Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Prisoner of Christ

Make me a captive, Lord,
and then I shall be free;
force me to render up my sword,
and I shall conqueror be.
I sink in life’s alarms
When by myself I stand,
Imprison me within Thine arms,
And strong shall be my hand.

GEORGE MATHESON
(1842-1906)

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Motivation for forgiveness

To forgive the incessant provocations of daily life—to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son—how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.” We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions and God means what he says. 
C S LEWIS 

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Write it down!

A Christian should keep two books always by him: One in which to write his sins, that he may be made humble. The other in which to write his mercies, that he may be kept thankful.
THOMAS WATSON

Friday, 23 February 2018

A Bitter Monk!

Long ago, two monks were traveling and approached an unusually rough river. Standing alone on the bank was a woman who approached the monks and asked if they could help her cross so she could return home to her family. 

Knowing it was forbidden to touch a woman, one monk quickly looked the other way, ignoring her request for help. The other monk, feeling compassion for the desperate lady, decided to bend the rules. Breaking tradition, he lifted her into his arms and carried her safely across the rushing water. Exceedingly grateful, the lady thanked the helpful monk and left for home. The two monks continued on their journey. 

After miles of silence, the first monk finally said with disgust, “I can’t believe you picked up that woman! You know we’re never supposed to touch the opposite sex.” The compassionate monk replied, “I put her down miles ago, yet you continue to carry her in your heart.” 

(Source : Craig Grouschel, Christian Atheist)

This little medieval story captures the manner in which bitterness and anger holds people prisoner. Month after month, year after year, people continue to carry wounds, refusing to put them down. The tragedy for a follower of Jesus is that we carry a burden that Jesus has already carried and nailed to the Cross. So let us go the Crosd and leave it there.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Love your enemies

A Turkish officer raided and looted an Armenian home. He killed the aged parents and gave the daughters to the soldiers, keeping the eldest daughter for himself. Some time later she escaped and trained as a nurse. 

As time passed, she found herself nursing in a ward of Turkish officers. One night, by the light of a lantern, she saw the face of this officer. He was so gravely ill that without exceptional nursing he would die. The days passed, and he recovered. 

One day, the doctor stood by the bed with her and said to him, “But for her devotion to you, you would be dead.” He looked at her and said, “We have met before, haven’t we?” “Yes,” she said, “we have met before.” “Why didn’t you kill me?” he asked. She replied, “I am a follower of him who said ‘Love your enemies.’”  

(Source : L. Gregory Jones, Embodying Forgiveness)

This sister in Christ demonstrates an important principle. If you are a beneficiary of God’s costly grace in Jesus, you will practice costly grace with others. The forgiveness we have received does not just make us grateful, it gives us a new heart that forgives and the Spirit of God who empowers us to do it in difficult circumstances. 

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Peace of silence

One word spoken in season will do more good than a thousand out of season. But in some cases peace, through having our faith to ourselves before God (Rom. 14:22), is of more consequence than the open discovery of some things we take to be true, considering that the weakness of man's nature is such that there can hardly be a discovery of any difference in opinion without some estrangement of affection. So far as men are not of one mind, they will hardly be of one heart, except where grace and the peace of God bear great rule in the heart (Col. 3:15). Therefore open show of difference is only good when it is necessary, although some, from a desire to be somebody, turn into by ways and yield to a spirit of contradiction in themselves. Yet, if Paul may be judge, they `are yet carnal' (1 Cor. 3:3).
RICHARD SIBBES 
(Source : The Bruised Reed)

The point here being that sometimes it is better to remain silent over certain truths where the discovery of our views would only lead to unnecessary disunity with other Christians. This as he rightly notes is in those unnecessary areas which we may call speculative or open to general interpretations. For example, do people really need to know our opinion on the millennium? No. 

And yet too often we find that people are only eager to let us know their views on such non-essential matters. As Sibbes would say, the motivation in those instances is always to be a “somebody”.  It is therefore little surprise that the dawn of social media has spawned more disunity among true Christians with everyone graviting to their echo chamber over non-essentials. We would well to practise the discipline of silence more often.