Hunter or Shepherd?

Endless fun can be had doing the most juvenile things! I should be reading and making copious notes on research papers however – instead of that – I have been flicking through the photos that come up under my name in google images…

This one is by far the most impressive I’ve seen. I’ll not copy it (Yale University probably wouldn’t like that!)

http://www.library.yale.edu/beinecke/valor3.htm (bottom picture)

 Williamson was a great hunter (or so he wanted us all to believe).

Don’t aspire to be a hunter however, they have a bad reputation in the bible! The first one mentioned was Nimrod, read Genesis 10, he was a mighty hunter before the Lord – a great leader, but he began building the anti-God city of Babel! Esau also was a hunter… enough said!

 In contrast to hunters are shepherds. They are those who care and protect not kill and harm. So you will see how many of God’s men were shepherds or at least had shepherd hearts! Abel, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David… etc!

The greatest Shepherd of all was Jehovah Himself! (Psalm 80) And wonder of wonders, He became flesh and dwelt among us! He, the great I AM, could say “I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10v11 NKJV)

Is it any wonder that great hymns have been inspired by such a sublime theme!

Dear Shepherd of Thy chosen few,
Thy former mercies here renew;
Here, to our waiting hearts, proclaim
The sweetness of Thy saving Name.

(William Cowper)

 But the greatest hymn that has been written on this theme is authored by King David himself.

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” (Psalm 23).

“Whatever we get free, we don’t appreciate”

N. Ireland will have the joy of having free prescriptions next year, according to the government. I will add “God willing” for you never know what happens especially in the current recession.

I listened to a lecturer who wasn’t pleased with the free prescription idea, he said something that stuck with me, “whatever we get free, we don’t appreciate”.

Such is the heart of man. Unfortunately this can effect us as Christians as well. You’ll recall that the Lord once cleansed 10 people with leprousy and only one returned to thank Him.

“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” Romans 3v24

 When we came to Him he frankly forgave us all. He cleared us of every charge of guilt FREELY! Do we undervalue it?

Interestingly, this word freely means “without cause, without reason, freely” – it is also used of the attitude of the world to Christ, He said “they hated me without a cause“! 

Lamentations 3 “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed”

Rainbow picture - Great is Thy faithfulness

21 This I recall to my mind,
      Therefore I have hope. 
 22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
      Because His compassions fail not. 
 23 They are new every morning;
      Great is Your faithfulness. 
24 “ The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, 
     “ Therefore I hope in Him!” 
25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
      To the soul who seeks Him.
26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
      For the salvation of the LORD.  (NKJV)
…………
Jeremiah didn’t have an easy path of service for God. God told him that he was going to a people that wouldn’t listen to his preaching and who would hate him for it. He wasn’t going to marry either…

If you read the start of Lamentations 3 you begin to realise that this man was undergoing severe trial and suffering. He started viewing God as his enemy, laying traps for him, not listening to his prayer – ever been there? If fact he had just about given up hoping altogether and then he recalled something, something vital which he tells us in the above verses, it rekindled his hope.

It is “through the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed” – altogether destroyed! He was part of a nation that merited God’s judgement, the miracle was that God was withholding it for His compassions fail not they are new every morning – and with this revelation bursting upon his troubled vision he exclaims “Great is Your faithfulness!”

We deserved nothing but God’s judgement but He gave us everything in Christ, there is plenty to be thankful for even if at times the path is tough!

 

Channels only, blessed Master (Hymn)

This hymn is one of my favourites! It would be great if I could just be a channel of blessing to some other Christian or unbeliever.

Canal, Europe - Channels only!

How I praise Thee, precious Saviour,
That Thy love laid hold of me;
Thou hast saved and cleansed and filled me
That I might Thy channel be.

Refrain:
Channels only, blessed Master,
But with all Thy wondrous pow’r
Flowing thro’ us, Thou canst use us
Ev’ry day and ev’ry hour.

Just a channel, full of blessing
To the thirsty hearts around;
To tell out Thy full salvation,
All Thy loving message sound.

Emptied that Thou shouldest fill me,
A clean vessel in Thy hand;
With no pow’r but as Thou givest
Graciously with each command.

Witnessing Thy pow’r to save me,
Setting free from self and sin;
Thou who boughtest to possess me,
In Thy fullness, Lord, come in.

Jesus, fill now with Thy Spirit
Hearts that full surrender know;
That the streams of living water
From our inner man may flow.

 Words and music: Mary Maxwell and Ada Rose Gibbs
(Tune at http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/c/h/channels.htm)

Learning from sorrow

If your Christian life is like mine then you will be able to relate to this poem I found on the web! We need to remember to trust the One who knows the end of the story.

“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5v3, 4 NKJV

Sorrow!

I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chattered all the way,
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say

I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And not a word said she;
But oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me!

– Robert Browning Hamilton

(http://myjourney-siewwan.blogspot.com/2008/11/pleasure-and-sorrow.html)

Jim Cosgrove – The Belfast Street Evangelist

Jim Cosgrove was buried last month.

I don’t suppose there will be many obituries written about him, he was more or less unheralded in this life but I would like to pass on a word of appreciation.

If there was something that should be written on the headstone of Jim it would be simply “A servant of God”. He just did what he felt God had called him to do.

He regularly bought his tracts in bundles of 22,000! He preached in the streets of Belfast, sounding out the Gospel of God’s grace. He wouldn’t be found on a platform, no, his was a ministry of personal work, he reached out for souls amidst the masses of unconcerned humanity. Fittingly, he was giving out tracts on the same day that he was called home to be with his Lord!

“The Day will declare it” (1 Cor 3v13)

Any of us who try to do just a little work in Belfast will miss his friendly smile and his encouragements to preach!

Thoughts on Revelation (4) Man as a “wild-beast”

In the dark days of tribulation which will follow upon the Rapture of the Church to heaven, there will arise 2 great men. One a World leader, the head of a system/kingdom, the last gentile kingdom before the coming of the Lord to reign in righteousness. The other the False Prophet, who will induce and seduce the world to worship the world leader as god!

These 2 men are the antithesis of what God intended for man! They are against God. They are against Christ. (Read Ch 13).

Artist impression of first Beast

They are described as “wild-beasts“(Greek). People don’t realise that upon rejection and further rejection of God they become beastly in character, the very opposite of what God wants for them.

Please note – this is a different word than the word used for the 4 beasts (gk “living ones”) which surround God’s throne (ch4 and 5) who could well be the Seraphim (high and holy angelic beings).

What a contrast these men are to God’s Man. God will have the King that He intends, His “First-born  higher than the kings of the earth”(Read Psalm 2 and Psalm 8). This will be His eternal Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is marked by being the Holy and True, the Faithful Witness – He shall shepherd the nations with a rod of iron (12v5). His control will never be divorced from His shepherd care.

This is the “man after God’s own heart”, His “beloved” – in a way that King David is but a faint shadow! Believer, behold Him!

His hands were pierced…

Creation

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand
Measured heaven with a span 
And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? 
Weighed the mountains in scales 
 And the hills in a balance? (Isaiah 40v12)

For dogs have surrounded Me;
The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet; (Psalm 22v16)

His hands were pierced, the hands that made
the mountain range and everglade;
that washed the stains of sin away
and changed earth’s darkness into day

His feet were pierced, the feet that trod
the furthest shining star of God;
and left their imprint deep and clear
on every winding pathway here.

His heart was pierced, the heart that burned
to comfort every heart that yearned;
and from it flowed a cleansing flood,
the river of redeeming blood.

His hands and feet and heart, all three,
were pierced for me on Calvary;
and here and now, to Him I bring
my hands, feet, heart, an offering

D Wood, b. 1913

 (This came from a really good blog by a Malaysian believer called Aroma of Life – check it out!)

http://myjourney-siewwan.blogspot.com/