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

Archive for the ‘The World’ Category

God Is Good

Psalm 73 describes how the confused man becomes the confident man. In v1 Asaph states how God is good to Israel. he then goes on to outline his confusion as regards to the apparent blessings of the wicked in vv2-16. Finally in vv 17-28 we see the confident man.

the transformation of Asaph comes on account of v17 where we read: until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. It is in the sanctuary of God that the reality of the goodness of God starts to rise upon in his soul. How a good God allows the wicked to prosper will always be a perplexity to us until we go into the sanctuary of God. Confusion and despondency will prevail until we go to where God dwells and see as He sees.

Accordingly, in the last section of the psalm, we see some glorious statements about the good purposes of our good Lord and God. Let these verses (vv23-26) brighten and enliven your soul, if you are a true believer in the Lord:

Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
    you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterwards you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.

Here is a full expression of the believer’s life. Here are comforts to the soul in the present, and expectations of glory for the future. This is the true man of God acting in faith and steadying his soul in God.

As confidence emerges in our souls, we remember that is is not self-induced confidence, but God-worked confidence.

This world does confuse us and will always do so until we go into the sanctuary of God. Have you spent time in the sanctuary today? If you do you will be different. You will enter into a fresh awareness of the god that is good and that good God will do good to you.

And so Asaph concludes in v28:

But for me it is good to be near God;
    I have made the Lord God my refuge,
    that I may tell of all your works.

Amen Lord! So let it into my soul and to the souls of my fellow-believers.

Upheaval In UK

The biggest surprise we should have concerning life in the UK is that things have continued to be so stable for so long. The fact that we seem to be entering a time of turbulence should not be a surprise.

One of the themes of scripture is the collapsing of government and societies which set themselves against God and His ways. The ejection of Adam and Eve from the Garden In Genesis 3:22-24 was the first example of this. The flood events in Genesis 6-8 and disrupting of the people through diverse languages in Genesis 11 all showed God causing upheaval on account of the people’s sin.

The rejection of God’s ways over the last century in the UK through the propounding of alternative moralities and the exaltation of man, must inevitably have consequences. The foundations of have gradually been eroded and the new superstructure of society is standing on very flimsy foundations.

So as we face increasing turbulence. In so many ways not only though the shenanigans surrounding Brexit, but also through the knife crime on our streets, extensive drug use, dismembering of families, etc. As we face these things we should not be surprised.

I have written here previously about how long the West might last.

But praise God amidst turbulence we can turn to the Rock. Let us rejoice in these words of David from Psalm 40:1-4

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.
Blessed is the man who makes
    the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
    to those who go astray after a lie!

In turbulent times we cannot find rest in the times, but only in our God. May the days we are set to go through be days when the church of God draws away from the “rocks” of this world to the only true rock, our God Himself. And in the Lord’s grace may many who have placed their hope in this world repent and come and join us there.

The Way Of The World.

We were considering the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand men (and women and children) with a small group aged 10 to 17 at church last week. We read this in John 6:5-7

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming towards him, he said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, ‘It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!’

The response of Philip led us to ponder upon the way that this world thinks. Amongst us, and this was not from me, we noted that the way of the world is to think of “money, shops and the things you can see”. I felt that was quite a pithy, but very helpful description of the world in which we live. In fact Philips’ words would indicate that these reflect a mindset which permeates the ages.

Sadly it is not the way of thinking that helps to deal with the real issues of life and to find ultimate solutions. That way of thinking focuses on Jesus Christ as the miracle-working Lord of eternity. When He steps into a situation he brings satisfying transformation. “Money, shops and the things you can see” always lead to an ache for more. When Jesus comes and intervenes there is always satisfaction.

So in the feeding of the five thousand we read that all the people had as much as they wanted (v11b) and they had all had enough to eat (v12a)

Amidst the issues of life. Do we look to the way of the world or the way of Jesus?

Book Recommendations

The book Sing! by Keith and Kristyn Getty has 35 recommendatory comments in the frontispiece. Yes 35! The great and the good of the evangelical world are there in their serried ranks giving their appropabation to the book.

I understand why this is done. It is to recommend the book so that more people will be inclined to purchase it. But 35 does seem to be a bit of overkill.

This raises the issue about whether these statements are appropriate at all. Are they just buying into a worldly mindset that uses all means and methods to boost sales?

In defense of the approach, If the book is considered publishable then presumably its is deemed to be a book which will benefit people. Therefore to use this means of the recommendation is a legitimate tactic to bring spiritual benefit to people.

Yet I have this niggle about the whole issue. There can almost be a competition to out-recommend someone else’s book.

And why not just let a book stand in its own right. Yes produce it well and in a way that is honoring to the Lord. But then send it forth seeking the Lord’s blessing. So I was encouraged to come across this book by Christine Eastwood, well-produced, but with no recommendations in the frontispiece.

Those Permutations.

Just musing upon the issue of what we give our thinking time to. This is in the light of so much discussion about those permutations today. Yes what if England finish first or second in their group. See here for one discussion of it all; but of course only look at the link if you want to waste ten minutes of your life (which you won’t get back) on inane trivia.

Mark Chapman on Radio 5 live at about 17:15 last year asked Chris Sutton a despairingly inane question about Sweden now being in a certain part of the draw which England may be in.

Now, I have my proneness to overly indulge in football which leads to a wifely rebuke from time-to-time, but I am just left pondering about how much thought time we give to trivia in contrast to the big issues of life.

“What is going to happen when I die?” is rarely asked or considered. But surely it is a bit bigger than England’s first or second place in Group G at the world cup or even if England actually win the world cup

I don’t want to be a kill-joy, but there just seems something wrong here.

It is not as if the football deliberations are a little diversion from consideration of the weightiest issues. No. this is just a further indication of what so many are pre-occupied with.; taht is things ultimately of no consequnce

And by the way why did Jesus Christ come into the world? Can I ask that you give five minutes to considering that today. In fact I think I will go and ponder on that for five minutes myself.

Feelings Always Win?!

I want to run to you a hypothetical scenario.

So there this man Rodney; he was brought up in a reasonably “normal” English home. His parents divorced when he was six and he was therefore mainly brought up by his Mum, But otherwise it was a steady background. Now, though, he is 25 and is in Iraq fighting with Islamic State. His journey to this position was full of mental turmoil and emotional struggles. His views on life started to change when he was nineteen. He became disenchanted with the decadence of ‘The West’. Then he started to watch propaganda videos online from Islamic idealists. He started frequenting chatrooms online. Through all this he was going through much anguish as he feared upsetting his family. He feared the reaction from his friends as he moved into the extremist version of Islam. He finally came out into the open after much heart-searching. And now he is fighting and killing in Iraq in the name of Allah.

If you have bought into the prevailing ethos in The West that feelings trump everything, then you are obligated to accept that this is a perfectly reasonable outcome for Rodney. He has been through so much, you see, to get to being an Islamic fighter and so it would be totally wrong of you to say anything against Rodney’s position.

Which all leads me to say that the next time you hear someone arguing a moral point on the basis of feelings, be concerned. Just because someone went through a lot of turmoil to get to a certain position it does not mean that they got to the right position.

Stomach Churning

As your weekend dawns sorry to dampen your spirits with some stomach churning bad and sad news.

So I write here to mention four things I noticed on the BBC website over the past couple of days:

  • Here is a man being allowed to participate in a women’s team in Australia. (Here are my previous musings on this phenomenon)
  • Here is Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black announcing the birth of their (?!) baby
  • Here is an article about a man breastfeeding his (presumably) baby.
  • Here is a lesbian couple proposing to each other.

So what can be said:

  • Yes my stomach did churn in aversion to some these happenings. I trust that is not just because of my cultural susceptibilities, but because these things are heinous to  my God.
  • It interesting how acceptable all this has become so quickly.
  • The BBC blithely records it as if we are all supposed to be onside with it all.
  • Yet it is all rejecting the Master’s plan for His creation.
    • Marriage is between a man and a woman for life.
    • Children are given to a married couple in marriage.
    • We are born male and female.
  • Behind it all are lives seeking for meaning. Yes looking in the wrong places, but still looking. We should be compassionate and point to a greater hope in Christ.
  • As churches we need to stand firm and declare that these developments are wrong before God and harmful for humanity.
  • Amidst the darkness the light should shine brighter. How are we shining as Christians and churches.
  • When our Lord comes into situation He always changes for the better.
  • My cry goes up “Even so come Lord Jesus”

Family Newsletter

Here is our family newsletter sent out earlier in the month

———————————————————————————————————————-

It is now over four years, November 2013 in fact, since we last sent out a newsletter. So for those of you who had wondered about our disappearance, we are still here and wanting to be in touch. We also apologise for our long non-contact with many of you.

Family Details

  • Philip (who blogs at https://venabling.wordpress.com/) continues to work at Feltham Evangelical Church.
  • May Lin, mainly home-based as we continue with home-schooling.
  • Michael (aged 20): completed A Levels at Strode’s College Egham in June 2015. Since October 2015 he has been studying Maths at Keble College, Oxford. He hopes to pursue a career in teaching ultimately.
  • Joshua (aged 19): completed GCSE’s in June 2015. Thereafter he studied A levels at Teddington School. Since October 2017 he has been studying Music at Jesus College Oxford. Up until July 2017 he attended the Centre for Young Musicians (CYM). Through this, and other opportunities, he has progressed in his piano and bassoon qualifications and experience.
  • Daniel (aged 16): is presently studying for GCSE’s. He also studies at CYM majoring in piano (he recently passed his Grade 8 exam). He finished his studies at Chinese School in July 2016. He also does some piano teaching. Later in the year he plans to go to sixth-form
  • Zechariah (aged 11): continues his studies at home and at Chinese School.

We are so grateful for all who have invested in the lives of the boys in so many different ways. Any list would be very long of the people who have given themselves for their good. We appreciate it very much.

As regards to the wider family a further niece was granted to us when Yu Chiet and Mei Wah received Mireya into their family in December 2015. On Philip’s side of the family further grand nephews and nieces have arrived making a total of twelve. It was great to see many of these when we visited Cheshire last month.

We still live in the same home in Feltham and are blessed with good neighbours. We have also been privileged to have many visit us in our home and church. We need to continually be aware that God works His purpose through people and we want to be in His service to bring blessing into the lives of others. Please pray for us as a couple, as a family and as a church that we will be effective in this.

Church Details

It is such a privilege to be in a church with so many caring people and many who are zealous for the Lord and His Word. Here is our website http://www.felthamevangelicalchurch.org.uk/fec/. We thank God for all His mercies in placing us in such a church. It is good to see progress in the church with Zach Mollalegn and Marc Khunan being recognized as elders and Mark Henderson as evangelist.

One thing that has grown in the church over the last year is the EveryoneMustKnow project. The desire is that through this all, especially in Feltham, will be able to encounter and know the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here are more details: http://www.felthamevangelicalchurch.org.uk/fec/everyone-must-know/.

Holidays

We have been able to enjoy holidays over the period with a trip to Malaysia/Singapore over Christmas and New Year 2014/5. We have also had family holidays here in the UK in Torquay, Bournemouth and Central Devon. The end of 2017 gave the opportunity for time in Malaysia. Michael, Josh and Daniel were there in September and May Lin and Zech were there in November/December. Thanks to all those who helped to make their time special.

The older boys have continued to benefit from their involvement in Christian Camps in Wales. Annual visits as a family to the Word Alive holiday have been very valuable as well.

May Lin’s Mum has also been able to visit us in 2016 with Darlene, May Lin’s niece, and that was a particularly special time for us.

Health

We have generally kept well over this period. May Lin has just one kidney and by God’s grace she keeps well.

Sadness

  • Casting a shadow over all this time has been the loss of Fabio (de Campos) on 24th October 2015 at the young age of 17. In so many ways we felt him a part of us as a family. We feel his loss deeply.
  • There have been many other struggles and difficulties over this period. And many sadnesses indeed. There are those who have turned away from God and His ways and that brings great grief. There are those who have turned from us and that has been painful. The pain is intensified so very much when people will not talk.
  • But our God abides faithful. We seek to move forward in Him and for Him. Do we regret taking our stand with our Lord Jesus? Never, never never. How could we ever think that way when we have so many blessings in Him.

A Dark World

So we seek to move forward. We see much darkness around us and live in a country where, so often, good is called bad and bad good. The philosophies which have been devised without reference to God and His Word seem to dominate and hold sway. And yet in all the movement away from God, are people any happier? The statistics seem to prove otherwise and the interaction with people proves otherwise.

This all brings home to us that people are in deep need of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only hope. He is the only One who offers us life. And that life is not just for now, but forever. So we seek to go forward making Him known, although we feel so weak and failing in this.

A Distracted World

The proliferation of computer technology has brought so many blessings. Many of you will have received this letter at the click of a button. However, this technology which has brought in its train social media and online interaction has provided so many ways to so easily distract us. But beyond this realm there seems a multitude of ways to distract and amuse ourselves. Two implications of this are that:

  1. We waste so much time. Recreation, rest and relaxation are obviously vital to our well-being, but so easily we are taken into an online search or a pursuit of trivia and so easily time has gone. I (Philip) for example notice that I seem to do less reading than I use too. So the computer that should save time ends up wasting time.
  2. We avoid the big issues of life. In fact, there are so many distractions to stop us thinking about the the very biggest of issues, that of death. We spend our time preoccupied with inconsequential stuff that really does not matter in the end. Does the size/value of my car matter? Does the showy display of my home/attire matter. And what about that referees or umpires decision that went against my team? Does it all really matter? And, amidst all this, so little thought given to the big question; what is going to happen when I die? That is not a hopeless question because Jesus Christ came to bring life and hope in the face of death. There is a salvation in Christ Jesus which stands secure. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. This is what the Bible says about the future hope for those who believe in Jesus based on the grace of God.

And Finally

Thanks to those who have taken an interest in us, prayed for us and encouraged us.

Yours with best wishes

Philip and May Lin

 

Standing Firm.

This, about Jordan Peterson must be worth a read. He gives a commentary on the culture wars in which we are involved. It tells of a man who put his head above the parapet, and not only survived, but prospered. Perhaps more of us should follow his lead.

It tells of a generation, particularly, young men, crying out for foundations and meaning. Moreover, it draws us back into the Christian gospel about where meaning and stability is found.

Not mentioned, but, I suggest, a reasonable deduction from it is the reason many turn to Islam. They see a morally unstable West and a church which has no message and so they look to Islam as a place where morals are strongly defined.

The article stirs me as regards to the verity of the Christian message. It stirs me to stand firm in the great bulwark to our souls, namely the gospel of our Lord Jesus. But I am left warning myself that moralism which embraces decent standards as the way of salvation will never win the day. What we need is the life-transforming gospel of our Lord Jesus which will lead us into these solid foundations and to stability.

Sad Sad World

It’s a sad, sad world and it does not seem to be getting any better! I was struck recently when Paul Fountain reported to us, at Feltham Evangelical Church, about Sri Lanka of the sinful pursuits of many connected with the Sri Lankan situation. Here are some of the things he referred to

  • Workers left impoverished by plantation owners. When the harvest was poor; the workers were left to struggle.
  • Lady workers offered “a better life” and much money to be maids and home helps in the Middle East, but in the end they are simply exploited.
  • Men expecting those ladies employed in their household to supply sexual favors.
  • Blatant lies from a man to facilitate vengeful activity against those who had previously helped him.
  • Children in a Hindu care home left to fend for themselves at a young age.

Truly this is a world in sin and a world full of sinners. And it does not get better. Oh Lord you alone are our hope.

Moreover, we thank the Lord that the Lanka Fellowship of Evangelical Churches and Care Sri Lanka are doing so much to alleviate suffering and bring spiritual and eternal blessing.

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