among them, came the discovery that following and believing in Jesus was to mean a departure from much of what made the Jews who they were as a people. There was going to be a real diverging of the ways and although it took a while to happen it was already in the process.

It meant separation from friends and relatives, rethinking what the Rabbis and scribes drummed into them and revering Jesus and trusting His word more than that of the Pharisees. It meant the Temple which was the centre of Jewish life was to be so no longer for the believer in Jesus, and that the sacrificial system was not the divine remedy for sin and guilt anymore.

Christ himself was to become all  the temple represented.

For the Jew this was a heart rending ordeal and paradigm shift.

If anyone has doubts that it takes nothing less than the power of God to renew the heart and convert the soul, imagine what a drastic change had to be brought about before your devout synagogue and temple going, patriotic Jew became a humble ,gentile accepting, worshipper of Jesus Christ.

We of this day and age may have different difficulties and prejudices to overcome and yet it still takes nothing less than a new heart and a divinely renewed mind to come to faith in Christ. This does not excuse us however from urgently seeking God by his Holy Spirit to work the power of the “New Birth” and grace to repent from sin and plant faith into our hearts.

To Him alone be the glory.

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Whenever heaven has been opened to the view of man, its inhabitants have been seen with their faces veiled and bowing before the throne of God. And all acceptable worship upon earth proceeds from the humble and contrite, who tremble at His Word. (Charles Hodge “The way of life”.)

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Without a Trace???