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Glen Park Gospel Church >> Archive >> Editorial >> 2016

Each month the Glen Park Gospel Church produce a one page newsletter called the Green Leaf. It's available from the chapel each Sunday. Some months include a topical article or report. We thought you might appreciate reading those previously published.

 Editorial in Year 2016
 Is 2016 the Year that Jesus Will Come?
 The Blessing of Answered Prayer
 The Last Words of Jesus
 Underneath are the everlasting arms
 Does Jesus Christ Feel at Home in You?
 Flowers of the Forest
 The Healing of the Nations
 The Great Physician
 The Gideon Gospel
 Common Things
 Grey Haired or Old
 Wize Little Things

 


TOP || Previous || Next JANUARY

Is 2016 the Year that Jesus Will Come?

When we read the New Testament we recognise that those early Christians believed that Jesus would return in their life time to establish His kingdom on earth.

In the apostles' letters we read such things as:

" . . . waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ." *
" . . . as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ . . ." *
"When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." *
Jesus Himself told us to keep our lamps all trimmed and burning, waiting for our Lord’s returning.*

That was some 2,000 years ago. Christians have looked for His return ever since.

My Dad told me that his father, a Baptist minister, told him that he had looked for the Lord all his long life. “Son,” he said, “Maybe the Lord won't come in my life time but He will certainly come in yours.” My Dad told me the story as his life was drawing to a close and he said, “Now, I think that maybe I will die and go to Him, then come back with Him. But you can be sure of this, that He will come in your life time.” He died almost fifty years ago. I have been looking for the return of Jesus all my life and now I am 78.

Let me tell you this. Taking into account the things that are happening in the world today, how they are lining up with the sure prophecies of the Word of God as we have them in the Bible, I think that he was right. As this world sinks into its fog of humanistic evil and the desire for truth dims in the eye of mankind, the glow on the eastern horizon burns even more surely. I am looking to see the appearing of the King to put this world to rights.

Let us search God's word together in love and respect for oneanother, looking for His appearing at the time of His appointing, for that is the moment of our redemption.

* References: Titus 2:13, 1 Corinthians 1:7, Colossians 3:4, Matthew 25

 


TOP || Previous || Next FEBRUARY

The Blessing of Answered Prayer

Matthew 7: 7'Keep on asking, and it shall be given you: keep on seeking and you shall find, keep on reverently knocking, and it shall be opened unto you: 8for everyone that keeps on asking, keeps on receiving; and he that keeps on seeking, keeps on finding, and to him that keeps on reverently knocking, it shall be opened.' (K. Weust)

Answered prayer is a blessing that eludes many of us, and our lives are the poorer for it, for we tend to see it as a last ditch emergency measure. The Bible gives us much instruction on how to order our prayer life. In verse seven above are three of the principles we need to build into our lives, if we are to enjoy the blessing of answered prayer. Unless we do, our prayer will possibly fail.

The native Greek language of the New Testament is often more expressive than our word for word English translations. Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest adds the meaning of Greek grammar to the words to show the emphasis to be added to our English Bibles. It tells us not only what to do, but how to do it.

If at first we do not receive, we must not give up! Continue asking. God often waits to see if we really desire our petition by our 're-petition.' Re-petition is not 'vain repetitions as the heathen do'(*) for prayer becomes a test of faith, not empty words. Faith invites God into our lives and He rewards those who diligently seek Him. Often we do not recognise answers to prayer when they arrive. God most often answers prayer naturally, quietly and unobtrusively.

Therefore, constantly seek Him. Keep asking, keep seeking. Then our knocking must be reverent, patient and respectful. Respect is the acquiescence of faith borne of the experience of His love. Reverence in importunity tells us that sometimes in our Father's wisdom He needs to show us that our request is not, or not yet, in His will, and we will be at peace in it.

The prayer that God respects is not so much an act, as a life style. Prayer as an act is a prayer in crisis. But prayer as a life style is an attitude that pervades all of our life. Keeping on asking means keeping on receiving.

* Matthew 6:7 (AV)

 


TOP || Previous || Next MARCH

The Last Words of Jesus

This month’s Green Leaf daily readings will take us through the words that Jesus spoke from the cross. Each is a study in its self. The last is highly significant.

His words tells us that while Jesus was crucified, a sentence from which victims cannot survive, apart from outside intervention, Jesus did not yield His life to death by others.

All four historical records of those who were eye witnesses of the event(1) combine to tell us that He reserved control of the process to Himself. Mark simply says he ‘breathed his last.’ Matthew notes that ‘Jesus . . . yielded up His spirit.’ Luke, ‘Father into your hands I commit my spirit.’(2) John’s word is most revealing, ‘He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.’ The word from which ‘gave up’ was translated means ‘to hand over’.(3) It is recorded that Judas handed Jesus over to the priests, the priests handed him over to Pilate, Pilate handed Jesus over to the soldiers. From these and many other instances the meaning is clear. The one in authority hands over to another.

At any time Jesus could have quit His mission. He had at His disposal legions of angels to come to His aid. He was urged to come down from the Cross to gain the adulation of the crowd. But He was where God wanted to be, doing what God wanted Him to do. He accomplished for us what no other being on earth could do.

‘It is finished’ - the means of the redemption was procured for all who trust Him. In this last act Jesus handed Himself over to His Father. By this work of the Cross, Jesus declared Himself the conqueror of sin and death.

‘We must come humbly to the cross deserving nothing but judgement, pleading nothing but mercy, and Christ will deliver us from both the guilt and fear of death.’(4)

1 Mark records Peter's memories and Luke gathered the stories of reliable witnesses. Matthew and John were there.
2 Father into your hands I commit my spirit is a quotation from Psalm 31:5.
3 ‘Handed over’ see Matthew 27:4, Mark 15:1&10, Matthew 27:26.
4 From p262. Through the Bible Through the Year by John Stott.
Bible quotations are from the NASB.


TOP || Previous || Next APRIL

Underneath are the everlasting arms

By Kel Richards, Radio & TV Presenter *, lay Canon of the Anglican Church.
Used by his permission.

Underneath are the everlasting arms
As we struggle with life’s alarms
People desert us
And quite often hurt us
We feel the strains
Of the hurts and pains
There are so many attacks
And friends turn their backs
    So we put all our cares
    Into our prayers
    There our pains and fears he calms:
    Underneath are the everlasting arms.

Things fall apart
And break our heart
The flames are fanned
Friends misunderstand
Our hearts just groan
As we’re left all alone
Our senses are numb
And sleep just won’t come
    So we put our cares
    Into our prayers
    There all our pains and fears he calms:
    Underneath are the everlasting arms.

We are trying to trust
But life crumbles to dust
Emotional earthquakes
Flow from our mistakes
And we wonder why
We still try and try
    So we put all our cares
    Into our prayers
    There our pains and fears he calms:
    Underneath are the everlasting arms.

As life dies to an ember
Please help us remember
At each new threat
Don’t let us forget
That your love never fails
When we run off the rails
You are there to snatch us
Underneath to catch us
    So we put all our cares
    Into our prayers
    There all our pains and fears he calms:
    Underneath are the everlasting arms.

So much of life
Is filled with strife
Nothing helps or aids
As the daylight fades
The outlook is bleak
And we feel so weak
We don’t feel we can cope
As we lose the last of hope
    You’ll find all our cares
    Poured into our prayers
    To settle our doubts and our qualms:
    Underneath are the everlasting arms.

Please give to our eyes
A glimpse of sunrise
We’ve lost all we planned
So please hold us in your hand
We’re afraid we might slip
So please tighten your grip
We pour all our cares
    Into our prayers
    There our pounding heart he calms:
    Underneath are the everlasting arms.

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
  Deuteronomy 33:27

* You can listen to Kel Richards Sunday nights on-line at:
    http://www.2ch.com/listen-live


TOP || Previous || Next MAY

Does Jesus Christ Feel at Home in You?

Paul wrote to the Christians at Ephesus and in that letter speaks of Jesus dwelling in our hearts by faith. Now his readers were already Christians and significantly, Jesus Christ was already in them. The word Paul used is made up from two, to ‘inhabit or settle’ and ‘down.’ It tells us that Jesus wants to settle down and be at home in our hearts where He belongs.

When we visit a friend’s home, no matter how anxious is our hostess to make us feel at home, we are both on edge, always on our best behaviour, always careful to behave as we feel the other might want, not to take advantage, or wear out the welcome. It is not until we really belong and the home really is our home, that we feel really at home.

Does Jesus feel at home in you? Until He feels that He really belongs, He cannot be really Himself. Can Jesus ever be less than Himself? Technically, theologically - No. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and for ever. But God in giving us the freedom to choose Him, also gave us the freedom to withhold ourselves from Him, in full or in part. Some people shut the door and refuse Him admittance. How long does He continue to knock? He turned from people who rejected Him in His own day and still does in ours. We must Invite Jesus into our life while we can.

But for we who do receive Him, He comes into our hearts to stay. Do we keep Him forever just a guest? Or do we hand to Him the keys? As you read the Gospels you will see the story of eleven men who struggled with this concept, and one man who turned away from it. It took the disciples three years to realise that Jesus really was God’s anointed. It took them a further forty days after He had risen to acknowledge Him as their Lord and Master. We too may suffer the need for a long protracted discipleship, learning what faith is, and how to trust Him fully.

The book of Acts is the story of ordinary men, indwelt by Jesus Christ who changed the world.

 


TOP || Previous || Next JUNE

Flowers of the Forest

If you hurry through the forest, you miss so much. Take time to sit and watch and your eye will light on many beautiful things otherwise unseen. The same is true of the Bible. Often otherwise unnoticed detail is revealed in the things we pass over, by reading too quickly.

Cain, as we were all taught at Sunday School, killed his brother Abel and being exiled by God went out from His presence to a land of wandering, called Nod. Here he built his family line in his own way. We are given a list of his descendants. To us these Hebrew names may be unfamiliar, but the Bible does not give us information without purpose. Each name has a meaning, telling us something of their character or deeds. Have you taken time to find out their meanings? Here is a list of translated birth names of Cain's descendants in order, father to son: Cain's first son was 'Dedicated', and his 'Fleety', whose heir was 'Smitten of God', and his 'Who is from God'. His son was a bully called 'Powerful'.

Powerful had two wives, An Ornament and Shade. Ornament had a son called Streams of Water and he was an herdsman farmer. His brother was Streams, a musician. Shade had a daughter called Loveliness, and a son, Descended from Cain. He was a foundry man making tools of brass and iron.

At this point, Powerful recited a poem in Hebrew style to Ornament and Shade

"Ornament and Shade Hear my voice;
you wives of Powerful, listen to what I say:
I have killed a man for wounding me,
a young man for striking me.
If Cain's revenge is sevenfold,
Then Powerful's is seventy-sevenfold."

Genesis 4:23

The Hebrew introduces Powerful's boast with an 'And' that is not generally translated into the English. The implication of it is that the metal implements made by his son were used in his pay-back murder, and he was bragging about it.

How different is the line of Seth. Seth was Adam's next son, who in time became father of a son whom he called Enosh, and then the Bible adds, 'At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.' The embryo race had for a time forgotten God, but now they again felt the need for Him. A quiet revival was taking place. The name Enosh means teacher. Enosh was teaching his people the ways of the Lord.

The name meanings have been gathered from various qualified scholars of Hebrew. There is some variation between authorities.

 


TOP || Previous || Next JULY

The Healing of the Nations

Following our nose, driving south west through England, we found ourselves in the City of Wells. As the sun was lowering in the west we decided to stay the night. After Evensong in the cathedral, we found a nourishing meal and then settled down for the evening.

Wells, as you may assume is so called because of wells of water forming a moat around the bishops palace with token streams running constantly down the main streets. We were reminded of John's prophecy:

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. *

We think of the water of life and the tree of life as being something personal, bringing to those who trust the Lord continual refreshment and eternal life. And so it does, to those who dare trust Him. But there is a wider application, a shadow ministry. The leaves of the tree of life which draws its vigour from the water of life which has its source in the throne of the Almighty, the leaves are for the healing of the nations.

As we write this we stand between two elections. On the 23rd the British people voted to leave the E.U. Next Saturday the 2nd the Australian people will vote to elect a new government. Whoever wins, England and Australia, are destined for a period of political uncertainty, turmoil, and disruption.

As a child of God you have a part to play, you have a voice, not in the corridors of power, but in the secret closet of prayer:
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. *

* Revelation 22:1&2, 2 Chronicles 7:14

 


TOP || Previous || Next AUGUST

The Great Physician

Dear Andrew,

I am always glad to hear from you, even when the news is not good. I can read the emotion in your words because I have been through it myself, and there seems to be no end to the uncertainty. I know what it is to lie awake in the dark hours mulling over the threats and insecurities that life has brought along. It is a form of grieving over losing that which we thought we had, that is, our former relative certainty about tomorrow. “I lie awake; I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop Psalm 102:7 (ESV).” The roof top being where Eastern people might sleep after the heat of the day. Some of us seem to be disposed to being the fuel that sends the sparks flying upwards, while others seem only to sit by to watch.

For such times as these there is a verse in Exodus 15:26 which provides us with one of the Old Testament names for Jesus, Jehovah Rapha, which translates to, ‘I am the Lord your healer.’ The late Hebrew scholar William Gesenius* says that the sound of the Hebrew word for healer - rapha, imitates a person sewing rapidly, hence to heal, which is done by sewing up the wound. The Lord is our surgeon. Is He not known as the Great Physician?

The specific context is that the Lord would heal His people of the diseases they carried with them out of Egypt, if they trust and obey Him. We today can take from this that He is also our physician for this name is founded in His nature. This means that we too can trust Him in all the things that life throws at us. It does not mean that we do not need to do our part. How does He heal us? He heals us in the same manner that by His provision He feeds the birds Matthew 6:25. They still have to search for their dinner, but in the providence of His creation the Lord has ordainedthat it be there. There is enough for all the birds to be well fed. Moses too took remedial action at the word of the Lord to cure the waters of their bitterness, and the Lord showed him a tree, which when thrown into the waters healed them. Trust Him to also provide for you in this time of need.

The great Physician now is near,
The sympathizing Jesus;
He speaks the drooping heart to cheer,
Oh, hear the voice of Jesus.*

We will remember you at this time, so please keep in touch.

* Gesenius William, Samuel Gagster & Sons, 1847, Public Domain
* William Hunter published 1859, Public Domain

 


TOP || Previous || Next SEPTEMBER

The Gideon Gospel

For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6 (ESV)

Paul tells us that the god of this age, that is the Devil, has blinded the eyes of those who do not believe, to keep them from seeing the light of the glory of God in Christ. A thick veil lies over their minds, a pitiful and perilous state.

The conflict is between the god of this age, the usurper, and the Eternal God, the Creator who begins His work with the command, 'Let there be light.' The Devil blinds; God enlightens. Here is a supernatural conflict for the hearts and lives of people. What if anything can we do? What part can we possibly play?

Our text tells us that the Eternal God has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. And that "we have this treasure in earthen vessels." This is the light that they need to see. But how?

Just here an illustrative story from the Old Testament might help. Gideon led three furtive groups of Israelites at night to surround a mighty Midianite encampment with their weapon, lamps hidden in earthen jars. Suddenly on signal they blew their trumpets and with a mighty cry smashed their jars exposing the lamp. Surrounding the enemy suddenly was unexpected clatter, cries and light. They fled.

Learn the lesson, for the light to shine the jar must be broken. "We are struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry about in our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body v10" It is not the broken jar; it is the light. Here is our part and His part. As an earthen jar we give ourselves to expose the Gospel - light, and with it comes the life.

 


TOP || Previous || Next OCTOBER

Common Things

In our current social and political climate, when the things of God are lightly spoken of by people who have little regard for that which is noble, pure and true, especially by our leaders and politicians, it is easy to feel cowered. If so, then here is some encouragement.

"And the base* things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are."
1 Corinthians 1:28 (NASB)

This verse indicates that the majority of people who have come to Christ are base-born. To be base born is not a bad thing, for in this context the word base does not mean evil, it means, 'not noble birth', or, 'high born'. Base and noble here does not mean our character, but our status, or class, that our parents gave us at birth. High born children enjoy the privilege of respect, money, good education and opportunity. The rest of us have to make it on our own, or do the best we can.

If this comment includes you, be encouraged. Paul tells us that, "God deliberately chose the low born and despised of this world", to believe and receive. God's method of operation in bringing His Gospel to the world is not to work top-down, but base-up. That is, His change begins with the lowly, not the powerful.

Another vital piece of information from this text is that the change catalysts of God are the 'are-not things', the intangibles, in particular the Gospel of the resurrection of Jesus, the life changing good news. Therefore we do not rely on battering rams, smashing against the outer walls of evil practices, but we sow the seeds of redemption through the blood of the lamb into mens' hearts producing, through the working of the Holy Spirit, the fruit of righteousness. This is our modus operandi. It has not changed. It is God ordained.

* The word 'Base' in some Bibles is translated as 'foolish' in the ESV, and is well put as 'lowly' in the NIV. The overall application remains the same.

 


TOP || Previous || Next NOVEMBER

"Please God, I will never grow old, only older."

Grey Haired or Old

"Both the gray-haired and the aged are among us."
Job 15:10

Which do you wish to be? Gray haired or aged? Do you want to age or grow older. Or am I being unfair and pushing the words of Eliphaz too far? You be the judge.

I visited an acquaintance of many years recently, and when he came to the door I was taken back. He was an old, old man. Now to be fair to my reader we must acknowledge that we are not fully in control of the incidental and accidental events in our lives. But we must respond to what comes along in the best possible manner. Events will make us or break us. That much of the choice at least is ours.
We are what we have been becoming, somewhere back then we might have made a better decision. But although all that is past and cannot be changed, let us remember that the process is relentless. We will yet be what we are now in course of becoming. So this side of Glory, there is some opportunity to better the future. Is there a confession I need to make, or an injury I need to forgive. Is there sin to confess, or a testimony that I did not offer? Is there a friend I need to help, or an endowment I ought to arrange? Is there a debt to pay or change that I should undertake?

We can apply this principle to almost anything, but I speak concerning our disposition as a Christian, and our place in the Kingdom. I read just today of Dr. DeHaan who visited an old friend shortly before the Lord called him home, a Dr. William Pettingill who confided, "I shall never grow old, only older, and I hope that the Lord will let me die with my boots on." He did. At an age of 84 he went to be with the Lord. "And," said Dr. Dehaan, "All who were acquainted with this aged saint of God knew the stimulus of his radiant sparkling testimony to the very end." *

Now we are all going to die in the end if we live long enough. We are not in control of the time or the conditions. However there are options and choices we can make today. The very first of these is, Have I made my peace with God? If not, why not?

* Bread for Each Day. DeHaan-Bosch Zondervan for Aug. 8 1962


TOP || Previous || Next DECEMBER

Wize Little Things

"Four things on earth are small, but they are exceedingly wise:
  The ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer;
  the rock badgers (or Hyrax) are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
  the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank;
  the lizard (or Gecko) you can take in your hands, yet it is in kings’ palaces."

Proverbs 30:24-28 (ESV)

Each of these species were well known to the Israelite people in past. All but the Hyrax are common in Australia and we are familiar with them. It is enlightening to us to take them one by one and look into their habits. It is easy with an internet connection. The information is freely available.

They are significant in the different ways that they naturally organise themselves for survival. One creature alone is extremely vulnerable, but acting together, each one playing its part for the good of the population, makes the colony very strong. No one tells them what to do. It is an instinct given to the species at creation. They just do it.

We are not like that. Whereas the animal acts by instinct, people were created by God with a conscience, which exercised by discipline works for good, or failing that for evil. We see that dichotomy everywhere in our society today. God intended people respond to Him by the conviction of the Holy Spirit acting according to His word of truth upon the conscience.

If a people as a community respond to God, that society accumulates a ‘good will’ of conscience which is according to holiness and then all society is blessed. But if that people turn from God their account in the ‘Bank of Morality’ is depleted and that society slips into greed, violence and crime. In time the jails overflow. Iniquity goes unpunished and the country loses its soul. We can see it happening.

 

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