Napoleon’s Conversion?

images-encarta-msn

Napoleon Bonaparte of France was a great dictator, military strategist and legislator in the 18th and early 19th Century. His military conquests were such that at one stage he had almost all Europe under his control. On the back of the secular culture of France, with it’s anti-god ethos, he rose to power. He was eventually defeated after losing practically a whole army to the Russian winter and subsequently in later years the Battle of Waterloo (1815) to the Duke of Wellington.

He was then exiled to the Island of St Helena were he lived the last 6 years of his life under British custody. He spent much of this time in the study of philosophy and religion. Some of his conclusions are very interesting!

He compared other “religious leaders” to the Lord Jesus and also compared the great world leaders to Him as well. If you have a spare 30 minutes some time, listen to what he had to say about our Saviour.

I don’t know if he went beyond an intellectual appreciation of the Son of God to heart conversion but some of the statements he made would certainly suggest that he may have.

The link to this story is http://www.theglorystory.com/html/glory_stories.htm . On this page click into the top link.

Faith (3) It’s Variety

Faith is multifaceted! It exhibits itself in attitudes and actions. I have thought of seven of these, there are doubtless many more. 

1. Dependence – when we came to the Lord at the beginning we depended on Him. Our faith maybe wasn’t well developed or very great, we came like the leprous man who said “Lord, If You are willing, You can make me clean” (Matthew 8). We should always be marked by dependence.  

2. Confidence – this is perhaps a development on dependence. I can cling in dependence and appreciate that “God can” but it is wonderful to rest in His presence and appreciate “God will”. Think about it, Peter exhibited confidence when he began to walk on the water towards the Lord but he was reduced to just dependence when he began to sink! 

3. Appreciation – faith involves my acceptance of the Word of God and also of the will of God. I appreciate that God knows best! The Word becomes very relevant to me. When I read that God is the Father of those who are Christians (read John 1v12). I start to apply this to my life and I realise that there is One, God Himself, who is watching over me with fatherly care; who loves His child. No longer is the reading and study of the Bible a mere academic exercise. Faith grasps and appreciates God and then thanks and worships Him. 

4. Waiting – Think of the amount of times the Psalmist spoke about waiting on the Lord! David knew a bit about it. He had been anointed King in his teens but he would be about 30 before he had a crown on his head. In between he was a hunted man, chased from pillar to post. Maybe you (like me) have a specific request in prayer that you want answered and matters so much to you and yet it seems that it will never be answered? Maybe the Lord is teaching you to wait His time!  

5. Prayer – James, in his letter, speaks about the “prayer of faith” (James 5v5). Our belief in God should lead us to prayer.  

6. Witness – Paul, in 2 Corinthians, lifts an Old Testament quotation and applies it to his service. He writes “And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak” (4v13). This rebukes me a lot! Is my faith the type that keeps to itself? Too often it is. Paul’s faith led him to speak to others and to speak out the truth of God.  

7. Work – The Thessalonian believers were commended for their “work of faith” (1 Thess 1v3). Springing out of the belief they had in the truth of God was a work linked to it. James tells us that faith without works is dead! He means that we must have a faith that works because it is the only true faith. We can speak about faith but if there is no evidence in our lives we don’t have the real thing. 

It’s easier to write about these things than to consistently practice them!

Faith (2) It’s Resting Place

Sometimes when you hear people talking you could be misguided about what faith really is. I remember some years ago listening to a conversation between 2 elderly ladies. One was speaking about the great Lord that she had, who over-ruled and protected her from day to day. The other responded by saying “I’ve great faith as well”. I think it was the first lady who knew what faith really was. Her focus was on her “great Lord” not her “great faith”.  

In ways, the aim of faith is more important than the amount of it (though that matters). In other words faith can be misguided. Listen to some speak about religion. “Just as long as you believe in something” or “I think the importance is to have faith, no matter which religion it is”. How ridiculous! I might believe in Santa Claus delivering presents to every house in the world on Christmas Eve – I might believe it implicitly – but that doesn’t make it true.  

Faith must have a solid foundation, a resting place. I love the words of the hymn.  

My faith has found a resting place,
Not in device or creed,
I trust the ever Living One,
His wounds for me shall plead.
 

My heart is leaning on the Word,
The living Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s Name,
Salvation through His blood.
 

I seek no other argument,
I seek no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me!
 

Eliza E. Hewitt 

The resting place of faith for the believer is in the Word of God and in His Person. We believe God; we trust His character and we rely on His word. Divine Revelation has given to us the scriptures and we accept the record.   

We are not asked to believe anything else. As we tell the non-Christian, feelings aren’t worth trusting as they can deceive. Visions and voices are notoriously unreliable. Special revelations outside the meaning of the words of scripture are suspect but the Word of the Living God is to be implicitly trusted. The “faith once-for-all delivered to the saints” (see Jude 3) is to be relied upon. It is our resting place.   

Let us rely alone upon this Rock. May we be like Paul in the storm “I believe God” (Acts 27v25). 

Look straight ahead – A call to men for moral purity (Sam Thorpe Jr.)

My brother David  asked me to recommend this book on the blog. He has done a brief review on it below.

Look Sraight Ahead

“The title of this book comes from the Proverbs (4v25 NKJV) “Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you”. It is written for a specific audience as the title suggests – men.

The writer recognises that, in the present day the possibility of exposure to moral temptation has been greatly increased. He quotes “The number one sexual sin in churches today is the use of pornography by men. This is no surprise, considering the availability and anonymity of the internet”.

Now, to some young men, it might seem an impossibility for them to become ensnared in such a practice but it must be remembered that none of us are exempt from the flesh and its evil tendencies. Paul would exhort Timothy “Flee…youthful lusts…” and this book is written to help men to do just that.

Having just finished reading the book through, I was impressed by the simple and solemn way in which the subject is treated and the obvious care and compassion of the author as he seeks to help men who have difficulties in these areas.” [David Williamson]

Sounds like worthwhile reading! It can be bought from Everyday Publications. They are on the web at  www.everydaypublications.org.

Faith (1) It’s Importance

Faith is extremely important in the life of a Christian.  

At the beginning we heard the call of the Gospel. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” and we exercised faith in Him and as a result we were born into the family of God, we were saved forever.  

Since then, the trials of life are really trials of our faith, of our trust and confidence in God and in His word. Peter, writing in his first letter, spoke about the “trial of your faith”, in fact said that true faith was more precious than gold that perishes though it is tried by fire and ultimately will be found “to praise, honor and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1v7 NKJV). 

True faith is also protective in the Christian warfare. The Scriptures speak about the “breastplate of faith and love” (1 Thess 5v8 NKJV) and Paul writing about the Christian’s armour says “Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Eph 6v16 NKJV) 

Having an attitude of faith will effect our whole perception on life, for Paul again, writing of his exemplary service said “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5v7 NKJV). Because he was looking at the unseen and eternal he could face hardship and danger that most of us know very little about. 

The Lord expects us to exercise faith as a priority in life. (I’m taking this as a rebuke to myself). You’ll remember when the waves were crashing around the boat and the disciples were panicking saying “Do You not care that we are perishing?” He arose and calmed the storm with a word and rebuked his disciples “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4v38-40 NKJV) 

I think I’ll blog for a while on this great subject.

Gideon and his Namesakes

What Christian has not been thrilled when reading the story of Gideon and the defeat of the Midianite army in Judges ch 6-8?

gideon_attack.jpg

The odds were, in human terms, absolutely impossible. 300 men with earthen jars, torches and trumpets faced about 130,000 soldiers in the opposing forces. However they had God on their side and so at night the earthen jars were shattered, the light shone out, the trumpet blast sounded, a shout was heard “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon” and victory was secured against the assembled host of enemies.

 

Gideon was humble, self-effacing and, in faith, he gave the little he had to the Lord who multiplied it wondrously.

 

His namesakes, the Gideons, began back at the end of the 19th Century. A few Christian businessmen wanted to set aside money to make the Scriptures accessible to those who didn’t know. The results down through the years have been phenomenal. What hotel room would be complete without the Gideon’s Bible? How many sinners have been saved? How many Christians have been helped? The Lord alone could count.

 

So far the Gideons have distributed 1.5 BILLION portions of scripture across the globe, and it all started with a handful of willing businessmen. Praise God for men with faith, vision and a love for the Word of God! They are worthy successors to Gideon’s great name.

 

Gideon bible wiki

 

Maybe we could learn from them? You’ll remember the “five loaves and two fish” that a young boy brought to the Lord once. When it was given to the Lord the result was a multitude of over 5000 fed to satisfaction! If we could just bring our own little bit, and not selfishly hold it to ourselves there is no telling what the Lord could do through us!