Canada Day

Canada Day prompts us to remember our history. 

When Jacques Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence River to Montréal in 1533 he wrote in his diary, “… we all kneeled down in the company of the Indians and with our hands raised toward heaven yielded our thanks to God.”    There was an early desire to share with the natives the good news of Jesus.  ‘The Father of New France’, Samuel de Champlain wrote in his diary, “ … (the aboringines are) living without God and without religion … I thereupon concluded in my private judgement that I should be committing a great sin if I did not make it my business to devise some means of bringing them to the knowledge of God.”

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Roger Carswell
For this child I prayed

And yet, the greatest sadness I come across in my travels is the bitter heartache of Christian parents concerned for their children.  John White called them ‘Parents in pain’.  Every parent knows the earnest desire that each of their children should be committed to Christ and His service, but when this doesn’t happen, heaviness of heart is a real and undying pain. 

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“O Absalom, my son, my son”.

Imagine how David Livingstone felt having to dig the grave for his son who had died of an opium overdose.  DL Moody said that he would gladly have traded all the thousands to whom he was preaching if he could just have his son Will, who at that time was a prodigal, become a Christian. Shakespeare’s King Lear has the line, ‘How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.’

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Roger Carswell
Royal Mail

If I may use one final quotation, German philosopher, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.”  So, if we want to leave a legacy, we can try writing letters, and with God’s blessing they may impact people for their eternal good.  There’s a New Year’s resolution there somewhere.

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Lessons from the Kings of Judah

Along the front façade of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris were 28 sculptures of the Kings of Judah.  Of course, we don’t know what their physical appearance was, but 2 Chronicles gives insights as to what they were like on the inside.  The Books of Chronicles (one book originally) are sermons, based on the factual history of Israel and Judah.  The author lets the facts speak, and what they say edifies us. 2 Chronicles is a great read, and has glaring lessons for the reader to learn.   Here are some:

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John, on his mentor John, in the Gospel of John

I had read the Gospel of John several times, but somehow missed the verses at the end of chapter 10 until I spotted them on a gravestone!  I was in Bangor in Northern Ireland and went to see the graves of a friend murdered by the I.R.A., and, very near to it, that of W.P.Nicholson, who was so greatly used by the Lord, to win thousands to Christ, over 50 years ago.  Engraved on his gravestone were the words,

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The best that I can be

2 Samuel 23 v. 8 – 17 Shortly after the loss of his right arm, Nelson was presented to King George III, who congratulated him upon his naval victories, then added, almost prophetically, “But your country has a claim for a bit more of you.”

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Sometimes God’s people do ungodly things

It was a rare moment.  Yorkshire Cricket Club had announced that entry to the ground to see the last day of the England –v- South Africa test series was free of charge.  As a family, we made our way there and watched England win the test and the series.  That day was the only one where I saw Hansie Cronje in action. Tragically, he was killed in a plane crash some time later, and my heart was heavy. 

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The Message and Meaning of Leviticus: The Way to God.

The purpose of Leviticus is to reveal the absolute holiness of God, and the conditions on which He may be approached.  The address of the Book is to a people already redeemed.  No one who has not come through Exodus can come intelligently into Leviticus.  In Exodus we are brought nigh to God; in Leviticus we are kept nigh.  In Exodus we have the fact of the Atonement; in Leviticus, the doctrine of it. 

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Royal mail

Yes, I am aware of e-mails, skype, texts and even twitter, and amazingly know how to use one or two of them.  They each have a valuable place, but for me it is the hand written letter which means so much.  I remember that there is an Inspector Morse line where he says much the same, adding that he likes a fountain pen with ink which you have to dip into.  There is a warmth, a permanence and personal touch conveyed by a letter which cannot be mimicked by electronic mail.  You cannot re-read a phone call, and rarely want to re-read a text or email, though I print out and keep some of these.  Lord Byron expressed it well, “Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company”. 

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TopicalRoger Carswell
“O Absalom, my son, my son”.

David ‘the king, deeply moved, went to the chamber over the gate, and wept, “O my son Absalom – my son, my son Absalom – if only I had died in your place! O Absalom my son, my son!”’ (2 Samuel 18:33)

The inward pain of the spiritual loss of a child remains immense.  It is deeply hurtful.  It weighs so heavily on Christian parents, becoming a burden robbing them of joy, freedom in ministry, comfort and spiritual rest. 

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The thermometer of our spiritual life

Praying abounds in the Bible.  Throughout the Scriptures we find that God’s people are in constant conversation with Him.  Sometimes they are simply praising, thanking and worshipping Him; other times they are asking, calling out, crying out, beseeching and seeking the Lord. Sometimes there is quiet communion, other times wrestling with the Almighty One.  But whenever they pray they are doing so with a humble yet expectant heart.   

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