Archive for February 2011
Does God really love us?
I say look to the crucified Jesus. Look to the old rugged cross.
By every thorn that punctured his brow,
by every mark of the back-lacerating scourge,
by every hair of his beard plucked from his cheeks by cruel fingers.
by every bruise which heavy fists made upon his head, God said, “I love you!”
By all the spit that landed on his face,
by every drop of sinless blood that fell to the ground.
by every breath of pain which Jesus drew upon the cross.
by every beat of His loving heart, God said, I love you.
– Billy LobbsThis article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in FIRST! magazine March/April 2009
By Lin Pearson
There are many different gardening styles seen on the allotment site I go to. But I have never seen anyone who, having planted potatoes or sown seed, regularly scoops back soil to view any progress! We leave what we have planted and wait patiently.
Gardening is an activity of faith. We till the soil, plant and sow. We do all we can to prepare the way for productive life to emerge from the ground, and we expect an outcome.
Do you need a miracle?
When you think of it, it is a miracle that a tiny seed, lying in damp, dark soil can produce life which will not only fight to the surface, but bear a crop.
Sometimes we have other situations which are equally in need of a miracle. Maybe we have done all we can for a wayward child, or we can see no way through a trying work situation. It may be that, despite being prudent, times are hard financially, or that the responsibilities of life seem increasingly overwhelming.
Stop doing and start waiting
Regardless of the situation, there comes a point when we must stop “doing” and start waiting for God to step in. We mustn’t dig over ground best left undisturbed; we mustn’t cajole or manipulate people or situations. Instead we should simply trust that the Creator who put vitality and fruitfulness into a dry, tiny seed will step into our dark situation and transform it.
Do I have enough faith?
You may feel: “But my faith is so small. I just cannot believe there is a way through.” It’s an old saying, but still true: “You may have small faith, but put your small faith in a great God.”
You may have to wait for the big breakthrough, but waiting in faith can be a time of many smaller, but nonetheless important blessings and victories in your life.
Do all you can—and no more than that—then leave the rest to God and you can expect an outcome!◄This article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in FIRST! magazine March/April 2009
A CHRISTIAN BLACKSMITH, whose life was full of suffering and pain, was once challenged by an unbeliever to account for all the suffering God had allowed in his life. His response to the challenge went something like this:
As a blacksmith, I often take a piece of iron and put it into the fire to bring it to a white heat. Then I put it on the anvil and strike it a few times to see if it can be tempered. If I think it can, I plunge it into cold water, suddenly changing the temperature.
I repeat this heating and quenching process several times. Then I put the iron on the anvil and hammer it and bend it. After it cools, I rasp it and file it, turning it into some useful article which will serve for many years. If, however, when I first strike it on the anvil, I see that it cannot be tempered, I throw it onto the scrap pile and sell it for a few pennies.
I believe my God and Father has been testing me to see if I can be tempered. He has repeatedly put me into the fire and into the water. I have tried to bear it patiently and quietly, and my daily prayer has been: ‘Lord, put me into the fire if You will. And put me into the water if You think I need it. Do anything You please, Lord, . . . only . . . don’t throw me onto the scrap pile.’”
The Lord’s testing of us is not only a sign of His preparing us for usefulness, but it is also a sign of His love for us. The Scriptures say, it is “for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness” and “afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:10-11).
It is a solemn thing to find oneself on the scrap pile, and this, because we have refused being tempered. May our prayer be, . . . “Let it not be so, . . . Lord . . . . in my life.”
Excerpts taken from the tract A Blacksmith SpeaksThis article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in FIRST! magazine january/February 2008
By Sam Gordon
Three in one! One in three! The trinity!
That is a simple statementof truth. And, yet, how profound. It asserts our commitment to, and belief in, the Trinity. Such a foundational and fundamental doctrine highlights the three Persons in the Godhead as being: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Within the framework of deity each are co-equal, co-eternal and co-existent. In that sense, God is said to be indivisible (cf. Deut. 6:4).
Marvel and Mystery
In many ways, this truth is both a marvel and a mystery. It is something that our finite minds are unable to grasp. Humanly speaking, it is incomprehensible. To try to ascertain its implications, though, we need to go back to the Scriptures. In the revelation God gives of Himself in the Bible, we are led to a clearer understanding of the “three-person’d God”, as John Donne calls Him. It is a truth that is latent in the Old Testament, but most explicit in the New Testament.
For example, the name by which God introduces Himself in Genesis 1 is Elohim. Nouns in Hebrew may be singular, dual, or plural (denoting three or more) in number. Elohim is neither singular nor dual, but plural, and is used here with a singular verb. Therefore, as the Scriptures testify, in creation, God the Father did it, through the Son, by means of the Holy Spirit (cf. Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 1:2; Psalm 104:30). Thus Scripture commences with a powerful proof of the Trinity in unity.
Again, Matthew 3:16,17 illustrates the truth poignantly at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. We read of the Father speaking from Heaven, the Son being in the water, and the Holy Spirit descending upon Him as a dove. Similarly, the baptismal formula recorded in Matthew 28:19,20 verifies and fortifies such an outlook. It is worth noting that the Scriptures do not say, “in the names of …” but “in the name of …” That is, one in three; one Name but three Persons. In fact, the use of the word “and” in this sentence is sufficient to indicate that the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father. And yet, the unity of God is not broken because they are immersed “in the name of …”
Another passage deserving mention is 2 Corinthians 13:14 where we have the familiar and oft quoted apostolic benediction. Paul invokes all three Persons in his doxology thereby accepting God’s three-ness. However, at the same time, he still maintains God’s one-ness.
Perhaps one final example ought to be given. I refer to the work of salvation. It is clear from such portions as Titus 3:4-6, 1 Peter 1:2, Hebrews 9:14 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13,14 that the Trinity is involved in the divine programme of redemption. Yes, it was the Father’s plan, it was the Son’s death and resurrection, and it is the Spirit’s mission to convince and convict people of their sin and lead them to saving faith. All three are working together to bring to fruition the eternal counsel of Providence.
It therefore follows from the illustrations cited that there is an order in the Godhead. However, there is no difference in rank. None are superior and consequently none are inferior. Even though we speak of the Father being first, the Son second, and the Holy Spirit third, we are only recognising the harmonious relationship which exists between the Persons of the Godhead.
As believers, we are committed to the truth of the Trinity. It is the base upon which every distinctive gospel doctrine rests. Without it the other doctrines cease to mean anything. It is the bedrock. It is the triune God who has saved us, keeps us, and whose company we shall enjoy forever in Heaven. Then our understanding will be complete! Until then, may we be like the seraphim before His throne. Three times we say ‘holy’ for He is three. Yet we say, ‘holy, holy, holy IS the Lord of hosts’ for He is one!
Almighty God, to Thee
Be endless honours done,
The undivided Three,
And the mysterious One.
Where reason fails, with all her powers,
There faith prevails and love adores.
– Isaac Watts
Sam Gordon is an author and Bible teacher. When he wrote this, Sam was a broadcaster with Trans World Radio UK. Now he is Director of Ministries with The Messianic Testimony
PHOTO by Anissa Belkheir, BelgiumThis article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in FIRST! magazine January/February 2007
What are your children doing this summer?
Did you know that The Faith Mission run kids’ camps in the UK and Ireland. Our Canadian sister mission also runs camps and events for kids and youth. For a peek at what goes on, have a look at the video our worker, Tim Condy put together a couple of years ago. This year the fun will be just as good!