To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Archive for the ‘Christ Jesus our LORD’ Category

Blessing and Curse.

In Deuteronomy 11:26-30 we see the prophesied establishing of the mountain of curses and the mountain of blessings. Mount Gerizim was to be the mountain of blessing and Mount Ebal the mountain where the curses were read. These were real places in the promised land with epic implications. These were mountains and so were big, unmistakable, indestructible. They were there for all to see and were always a reminder of a God who loves righteousness and hates sin.

So what of me? When I see Ebal how do I respond? At Ebal I see me in all my sin. I see at Ebal that in my flesh in my natural state, I am properly set for judgement and under the curse of God. I see my just desserts I see me as the cause of all my peril and I grieve and mourn and tremble and am petrified.

When I see Gerizim I see a total contrast. At Gerizim I see Christ. I see the One who, not only is the source of any blessing, but is the One who is my blessing. I see in Jesus Christ my Lord the one who takes away my sins and gifts the Holy Spirit to me. I see One who has given me eternal life and in Him I have all spiritual blessings. And when I look at Gerizim I am thankful. And I proclaim without Him I am nothing and I can do nothing.

So go and ponder upon Gerizim and Ebal today!

Encouragement

I am not fully sure why, but have felt somewhat “off” this week. Two things, though, specifically came from the Lord, I feel, to brighten me in the Lord:

  1. I was at the annual homeschoolers concert on Wednesday and there was a beautiful musical contribution of “Oh Love that will not let me go”. Here is a beautiful sung rendition. Oh such a rich hymn. There is a love that will not let me go.
  2. I listened to most of a sermon by John Piper preaching on Romans 8:1; there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Here it is. There is a great part about what are our experiences in this world of hardship, sufferings and difficulty when compared to an eternal bliss ahead. And all “in Christ”. Oh what a great Saviour.

So through these helps Lord please keep me for you Lord. Give me strength wisdom, sensitivity and bravery for today. I need you Lord. Oh may I know you Lord through all the ways of life until glory dawns: Yes, and I see my Saviour in “Immanuel’s land”

Paddington 2.

I went to see Paddington 2 with my son, Daniel, on Monday.

One observation I had subsequent to going was the film’s desire to prove the point that there is something good in everyone. Obviously to be a proper film it had to have some baddies and goodies. But there seems a desire to make sure we knew that all have redeeming features.

This was particularly brought out when we saw the baddy, who had been put in prison suddenly emerge out of the end-of film credits, leading a song-and-dance routine in the prison and altogether making it a better place for everyone. We had to be informed that he was not so bad after all.

This all reminds me of the words from Paul McCartney in the song “Ebony and Ivory” which he performed with Stevie Wonder:

We all know that people are the same wherever you go.
There is good and bad in ev’ryone.
We learn to live, when we learn to give.
Each other what we need to survive, together alive.

I am particularly thinking of the line” there is good and bad in ev’ryone”.  And I do not want to downplay the kindness and self-sacrifice that can even appear in the life of the most unruly.

However, the biblical picture is somewhat different. All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away (Is. 64:6). This is the view of Scripture. Even our best stuff is contaminated by our uncleanness.

So we do not need to be patted on the back about our goodness. Rather we need to know our goodness it not as good as it seems. We need a Saviour.

By the way the film was OK. Solid family entertainment. A little predictable perhaps though!

Only One Blessing.

Genesis 27 shows us how the blessing of God passed from Isaac to the next generation. Isaac had only one blessing to give and he had two sons he could give it to. However, his heart was set on giving it to Esau. Rebekah, his wife, had other ideas; she wanted Jacob to be the recipient. But neither Jacob nor Rebekah could decide upon where the blessing would go; that was in the control of Isaac. And old Isaac had decided that upon the receipt of some fine fresh stew from Esau he would bestow the blessing. 

Rebekah had to act fast and she did so. She got the necessary stew together and got Jacob in the right garb. Her plan was to pass Jacob off as Esau and thus secure the blessing for her favoured son. Jacob went ahead and he was found “in Esau” in order to get the blessing. All this can be read about in Genesis 27.

Jacob at one point challenged his mother about a curse possibly arising from this trickery. Somewhat outrageously she said to him, ‘My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.’ (Gen 27:13). Rebekah was so determined that Jacob would get the blessing she was even prepared to risk being under a curse to get her way.

This in many ways is a synopsis of the whole of human history. There is one Father, God, with two sons Adam and Christ. The Father who has the sole blessing in His control has decided that the blessing is with Christ and Him alone. So the question arises what lengths will we go to, to make sure that we are in Christ in order to get the blessing? I am not saying that we emulate Rebekah with here trickery and deceit; certainly not. But I am saying that we should emulate her in her determination

Further, Rebekah did so much to ensure that Jacob was found “in Esau” to get the blessing. How much will we do to makes sure others are found in Christ. 

Church Newsletter

Here is our church newsletter for October 2017. It contains an article on our Lord Jesus and his suffering for us in Isaiah 52:13-52:12.

What We Say About Our Children.

I should be careful what I say about my children. Situations come to mind when I have observed parents writing or speaking in a certain way about their children and have felt a degree of discomfort. I am thinking here about those time when parents glory in their childrens’ gifts and achievements.

Three things I would like to mention here:

  •  “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord” (2 Cor. 10:17) says Paul. If our children do have any abilities and are able to achieve anything it is on account of the Lord’s workings.
  • Let us be thoughtful of others who are struggling with their children. If our children are doing well and we start boasting about it, others may well feel very uncomfortable and be discouraged. If you are distressed over your children and you are in the presence of someone exulting over theirs, it is most unsettling.
  • What does really matter to us? Surely it should be our children’s spiritual progress. And yet even here we have to be so careful to make sure that what we say and do is proper and not unseemly. Remember that if your children are doing well in the Lord it is only because of God’s goodness.

And I am left thinking how often have I got it wrong. How often have people looked at me or observed me speaking in a certain way and thought “Who are you, vaunting your children so much?”

(Originally posted at Venabling on 10/12/2014)

I am a Mature Christian.

There are certain statements that leave me wondering why people say them. Why do people say for example that “I am a mature Christian”. Do they say that to impress you?

I don’t see anyone in scripture venturing down that line. What does our Saviour say of Himself. I am gentle and humble in heart (Matt. 11:29b). Paul was so reluctant to compete with the ever so impressive super-apostles who were foisting themselves on the Corinthian church. Finally, after resisting pressure to boast in himself he says Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. (2 Cor 11:18). He then will go on to focus his boasting on how much he suffered and was humiliated for the cause of Christ  (see 2 Cor. 11: 23-33).

Moreover, Paul would want us to know that he is the “the worst” of sinners” (see 1 Tim. 1: 15). And if he was to boast he would only want to boast in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (see Gal. 6:14a).

So what do you want to tell others about yourself? What position or achievements do you want to boast in? And as for myself may it be that I humble myself under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt me in due time.

Call me what you will, all I want you to know is that I am a wretched wicked sinner saved by the grace which is so rich towards me in Christ Jesus. Oh what a salvation; oh what a Saviour. Praise Him (not me).

(Originally posted at Venabling on 25/08/2014)

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