Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Pray as an unbroken body

"I have, myself, full confidence in God that if we as an unbroken body stand united in prayer for this nation, for this people, for this world, that what shall follow will be a mighty work of God which will bring this nation, this people, this world to their knees to hallow the name of our God and His Son Jesus Christ. God has already promised that every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. It will be a reality in the 2nd coming of Christ; but, by then it will be too late for uncle John, too late for England, too late for the tribes and too late for the world. But if we, today, unite hands in the unity of the Spirit and dare to pray that prayer ‘Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’, with perseverance, then we shall see multitudes bow their knees with joy hallowing the name of our God and our Saviour His Son Jesus Christ".  

(Picture by Chris Yarzab)

Pray as an unbroken body

"I have, myself, full confidence in God that if we as an unbroken body stand united in prayer for this nation, for this people, for this world, that what shall follow will be a mighty work of God which will bring this nation, this people, this world to their knees to hallow the name of our God and His Son Jesus Christ. God has already promised that every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. It will be a reality in the 2nd coming of Christ; but, by then it will be too late for uncle John, too late for England, too late for the tribes and too late for the world. But if we, today, unite hands in the unity of the Spirit and dare to pray that prayer ‘Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’, with perseverance, then we shall see multitudes bow their knees with joy hallowing the name of our God and our Saviour His Son Jesus Christ".

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Lord Is it true?

Oh Lord is it true that my name is graven on your hands
That before time began this mark you desired to have
Which made you rise to leave your Father’s perfect side
To be found a poor helpless human child.

Oh Lord is it true that my name is graven on your hands
That you lived a perfect unblemished life
Which made you the only choice of a seamless sacrifice
To be found crucified bearing your Father’s Holy wrath

Oh Lord is it true that my name is graven on your hands
That it was impossible for death to hold you down
Which made you rise to your people’s delight
To be found once again at your Father’s perfect side


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Upward call to heaven 5

My sleep that night was restless as I fell far short of possessing the divine attributes of being a saint like my mother and Amelia. The morning came with a bright sunshine where I could hear the birds sing so merrily and I could wish I was as they in their jovial mood. 

I have been thinking through the night and made another resolution this morning to entertain two of the fruits of the Spirit which my mother is very adamant I display. The two fruits are goodness and faithfulness for Mother and Amelia are never far from telling me of my lack of them. Amelia is full of them and to a greater degree my Mother. Both are such friends of humanity that I in comparison am an enemy. Many youthful souls as I in the school are at times perplexed why Amelia should spend almost all of her time with me and why she did not so spend it with Barbara and Amy Thornton. Their Father is the owner of many properties and a great politician who’s philanthropy is known throughout the Atlantic. He has with great energy sent many orphan child to school and throughout this land he is known as the helper of the poor. But such divine traits are not passed on genetically for Mother often told me that they must be cultivated and given by divine grace. Barbara and Amy Thornton still have a great deal of land to walk if they should be like their hospitable Father for their manners are filled with exceeding pride. Barbara is better than Amy although both being twins at times exhibit a rare similarity. The teachers are also perplexed at Amelia’s strange fondness with me and many of them have came to the conclusion that it is another of Amelia’s excellent attributes of not judging another of her fellow creatures. 

As we walked to school, I and Amelia were joined by a strange boy who inquired whether we were walking to Grangehill school. The boy looked much like myself, brown eyes and black hair but two inch taller than I and had a clearer complexity. Amelia was immediately drawn to him and she displayed the kindness and openness which is natural to her.

“I’m Amelia and my friend’s name is Jeremiah which in the Hebrew means Yahweh as uplifted. He often uplifts my soul although he may not know it but he does and makes me glad. And what is yours”

Our new friend seemed very ambitious to declare his name and said “My name is Benjamin, Benjamin Sickell”. 

I remained quiet for a while until Amelia opened up the conversation to me to tell Benjamin of what our school is like for today is Benjamin’s first day. I scrambled in my mind to find something wise to say for both spoke with such eloquence and wisdom that my speech of mine would taint the beauty. Amelia encouraged me and I remembered my resolution this morning and determined thereof to display such goodness and faithfulness to our new friend that soon He will see my good nature and complement the assuredness of my character.  


Almost gone

Look up to the sky watch them birds fly 
Moving to the wind no one knows where it comes from
The day begins with the sunrise 
Let me summarise my existence in a few lines
Born in 89 scarcely made my exit from the womb
Should have gone to the tomb 
Escape my nightmares as a teen
But I made it through my youth pretty clean 
98 almost past through to paradise 
Paralyse by a sickness this weakness had me still
Loosing all my will to live 
My mama by my side telling me to breathe 
I could see the light fighting for my only chance
Life flashing before my eyes
Is this how we die 
Generations come and go 
More knowledge more sorrow 
My life is borrowed 
Cheer my body with wine 
Dine with the finest 
When its over 
Its gone 
What did I live for 
My dreams no more 
Fading out of reality
Heading to the silence 
I guess its all vanity
To the grave I come 
Whatever I wanted I got them all
Kept back from no pleasure
Riches were my treasures 
Till I saw a field buried with heaven’s treasure...


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

There was nothing

My friend could it be that once upon a time there was nothing?
And then suddenly bang bang bang - there was something!
It takes such a wild and exotic imagination 
A strange fixation eliminating the logic of causation. 
Could it be true my friend that no hands played a part
No mind designed this vast expanding fine tuned existence - 
I wish we could act it out and play contrary task.
Il be gravity you dark energy - but its after the bang bang bang 
How my dear friend can we enact nothing?


Saturday, 20 August 2011

Restorative Justice

In a memorable scene in To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper, Lee four car-loads of white men come at night to lynch the black Tom Robinson, who’s been accused of raping one of their daughters - only to be confronted by Atticus Finch, sitting in front of the jailhouse door.  The lawyer, reading the newspaper beneath a dim light bulb, is the only thing that stands between Tom and the mob intent on its summary version, or rather, grisly perversion, of justice.  The irony is, of course, that in court, despite his clear innocence Tom is found guilty by the all-white jury and is shot attempting to escape when he loses hope.  For Atticus’ young children, it is inexplicable.  As Jem protests, ‘You can’t do that – you can’t.’

There’s been a lot of lynch-mob mentality spreading like wildfire after the week of riots in our cities.  Enough people to trigger a Commons debate signed an e-petition demanding the removal of benefits from anyone involved.  Government ministers leant their support to the eviction of families of those charged.  A broadsheet newspaper blazed the headline, ‘Ignore the rule book and lock up looters, JPs told’, above a story of a memo circulated to senior court clerks and the custody rate increasing from the usual 10% to 65%.  As a result, we’ve been hearing news of youngsters no older than 11 and 14 being branded with criminal records.  It’s not to excuse their behaviour.  It’s criminal and wrong – if one can use that word in a society which has abandoned an idea of a common morality.  (The ‘rioters’ aren’t blind. They can recognise relativism at all levels when they see it.)  That’s not to say they shouldn’t be punished.  However it is to admit that their behaviour is not so very different from the media and political reaction to it – a mob on the rampage.
The lynch-mob never gets it right – whether it’s at the guillotine, or stoning an adulteress, or baying for the crucifixion of the only completely innocent Man.  The mob’s one concern is for retribution.  It may add respectability in the clothes of deterrence, but what makes it tick is the thirst for vengeance.  ‘They must pay!’  And yet retribution and deterrence are not all there is to justice.  Other elements are reformation and restoration. Interestingly these latter two are more the Old Testament’s concern in cases of property crimes, where the punishment was restitution plus compensation to the injured party, but not degradation to the offender.  Imprisonment, ‘which is expensive to the community, generally corrupting to the prisoner and often bringing unmerited hardship to his dependants, is the invention of a later age’, as Diver and Miles assert inThe Babylonian Laws.
Vengeance is not ours (Romans 12:19).  Humanly administered, it threatens to bring disproportionate consequences, such as poverty, homelessness and a criminal record which blights someone’s employment prospects for life.  That is not Jesus’ way.  His way is to release us from the mob (Legion) in us all and to restore us to sit at his feet as disciples, clothed and in our right mind (Luke 8:35).  I asked a friend in Ealing what one sentence she’d say to the teenager accused of murdering Richard Bowes.  ‘I think I'd talk about hope - and resurrection, and one day when Jesus will put everything right, and that if we put our hand in his he promises to walk with us and guide us through life, because he still has a plan for your life... something like that’ – was her restorative answer.
Michael Wenham is author of My Donkeybody and I Choose Everything. He is a retired minister and teacher, and has MND.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Im happy just to dream

I'm Happy just to dream
About a day when everything and us will be.

Thy frame the fairest the friendliest found
Thy speech so tender bringing immortal life.

I'm happy I smile every-night before I sleep
Thinking deep about the unity of you and me.

Thy steps inflames a Godly spring
Thy peace the reason the earth spins so still.

Merrily sound my eyes finally close
Only to see you fill my dreams.

Thy fuel does drive this awakened soul
Thy Love thy song A wonderful ......


Why “Let Go and Let God” Is a Bad Idea

What is “let-go-and-let-God” theology? It’s called Keswick theology, and it’s one of the most significant strands of second-blessing theology. It assumes that Christians experience two “blessings.” The first is getting “saved,” and the second is getting serious. The change is dramatic: from a defeated life to a victorious life; from a lower life to a higher life; from a shallow life to a deeper life; from a fruitless life to a more abundant life; from being “carnal” to being “spiritual”; and from merely having Jesus as your Savior to making Jesus your Master. People experience this second blessing through surrender and faith: “Let go and let God.”
Keswick theology comes from the early Keswick movement. Keswick (pronounced KE H-zick) is a small town in the scenic Lake District of northwest England. Since 1875, it has hosted a weeklong meeting in July for the Keswick Convention. The movement’s first generation (about 1875– 1920) epitomized what we still call “Keswick theology” today.
People who influenced Keswick theology include John Wesley, Charles Finney, and Hannah Whitall Smith. Significant proponents of Keswick theology include Evan H. Hopkins (Keswick’s formative theologian), H. Moule (Keswick’s scholar and best theologian), F. B. Meyer (Keswick’s international ambassador), Andrew Murray (Keswick’s foremost devotional author), J. Hudson Taylor and Amy Carmichael (Keswick’s foremost missionaries), Frances Havergal (Keswick’s hymnist), and W. H.Griffith Thomas, and Robert C. McQuilkin (leaders of the victorious life movement). People who were influenced by Keswick theology include leaders of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (A. B.Simpson), Moody Bible Institute (D. L. Moody and R. A. Torrey), and Dallas Seminary (Lewis Chafer and Charles Ryrie).
Beginning in the 1920s, the Keswick Convention’s view of sanctification began to shift from the view promoted by the leaders of the early convention. William Scroggie (1877– 1958) led that transformation to a view of sanctification closer to the Reformed view. The official Keswick Convention that now hosts the annual Keswick conferences holds a Reformed view of sanctification and invites speakers who are confessionally reformed.
Keswick theology is pervasive because countless people have propagated it in so many ways, especially in sermons and devotional writings. It is appealing because Christians struggle with sin and want to be victorious in that struggle now. Keswick theology offers a quick fix, and its shortcut to instant victory appeals to genuine longings for holiness.
Keswick theology, however, is not biblically sound. Here are just a few of the reasons why:
1. Disjunction: It creates two categories of Christians. This is the fundamental, linchpin issue.
2. Perfectionism: It portrays a shallow and incomplete view of sin in the Christian life.
3. Quietism: It tends to emphasize passivity, not activity.
4. Pelagianism: It tends to portray the Christian’s free will as autonomously starting and stopping sanctification.
5. Methodology: It tends to use superficial formulas for instantaneous sanctification.
6. Impossibility: It tends to result in disillusionment and frustration for the “have-nots.”
7. Spin: It tends to misinterpret personal experiences.
You can tell that Keswick theology has influenced people when you hear a Christian “testimony” like this: “I was saved when I was eight years old, and I surrendered to Christ when I was seventeen.”
By “saved,” they mean that Jesus became their Savior and that they became a Christian. By “surrendered,” they mean that they gave full control of their lives to Jesus as their Master, yielded to do whatever He wanted them to do, and “dedicated” themselves through surrender and faith. That two-tiered view of the Christian life is let-go-and-let-God theology.
The Keswick Convention commendably emphasized personal holiness and left a legacy of Christian service, but holy and fruitful living by no means distinguishes Keswick theology from other views. All of the major views on sanctification have adherents who are exemplary, inspiring Christians, and disagreeing with a particular view of sanctification in no way questions the devotion to Christ of those who hold that view.
We shouldn’t determine our view of sanctification by counting up who we perceive to be the most holy Christians and seeing which view has the most. Scripture, and Scripture alone, must determine our view of sanctification.
As John Murray reminds us, “The cause neither of truth nor of love is promoted by suppressing warranted criticism.” Constructively criticizing a faulty view of sanctification can actually advance the cause of truth and love.
by Andrew Naselli

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Are You Controlled By the Future?

Martyn Lloyd-Jones:
'Take no thought for the morrow,' means 'Do not be guilty of anxious thoughts about the morrow'. It does not mean that you do not take any thought at all, otherwise the farmer would not plough and harrow and sow. He is looking to the future, but he does not spend the whole of his time wondering and worrying about the end results of his work. No, he takes reasonable thought and then he leaves it.
Here again the whole question is where to draw the line. Thinking is right up to a point, but if you go beyond that point it becomes worry and anxiety and it paralyzes and cripples. In other words, although it is very right to think about the future, it is very wrong to be controlled by it.
The difficulty with people who are prey to these fears is that they are controlled by the future, they are dominated by thoughts of it, and there they are wringing their hands, doing nothing, depressed by fears about it. In fact, they are completely governed and mastered by the unknown future, and that is always wrong. To take thought is right, but to be controlled by the future is all wrong.
Spiritual Depression, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1965), 98, paragraphing mine

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Miscellanies 15 - Lust a evil desire

Lust is generally in scripture spoken of as an evil desire. This was the desire which led Eve to commit that treacherous sin which would bring about a curse on creation. Genesis 3:6 'So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate'. Here we see Eve lusting after that which was forbidden and because she did not put a lock on her desires it overwhelmed her and thus she was unable to resist and her only choice was to satisfy her cravings and after to tempt her husband by telling him of how sweet and delicious it is. Lust is by nature deceiving, it first appears to the mind to be sweet and innocent, it gives the soul a taste of satisfaction but its end is to ruin whoever eats at her table. God had clearly given Adam a warning which He passed on to His wife Eve that if you eat of this tree you shall surely die. Since God never lies it remains in the absolute certainty that if Adam and Eve should eat of the fruit of the tree then the curse would come to pass. Despite having this knowledge of the great disadvantage of eating of the fruit of the tree, yet in the hour when lust doeth her work she manages to raise a positive conclusion that eating of this tree would make Eve better off. Eve’s eyes are fixated upon the fruit of the tree and where she a wiser woman she would have heeded the command found in scripture ‘Flee from immorality’, because as long as her eyes are set upon the fruit of the tree she is more and more enslaved to it. Eve should have fled, first to Adam and both to God to tell God of how the serpent had tried to tempt them. If both had taken this course of action, how different would the story of humanity be my dear reader. But Eve lingered her gaze and with each passing minute lust had completed her work in her. She is no longer able to resist after being persuaded that eating of this fruit is entirely to her benefit for she now affirmed decisively in her heart that the tree was good for food, and able to make one wise. Lust had completed her work and as she ate it Lust delayed her poisonous effect until she had passed it on to Adam who foolishly committed the same crime. They both along with all of humanity reaped the consequences of their actions namely death. Lust is a general evil which is found in every heart, it entices and promotes false images of lasting satisfaction and all men except one has fallen for her traps. She is to be avoided and the chief way in avoiding her is to flee to Christ. Some have been foolish in thinking that if they just flee lust and rest in solitude far away from the besetting temptation that they are fine and free; but lust is wise and deceitful. She is already disguised in another form and those who flee from one lust are simply running to another unless they flee to Christ. Christ is the only remedy in destroying lust for the satisfaction he offers is not temporary but lasting – it is stronger and wilder and will quench all of the thirst of the human soul.


Saturday, 13 August 2011

Miscellanies 14 - It is a more reasonable thing

Is it not a more reasonable thing my friend that the first thing we ought to do when we wake is to declare the praise of Our God and to come to him in prayer to commit to him our day and our soul. Is it not a more reasonable thing to do that him who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all should receive our adorations in the morning. Why my friend should our first duties be spent on everything else but Him. Is it because we have not yet seen his necessity in our life that it is wholly by him that we are sustained and kept. My friend let us be wise to the evil of the day and thus be quick in the morning to rise to abandon our souls in His so that we may be fully prepared to every dart of the evil one. Is it not a more reasonable thing my friend to seek his face in the morning than to seek bread. Is it not a more reasonable thing to seek his face than to begin to worry about today's trouble. You see my friend our God is great, turning water into wine, shining into the darkness and out of the ashes we rise. He is healer and awesome in power. It is a more reasonable thing my friend that in the morning he should take our first fruits for then we have rightly apportioned our priorities and set Him above all things. 


Jesus the praise of my soul

In the morning - as I see everything around me fall
And I have nothing to my advantage
Yet Jesus is the praise of my Soul.
Let today be filled with your glory
In my failing health and upcoming death
Jesus you are the praise of my soul.


Friday, 12 August 2011

Where Do We Find Jesus in the Old Testament?

For me, one of the most exciting elements of Scripture is its use of typology. Put simply,
[Typology is] the idea that persons (e.g., Moses), events (e.g., the exodus), and institutions (e.g., the temple) can — in the plan of God — prefigure a later stage in that plan and provide the conceptuality necessary for understanding the divine intent (e.g., the coming of Christ to be the new Moses, to effect the new exodus, and to be the new temple) (Graham Cole, He Who Gives Life, [Wheaton: Crossway, 2007], 289).
I love to read the New Testament and see the ways in which the biblical authors read their Old Testaments in light of Christ. I love that Matthew depicts Jesus as the true Israel, who escapes from a wicked king like Moses did (Matthew 2:13-18; cf. Exodus 1:15-2:10), who passes through water and is declared God’s son like Israel (Matthew 3:13-17; cf. Exodus 14, 4:22-23), and then is led by the Spirit through the wilderness to be tested for forty days (Matthew 4:1-11; cf. Exodus 40:34-38). But unlike Israel who failed the test (Deuteronomy 8:1-3), Jesus succeeds (Matthew 4:3-4), triumphing over temptation and returning to launch the invasion of Canaan (Matthew 4:12-25), a new Joshua ready to remove the seed of the serpent that is polluting his land and his people.

Interpretive Questions Arise

For many evangelicals, such typological interpretation is fraught with danger. A host of questions immediately arises: Are we justified in seeing Christ in the Old Testament only in those places explicitly mentioned by the biblical authors? Or can we imitate apostolic interpretive methods and find Jesus in other places in Scripture?
Jesus says that he’s a greater Solomon (Matthew 12:42), Paul says that the Rock that followed Israel in the wilderness was Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4), and the author of Hebrews recognizes Jesus in Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:1-3).
But is Jesus also the greater Joseph, persecuted by his brothers and foreigners, thrown into a pit and a prison, and then emerging to become ruler over all? Is Jesus a greater Elisha, who comes after Elijah (John the Baptist) with a double portion of his predecessor’s spirit?

Edwards Saw a Typological World

Jonathan Edwards certainly believed so. Edwards believed that the entire Old Testament gives us a “typical (or typological) world.” Everything in the Old Testament is typological, from the ceremonies of the law to the history of Israel to the state and circumstances of God’s people throughout Scripture. Edwards believed that it is unreasonable to restrict types to the explicitly interpreted instances in Scripture. “For by Scripture it is plain that innumerable other things are types that are not interpreted in Scripture (all the ordinances of the Law are all shadows of good things to come)…” (“Types”).
He writes,
The Apostle himself teaches us that only so small a thing as the silence of Scripture in not giving an account of Melchizedec’s birth nor death was [typological] (Hebrews 7:3). If so small things in Scripture are [typological], it is rational to suppose that Scripture abounds with types (“Types”).
How then should we define types? How can we detect them? How can we determine whether something is truly a God-intended type in Scripture? Where are the breaks on this thing? Perhaps Edwards will be of some help to us. 
Joe Rigney is Assistant Professor of Theology and Christian Worldview at Bethlehem College and Seminary.

Monday, 8 August 2011

A passing cargo ship

Times like these I believe I think very well. In the open space gazing upon the gentle river while beyond is the riveting horizon now spoilt by the passing cargo ship named Catherine. I know of another Catherine but she is unlike this cargo ship. She is well built and sparkly. She reflects the beauty of nature rather than spoiling it. Her nature is mannered and her heart beats of genuine compassion. She is as calm as this river, her small waves gently carrying those souls who depend upon her. This Catherine is not like the one found in Wuthering Heights - she is a different kind, she is of a clearer moisture of which I long to hold but more as a friend than a wife. Her sensibilities are always accompanied with the right emotional response and I can speak clearly because I have been a lucky recipient. I speak highly of her that’s because I’m yet to find a fault, not a single blemish but yet my loving feelings have not been persuaded to seek her. Perhaps I am more tuned to the likes of Delilah than those of Mary - the subtleness of Ruth would not be enough to quench the delights of my pursuit for I do not think that I could labour like Jacob for so many years unless it was for my Rachel. I must leave this fanciful imaginations for I have no time to delude myself that I have time for it. Like the day it will soon fade and the night will come when no man can work. But I am yet to find a business to engage in. Perhaps I’l find a long life enemy to duel with like Wilberforce who pleaded with his countrymen that no longer can they plead ignorance to the vileness and evilness of the slave trade for the nature and all the circumstances of the trade is laid open before them. They could no longer say to the divine Judge ‘I never knew of its rotten fruits’. This brings me back to that hideous cargo ship Catherine which spoilt my view. It is not transparent so as to avoid it - I could change the directions of my eyes but I cannot kick it out of the sea.  Yet my better Catherine could never be kicked out of my heart for I trust and I have every reason to do so that as long as we exist in this world and the hereafter our friendship shall endure.


Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Miscellanies 13 - Pray for me

I once looked out at the congregation in the church and I saw souls who were engulfed in the misery of their sins. They came to the front to receive some ministry and I in my pride declared in my soul, 'Lord may it never be that I be as one of these'. In the night the Lord paid me an awful visit showing to my soul his great terror and anger at those who are proud-full that their end will be his casting them down to the bottomless pit. I awoke never to sleep again until I reached the church on Sunday finding myself among those souls who needed ministry. I resisted till I could resist no more and there I was found on my knees till a brother laid his hands upon me and declared "peace to you, your sins are forgiven. The Lord has removed the dross in you and despise not your fellow citizens for it is those who are humble in heart who will ask for help. That humility is perfected not just towards God but also towards men. Many in the church are suffering because they refuse to lay down their pride and for all eyes to see them in their weakness but maintaining a continual falseness of strength they have become hardened by it. But you my brother, always remember that his mighty unfailing strength is perfected in your weakness". 


Dedicated to excellence

I ought to be dedicated to excellence, that everything I do is done to the best of my ability. We ought to give all to God and do all as if ...