Prayer Horizons

Prayer Horizons

2018 devotionals 2018Devotional

            Now in the morning, having risen a long while before day-

            light, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and

            there He prayed.”

                                                    Mark 1:35

 

            “And take up the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the

            Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all

            prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this

            end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”

                                                Ephesians 6:17-18

Prayer can be defined as talking to God. This, of course is a very simple definition of the practice and yet it is true. More definitely, prayer is working with God to bring forth His purpose in the world (2 Corinthians 6:1). This is a privilege that every Christian should shoulder. The Bible clearly teaches us that all of life is to be handled with prayer but indeed there comes a time when prayer must move away from concentrating on ourselves but rather on the will of God for the world around us. The great intercessor Rees Howells bore the prayer burden of saving Britain from a Nazi invasion during the Second World War. God heard him and did just that!

Jesus invites us into a meaningful prayer life and in this study I want us to lift our horizons to see what types of prayer we can move into if we are prepared to enter this adventure with God. Prayer is hard work, it demands discipline but God does nothing without it! It is also rewarding because we observe the hand of God moving in response to it. Prayer is thus the ultimate demonstration of a life that is fully submitted to god!

  1. The Call to Prayer

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers,

 intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,

 for Kings and all those who are in authority, that we may

 lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”

                                                1 Timothy 2:1-2

       It will be noted from this passage that there are different types of prayer. Namely; those that plead with God (supplications), those that please God (prayers), those that do for others what they cannot do for themselves (intercessions) and those that give thanks. It will also be noted that our state of national security and peace is dependent upon the people of God praying in these ways! No wonder Jesus said that His house should chiefly be a “house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:17).

  1. The Nature of Prayer

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according

to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal

but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the

knowledge of God……”

                                                2 Corinthians 10:3-5

There are five types of prayer in the scriptures and these, as far as Paul was concerned, constituted our mighty weapons for the ”left and right-hand.” At some point we need to learn how to pick them up, as our effectiveness is dependent upon it!

  1. Responsive Prayer

This is caring and instant prayer that introduces the recipient to the love and grace of God. Jesus employed it when upon the cross He prayed, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” We call it the “Let’s pray model.”

  1. Conditional Prayer

Prayer is made powerful and effective by lives that reflect the character of God. Clean lives attract the power of God. James wrote, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”(James 5:16). Peter warns that if husbands do not treat their wives in a godly way God will not hear their prayers! (1 Peter 3:7) God honors the prayers of godly men and women.

  1. Importunate Prayer

This is the type of prayer that never gives up. It is sincere and earnest and those who utter it cast themselves on the grace and mercy of God like Cornelius did (Acts 10:1-4).  The early church also employed it on Peter’s behalf (Acts 12:5). Jesus said, “Keep knocking and the door will be opened up to you” (Matthew 7:7).

  1. Battle Prayer

This type of prayer takes hold of the Word of God and its promises and holds them up before God until He does what His word proclaims (Isaiah 62:6-7). Daniel prayed in this way and consequently great spiritual strongholds, that held the people of God captive, were brought down (Daniel 9:1-3). A great spiritual stronghold in our nation is that of abortion. The Word of God is against it and believing Christians can bring it down. However, this will demand dedication and commitment. Paul acknowledged this realm of prayer when he wrote that out conflict is “not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).  Meanwhile other spiritual strongholds are growing and threaten to engulf us with evil. We must lift our prayer horizons urgently and deal with these dark powers.

  1. Regular Prayer

The early Church believers were together all the time in regular prayer meetings. (Acts 2:42). Prayer was undoubtedly  “the lungs of the Church.” They could not survive without it and so the book of Acts states, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication…” (Acts 1:14). It is from regular prayer that the local Church derives its power and we would see more evidence of the power and presence of God amongst us if more people would gather in this manner. The fact that too often the prayer meeting is the smallest weekly meeting of the local church is evidence of our spiritual weakness. We will not change our world until this changes. Indeed we will sing and shout the victory but it will remain just words! (Exodus 32:18)

  1. The Content of Prayer

As far as Paul is concerned prayer should cover all things in life. He again wrote, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known unto God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).Prayer has more to do with our mental well being than we imagine or care to admit.. Anxiety leads to fear and fear to depression and prayer is the way out of these crippling mental disorders.

I firmly believe that we should employ the “Lego Principle” in living this out. That is, enlarge your prayer life by adding new issues and topics to it all the time; just as one adds one Lego piece to another. If you are faithful and regular in this you will not believe how God can use this and thereby entrust to you a “memorial” that will be raised up in heaven before Him. God answers prayer like this.

Malcolm Hedding

 

 

The Testings of God

The Testings of God

2018 devotionals 2018Devotional

 

            “Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing

             toward the sons of men. He turned the sea into a dry land; they

             went through the river on foot. There we will rejoice in Him.

             He rules by His power forever; His eyes observe the nations;

             do not let the rebellious exalt themselves.”

                                                                                                Selah

            “Oh, bless our God, you peoples! And make the voice of His praise

             to be heard, Who keeps our soul among the living, and does not allow

             our feet to be moved. For You, O God, have tested us; You have

             refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid

             affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads;

             we went through fire and through water; but you brought us out to

             rich fulfillment.”

                                                                        Psalm 66:8-12

 

Definition of terms:

Trials and tribulations constitute that process whereby God deals with our characters. The “Testings of God” is that process whereby God deals with our love for, and friendship with, Him.

God is actually looking for friends but a friend of God is a person that actually does what He commands. Consequently such a person will be entrusted with the secrets of heaven!

“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No

             longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know

             what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for

             all things that I heard from My Father I have made known

             to you.”

                                                John 15:14-15

 

An invitation to understand the sovereignty of God (V5-7)

If we do not have a good understanding of the sovereignty of God we shall not be able to trust Him; we will establish our own ways and thus become rebellious. Consequently Jesus will not have His way with us and we run the risk of disqualifying ourselves from participating in His purpose. Trusting God based on our understanding of who He is is at the root of building a friendship with Him.

An invitation to worship God (V8-9)

Worship is that activity whereby we chiefly describe the worth of God. By it we give God what He is due in righteousness and we behold His power and glory. This calms us down and makes us candidates for a miracle. (Acts 16:25-28)

An invitation to embrace the testing of God (V8-12)

 Testing imparts the ways of God into our lives and usually it is:

  1. Mysterious

There is not always a discernable reason as to why one is put to the test other than that God believes the time has come to accomplish additional things in one’s life (1 Peter 1:6-7; 1 Peter 4:12). By the testing process of God we discover things about ourselves that we didn’t know existed and we change!

  1. Refining

The process by which silver is refined is different to that of gold! That is, the refiner takes particular care over each piece of raw silver to ensure that it is not over heated and spoiled. When he gets it right the silver is pure and easy to work with. If he gets it wrong the silver may still be pure but it becomes hard to work with and is consequently used for less important projects. Paul alluded to this in 2 Timothy 2:20-21.

  1. Difficult

God traps you, like a bird, in His net and leads you through paths that are difficult just like He led His people into a desert and there He tested them and they, we are told, “murmured in their tents” (Psalm 106:25).

  1. Humiliating

Sometimes God will even allow others to gloat over you even though you know that you are in the right and have done nothing wrong. This teaches us to let Him vindicate us in due time. It is a hard lesson to learn but learn it we must (Romans 12:17-21).

  1. Blessed

Those who endure the testings of God will emerge into “rich (or abundant) fulfillment”. This implies that Jesus has a wonderful purpose for your life that He can only bring you into by the process of testing. Do not forget this.

Three examples

Peter

 Peter was put to the test at the trial of Jesus and was humiliated by a little girl. He found out a lot of things about Himself, learned the lessons and changed. It was He who once had no boldness, who was able to stand up on the Day of Pentecost and with boldness preach the gospel (Acts 2:14). Peter’s denial of Christ was in fact a breach of friendship and consequently Jesus was more heart broken than Peter (Luke 22:61). For this reason when Jesus met up with Peter at the Sea of Galilee, after His resurrection, He asked Peter three times whether he was indeed His friend (John 21:15-17). The word that Jesus uses here for love is not agape’ but phileo which designates the love of friendship!

Abraham

He was called by God to sacrifice Isaac upon whom all the promises of God in terms of world redemption rested. Abraham was tested as to whether He really believed God and trusted Him no matter what; even when no way forward is evident. Abraham was brought to a dead end and only the word of God sustained him and because of this God called him His friend (Isaiah 41:8). It is important to recognize that God called Abraham to do something that God never really intended him to do. It was in effect a test that had to do with the matters of trust, friendship and obedience. Consequently God shared the complete DNA (secrets) of world redemption with Abraham! The Lord placed a similar test before us at the beginning of this year and so told us to apply for a ministry position on the Isle of Wight. As it turned out He had no intention of sending us there but He did put us to the test to see if we would still obey His command and give up everything again to follow Him. This is what His friends do!

Joseph

God spoke to him about his destiny and then put him through circumstances that would appear to contradict everything that God had said (Genesis 37:7-11). He was sold into slavery by his brothers, taken to a foreign land, falsely accused, thrown in jail and then raised to the right hand of power and his brothers did indeed come before him and bow down! (Psalm 105:16-22) If God has really spoken to you about a particular destiny that He has for you then you are probably a good candidate to have it all taken from you! The question is, will you give up or better still are we the friends of Jesus? This means; are we involved with the kingdom of God in order to fulfill our purpose and destiny or to be the friends of Jesus?

False Teachings of the End Time

False Teachings of the End Time

2018 devotionals 2018Devotional

 

                        “For false christs and false prophets will rise

                         and show great signs and wonders to deceive,

                         if possible, even the elect.”

                                                            Matthew 24:24

 

  1. Truth

There is no doubt that one of the great signs of the end time is the re-emergence of the state of Israel on the stage of world history. This is a sign without precedent, as it constitutes the first time in over two thousand years that the Jews have sovereignty over Jerusalem again. Jesus placed this reality in the basket of His signs pointing to His second coming (Luke 21:24). He also stated that in the days in which this miracle occurs there would be world-wide upheaval, wars and rumors of wars and the arrival of a perilous time, such as the world has never seen before, called the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21). Israel on the very brink of annihilation at the hands of a global attack will be saved out of this tribulation physically and spiritually (Zechariah 12:1-10). This spiritual salvation will be the “trigger mechanism” for the return of Christ to the Mt of Olives. That is, Israel’s recognition of Jesus’ messianic credentials will bring about what Paul called “resurrection from the dead”. This means that the Church of all ages will come out of their graves and, together with living believers, will rise to meet Christ as He comes again in great power and glory to place His feet on the Mt. of Olives (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

This picture that I have painted above is the one that scripture gives us and it is the one that was embraced by the early Church. The blessed hope of the Church is not a renovated world system because of some great end time revival but it is indeed, and only, the second coming of Jesus (Titus 2:11-13). The present world is actually passing away (1 John 2:17) because it is an “evil age” (Galatians 1:3-4) and God is determined to bring it down and He will. Every city and nation will be brought down as God visits the planet with what scripture calls the Day of the Lord (Revelation 16:19)(Joel 3:9-17). Our hope is not in the man made systems of this world but in the living God who by His glorious Gospel has saved us and given us a longing for a new heavens and a new earth wherein righteousness will dwell (2 Peter 3:13). You need to be assured of this: That we are approaching a global upheaval the likes of which the world has never seen before and, as the prophet Daniel stated, wars and desolations are determined until the end! This is not an eschatology of pessimism but one of hope because it is anchored in the truth of God’s word and in the promised coming of Christ.

The documents of the Early Church, that is the very Church founded by the Apostles themselves, testify to this understanding of scripture. Here below is a sample of these writings all of which were written before the fourth century.

The Epistle of Barnabas

“The final stumbling-block approaches. We take earnest heed in these last days; for the whole time of your faith will profit you nothing, unless now in this wicked time we also withstand coming sources of danger; as becometh sons of God. That the Black One (Antichrist) may find no means of entrance, let us flee from every vanity, let us utterly hate the works of the way of wickedness.”

Justin Martyr

The man of apostasy shall venture to do unlawful deeds on the earth against us Christians….”

The Shepherd of Hermes

“Happy ye who endure the great tribulation that is coming on.”

The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles

“For the whole time of your faith will not profit you if you are not made perfect in the last time. Then shall appear the world-deceiver as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders. Then shall the creation of men come into the fire of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and perish; but they that endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself.”

Irenaeus

“….and they shall give their kingdom to the Beast and put the Church to flight.”

“But he (John) indicates the number of the name now, that when the man comes we may avoid him, being aware who he is.”

Hippolytus

“Now concerning the tribulation of the persecution which is to fall upon the Church from the adversary (The Antichrist). That refers to the one thousand and three score days during which the tyrant is to reign and persecute the Church.”

Tertullian

“Now the privilege of the favor awaits those who shall at the coming of the Lord be found in the flesh, and who shall, owing to the oppressions of the time of Antichrist, deserve an instantaneous death which is accomplished by a sudden change to become qualified to join the raisings saints..”

The Constitutions of the Holy Apostles

 “…for through the abounding of iniquity the love of many shall wax cold. For men shall hate, and persecute, and betray one another. And then shall appear the Deceiver of the world, the enemy of the truth, the prince of lies, whom the Lord Jesus shall destroy with the spirit of His mouth, who takes away the wicked with His lips; and many shall be offended at Him. But they that endure to the end, the same shall be saved..”

  1. False truth

 In recent years a new message is being preached by Evangelicals, Pentecostals and neo-Pentecostals and this message is false but it is being accepted and embraced everywhere and essentially it states that much of Matthew 24 and the other great eschatological passages of the Bible have been fulfilled and now we await a great end time revival that will actually transform nations, rehabilitate all spheres of human endeavor and usher in peace and then, and only then, Jesus will come again.  This is actually Kingdom Now or Dominion Theology or Postmillennialism built on the foundation of Preterism (The belief that all of Matthew 24 etc. has been fulfilled by past historical events)(1). Indeed many of the propagators of this error are telling us that a soon coming spiritual revival in Israel will bring resurrection blessing and power to the nations thus sweeping multiple millions into the Kingdom of God. All of this sounds very triumphant and wonderful but in reality it is a false teaching and in fact a very dangerous one at that because it is based on a totally false exegesis of Romans 11:15 and thus does not prepare Christians for the great trials that are about to come:

“For if their being cast away is the reconciling of

                         the world, what will their acceptance be but life

                         from the dead?”

 This “life from the dead”; otherwise translated as “resurrection from the dead”, means exactly what it says in that, according to Paul, Israel’s spiritual recovery will trigger the literal and real resurrection of the dead and usher in the visible second coming of Jesus. “Life from the dead” means then that all the saints of all of history will come forth from their graves to meet Christ in the air as He descends to the Mt. of Olives. It is to be noted that Paul’s teaching in this regard is further clarified in verses 25 and 26 of the same chapter. That is, it is only after the fullness of the Gentiles has been gathered in that Israel gets saved; not before, and consequently the Deliverer (Savior) will “come out of Zion.” Meaning that Zion or a Jewish Jerusalem brings Christ back to the earth. Jesus in fact said that this would be the case (Matthew 23:37-39)(Luke 13:34-35).

The fullness of the Gentiles is completed before Israel’s acceptance of Jesus’ messianic credentials and not afterwards as these false teachers assert. So then there are not two “fullnesses of the Gentiles” in scripture; only one. To teach otherwise is a contradiction of the context and is just nonsense and yet this is exactly what is being taught with the expectation that the nations will get saved in a manner never seen before after Israel comes to faith. This is not true. Israel is not a catalyst for a world-wide revival. If anything she is a catalyst to save the world from utter destruction as her spiritual restoration brings the King of Kings back to the earth at a time when things are so bleak and dark that God has to shorten the time in order to save humanity from total annihilation (Matthew 24:21-22).

Furthermore, those propagating this error frequently support their error by quoting passages from the Bible that refer to the coming Messianic Reign of Christ or what is known as the Millennium. That is, these passages describe global conditions after Jesus has come a second time and not before. Sadly the unsuspecting unable to “rightly divide” scripture buy into this error and so one such passage is Isaiah 2:2-4:

“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the

                         mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on

                         the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above

                         the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people

                         shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the

                         mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob;

                         He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His

                         paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the

                         word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge

                         between the nations, and rebuke many people; they

                         shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their

                         spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up

                         sword against nation, neither shall they learn war

                         anymore.”

 Again, this picture of peace and absence of conflict only applies to the age to come or to what the Bible calls the “regeneration” when Christ sits on His glorious throne ruling and judging the nations with a “rod of iron” (Matthew 19:28) (Revelation 12:5). The consummation of our age will be characterized by global conflict, on a scale never seen before, the falling away or apostasy of millions of Christians (2 Thessalonians 2:3), great natural disasters and upheavals, the persecution of the Church, the rise of a new Hitler or Beast, who will be destroyed by the second coming of Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:8), (2) and the Great Day of the Lord. In fact Jesus warned that the situation will deteriorate rapidly, just as an expectant mother experiences a growing intensity in her birth pangs, and that consequently those days will have to be shortened lest no flesh survive on the earth (Matthew 24:21). This is not a picture of some great global revival but in fact just the opposite and, if we do not prepare ourselves for it, we may well fall away or, worse still, give our allegiance to a new global order actually driven by Satan himself and characterized by great signs and wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9). Jesus, concerned about the state of the Church in the world in the end time, wondered whether He would find the faith on the earth when He comes again (Luke 18:8).

The picture I have described above is not pessimistic but biblically realistic and anyway our hope is not in a rehabilitated world that is passing away but in the coming of Christ and His visible and regenerated kingdom on earth (Hebrews 9:28). Beyond the “birth pangs” then is a new age of peace and joy in a world finally free from war. We are also not going to lock ourselves away with our “end time prepper provisions” and hope for the end to come. This too is certainly not biblical. No, we are going to do everything possible to call people out of the world to the cross of Jesus since this glorious Gospel will be preached in all the world as a witness and then the end shall come (Matthew 24:14). We have good news to preach and we had better do so now, more than ever, for indeed the “night cometh when no man will work.” (John 9:4).

Even so Lord Jesus come!

Malcolm Hedding

 

(1) Preterism is an eschatological teaching that was compiled in 1614 by a Jesuit Priest called Luis de Alcazar. He did this specifically in order to counter or resist the Reformation in that Luther, and the other reformers, accused the Pope of being the Antichrist. The strategy was simple: If all the Antichrist passages of scripture were fulfilled in AD 70 then it is not possible to accuse the Pope of being an Antichrist!

(2) The fact that the Antichrist is destroyed by the coming of Jesus a second time is consistent with Daniel’s prophetic oracle and constitutes proof that the events of the end time, as described by Matthew in his 24th chapter, were not entirely fulfilled in AD 70 and beyond. They have more than one fulfillment and are therefore what we call “progressive prophetic fulfillment”.

 

Faith to live by

Faith to live by

2018 devotionals 2018Devotional Weekly Devotional

 

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who

             comes to God must believe that He is a rewarder of those

             who diligently seek Him”

                                                            Hebrews 11:6

Definition

Faith is the unshakable belief in the reality and existence of God and that He is able to do anything and everything when diligently petitioned.”

 

  1. The nature of our commitment to Christ

The Bible tells us that when we surrendered our lives to Christ we handed our lives fully and completely over to Him. We surrendered possession of ourselves to the God of heaven!

“… and He died for all, that those who live should

             live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died

             for them and rose again.”

                                                    2 Corinthians 5:15

 

            “Or do you not know that your body is the temple

             of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have

             from God, and that you are not your own?”

                                                       1 Corinthians 6:19

  1. The nature of faith

The messianic believers referred to in the book of Hebrews did not expect to be persecuted and abused when they embraced Christ as their Lord and Savior. They expected a different outcome and so when these difficulties arose they were disappointed and considered abandoning their faith and returning to Judaism. Consequently the writer of the book exhorts them to continue and to have faith in the reality and goodness of God.

That is, he desires that they should entrust themselves to Him and in so doing he reminds them of the Prophet Habakkuk who, having encountered the same dilemma, was told by God that he would have to trust Him by walking in faith. Hence we have the famous statement, “The just shall live by faith.” True faith does not determine the outcome but believes that whatever the outcome it will be for our good and that God has indeed answered (Hebrews 10:32-39). Actually, this is precisely Paul’s point in Romans 8 where he declares that in fact we do not really know the outcome of our prayers but we confidently entrust ourselves to a loving God who will cause “all things to work together for good” for those who love Him (Romans 8:26-28).

Hebrews 11:1-6 is a response to Hebrews 10:32-39 and a preamble to the great passage that follows, which many call the “role call of faithful people.” In other words the context of the chapter will reveal what his definition of faith in verse one of chapter means i.e.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the

             evidence of things not seen.”

It is very important to note that in every case here mentioned faith is a positive response to the self-revelation of God. That is, people accomplished great things not because they knew the outcome of their journey but because they knew the God of the journey! This is precisely why the more one knows the Bible so the more one comes to know who God is. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

Consider this: Abraham did not know where he was going when he left Ur of the Chaldeans and he did not know that Isaac would be spared when God called upon him to sacrifice him. Enoch so trusted in God that, though he was well pleasing to God, he did not know that God would one day take him. Moses’ mother trusted in God but did not know that when she put Moses in the river that Pharaoh’s daughter would find him and adopt him. Neither did she know that she would end up nursing her own son. She had faith in God but did not know the outcome. Some of these great saints trusted God but never expected to be sawn in two and then all of them died having never experienced the full outcome of their faith (Hebrews 11:13). They had faith in that they fully entrusted themselves to God, as they were not their own, and they left the outcome to Him.

In fact it must be noted that Abraham’s biggest mistake was to seek to determine the outcome of his walk of faith by manipulating the production of a son through one of his servants called Hagar. He could not trust God and consequently his attempt to “determine the end” gave birth to Ishmael and with him came a huge conflict that still rages to this day. Despite all of this Abraham remains a great man of faith who was able to trust God fully with his life.

Seeking to determine the outcome is actually like playing “Russian Roulette.” It’s a dangerous game and while sometimes it works in most cases it doesn’t and the consequence are not good to say the least. For instance, in the case of healing, not even ten percent of people prayed for are healed in the way that we hoped for and firmly affirmed. A lot actually die even though time and time again we pronounced them healed and urged them to hold to this positive confession. The burden placed upon these people is immense and truly quite cruel but we persist in this call to faith because we have falsely believed that this is what faith is. It is not! Please remember that even Jesus struggled with the outcome of His faith journey and had to learn to entrust Himself fully to God His Father:

 

“…who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up

             prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears

             to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was

 heard because of His godly fear, though He was a

             Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which

             He suffered.”

                                                Hebrews 5:7-8

Faith is the unshakable and unswerving belief in a righteous and good God who will always answer our prayers but in His way. To determine the outcome is to play god. Another way of putting this is to say that, faith is believing in God in such a way that you can feel, see and touch Him. (1 John 1:1) When you have this “substance” in your hand you know that God will do everything you ask of Him, but again, in His way. Oral Roberts, the great healing evangelist of the last century, recognized that the majority of the people he had prayed for in his great healing crusades were in fact not healed. Of course a small percentage were but he was honest and concerned enough that he embarked upon the building of a hospital.

  1. The challenge of faith

Do you have faith? That is, are you able to entrust your self to Him so that He can do anything He likes with your life; even heal you by taking you home? This is precisely where we come apart because we strongly desire to determine the outcome because we are, rightly so, consumed with compassion, sorrow and yes self-interest. We want our friends and loved ones to continue with us and so we construct prayers that are more a commentary on these desires than real faith. I have seen so many people, even dear friends of mine, go through this “spiritual obstacle course” and then when they died and were not healed, as was so fervently affirmed, discouragement, confusion and even anger at God set in. On the other hand, as a Pentecostal preacher, I have indeed seen many people instantly healed and set free from their terminal illness. In this I have greatly rejoiced but it was faith in God and not in the outcome that did this and also Jesus gives us the gift of faith by the Holy Spirit whereby we just know for certain that if someone is prayed for they will be instantly healed (1 Corinthians 12:8, Acts 14:8-9). This is all true and we must affirm it within the boundaries that our faith is in God and He has the right to do with His children as He pleases.

  1. The foundations of faith

We need to live our lives in such a way that God can help us in our time of need. We must be true to our verbal commitments to Christ and we must live holy lives. We have handed our lives fully over to Him as Lord and Savior and so we must live in harmony with this act of dedication. Failure in this regard means that God Himself may well strike us down with physical weakness, sickness and even death. No amount of so-called believing faith will reverse this except real and sincere repentance. Paul warns of this when giving instructions about taking the communion elements. We must take these “judging ourselves” meaning that we must consider our commitments to Christ based on what He did for us on the cross. To “eat of the bread and drink of the cup in an unworthy manner” will invite God’s correction and judgment (1 Corinthians 11:29-30).

Conclusion

There is a real need for biblical counseling and care when dealing with people who are facing real and serious life threatening medical challenges. We must tell them the truth and thereby affirm that God will answer their prayers and those of the ones who stand with them. Indeed He will heal them but in three possible ways: by reversing the condition instantly, by the use of medical attention and treatment and by taking them home. In every case they will be healed because they entrust themselves to Him. And, in every case, He will deposit His supernatural power, strength, blessing and peace upon them.

Sometimes the end of this struggle can appear to be so definite and hopeless especially if the person we were believing God to heal died. However an understanding of the word “end” in the Bible fills us with real comfort and hope. In the Greek this word “TELOS” does not mean the end of the matter as of something definite and conclusive but rather it means the conclusion of a set of circumstances that actually pave the way for the “new” to come. An example of this is that the end of the age is not simply to bring the present age to a close, but to allow a new age to emerge wherein peace and righteousness will prevail and dwell. Those who come to an end in this world are passing into something glorious! We do indeed mourn the loss of their presence but we also rejoice in their triumph in Christ.

May we forever hold this in our hearts!

Malcolm Hedding

The Word of God

The Word of God

2018 devotionals 2018Devotional Weekly Devotional

 

                        “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord God,

                         that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine

                         of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the

                         words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to

                         sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and

                         fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not

                         find it.”

                                                            Amos 8:11-12

We live in a time when our world, that is the western world in particular, is literally awash with numerous and various translations of the Word of God and then to add to this we have all sorts of study aids to the Bible and commentaries that seek to address every book contained in this scared volume. And yet, for all of this, we still have congregations that are in the most part biblically illiterate and cannot in truth tell one much about the books of the Bible that they read. There is indeed a famine “of hearing the words of the Lord.”

At one level we must ask, “Why is this so?” And the answer would probably be: Because the people of God are not really encouraged to “receive the word implanted” (James 1:21) or thoroughly ingested by those who occupy our pulpits. Rather the people of God are encouraged to read snippets of the Bible every day that essentially disinvests them from acquiring an understanding of it contents. By contrast the Bible itself encourages us to dwell in its pages “day and night” and Jesus likened our intake of it to that of our daily consumption of food (Matthew 4:4).  Actually, to be honest, we all eat too much and wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all had too much to eat of the Word of God. Sadly this is not true and in the main, despite all our translations and various “helps” the average Christian knows very little about the Bible.  Paul well knew the power of the Word of God and so when he finally took leave of the Ephesian Church leaders he said, “So, now brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified (Acts 20:32). There is indeed a famine of the words of the Lord!

The context of Amos’s statement above is that of a people who, having the Word of God, have nevertheless not taken its pages seriously and have consequently lived in wicked ways and have even sought for ways to undermine its pages in a manner that it appears to condone this wickedness. Jesus understood this twisted practice of the human heart and said in response, “ But why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do the things which I say? (Luke 6:46)” Today the biggest threat to the true Church is the wider church itself in that many denominations and movements that once, by their founding fathers, supported a Bible believing faith have actively sought to dismantle this by condoning behavior and practices that are in reality clearly condemned by scripture. This has impacted their understanding of marriage, family, sexual purity and mission in the world. Peter, in his day, encountered these same people and warned his readers, in his second epistle bearing his name, about them (2 Peter 3:14-18). Churches that remain true to the Word of God are therefore despised and ridiculed by so called fellow expressions of the Christian faith and this encourages the ungodly to join this throng of abusers. The God of the Bible warns through Amos His prophet that these evils will bring upon those who practice them a famine of the words of the Lord. They may seek the words of God and in so doing “run to and fro” but it will not help until they repent and amend their ways.

So then, apart from there being human reasons for which the Bible is a closed book to many in the Church today, there is in fact a heavenly reaction to neglect, wickedness and distortion that locks the truth of the pages of scripture from them. In short the famine “of the words of the Lord” is sent from heaven as judgment or as an instrument of correction with the hope of bringing them to repentance. We should note this carefully.

In the end we must humble our hearts before this amazing book and approach it with great reverence because it is fully inspired (2 Timothy 3:16) or “God breathed” (2 Peter 1:19-21) and we should cultivate reading habits of it that enable us to absorb, understand and know it contextually. When we do this, as the Psalmist declares, it will become “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).” Indeed we should read all of Psalm 119 in order to appreciate the extreme importance of living in the Word of God.

When I first came to Christ He showed me that I needed to live in the Bible and read at least ten chapters of it a day. I did this by the grace of God and consequently my life has been transformed and my understanding of its pages has been enlarged. I then agree with David when he wrote the following:

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel

                         of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners,

                         nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight

                         is in the Law of the Lord, and in His Law he medi-

                         tates day and night.”

                                                            Psalm 1:1-2

 Malcolm Hedding

 

Divorce and Remarriage

Divorce and Remarriage

2018 devotionals 2018Devotional Weekly Devotional

 

There is no doubt that divorce for any and every reason is a plague in the Church and more important still it robs the Church of God’s presence and blessing. To be honest, I fear that, apart from the intervention of God, the “horse has bolted” and not much will be done to rectify the matter since many preachers and respected leaders are themselves guilty of license in this area. This matter must be urgently addressed by the Church, for no other reason than to attract the blessing of God to our communities. Nothing is more destructive to society than the break- up of Christian homes. This must be stopped, families must be secured with biblical values but where there is divorce this should be governed by scripture; all the time avoiding very hard-line or ‘anything goes positions’. Above all we must call for restoration and clothe ourselves with compassion. It is with this in mind that I write this paper.

 

For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce

                                                 for it covers one’s garment with violence,” says the

                                                 Lord of hosts….”

                                                                                                Malachi 2:16

                                                “Furthermore it has been said, “Whoever divorces his

                                                 wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.” But I say

                                                 to you whoever divorces his wife for any reason except

                                                 sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and

                                                 whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits

                                                 adultery.”

                                                                                                Matthew 5:31-32

                                                “But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or

                                                 sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has

                                                 called us to peace.”

                                                                                                1Corinthians 7:15

The Historical View

While early Church leaders had differing views on the matter they generally moved between two positions on divorce and remarriage. That is, divorce and no remarriage as in Tertullian…or…divorce in the case of “uncleanness” or adultery and remarriage as in Origen’s view. He stated that God’s divorce of Israel for spiritual adultery and remarriage to the Church is proof of this (Jeremiah 3:8)! Thomas Aquinas (1226-1274) put in place the Catholic Church’s position on divorce. That of no divorce at all but divorce could be had if the aggrieved party requested an act of nullification from the Pope called, “Divorce a Vinculum Matrimonii.” As you know, Henry the eighth requested this, didn’t get it and consequently broke with the Catholic Church. Strangely, God was in this so what does this say to us?

This view is called the “kinship View” as it views marriage as a sacrament by which the parties are made one and thus in dissolvable (Genesis 2:24). They are one both spiritually and physically. The other Orthodox Churches generally followed this view and within their fraternity it is still embraced today though many of their adherents have abandoned it because of the infiltration of secularism.

The Protestant View

This is where it really becomes intriguing because the Protestant Leaders departed significantly from Rome on this matter as they accused Rome of propagating their view to lure people into celibacy in order to fill the dwindling ranks of their monastic orders. So, the Protestant View, held by great leaders like Martin Luther, John Calvin, Erasmus and Martin Bucer, was that divorce could take place for fornication (which in the original language (pornea) means adultery, homosexuality, bestiality and sexual perversion of any type) and that the offended or innocent party could remarry but only in the Lord. They also viewed what is called “Paul’s Exception” (1Corinthians 7: 14-15) as referring only to abandonment because of one’s faith in Christ and thus they also permitted remarriage. The word used by Paul, in terms of not being in bondage, has roots indicating that one is not in “legal enslavement” and implies remarriage, but only again in the Lord.

As a matter of interest Luther and Calvin spoke of marriage as a civil institution thus over-reacting to the Catholic position of a sacramental institution. This Protestant view is also called the “Majority View” but there are evangelicals, who subscribe to what they call the “Minority View.” That is, the minority view in the evangelical world which holds that divorce for adultery is permissible but not remarriage. The same rule applies to “Paul’s exception”, if applied.

Modern Day Evangelicals

In this world scholars like William Heth, Professor of New Testament and Greek at Taylor University, are the most influential. Heth held the minority view for years but now holds the majority view and writes:

“The majority of evangelicals believe that Jesus permits remarriage after divorce for marital unfaithfulness (Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9) and that Paul sanctions remarriage when Christian spouses are abandoned by unbelieving mates. (1Corinthians 7:14-15)”

People like Heth believe that “sexual union is the indispensable means” for the consummation of marriage both in the Old Testament and the New. This union when violated by adultery is destroyed and this is why Jesus permitted divorce, and in his view, remarriage. As to the latter he writes, “Jesus cannot be construed as teaching an “exceptionless absolute” based on Mark alone because both Matthew and Paul qualify Jesus’ prohibition of marriage after divorce.” Moreover, in terms of the full biblical record valid divorces always included the right to remarry but only in the Lord. So then it can be deducted that valid divorces are God’s permissive will for some innocent victims of divorce. It must be stressed, in my view, that Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:9 clearly justify divorce for immorality and permit remarriage, only in the Lord. Having said this it seems to me that it is inconsistent with the heart of God, as revealed in scripture, that the innocent partner in a broken marriage not only be subjected to the trauma and distress of such a break up but also be barred from the joy and comfort that comes to one in a “new” marriage.

Adultery actually must be persistent and everything must be done to seek restoration rather than divorce. It is precisely here that the modern day Church has lost its way. Divorce is permitted for every reason under the sun and the consequence is that many lives, mostly children, are brought to ruin. God hates it! In Jesus’ day, as the records prove, a man could divorce his wife for burning the food; and they did! Many then believe that Jesus spoke strongly about this to rectify the chaos and place the emphasis in the right place just as He did when He said that one has to hate one’s family if you wanted to follow Him (Luke 14:26). We must then embrace a very high view of marriage since it is not simply the union between a man and a woman but also a reflection of the unity and love that exists between Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:22-33). Our emphasis should not be on forgiveness but faithfulness and the boundaries of marriage, divorce and remarriage have to be significantly narrowed.

For me then both sexual immorality and abandonment violate the fundamental biblical components of marriage and, if persisted in, leave the innocent party without any options at reconciliation. They are consequently not in legal bondage and can remarry but only in the Lord. These “two violations” have to be carefully and thoroughly proved and serious efforts at restoration should be our first and paramount concern. The evangelical theologian Hays writes:

“The Church must recognize and teach that marriage is grounded not in feelings of love but in the practice of love. Nor is the marriage bond contingent upon self-gratification or personal fulfillment. The church has swallowed a great quantity of pop psychology that has no foundation in the biblical depiction of marriage…….When marital union is rightly understood as a covenant, the question of divorce assumes a very different aspect. Those who have made promises to God should trust God for grace sufficient to keep those promises, and they should expect the community of faith to help them to keep faith, by supporting them and holding them accountable.” Blomberg adds:

“Married people should always be seeking ways to improve and enhance relations with spouses rather than wondering how they can get out of commitments they have made.” This is so very true!

Conclusions

I have now, chiefly because of my research on this matter, come to the “Majority View.” I have to recognize that this view was held by great spiritual leaders that we admire and quote in our sermons all the time and yet I admit that there are still issues to be resolved. However, I believe that people holding my view have to be stricter and stronger in asserting the biblical position on this matter and I believe that people holding to the “Minority View” need to be a little more caring for the injured and innocent party since great preachers have also held this position. Both positions have been long accepted views within the evangelical Church. This is like grappling with God’s sovereignty and man’s free will. Once we hold a strong position either way we tend to be unbalanced. I am guilty of this as we all are from time to time!

Malcolm Hedding.

Passover 2018

Passover 2018

2018 devotionals 2018Devotional

 

                        “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared

                         to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and

                         worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and

                         godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and

                         glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

                         who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from

                         every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special

                         people, zealous for good works.”

 

                                                                                    Titus 2:11-14

 

In these coming days we will celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The cross of Jesus is the shining light of God’s love for a sinful world and what happened upon it was given power and meaning by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Jesus removed God’s anger and wrath from over our lives and consequently brought us forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God our Father. By the cross and resurrection of Jesus, God our Father in Heaven, has then imputed Christ’s righteousness to our lives meaning that being in Christ He sees us as perfect; just as if we had never sinned. We are the recipients of eternal life and therefore we are saved from an eternity separated from God. This is what it means to be saved!

Death has been conquered and its dark and foreboding sting has been removed from us. It is now a mere doorway to the glorious and real eternal presence of God. We are truly saved from our sins and rejoice in the sure hope of living out an eternal purpose with God our Savior. This is good news indeed and constitutes a glorious message of hope for those who would embrace it. Sadly, according to Jesus, few will!

It is then no coincidence that the history of the human race is divided by the coming of Jesus and His saving work on the cross. The cross towers over history and calls us home to God our Father. Truly every person is living before Christ or after Christ. That is, we either have Him in our lives and are consequently saved from our sins or we do not have Him in our lives and remain in our sins and under the wrath of God. Which is it? I sincerely hope that it is the former since Christ in us is the only way to the eternal glory of God.

May the great God of Israel “who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever, Amen.”

Malcolm Hedding

Broken Foundations-Part Two

Broken Foundations-Part Two

2018 devotionals 2018Devotional Weekly Devotional

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will

come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of

money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to

parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving,

slanders, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,

traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather

 than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but

denying its power. And from such turn away!”

 2 Timothy 3:1-5

 

Paul warned that a day would come when people would embrace a form of godliness but would deny the power thereof. That day is upon us! It is a fact that many Christians today live their lives in a way that totally denies the biblical picture of what it means to be saved and much of this is imparted to them by weak preaching that routinely emphasizes how much God loves them and will thus constantly put up with and forgive their frequent failures. They live in habitual sin, frequently come to Church and even tithe and volunteer when required. They will go to hell!

 

The truth is; that receiving Jesus into one’s life by true repentance and faith in His finished work on the cross means that one is literally filled with the amazing power and life of God. This in turn means that one’s life is totally regenerated by the Holy Spirit, one’s desires radically and continually change and one’s behavior routinely reflects righteousness. This is what it means to be saved.

 

John the Apostle wrote his first epistle in order to clearly outline what it means to be born again. We should and must pay careful attention to his words and so let’s take a look at what he says a true Christian looks like.

 

  1. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” 1 John 2:4-6

 

Yes indeed Jesus gave us many commandments to keep and these are not the grounds of our salvation but the evidence of it as we keep them joyously and spontaneously as an outflow of His life in us. We must take this seriously as His life abiding in us enables as to “walk as He walked!”

 

  1. “Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” 1 John 3: 6-9

 

This passage is worthy of careful study and meditation as it essentially states that knowing Christ means that we do not sin and that sin, rebellion against God, is actually a character trait of the devil. Jesus came to break this demonic character trait in our lives and set us free of it. He does this by placing His seed in us and this seed definitely destroys the power of sin in us! Is this your testimony?

 

  1. “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

 

In addition to the above, we are also enabled, by the power of Jesus in us, to overcome anything in the world. The true Christian is not ensnared by the world system because this system is essentially demonic and Jesus in us overcomes anything dark and devilish. Sadly so many who claim Christ as Savior reflect the world and not the nature of His character. For them grace means that they can dabble here and there with sin because God will always forgive them! No He will not! Actually, because of all that God in Christ has done for us and, because of the incredible power (seed) that lives in us, God will not forgive intentional sin. In this regard note Hebrews 10:26-27;

 

“For if we sin willfully after we have received the

                         knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a

                         sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation

                         of fiery indignation, which will devour the adversaries.”

 

This warning, dear friends, was written to Christians who were thinking of retreating from their faith in Christ. Yes, it is a stern warning and we had better take note of it. To be saved by the grace of God means to be totally transformed, to walk in transformation and to desire complete transformation. Anything short of this is actually counterfeit Christianity and we should be careful not to fall into it. Sadly many have!

 

The writer of the book of Hebrews lamented the carnal nature of the Christians that he was writing to, as did Paul to the Christians at Corinth. The former then stated that they were weak and sub-normal in their idea of what Christianity is because they had “broken foundations.” The same could be said of many Christians today. So he writes:

 

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary

                         principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not

                         laying again the foundation of repentance from dead

                         works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of

                         baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the

                         dead, and of eternal judgment.” Hebrews 6:1-2

 

Paul is so outraged at the sub-normal expression of Christianity at Corinth that he questions the authenticity of their salvation experience.

 

“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.

                         Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus

                         Christ is in you?-unless indeed you are disqualified.”

                                                                        2 Corinthians 13:5

Essentially Paul is saying, “Do you really know Who is living inside of you? Have you felt His power, love and transforming presence because your behavior contradicts your claim and appears to question this reality. The same is true today so test your self to find out if Jesus is really living in you!

 

  1. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9

John by all that he has written is not advocating for sinless perfection. No he is simply saying that for the true Christian committing sins is the abnormal and not the normal expression of being a believer. Christians generally do not sin habitually or willfully but if they do God by Jesus Christ will forgive them upon real confession and repentance. This is my experience and it should be yours as well because, “Whoever is born of God does not sin.”

 

Finally, Jesus talked about building our lives on good foundations and He also warned that at the end of the age many sloppy Christians, who even did wonderful things in His glorious name, will actually go to hell! This what He said:

 

“Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not

                         prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name

                         and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will

                         declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me you who

                         practice lawlessness.”  Matthew 7:22-23

 

Dear friends, the biblical teaching on being a Christian is certainly demanding but the grace that God has given us in Christ Jesus has give us a power that is well able to make us the people that God wants us to be. We are not orphans as God has sent His Holy Spirit into our lives to transform them and reflect His glory. Let it be so!

 

Malcolm Hedding.

Broken Foundations – Part 1

Broken Foundations – Part 1

2018 devotionals 2018Devotional

 

                        “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and

                         foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and

                         members of the household of God, having been

                         built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,

                         Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.”

                                                                        Ephesians 2:19

 

The casual observer will note that instability is everywhere evident in our world. The recent conference on Global Security held in Munich Germany ended with a real note of despair in that it concluded with the thought that serious conflict appears to be on the horizon of world affairs. It’s almost as if the human condition has reached “critical mass” and is no longer able to stop the outcome. It’s like clicking on the send button of an email and then desiring to stop it. It’s just to late! Jesus certainly warned that unless the days before His coming are shortened no flesh would survive (Matthew 24:22). There is something desperately wrong with humanity since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and so, sadly, it is seeking solutions that will not stop the rot.

The Gospel of Jesus is of course the only answer as it powerfully and effectively addresses our sin problem (Romans 1:16) but it too is rejected by a world that essentially wants nothing to do with the God of the Bible (John 15:23). In fact as we have recently witnessed in America, Christians are now mocked openly in the various media outlets, even those like Mike Pence who hold high office. Jesus said that we would be hated by all nations (John 15:18-19)! Still the answer to the world’s woes is the Gospel and the remarkable life of Billy Graham certainly proved this. Where the Gospel is preached simply and powerfully lives are indeed eternally changed. We have a remarkable message and the antagonism to it only proves the real existence of evil and should embolden us to preach it more (Acts 5:27-29).

Sadly however, even vast segments of the Church today have moved away from powerful Gospel preaching because people could be offended. Subjects like sin, the wrath of God and the need for repentance are routinely ignored and thus even the foundations of the Church are crumbling. This is not speculation but the honest truth. The Bible is clear about the fact that we cannot lay any foundation in people’s lives other than Jesus Christ and His saving Gospel (1 Corinthians 3:11). This is urgent business and those of us who love God and honor His word must attend to these issues. Like Nehemiah of old we must repair the broken walls and foundations of the Church of Jesus lest we become a Church that He will “vomit out of His mouth” (Revelation 3:16).

The gospel is an offence to many people because it calls upon them to repent and turn away from their sins (Galatians 5:11). We cannot and we will not avoid this offence and Paul’s life certainly demonstrates this. We have to build on a good foundation now more than ever because the night is coming when no one will be able to work. God is looking for those who will rise up and be repairers of the breach. Will He find you and me?

 

“Those from among you shall build the old waste places;

                         you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;

                         and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the

                         Restorer of Streets to dwell in.”

                                                                        Isaiah 58:12

 

Malcolm Hedding