Seeing but not Perceiving!

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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That sinking Feeling!

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

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

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

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

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

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Seeing but not Perceiving!

The rise of the Acronyms!

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Tattered Gospel!

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

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

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

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

So it goes on interminably.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Crossing the line”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The rise of the Acronyms!

Faithful and True!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

The Ionosphere!

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

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

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

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

Faithful and True!

The home at Bethany!

Mount-of-Olives3

The history of Mary, Martha and Lazarus has been written and preached about many times and so familiar to us all.

That Jesus, who loved all, chose some above others as nearest and dearest is a fruitful subject for discourse and imagination.

For those who study the ministry of our Lord and its attendant difficulties and hardships it come as a relief that the Lord Jesus found some refuge, repose and fellowship in this humble home.

There are few Deserts that do have an ‘oasis’, so there are few lives however difficult that do not have their ‘mon repos’ (French for my place of rest).

(As an aside, I often wonder about the logistics of accommodating Jesus and his disciples. Were they farmed out to for accommodation in various locations to minimize the burden of feeding and housing such a large group? Did the disciples forage for themselves at the end of the day? Did Jesus always send notice ahead that He was coming?)

The pencil sketches we have of the occupants of this home in Bethany are descriptive if brief.

How dearly we would love more detail about Jesus’ life. Yet the scriptural portrait of Christ’ ministry and life has enriched His people and will continue to do so to the end of the age.

Of Lazarus we know very little apart from the fact that Jesus loved him. It is a telling fact that after Christ’s raising him from the dead that the Jewish leaders plotting Jesus’ death thought it might be necessary to kill Lazarus as well.

Martha is the well meaning, care ridden and task obsessed house keeper who misses out on the far more essential fellowship with Jesus. While she may well be blamed for this, the fact remains that her desire to minister to Christ puts much of our ‘lackadaisical’ and careless Christian service to shame.

She obviously believes in the eventual resurrection of the dead but baulks somewhat at Christ’s power to raise the dead in the here and now.

Martha has doubts and fears but wisely surrenders them in the knowledge that Jesus is indeed the Messiah and that God will certainly hear Him.

Mary is admired by all as the thoughtful and contemplative one. She will forget all else to come and sit at Jesus feet and rightly so.

We might humourously imagine however that if she had done her fair share of duties before Christ arrived there would have been less likelihood of Martha’s frustration.

Seriously, she sets before us all the example of seeking first and foremost the ‘one thing needful’ in the listening to and communing with Jesus. Like her, we should never let it be taken away from us.

When Jesus speaks we should ignore all else because it is here that blessing and spiritual riches come to us, more importantly to be with Him is to become like Him.

The family of Bethany’s nearness of affection to Jesus did not shield them from trial and sorrow. Indeed for the present it heightened it as Jesus delayed His arrival. To have faith is to have hope and yet hope delayed is itself the source fear and pain.

 

Christ’s human love for his friends was subordinated to the desire to glorify God and though they suffered a little longer it served a higher purpose and did not lessen the joy they eventually received.

So this often proves in our daily lives. Were we to live lives free from trial and sorrow, Satan would accuse us as he did Job. That God is able to sustain us in the ‘ills’ of life strengthens us and glorifies Him

The believer often appears to fare no better than the unbeliever and at times appears to fare even worse. Yet they would not part from their Saviour, though he seems to hide Himself.

The sister’s sorrow is more than repaid by the Lord’s return of their brother to them from the tomb. Yes Lazarus is raised to die again yet in The Resurrection,  Christ  becomes the door to life.lazarus

Again Mary’s love for the Lord comes to the fore in anointing and washing his feet. Her eyes in faith looked towards the coming sacrifice, when no one else sees it and acts accordingly.

Others may sneer at the cost and seeming impropriety but Our Lord Jesus is worthy of our richest and best love.

As a memorial it will stand to the end of the age because the same devotion is sought for in all of Christ’s people, yet how feeble and cold is our love still.

When we are troubled with many things and worn thin with cares and fears let us return in thought and imagination to this ‘Home in Bethany’ and sit at the feet of our Lord.

Famous Relatives!

Further to my mention of my ‘Ford relations’, the story has filtered down that as well as some of them coming here to Australia, some of them went to America as well.

It was asserted by someone that from this American branch of the Ford family sprang Henry Ford of Model  ‘A’ and ‘T’ fame.1917_Ford_Model_T_Runabout

I searched for a possible connection, but as his family seemed to have come from Ireland, if there is indeed a link it is further back than I am able to find.

For many of us being related to someone famous gives us a boost in our estimation of ourselves.

I think I recounted before,  the encounter Will Rogers snr. had with a ‘society’ woman whose boasted that her ancestors came out on the ‘Mayflower’.

He replied that his ancestors met them on their arrival.

If we do not possess fame ourselves, we would still like to be somehow associated with someone who does.

If we have not yet made our mark in life we would still like to bask in the reflected glory of someone who has.

However this may be for each of us, in the eternal scheme of things it is our relation and union with Christ that counts above all.

We may well live and die in obscurity and without our names meaning anything to anybody as long as Christ is glorified in us and through us.

Far rather bask in the glory of God in Christ than the World’s short lived and tawdry fame.

House Proud?

On one of my cemetery walks I came across the grave of a man who died in the 1930’s and who felt it necessary to have his former address including street number engraved upon his tombstone.

One wonders what interest he thought future generations would show in his former habitation?

The fact that he once lived in one of the better neighborhoods of the City may have been important to him but could it really impress anyone else?

Would it not have been far better if he could have given a ‘forwarding’ address?

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The home at Bethany!

Known of God.

The ‘Ford’ branch of my family were ‘tallow chandlers’ in Redruth Cornwall selling candles to the Tin mines.A5 Wheal Peevor group.jpg

The earliest member of the family I know about came from somewhere in England and purchased a partnership in the candle making firm (it became Magor and Ford) in Cornwall and married a Cornish girl.

My great, great, great grandfather lost most of his money through the business and immigrated to Australia on board the ship ‘Red jacket’ in 1858.DT2036

majorca churchThey appeared on the goldfields at Moonambel, Victoria and then moved across to another gold-strike at “Majorca” this was where my great, great, grandmother married my great, great, grandfather in 1868.

 

My forebear carried on a ‘cartage’ business and is described as a dealer in ‘tea’ in Cemetery records.

There is no marker in the area where my great, great grandparents are buried so I can only approximate within a short distance where they are, which I find rather sad.

We say of those who died in war that have no known grave that their whereabouts is known only unto God.

Whatever happens to us, let us seek to not only to be known of God but to know God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yet there is room!

While “Strait is gate and narrow the way that leads to life.” The truth remains that the “Father’s house has many mansions.”images bl

There is no shortage of room in the Father’s house.

The door despite its narrowness is not barred to anyone who is willing to enter.

It is our unwillingness to enter that is the fundamental problem.

Fussy Eaters!

One of my favourite comedy shows has the hero on an economy drive desperately trying to save money.

By sheer misfortune, the only meal he can afford to purchase at a ‘cafeteria’ is one that he detests and will not eat.imageshancock.jpeg

To my mind if I were in his position, I would force myself to eat it rather than go hungry.

It is difficult to get small children to eat vegetables no matter how much we say that they are good for them.

Many only develop an appetite for them much later in life and regret they did not eat more of them earlier.

What makes all this healthy eating harder is the fact that most of us love sweet things and deserts.

It is often the promise of a lovely desert that has been used to encourage our eating of healthier but less tasty foods first.

For some of us there are many things in the Bible that are not easy to swallow and do not appeal to our taste buds. Yet the Scriptures as God’s Word is the wholesome meal set before us.

We may need the promise of the spiritual equivalent of desert to bring us to partake of it, at least at first, but as we grow, we find that our palettes become accustomed to it and it becomes ‘sweet to our mouths’.

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Known of God.

The Sunny side of the Brae!

I was under the misconception that a ‘brae’ was the ‘Scots’ word for ‘brook or stream’ rather it refers to the brow of a hill, though it can refer to ‘the high ground adjoining a river bank’.

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“God hath called you to Christ’s side,” wrote the saintly Rutherford, “and the wind is now in Christ’s face in this land; and seeing ye are with Him, ye cannot expect the lee-side or the sunny side of the brae.” (Quoted by A.W. Tozer)

This is Rutherford’s picturesque way of saying that the follower of Christ cannot expect to go to Heaven on ‘the flowery beds of ease’.

Christ endured hardship and suffering during his earthly ministry and the faithful Christian must expect some of the same and “endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ” 2 Timothy 2:3.

Our present age is one that  abounds in luxuries and cries out for pleasure and ease. Most people would rather win money than earn it and be served rather than serve.

This ‘spirit’ has crept into the Church when we ‘out for what we can get’ rather than seeking for the opportunity to give.

We indeed share in the day to day toil and strife that is common to mankind and like them we crave comfort, ease and pleasure.

Yet the believer is also a worker in the cause of Christ and His soldier in the battle against sin, Satan and the godless world.

For Christians to expect an easy time of it in the world and to forever  walk a ‘primrose path’ all the time is self delusion.

The pleasures of this world, while enjoyable at the time, are transitory and only reach to the fleshly part of our beings; they seldom deliver all their promised satisfaction and over indulgence in them rob them of any real benefit.

God indeed sweetens and blesses the ‘stony’ road the Christian walks but this is to help speed us on our way not divert us into idleness.

Therefore ‘Let us go on’, ‘come wind come weather’.

‘Gang aft a-gley’

From reading old books such as ‘the letters of Samuel Rutherford’ over the years, I have become familiar with many words from the old Scottish dialect as well as sayings in use in Scotland from the sixteen hundreds into the 19 century.

Rather than always referring to the ‘glossary’ of Scottish words at the end of the book,  in the past I often lazily attributed to them a meaning that I felt they carried in the context of the passage or simply moved on to the following words that were more understandable in meaning.

It was only when I referred to the  glossary or the index that I came to understand  the writers actual meaning and to what he was referring.

Yet even after this, when these words ‘cropped up’ in a sentence they stood in the way like an old fashioned ‘Style’ was used to climb over a fence, not so much an obstacle but a reason for more thought , concentration and effort.style

Does this sort of thing occurs when we read the Bible or Christian books?

Does it occur when we hear the preaching of the Word?

We assume a working knowledge of Christianity and yet because of our failure to grow in understanding and seek ‘wisdom from high’ we labour under misconceptions and fall short of an accurate and complete grasp of God’s truth.

We come to a passage or word in the Scriptures and by failing to study its meaning and not looking at their historical context or by failing to compare Scripture with Scripture we remain none the wiser and without a genuine understanding of God’s message for us.

None of us perhaps will be completely free from misconceptions and mistakes in spiritual matters or the teaching of the Scripture but the more we study the word of God and the more we seek to Him for wisdom and understanding  the less likely we are to fall into doctrinal error or stray from the path of holy and godly living.

“The gate of heaven is the sunny side of the brae, and the very garden of the world.” – Samuel Rutherford

Samuel Rutherford has been long regarded as one of the most saintly men who lived in seventeenth century Scotland and his letters have been highly esteemed, even by those who disagreed with him in other areas.

Some in later times have accused Rutherford of being excessive in his language and lacking in propriety when speaking of the beauty of Christ and His love.
To some in who lived in later ‘ Victorian’ times such overflowing devotion was unseemly and indelicate.

In our day we are so much affected by the World’s ideas of romantic love. Also we are being inundated in the Church with a sickly sentimental idea of Christ.

Few today have plunged themselves into the beauties of Christ by the searching and feeding on the Word or communing with Him through prayer to the extent that the great Believers of the past did.

The result being we have substituted in our devotion for God the same sort of worldly emotion and carnal love we are swamped with in our daily lives.

It is only when we make God, Father Son and Holy Spirit the centre and soul of our existence that we will be enabled to  truly soar in spirit to the heavenlies even now and will when we come to the end, indeed ‘ change our place but not our company’.

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The Sunny side of the Brae!

It is all ‘Greek’ to me!

 

If I were able to choose an ability to be gifted with it would be a gift for languages.

It would be wonderful to be able to pick up a previously unknown language simply by hearing a few words of it spoken.

Imagine being able to see a written word and be able to give the English equivalent with a minimum of study.

Sadly this ability is given to very few, for the most it takes many years of hard study.

My efforts to translate Latin phrases have fallen down because while a dictionary may give me the meaning of the word, unless can understand the declension i.e. grammatical variation of form, you cannot completely understand the writer’s meaning.indexlatin.jpeg

Additionally, you need a greater understanding of grammar than I currently possess.

Recently it has been made clear to me that the Greek of the New Testament has in its words greater shades of meaning and richness than can be adequately conveyed in English translations.

To give you an idea of this I would suggest you peruse a copy of the ‘Amplified ‘Bible.

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It does make for rather cumbrous reading but does reveal the depth of thought of the New Testament writers under the Spirit’s guidance.

One teacher’s educational course for biblical ‘Greek’ was called appropriately ‘Greek’ for the rest of us’.greek alph

While I would not expect us all to try for a working knowledge of the languages of Scripture it is still imperative that we grow and get deeper in our understanding of the Word.

A Basic knowledge of the imperatives of Christianity is fine at the outset of the Christian life but can hardly sustain the growth necessary to the believer.

True, we cannot content ourselves with a mere ‘academic’ knowledge of the Word.

It must be applied daily to our experience and thinking in dependence of the one who ‘breathed’ it to the writers of Scripture in the first place.

The modern trend of relegating and trivializing Scripture makes our efforts to grasp its truths all the more imperative.

Athenasia

The best that modern medical science and ‘New Age’ philosophy can offer is ‘Euthanasia’, a (supposedly) ‘good’ death. Only God in Christ can give ‘Athanasia’, eternal life.

A ‘rust bucket’

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An author writing about the last days of service of Australia’s last Aircraft Carrier; the H.M.A.S. Melbourne, states that the crew no longer engaged in ‘scraping’ the ships paintwork, to remove the rust underneath. Apparently finding, it had developed to such a stage that it was only the rust that held sections of the ship together.

He writes that the ‘gangways’ were so rusty that members of the crew fell through them.

He adds that this state of affairs was understandable because this warship was only built to last for the duration of the emergency of the Second World War.

As it was, it the ‘Melbourne’ served the Royal Australian Navy for over thirty years.

Historically, there have always been those who regard the Bible in much the same way as this grand old ship.

They think the Scriptures are ‘past their used by date’ and of no more than historical or sentimental interest.

These people are forever finding ‘rust’ where it is not there and imaginary ‘barnacles’ which they would gladly remove. If they could but throw overboard those things in the Scriptures they see as superfluous, obsolete and offensive they would be well pleased.

Yet in the end they discover that they only sink themselves while the Bible keeps afloat all those who trust in God and remain aboard it.

An author writing about the last days of service of Australia’s last Aircraft Carrier; the H.M.A.S. Melbourne, states that the crew no longer engaged in ‘scraping’ the ships paintwork, to remove the rust underneath. Apparently finding, it had developed to such a stage that it was only the rust that held sections of the ship together.

He writes that the ‘gangways’ were so rusty that members of the crew fell through them.

He adds that this state of affairs was understandable because this warship was only built to last for the duration of the emergency of the Second World War.

As it was, it the ‘Melbourne’ served the Royal Australian Navy for over thirty years.

Historically, there have always been those who regard the Bible in much the same way as this grand old ship.

They think the Scriptures are ‘past their used by date’ and of no more than historical or sentimental interest.

These people are forever finding ‘rust’ where it is not there and imaginary ‘barnacles’ which they would gladly remove. If they could but throw overboard those things in the Scriptures they see as superfluous, obsolete and offensive they would be well pleased.

Yet in the end they discover that they only sink themselves while the Bible keeps afloat all those who trust in God and remain aboard it.

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It is all ‘Greek’ to me!