Sunday, April 5, 2020

Are we learning from life


COVID 19   Are we learning the lessons?

Learning to live simple: The restaurants are closed. We are isolated at home! – well my wife has started cooking damper – flour, milk, butter and raisins. It is simple and great.

Learning to live together – the sports fields are deserted, the cinemas are closed – now we are home together – we can eat meals together, play board games together, sit by a bonfire together!

Learning to create:  The supply of ready made gifts and gadgets is shrinking, the access to ready made clothes is limited – Maybe the art of sewing and knitting will be reinvented! Children making things out of cardboard boxes!

Learning to maintain:  no job to go to, less money to buy with. Now we have time to clean and oil our bicycle, our car or our house. Maybe even repair our mower instead of buying a new one.
Learning to read: Well sadly this probably won’t work because everyone is glued to their screens. Perhaps we should turn off the internet and begin reading books and best of all taking time to read the Bible.

Learning to be content at home: Australia, the land of travel –travel for commerce, travel for pleasure. Now that the roads are restricted, we do well to learn contentment and productivity at home.

Learning to live with uncertainty: - the value of tomorrows money is uncertain, the promise of employment,  the availability of food all remains tentative. Instead of panic and depression, we ought to learn the practical value of trust in the Lord.

Learning to commune with God:   all the churches are closed. Gatherings are limited to 10 or less. This is a good time to return to the Biblical occupation of meditating on the word of God  alone. I am not so sure that the rush to online church is helpful. It sustains the malady of spoon fed Christians with introvision, of looking after us instead of looking out to seek  others. Maybe a taste of China limitations would be good medicine for us in the west. The Holy Spirit is a great teacher if we take time to be quiet with the Lord. It is so helpful to journal in these difficult times.

Learning to be prepared: - some have smiled at my little stash of food for hard times. That smile has gone.

Learn to sow when the seasons are good in preparation for difficult times. We have fallen into the mindset of the ‘instant society’ - food now, new clothes now, information now, help now etc instead of waiting and preparing.

Learning to sow the truth of the word of God  in times of opportunity:  As Jesus said, “ the night comes, when no one can work” I used to wonder what He meant – now I know. Better to sow the seed before the tragedy event – As the Lord did- He warned the disciples of His impending cross and its purpose.

Learning to love with more than words: the shallowness of  ‘I love you’ needs to be replaced with the actions of ‘I love you even when undeserved’. Maybe COVID 19 will bring many prodigals home.

Learning to face the fragility of life: with medical treatment and medicine stretched beyond its capacity,  we can no longer assume that doctors can keep us alive to 85 years. The western lie, that life is good, needs to be replaced with the truth that life is short and Eternity is long.

Learning that God is at work:  from the highest to the lowest, we have to admit that we have lost control of our world. Presidents, Prime Ministers, Kings etc are trembling   with fear, unable to control the tiny virus or the outcomes devastating the world.- maybe God is teaching what He taught Nebuchadnezzar many years ago – ‘God rules in the kingdoms of men.

Learning that God judges: is there a cause for God to permit such tragedy? A  world where idolatry is increasing, where immoral behaviour is government approved, where unborn babies are slaughtered wholesale, a world of atheism, even among Jews, violence as normal, a world that has said ‘ no God for me’, churches that have dispensed with the Bible etc – God has every reason to judge.

Learning that God’s grace alone is the way to acceptance with God:  In these terrifying times, what help are the many religions that teach that hope is built on our good doing, our ritual keeping, our karma changing. Let us learn quickly that we all deserve judgement and damnation.  God’s grace alone through the once crucified  Christ  brings acceptance with God.

Learning to pray:  We have been taught to be independent . Even eloquent prayers fail when the world collapses around us.  It is so good that God still hears the prayer of the humble and contrite.

Learning to look and listen to Nature:  with the takeover of human thinking by the media and the internet, thoughtfulness has been lost. Now we can take time to listen to the birds, care for animals,  smell the roses, study the insects, watch the clouds and count the stars!

Learning to have longsighted vision:  so many hopes and dreams have been smashed – built on the sand castles of ‘ self esteem’ live your dream’ go your own way’ make your fortune now’. Rather the word of the Lord Jesus still holds good- “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these thing shall be added unto you” “Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven!” (Matthew 6,7)

Learning the real priorities of life: Instead  of constant ‘selfies’ and selfishness, change to    Jesus... others.... yourself  -  JOY

Learning about the future: Modern prophets have made all sorts of predictions, both good and bad. How quickly they can all be cancelled. Only God knows the future and it is about time we began to take notice.

Are we prepared to ‘Be still and know that He is God”  ????

johnmckee@internode.on.net

Monday, March 30, 2020

Fear/faith


Droughts, bushfires, viruses, recession – life has become fearful.

Does God care?  Yes He does care, and for those who seek Him in prayer, who trust Him in faith, the fear is changed to trust.

The more important question is – do we care about God?
      How much time do we spend listening to God?
      How much of our heart affection is for God?
      What do we do when tempted to do evil – go God’s way?
      Is it true that we love him? and obey Him?

He showed His love to us by sending His Son Jesus to call us back to God. He shows us His love today by hearing our humble cry and giving us better than we deserve. 

Sometimes the difficulties of life are helpful in turning our attention back to the Lord our God. We are inclined to pride, selfish indulgence and independence. Going our own way only leads down. How can we blame God for not caring if we have chosen to live without Him?

Today the Lord Jesus is still calling, “ Come to me you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, I will give you rest.” Take time to read this yourself in the Bible – Matthew 11.28

He came from heaven to save you, He died to purchase your forgiveness with God, He lives today to keep you unto the days of eternity.

Do you fear the future or do you have faith in the Lord who is in charge of the future?

johnmckee@internode.on.net

Friday, March 27, 2020

Why

" Hard times and trouble are God's way of getting our attention"

Job 36:15 (CEV)


"God blesses those that feel their need of HIM"

Matthew 5:2  (NLT)

"His purpose in all of this was that the nations should seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward HIM  -- though He be not far from anyone of us."

Acts 17:27

"For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is LORD, and believe in your heart that God raised HIM from the dead, you will be saved"

Romans 10:9


John McKee

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Hope in the time of tragedy


Hope in the shadow of tragedy


Some might ask, where is God in the situations of tragedy?  But the better question is ‘Where is man in the situations of tragedy?’

We must recognize that in our world are great forces of evil against the forces of good.  In this article I would like to focus on the human factor as presented by Jude. Yes, that little book  near the end of the Bible, is so relevant to the past and present tragedies.

If men would turn to the Lord, then might God intervene, but no, mankind wants to go it alone, go their own way!

In the book of Jude a list of historical tragedies is given:
1st -Verse 4 -  Many Israelites died for choosing to live immoral lives. –tragedy
2nd –The angels that went beyond the limits of their God given authority – they are still bound in prisons of darkness awaiting the day of judgement.-tragedy.
3rd  - The people of Sodom and Gomorrah delighted in every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire from heaven and the people await the day of judgement. – tragedy
4th –False teachers who mock and curse the things they do not understand. They bring about their own destruction. –tragedy.
5th – Those who like Cain, hate and kill even their own family – tragedy
6th – Those who like Balaam, will do anything for money – tragedy.
7th – Those who like Korah, rebel against God given authority – tragedy

So many of these are like wandering stars, heading for everlasting doom and darkness.
They are grumblers and complainers, doing whatever evil they feel like. They are loud mouthed braggarts, and they flatter others to get favours in return. – tragedy!
What a horror list – yet what an accurate description of our world!

What hope is there?

In the beginning of history, God came to Adam in the garden to communicate spiritual blessing. Tragedy broke that fellowship, BUT God still sought connection with Adam and Eve. The Lord still continued to connect with Cain and Abel. Through history, God has continued to reach out to individuals who repent and believe in Him. Noah preached righteousness so that the people might be delivered from tragedy. So in modern history, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has called people to Repent . Many individuals have responded . They have found a nearness to God that impels them to bless others like Jesus did. Sometimes like a Luther, a Wilberforce, but mostly it has been the salt , light and kindness of the millions who have come to know Jesus Christ in a personal way.

Jude gives hope and good advice to his readers:

Verse 1     ‘You are called to live in the love of God the Father and the care of Jesus Christ .’
Verse 3    ‘ you are to defend the Gospel.’
Verse 15    ‘ Understand that God will bring the people of the world to judgement.’
Verse 17    ‘You must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ told you.’
Verse 20    ‘you must continue to build your lives on the foundation of your holy faith, praying in the Spirit.’
Verse 21    ‘Keep yourselves in the love of God , looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life’
Verse 22    'showing mercy to others'

Verse 24,25     Let the praise begin to God who is Holy, who is the Saviour, for He is worthy.

I encourage you to read this little book of Jude again. See God in righteous judgement and see God in abundant grace. By this means, tragedy can become a triumph.


Something to ponder – ‘why is there not greater tragedy as punishment for sin?’
The answer is – ‘God is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish.’

John McKee

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Tragedy!


Reviewing history
If you like nightmares, read history!  The history of mankind seems to be one long narrative of tragedy and suffering. The last 150 years is perhaps one of the worst records of human trauma, and there seems to be no end to disasters in sight.

Thinking people ask why?

Historians ask ‘why don’t we learn from history?’

Religious people ask ‘ where is God in all this?’

Forecasters ask ‘Is the world getting better or worse?’

Young people say ‘What’s the point of living?’

And so hopelessness sets in.

Is there an answer?  At school we are studying Genesis. In these pages we are finding the fundamental causes.- Listening to the wrong voice!  Blaming others instead of accepting responsibility , envy that ends in murder, rejection of God and His ways – finally ending in global disaster!   Well nothing much is new today!

Next blog – there is an answer!

John McKee

Friday, March 6, 2020

One God,, One Lord


An idol is nothing in the world.  There is no God but one. For though there are those called gods many, and lords many; yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through Him.
-         The Bible – 1 Corinthians 10
-          
In a world of pluralism (many paths to god), the Bible insists that there is only one God and one Saviour Jesus Christ  the Lord. I would have thought that advanced humanity  would have stopped worshipping idols that have eyes but cannot see, ears that cannot hear, mouths that do not speak!

In a world of historical  and archaeological verification, I would have thought that people would have noticed the superior credentials of Jesus Christ as Leader and Saviour. Rather than following men that are dead, and whose teachings are often confusing. Jesus, whom the critics fail to discredit, remains distinguished in moral value, in spiritual transformation and in divine claim – the Son of God. 
All who encounter Him ( as many do in reading His words, dreams, research, study, experiences), all bow before Him and worship Him.

Most people I encounter choose to stay in the dark, and do not want to know Him.  This may be due to religious upbringing, fear of the need to change, fear of others etc.  How tragic that for such is reserved the ‘outer darkness’ of eternity without God.

The promise of Christ remains true – “seek and you will find, Knock and it will be opened to you”


johnmckee@internode.on.net

Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Lamb of God


“Behold the Lamb of God,
who takes away the sin of the world”
John the Baptizer identified Jesus as the Lamb of God.

How does He remove the sin of the world?
1             Preaching repentance – the opportunity to turn to God, accepting that God is right when we have been wrong
2            By grace  - forgiveness of sins in his Name
3            By Christian testimony – as a light shining on a hill
4            By wrath –the wrath of the Lamb will punish evil in the world
5            By judgement – He will separate to good from the bad
6            By the iron rod – He will rule the nations with a rod of iron.

All of these things are linked to Jesus being the ‘Lamb of God’.
He the spotless, unblemished one, exposed sin as an offence to God, yet gave Himself in death as a sacrifice for those sins. Now that He is alive from the dead, He can forgive, but for those who reject His forgiveness, He will be the judge.

And so we trace right through the Bible, Jesus Christ is seen as the Lamb. In the last book He is seen as the Lamb upon the throne in heaven. He is the one to whom every knee will bow, confessing Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Today is our opportunity to confess that Jesus is Lord, believing that God has raised Him from the dead. By this we are saved. (Romans 10.9)

JRM