The Word…

The Word

Isaac Wimberly

If there are words for Him, then I don’t have them.
You see my brain has not yet reached the point.
Where it could form a thought that could adequately
describe the greatness of my God
And my lungs have not yet developed the ability to,
release a breathe with enough agility to
breathe out the greatness of His love
And my voice, you see my voice is so inhibited
Restrained by human limits,
that’s hard to even send the praise up
You see if there are words for Him,
I don’t have them.

 

My God, His grace is remarkable
Mercies are innumerable
Strength is impenetrable
He is honourable, accountable
Favourable, He’s unsearchable yet knowable
Indefinable yet approachable
Indescribable yet personal
He is beyond comprehension
Further than imagination
Constant through generations
King of every nation
But if there are words for Him,
Then I don’t have them.

 

You see my words are few
In trying to capture the one true God
Using my vocabulary would never do
But I use words as an expression,
An expression of worship to a Saviour
A Saviour who is both worthy and deserving of my praise
So I use words.

 

My heart extols the Lord. Blesses His name forever.
He has won my heart, Captured my mind
And has bound them both together
He is defeated me in my rebellion
Conquered me in my sin
He has welcomed me into His presence
Completely invited me in
He has made Himself the object of my sight
Flooding me with mercies in the morning
Drowning me with grace in the night.
But if there are words for Him,
Then I don’t have them.

 

But what I do have is, good news
For my God knew that man-made words
Would never do, the words are just tools
That we use to point to the truth
So He sent His son Jesus Christ
As The Word, living proof
He is the image of the invisible God
The first born of all creation
For by Him all things were created
Giving nothingness formation
And by His words He sustains
In the power of His name
For He is before all things
And over all things He reigns
Holy is His name.

 

So praise Him for His life
The way he persevered in strife
The humble son of God becoming the perfect sacrifice
Praise Him for His death
That He willingly stood in our place
That He lovingly endured the grave
That He battled our enemy
And on the third day rose in Victory
He is everything that was promised
Praised as the risen King
Lift your voice and sing
For one day He will return for us
And we will finally be united with our Saviour
For eternity, eternity.

 

So it’s not just words that I proclaim
For my words point to The Word
And The Word has a name
Hope has a name
Joy has a name
Peace has a name
Love has a name
And that name is Jesus Christ
Praise His name FOREVER!

Getting older…

Autumn. A lovely season. Perhaps one of special resonance for many of us, being that we can be said to be in the ‘Autumn’ years of our lives. And Autumn of course drifts seamlessly into Winter – maybe that season is the more applicable! So, apologies to all the ‘bright young things’ – I seem to be having a little muse on getting older!

Funny, isn’t it, that in childhood one longs to be older. Four and three-quarters, for instance, is proudly the age stated by our granddaughter. Every month counts! Whereas in adulthood, we may want to ‘knock off’ even a few years.

Plus or Minus – getting older? A bit of both. On the debit side: the old bones can ache and creak a bit; the teeth may live in a jar overnight; technology may baffle and frustrate; and the only sport left to us may be hunting for our glasses! On the credit side: we no longer have to go to work; when our (grand) children become tiresome and exhausting we can hand them back to their parents; we get a bus pass; and we do find that ‘a nice cup of tea’ solves (or at least eases) most things.

Aside from this flippancy, every time and age of our lives has its ups and downs. What of our Christian lives? When one is a Christian, life is one joyous, happy-clappy reverie – is this the truth? Obviously not. God didn’t promise us skies ever-blue. In fact sometimes as a Christian, we find that extra challenges are put before us. What ‘the world’ doesn’t understand, it sometimes mocks and belittles. That’s a tough one!

But back to the early days – the Spring of our Christian life. There is joy, excitement and anticipation of what is to come. As Autumn and Winter come around, have we perhaps lost some of the joy? Some of the excitement and anticipation? Do we really believe that ‘all things work together for good for those who love the Lord?’ Or do we just let biblical truths wash over us – merely words?

I know that at times I can feel far away from God. I can feel that I am just drifting along in my Christian life. Maybe you’ve felt that too? God knows us, understands us, and above all wants us to have a joy, a comfort, and a peace in Him. He never drifts away from us or tires of helping us. We need not be ashamed or embarrassed about feeling a bit adrift from Him. We just need to come before His throne, in contrition and humility, and He will restore us to the person He created us to be. Nothing in our life is too big for Him. Nothing in our life is too small for Him. If it troubles us, it troubles Him too.

So in closing, may I suggest that whether age-wise or emotion-wise we feel that we are in Spring / Summer or Autumn / Winter, God is always there for us. Each season of our life has its blessings. Yes, and even in those black ‘seasons’ there can be blessings to be found.

My prayer for us all is that God will give us open and wise hearts, to see His goodness and His blessings in all things and in all Seasons.
Until Next Time, Much love,

Linda.

A call to repentance and responsibility

A call to repentance and responsibility

We are living in a world which suffers from a deep disparity between rich and poor. God in the Bible, as we read in Deuteronomy 16:14-15, blessed everyone fairly and expected them to rejoice together:

“You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your towns. For seven days you shall keep the feast to the Lord your God at the place that the Lord will choose, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful”.

Our God is a fair God. One of the important instructions in Leviticus for God’s people was

“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.” (Lev. 19:9-10),

It was mandatory that God’s blessings should be shared fairly with the poor and needy. But we learn that God’s own chosen people have failed to act responsibly. The book of Prophet Amos points at the low spiritual standards of God’s chosen people. People became greedy and stopped following God’s instructions and values. The rich were becoming richer at the expense of the poor peasants, who were once farming for their living, but were now forced to farm for foreign trade — mostly wine and oil. (Amos 6:6).
God did intervene in restoring both His own people and His vineyard. The Psalmist is quite apt in saying

“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it… (Psalm 24:1)

God had to deliver His vineyard from greedy and selfish caretakers. God wanted to save His world from immorality.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.…” (John 3:16)

Harvest Thanksgiving reminds us of our salvation and calls us to repent for being irresponsible in not taking care of God’s vineyard justly. During the last few Sundays we have been reading a number of parables from the Gospel of Jesus. In the parable of the two sons, who work in their father’s vineyard: one Son portrays the ‘sinful outsider’ but is surprisingly more reliable than the other son who belongs to God’s chosen community. The parable of the tenants (Matthew 21: 33-46) is a story of greed and violence against God and His vineyard by His own appointed care takers. The Parable of the Wedding Banquet (Matthew 22: 1-14) is a story of God’s disappointment in His chosen people and God’s call to those who are outsiders.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Mathew 7:21):

“For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12:50)

Jesus offered Hope and Assurance to the poor and needy and to all who are marginal in society. He picked up those who were not part of the history of the chosen people of God. Jesus created His own band of disciples who became His Spiritual Harvest to offer Hope and Assurance to the whole of mankind. For this act of gathering His true followers Jesus was killed by His own chosen people. They thought they killed Him but on the third day Jesus rose again. How could evil overcome the good? How could darkness overcome the light? Jesus defeated the nefarious plans of those so-called chosen people.
Jesus not only rose again from the dead; He also empowered His disciples with the gift of the Holy Spirit. These disciples became the true caretakers of God’s Harvest and drew many people to participate with Jesus in building a just and righteous kingdom on earth. Jesus showed His disciples a huge harvest waiting to be gathered into God’s fold to become part of His spiritual harvest on earth,

“The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2)

We are the Church, planted by the labours of the Apostles of Jesus, the Saints, Evangelists and Missionaries down the centuries.

However we continue to live in a world where on the one hand people continue to suffer from injustice and unrighteousness and live in hunger and inadequate supply of essential needs for living, and on the other hand there is a progressively decreasing number of disciples of Jesus.

We are living in world where the rich continue to become more rich and the poor more poor. The circumstances in which many people live are quite hopeless and helpless. I do appreciate when our members and our school children bring gifts to the Church on Harvest Thanksgiving Sunday and we pass them to the Food Bank and to other needy people and organizations. But we have to move beyond our standard collecting and sharing of food to participating more robustly in becoming the voice of the poor and the marginal.
God has a much bigger dream than this for His world. He wants to establish His Just Kingdom.

Desmond Tutu speaks about A Vision of Hope for Our Time and speaks about how to transform our pain and sorrow into hope and confidence in the future. While fighting injustices in South Africa He says,

“…my confidence was not in the present circumstances but in the laws of God’s universe. This is a moral universe, which means that, despite all the evidence that seems to be contrary, there is no way that evil and injustice and oppression and lies can have the last word. God is a God who cares about right and wrong. God cares about justice and injustice. God is in charge.” (Desmond, p2)

We have to confess that at times our acts of faith appear merely a tick-box exercise. For Jesus’ disciples their life was meant to be an instrument through which God could perform miracles. For this reason Paul so confidently said, (1 Corinthians 3:9),

“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building”.

We have to be more robust in our participation with God in building His kingdom on this earth. This will mean, that throughout the year we have to reach out to the poor and needy, become their voice and not forget to gather those people who are there to hear the Good News of Jesus and to follow Him. Harvest Thanksgiving is a time when we receive the call from God to repent of our complacency about partnering with God to fulfil His Dream and not fully carrying out our responsibility in building His Kingdom honestly. Let us commend our life to God that He may fulfil His purpose through us:

God of Grace, as you are ever at work in your creation,
So fulfil your wise and loving purpose in us
And in all for whom we pray
That with them in all that you have made
Your glory may be revealed, and the whole earth give praise you.
Amen.

Bibliography
Desmond Tutu2004, God Has a Dream – A Vision of Hope for Our Time, Rider
Common Worship – Times and Seasons – Church House Publishing 2006
The Bible – NIV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compassion and Forgiveness

I was once privileged to hear a talk entitled ‘Healing of the Memories’. It was a long time ago, and at the time the wise words spoken – God given to a Ribble Valley vicar’s wife – had a big impact on me. The onset of pre-senility somewhat prevents actual re-call of what was said! However, the notion of a need for memory healing, probably for all of us, is still quite fixed in my mind.

As Christians, we know that each day is God-given – and we know that God holds all our future days in His hand. We are also aware that God knows all there is to know about our past. God knows all about those really tough times. He knows about our bereavements, our illnesses, our money problems, our disappointments, our contact with divorce, or alcoholism, or domestic violence. He knows about the times we’ve been let down or hurt by others. He knows about the worries we have with our children (small or grown up!). He knows about the issues around our caring for elderly, frail parents.

We need to live in the day, of course, and we do ‘move-on’ from bad times. However, I feel that sometimes the pains of the past can mar our present. This indeed was the basic theme of the ‘Healing of the Memories’ talk. All the events of our yesterdays have to a variable effect affected how we are today.

Are such legacies unavoidable? Do they matter? How can we rid ourselves of any bitterness, anger or pain from the yoke of the past? It is perhaps pertinent to accept that even Jesus cannot change the past in anyway. However, and equally pertinent is the absolute fact that He can heal our hearts and minds of the residually heavy burden we may be carrying. Not only that, by drawing closer to Jesus we can perhaps begin to see a benefit or a blessing from our days of trouble. This is nothing that happens to us in this life that cannot in some way; however small or obscure; be a blessing to others or ourselves in terms of spiritual awareness and understanding. The Good Book tells us that all things work together for good, for those who love the Lord.

Many times in my own life very unexpected and tough things have occurred. And no, I haven’t at the time gone around clapping my hands and praising the Lord! However, quite often sometime late I’ve been able to see a blessing or a least to see that ‘Yes’ the Lord was present in the midst of it all. This is even despite me probably having a ‘woe is me’ job-type attitude at the actual time! I’m only human!

Yes, of course I’m ‘only’ human – but just like you, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. So yes, our Father God longs for us to have peace about the things of our past. So if you are having a little think about past hurts and troubles, then maybe a deep and honest prayer before your Maker will help you to heal the past and to move on in a new and healthier way. Jesus himself told us that He came to enable us to have ‘life in all its fullness’. Yes, we can remember, treasure and lean from the past – but above all with our Lord’s help we can be rid of its pains and we can have peace.

And now, briefly to forgiveness, Mark Twain said, “Forgiveness is the sweet fragrance which the violet gives to the heel which crushes it. Yes, if we can have an unresolved, unforgiving attitude towards someone in our past – we can, and must allow our God to heal and cleanse us from that.

Sorry if all this seems a bit of a ‘waffle’. I just know that I’ve personally carried hurts etc. into my todays and my tomorrows. I’m very must a ‘work in progress!’ Yet bit by bit, Jesus has healed me and released me. I have, as in the hymn, found that I’ve often forfeited peace because I didn’t ‘carry everything to God in prayer.’ In conclusion, I would like to urge anyone for whom this has a resonance to just lay themselves before God’s mighty and compassionate throne. Believe me, He won’t let you down! And, you will feel so much lighter – but better than going to Weight Watchers!

Linda