Messages of the Moment

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                             Rev. Peter Cavana

GOD’S WORD

EVERYTHING OR NOTHING

 

FOR THE MOST PART, JESUS’ character while on earth was admirably peaceful and calm, but there were occasions when gentle Jesus meek and mild’ became formidable and furious. For example, in Matthew 23, Jesus pours out his disgust upon the Pharisees, pronouncing no less than seven ‘woes’ and calling them ‘blind fools’, ‘hypocrites’ and ‘snakes!’ Not an especially pleasant prophetic word to receive from the Lord!

 

One of the many charges levelled against the Pharisees in this chapter can be found in verse 23. Jesus says, ‘You give a tenth of your spices – mint, dill and cumin – but you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practised the latter without neglecting the former’.

 

 The Pharisees had shown absolute devotion and commitment to one part of the Law – in this example, it was tithing. God bless them – but they had completely failed to keep another part of it. To Jesus, this mindset was unacceptable. While he refers to ‘the more important matters of the Law’, He insists that both the latter and the former should be done. It is clear that believers should not come to the Ten Commandments, to borrow a J John joke, like a student approaching a GCSE paper: ‘of these ten questions, attempt any four!’ Yesterday and today, obeying the Holy Spirit is never a multiple-choice exercise.

 

What the Pharisees were doing, we might call pic ‘n’ mix holiness. I know all about pic ‘n’ mix, having worked in a pic ‘n’ mix booth for a while. l spent many long hours watching sweet-toothed children decide whether they wanted a  greater proportion of toffees over dolly mixtures. The nature of this kind of treat is that you don’t buy the product wholesale, but you are free to select what you want. The downside of this level of choice is that ultimately it is going to cost you more, especially if (like in the booth l ran) the bag is the heaviest item!

 

In common with many modern Christians, the Pharisees were subconsciously selecting which parts of the moral requirements of God they were going to keep, while disregarding some of those commandments that just seem to spoil life’s fun. It is no wonder the Lord was angry with these, who were supposed to be Israel’s teachers. But let’s not point the finger too keenly at them, as this kind of i scenario can be found regularly in our , local church. Let’s face it, it is much more attractive to ‘rejoice in the Lord’ than it is ‘to pick up your cross’. Inevitably, the receive the Double Portion Glory Anointing! Conference will always be full to the brim, leaving the free-to-enter Dying for Jesus’ seminar day a little sparse on numbers. For some, to pay a tithe is easier than to pray through a trial; so much simpler to fast, than to forgive. Perhaps the most dangerous element of this trait is that it so often goes on at the subconscious level.

 

An excellent illustration of this strange yet very common religious behaviour can be found in Dave Russon’s book ‘Hands that Hold the Future’. He tells the story of a Christian couple who visited a McDonalds drive-through in America.

 

Arriving home, they were astonished to find that the restaurant’s takings had been accidentally placed in their food bag! Gripped by his conscience, the man insisted that the money should be returned immediately and the couple drove back with the cash. The relieved manager was so impressed by their righteous act that he called for a local newspaper reporter and photographer to come. He wanted all the world to know of it. Horrified, the man fled the scene. He desired no publicity – the woman he was with was not his wife, but a mistress, and he was a local pastor.

 

We might have hoped that the same God-driven conscience that insisted he returned the cash to the store might also have returned the man to his wife. But, like the Pharisees, he was devoted to some of the commandments while conveniently neglecting others. And we can all do that.

 

Have you become a customer of God’s grace, perusing the Commandments and selecting that which best suits your palate? Sorry. Christianity is a wholesale purchase. Time to eat the scroll. All of it! I hear the dinner gong . . .

 

Find out more Peter Cavanna at www.signsandwonders.co.uk

 

Childrens’ Page

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                                       Rev. E. Anderson

A LITTLE BIT OF DIRT

Ivor Powell

 

A tiny grain of dirt is on one of the smallest things in the world. It is so helpless, it may be trampled under foot by the smallest creature; it may be blown all over the place by the slightest breath of wind; it has no power to resist, and altogether it is a mean, helpless speck. It can be ruthlessly pushed aside by the tiniest insect; it can be carried through the air in the embrace of a raindrop; it can be so infinitesimal that the eye cannot detect its presence. Poor little thing! Yet it is a staggering thought that the despised nonentity may become mighty. It is astounding that the insignificant grain of dust may stop the most elaborate machinery, paralyse athletes, and cause confusion in every walk of life.

 

We see a modern car, the scintillating product of modern engineering. Highly polished, it graces the road upon which it runs, and gladdens the heart of its proud owner. One hardly hears the gentle purr of its engine. It climbs the steepest gradients with ease; it negotiates the most acute corners with safety and grace; its balance and poise are that of an aristocrat of the road. It represents the dreams of a millionaire, the ambitions of the genius, the joy of the producer. It is the last word in industrial achievement; and yet a grain of dust can turn the shining monster into a helpless, impotent nuisance. A grain of dirt carried by the petrol into one of the finest jets, produces wheezy asthmatical coughs as if the car were about to expire. The rhythm of the engine gives place to discords, and repeated convulsions suggest that the poor longsuffering automobile has become a victim of epilepsy. A grain of dirt ruins the performance of the finest car, and unless a helping hand removes the annoying nuisance, the car remains motionless for ever.

 

We see an athlete, trained to perfection and ready to run his record-breaking race. A strict diet has removed every ounce of superfluous flesh, and beneath his taut skin latent power lies buried the rippling muscles. His eyes are bright with the joy of living, his countenance reveals radiant health, his legs and feet are dancing with eagerness as he approaches starting post. Suddenly, he is on his way.

 

With an ease characteristic of a champion he hurls himself over the ground, and the excited crowd acclaims him. Then a piece of grit flies into his eye. Involuntarily he lifts his hand to brush it away, but it has lodged on his pupil. As a pearl in an oyster, it begins to irritate, and the eye becomes misty with tears. The athlete can hardly see; the pain increases, and becomes excruciating. The tiny edges of the grit seem be cutting; the eye feels as big as a mountain! The runner begins to shorten his stride he seems like a drunken man. Other runners overtake him, for he is partially blinded; his eye is now bloodshot. His chances of winning the race suddenly disappear; and unless a friendly hand removes the foreign body from the eye, the athlete’s career must terminate.

 

We see a housewife planting bowers in her garden and alas, she allows a bit of dirt to stay in a cut on her hand. Of course, it is nothing! Such a tiny speck of earth can easily be removed when her gardening is finished. Why be so fussy over trivialities? Later, when the cut begins to fester, she becomes anxious; a tiny red line reaches from her wrist to her elbow. Then the doctor declares that blood poisoning has resulted from her neglect. She will need to follow instructions carefully, or the consequences might be disastrous. She promises to obey explicitly but all the while she asks herself a question. Who would have thought that a grain of dust could cause such inconvenience?

 

Poor wicked little giant! Such impotent might! Such insignificant dynamic! You belie your appearance. You deceive us: You are a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A little bit of dirt in a man’s soul can eclipse the sun! Just a tiny bit of prohibited pleasure may haunt our memory, blind our eyes, paralyse our feet and bring spiritual progress to a halt. A little bit of sinful dirt can negative our abilities, and lead us to a place of silent impotence. It turns a genius into a second-rater, and demotes a prophet to the ranks of ordinary followers of Christ. O little enemy, how carefully I should watch you.

 

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Illustration that Light Up

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                                       Rev. E. Anderson

REPRODUCTION

 

When God givens an generated Word,, it will make you hunger for more of the same. But be careful; don’t go ‘cherry-picking, the Bible for feel-good Scriptures. To grow in your faith you must discipline yourself to spend time each day in God’s Word. You don’t discover an engrafted Word all by yourself, or decide that one particular Scripture is for you and another is not, ‘All Scripture is profitable…’ – 2 Timothy 3:16 NVJV. To make a profit in business you must know your business thoroughly, otherwise you’ll soon be out of business, The way to succeed in your Christian life is to make it your business to know your Bible, Don’t just seek a Word from God, study the entire Word of God.

 

Do you want your life to count? Saturate yourself in the Scriptures! It’s the analogy of the sperm and the egg. Neither the male sperm nor the female egg is capable of reproduction. Only when the sperm impacts and is embraced by the egg, is there conception and reproduction, And it’s the same with our spiritual growth. When God’s Word and the receptive heart get together something is going to happen. That’s a combination that works every time!

 

There’s nothing to beat prolonged personal exposure to the Scriptures. It’s vital. Without it you won’t be able to hear what God is saying to you. You’ll always have to depend on somebody else. Imagine dealing with your husband or wife on that basis? How long do you think your marriage would last? The same is true with God. There’s no substitute for first-hand daily, consistent exposure to His Word.

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