Blogs for April 2018

Yet Not As I Will, But As You Will....In my daily quiet time several mornings ago the question was asked, "What does this prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemene mean to you?" . How would you or I respond in the same situation? Most of us would be thinking - well thank goodness I will never be put in that situation. "Yet not as I will" is the godly attitude - the one as seen in the Son, "thank goodness thats not me" is another attitude, but at least it's a honest attitude. Yet I think the more prevelant attititude in the Church today is the "I've no opinion on this subject" attitude or the "I never gave it a second thought attitude" - the one where we're totally oblivious to the fact that we are called to have a position in Christ. The writer of Genesis tells us that God made us in His image. The modern Church would, in the majority of cases, have god (small "g") made in Our image (big "O"). The ultimate role reversal.

I've just finished (but will definitely need to re-read) a book by Peter Scazzaro, a New York Pastor, about Emotional and Spiritual Maturity. Most of us, including me, are emotionally immature and spiritually immature. In truth most of us don't actually know that we are immature or that its possible to be immature as Christians. 17 April 2018 StanH.

The Letter. Most of us periodically receive a Prayer Letter.

This blog has been reproduced from another section of this website. I stumbled across it again thi morning and was blessed by it and I thought it might bless you..........

Some letters come from large Christian Organisations and Charities, some perhaps from the Mission Field and some from individuals whose careers we've been following for years. Richard and Lenora Priestley fall into that latter category.

After my wife, Sheila, was saved in Whitby in1973 she eventually came back home to South Kirkby and having been provided with a Christian contact over here (Lenora), we found ourselves in the same Church which is how we met and later married. Lenora was my wife's bridesmaid and my wife was Lenora's bridesmaid back in 1974. After our paths diverged some time later these two women managed to keep in touch with Birthday and Christmas Cards and their periodic Prayer Letters or Newsletters.

Though Richard and Lenora are now well into their mid-seventies remarkably they are still as fully engaged in Christian ministry as ever, especially their work with the Missionary Organisation WEC (see http://www.wecinternational.org/) but there's much much more - thats why they need a Prayer Letter! They remind me of those described by Isaiah (40v31) - "but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

The opening paragraph of their current letter (written by Lenora) really blessed me and I hope it blesses you and causes you, as it did me, to look back over your own long years in the Church.

You might call it the Long View

Lenora had evidently been looking back on what her life had amounted to...

"Just recently I (Lenora) have been thinking about the long term results of the choices that we make. I made the choice to ask Jesus into my life, at His prompting, over 50 years ago. That choice continues as a daily discipline today. It has resulted in - a godly marriage; a life time of ministry; two children whose lives are God's; a family given over to God; a grandson being brought up in the knowledge of God. I have felt overwhelmed by thankfulness for all God has given us. He continues to give us strength to serve Him and spurs us on to know Him in closer relationship".

Thats all I wanted to share from their Prayer Letter but oh! what a glorious thought that must challenge us all as we look back over our own years in the Church. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. If only we had been allowed to have the long view and a persepective on our life that Lenora describes here when we set out on our journey in the Christian faith. I wonder whether our lives would have been more productive and more directed to the bringing in of His kingdom?

Let us ponder that thought today......what have our lives amounted to ? 18 April 2018 StanH

 

Pulling Your Knee. The other day I was engaged in a conversation with an Iranian brother who attends our church. His English has improved quite a lot although he doesn't think so. He takes a great interest in vocabulary and adding to the list of English words he is fast accumulating. Some time last year he got onto the subject of names for the various parts of our body: This' - NOSE, and this? - FOREHEAD. Whats this? - SHOULDER, and this ? CALF, this ? ANKLE and this? -  KNEE, etc. During our chat the other day we were having a bit of fun and there was some teasing. Someone assured him that we were only "pulling his leg". Well! One thing that the English are good at is using and abusing our language and bending its use into purposes it was never intended to be used for. Hence the evolution of many phrases just like "leg pulling". I passed someone on the stairs this morning and he completely "blanked" me. See what I mean. You could have a lot of fun compiling a book of strange and funny English expressions.Getting back to people whose original home langague is not English. How do we know they are preceiving English and whats being said the same way they we do ? Well actually I don't think we can ever be certain. And its the same with our Christian faith, with salvation, with Jesus, with sin or heaven. Anything. But back to that leg pulling incident. We think he understood and he went off to enjoy the rest of his day in good spirits. But I was left with just one doubt. He made a bit of a humerous quip on leaving, kind of getting his own back, and as he walked out the door he shouted back at us - I was only pulling your knee ! 21 April 2018 StanH.

 

Heaven On Earth. Christians don't really "observe" the Sabbath in the way it was intended. The way God intended. A full 24 hours of rest or resting in something. Non-work. And those that do, see it as Law not grace. God's great secret gift. The great mystery that is bound up in the Sabbath. There is a phrase "heaven on earth". I'm not sure where that phrase came from but maybe it was originally someone's idea of paradise. Same with the adjective,"heavenly". Where did that come from?

I read somewhere or I got a sense from something I read recently that most of us will be in for a shock when we "go" to heaven. Not that we have any idea really where we are going. I am reminded of that childrens chorus:"heaven is a wonderful place, full of glory, full of grace - I want to se my Saviours face - heaven is a wonderful place. Really? I'm not suggesting its not - but I am suggesting that most of us will be in for a shock. It will be like turning up at base camp with a suitcase full of inappropriate clothing and trying to climb Everest without any practice whatsoever. Sabbath is God's "heaven on earth". His "base camp" where we are meant to be practicing how to "do" heaven.

And then of course we might ask where heaven is. Well its not near Leeds or Sheffield. Its not physical. It has no terrain or geography. Its spiritual. It was Adam and Eve that led us into the physical domain when they walked out of Eden - who caused Milton to write Paradise Lost. There is is again. Paradise. Heaven. How far is heaven. Not very far.

It has always been just "through a glass darkly". Almost visible on a good day. Like France from the Cliffs of Dover.

29 April 2018 StanH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


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