May this e-book draw souls to the Scriptures, to which it is intended to be a meditative mirror:
As 2017 looms, I cannot help but lament the missed opportunities, prayers and abidings in Christ, in which I have all too often allowed other things to get in the way. I am thankful for the ongoing mercy of our Father upon such a one as me. I am deeply grateful for those essential insights into the Christian life, which the Holy Spirit saw fit to breathe through the apostle’s pen:
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
And Asahel pursued after Abner; and in going he turned not to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner. (2 Sam 2:19)
It is possible to pursue earnestly, zealously and yet not according to wisdom. There are many things one might like to pursue but it may not the Lord’s will for one to do so. One’s ‘Abner’ might seemingly be for the greater glory of God’s kingdom, but it might not be God’s will for you. How many reformed churches contain young men who dream of being a pastor? And yet how many of those young men are not called to be a pastor and so fritter away much valuable time hankering after something to which they were never called?
One’s ‘Abner’ might be something of a more secular nature, such as career advancement, personal success, health, wealth or happiness. It is not the Lord’s will for these to be pursued to the detriment of increasingly honest and heartfelt daily devotions, simple trust in Christ Jesus, and loyal and regular fellowship with the brethren. That is not to say that such things do not have their place, but to obsessively pursue them is surely foolishness.
As the Lord beckons us through 2017 may we each more honestly review our lives, prayerfully identifying false pursuits, dead ends, fleshly and Satanic distractions so that we may not pursue our particular ‘Abners’ but Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:2)
Speed camera Christian, please slow down
don’t speed away from Christ today,
your destination’s up not down
your hellish fine His death did pay.
Oh office Christian, gossip not
don’t listen as they tear apart,
pray for their souls, don’t join their rot
repent they must or will depart.
Oh Sunday Christian, please sit down
don’t worship worship, turn today
to Him Who came from heaven down
to turn us from our hellbound way.
Nominal Christian, offer not
your righteousness, just filthy rags,
depend upon the Saviour’s lot
He’s making mansions, need no bags.
According to Romans 7, the apostle Paul delights in the law of God (v. 22) and yet sees another law (v. 23) within himself which is opposed to his new nature. So it is with every believer. By grace one is drawn to Christ through no merit or desire of one’s own. After the new nature has been imparted, the old nature is still there and the struggle begins.
The Old Testament personifies this in the first proto-Messianic kings, Saul and David. Saul is outwardly attractive and appears to rule well, then rapidly deteriorates. The prophet announces the solemn judgement upon the old king and divine installation of the new:
And Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou. (1 Sam 15:28)
And so Saul (flesh) will live on in wilful denial of the truth of God and relentless hostility towards it. Meanwhile, David (Spirit) is irresistibly drawn to the Lord, and is destined to overcome. At each stage of their spiritual battle there is a respite and a return to what they are by nature:
So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place. (1 Sam 26:25)
In the end David (Spirit) must live and Saul (flesh) must die; there cannot be two kings ruling over the chosen nation. Similarly, the saint experiences a victory which, even this side of eternity, exposes and outstrips the limits of mortal glory:
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Rom 8:37)
Satan’s lies at first appeal
then make you think you have a meal,
but gradually from you they steal
they’ll starve you till you cannot kneel.
Satan’s weeds at first just poke
they may at first appear a joke,
but gradually they try to choke
they’ll suffocate, will go for broke.
Satan’s pleasures tantalise
they come in every shape and size,
then gradually solidify
they almost seem to satisfy.
Satan’s times, now in God’s hands
will slip from time to fiery sands,
but first each one in Christ will rise
will be released, will realise.