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  1. b_And the Floods Arose

    "Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them,
    I will shew you to whom he is like:
    He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock:
    and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house,
    and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock."
    Luke 6: 47-48

    Those of us who are truly 'born of God' will know and appreciate the wisdom of the above words the Lord spoke concerning the foundations of our faith.

    O, how good it is to know that no matter what, all is well with our soul!

    How thankful we ought to be that the price of our soul's security has been fully met in the accomplished work of our beloved Lord Jesus on Calvary's cross.

    I couldn't help but notice that the floods and storms were expected regardless of the types of foundations upon which each builder built their homes. Good times and bad times are the general lot of each member of the human race regardless of our spiritual foundations. But what an immeasurable difference being a child of God makes when those floods arise in our lives. And believe me, they certainly do!

    It is a season of storms and floods in our lives at present and a loved one going through the trial with us said on reflection: 'my, it never rains but it pores, doesn't it?' In this case that is definitely so but I was able to lift the mode of conversation a little by mentioning that in spite of what's happening, there's always something to be truly thankful for. There we were sitting in a spotlessly clean hospital waiting room surrounded by lovely people attending to my Mum who was brought in by the paramedics!

    As a believer I know that the stormy season in our lives at present is definitely not without reason or rhyme. I've been through too many times like this not to have learned this by experiment. After all, pearls don't just appear do they? They are indeed the result of the suffering of the oyster, which can only yield its treasure by giving up its life! The things that have been learned as a result of past experiences of suffering are treasures that are eternal, and I'm on the lookout for more!

    With TWO elderly Mums now in hospital needing special care and those around them needing so much help it is easy to wonder why this is all happening at the same time.

    At the moment life is not a matter of living one day at a time but by taking one step at a time. Thankfully those steps are confidently placed where the beloved Lord and Saviour tenderly leads.

    After all, what's the point of swimming against the tide when the floods arise beyond our depth? Just go with the current; for the Lord and lover of our souls will carry His people through the rising tide until the storm abates and the sun shines once more.

    This rather reminds me of those who sheltered safely in the Ark as the floods arose back in Noah's time. Being safe in the ark enabled them to ride over the flood while others drowned.

    The secret is, (which, by the way is no secret at all,) it is to be 'in' the ark when the storm comes - or rather to be 'in Christ' when the floods arise; for being in Him means that you get to see the rainbow once the trial is over and life settles once more.

    ~~~~~

    "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet,
    moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house;
    by the which he condemned the world,
    and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith."
    Hebrews 11:7

    The same gospel that saves those who believe, also condemns the unrepentant.
    Noah built the ark as a refuge for whoever would heed the warning; sadly only eight people did.
    His ark consigned the unbelieving world to judgment. Christ died to save you. Have you received Him?
    K. R. Keyser

    From Choice Gleanings Daily Calendar

     

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  2. Suffering ... there seems to be a lot of it around doesn't there?

    You don't have to look far to find it. It's on the news, in the papers, on the radio, in social media, may be just next door or even in our own homes!

    Seeing as this unfortunate part of life visits us all at some time or another, what can we do to prepare ourselves for it? What can we learn from such adverse experiences?

    I have noticed that suffering can affect us in different ways. Some grow weary, angry or nervous, while others going through something similar grow stronger, more patient and more confident.

    How can this be?

    Perhaps it all depends where we have our focus.

    We live in a suffering world and without an upward look, and without the living God, our lives would be very bleak indeed!

    A little while ago I heard a small motivational secular message about our attitude towards suffering and I had to pen down the following words which I felt were significant:

    "It's never what happens to us in life,
    it's always the meaning we choose to give what happens to us that makes the difference."
    Peter Sage

    I totally agree; for suffering can affect us in one of two ways - it can either make us bitter or better!

    Having gone through a number of crucible experiences of my own I have learned to look out for the gems to be discovered along the way. I found treasures in those dark hours that I will never lose. For me those treasures are appreciations of my beloved Lord and Saviour that are far too precious to keep to myself.

    I now spend my life seeking to share what I know about Him with as many as is humanly possible.

    O, that you might know the Saviour like I know Him - then you would know for certainty that no matter what the circumstance - He is able!

    Having spent a couple of Sunday lunchtime Bible studies in our Church covering the great and emotive subject of suffering and answering that soul searching question many people ask: "If God is a God of love, why doesn't He do anything about all the suffering there is in the world?"

    Among the many answers that came to the surface,

    This is the one which I felt was like a beacon shining a ray of light into the darkness ...

    God is not aloof to human suffering.

    Two thousand years ago He came to this earth and lived here in a human body for thirty-three years. During that time He knew what suffering was all about.

    He lived in abject poverty. He knew what it was like to be famished, exhausted, weary, worn and sad.

    He knew the sorrow of betrayal, rejection and ridicule.

    His experience of torture and crucifixion was more acute than anyone who has ever gone through such an experience before.

    b_bitter or better 1

    Alone in a garden hours before He died on a cross He pleaded with His Father to remove from Him the suffering He was anticipating - if it was at all possible!

    But heaven was silent to His agonising cry and He conceded with this answer: "Not my will but thine be done".

    The blending of two perfect wills was accomplished and He would go ahead with all that was necessary to save poor sinners like you and me from sin and its consequences.

    You see, even Christ had to suffer!

    He suffered for our sins and He understands our all of our troubles and trials firsthand! And this is what makes our God unique apart from the world's other gods which are lifeless images, statues or imaginations of the human mind.

    You can do one of two things when the winds of adversity blow your way. You can turn your collar as it were to the wind and rain and muddle through on your own but you can be sure that doing this for too long will have adverse effects. This kind of lonely suffering will make you ugly and bitter.

    Or you can turn to the One who knows and sympathises with your sufferings and allow Him to strengthen you through those trials. With His help you can be sure you will be the better for it.

    Perhaps you will learn a thing or two you will never forget. Treasures of your own you can keep - forever!

     b_bitter or better 2

     


     

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  3. b_blue sky thinking

    "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance:
    but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken."
    Proverbs 15: 13

    We have had more than our fair share of gloomy weather this winter. It has rained almost constantly for weeks and often been accompanied with strong to gale force winds! It was difficult at times not to allow the gloomy weather to affect my mood.

    A very welcome break in the weather came a few days ago for a little while. Three days of unspoiled sunshine brightened up everything and brought a welcome relief to those long gray, wet and windy days ... and nights!

    I thought 'what a difference a bit of sunshine makes!' it makes everything look so colourful and brightens up our spirits. Everyone it seemed was sighing with relief and feeling the benefit of the warm rays of sunlight. Even the birds had something to sing about :-)

    I looked up into the clear blue sky remembered how wonderful it is to have an unsullied walk and relationship with the living God.

    How wonderful it is to be truly 'born again'!

    There are plenty of clouds in the life of someone who needs to be saved from their sin and reconciled to God. So much comes between a lost soul and the sunshine of the Father's love. So many poor folks in this sad predicament. But thankfully there is a wonderful remedy and separation the Father's care need not be something that is permanent.

    The precious Son of God came to the rescue when to the cross He willingly went in the place of lost sinners separated from the love of God by their sin. There He felt all the waves and billows of the wrath of God we deserved.

    There He felt keenly the clouds of separation when He suffered, bled and died all alone.

    But thanks be to God, the Saviour in whom we need to trust in order to enjoy a relationship with Him now lives in the power of an endless life. There isn't a soul living today that ever needs to live or die separated from God. All that He requires from those for whom Christ died is:

    "... Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
    Acts 20: 21

    Though this is in essence something very simple it is also profound because God is looking for repentance and faith that is sincere, and no one who ever comes to Him with a sincere heart will He ever turn away!

    Now I know that the phrase 'blue-sky thinking' is an expression used, (courtesy of Collins English Dictionary), to define 'creative ideas that are not limited by current thinking or beliefs', but it seems to have a perfect place right here in expressing an unclouded frame of mind. What a difference a frame of mind like that makes personally and to the lives of those around us.

    Lest we should lose our focus as believers and  become 'puddle glums', it is important to look beyond the clouds as it were and adopt that 'blue-sky' way of thinking. Therefore; let us allow the promised presence of the living Lord Jesus warm our souls. And may the promise of His coming again fill you with joyful anticipation.

    Remember, He could very well come - 'Perhaps Today!'

     ~~~~~

     

    Related Thought from Choice Gleanings Calendar

    "Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.
    But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head."
    Psalm 3:2-3

    David’s foes were saying there was no hope for him,
    but he confronted this notion by declaring that God was his “shield” and the “lifter” of his head.
    It is our natural tendency to hang our heads in discouragement during difficult trials.
    But David chose to peer heavenward and to wait for deliverance.
    The Lord uses pain so that believers may better identify with Him in His sorrow.
    Exercising deliberate confidence in the character of God when it seems unreasonable to do so,
    delivers our minds from the grip of depression.
    W. A. H.

     

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  4. "And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary,
    there they crucified him ..."
    Luke 23: 33

    Some years ago we had the opportunity to host the Ayrshire Exhibition of the Bible at our Gospel Hall. In fact we had that privilege on three occasions over the duration of six years. We saw much blessing during these special events and have lots of lovely memories to keep and treasure.

    Each time they came they stayed for two weeks which allowed us to invite parties of School children to come for guided tours around this extensive display of Bible History, interesting facts and intriguing accounts, all with the aim of introducing each soul to the Lord Jesus Christ, God's answer to the greatest need of mankind.

    After the sessions for Schools were ended the exhibition was open to the public where many interesting conversations were had with all sorts of people from many persuasions.

    One Saturday morning a certain gentleman came in and viewed the exhibition with great interest. One of our friends offered to him some refreshment and opened up a conversation  and the gentleman introduced himself to our friend as a 'time traveller'!

    I'm not altogether sure what type of conversation they both had; for my memory fails me but I do remember asking our friend after he recalled this account if he asked the 'time traveller' the words of the spiritual song that asks:

     Where you there when they crucified my Lord?

    We smiled together at the thought of it and the supposed foolishness of such a claim to be a time traveller. As if he was like the fictitious character Dr Who!

     

    But when we read of the account of the crucifixion of our beloved Lord Jesus I think that we can safely say that we WERE there at that shocking scene! But how could this be seeing as we live in the twenty first century and the Lord was crucified over two thousand years ago?

    Let us take a look at who was there at the time.

    • There were some high ranking religious people there.
    • There were unbelievers and atheists there as well.
    • People from other nations were there.
    • There were military men there and others from differing trades.
    • Men and women were there as well as the young and the old.
    • The wealthy and the poor folks were there.
    • The strong and the weak, the healthy and the infirmed were there.
    • The brave and the fearful were there.
    • His mother and siblings were there.
    • Some of His disciples were there.

    The list of people who were there is diverse, and if it was possible for us to become 'time travellers' and have the ability to observe without being seen, I believe we would find somebody in that great crowd that is just like you, and just like me! There were certainly people in that great throng representing the likes of you and me back then.

    Of course we were not really there when our dear Lord was crucified outside the city walls of Jerusalem but we might as well have been! He, who is God manifest in the flesh knows no time and when He was suffering in the sinner's place, He saw you and He saw me ... there! Before we were touched by God's extravagant display of love we were represented by one of the scoffers who witnessed this momentous event that altered the course of history forever!

    The question is: How does that display of undeserved love effect you?

    Does the cold indifference remain there still? Does it touch your heart and bring you to repentance?

    The fact remains is - He was there. He really suffered, He really bled, and He really died to save poor sinners like you and like me.

    May our hearts overflow in adoring love and praise for such a One as this

     25 03 16_where you there


     
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  5. b_a mother knows

    One special day in the month of March, Mothers in the UK and in the British Isles, and possibly further afield wake up to breakfast in bed, gifts and perhaps lunch out or cooked for them. A special day set aside to show appreciation to the mothers in our lives for all they have done for us and just for who they are.

    Now, in the Bible we are told of a mother who knew something life changing about her Son. She had some very sound advice to pass on to those who she was addressing at the time. We would also do well to regard her well spoken words.

    A wedding in Cana was the scene of much joy and merriment but there was a crisis going on behind the scenes – the wine was running out and it was still early on in the celebration. This was a serious social dilemma in the Jewish culture of that day! What were they going to do?

    There was only one person who could possibly have the answer to such a problem at a time like that. Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus knew He could do something about this and after a small conversation about the matter she turned to the waiting servants and told them:

     "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it."
    John 2: 5

    Jesus was about to give to the servants some rather unusual instructions that would result in an abundance of the very best wine to last as long as it was needed.

    This, the Bible tells us is the first miracle Jesus did; the first of many that manifested the glory of God and changed the lives of many people back then, the accounts of which we can read, enjoy and learn from even to this very day.

    One among many lessons to be learned here of course is that wine in the Bible speaks to us of joy. Life has a tendency to bring to us a type of happiness that does not have the ability to last. And human nature seeks for more, trying all kinds of ways to find something to satisfy but that drive is never fulfilled.

    That is because the human soul was never made to be satisfied outside the will and ways of the Lord Jesus Himself. He knows just what each person needs and just how to meet and satisfy that great need in each individual. But this can only be accomplished His way, which brings us to that little and yet profound sentence uttered by Mary the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.

     "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it."
    John 2: 5

    Nothing complicated about that is there? So what is He asking us to do in order to know the peace and contentment in our hearts that we so long for? Have a little read of the following verses and then apply the precious truths of these words of the Lord Jesus to your own soul; for there is a wealth of blessing awaiting all those who obey His instructions.

    The Lord Jesus said:

    “... Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
    But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst;
    but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
    John 4: 13-14

    “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger;
    and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
    John 6: 35

    “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
    That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
    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: 14-16

    “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,
    and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
    John 10: 9

    “These things have I spoken unto you,
    that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”
    John 15:11

    On closing, please notice if you will that Mary was drawing our attention to her Son and not herself! She had watched this promised One who had been entrusted into her care grow from a tiny infant into a fine young man - the best this world has ever seen! She had spent long enough with Him to know that He was able to meet the need of the people at that place and time and indeed the need of people from then on worldwide.

    So when she was telling the servants: “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it,” we would do well to heed her advice; for after all ...

    A Mother Knows!


     
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