Month: September 2007

a.m.: 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 p.m.: Deuteronomy 26

As Paul writes to the church in Corinth, he contrasts the futility of following the wisdom of this world, with the benefits of following the wisdom of God. It is so easy to believe the wisdom of this world, that the things on offer can bring us fulfilment. Whether it is material wealth, relationships, work, education, etc. While there is nothing wrong with these things themselves, they cannot bring us fulfilment. For we can only find fulfilment in God, to know him and to love him.

The world is apt to tell us that we can live without God, that we can stand in our own strength. Yet, once we have the Spirit living in us, our eyes and minds are opened to the truth that we need God. For we are weak and helpless, not only that, but in our sinful state, enslaved by sin.
It is interesting to note, that verse 6 says ‘coming to nothing’, rather than ‘will come to nothing’. This is not just a message talking about fulfilment after death, but about fulfilment now. The wisdom of this world fails to fulfil us in our day-to-day lives. Only knowing God, here and now, can bring us fulfilment.

As Christians, we must also remember this wisdom is from God. We do not have this wisdom because we are smarter than non-Christians, but purely by the grace of God. God’s Spirit, by his grace, opened our minds and our hearts to accept this message, this wisdom from God. It is also God’s Spirit who works in us, that we might do good, for we ourselves are weak and feeble. Let us never forget this is all of God’s grace.

Searching, please wait.

After a relatively lazy day, I trundled down to Ridley Hall, in Battersea, for a talk on the origins of life. The journey into town was slightly eventful, with a slightly complex jaunt around Earl’s Court!

The speaker was from Creation Ministries International, and he presented a significant amount of evidence, and scientific thought, refuting the Theory of Evolution. It takes an honest atheist to admit that atheism is a faith, and that evolution is merely another step of faith. I don’t claim to know how exactly the world came about, I wasn’t there, but from the evidence and with scientific principles, I can’t say I evolution is true. An interesting presentation!

The evening finished at Ally’s new accommodation, where she provided us with tea and biscuits. It struck me that not all university accommodation is created equal – far from it!

I am…[4]

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me

Jn 10:11,14

Amen, so let it be.

Q: What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s prayer teach us?
A: The conclusion of the Lord’s prayer (which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen) teacheth us to take our encouragement in prayer from God only, and in our prayers to praise him, ascribing kingdom, power, and glory to him. And, in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we say, Amen.

(Question CVII of the Westminster Shorter Catechism)

a.m.: Matthew 22:34-40 p.m.: Romans 5

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Mt 22:36-40

Corridors with doors

After a rather busy week doing nothing of consequence, it was nice to spend the last day of the week relaxing. I finished the day playing Articulate with some of the usual crowd at Rachael/Susanna’s. The first game was remarkably tight, with all-plays all over the place. If only we could glue Deanna’s hand together or something to stop her making illegal gestures! The second game was played a little more strategically, with the team which studiously avoided the all-plays coming out as convincing victors. Only one query threw me – are you allowed to use the word door to describe a corridor? A fun evening nonetheless!

The last place

Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. Pr 11:25 [ESV/NIV]

I went to the retirement service for Arthur Imbrey, of Every Nation Gospel Fellowship, at Cranford Baptist Church this afternoon. One thing that struck me was how greatly God has used Arthur, the great impact he has made for the gospel not only in Southall, but worldwide. From an inauspicious beginning, where Arthur had considered Southall to be the last place on earth he’d ever want to be, to Southall eventually becoming the last place on earth he will be, but not the last place in eternity. Arthur has evangelised and pastored many people, from those living around him, to other pastors not only locally, but worldwide. This is not to say this is the end, for this is only the penultimate chapter, and who knows what God has in store?

I am…[3]

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. Jn 10:9

a.m.: Exodus 19:1-6 p.m.: 1 Samuel 3:1-10

As the angel of death struck down the first born across Egypt, the Israelites were told to sacrifice a lamb, and to put its blood on the door posts and the lintel outside their homes, so that the angel would pass over their homes. The passover marked the final act of God, against the general populace of Egypt, which led to the release of the Israelites from their captivity in Egypt. As God’s chosen people, the Israelites were given the Ten Commandments, that they might be God’s treasured people. Set apart from the world around them to do the will of the Creator of heaven and earth.

As Christians, the Ten Commandments are no less relevant, for they reveal the will of God. Though we are saved by grace, through faith in our great Passover Lamb – Jesus Christ, we are saved to do his will. As Peter writes

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 1 Pet 2:9-12

If we are saved from sin, the law no longer condemns us, but it shows us how we should serve our Lord and Saviour. For he not only saves us from the punishment for sin, but from the power of sin, that we are no longer bound to sin, but wanting to serve him and glorify him.

Take my life and let it be

A relatively early start this morning in order to get to Grove Chapel, Camberwell, for the Banner South East Conference. The theme for the day was ‘Take my life and let it be’, evidently an allusion to the hymn, which continues, ‘Consecrated Lord for Thee’.

The first address was titled ‘Being a Christian in the world’. This dealt with the point raised by Elijah and Elisha, when Elisha was called to serve, and to words Jesus said in Lk 9:57-62. For in both cases, the follower needed to look to their master and not look back. In Elijah’s case, Elisha asked that he might say his farewells to his friends and family, removed any options to return by burning the equipment and cooking his oxen on the fire to serve as his farewell meal, then Elisha followed his master. In Jesus’ case, the prospective follower wanted to wait until his father had died before he followed Jesus. As Christians in today’s world, we must not be looking back at what we have given up, whether it is things, people or practices, but seek to follow Christ wholeheartedly.

A seminar followed, which focussed on being a godly man/woman. For men, we have the perfect example in Jesus Christ, the ultimate man. We looked at how he was physically well-built, rather than the effeminate portrayals in popular art, but not only that, but he was also spiritually well-built, with a humility, strength and willingness to do his Father’s will. We also looked at how Esau, Samson and Adam had particular qualities of godliness, but because their godliness was incomplete, they succumbed to temptation and failed in their duties as men.

The second address was ‘Being a Christian in the church’. As Christians we are not called to operate as lone rangers against the world, but we are to work within the context of a local church. It is in this context that we are matured, and that we are able to serve God fully. We are to be committed to that church, to love one another and to serve one another, that we might glorify God where we are, here and now.

In between and after the various events were opportunities to eat, catch up with old friends and make new friends. The day ended with a stroll around central London, with a walk across a Southwark bridge decked out for festivities. A very good day!

I am…[2]

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jn 8:12


My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word.
My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, “When will you comfort me?”
Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees.
How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors?
The arrogant dig pitfalls for me, contrary to your law.
All your commands are trustworthy; help me, for men persecute me without cause.
They almost wiped me from the earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts.
Preserve my life according to your love, and I will obey the statutes of your mouth.Psalm 119:81-88

a.m.: Exodus 20 p.m.: Hebrews 2

Not so long ago, if you entered any Anglican church you could find the Ten Commandments prominently displayed on a wall of the church.

They stand as a revelation of the nature of God. A God who not only is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, but also a God who is holy and good. They reveal to us a God who has a holy standard, which sets him apart from his creation. They reveal to us that God is good, for these commandments are not there as arbitrary rules, but as a set of rules by which we might be happy.

They stand as a reminder of how we should live. For we are made in the image of God, and to be truly happy we need to be holy. They give us a glimpse of what we should be, how God intended us to be.

They stand as a reason why we need a saviour. For we fail to keep them, for we are unable to keep them. We would have no hope if only the commandments were sent by God, but loves us and he sent his Son, who kept the commandments perfectly, that he might present himself as a sacrifice, to bear the wrath of God against sin, this his righteousness might become our righteousness. he died that we might be restored to what we were meant to be.

If we have put our faith in the Son for the forgiveness of sin, these commandments stand as our responsibilities, showing us how to live according to the restored nature within. We may not keep them
as we should, but our desire should be to keep them out of love for our Saviour.

Happy birthday mum!

Four of us bundled down to Bristol to celebrate my mum’s birthday which is soon. Despite adhering to the speed limit, we got there very swiftly as the traffic was very agreeable. We seemed to visit every Tesco supermarket we could, in search of various gifts and cards, and also visited some friends along the way. We finally met up with the rest of the family for a meal at the Chinese buffet place in Hengrove, and then convened at mum’s so she could open all her presents. We then bundled back along the M4 to London, in time to be able to get to the meeting at Feltham.

Jim Downie spoke on the importance of prayer, especially within the church. For God doesn’t expect non-believers to pray, but expects his people to be repentant of their sin, submissive to him, to humble themselves before him, praying persistently and fervently. A church which fails to pray does so at its peril!

I am…[1]

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. Jn 6:35