Archive for February, 2018

Acknowledging Indebtedness

February 27, 2018

For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you glory as if you had not received it? [I Cor. 4:7, NKJV].

It is so easy to forget those who have taught us and shaped our lives. When I think about it I am so grateful to God for those who have influenced me for good and taught me the things of God.  Do you give credit where credit is due?

First of all, my parents taught me to do what is right and avoid what is wrong. They took me to church and Sunday School. When I was quite a small boy in Sheffield my great grandmother, Grandma Walker, used to take me on her knee, pray with me and sing children’s hymns to me, hymns such as ‘When mothers of Salem,’ and ‘A little ship was on the sea.’ Then I remember the various Sunday School teachers and Superintendents, including my father. He taught us that we ought to belong to the ‘RFA brigade’, that is, be ready for anything. He also taught us the chorus, “Teach me how to love Thee, teach me how to pray; teach me how to serve Thee, better day by day; teach me how to serve Thee, better day by day.’

The various ministers, lay preachers, evangelists, conference speakers all played their part, in emphasising the importance of the inspired Word of God. I remember the conventions and conferences held in the very large garden of Mrs Alexander Dixon’s in Moor Green Lane, Birmingham. Mrs. Alexander Dixon (nee Helen Cadbury) was founder of the Pocket Testament League.

Frederick P. Wood, co-founder and leader of the National Young Life Campaign, had an influence upon me, especially his teaching on worldliness, in his two books, Questionable Amusements and The Question of Worldliness.

Then there were those who were so helpful when I was in my late teens and early twenties. Sandy and Ella Sanderson of the CLC bookshop in Birmingham were a great encouragement. So were Ieuan Jones, Jim Parnell, Henry Brash Bonsall, and the leaders of the Young Warriors (WEC) who lived in Edgbaston at the time. It was they who introduced me to my first all nights of prayer.

Lorne Sanny of the Navigators, teaching at the Follow-up Instruction classes at the first Billy Graham Crusade at Harringay, London was used to confirm my call to full-time ministry. Andrew MacBeath, Principal of the old BTI, and Geoffrey Grogan, resident tutor, added their influence, and so did Don Summers, evangelist, who used me in his Bristol Crusades, through which I became known to Bristol churches and received my first call to the pastorate. And so it goes on.

Thank you, Lord, for all those you have used to chisel and shape me. Thank you especially for your precious Word and the blessed Holy Spirit, the Comforter.

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Walking with God

February 15, 2018

We read twice in Genesis that Enoch walked with God (Gen. 5:22, 24), as also did Noah (Gen. 6:9).

The concept of walking with Almighty God is awe-inspiring.  Here are seven things about it that come to mind.

  1. Walking with God implies companionship.  When a young man and a young lady began to get acquainted it used to be referred to as “walking out.”  That God should deign to be our Friend and acquaintance is staggering.
  2. Walking with God implies conversation.  You do not usually walk out with someone in total silence.  But conversation is by definition a two-way communication.  This means we must learn to listen to God  as well as talk to him in prayer.  It also greatly influences the topics of our conversation.                                                        “Talk with us, Lord, Thyself reveal, While here on earth we rove; Speak to our hearts, and let us feel The kindling of Thy Love.  With Thee conversing, we forget All time and toil and care; Labour is rest, and pain is sweet, If Thou, my God, art here.” [Charles Wesley].
  3. Walking is exercise, and exercise is essential to health.  So walking with God is spiritual exercise and is essential to our spiritual health.
  4. Walking implies a goal or destination, either a location some other aim such as pleasure or deeper acquaintance.  If we want to know God we must walk with Him.
  5. Walking implies progress.  It is no good marching on the spot.  When we walk with God we shall inevitably get somewhere.  We shall make progress.
  6. Walking with God is hugely different from walking with anyone else.  It makes a difference whom you walk with.  When I walk with my wife I can talk about things and say things I would say to no other.  When I was at college I developed a friendship with another brother largely because we had a similar sense of humour, as well as both loving the Lord.  This was a life-long friendship, shared by our wives as well.  He went to be with the Lord s few years ago, and I know no one with whom I could talk in quite the same way.  To walk with the Almighty, Holy, glorious God who is our Saviour and Lord is one of the greatest possible privileges we could ever have in this world.
  7. Walking with God implies guidance.  We must go His way or we walk alone.  ‘Where He leads me I will follow.’  Having been saved from the punishment of sin (EPH. 2:8, 9), we are being saved (I Cor. 1:18) from the power of sin by walking with Him.  And one day we shall be saved (Rom. 5:9) from the very presence of sin when we walk with Him into our heavenly home.