After the drought of the summer (I wrote about that here) the rains have come. What is our reaction to this? For many it is assumed that this is just what happens. We have sun and cold; we have dry and wet. It all evens itself out in the end and all is well. Our crops grow and there is water in our taps and there is no problem
However, I am left wondering about how such a presumption does not entertain God in the calculating of things. It is, after all, God who sends the weather. He is in control of all things. Continually He sends his blessing on these islands of the British Isles, just off mainland Europe. But will it always be so?
I am left wondering about the advance of so many God dishonouring ways among us. The Word of God is not considered in the making of legislation by our leaders and in the living of lives by the people. The God who is the living Lord is ignored and despised.
We live in a country under the judgement of God. This is seen in Romans 1:21-32 in the swift embracing of all things homosexual. In that passage we see people rejecting the Word of God and embracing idolatry in its place. As a result, in His judgement, He gives them up to dishonour themselves with their bodies; men with men and women with women. From that the society degenerates into all kinds of moral chaos.
The rejection of marriage as the fundamental building block of society does not bode well. Neither does the continued onslaught of transgender dogma in our society, Both of these are examples of our God-rejecting ways. How long will the Lord continue to send the cold and heat and the rain and sun? We are in His hands and we cannot presume that it will always be that way.
One of the wisest things we have done as a group of elders in the church here in Feltham appertains to prayer. At the beginning of our elders meetings we pray for approximately 45 minutes for everything in the life of the church.
It is such a beautiful thing to pray together as brothers who are like-minded and like-hearted on wanting the best welfare of the church. This is all very much in harmony with the joy described in this post about prayer with others
It gives a great atmosphere to our times together. Discussion, which takes place after the prayer-time, is always different when prayer has been made.
I do feel it shortens our meetings as well. This is just an intuitive response and hard to measure. However, my perception is that through prayer so many issues are processed in (and by) the Lord. This is far better than processing them through our discussing.
One thing I have dwelt upon recently is why it is that people drift away from the Lord. Not only have such people lost their fire for their Lord, they seem to have lost their very life itself. Whether it be backsliding or proving that they have never had the Lord’s grace-given life, they fade away into oblivion.
One tentative conclusion I have reached is that a lack of attention to daily personal devotions has contributed to this disastrous outcome. Without the kindling of our hearts in His presence through the study of the Word and seeking Him in prayer we die; our life fades away. Without coming before the face of our God we lose our interest in His ways. The life of God is only experienced when we are knowing that glow from His presence into our lives through being in his presence.
When our souls are weary and the Lord seems distant, the remedy of spending time with the Lord comes and refreshes us in the walk of grace.
So we must have our quiet time. We need daily fellowship with our God. If we do not have this we risk fading away; we put our lives in peril. We set ourselves on a slippery slope to spiritual deadness.
And so how is your Quiet Time? And please feel free to challenge me about mine when you next see me. Our lives depend upon regular fellowship with the Lord in the quiet place. So let us not neglect this.
Here is our church newsletter for December 2018. It has an article on “The Christian and Sin” which may be of interest.
I Have been pondering upon this scripture from 1 Kings 1:5-6) and its implications for parenting:
Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, ‘I will be king.’ So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him. (His father had never rebuked him by asking, ‘Why do you behave as you do?’ He was also very handsome and was born next after Absalom.)
Adonijah was a son who had been allowed free reign by his father, David. David had never challenged him as regards to his behaviour; he had not got involved in his life. This leads me to have the following observations regarding parenting generally and my parenting in particular:
- I need to get involved in the lives of my children. To leave them to their own devices is not an approach I can entertain. To leave them to their own devices can seriously prejudice their development.
- I need to question my children about their bevaiour. This becomes particularly important when they are moving into and on in their teenage years and beyond. When this stage is reached you realize they are no longer those little children you can control through teh imposition of your will.
- The word for “rebuke” has the idea of “grieve”. It is as if David never wanted to upset Adonoijah. He did not want to hurt Adonijah’s feelings by questioning him about his behaviour. This is a trap that is so easy to fall into. For an easy life and, dare I say, to retain popularity with your children you fail to question what they are doing.
- The outcome of Adonijah being left to his own ways was that he developed into a proud young man. The words that he ‘put himself forward And said “I will be King”‘ reveal a man who wanted to see himself exalted. The reminds me of how it is not a matter of indifference whether or not I intervene in the lives of my children. If I fail to get involved I am most likely going to negatively impact their character development.
In my early days at Feltham I spent many happy times praying with just me and brother, Julio Alverio. Sadly, Julio now has his mental faculties significantly denuded and is in a care home. The happy memories still stand though.
It is interesting how praying with other believers can vary some much. To be able to pray with a small number of brothers, even just one, who are prepared to just to “go for it” and seek the Lord in praise, worship and supplication can be so very special. The sense of togetherness and freedom and lack of inhibition is so good.
Alas, this is not the case with everyone. Some seem to think that if you have verbally prayed once or twice then you have completed your roster. In such situations there is an awkwardness.
Writing this gives rise to memories of many happy times when prayer has been made to the Lord. Foretastes of heaven these are, might I say. And if you read this and are one of those brothers, then thanks to you for your fellowship and joyous unity in the gospel.
What motivates you in Christian ministry? Is that I might:
- be complimented on my service?
- Manipulate people to do what I want?
- Gain power over people?
- Win an argument?
- Flog myself so others might admire my exertion?
Paul had one overwhelming motive driving his service and that was love. He says to the Corinthians Christ’s love compels us (2 Cor. 5:14). The Corinthian Christians were being affected by the spurious super-apostles who were urging them to be suspicious of Paul. They wanted to represent Paul as someone who just wanted to bring pain to the Corinthians. Paul says though : For I wrote to you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you (2 Cor 2:4).
It is passionate love for the Corinthians that motivated Paul to want to distress them over their failure to deal with sin. Love motivated Paul to get agitated and uncomfortable with the Corinthians. We so often cop out and do not want to get involved with the difficulties of potentially upsetting people. Paul, loved people too much to cop out in such a way
Do I love people enough to risk upsetting them? Love that makes everyone think well of me is not really love at all.
This all applies so very much into parenting as well. If we just want to avoid upsetting our children then we are most likely spoiling them and not loving them.