Sunday, 25 June 2017

A very small remnant

Your country is desolate,
your cities are burned with fire:
your land, strangers devour it in your presence,
and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard,
as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers,
as a besieged city.
Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant,
we should have been as Sodom,
and we should have been like unto Gomorrah. – Isaiah 1.7-9

It seems like we are in days of overwhelming opposition. The world grows more and more wicked by the day. Christians seem to be shunted more and more to the touchlines and the shadows of our world. There is still plenty of religion, but the question is how much true faith is left? There are pockets where Christians still have some semblance of power in society, like this pocket of North Carolina, but we have to ask ourselves how many dedicated followers of Christ are there left?

In Isaiah’s day Israel found herself in a similar situation. The country was in a shambles and it was all doom and gloom.

But God left hope there. In the midst of all the disaster God had left ‘a very small remnant’ of His own true people who were carrying on faithfully for Him. That remnant gave hope.

Though we are not Israel I think we can learn from this truth of a very small remnant. In our culture, where it is even difficult to find truth in the churches, there still exists a very small remnant who hold true to the word of God and who will not be turned away by the lies and deceptions and the draws of this present age. That remnant is the hope for our churches and the hope of people caught in the horrors of this present.

That is why the remnant cannot give up. We can’t quit because we are tired. We can’t be moved. We must be steadfast. We must remember that our labour is not in vain in time we will reap if we don’t lose heart.

May that remnant be always faithful.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Arise and come away

My beloved spake, and said unto me,
Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For, lo, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs,
and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. - Song of Songs 2:10-13

These words of the bridegroom were exciting words for the bride to look forward to. After all the celebration the bridegroom would say something like ‘the time as come, arise and come away with me. It is time to go home.

And those are words that we can look forward to as well. One day our Jesus is going to come to us and say ‘Arise, my beloved, it is time to go home.’ All of the waiting is going to be worth it all when we hear those wonderful words.

I get really tired of this broken world. It is sad to see a world full of broken people. And it even sadder when I let that broken world full of broken people get the best of me.

But, He will return. The bridegroom is coming to catch us away. He is coming to take us home to the place He has prepared for us. We are going to go home with the One who gave His life for us and spend eternity with Him in the perfect place He has made just for us.

What a day that will be when He says, ‘Arise, come away.’

Friday, 23 June 2017

The love banner

As the apple tree among the trees of the wood,
so is my beloved among the sons.
I sat down under his shadow with great delight,
and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
He brought me to the banqueting house,
and his banner over me was love. - Song of Songs 2:3-4

The bride here is rejoicing over the marvellous provision of her groom. She speaks of the things he does for her and also of the great love that flies over everything.

He brought me to the banquet house and his banner over me is love.

Here again I think we see a picture of the wonderful relation that Jesus has with us, the church, His bride. We look forward to His great provision of eternity with Him, but we also see daily provision that He provides.

But what sticks out to me is His motive. The thing that overrides everything else is that His banner over me is love. The flag that flies over my relationship with the Savour is love.

It is His love that sent Him to earth to live amongst men. It is His love that motivated Him to go to the cross in my stead. It is His love that drives Him to be with me today. It is love that allows Him to be my advocate before the Father. And it is His love that will have Him one day come and say ‘arise and come away.’

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Let us hear the conclusion

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. – Ecclesiastes 12.13-14

Whoops, I jumped ahead of my self there and didn’t finish Ecclesiastes before I jumped into the Song of Songs, but how can I leave out the ‘conclusion of the whole matter?’

After all of Solomon’s searching and trying things out and finding only vanity he comes to the end of his search. He had tried power and pleasure and possessions and people and found everything wanting and stated ‘vanity of vanities, all is vanity.’

The conclusion of the whole matter?

Fear God and keep His commandments

Why?

This is the whole duty of man.

It is only in fearing God and keeping His commandments that we can find peace and contentment and satisfaction and the meaning on life. If that is our goal the circumstances we face can’t destroy us. Our lives are based not on what we can get out of them but on how we can serve Him.

When we do that all the stuff that Solomon sought to find peace don’t matter – our peace is the peace that Jesus left behind that the world can never provide.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

How can I turn aside?

Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth,
where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon:
for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions? - Song of Songs 1:7

Well, here we go into the Song of Songs. To me personally this is the most difficult book from which to glean spiritual truth. It is a beautiful love song full of love and intimacy where I often can’t make sense of why we are privy to such an intimacy. But, I know this is God’s word and that it is there for a purpose, so here goes.

The first thing to jump out at me was chapter 1 verse 7. The bride is speaking of her love and says ‘I love you and you provide for me. Why then should I be turned aside by anyone else.’ (A little bit of parrowphrase there)

But I love the picture that this conjures up. They tell us the the Song of Songs is a love story that illustrates the love that Christ, the bridegroom, has for us, His church. That being the case we have an image of the Christ that provides for us. Since we claim to love Him and He meets our needs how can we be turned aside by everything else out there? Why should we go anywhere else? It reminds of when Peter, I think it was, said ‘Where else would we go Lord?’

We have all we need in Him. How can we be turned aside by the passing baubles that the world offers us? All the other things are passing away. Only Christ is for eternity. The visible things of this world are tempting, but temporary. He is invisible, but eternal.

So let us follow the bride's example here and ask ourselves ‘how can we be turned away?’

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

One sinner does great harm



Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good. - Ecclesiastes 9:18

The first thing I think about here is the story of Achan and the battle of Ai. In that account the nation of Israel had just had a great victory at Jericho, but were defeated at the battle of Ai which they should have won easily.

Hw could they lose such an easy battle? Achan, one of the men of Israel has sinned by taking some of the loot for himself.

The picture is pretty clear. One sinner can make a mess of things for everyone else.

We are primarily talk about something dealing with God’s people. Achan sets the example in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament we have an example of the truth in the church at Corinth.

A man in the church there was have sexual relations with his mother-in-law. The church has tried to get him to confess and repent and lay aside his sin. Still he continued, but something had to be done.

So Paul told the church to ‘put him out’ until he repented.

That sounds harsh, but it worked. The man was restored.

It is important that the church deal with sin in her ranks. Tolerating a little sin does a lot of damage. It is never to be done in a haughty, arrogant, or punishing way. The goal is always to restore the erring member.

But one sinner can do a lat of harm, to himself and to the church. Our task is to admonish and help get him on the right path.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Quiet words of wisdom

The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. - Ecclesiastes 9:17

I realise that Ecclesiastes 9 comes before Ecclesiastes 12, but I was looking back and spotted a couple of things from last week, that just need to be talked about.

For one thing, I can’t imagine more needed words in today’s climate than ‘the words of wise men are heard in quiet.’ ’

We live in a day of great loudness. Everyone has an opinion, which is fine, but it seems like a lot of folks think that their opinion must be heard and that if no one will listen the best thing to do is to just say it more loudly. The quiet voice that tries to speak out is far too often shouted into silence.

Any fool can shout with a loud voice.

But still, there are those quiet words being spoken in the midst of all the shouting. Those wise words are being said, and all we have to do is to listen.

But there is something even more important that we can do – we can strive to be that quiet voice of wisdom in this world of screaming.

Lord, help me to be one that has that has that quiet voice of wisdom.