Whose faith follow…

Adding up of days…

When I was just saved I was introduced to the power of example; a truly wonderful thing.

People like Jim Elliot, martyred missionary to Ecuador. What an example of heroic faith in God, and what an army of missionaries and servants of God have been profoundly influenced by the faith and sacrifice of this one man.

Another book which profoundly moved me was “The Triumph of John and Betty Stam”, the story of a martyred couple who give their all for the Lord in China.

John and Betty Stam photograph

Recommended reading!

I then realized that Lord calls many people to simply live for him consistent, God-honouring lives. I found inscribed in the insert page of my Dad’s old Bible these words:

“If He died for me, the least I can do is live for Him”

How profoundly true.

Let’s live for Him as never before. Let’s obey every truth of His Word!

“A noble life is not a blaze
Of sudden glory won,
But just an adding up of days
In which God’s will is done.”

(Poem quoted from “One day at a Time”: William MacDonald)

EL OLAM – “The Everlasting God” (Gen 21v33)

 

abraham3.gif

Abraham had grown old, he had weathered the storms of life. He had journeyed, pitched his tent, upped camp and journeyed again. He had come from Ur, travelled across the Euphrates flood-plains until he entered the land of Canaan, then he had compassed the land of promise, Canaan from north to south. In times of failure he had dwelt in Egypt and Philistia, but he had returned to tent and altar, to Bethel and Hebron. God had promised Him a son and then given Him his promised son 25 years later. It had been a hard journey, but he had learned so much about his God.

He knew he was a God of Splendour, for “the God of glory” had appeared unto Him right at the beginning of the journey (Acts 7v2). He learned from Melchizedek that he was a God of absolute Supremacy “the Most High God” (EL ELYON)”. He understood no doubt, through Hagar, that he was EL ROI, a God of Seeing, who saw and met the need of the outcast. His God revealed Himself as the God of Sufficiency (EL SHADDAI), able to fulfil his promises completely by himself. Now, as he reflects on life he understands that he has come to know a God of Stability – EL OLAM, the Everlasting God.

Yes, his life had been full of ‘flitting’ here and there, it had been full of trials and tough decisions, it had had its ups and downs, but God had been there through it all! The Everlasting God – nothing could decay His love or dilute His promises, He was the great Rock of Abraham’s life. He had fulfilled His promises to him.

A grasp of this God is what we need in 2012. The new year comes with its unexpected tomorrow: the journey of life for us might hold unexpected twists and turns this year, but one thing is absolutely sure our God, the Everlasting God, is with us in it and is waiting for us at the end of it.

Never fear Christian, the “Everlasting Hills” beckon us, an “Everlasting Kingdom” awaits (Ps 145), His mercy is from everlasting to everlasting (Ps 103), In Him lies “everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26v4) and “underneath are the everlasting arms” (Jer 31v3).

How wonderful it is to know EL OLAM.

 

 

She has chosen the world…

Robert M. M’Cheyne

Robert Murray M’Cheyne was no doubt one of the greatest servants of God Scotland has ever seen. He died at the age of 29. One of his often repeated statements was “live so as to be missed” – he exemplified this. He was a man of godliness and prayer.

He was informed that a young relative had rejected Christ and said that “she was determined to keep by the world” – he penned the following lines on her decision. It brings a challenge to us all in 2011!

She has chosen the world,
And its paltry crowd, –
She has chosen the world,
And an endless shroud!
She has chosen the world,
With its misnamed pleasures:
She has chosen the world,
Before heaven’s own treasures.

She has launched her boat
On life’s giddy sea,
And her all is afloat
For eternity.
But Bethlehem’s star
Is not in her view:
And her aim is far
From the harbour true.

When the storm descends
From an angry sky,
Ah! where from the winds
Shall the vessel fly?
When stars are concealed,
And the rudder gone,
And heaven is sealed
To the wandering one!

For the human heart
Can never conceive
What joys are the part
Of them that believe
Nor can justly think
Of the cup of death
Which all must drink
Who despise the faith

Away then – oh, fly
From the joys of earth!
Her smile is a lie –
There’s a sting in her mirth
Come, leave the dreams
Of this transient night,
And bask in the beams
Of an endless night.

(Full Poem to be found in “The life of Robert Murray M’Cheyne”) – Andrew Bonar

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!

 

 

John the Baptist – A righteous sign-post

Someone once spoke to me once about John the Baptist and called him “a righteous sign-post”. I think that’s good.

John the Baptist

Sign-posts have a purpose. John was a man “sent from God”. He said about his own mission that he was merely “the voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the LORD”” (John 1v23 NKJV).

Sign-posts point away from themselves. I don’t think there are many servants in the Word of God as self-effacing as John. “Who are you?” they asked – “well,” he said in effect, “I want you to know who I’m not, I’m not the Christ, I’m not Elijah, I’m not the prophet… I’m just a voice, really, I don’t matter very much but my message is very important” (see John 1) When his disciples finally said “You know the One you were with beyond Jordan (the Lord Jesus), who you testified to… all are coming to Him” You are losing disciples – what are you going to do? John replied “My joy is fulfilled – He must increase and I must decrease” How wonderful! (John 3)

Again of the Lord, John speaks in Mark’s Servant gospel and says “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose.” I’m not worthy to do the most menial service for Him. I wonder is that my attitude to service for Christ? Is it a great honour to me to do whatever I can for Him?

Sign-posts point towards something. And so John pointed to Christ in a very special way. You’ll remember that he pointed his followers to Him in John 1v29 saying “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (NKJV)

It is easy for us to use our service to appear faithful to others or even to promote ourselves. We live in an age dominated by self, me, and mine. It would be nice when people reflected on our Christian service they would say of us as was said of John “John performed no sign, but all the things that John spoke about this Man were true.” (John 10v41 NKJV)  

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!