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Showing posts from July, 2011

Shepherd's Ideal

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Give me a man of God the truth to preach,
A house of prayer within convenient reach,
Seat-rents the poorest of the poor can pay,
A spot so small one pastor can survey:
Give these-and give the Spirit's genial shower,
Scotland shall be a garden all in flower!

Robert Murray M'Cheyne, 1838

(Painting by Anne Dalton)

Taken from the Lausanne Covenant

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We affirm that there is only one Saviour and only one gospel, although there is a wide diversity of evangelistic approaches. We recognise that everyone has some knowledge of God through his general revelation in nature. But we deny that this can save, for people suppress the truth by their unrighteousness. We also reject as derogatory to Christ and the gospel every kind of syncretism and dialogue which implies that Christ speaks equally through all religions and ideologies. Jesus Christ, being himself the only God-man, who gave himself as the only ransom for sinners, is the only mediator between God and people. There is no other name by which we must be saved. All men and women are perishing because of sin, but God loves everyone, not wishing that any should perish but that all should repent. Yet those who reject Christ repudiate the joy of salvation and condemn themselves to eternal separation from God. To proclaim Jesus as "the Saviour of the world" is not to affirm that a…

Solid Gentleman in the Pulpit

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Rest in Peace, John Stott

Dr. Allen Yeh, Torrey Honors Institute
Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I can’t think of two greater Evangelical giants today than John Stott and Billy Graham. This morning (July 27, 2011), one of the two—Stott—went to be with the Lord.

I cannot sum up adequately what he has meant to the Evangelical world, but what I can do is offer my little slice of perspective. I have been involved with the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization for almost a decade now, and John Stott was instrumental in that organization.

In 1974, Billy Graham convened the first-ever Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Lausanne, Switzerland. Though he was the visionary for this Congress—possibly the greatest Evangelical gathering of missionary leaders in history up to that point in time—John Stott was the chief author of the Lausanne Covenant, the document which came out of that conference.

Have you ever wondered what it means to be an Evangelical Christian? The word ‘Evangelical’ is so …

New Weapons

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You have become my gladiators, gladiators of steadfastness, patience, mercy, long-suffering, prayerfulness, watching and waiting. You did not choose me but I chose you, and ordained you that you might go forth and bear fruit and that your fruit might remain.

Once gladiators faced their king affirming, "We who are about to die salute you." But you the new gladiators have the privilege of saying, "We who are never going to die will salute You forever with thankful hearts."

And this is the weapon I give you to defeat the devices of the enemy; it is thanksgiving. You will recall past mercies and deliverances and will go forward with confidence to do my work, partnering with me and bringing me glory.

And in this service there will be times when you will be acted upon, when you will be passive, when adverse circumstances and coarse people will refine the ore. But was this not the place of my Son's greatest work? His Passion? The power is spelled out in a peculiar way in…

In His Compassion

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(Taken from Like Christ by Andrew Murray)

Compassion is the spirit of love which is awakened by the sight of need or wretchedness. What abundant occasion is there every day for the practice of this heavenly virtue, and what a need of it in a world so full of misery and sin! Every Christian ought therefore by prayer and practice to cultivate a compassionate heart, as one of the most precious marks of likeness to the blessed Master. Everlasting love longs to give itself to a perishing world, and to find its satisfaction in saving the lost. It seeks for vessels which it may fill with the love of God, and send out among the dying that they may drink and live for ever. It asks hearts to fill with its own tender compassion at the sight of all the need in which sinners live, hearts that will reckon it their highest blessedness, as the dispensers of God’s compassion, to live entirely to bless and save sinners. O my brother, the everlasting compassion which has had mercy on thee calls thee, as …

Restoring the Worship of David's Tabernacle

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1 Samuel 15:

25So David, and the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands, went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the house of Obededom with joy.

26And it came to pass, when God helped the Levites that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, that they offered seven bullocks and seven rams.

27And David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, and all the Levites that bare the ark, and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers: David also had upon him an ephod of linen.

28Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps.

29And it came to pass, as the ark of the covenant of the LORD came to the city of David, that Michal, the daughter of Saul looking out at a window saw king David dancing and playing: and she despised him in her heart.


The kind of worship envisioned here is worship by the whole p…

God Ever Cares

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God ever cares! Not only in life's summer
When skies are bright and days are long and glad;
He cares as much when life is draped in winter,
And heart feels so bereft, and lone, and sad.

God ever cares! His heart is ever tender,
His love will never fail nor show decay;
The love of earth, though strong and deep, may perish,
But His shall never, never pass away.

God ever cares! And thus when life is lonely,
When blessings one time prized are growing dim,
The heart may find a sweet and sunny shelter--
A refuge and a resting place in Him.

God ever cares! And time can never change Him.
His nature is to care, and love, and bless;
And drearest, darkest, emptiest days afford Him
The means to make more sweet His own caress.

(J. Danson Smith)

Does He Feel at Home?

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Ephesians 3

17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.


In the original language Paul is expressing a hope that Christ would settle, would feel at home, would be at ease in the hearts of the Ephesians.

We are to learn the art of hospitality with respect to the most fortuitous of all guests. A listening ear, a willingness to pause, a constant sensitivity to His preferences, a bearing of humility and moderation, a setting aside of other priorities, a valuing of His every word of comfort, guidance or warning.

It is very evident that Jesus had this sense of welcome in the house of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Consequently He felt at ease to visit in both good and bad times. He valued sincere companionship and good cheer. He had lessons…

Under the Rhubarb

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Barb had large plans for the backyard garden. The space had been there but never the time. With spade in hand, she chuckled wryly at recent developments.

Her company had been mercilessly down-sized, and she as number two in human resources had been kept on until the bitter end. It had felt like the role of the Angel of Death. Greg had insisted that she not worry about the time off this summer. Things were going very well for him in the new Corporate Governance Department at The Firm. It almost seemed as if he had not welcomed her success after the children had gotten older.

Had that not been one of the main issues in her sister's divorce? Jobs. Money. Competition. And the two of them had cut it off without any significant emotion. It just dried up. Barb was wondering now about her own marriage.

All afternoon she had been spading up sod by the west fence. She could almost see the planned brilliance of perennials. A strip of old rhubarb would have to be removed. It had been there for t…

Deep Quiet Rest

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"QUIET CONFIDENCE"

I wish thee now, ‘midst all the world’s dark sorrow,
The quiet sense of being truly blest;
We cannot tell what waits us on the morrow,
But we can have in Him deep quiet rest.
His hand, unseen, still ruleth o’er the nations;
His will is sovereign, even as His power;
Today, o’er earth, deep groans and lamentations,
But He is ruling, e’en in this dark hour.
Not sin, nor wrong, nor base unholy passion
Shall win the day, since He is on the throne;
Not so shall He His holy purpose fashion,
Though oft it seem that evil reigns alone.
In Him we rest; our fortress, strong, abiding;
In Him is peace, and freedom from alarm;
And quiet strength, and inward deep confiding.
For He can keep from every kind of harm.

~ By J. Danson Smith ~

The Christian Extra

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(From our devotional link by F. B. Meyer)

"Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain."-- Mat 5:41.

OUR LORD refers here to the usage of the East in the transmission of royal messages, which were carried forward by relays of messengers, much in the fashion of the fiery cross in the Highlands, as described in "The Lady of the Lake." The messengers were "press-men"; each town or village was compelled to forward the message to the next, and the first man happened upon was bound to forward the courier with his horses or mules.

In some such way emergencies are continually happening to us all. We arise in the morning not expecting any special demand for help, or any other circumstance to interfere with the regular routine of the day's work, and then suddenly and unexpectedly a demand bursts upon us, and we are obliged to go in a direction which we never contemplated. We are compelled to go one mile! Then the question arises. Now you have done …

Now Just Settle Down!

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I listen to you as you engage with friends and family. All the things you would like to see my Church doing. All the error you have identified. All the side eddies of teaching topics which miss the major thrust of my Good News.

You say that you are weary of dishonest "positive confession", of spiritual pride, of a competitive spirit in the flock, of the lust for "new revelation".

You observe "worship sessions" which are ruled by the clock or by an order of service which is man-contrived, and not looking in the least for the Spirit's leading. You chafe at Christ-less sermons.

There is much talk of service but the unchurched, needy or broken do not become the focus of your little church family...ever.

Do you think that I will use you in this "tizzy" of criticism and restlessness? Where is my peace and unconditional love? Remember my prayer outside the Upper Room for the disciples? How I recognized the victory that would be their's, with the Fa…

First, Obey...

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(Today's entry in My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers)

The Way to Knowledge
If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine . . . —John 7:17

The golden rule to follow to obtain spiritual understanding is not one of intellectual pursuit, but one of obedience. If a person wants scientific knowledge, then intellectual curiosity must be his guide. But if he desires knowledge and insight into the teachings of Jesus Christ, he can only obtain it through obedience. If spiritual things seem dark and hidden to me, then I can be sure that there is a point of disobedience somewhere in my life. Intellectual darkness is the result of ignorance, but spiritual darkness is the result of something that I do not intend to obey.

No one ever receives a word from God without instantly being put to the test regarding it. We disobey and then wonder why we are not growing spiritually. Jesus said, “If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has som…

Local Bruisings

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I remember about two summers ago seeing a banner over the main street of Waterloo celebrating the fact that 'our fair city' had been rated as the "most intelligent city in Canada". The statement made me shudder.

Yes we have two universities, a host of insurance companies, the immensely successful Research In Motion (maker of the Blackberry multi-task phones) and a variety of software and Intel related companies. The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics has brought in the involvement of Stephen Hawking of Britain.

Spokespersons were likening our city to "Seattle North", Bill Gates and Microsoft reigning over the southern one.

But "pride goeth before what"? A fall? A reversal? A humbling?

This week RIM announcd lay-offs company-wide totalling approximately 2000 out of a global staffing of 19000. A quarter annual statement of earnings had proved disappointing in a period when much attention had shifted to the launch of a new Playbook device. The l…

His Reservoir

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(Today's entry in In Green Pastures by J. R. Miller)

Of His Fullness

Every life will have its times of sore testing, its times of sharp trial, its experiences in which ordinary strength and preparation will not avail. It is when we have Christ behind our own little strength, when we are abiding in Christ, when our faith links us to his everlasting fulness, that we have the reserve we need for any future. True religion binds the soul to God, so that from his divine fulness supply comes for every emergency. We cannot fail if God is behind us. Our lamps can never go out if they are fed from heaven's olive trees. But if we have no such reserve, our own feeble strength will soon be exhausted, and there will be no refilling of the emptied vessel.

Nothing Repels Thee

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XXXIX

Because thou hast the power and own'st the grace
To look through and behind this mask of me
(Against which years have beat thus blanchingly
With their rains), and behold my soul's true face,
The dim and weary witness of life's race,
Because thou hast the faith and love to see,
Through that same soul's distracting lethargy,
The patient angel waiting for a place
In the new Heavens,--because nor sin nor woe,
Nor God's infliction, nor death's neighbourhood,
Nor all which others viewing, turn to go,
Nor all of which makes me tired of all, self-viewed,--
Nothing repels thee,...Dearest, teach me so
To pour out gratitude, as thou dost, good!

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
(Sonnets from the Portuguese)

Commotions

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commotion - noun
1. violent or tumultuous motion; agitation; noisy disturbance: What's all the commotion in the hallway?
2. political or social disturbance or upheaval; sedition; insurrection.

In Luke chapter 21 Jesus warned that among other things there would be wars and commotions troubling the people before His second coming. Matthew chapter 24 is another listing of conditions before the end of the age. To many the description does not elicit a sense of urgency because these conditions of violence, fear and natural disaster seem to have been with mankind forever.

But there does appear to be an alarming shift these days in frequency, intensity and horror.

The recent news of an atrocious car bombing and of sniping at young people in and around Oslo, Norway is a good case in point. Motives remain unclear for the sudden explosion of a public building and the arrival of a gunman dressed as a police officer at an island summer camp (for youth aligned with the political party holding off…

Radical Housecleaning

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His Nature and Our Motives

(Entry for today in My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers)

. . . unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven —Matthew 5:20

The characteristic of a disciple is not that he does good things, but that he is good in his motives, having been made good by the supernatural grace of God. The only thing that exceeds right-doing is right-being. Jesus Christ came to place within anyone who would let Him a new heredity that would have a righteousness exceeding that of the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus is saying, “If you are My disciple, you must be right not only in your actions, but also in your motives, your aspirations, and in the deep recesses of the thoughts of your mind.” Your motives must be so pure that God Almighty can see nothing to rebuke. Who can stand in the eternal light of God and have nothing for Him to rebuke? Only the Son of God, and Jesus Christ claims that throu…

Sycamore

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Still standing.
Beside the main street.
Feeling the pulse
Of spring rains,
The crown of summer,
The testing pull
Of autumn storms.
Children explore
My limbs and shelter.
Adventurers pass,
Out to new possibilities.
Some, retracing steps
In homeward reunion
Or retreat.
Presently a strange din;
One stalwart man
And His entourage.
Onlookers press in,
Curious and hopeful.
What's this?
Someone scrambles up,
Tugs my extremities,
Scrapes my bark,
Settles,
Balancing to watch.
Much like the children.
(Generations of them.)
I serve their purpose.
I serve his purpose.
Giving the better view.
And the Master looks up,
My Maker.
Issuing the call:
"Zacchaeus, come down.
I will come to your house."

Note: Many a witness accepts rough treatment that others might get a better and redeeming view of Jesus.

See the earlier post of June 11, 2009 entitled, "Zacchaeus".

Shouldering the Heat

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Yesterday, as forecasted. the temperature got well into the 40's. It has been a record breaking July and the lawns are starting to burn.

In traffic and on the streets one could see the community slowing down, looking for strategies for shade and a cooler breath of air. The elderly kept inside.

At the factory where I work, station fans were all in use. Out in the storage and shipping yard the temperature was like a wall of challenge. Fellow workers presented that unspoken expression of resolve to get through it. A little more patience, a little more understanding had become evident. Conversation was absent, but one noticed an unusual sense of unity and community in the "bearing under". And this at a time when our work hours have been reduced because of a lag in production orders. We are told that "they are on the way and being approved".

It is a strange summer and a strange economy.

I have often prayed for my workplace, for a greater sense of partnership, mutual res…

Same Psalm, Different Facet

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(Today's entry in Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles Cowman


Worship in the Night

"Ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord. The Lord that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion" (Ps. 134:1, 3).

Strange time for adoration, you say, to stand in God's house by night, to worship in the depth of sorrow --it is indeed an arduous thing. Yes, and therein lies the blessing; it is the test of perfect faith. If I would know the love of my friend I must see what it can do in the winter. So with the Divine love. It is easy for me to worship in the summer sunshine when the melodies of life are in the air and the fruits of life are on the tree. But let the song of the bird cease and the fruit of the tree fall, and will my heart still go on to sing? Will I stand in God's house by night? Will I love Him in His own night? Will I watch with Him even one hour in His Gethsemane? Will I help to bear His cross up the dolorous way? Will I stand beside…

The Keepers of the House

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(From Psalm 134 in The Treasury of David by Spurgeon)

1Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD, which by night stand in the house of the LORD.

Verse 1. Behold. By this call the pilgrims bespeak the attention of the night watch. They shout to them—Behold! The retiring pilgrims stir up the holy brotherhood of those who are appointed to keep the watch of the house of the Lord. Let them look around them upon the holy place, and everywhere "behold" reasons for sacred praise. Let them look above them at night and magnify him that made heaven and earth, and lighted the one with stars and the other with his love. Let them see to it that their hallelujahs never come to an end. Their departing brethren arouse them with the shrill cry of "Behold!" Behold!—see, take care, be on the watch, diligently mind your work, and incessantly adore and bless Jehovah's name. Bless ye the LORD. Think well of Jehovah, and speak well of him. Adore him with reverence, draw ne…

Send the Dog Yelping

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One story of Smith Wigglesworth always brings a smile. He had been visiting a woman on some matters of counsel and she had accompanied him to the boulevard fronting her house in order to wait for his ride.

Her little dog followed them with an imperious air to a spot dangerously close to the roadway.

"Now go on back to the porch, Rusty. You shouldn't be out here near traffic." She threw in a sweeping hand gesture for good measure.

No response. Just a cheeky look which seemed to say, 'Nope, not gonna happen.'

A second rebuke with words something like, "Now do what you're told. Scoot!"

Five perky steps in the opposite direction. Then nothing...

"Rusty, don't make me get the switch."

At this point Wigglesworth clapped those big plumber's hands, and with the booming voice which could rival Niagara, "Be gone! Now!"

A yelp. A tail between the legs. A cringing retreat to the front porch. A peeking out from behind railing pickets.

"An…

The Plumber Calls to Action

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Neither Slumbers Nor Sleeps

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(Taken from Spurgeon's Treasury of David)

Psalm 121

Verses 3, 4. A poor woman, as the Eastern story has it, came to the Sultan one day, and asked compensation for the loss of some property. "How did you lose it?" said the monarch. "I fell asleep", was the reply, "and a robber entered my dwelling". "Why did you fall asleep?" "I fell asleep because I believed that you were awake". The Sultan was so much delighted with the answer of the woman, that he ordered her loss to be made up. But what is true, only by a legal fiction, of human governments, that they never sleep is true in the most absolute sense with reference to the divine government. We can sleep in safety because our God is ever awake. We are safe because he never slumbers. Jacob had a beautiful picture of the ceaseless care of Divine Providence on the night when he fled from his father's house. The lonely traveller slept on the ground, with the stones for his pillow, and …

Listening with Howard

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From the overmuch brilliance
I stop to listen.
New bench. Lakeside.
Willow branches hiss.
Swallows chitter up high.
Geese trumpet a disturbance.
Swan's turbulent thrust.
Redwing's reproach.
Catflish plip at the surface.
Bicycles boom the walk-bridge.
Distant Sunday matin rings.
Subliminal cicaida drones.
Toddler in stroller
Renders the descant,
Gleefully laughing.
July, everywhere
In recognition.
Rising to collect my things.
A brass plaque, at my back
All the while:
"Howard Roth- 1923-2006,
Watching the Ducks."
We'll do this
Again, Howard.

Eldorado

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Galatians 5:
6For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.


Here is the way to please the Father. Faith will abandon all the "selves"-self-righteousness, self-assurance, self-control, self-improvement. It will put everything on the promise of God and the beggar's cry in the believer.

With the obedience will come the understanding and with the understanding will come the thankful realization of the blessings of grace.

This thankfulness leads to love and the intense desire to express such love by walking in the Father's holy ways. It is always in this love response and not in the pressing obligation of duty that we "work out" our faith.

It is the very difference which we see between the two sons in the story of the prodigal (Luke 15).

Song of Ascents

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It was just before sun-up on the morning of the Great Feast. Intentionally the traveling men and their sons had camped outside the City after days of adventure, songs, stories and reunion on the pilgrimmage.

Young Caleb rubbed his eyes and stretched out stiff muscles after the sleep on the grass. He took a long swig from the water skin and squatted down at his lofty and full view of the City and the ascending arteries to the Temple. It seemed to shimmer in the dawning as if over-eager for sunlight to reveal its brilliance and magnificent design.

Caleb thought of the dusty march and the robust fellowship and anticipation of the men. Laughter. Humming. Rhythmic hand clapping. Names called out in joyful recognition. The pace relentless, but quickened by the good thoughts of what lay ahead.

This morning a solid band of cloud blocked the horizon's distinct line, but brought on, a few moments later, a more surreal rising above the vapour. Caleb could now see many groups of men stirring on …

Report In

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(Today's entry in Come Ye Apart by J. R. Miller)

Tell Jesus

“The apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things,”

Mark 6:30


That is just what we should always do when we have been trying to do any service for our Lord. We should do it as well as we can, and then go and tell Him what we have done. At the close of each day we should go to Him and tell Him of all that we have done or tried to do during the day. We should tell Him how we have lived, how we have done our work, how we have endured temptations, how we have treated our friends and those with whom we have been associated, how we have performed our mission as His servants, what words we have spoken for Him, what efforts we have made to do good or to give comfort or help, and how we have met the calls upon us for sympathy and aid.

We must not forget to tell Him about the day’s failures. Did we lose our patience? Did we yield to temptation? Did we neglect to speak the word for the Master that we ought to…

Had Meals With You

Further to the last post, I was reading the 13th chapter of Luke this morning and noticed something interesting. Jesus is describing the "straight" way of admission to the Kingdom of God and suggesting that many religious practitioners will be surprised at Judgment.

They say, 'Did we not eat with you and did you not teach in our streets?' The Master sadly responds, 'Go away, I never knew you.' Where have we seen this? An over-abundance of eating, fellowship and teaching, but no development of an intimacy with Jesus. No hearing of His heart and burdens. Nothing else will suffice.

An earnest and loving approach to prayer, praise, meditation and Gospel study which is "Jesus focused" rather than "God or Victorious Church focused" will point the inquirer and the hungry heart in the right direction. He is our Door of access, our Forerunner and truest Friend and Hope. The one who seeks, asks and knocks through Him will be more than satisfied, and …

Community Not the First Priority

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In much of the self-definition of the local churches (web-sites, newspaper, front lawn signs, visitor literature) I see reference to a purpose which should be secondary. It is community, a sense of belonging, an opportunity to engage with other people who have made Christian values something important to their lives.

The suggestion is to "come grow with us, embrace a fuller life, enjoy the sense of belonging, join in with programs, provide for your children a safe zone for moral and social development, rise to leadership opportunities with identified aptitudes and help to keep the ball rolling."

But then I go to the Gospels and see Jesus calling out disciples. Simon, Andrew, James and John from their arduous toil on the fishing boats. Matthew from his lucrative tax-gatherer's table. The invitation was simple: "Follow me."

These men had heard the words of wisdom in the spontaneous addresses of "the rabbi", had perhaps observed or heard of the incredible m…

Real Life

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Simple life in love, healthy endeavour, constant thanksgiving, lessons taken from hardship or mistake; mellowed in the memory with Heaven waiting in the wings. Thank you Lincoln.

Working Hands

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(Today from J. R. Miller in Come Ye Apart)

Only a Carpenter

“Is not this the carpenter?”

Mark 6:3

Certainly; yet that refutes nothing. It only helps to prove the claims of Jesus to be the Son of God. If he had been a learned rabbi or philosopher, it might have been said that he had received His wisdom from men; but as he was only a poor village carpenter, he must have been taught of God.

There are other thoughts which this question suggests. It tells us how wisely Jesus spent his youth and early manhood — not in idleness, but in useful toil, no doubt helping thus to provide for His mother and her family. The example has its inspiring lesson for every young man growing up in the home of his childhood. He should make the years bright with earnest work and the conscientious use of every moment of time.

There really are no pictures of the Christ; yet there are on the pages of the evangelists pictures of the Christ in certain attitudes, which have their deep meaning for us. Once we see Him with …