Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
This morning I wandered in my mind back along the tunnel of time to the mid-1960's, and in particular, to the great friendship I enjoyed with the poet Richard Ball who lived on the border between Wales and England. Born in Maesbury, Shropshire, when I met him first it was whilst he was employed as a desk Sergeant at the police station in Bedminster, Bristol.
VISIT OF A FRIEND
Written on a serviette, whilst having a meal with his wife,
and Colin Gordon-Farleigh at 9 p.m. on the 27th November, 1968.
And then I would see him
climb the stairs,
who brings a quiet
to this disease of thought ―
and I would greet him
raiding his store
of the rare words
that did not come
before his visiting.
they will help me,
perhaps not now,
but when his
passing at the door
casts shadow in the light,
and the lone room
shouts of him once more,
and tells me ―
this is the time
that he speaks on,
and I must write.
THE WELCOME GUEST
Now as they were travelling along, He entered a certain village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.
Many homes still have wall plaques dating from the Victorian era, and I recall seeing them quite often when, as a youngster, I used to visit elderly relatives or friends whose parents would have them on the dining-room wall. They would proclaim the message Christ is the unseen head of this house or Christ is the unseen guest at this table. Others carry messages such as Our house is open to God. I have no doubt from my recall of the people concerned, that those really were homes where our Lord would have been welcomed with open arms.
I wonder how welcome Christ would be in people's homes today. An old poem asks the question, If Jesus came to your house ... and then goes on to question whether He would be welcomed right in or whether it would be necessary to put the house straight first. Would there be some things that needed to be hidden away? Would it be necessary to pretend that things were different to the way that they appeared?
Christ was welcome in the home of the two disciples who lived in Emmaus, (Cleopas and probably his wife). We read in Luke's account that, they urged Him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is getting towards evening, and the day is now nearly over." And He went in to stay with them (Luke 24: 29). There are many instances in the Bible where Jesus was welcomed into individual homes.
· He was welcomed into Peter's home where He not only healed his mother-in-law, but also delivered those who were under demonic possession who were brought to the house, along with many more sick people (Mark 1: 29-34).
· Jesus, seeing Zacchaeus the tax-gatherer up a sycamore tree which he had climbed in order to get a better view, invited Himself to his house. We read in Luke 19: 6 that Zacchaeus hurried and came down, and received Him gladly. Christ came to make some changes in the life of Zacchaeus and his household, and Zacchaeus listened, responded, and rejoiced over the great changes that came about because of Christ's presence.
There are other New Testament passages which record visits Jesus made to people's homes, and there’s always a sense of joy and rejoicing at His presence. Amongst these we can find records of His visiting His friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus on three occasions, although there are almost certainly many more that go unrecorded.
Jesus paid an unexpected visit to Martha and Mary, according to the passage in Luke 10. We know that it was unexpected because we are told that Martha was distracted by the preparations that she had to do. If she had known He was coming then she would have got things ready beforehand. Perhaps He was a self-invited guest on this occasion as the living demonstration of God's grace. We can reasonably assume that Jesus often invited himself into people's homes in order to bring God's blessings to them, and as a friend of the three, it’s quite probable that He had a standing invitation to visit whenever He was nearby.
Probably the best known occasion was when He received the message from Mary and Martha that Lazarus was sick. The Bible records that by the time He arrived at the house, having delayed his departure, Lazarus had been dead for several days, and we are told that Jesus wept (John 11: 35). Yet Jesus, arriving to a house of sorrow, used the opportunity to demonstrate His resurrection power, calling Lazarus to come from the grave, and restoring him to his grief-stricken sisters. Why did He weep? After all, Jesus knew that in a few minutes he would raise Lazarus back to life. I believe that his weeping was a demonstration of the immense love and compassion that He felt, and still feels, for every soul created by Him. His love for all of us is such that he shares not only our moments of joy but also those of pain and grief. All around Him the family and friends of Lazarus were distressed and grieving their loss, and Jesus would have empathized with them in their pain.
Later we read in John 12 that Jesus made another visit to Lazarus' home, and celebrated a feast with them (1-3). He was a specially invited guest on this occasion, and it was a happy and festive time. These stories show Christ's presence at the house on all types of occasion, always a welcome visitor, always a reliable friend. If you and I want Him to come and stay with us in our times of sorrow and of joy then we need to ensure that He has a standing invitation to come as often as He wants and stay as long as He wants. Importantly, our homes need to be fit places for Him to come to at any moment.
We read in Mark 10: 45 that the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, ... He didn’t intrude where He was unwelcome. He would never cause embarrassment to people by suddenly arriving where He was uncertain of the welcome. He visited to fulfil both his own needs and the needs of others, for He was both divine and human, and He had the same needs that others had for nourishment. On two of His visits we read that He sat down to eat with His hosts. He had a need for the friendship and companionship of others, selecting the twelve apostles in order that they might be with Him. He needed encouragement, being aware of the imminence of His death upon the cross, and when Mary poured out the expensive perfume on Him it was a special sign of devotion that would help to strengthen Him as He faced death. He came to this home to teach the loving ways of God. Luke records that Mary was listening to the Lord's word, seated at His feet (10:39). Jesus gently admonished Martha for worrying unduly about the things of comfort. The meaning of this, in all probability, is that we can go without food and comfort without doing any real or lasting harm, but we cannot go without communication with our Lord because He supplies our spiritual food, and to go without spiritual food would be a massive deprivation with lasting effects. The lesson for us here is to understand the importance of prayer in our lives over all else.
We can also learn from these situations that Jesus comes to bring sympathy in times of sorrow, to share joy during times of happiness, and that when He comes into the home then He brings with Him the power to give new life.
Learning what the stories mean is one thing, but it is putting that learning into action that’s the most important thing. Jesus wants to come into your heart to be your Lord. Bringing love and power, He wants to make the necessary changes in your life, reversing some things and reorganizing others. He wants to complete, enrich, empower and use your life.
Is Christ the Unseen guest at every meal, and the Unseen Head of the Household in your home? If He isn't, I wonder if you will change that situation and invite Him to come in whenever He wants, starting today?
To God be all glory, and power, and dominion, for ever and ever.
ARE YOU LEANING
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11: 28 - 30 (King James Version)
John Stallings wrote a beautiful song “Learning to Lean”. I believe that these words came from the depths of his heart. “I’m learning to lean, learning to lean, Learning to lean on Jesus. Finding more power than I’d ever dreamed, I’m learning to lean on Jesus.” It is only when we lean on Jesus that we find rest, comfort and encouragement for our weary hearts.
In our Scripture verse Jesus tells us to learn of Him. We may know all the geographical places in the Bible and know about all the events in the Bible but if we don’t know the heart of Jesus, all we have is knowledge. Telling people about the places in the Bible and the events in the Bible will not lead them to accept Jesus as their personal Saviour.
We must tell them about Jesus and His unconditional love for them. However, it is not enough to tell them about Jesus. We need to live so that they will see Jesus in our smiles, hear Him in our words, and feel Him in our actions. We can tell people all day long that Jesus loves them but if we never prove it to them by our loving actions, they are not going to believe us.
Are you leaning on Jesus or are you still carrying your burdens and trying to solve your problems by yourself? You may find a temporary solution but only Jesus can give you a lasting peace. Give all of your heartaches, burdens and problems to Jesus and He will give you rest. We have a loving and compassionate Saviour. Thank You, Jesus, for loving us and caring about us.
August 28, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Think about this........................!
Obama gave a big speech about how his faith is 'so important to him.' In an attempt to convince the American people that he should be president, he said his favourite verse in the Bible is John 16:3. Of course the speech writers meant John 3:16, but nobody in the Obama camp is familiar enough with Scripture to catch the error, including Obama.
What John 16:3 says is this:
The Holy Spirit works in strange ways..............................
Monday, August 24, 2009
sheered the cross off the Lutheran church next to the conference centre where they were meeting. Take a look at the video on YouTube by clicking here and form your own opinion!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2: 15 (King James Version)
Imagine what would happen if every Christian would enroll in God’s school of love. I believe that we would have a revival that the world has never known. When we attend
O’ we may receive an “A” and graduate because we passed all the tests but we haven’t pleased God. It is only when we do what He tells us to do that He approves of us. We need a school that only has one course. The course should be unconditional love which teaches us how to love one another as Jesus has commanded us to love each other.
I think that sometimes we forget that loving one another is not an option; it is a commandment. “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down His life for his friends” (John 15: 12, 13). Can we honestly say that we love each other as He loves us?
Are we loving our families and our friends unconditionally or is our love based on certain conditions? Jesus set the example for us when He died for us on the cross. Our precious Saviour loves us unconditionally. If you have never enrolled in God’s school of love, please enroll today. It is time that we start loving each other unconditionally as Jesus has commanded us to love. Then and only then will God approve of us.
August 22, 2009