**~~ From the Rising of the Sun ~~

From the Rising of the Sun

"The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth
from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof"
Psalm 50: 1

Time passes by quickly the older we get it seems.

To a child, Christmas & Birthdays seem to take forever to come but to us Christmas seems to come all too soon and as for birthdays - well, some of us may feel that we've had too many by now :-)

~~~~~

Have you noticed everything changes with the passing time? Education advances, knowledge increases, new things are invented all to quickly replace the old. Old buildings are replaced with new ones; sometimes we're not too impressed! Open spaces have now been built upon. And so on it goes because we live in a changing world.

However, one or two things remain constant to us here and that is this old earth still rotates 365 days each year, and circuits the sun once in all this time, enabling us to have our seasons. The sun still rises, travels across the sky and sets every day. It must rise and it must set - the day must come to an end. It cannot last forever you know, and we must use the time allotted to us well and wisely.

But at the end of our ‘day', where will we go?

God Himself uses the mighty movements of the earth and sun to speak to our souls of His greatness, majesty, faithfulness and reliability. And as long as these things continue, God will continue to speak.

The question is - Are we listening?

But how does God speak and what is He teaching?

God uses the sun to teach us about Light & life. Of course without the sun we would have no light and life would not be able to exist. The sun reminds us of the Lord Jesus who said these words:

“I am the light of the world:
he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness,
but shall have the light of life.”
John 8: 12

I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 14: 6

I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly.
John 10: 10

The fact that light is stronger than dark and cannot be overcome by it again reminds us of what the Scripture says concerning the Lord Jesus:

“And the light shineth in the darkness;
and the darkness comprehendeth it not”
John 1: 5

Because this Man was sinless, He could never be overcome by the darkness of sinful thoughts or acts. Satan came often to try and claim some territory in the Son of God but he was defeated. In the wilderness he tried and tempted the Lord Jesus but it was there in that hostile place that He proved that He could not sin.

~~~~~

And so the sun rises and sets each day over and over again, day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year. God is faithful and He waits and waits, sometimes for the lifetime of an individual for them to stop and listen to Him speaking to them. Why does He do that?

“Because He is longsuffering, not willing that anyone should perish
but that all should come to repentance”
2 Peter 3: 9.

But how does God speak - and why?

Why would He choose to reach out and speak to people like us on this microscopic planet called earth in the vastness and blackness of space?

I will answer the why He speaks question first to draw your attention to His kindness, love, and faithfulness so you might just begin to understand and appreciate in some small measure that God doesn't waste a moment of time or a single incident. He uses all these things so that you might set everything aside just to be alone with Him. And there with a little time on your hands and with an open Bible you can read for yourself the wonderful ‘good news' story. The Lord Jesus Himself proclaimed this wonderfully good news from God to mankind using in just twenty-five words:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
That whosoever believeth in Him
Should not perish but have everlasting life.”
John 3: 16

Now we shall consider how God speaks

As sure as the rising and setting of the sun there is another certainty and that is the ebb and flow of the tide each day! The ocean speaks to us of many things: The masses – how influenced they are by circumstances, so quickly stirred up with the wind and so beautiful in fair weather. Whatever affects the sea in one place effects the sea in another in the passing of time. The sea's tremendous power nobody can tame except the Lord Jesus Himself and one day He actually did so in a storm from a little boat. Reaching out His outstretched arms He cried “Peace, be still, and immediately there was a great calm.”

In the new heaven and the new earth there is one thing that is missing, and that is the sea. How significant this is when we remember the separation it causes. In Heaven there will be nothing to separate us from one another and nothing to sever our happy relationship with God.

In heaven there will be no more sea no more sea – no more separation!

From the sea to the sky and we take a look at the jet trails, those plumes of vapour the air liners leave behind them reminde us of the words of James the Apostle:

“For what is your life?
It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time,
and then vanisheth away”
James 4: 14.

Life is like a vapour, like the grass flower; here for only a little while then gone so quickly - but where?

There is nothing quite like a child's unquestioning trust:

“Except ye be converted, and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18: 3

A little child is totally dependent upon its parents for its care and keeping and does not question or fret or doubt the way we do when we get older. This is just the kind of trust that God requires of us if ever we are going to come into the good of all that He intended for us. God does not get a whole lot of pleasure out of an independent person who doesn't feel their need for Him, but delights in the souls of individuals who are prepared to lean wholly upon Him and Him alone for time and eternity.

Feasting on the earth with no satisfaction the Caterpillar longs to be free to fly just like his colourful winged friends. He knows that a transformation must take place if ever he is to join them. Dying to self is something he must do so God can perform that marvellous transformation and turn him into a beautiful butterfly.

“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.”
2 Corinthians 5: 17

Nicodemus was a man who wanted to see Jesus and waited until the evening when he could be alone with Him. He had questions to ask the Lord Jesus but He didn't answer him the way he had expected. “Ye must be born again” was the answer He gave to one of his questions. You must be born from above. Nicodemus learned that in order to be assured of a home in heaven he must like a child be totally dependent upon God like a little child and allow God to do something for him that he cannot do for himself. Being born again is entirely the work of God.

When we think of the Shepherd who cares for his sheep and carries the little lambs in his arms, we cannot help but think of the “good shepherd, the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep” John 10:11. And who are the sheep? Why, we are, for the Bible tells us that:

“All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Isaiah 53: 6.

King David writes “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall now want” Psalm 23: 1. Therefore if the Lord is our shepherd – we have everything we need!

The Father knows the needs of each and every creature He has made including the largly unnoticed little sparrows.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?
and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows”
Matthew 10: 29-31.

Please remember if ever you're feeling as if you are unimportant and insignificant. If ever you feel as if nobody cares: remember the God who knows the need of each little sparrow and sees where each one falls knows and values you so much more. He knows your every need and loves you more than words can tell.

When we look into the mirror each day it shows us a reflection of ourselves and on the strength of what we can see we can sometimes make adjustments to correct anything we don't like looking at. The Bible does the same with the part of us that only God can see. However we need much more than adjusting! We need to be done with the old and embrace the new - only God can enable us to do that.

It is so easy to overlook the message of the trees. Perhaps you have the privilege of being surrounded by them but even if you live in the city I believe that we can all appreciate that trees owe their strength and beauty to the fact that their roots go down deep where nothing can harm and threaten. Deep down is where the life giving water is found sustaining them and enabling them to become fruitful and majestic, but because those roots are deep down a tree can also withstand the often harsh elements.

The foundations of a buildng must be set upon the solid rock for it to be a reliable shelter and for it to stand for as long as is needed. If your life does not have a firm foundation, then it is rather like building a house on sand! It will not stand in the adverse days and it will not stand in eternity. I am reminded of the opening words of a favourite hymn of mine:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus' Name.

 On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Edward Mote

Now, the God who speaks to us through all those things which are hard to miss like the ocean, trees, rocks, rainbows and roses etc, is the very same God who speaks to us through the minute things also.

Think of the intricate detail of a flower petal, and a butterfly's wing, the microscopic detail of snowflakes, cells and DNA!

What a great God we have? He is a God of mighty power and a God of immeasurable love; the God who flings an uncountable amount of stars out into space so that we may admire His handiwork. In the Bible we read that:

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.

His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward"  Psalm 19: 1-11.

God in His great love and kindness speaks to us everywhere we turn. There is not a place where we can go where His “still small voice” will not penetrate.

If you were honest with yourself you will be able to remember when God has spoken to you and caused you to be concerned about your soul and where you will go when you leave this earth. What did you do about it?

Sometime ago I visited a cemetery to lay flowers and the grave of a loved one I had to say goodbye to sometime ago. Before I left I went for a little walk around and I noticed that not every person buried there was elderly! Then I remembered that none of us are promised tomorrow. How important it is for us to make sure that all is well for our soul today and not wait for an un-promised tomorrow! You cannot leave this very important issue another day longer, hoping that another day will be a better time for you - you may not have another day!

Somewhere in eternity in a dark and lonely place there is a man with a memory!

The Lord Jesus told us about him; he is there and will be there forever. He can remember all the times the Lord was good to him and gave him every opportunity to make sure his soul would go to heaven when he died. But he neglected those opportunities. He will remember forever that he waited for one day too many and now it is too late.

He remembers: a mother's care, his many provisions and the changing seasons.
He remembers: shepherds on the hillsides, fishermen at work, and the farmer in the field.
He remembers: rainbows, rocks and roses! And the temple sacrifices; types of the coming Lord Jesus who was going to die as the substitute for the sinner to settle the righteous claims of God against sin - his sin and our sin!

On and on his memories will torment him for eternity and the countless others who have found themselves in this awful place called Hell. They all remember that from the rising of the sun till it's going down each day that God was speaking to them but they neglected to stop and listen.

The Lord Jesus told this account to warn us not to do the same.

What a wonderful thing it would be for you to take it all in and live in the good of all that He wants you to know. Then, at last as one of His children you could truly see things around you like you never saw them before, and hear the voice of the Lord in so many ways teaching you wonderful things to rejoice your soul on a daily basis. And all because you heard the voice of the good shepherd who said:

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish,
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all;
and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand."
John 10: 27-29

 “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
Hebrews 4: 7

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