Should I stay or should I go?

[photopress:keithfalconer.jpg,thumb,right]I was challenged tonight by these words of Ion Keith-Falconer given as he left Scotland to serve as a missionary to Muslims in 1886.

There must be some who will read these words, or who, having the cause of Christ at heart, have ample independent means, and are not fettered by genuine home ties. Perhaps you are content with giving annual subscriptions and occasional donations, and taking a weekly class ? Why not give yourselves, money, time and all, to the foreign field ? Our own country is bad enough, but comparatively many must, and do, remain to work at home, while very few are in a position to go abroad. Yet how vast is the Foreign Mission field! The field is the world. Ought you not to consider seriously what your duty is ? The heathen are in darkness, and we are asleep.

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We’re free from the Law!

I’ll be posting some thoughts on the glorious doctrine of Christian freedom in the next few days, but wanted to whet your appetite with this wonderful quote from Andrew Murray. I’ve added one tiny word for clarification in a sentence I had to read 10 times before I understood it – other than that these words have stood the test of time.

Freedom is counted in Scripture as one of the greatest privileges of the child of God. There is nothing in history for which nations have made great sacrifices except freedom. Slavery is the lowest condition into which man can sink, for in it he can no longer dispose of himself. Freedom is the deepest need of his nature.

To be free, then, is the condition in which anything can develop itself according to the law of its nature, that is, according to its disposition. Without freedom nothing can attain its destiny or become what it ought to be. This is true alike of the animal and man, of the corporeal and the spiritual. It was for this cause that God in Israel chose the redemption out of the slavery of Egypt into the glorious liberty of God’s people, as the everlasting type of redemption out of the slavery of sin into the liberty of the children of God. (Ex. 1:14; 4:23; 6:5; 20:2; Deut. 24:8)

On this account, Jesus said on earth: ‘If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.’ And the Holy Scriptures teach us to stand fast in the freedom [Read more…]

Have we let the world squeeze us into its mould?

J B Phillips’ famous translation of Romans 12:2 is “Do not let the world squeeze you into its mould, but instead let yourself be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

It’s easy to apply this to the big things in life: immorality, drunkenness, pornography. But Paul has in view the subtle as well as the obvious, as the next chapters prove. And perhaps the best way to expose our failings in this area is to examine the things we do without thinking. It’s those things that show us what our mind is really like.

So, when you come home from work and slump onto the sofa? If you’re hand stretches for the remote control, then it’s likely that the world has squeezed you into its mould. But if your hand reaches for your young child, or to help your wife in the kitchen, or your eyes close in silent grateful prayer for another day spent in the presence of God, then it’s likely that your mind is being renewed.

If you’ve had a bad day, and are thoroughly fed up, and your hand reaches automatically for the fridge door or the cookie jar, then it’s likely that the world has squeezed you into its mould. But if your hand reaches for the Scriptures, and you open them at the Psalms or the Gospel accounts, then it’s likely that your mind is being renewed.
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Should women work?

I’m sorry, that was a deliberately provocative title. Of course they should. The real question is how should women work?

A few years ago I was asked to address this question with the ladies from my church. I asked each of them to write down on a piece of paper what they felt the most valuable thing they had ever done. I never collected the papers in, so I don’t actually know what they said! But I then passed each lady a second slip of paper. This time I asked them to write down how much they were paid for this ‘most valuable thing’. This time I did collect the papers in.

I read them out: “Nothing; nothing; nothing; nothing; nothing…” and so it went on – all eighteen women wrote exactly the same thing – apart from one who wrote ‘a box of chocolates!’

Their responses forcefully made the point I had been hoping would become clear: What work should a woman do? A woman should do the most valuable work that God equips her for and gives her opportunity to do.
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Spiritual health

After a number of minor health problems over the last few months, I have finally got a diagnosis. Apparently I spend too much time at a computer, exercise too little, eat too many unhealthy foods, and drink too little water. All this has caused quite severe pain in my shoulders and neck. At one point in my assessment I was asked to use some muscles to push downwards. It was a bit like being asked to wiggle my ears. I just didn’t know I had muscles there, never mind how to put them into action!

The ‘cure’, apparently is some physiotherapy, some physician-led exercise three times a week – and a new diet! Quite where I’m going to find an extra six hours a week to do all this, I’m not really sure, but I know I must.

It’s a simple application from the physical to the spiritual, isn’t it? Many of us are spiritually weak, perhaps even having forgotten we are supposed to have some spiritual muscles, it being so long since we have used them. Is it any wonder we’re often so vulnerable to temptation?
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Looking forward to Jesus’ return

Tragically, there has been a lot of nonsense written and spoken about the return of Christ. For example, in 1988 Edgar Whisenant published a wildly popular book (which sold around 4 million copies), entitled 88 Reasons why the Rapture will be in 1988. It wasn’t, of course, but undaunted Whisenant wrote a sequel the following year. In a rare moment of common sense the publishers decided not to call it 89 Reasons why the Rapture will be in 1989. Instead it was titled The Final Shout – Rapture Report 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993. I suppose that’s what’s called hedging your bets.

But don’t let the nonsense put you off. The return of Christ is glorious and well worth dwelling on.

Why is Jesus coming back?

Of all the questions we could consider when looking at the return of Christ, the most important is probably Why is Jesus coming back? It is rarely answered. Whenever your thoughts wander to Christ’s return, let them dwell on this question before you ever start thinking about dates and signs and millennial views.



Adrian is looking for Warnie awards for Christian blogs, and in view of the fact they I’ve enjoyed reading GospelDrivenLife more than any other blog, I feel that deserved the nomination from me.

Although I’ve only been reading the blog for a few weeks, it’s a real joy to be confident of reading something that’s both thoughtful and thought-provoking – I almost always want to leave a comment, or write a post of my own in response!

Most importantly though, I don’t feel as though Mark is beating a drum. All his posts are cross-centred. And you can’t say more than that. In a world where there is so much Gospel Drivel, it’s a pleasure to read something Gospel Driven.