The Happiest of All People

Holiday Thought

“Happy are you, O Israel: who is like unto you, O people saved by the Lord” (Deuteronomy 33:29).

They are happy right now because they are a saved people: not saved from the troubles of this life, but saved from the wrath to come when every person will have to give an account of himself/herself to God. On the positive side, they are saved to an eternity of happiness with Christ, who loved them and gave Himself for them. They are indeed the happiest of people.

Giving God His Place in Preaching

Holiday Thought

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Those called to preach have a treasure to bring to their people, but they must realise that they themselves are vessels of clay. This is very important because true preaching must glorify God, and not the preacher. God alone can bestow the power.

 

“One-handed Blog” (6)

It is sobering experience to read some of the things that Jesus says about the last day of what we call history, that is, the day of judgement. He always warns about the suddenness and unexpectedness of the arrival of that day. He emphasises the ordinariness of things, until the very moment arrives. He tells us that people will be going about all their normal business, even marrying and giving in marriage (Matthew 24; 36-39). Because of these facts, He says to us all, “Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord comes (Matthew 24:42).

There will always be those who say that say it will never happen. the bible calls them “scoffers” (2 Peter 3:3). Their argument is utter foolishness.  They argue that it is so long in coming that it will not happen at all.  This is, of course, not an argument. It proves nothing. What they do not realise is that God, in His mercy, is giving them more time to repent.

There is only one answer to the dilemma of not knowing when Christ will come, that is, to be always ready. Easy? Not for such weak creatures as we are, but the command is ‘watch and be ready’. It is good for us to ponder the word “shall” in the following quotes:

“Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence” (Psalm 50: 3).

“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout” (1 Thessalonians 4: 16).

I  am happy to say that I  am now recovered from my broken arm, apart from a period of physiotherapy and general rehabilitation. I wish to express my sincere thanks to all of you who sent your good wishes to me over the last few weeks.

If the Lord will, I hope to go on holiday for three to four  weeks, but, if circumstances permit, I will post some holiday thoughts each week.

 

 

 

“One-handed Blog” (5)

God-willing, I hope that RightWithGod will continue to appear each week in a much shorter form until my broken right arm is healed,  but I will not burden you with all the explanation given in a previous blog.

On a Lord’s Day morning in preparation for preaching, I often read randomly from the letters of Samuel Rutherford. This is to prepare my heart. I often find myself wishing that I had such appreciation of  Christ as Rutherford had. I have the same feeling when I read the account of the  “woman in the city who was a sinner” in Luke 7: 37-40. Her actions describe her love and thankfulness to Christ with a power and eloquence that no words could ever match. She had what one would call ‘a history’, such that ordinary people would not allow her to touch them. She approaches Jesus and begins to weep over Him and as the tears began to fall on His feet, she began to wipe them with the hairs of her head.  The rest of the company waited for Jesus to draw back from her, but no such reaction came. He just let her do it until she was finished. This adds further to the beauty of the scene. It tells us that Jesus recognised her gesture as one of deep appreciation. Of what? At this point, we have to assume that Jesus had a previous conversation with her during which she got RightWithGod. He would have conveyed to her the wonderful news that He was able and willing to forgive her and cleanse her from ALL sin. How I wish that I had such appreciation of Christ as she had.

“One-handed Blog” (4)

God-willing, I hope that RightWithGod will continue to appear each week in a much shorter form until my broken right arm is healed,  but I will not burden you with all the explanation given in an earlier posting.

It is God’s way with His children that He mixes His judgements with mercy. As time goes on, and I look at the hard trials of others, I realise that my broken arm is indeed “light affliction, which is but for a moment” (2 Corinthians 4: 17). God has in fact been merciful towards me. What He has brought upon me is not judgement, but Fatherly chastisement, and done in love. It was nothing like what I deserved. In fact it was not the smallest fraction more than was necessary to bring about the required ‘stop’ in my life, and I hope that I am now truly thankful for it.

One thing is becoming clear to me over these days of ‘stoppage’. It is that there has been in my spiritual life considerable ‘drift’. It is not  that my discipline of prayer and bible reading had fallen by the wayside, but that the level of love, earnestness and fervency in these things had dropped. The problem was that it had dropped so slowly that I was not aware that it was happening. As always in such ‘drifting’, there was some loss of appreciation of what Christ had done for me. I am grateful to God for His intervention. May He revive and quicken my heart, and may I set about making all the adjustments now necessary with commitment and resolve.

 

 

“One-handed Blog”(2)

God-willing, I hope that RightWithGod will continue to appear each week in a much shorter form until my broken right arm is healed,  but I will not burden you with all the explanation given in my last blog. Believers are continually faced with a problem which is peculiar to believers, and which is not easily understood by anyone else. On the one hand, we believe that God is involved in every detail of our lives, and indeed has His own individual lives; on the other hand, God gives us all a set of circumstances within which we are to make decisions and choices according to the principles laid down for us in His word. The latter is an area if the believer’s life which we call “duties”, and it is extremely important. This is where our obedience begins. It necessarily involves some planning, but all our plans must be prefaced with the acknowledgement, “If the Lord will” (James 4:15). God may sometimes have very different plans for us from what we expect. I was once given an old saying which, although not from the scriptures, has been a great help to me over the years: ‘Duties are ours, events are God’s’.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

“Accidents”

I have often said to my congregation that events, occurrences, trials etc in the life of the christian are never ‘accidents’, or just ‘incidental’. The words, “For the child of God, nothing is for nothing”, were frequently on my lips as I preached. I now find myself in the situation where I have to put what I preached into practice. Last Friday, I took a set of ‘steps’ into my study to change a light bulb. I misjudged my step, and I realised I was going to fall, and tried to break my fall by getting my hand on to the desk to break my fall, and ended up falling very heavily on to my wrist. I knew immediately by the shape of my hand and wrist that something was broken. x-rays showed that the break was not simple. Both forearm bones are broken very close to the wrist joint, and attempts by the orthopaedic team to align things were only partly successful, and further intervention may be required. But ‘nothing is for nothing’, and I put my trust in God’s word, “As for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18: 30).

What I have written so far has taken me more than two hours, because I am extremely right-handed and very poor with my left hand. Nevertheless, God-willing, I hope that RightWithGod will continue to appear each week in a much shorter form until I am fully recovered.

Who Rules the World?

The question in the title is a very important one for every thinking person, especially at the present time. Things are changing very fast, and there is growing tension between the powerful nations of the world. This is not a new thing. What is new is the emergence of North Korea as a potential nuclear power. That country is determined to get into a position where it can defend itself, and no one would deny them that right. The problem is the closed, secretive nature of North Korea as a nation. It does not seek any alliances, except the minimum necessary for trade. The leadership are not answerable to anyone. The restrictions of democracy do not exist. Not only so, but atheism is fundamental to the constitution, hence conscience is not a factor in the decisions of the leadership. For the average Korean, the state takes the place of God.

The result of this is that a new nuclear power is emerging in the world, which is unlikely ever to submit to any multilateral international agreement to restrict the proliferation of nuclear materials. To say that this is a major problem for the western nations hardly expresses the seriousness of the problem. The danger is beyond words. The growing dilemma facing the western nations is, can they afford to let the present situation continue, or do they intervene preemptively? Presently, no one knows the answer to that question, but the bible does give us some comfort for ourselves and our children.

For the christian who is RightWithGod through Jesus Christ, there is comfort in knowing that the fate of this world is not in the hands of man, but in the hands of God. It is God who rules this world; not any western leader, nor Kim Jong Un the present leader of North Korea, nor is it Satan. World history will continue to its God-determined end. The world will not be brought to an end by nuclear war, nor by global warming nor any such action of man. These things may or may not have their effects, but they will not bring the world to an end. The bible teaches us most clearly that only God knows when the end of the world will be: “But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24: 36).  In that passage, Jesus goes on to emphasise the fact that the end of the world will occur unexpectedly, and on a very ordinary day.

Does that mean that God has control over world leaders? Yes; and He exercises  that control in a most amazing way. In Proverbs 21:1 we read, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turns it wheresoever He will”. How reassuring in the day in which we live,  to know that even the heart of Kim Jong Un, is in the hand of God, and God is able to turn it whatever way suits His will. The world is ruled by God and He has no unforeseen surprises.

All will be brought to a conclusion when Jesus Christ descends from heaven “with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God” (1 Thessalonians 4: 16). Verse 18 ends that same chapter with the words, “Therefore comfort one another with these words”. Let is do just that, at this seemingly dangerous time in the history of this world.