Frightful things have confronted the world recently, highlighted by the violence in France and Belgium. Terrorism has people afraid of what might happen next.
After all the violence that accompanied the exodus of Israel from Egypt, God reassured Moses that there is peace. One day he called 74 people up into Mt. Sinai, including Moses. There they saw an appearance of God that was marvellous. See Exodus 24:9-10. “Under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself.” The ancients were used to a world of rocks, dust and mud. A sapphire pavement would have been spectacular.
There’s a similar description in Rev.4:6, where John spoke of God in heaven. There he saw “a sea of glass like crystal” surrounding the throne. Later, in Rev.15:2, victorious martyrs stood “on the sea of glass, holding harps of God.”
What can we learn from such a splendid description? In the book of Revelation the enemy of the church arises out of “the sea” (13:1). Later, the great harlot – representing Rome – sits on her own throne “above the waters.” John explained, “the waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.” (v15) In the world there is turmoil, like the crashing, swirling sea. Nations and rulers often stir things up and there is unrest and violence. But with God there is only peace and calm, like a sea of glass. He is in control, even when the world seems more like a raging sea.
We have to live in a world that is constantly in turmoil, and often frightful. But we can have a connection with heaven where all is calm. In Jesus Christ we can have peace – come what may. Next time you feel fear, picture yourself standing before God’s throne surrounded by a sea of glass.
– Tim Johnson
The New Testament is full of thankfulness, from start to finish. Each of Paul’s letters seem to begin with gratefulness for the church he was writing to, and they usually end with his thanks for individuals among them. See Phil.1:3-4 or Col.1:3, among many. Most of these churches had serious problems that threatened their undoing, but along with reproof the apostle found things about them for which he was thankful. And how about us? Perhaps there are things about our congregation that one could grumble about, but are we thankful for the many more things that are positive? Continue reading
The citizens of the Island of Crete didn’t have a very good reputation. Paul quoted one of their writers, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” (Titus 1:12). Not very complimentary. Yet there were congregations of the Lord’s church present comprised of people struggling to reflect Jesus in their lives. So Titus was instructed to teach “things which are fitting for sound doctrine” (2:1). He was to help them live sound, moral, sensible lives. Like well-fitting clothes, life needs to fit who we say we are. Continue reading
Friendship is a precious thing. It’s rare in life to have close friends for any great length of time. But in Christ it is different.
At the end of John’s 3rd letter he said, “The friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.” (3 John 14). Why did John put it this way? Why didn’t he call these Christians brethren, or saints, as others did? He was trying to make a point that the church needed. Three men are mentioned by name in this little book: Gaius, Demetrius and Diotrephes. Gaius was commended by John because he helped faithful, traveling Christian preachers financially, and provided hospitality; Demetrius was likely one of them. Diotrephes was a church leader who loved to be prominent, and refused to help said traveling brothers, even to the point of denying them fellowship. Who do you think proved to be a friend to Christians? Continue reading
Over the last two weekends we’ve enjoyed some lovely special events. Last week was Young Adult Weekend, with 30-40 energetic guests among us, and a special speaker (Jay Manimtim). There was close fellowship, challenging lessons, enthusiastic singing, and good food. This weekend we witnessed the wedding of two Christians who are very dear to us. Their two families came together with good wishes for the marriage of their children. Many of their friends and brothers and sisters in the Lord were present to make it a special day. And this morning we are very happy to have Shawn Redding preach the sermon. Shawn and Donna, of course, are loved by the entire congregation. Continue reading