A Lost Diamond

My dear wife of 53 years still wears her engagement ring continually, night and day. It was not an expensive ring, but the years had made it very precious to us both. A few days ago she got out of bed in the morning and realised that her engagement ring felt rough. On closer examination we discovered that a tiny diamond was missing from the ring, and we were stunned. We did not know when or where it had fallen, and we knew that the chances of finding such a tiny thing were slim. A thorough search yielded nothing. Then we remembered that my wife had vacuumed the floors the previous day. There was nothing for it but to search the bag of the vacuum cleaner. I scissored the edges of the bag all round, opened it out on the floor, and began teasing out the fluff and dust, not expecting much. Suddenly, in the midst of all the dust, I saw this tiny, but unmistakeable, sparkle. With a merry heart, I took it to my wife, and we rejoiced and thanked God together. It was the lost diamond.

But there was another thought on my mind, namely the words of Jesus concerning Himself in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost”.  Yes in many ways that was my own experience. In my teens and early twenties,  I was steeped in a worldly life. Like that diamond I was lost, and wallowing in the dirt of a life of sin. But there was a major difference. Whereas the diamond was a thing of beauty,  there was nothing beautiful in me. I thought I was happy, but I was a wretch. My heart was ugly, my mind was putrid, and, though I did not realise it at the time, I was ruining my body.

The searching in the case of the diamond was motivated by the beauty of the diamond itself, but the Lord’s seeking of me had no such motive. The motive was love, not a love for the lovely, but a love for the unlovely. What kind of love is this? It cannot be explained, except to say that He loved because He loved. We call it sovereign love. A love which is from within God Himself, and not motivated by anything outside of Himself. It is a love which seeks and saves that which is lost.

This seeking is itself wonderful, and works in a wonderful way. He seeks us by causing us to seek Him. As John writes in His first Epistle, Chapter 3, verse 19: “We love Him, because He first loved  us”. But how can Christ change the inclination of our hearts? How can He exercise such power?Only because He is God as well as man. The question for any who have not yet found Him is, ‘Is Christ seeking me by making this world to disappoint, and to fail to satisify ?’ Rejoice, my dear friend; the Lord may be seeking you, and, as Paul says in Romans 6:13, “yield yourselves unto God”.

When my wife and I found the diamond, there was rejoicing in our home. In a similar way, The Lord Himself says in Luke 15:7, “Likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repents”.  Yes we must repent of our sins and find forgiveness in Christ.

Tomorrow does not Always Come

Thank you all for your patience with me over the unexpectedly long period of short posts due to injury and holiday.

I am writing this just after hearing about the terrible shooting in Las Vegas. Words fail in trying to describe the cruelty, and the hardness of heart that was behind this evil. We just cannot enter into it. It is extreme evil. We can, and we must, pray for the bereaved and the wounded, and extend our sympathy to them. We must also do what we can in a practical sense, but we just cannot understand how anyone could do such a terrible thing. Yet there is one thing which it all points to: that man is a fallen creature, and is capable of all kinds of evil. The heart of man in its natural state is described to us in Jeremiah 17: 9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”. The first two chapters in the Book of Job make it clear to us that God restrains evil. If that were not the case the world we live in would be ruled by Satan, and would be an infinitely more evil place than it is. When we open our newspapers, or read the news on the internet, we might sometimes marvel at all the evil that is in the world. However, the overall picture that is before us is not one of total evil, but one of controlled evil, and we should be able to see that. The truth of the matter is that it is God who rules the world, although He, in His perfect wisdom, gives Satan limited freedom. We have never seen total evil.

But let us turn our thoughts to those involved in this tragedy. Jesus makes it clear in Luke 13: 1-5, that those who have suffered in such tragedies do not suffer because they were more evil than the rest of us, and we must never harbour such thoughts. Yes, God is speaking, but that is not the message. What then is the message? He is saying  to every single individual in this world, that we do not know what is, as we say, ’round the corner’. This has been brought home to myself even since I began to write this very post. The unexpected has hit me in my personal circumstances. It is astonishing how a simple phone call can bring the unexpected, and the painful, into one’s life. How we urgently need to get RightWithGod while we have the opportunity.

In 2 Corinthians 5:20 we have Paul’s exhortation to come and get RightWithGod: “We pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God”. There is an urgency in these words, because we do not know that there will be a tomorrow for us. James in chapter 4, verse of his epistle warns, “You know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away”

Let us take the bereaved and injured in Las Vegas into our prayers, and into our hearts, and do what we can to help, but let us not disregard the voice of God as He speaks to us all.

“The Wiles of the Devil”

Holiday Thoughts

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).

The believer grows in knowledge of God and of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. One expects this growth in the believer; but the believer must also grow in knowledge of the devil and his wiles. It is basic to any warfare to find out as much as possible about the enemy and his plans, strategy, and subtlety or wiliness  The same applies with regard to our warfare with the devil; we must learn as much as possible as possible about his subtle schemes, in other words, his wiles. He is incredibly wily, and indeed this is his chief characteristic. The first thing that we learn about him in the bible is his subtlety (Genesis 3:1). The text our heading is part of Paul’s great passage on putting on the whole armour of God. The reason for the passage is to prepare believers for their war against the devil. This war is assumed to be a significant part of the believer’s life.

The Ascension of Christ

Holiday Thought.

“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white clothing; Who said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).

The scene of the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ must be one of the most the most moving in all history. Christ, having finished the work that the Father had given Him to do, goes back to the Father as the God/man to be received and crowned King of the universe. The promise given to the disciples as they stood looking up at the heavens was that He would come again as the God/man, as they had seen Him go.

 

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.