The unsuspecting elements of deadly disease still menace the fragile environment of our lives while we are constantly reminded of the need for diligence in our observation of instruction and advice. While location, location, location, was once the often repeated theme it has been relegated to a less prominent role as protection, protection protection, somehow appears to be much more significant in these nervous times. We hide behind a mask in public and lavishly apply hand sanitation content that in some way the possibility of contamination will be reduced if not eliminated completely, but can we be absolutely sure?
The risks are high therefore we heed the advice and hope for the best. Is it not true however that we have already been living under the duress of unobserved and undetected contamination of the kind that threatens both body and soul, with the deadly potential to destroy not only the longevity of our future here in time but also bring ruin to our soul for all eternity.
The wages of sin is death, and the soul that sins shall die, this is the inevitable prognosis of scripture. Many hide under the deceptive delusion that we need only apply the antidote of irregular church attendance, or give consent to an unobtrusive, non threatening belief in a God who lays no restriction upon our own desires or personal motivations. When required we dig out this flimsy protection in the delusional hope of refuge from the deadly effects of our stubborn resistance to God’s controlling influence upon our lives. Scripture stands firm against such folly for how can we be content to live in the environment of sinful contamination and expect to minimise or eliminate its eternal consequences.
There can be but one answer to the problem of our sin, and it is found in the wisdom of a sovereign God who without obligation has revealed the mysteries of His heart and therefore His intentions, in and through the voluntary sacrifice and substitutionary death of His Son, our Saviour, upon the cross. To escape the condemnation of a holy God and the damnation of our soul for all eternity we must be covered by the precious blood of Jesus and subsequently be clothed with the whole armour of God for only then can we rest securely in the comforting assurance that whether we live or die we are the Lords and nothing can separate us from that!
The meanderings of ancient Israel saw them often rest from the blistering heat of the desert sun under the welcome shade of the Terebinth tree. The majestic cedars of Lebonan stood unrivalled for their mighty reach and luscious spread of foliage . A certain species of the Terebinth family more ordinary and less majestic in its stature carried within its hidden capabilities a substance when harvested well known for its medicinal properties. As Lebonan was the home of the mighty cedar Gilead was recognised as the home of this healing balm. Things were really bad when the weary prophet had to ask, “Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there?".
Could we not lament the serious loss of confidence that prevails across our nation in these difficult times when the answers to life’s important questions appear to be illusive even to those who would profess to have some kind of relationship with God. The chariot of pagan persuasion rumbles through the land as the standards of moral decency and fundamental integrity crumble in our hand. Where is the respect for God’s House, the reverence of worship and a willingness to submit fully to God’s Word in the exercise of His purposes. Would many not prefer to hide themselves away in the hype and clamour as they dance around a golden calf and say, “This is my God” than to prostrate themselves before the throne of God’s Holiness and plead for mercy and for grace.
For those whose heart still yearns for sweet communion with their Lord the way of access remains open and for all who call upon His name heavens response is still abundant. Elijah the prophet came from Gilead (1 Kings 17:1). There is still a balm in Gilead and from within its gates God still sends the harbinger of His word to provide a panacea for all our spiritual ailments and concerns. Let us not fail in the exercise of our faith as we continue to draw upon the ministry of His grace in our hearts.
With disciplined obedience and uninhibited curiosity the three privileged disciples accompanied Jesus on the climb up the Mount of Transfiguration to a vantage point where the issues of life could be measured with the insights of heaven. With unexpected delight Peter, James, and John were treated to such a display of heaven’s intimacy they momentarily were distracted from their responsibilities upon the earth while the other disciples struggled with their restricted authority failing to release the young child from satan’s power. On the mountainside we see an unparalleled display of divine sovereignty while the the valley emphasised the overwhelming frustrations of limited human endeavour when confronted with the challenges of spiritual warfare. The battle of impetuous reactions was won on the Mount because Jesus was there to guide the three through the maze of their vulnerable emotions while all seemed lost in the valley until Jesus returned to save them from their failure. If Jesus said “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5) why would we risk the vacuum of His departed presence as we face the challenges of our lives. Let us grasp His invigorating promise to never leave us or forsake us and with our eyes firmly fixed on the transformation of all our needs and desires let us learn to place our lives and our future firmly and fully in His hands. Robert & Fiona
Dear All “What will the future hold?” is the question on every mind. Disconcerting intrusions enforce an unwelcome limit to self management and independent supervision of personal initiatives. We await the daily reports of COVID 19 spread and are resigned to the sad reality of disrupted activity and unscheduled interruptions to normal routine. It is almost as though we are no longer in control of our own lives and future. If we are finding it difficult to accept or believe certain parts of scripture surely by now we must be convinced that the Bible has clearly declared that such forces will prevail in our fallen world before the day of its glorious emancipation when Christ returns. A lifestyle robbed of its moral decency, an aggressive suppression of the human spirit, and a careless arrogance towards a responsible attitude when confronted with the consequences of sin, are all to be featured in “the last days “. Like water spilt upon the sand so 2020 slips away never to be retrieved or returned. We recognise the mistakes made and the lessons learned, but now we turn towards a new year. We note Paul’s energetic comment, “Forgetting the things that are past I press on”. Forward with faith firmly anchored in God’s Word. Forward with the comfort of His reassuring presence. Forward with the anticipation of God’s unfailing love and all sufficient grace. Forward in the confidence that Jesus is coming soon to fulfill His promise to His people and one day we shall be with Him where He is. May the year ahead be filled with the blessings of God’s abundant grace and overwhelming mercy. In Grace Robert & Fiona
Dear All, I have no doubt that we have all taken the time to reflect upon the year that has passed and with resigned contentment gladly acknowledged once more the unerring faithfulness of God in His dealings with us and His precision interventions in our lives. As I took the opportunity to tidy up my study at the manse I came across this little poem I wrote a few years ago and as it remains relevant I thought I would share it with you.
Another year has passed us by and here we are again By providence divinely brought through wind, and sun, and rain. The goodness of our God unfolds as year flows into year And with each passing moment tells us that the Lord is near.
Our fellowship around God’s Word has brought us to the place Of personal meditation on His mercy love and grace His bounty has been multiplied and with each passing hour Our spirits yearn that He might move in sanctifying power.
Each Lord’s Day finds us gathered here around God’s Holy Word United in our love for Him we meet with one accord His blessings on our lives abound as round His Word we meet His Spirit guides us into truth while sitting at His feet.
We are forever thankful for His leading every day We give Him praise for many joys received along the way And as His love unfolds to us the proven path ahead With quickened pace we follow in the steps where He has led.
While Satan hurls his fiery darts at unsuspecting souls We know he aims to take God’s Word and fill it full of holes With “Has God said?”, he undermines the message God has told Our challenge then must always be that what we have we hold.
The principles of gospel truth must never from us part But we must bind them to our mind and write them on our heart For if we err in judgment and fail to keep His Word Not only will we sin, but we will grieve our sovereign Lord.
Our thanks must once again be given to those who served the Lord In leadership or Sunday School, in music, or the Word. To cleaners, crèche, and also those who greet folks at the door We know you served your master well and could we ask for more.
To Father ,Son,and Holy Ghost all glory must be given All praise to Him whose sovereign reign extends to earth from heaven. By grace alone God calls us on to faith, and hope, and love And at the ending of our day, our Father’s home above
So as we face another year yet hidden from our view Our hearts like Paul would echo, “Lord, what will you have us do”? With courage unabated we nestle in His hand And by His grace sufficient spread his word throughout the land.
Good evening all. As Christmas Day draws near we are encouraged to reflect upon the boundless grace and mercy of God as He gave to the world His unspeakable gift. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Join us through livestream at 9.00am in the morning as we celebrate the Christmas story as told by Jesus. Thank you for your support and fellowship throughout this difficult year we know that our future is secure as God hold us in the hollow of His hand. We wish you all a safe and blessed end to 2020 and an exciting anticipation for 2021. Remember “ The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God cannot keep you “ Wishing you God’s richest blessings. With Love in Christ Robert & Fiona
The scriptures tackle the issues of life with dexterity and precision weaving a pattern of tranquility in a world of chaos. The winds of worldly expectation blow with mystifying confusion across the landscape of unintentional instability as hopes and dreams lie scattered among the dismally discarded ruins of unfulfilled desires. Hedged in by unrelenting turmoil of mind and spirit many struggle with the pressures of normal existence exasperated by the unexpected dangers of a modern world. Others fall prey to the terrors of loneliness and isolation fuelled by the inner tensions of timidity and bashfulness. Feelings that lay dormant for many years gathering the dust of self generated perceptions of worthlessness provoke a despondency submerged in the ocean of unrelenting agony of mind and emptiness of soul. Job suffered much and long when stripped of all he knew and loved. Undeserving of such harsh circumstances as God allowed he felt the pain yet he endured, he overcame, he held on to God, he trusted in God’s care , he believed God’s promises, and so his latter end was greater than his former. The Psalmist David struggled much on his journey to the throne of Israel, yet he made it, though battered and bruised he was victorious in the end. Paul the great apostle carried with him all his days a thorn so securely embedded in his flesh he feared it would be a stumbling block of extreme despair but it became instead a stepping stone to Paradise. We think of weeping Hannah whose tears subsided when her darling Samuel was born as a precious gift from God, or of brave Ruth who committed to the unknown in response to the gentle prompting of God in her heart when all around her was death and uncertainty. The disciples shivered in a boat as they battled the bitter questions of their minds and wrestled with the boisterous threat of their demise. Daniel faced the lions, three Hebrew youths stood calmly in the fire, a blind man raised his voice and his hopes as he expressed the expectations of his heart. Lives spared and sight restored these heroes of the faith remind us today that with God all things are possible and the all things work together for good to those who love God to those who are the called according to His purpose. Rom 8:28 It is this assurance that stimulates our confidence and bolsters our resolve to absorb the sovereign designs of scripture as we rise above our frustrations and embrace the challenge of peacefully submitting to the sweet will of God for our lives. Robert & Fiona
With astonishing precision the loose ends of bible prophecy appear to be shifting into position as the unalterable purposes of God are sovereignly exercised throughout the world. The easy transition from compliance to anarchy suggests a deeper reality as the disfiguring stain of sin slowly expands the tell tale signs of irresponsible compromise. It seems that faced with the inevitable we are compelled to consider our response this trending attitude reckless denial of what God requires of us. The Psalmist David poses the pertinent challenge confronting those of every generation as he asks, “If the foundations are destroyed what shall the righteous do”? (Psalm 11:3) While David suggests a time of intense soul searching must be engaged in the background of moral and spiritual instability there is the obvious and compelling exhortation to carefully consider our personal response to the unprecedented vagrancy of decency and rejection of godliness. Surely it is important that God’s Elect retain the focus of personal holiness and unreserved dependence upon the Word and the Will of our God who holds the whole world in His hand. If we are to remain secure in an insecure environment we must of necessity have our feet firmly planted upon the solid foundation of Christ’s own righteousness. As our lives are hidden with Christ in God we can withstand the fiercest storm or wildest tempest. Though snares are set and hidden holes are dug by the adversary who seeks our harm we rest assured by the rich promises of God that He will protect us from all evil and one day having been our guide even unto death will present us without fault before the presence of His throne with exceeding joy. The sufferings of this present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that one day will be revealed in us as redeemed by His side we shall stand, and in His presence we shall rest. The world always seems to be a much less threatening place when we remember how much we are loved by God. Let us then continue to keep our eyes fixed heavenward in the confident assurance that our redemption is drawing near. Robert&Fiona
What mysteries of life are revealed when with unobstructed vision the keen observer is drawn towards the details previously more obscure. The casual glance will often rob us of the detail and design of a worthy masterpiece as beauty is in the eye of the beholder (one who holds the look). We must learn that the road of patience will often lead us to the meadows of discovery. Michaelangelo was once overheard to say, while gazing for some time at an ordinary piece of marble, “I can see an angel in that stone”.
Does the tyranny of time not force our thoughts towards the more obvious yet less important pursuits of human activity and we have through involuntary acquiescence submitted to the unnecessary stress of interrupted calm. Deadlines become the engine of our motivation and the incentives of our drive. To allow the lifestyle of an agitated world to bog us down in meaningless activity and unreasonable competition is to foolishly abandon all reasonable opportunity for a serene and stable existence. David the Psalmist assures us that in quietness and confidence shall be our strength.
Our loving Heavenly Father has promised to keep in perfect peace the mind that is stayed upon Him. We must then reject all unnecessary and unwarranted intrusions into the sanctuary of our mind, bid farewell to incapacitating anxiety and so yield ourselves to God that we learn how to absorb the promised peace that will surpass our wildest expectations. Let us heed the timely exhortation of the Psalmist when he strongly recommends the panacea for all our stress, “Wait I say upon the Lord”. Robert & Fiona
The gentle caress of a light summer breeze brings relief from the sweltering heat of the day. Around the bend in the road a petrol station calms our rising concern as we nervously keep our eye on the fuel gauge which has steadily nudged towards empty.
These agents of relief are messengers of our providence. In every way through every day God faithfully fulfils His promise in all our lives. The rain that falls; the wind that blows; the sun that shines are all servants of God’s Sovereignty. He wills and they respond hastening to do His bidding.
We remember the observation of the frightened disciple on the storm-tossed waters of Galilee when they confessed “even the winds obey Him.” If this God clothes the grass of the field will he not supply the needs of His children. Or if the sparrows fall to the ground is monitored by a caring God may we not draw reassurance of His tender love. He has set His love upon us cementing His favour, He will never leave us or forsake us, committing to us His presence and His power. Whatever our worst fears or deepest concerns may be we know that nothing can separate us from our Father’s love; nor deprive us of His care. From the mountain to the valley the climate may well change but God’s sure promises remain the same. The temperature of our expectation may rise and fall but our Lord changes not and His compassion never fails. Let us then with hearts aglow pursue the path prepared wherein the unfolding magnitude of mercy and of Grace propels us towards the goal of our eternal rest. When by and by we’ll see the King and Crown Him Lord of all. Robert & Fiona