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

Archive for the ‘Discipleship’ Category

Bible Project

I want to recommend the video overviews of each book of the Bible which are produced by The Bible Project

Here is the link. The videos are towards the bottom of the page.

In a short space of time they reveal so much truth in a ways which are accessible. Please use them and recommend them; they are such a valuable asset for the church.

For anyone who wants to get into into serious Bible Study they are invaluable. And every Christian should want to do that because every Christian should want to know God. And we can only know God through solid Bible study.

Keep Going

I confess in my daily Bible readings I so often can read through a chunk of material and not take much in. Recently though as I was reading through, it was as if the Lord tripped me up, and said: “Look at this; this is for you”.

The verse was 1 Chronicles 28:20 which reads Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished. 

What golden good news that was to my weary beaten down soul. To know the Lord spurring me forward to continue on for Him.

One reminder here is the fact that it is not the starters who are the heroes; it is the finishers. And David encourages Solomon by promising him that the Lord God will not leave him or forsake him in his building work.

David speaks of “my God” and therein we notice all the personal character of the relationship with God in this scripture. And this God who is “my God”, according to David, gives every resource to move forward through the batterings and bruisings of life. So that with God and His resources we can know persevering joy.

There may be many enemies around who want us to be afraid and dismayed. If we look at ourselves we will succumb to fear and dismay. If we look to the Lord we can see things very differently. Let us by faith work out the assurance of 1 John 5:5-6:

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

So Philip keep going with strength and courage from the Lord in the task He has called you to. And perhaps you need to hear that for your situation today.

100% Right

When can I say I am 100% right about a decision I have made? I can say this when I am operating according to the declared Word of the Lord. So when I decide not to lie then I can know that I am 100% right in this decision.

However, when I make a decision to eat muesli rather than cornflakes for breakfast, can I say I was 100% right to take that decision. I don’t think so. But I can say that I was 100% right not to eat twenty bowls full of muesli because that would be greed and the Word of God says not to.

But what of the decisions of life which are of significant magnitude, but of which we do not have specific guidance on? These would be who to marry, which job to take, where to live, which church to attend. And the list can be extended.

In these instances there are biblical principles that bear upon the decisions. So in finding a wife I can say that i am 100% right in marrying another Christian. So to this extent I was 100% right to marry May Lin.

But can I say I was 100% right to marry May Lin? I would say no! Given the guidance of scripture and the spiritual exercises of prayer, wisdom, seeking counsel we were brought into marriage. But I can never say that it was a decision that was 100% right. Fundamentally, I say this because “Philip Venables should marry May Lin Long” was not in my Bible. Neither did I hear a message from God directly saying that I should.

Notwithstanding the above I am very glad that twenty three years ago last Saturday, August 17th, May Lin Long agreed to marry me! I count it a kindness of my Father to have been granted such a good wife.

Got To Leave It Behind

It happened about approximately 9.10 am on Thursday July 4th. I was travelling northwards on the A312 and approaching the A4 Waggoners Junction. And then this white car just cut across from the inside lane. There was no need for it. Absolutely no need; seeing he could go in the direction he wanted to in the lane he was in. And I wanted to know why? Why did he do it? Alas the chances of me ever finding out are infinitely small.

Such situations could be multiplied many times over in the general maelstrom of life. Perplexities come and conundrums go and there is no way of ever obtaining closure through understanding. Someone cutting me up on the road is, in the grand scheme of things, a puny event. However, there are events of a greater magnitude wherein there is so much emotional turmoil and distress embroiled. But what are we to do.?

We have to leave these things behind. As Paul said to the Philippians  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil.3:13-14). To not leave these things behind leads to us never moving on. 

We must be clear this does not refer to those matters where we have to properly face up to the prevailing issues and deal with them. This very likely will mean discussion , explanation, repentance and forgiveness. Perhaps it may means resorting to a court of law. Although i do note that scripture’s injunction is that Christians should never take other Christians to court (see 1 Cor. 6:1-18).

But we do need to leave what needs to be left behind. I could start my investigation as regards to who was in that car that cut me up. but where does it lead? I may get answers i may not, but where does it leave me. So many waste their lives away seeking justice. And yet to what end? Very likely the only life that is wrecked in their process is their own life.

So I can my life and see there are so many issues I would like answers to. But I see no way of achieving that. and in may cases if I could get answers i would not be benefited at all. So I must press forward leaving behind what is behind.

The Lord says to us in Hebrews 12:1-12: Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Let us not allow the past to entangle us. Let us lay it aside and press on.

What’s My Impact?

David Powlison, a key man in the development of the biblical counselling movement over the past thirty years, passed to be with his Lord on June 7th 2019.

Kevin de Young writes of him here. One comment he makes is: Without exaggeration I can say that I walked away from every encounter with David wanting to know God more and love people better. After reading that I am left thinking: wow what a statement to make! The context, of course, is that Kevin de Young is himself a godly man. An unbeliever may have had a very difference response to meeting Mr Powlison.

Notwithstanding that, it prompts me to think: what is the impact I am having on the lives of others? When others meet me what is the impact that I have on them?

The danger for us, Christian people is that we make people think about being religious. We make them think about what they can do to improve their lives; this is laudable in a sense. However, the heart of life is found in our Lord Jesus Christ and through His cross. When our Saviour’s person and work are central in my life I will impacting others to know God more and love people better.

This will be the case because through my Saviour and His cross the Holy Spirit is flowing into my life. And when the Holy Spirit is energising my life I am moving to fulfil the commandments of our Lord. The two-fold summation of the commandments of the Lord is found in Matthew 22:36-39 when the Lord spoke in response to the lawyer  “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” 

The law is summed up in love for God and love for others. May it be that through the Saviour and His cross, by the Holy Spirit my life flows out, like Mr Powlison’s to affect others for good.

Church Newsletter

Here is our church newsletter for July 2019. It contains an article on the discipleship exhibited by the ladies who were first at the tomb. they provider a model for our discipleship.

I Would If I Could

I am pondering here upon how some people, when an issue is presented to them of someone with a pressing need of help, immediately come forward with alacrity to say that they would if they could.

Now I know that it is good to show willingness to help and that there are very often prevailing circumstances which prevent involvement. However, if and when I observe the repetitiveness of such a response it leaves me feeling somewhat concerned that the declaration of being willing, but unable, is all a bit showy. It is making everyone know that I am a very helpful person, in spite of the fact that I am prevented, by force of circumstances, from demonstrating my helpfulness.

To counter-balance my foregoing assertions, though, I would want to say that it can be good to make it clear that you are not indifferent to someone’s plight. If you become aware of someone’s need of assistance and because you cannot help just ignore it then that person may gather that you are just not interested in them.

Notwithstanding this reservation,  I aver to make sure that I am not a persistent offender as regards to making a show of my willingness, but always proclaiming my inability to deliver.

Also, if I am continually unable to help people in need because I am too busy, I may well need to address my lifestyle. Have I cluttered my life with too much so I that become one, who like the priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan, always passes by on the other side? If such is the case I may need to think seriously about decluttering my life.

Oh and by the way, we serve a Saviour, Jesus Christ, who when He said He was going to do it, did it. No prevailing circumstances mitigated against His doing so. And as a result through His cross we have the most glorious eternal salvation.

Always Needing Grace

As I mentioned here, one of the main experiences of depression, even in fact the one that surpasses all others, is that of feeling “I can’t cope”. Accordingly, whilst in the midst of suffering, there were times when I looked at situations and thought: I don’t know how I am going to get through this. There was a sense of feeling overwhelmed by what was ahead.

The experiencing of such perplexity has been painful, but has been beneficial in teaching me a vital lesson. That lesson is that I need to depend upon God in all situations in life. My testimony has been that when I faced those times of being overwhelmed I have cried to the Lord and he has met me in my need.

I want this lesson to be riveted on my heart. I want to be reminded of the Word of our Lord Jesus that apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5b). When faced with any situation in life I want to Nehemiah like who concerning a meeting with his boss King Artaxerxes said Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king (Neh. 2:4b-5a). 

Oh Lord help me to depend upon You in all circumstances of life whether they be hard or easy. Help me never to think that I can cope with a situation on my own.

Warren Wiersbe

I heard today how Warren Wiersbe passed on to be with His Lord forever and ever on 2nd May 2019.

I mention this in view of how much I owe to this man through his writings. The “Be” books must have led so many into a deeper knowledge of God, His salvation and His Word. And I am one of those. Now his commentaries on the whole Bible stand as his deposited treasure for the benefit of the Lord’s church ongoing edification. They can be obtained here.

I feel, I have lost one of my best teachers in leading me forward in knowing the Lord. For thirty years he has helped me forward. His commentaries always accessible and digestible and not light. And of course helped by the fact that he was pre-millennial!

If you want to get into studying the Word Mr Wiersbe is always a good resource to get you going. If you want to get into understanding a passage he is always a great place to start.

So I am thankful to God for the gift of Warren Wiersbe.

For some fuller details see here.

Church Newsletter

Here is our church newsletter for April 2019. It has an article about “Real Christianity.”

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