Daily Meditations Notes by Rev. E. Anderson July 31st – August 6th 2007

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Rev. E. Andersom

 August 6th     COPING WITH DIFFICULTIES – Ruth 1: 1-5

These introductory verses reveal how things do go wrong in life and how problems and trials occur to the best of people. Naomi and her husband, with her two sons, are seemingly driven from Bethlehem (the house of bread) because of famine and go to live in the land of Moab. It must have been a very hard decision to make, to move from one’s homeland and take residence in a foreign country.  They would have rather stayed but circumstances seemed to have forced them out.

It appears that things got from bad to worse when she is bereaved of her husband. What a tremendous blow to this woman now an exile in Moab! Her sons had grown up and married girls from Moab and this must have been some temporary relief having two daughter-in-laws in a supportive role. Tragedy struck again with the death of her two sons. This must have meant real heartache and did cause some inner resentment.  The woman truly felt bereft and did not cope very well under the burden of these circumstances.

It has to be said that traumatic things can and do happen and have to be faced with love and understanding. Thankfully, Naomi had one daughter-in-law that was filled with the right sort of feelings and attitudes. She turned out to be tops in these conditions. We do well to look around and see where we can help others cope with the baffling experiences and tragedies of life. The Lord can use you today to bring relief and hope to some desolate soul.

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Contemporary Considerations forwarded by Rev. E. Anderson

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Rev. E. Anderson

Believing Your Uniqueness
by Jan Walker


“The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me — to tell people the Good News about God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24 NCV)

God gave you a unique role to play in his Kingdom.

You’re the only person in the world who can live your particular life for the glory of God. There is no one else in the world with your unique mix of spiritual gifts, passions, abilities, personality, and experiences. God shaped you for a very specific ministry, and no one else can fulfill your mission.

If you don’t do it, nobody else can!

Paul writes, “The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me — to tell people the Good News about God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24, NCV) To Paul, the most important thing we can do is to be on a mission to tell others about God’s Good News.

Telling people about Jesus is more than just a matter of life and death; it involves the eternal destiny of those waiting to hear about Jesus from you. God doesn’t want us to waste a precious minute of our lives doing things that don’t matter — if the most important thing we can do is left undone.

It’s never too late to move faithfully into your mission for God. You may think you don’t have any skills God can use, but the truth is that God would never send you on a mission without making sure you had everything you needed – including your unique shape – and the Holy Spirit active within you.

So what?

·                            Take inventory – Through your spiritual gifts, passions, abilities, personality, and experiences, God has uniquely shaped you for your mission. Take an inventory of your life and think it through: What mission do you see God has prepared you for?

·                            Don’t waste God’s grace – The Apostle Paul writes, “But because God was so gracious, so very generous, here I am. And I’m not about to let his grace go to waste. Haven’t I worked hard trying to do more than any of the others? Even then, my work didn’t amount to all that much. It was God giving me the work to do, God giving me the energy to do it.” (1 Corinthians 15:10 MSG)

·                            What if it’s true? – How would you live differently if you really believed God had created you for a unique mission, one that only you could accomplish?
 

Meet the Ministers introduced bt Rev. E. Anderson

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REV. ALAN AND CLAIRE HOCKING

Alan and I were students together in the Kenley Bible College and shared the same room and dormitory as we commenced our spiritual career in 1955. It is good to read of the way that God has guided and bless the pathway of Claire and himself over 50 years. How faithful is our God and how faithful His servants have been to their calling!

After Alan had completed the 2 year course at the Assemblies of God Bible College at Kenley, Surrey, they were married in September 1957 at the Radcliffe (Lancs) Assembly.  They returned from their honeymoon to pioneer a church in the new London overspill housing estate at Merstham, Surrey.   While here, their first daughter, Ruth was born.

Two years later they were invited to take on the pastorate of the Assembly at Castleford, Yorkshire, where they spent the next 11 years.   During this time they moved out of the old dilapidated building into a new purpose built church in a housing estate on the other side of town.  The new church prospered and was soon full to overflowing. 

While in Castleford, twins Philip and Joy, then Grace and finally Paul put in an appearance.Alan served as Home Missions Secretary for the Yorkshire District and was instrumental in establishing several churches, including Skipton and Keighley which were both pioneer works.

They were then invited by David Watkins, pastor of Halifax, to consider taking on the church when he moved down south.  They felt it was God’s will, but unfortunately the church did not feel the same way and they were not accepted at the church meeting.  Shortly afterwards Gideon Gardner asked Alan to come to Hull to take on the pastorate there, and receiving a 100% vote, they moved in 1970.

Sadly, things did not work out there and after being involved in three car accidents, none of which were his fault, Alan suffered a nervous breakdown and was forced to resign the pastorate.

As they wondered what to do next, the Halifax church contacted them, admitted they had made a mistake and asked them to come and pastor the Church.   They moved there in late 1971 and saw a tremendous move of God over the next 6 years.    

During their time in Halifax, Alan felt the call of God into Radio work and saw God move in a miraculous way opening the door into BBC Radio Leeds. He finished up with his own hour long programme, “Music in the Key of Life”.

Just as things were going really well in Halifax, Claire and Alan were invited to take over the pastorate in Lytham St. Annes.  Although they did not particularly want to leave Halifax, God showed them in a most amazing way that this was his plan for them, and they moved there in 1977. 

Shortly after taking over the Assembly, Alan was asked to become Religious Programmes Producer for BBC Radio Lancashire (Radio Blackburn at that time).  The Sunday morning programme quickly became one of the most popular programmes on the station and eventually achieved No 1 in the ratings.  He was able to broadcast Billy Graham’s Crusade from the Winter Gardens in Blackpool and 200 people wrote in to say they had received Christ through the broadcast. He also served on the Assemblies of God Broadcasting council for many years.

As Lancashire District Council youth secretary he organised several youth events and saw many young people saved and filled with the spirit.

The church prospered under his ministry and the church building was enlarged and modernised.

In 1989 Alan was invited to take on the role of Station Manager of a new Satellite Radio Station and the family moved to the Midlands.  Sadly, the Station was ahead of its time and was forced to close down.  Alan and Claire were devastated – what were they to do now?   They were asked to take on the pastorate of the Tipton Church and served there for 9 years, seeing the church grow and the building modernised.

During this time Alan had been working with an evangelist, helping him with his radio programmes.  In 1998 he was led to leave pastoral work and move full time into producing radio and TV programmes for the new Christian channels on satellite TV.

He set up a production company which produced many TV programmes and helped several churches with their TV ministry. 
In 2004 his family decided it was time at the age of 70 that he retired.  They insisted that he move back up to Lytham St. Annes to be near them.  God once again intervened and they were able to buy a beautiful bungalow just 200 yards from the beach.  After 50 exciting years of serving God, they now live there happily, surrounded by their family which includes 12 grandchildren.  They still keep busy, helping with a pioneer work in Blackpool, and running the Primetimers Ministry in the Lancashire Region.

Word for the Week presented by Rev. E. Anderson

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Rev. E. Anderson

FAITH
Hebrews 11; 10: 35

Faith is a keyword in the Bible and is a master-factor in the outworking of a positive and powerful relationship with God. It is stated and emphasized that “without faith at is impossible to please Him” – Hebrew 11: 6.This being the case, then it is imperative to have it as a possession and to see it fully evidence in practice in securing God’s favour and of knowing a dynamic relationship with Him.

It has been expressed in meaning in a number of ways and is highlighted in the lives of characters that adorn God’s Word as seen in Hebrews 11. It is described as “a strong, unshakeable belief in something especially without proof; a specific system of religious beliefs:  the Jewish faith; Christianity: trust in god in His actions and promises etc.” Faith is not simply viewed as a belief but demonstrated in action in a powerful manner.

It is important to have a true faith in God and His Word. When His Word is believed then it is remarkable how an outstanding confidence in God is developed that becomes most rewarding. The Bible seeks to encourage this in all men so that there is true discovery of God and His ways.

In the initial relationship that God sought with man He endeavoured to in-build and develop this principle. In placing them under the command of His Word He was seeking to creatie the fact of mutual trust, the promise of tremendous things lay before them as they believed and carried out His true word in their daily living. They would discover that both He and His Word were inextricable bound and true and could be wholly relied on.

The first thing under attack was their loyalty to both God and His Word. Satan subtlety said: “Hath God said” – Genesis 3: 1. This was casting doubt on God and His Word. This initial thrust served questions which Eve received and became the platform for disobedience and the awful consequences that ensued. The evil one has always persisted in this method and all need to be made wise to this procedure. Many have succumbed to doubt and have missed out on a dynamic union with God that could have yielded immense blessing and results.

The Lord has sought to restore the grounds of trust throughout history having removed all grounds for any unbelief by word and deed.  Especially is this is to be known in the gospel of Christ which has become the grounds of a pure and sure faith. Through the revelation of His person, life and work He has left a true record to be believed and applied and as a consequence each one can be possessed by genuine faith similar to Christ’s. .No one must cast away the confidence created by God in and through Him.
“The truly religious man does everything as if everything depended upon himself, and then leaves everything as if everything depended on God.” Parker

PRAYER

Grant me the kind of faith created by you that I must trust you and Word and prove the reality of yourself and truth at all times in my life

                     

Sermon Starters presented by Rev. E. Anderson

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Rev. E. Anderson

THE PROVIDING LORD    PHILIPPIANS 4

 TESTIMONY: The testimony to fact with respect to the Christian life is that the Lord generously provides for the welfare of His people. There is the certainty of promise on this front: “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  He stands by His Word to perform it. David expresses his mind and conviction on the matter: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want””- Psalm 23: 1. He is seen to be a providing and supplying Lord. One of the titles regarding Him is:  Jehovah Jireh – the Lord our Provider. SUFFICIENCY: There is a remarkable and infinite sufficiency to be discovered in Him. There is no lack in Him, therefore there will be no lack with regard to our life’s situations because He will always be up to meeting every current demand for our lives in time and eternity. Another divine ascription is – El Shaddai – the many breasted God. This presents us with the image and understanding that He is the Lord who is able to sustain everyone and everything. MULTPLE WAYS: he is not to be restricted in any way to ministering into any current situation to any person and provide what is essential. The demand may be major but He has countless procedures by which he can adequately answer.  The Scriptures make known the Lord in this capacity and with this gracious and generous ministry.

 1/   THE PROVIDED THE PERFECT ENVIRONMENT TO LIVE IN – GENESIS 2 & 3

Having made the first pair He could provide the perfect habitation for them to live and develop in. Eden’s garden was the idyilic place to dwell. The Lord in His love, wisdom and grace made the most beautiful place and surroundings for this couple to make a glorious start. It could not have been better. It was something of heaven on earth and with His daily visits, what could be better! 

2/.    PROVIDED A MEANS OF SAFTEY IN A DESTRUCTIVE HOUR – GENESIS 6;7;19

For Noah and Lot He made a way by which they could escape impending judgment because of the sin and corruption evident in the people existent around them.  They were righteous persons disturbed and grieved over the prevailing wickedness and the Lord proved He could save them from the fact of destruction. 

3/.   HE PROVIDED A SUBSTITUTE AS AN OFFERING – GENESIS 22; JOHN 1:29

There was the initial demand for the sacrifice of Abraham’s son, Isaac.  The lad asked his father “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” – v7. The patriarch knew that there would be a unique provision ahead. He was prepared to go all the way, if need be, to slay his son but deep within he sensed there would be the providential outworking of God. And it occurred – v13. Later on, God did fulfilled His promise in sending Christ as the provision for man’s sin. John the Baptist knew that Jesus Christ was the only answer for man’s salvation. 

4/. HE PROVIDED A BRIDE AND BRIDEGROOM FOR TWO COUPLES – GENESIS 24;  

The Lord reveals that He is in the business of providing right partners for people in this life. Abraham was concerned that his son marry the right person and is led at the right time to seek a wife for him. All the events that took place in his servant’s journey, Eliezer, make known God’s provision. The same could be said with regard to Ruth, the forerunner of the Messianic line. God knows the need of spiritual soul-mates. 

5/.   HE PROVIDED A DELIVERER / DELIVERANCE FOR HIS ELECT PEOPLE – EXODUS 3

In the greatest hour of crisis for a man and nation the Lord moved in to express His mind, purpose and power. When everything looked up for the individual and people the Lord showed He had got everything ready top master-mind and effect an historic enterprise. Moses, Israel and even Pharoah were to come to know that He was the Lord that can execute in impossible circumstances. What a provision of salvation and escape! 

6/.   HE PROVIDED MIRACLES TO SUSTAIN HIS CHURCH IN THE DESERT – EXODUS 15 etc.

The task of making sure of the sustenance of this vast company of  was in His capable hands and He would prove Himself  up to any occasion and emergency. There was nothing He could not do on this front: making bitter waters sweet, providing refreshment at Elim, causing waters to gush from a rock, sending manna on a daily basis, quails in abundance etc., etc. For forty years they saw and knew God providing – Deut. 8. 

7/.  HE PROVIDED A PROPHET TO BRING RESTORATION TO HIS PEOPLE 1 KINGS 17 

When they had departed from his Word and ways, the Lord was desirous of seeing His people to restored to Himself and into a state of blessing. In His love and grace He commissioned a rugged prophet Elijah to call them back. The stopping of dew and rain was an act of grace to make them think and to cause them to realize who was the One who had truly been their Saviour and Provider. The prophet calls them to Carmel – 1 Kings 18 to make them aware of the fact who was Lord God. These, are but instances, proving His all-round ability to meet all needs and a foundational truth that the Lord is the great Provider and that He has not abdicated His role and ministry. What is required is absolute trust in His love and faithfulness and so the divine provision will flow and divine testimony be given.  

Prayer Dynamics by Rev. E. Anderson

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Rev. E. Anderson

DIVINE INTERVENTION

It is good to know that when we are placed in extreme straits and in great difficulty the Lord is aware of the same and can and does move in to answer them in a positive manner. This is so with all who trust in Him and are prepared to seek Him in prayer and hand the situation into His capable and loving hands. This is a lesson that all need to learn and apply and so discover its worth when facing impossible circumstances.

It occurred in the early months of our marriage in 1954. The Lord taught my wife and I the value of prayer in a crisis moment and of how He could undertake in a gracious way. The experience has proved to be invaluable as we have taken the spiritual journey together over 52 years and seen Him perform many things on our behalf.

It was in the winter months of that year that my wife, Joan, was suddenly struck down with a very bad dose of tonsillitis and her life seemed to be jeopardy and hang in the balance as she had enormous difficulty in breathing. Apparently she had suffered from such before but this time it reached an extreme state. The doctor was called and examined her and stated that the tonsils were in a very inflammatory condition and almost joined. She was truly gasping for breath and unless something happened her life was in real danger. He was not too happy about the situation and affirmed he would return in the morning, in fact he did not give much hope in her direction as she battled with this major problem in breathing.

Thankfully, when I became a young Christian, my first Christian minister taught me the power and secret of prayer. Regularly in our church we had days of fasting and prayer and this certainly was a help in the crisis hour. The thing that was open to me as a young husband was this dynamic means of touching God on behalf of my sweetheart and wife and so much of the time that night was spent in calling on Him. Later on I discovered the words of the psalmist that have been a source of faith and inspiration – ‘And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me’ – Psalm 50: 15. It may have been the only thing I could do but it was the best thing to be undertaken in such an hour of need.

I remember a policeman friend of my father-in-law coming into the room where my wife lay and observing her critical condition made the remark: ‘she must have the heart and strength of a horse.’ He could see that things were not very good and that a major miracle needed to take place.

Little did I know that my wife was battling with negative thoughts at the time as well as the inflamed state? Having led her to Christ three years previously and she knowing the call of God was on my life was sensing that possibly she could be a hindrance to its fulfillment and so may be the Lord was summoning her home. It was a real dilemma of thought to her and disturbed her in spirit. This was a situation needed to be resolved for her.

How glad to know that the Lord does answer prayer because when the physician arrived the next morning he was surprised to see her vastly improved and on the way to recovery! The inflammation broke during the night and her throat immensely eased and we were sure that divine intervention took place much to the relief and satisfaction of us all. We were most grateful that the Lord had stepped in and worked so wondrously on her behalf.

Later when specialists examined her tonsils at Doncaster hospital they were quite taken back at their state and requested that as soon as possible they should be removed. Reluctantly my wife went into have them attended to and so soon after their removal desired to have fish and chips. Never again, throughout the years, as she had any problem on that front. She has been clear from any infection or inflammation.

Needless to say, over many years, she has been a vital part of the team ministry we have enjoyed together in serving the Lord. Any questions that had been entertained at that time have been more than answered in serving the Lord unitedly for God in many places and over a long passage of time. To Him be all the glory!

Leadership Factors presented by Rev. E. Anderson

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Rev. E. Anderson

SEVEN ASSETS FOLLOWERS WANT IN A LEADER

 By John Maxwell from the Maxwell Leadership Bible based on Gideon.  

People always ask, ‘Why should I follow you?’ Leaders must understand that they themselves go on display before they ever get the chance to display their vision. Once followers gain confidence in the leader, they will feel confident about the vision.

Note seven qualities that attract people to a leader.  

   1/.  CALLING.  

Few things are as compelling as a leader’s clear calling. Beforehand, Gideon had lived in fear, doubted himself, and asked for multiple signs to confirm his mission. But once he embraced his calling, passion and boldness filled his heart. 

   2/.  INSIGHT.

People respect a leader with insight, wisdom to see the issues, and vision to see what lies ahead. God gave Gideon insight into the weak hearts of the Midianites. By the time Gideon called his men to battle, he understood that God had assured their victory. 

   3/.  CHARISMA. 

eople flock to leaders who make them feel good about themselves. When Gideon invited the people of Ephraim to join in pursuing the Midianites, they reacted angrily. But Gideon helped them see the significance of their role by reminding them that they had captured and killed the princes of Midian – Judges 8: 1-30. 

   4/.  TALENT.

Look no further than the entertainment industry for evidence that followers swarm around talent. While we don’t know much about Gideon’s natural abilities, the angel called him a ‘mighty man of valour’ and instructed him to ‘go in this might of yours’ – Judges 6: 12. More than likely, Gideon possessed both physical strength and courage. 

   5/.  ABILITY.

People feel a natural attraction to someone who can get things truly done. Gideon did not attempt to get the Ephraimites on board until he had proven his own ability. 

   6/.  COMMUNICATION SKILLS. 

leader who cannot communicate his calling and vision has trouble getting anyone to buy in to his leadership. Whenever Gideon spoke to his people they understood him and eagerly followed. 

   7/.  CHARACTER.

It takes character to win and maintain trust. Gideon started out strong, standing up when elders wouldn’t. He displayed courage in the face of incredible odds. But in the end, a flaw in His character betrayed both him and the people. After his victories, Gideon created an idol and erected it in Ophrah: ‘All Israel played the harlot with it there. It became a snare to Gideon and to his house’Judges 8: 27.                                                

In Hindsight by Rev. David Hind

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Rev. David Hind

The determination thing

David is due to move to Trinity Church in Leicester in September to assume the leadership of the church.

Becoming an MP at the age of twenty-one and truly finding a Christian faith at around twenty-five, William Wilberforce began to receive a burden to abolish slavery. At twenty-eight he stood almost alone in his convictions and faced huge opposition from royalty, business, parliamentary colleagues and the forces of evil. He suffered in his health, his emotions and reputation. Yet his cry was, ’Let the consequences be what they are. I determine to never rest until I have effected the abolition of slavery.’

Twenty years of endless campaigning led to an initial bill being passed in the House Of Commons. It took twenty six more years to get to the point where the House of Commons passed a law to emancipate all the slaves in the British colonies. Wilberforce learned of it just three days before he died. The day before John Wesley fell into a coma and died, he spoke to Wilberforce and said, ‘Unless God has raised you up for this very thing you will be worn out by the opposition of men and demons. But if God be for you – who can be against you?’ Wilberforce never gave up and it was said at his death that his name was the greatest in the land. He was an example of determination.

There is a clear difference between godly determination and stubbornness. I remember watching Thomas learn to ride a bike without stabilisers. He was determined and unwilling to give up until, with bruised knees, he finally learnt. This is every different from the times he has dug his heels in over things in which he was wrong.

If we want to change the world we need a determined spirit, the humility to learn and yet the tenacity to never give up. Some Christians have a dream of a ‘call’ that seems to change very quickly when faced with challenge and difficulty. It’s amazing how we think the phrase, ‘I feel God has said…’ can justify carnality, bad character and a lack of willingness to finish what we have started. When I was ayouth leader I felt it was time for a new challenge and then read in the Bible,

‘Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do I may be matched by your completion of it’ – 2 Corinthians 8: 10,11.

I immediately threw myself into youth work.

I love commitment. I love people who are determined and I respect people who won’t give up. It can be irresistible to meet people who believe with passion and are truly prepared to give their lives to godly causes. My brother-in-law, John, has a passion to reach lost people – a passion that has caused him to learn many languages, turn his back on a potentially prosperous career and spend his life with some of the poorest people on earth. He is a determined man.

When you look back at your life what is the pattern you see?

* You easily give up?
* Are you truly committed to follow and finish Jesus’ plan for your life?
* Are you determined or stubborn?

Whatever the answers, make a choice today to remain teachable and be determined.
 

Extracts from my Life by Rev. E. Anderson

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Rev. & Mrs. E. Anderson

GRACE ENOUGH

It was in November 2001 that the Lord began to impress upon my mind and heart the words of Paul found in 2 Corinthians 12: 9 “My grace is sufficient for you . . . .” Of course, for many years I had been acquainted with the verse and with the context in which they were first written. There has been the quoting of them in the course of preaching over forty years but in a significant manner the Lord was to make them relevant by way of experience in my life. The message embraced in the words was to be a prophecy of what was to occur over the following months.
 
This is one of the ways of the Lord in His unique dealings with His servants. He wisely and lovingly foretells and forewarns what lies ahead in terms of problems or crises so that they do not get any foothold or mastery within the mind in a negative manner. Somehow this word was to be a spiritual strength and support that would enable me to cope with a difficult situation.

Whilst in Burkina Faso in December of 2001, I contracted some sort of food poisoning that produced unhealthy bacteria in my stomach. It occurred early in the visit and I sensed a physical weakness whilst there. The wonderful fact was that the Lord in His own gracious fashion gave a vital input of energy especially in the course of ministry in the Bible College and churches. Looking back, one is grateful for the privilege of being able to prayer over so many students and people and prophesy into their lives and situation. On the final day’s Sunday gathering in the morning, before a congregation of 7 to 800 people, after briefly introducing the message, I collapsed and passed out and was unable to continue. In all the four decades of ministry I cannot recall ever having to fail to fulfil the preaching. I was to learn a major lesson from God. He was to teach me a more needful reliance on Himself.

On returning home, and over the past months, one has been greatly inspired and encouraged by the apostle’s word. He apparently had to deal with a personal condition of affliction and adversity. There are those who believe it could have been either physical or spiritual, whatever it was he sought the Lord for an answer and for relief. There was real pressure on and he desired the Lord’s intervention. The Lord gave a reply in a way that he least expected. What ever the trouble or trial was it was not to be removed, however, he would receive from the Lord something extra that would enable him to cope and to cope effectively. God’s grace would make available all that was required to assist and even bless his life and ministry more.

Paul moved into higher and greater drive and gear as a result. What was problematic became the means of the birth of a more powerful dynamic in his being service. Instead of being undone by the problem he rises to a more fruitful work. He discovers that when he is at his weakest he is at his strongest in God. There is a welcoming of the situation because the affliction has become a stepping stone into something more significant. And so for me: instead of being undone I am being strengthened and more wonderfully blessed and used. God’s Word now has become prophecy fulfilled.
                        

Daily Meditation Notes published by Rev. E. Anderson – July 24th -31st -2007

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Rev. E. Anderson

July 24th      GOD’S GRIEF – Judges 10

Is it possible that the Lord could be smitten with grief? Quite a question to ask! It states in v16 “and His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.” Looking down on the circumstances that His people were in, He was rightly disturbed and distressed. He knew that they could have been in a lot better condition. Instead of being victimised in the way that they were by foreign nations, things would have been decidedly different if only they had done the right thing and honoured Him.

At this time they were really given over to idolatry –v6. They stooped to every false deity and practised all kinds of offensive actions to the Lord in the worship of them. Such a sin was grievous to God and caused unnecessary pain to Him.  Israel had no call to act in such a manner in the light of God’s goodness and faithfulness. It should have been their purpose to give Him pleasure.

We must make sure that we do not entertain any idols in our lives and thus cause grief to our Lord. He wants to see us in a free and favoured state and enjoying His rich blessings and if this is not the case, it affects Him deeply. Let us renounce all evil associations and make evident our total love of and commitment to Him today. The admonition in the New Testament is to “Flee idolatry.”  Nothing and no one should be allowed to occupy the place that belongs to the Lord alone.

July 25th     A LEADERSHIP NEED – Judges 10: 17, 18;

Thankfully the people had repented and truly turned to the Lord having put away the idols and strange gods and placed themselves entirely at the Lord’s mercy. They knew they had no claim upon Him in the light of their behaviour and broken covenant but they trusted Him to help them in the immediate crisis. From v17 it is apparent they were faced with a formidable foe that was desirous of inflicting further pressure and problems on them. It was important that they be rescued in this set of circumstances as they felt themselves ill prepared.

An urgent requirement was the need of a good leader who could bring some inspiration and assistance. In the providence of God there was such a man by the name of Jephthah who is affirmed as being ‘a mighty man of valour’ – Judges 11: 1. His pedigree did not seem to be much but he knew how to act with courage and had proven himself as a warrior to a degree. He responded to the request having secured concessions from them and so he led them into battle by the power of God. God was pleased to recognise him and gave him the needed inspiration for it says, “The Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah” – v29.

We can be assured that the Lord does not want a leaderless Church in these days when there is a battle to be fought. How essential it is that we pray and seek God to appoint and anoint those people who can give the kind of lead that is vital to spiritual victory! The candidates that God has in mind may not fit in with our ideas and opinions. What matters is that the Church is seen to be dealing with the enemy in an overcoming manner. Pray for your leaders today that they will be anointed for the fight.

July 26th      RASHNESS OF SPEECH – Judges 11: 30, 34-40; Ecclesiastes 5: 2, 4-7

One of the most important organs of our bodies is our mouth. It is not only used for the intake of food and fluid essential to our physical strength and growth but also possesses the power to utter words that can be used for good or ill. How vital that it is properly and perfectly connected to the mind so that there precedes the wise and rightful use of speech. It can be engaged very dangerously at times and the slip of the tongue mouthing words, especially in the form of vows, can prove to be foolish as seen in the case of Jephthah.
Looking at what he said here, with all good intent, at a time of great challenge, was not sound or sensible as events turned out. Meaningful as may have been his intentions, it would have been better to have kept a bridle on his tongue. The important thing was to have simply been devoted to the Lord and of obtaining victory without this addition. The Lord was not interested in this kind of expression but in his love and devotion. It seems apparent that he did carry this thing through but it was not a wholesome procedure.
It is sound advice that is offered in Ecclesiastes 5: 6 “Suffer not your mouth to cause your flesh to sin.”  Keep a guard on your thoughts and tongue so that they are not allowed to run away with some extreme statement or promise that in the end will produce untold grief. This does not mean we should not make any vows but they should always be perfectly weighed and considered before they are uttered.

July 27th      AN UNNECESSARY CONFLICT – Judges 12: 1-7

After such a major triumph it is sad to read of this argument that was brought up by the men of Ephraim – v1. Because they had not been involved in the recent conquest they wanted to commence a battle of words that eventually turned into a bitter contest. The root cause of this appears to lie in jealousy. They had been invited to the fray but were unwilling to join forces with Jephthah and would have rather seen their fellow patriots lose. Jephthah said, “when I called you, you delivered me not out of their hands” – v2. They had every opportunity of joining forces and thus heal any resentment that existed.

The inevitable result was a terrible war took place between them and eventually 42,000 men perished from Ephraim. The ones that had initiated the war of words turned out to be the losers.  If only they had rejoiced in the previous victory of the others in delivering them from a common enemy things would have been different or even if they had not been involved and let matters rest. Wisdom should have taught them to be bound together as brothers in a common cause.

There are surely lessons for us to learn from this incident. First, let us seek to be united with our brothers in a common conflict against the enemy. Do not be responsible for creating strife and conflict so endangering unity and good will. The Lord has called His people to harmony. Secondly, do not in any way become envious and jealous at the success of others but rather congratulate them, by so doing, we will reveal the God-like spirit and attitude. The cultivation of this attitude and action will be rewarded accordingly by God.

July 28th      DIVINE INITIATIVE – Judges 13: 1-23

It is apparent in the birth of Samson that the Lord is seen taking initiative in providing an answer for His elect household. He had allowed them to be brought under the dominion of the Philistines because of the sinful ways and practices and for forty years it had not been an easy time – v1. They had to pay the price again as the result of their waywardness and wickedness. It seems that they never did learn the lesson of history and were so prone to doing their own thing and forgetting the rights of God.

He could have left them to what they deserved but here He is seeking to raise up an individual who would make his mark upon his day and subsequent history. The birth of Samson was quite a unique event as the narrative reveals. To a barren woman is given the unexpected news that she is to bear a son and that the Nazarite vow would be on him and that he would be the future deliverer of Israel. She is given promise and prophecy of what was to be and is confirmed by the angel in an unusual manner – vv19-23.

We should be looking to the Lord to show forth His grace and power in our times. He expects us to take initiative in given moments but also there are the occasions when he moves in sovereign mercy to take up the cause for His own. It is good to know that God has not forsaken this generation and that He can and will raise up people that will rise with unique anointing to deal with the Christian Church’s enemy. Let our assurance and optimism be placed in Christ to outwork something mighty in these days in the calling and revealing of men with spiritual and supernatural power and gifting.

July 29th      INITIAL STIRRINGS – Judges 13: 24-25

The Lord was true to His word and Manoah’s wife gave birth to a son, Samson. His name actually means ‘distinguished, strong.’ He certainly was to become a renowned individual distinguished for His strength. The initial beginnings of this child could not have been better because it is recorded that he grew “and the Lord blessed him” -v24. The blessing of the Lord was with him from his earliest days singling him out for a meaningful and powerful destiny. His early life could not have been improved upon in order to prepare for the next stage.

There came the vital move forward in what was then to take place in God’s timing – “And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times . . . .” – v25. This was to be a special experience because he discovered that he was to be unique and different to the general crowd around him. There was a divine inspiration and revelation that commenced to flow through his being. He sensed that his life and work was being earmarked for something significant and special. A consciousness of God and of divine capability began to assert itself.

We, too, have been birthed into the divine Kingdom in order to be blessed and to become distinguished in terms of spiritual strength. The reason for our being within God’s special household is that we might become most useful and effective. Those initial stirrings by God’s Spirit need to increase within us, preparing and releasing us into a dynamic work of overcoming the enemy. Today you can move into something different and to begin to feel the greater touch of God upon your life.

July 30th      A START TO VICTORY – Judges14

It was necessary for Samson to begin his work for God in delivering God’s people from the hand of the Philistines. It appears to have been a strange way for things to work out, but the providence of God is in evidence despite Manoah’s concern for Samson’s choices – vv3, 4. Behind this love affair and intended marriage was the means through which Samson would get going on his real job of being the nation’s deliverer. There was the extraordinary slaying of the lion, the production of honey in its carcase, the telling of the riddle and betrayal, then finally, the slaying of the Philistines.

God’s servant, from this incident and experience, should have learned that the Philistines in no way could be trusted and the alarm bells should have rung very early in his conscience. His parents had told him and events proved the correctness of their advice.  Having discovered the Lord’s strength and help in an awkward moment, he should have proceeded more soundly and listened to God’s Word and not allowed the dictates of the flesh to assume control later on. Great care should have been adopted in the knowledge of his unique calling and gifting.

When God gives an anointing and we experience some victories, it is wise not to permit ourselves from giving way to any carnal and natural inclination. It is imperative to keep our lives perfectly attuned to God so that no seeds are sown that will lead to our personal undoing. Nobody can be too careful here because it is tragic to finish up a ‘has been’ when so much more could have been achieved. The triumphs known are to be a platform for even greater victories and these will be all the more so as a humble state of mind and attitude is evidenced.

July 31st      A UNIQUE PROVISION – Judges 15

This deliverer found himself in quite some difficulty after wreaking vengeance on the Philistines – vv1-8. Even his people also were under great threat – v9. They felt if Samson surrendered to them this threat would go away and so asked for this – vv11-13. Although they felt weak and intimidated, this was not so of him.  He allowed himself to be bound and to taken to them knowing that the Lord would help him with His inspiration and might. One with God would be more than a majority!

The Lord certainly came with enduement by His Spirit because it states: “And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistine shouted against him: “and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him . .” – v14. That was enough to empower and incite action. With the simple weapon of a jawbone of an ass he slew a thousand men. What a victory! It was thirsty work! Afterwards he found himself in a weak condition and in need of refreshment and God showed to him that the tool of victory was to be his means of refreshment. Water flowed from a hollow in the lifeless jawbone.

Sometimes we are left alone to face the foe, even those that ought to be with us are not as they should be, but that should not deter us from being full of faith and courage. We need to lead, irrespective of the opposition or the situation of our fellow believers, knowing the Lord will be with us to give His presence and a significant victory. There will also be a source of renewal opened to us as required so that we can be refreshed for further action.

       

                      

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