The Official Journal of the Ensign Trust, London

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THE ENSIGN MESSAGE

CHAPLAIN’S PAGE – “TOMORROW NEVER COMES”

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How many times have we heard this saying? Whilst it is true in the sense that tomorrow is always just out of reach, nevertheless it is a general excuse to delay jobs which should be done today. Those of us who are about our Father’s business may sometimes be slack in the urgency of what we have been given to do. Twenty or thirty years  ago the world  situation  was  such  that   we could take our Christian profession at a slower pace. However, it must be obvious to even the newest Christian that the pace of world events is speeding up at an alarming rate.

A new Christian is very vulnerable, and like a baby in many ways. Whilst the joy of knowing Christ may produce a feeling of euphoria, this in itself can cause a problem. The word euphoria contains a danger sign. The dictionary explains it thus ‘a feeling of well-being based on over confidence or over optimism.’ Most of us can remember when we first believed. We naively assumed that all our troubles would magically disappear, and from then on we would tiptoe through the tulips. We soon discovered that our Christianity didn’t work like an insurance policy. The knocks and disappointments   continued   just   as  they  had  done previously. We eventually came to the point that a major decision had to be made; should we continue as a nominal believer, or take our belief seriously? Because tomorrow never comes, that decision is usually just around the corner.

It was James, the half-brother of Jesus, who wrote a fundamental truth in just twelve words,

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. James 2:17

What did he mean by works? Mending our neighbour’s fence? Surely not, for an unbeliever would do that. The underlying principle of Christian works is to glorify Christ, not ourselves. Here, our Christian walk takes on a new dimension. We begin to understand that works is not just about doing kind deeds, there is much more to it than that. It entails being deeply involved in bringing others to a knowledge of God’s living Word. However, and this is vitally important, the time has now come when things are breaking up in the nation. Because of spiralling costs, many public services are being drastically reduced. Many of those things we have taken for granted, will disappear. What services that do remain could be out of reach for those on fixed or low incomes. Many who are approaching retiring age could find that they will be required to work extra years to claim their entitlement. Tightening the belt could become a reality. For those of us old enough to remember the war, it was a daily reality-make do and mend! Coupons ensured that we had no more than our entitlement.

The younger generation today will find it difficult to cope. Their instant everything on demand will suddenly be no more than a memory. In the  event that  some of our readers may accuse the writer of  doom and gloom, we dare not ignore the national curses in the 23th chapter of Deuteronomy. This is a twofold pronouncement upon the nation, blessings for obedience, and cursings for disobedience. Some will say that they were for the nation in her early years. Not so, for God is the same yesterday today and forever. There is nothing to suggest that He  put a time limit upon them! Verses 15 and 16 clearly  state that if the nation does not  hearken  unto  the voice of God, to observe His commandments and  statutes, then these, and other curses, will come upon the nation, curses in the city and the field .

World trade, the stock market, finance both home and overseas will be affected. Thousands could be out of work. Will there be anything in the kitty to help them and their families? The cursing of the field is also serious, starvation could easily follow.  Verse 18 makes us shudder!

Cursed be the fruit  of  thy body.

Even our babies and children will be cursed.  It is   of great significance that the majority of the Bible commentaries speak of these curses as relating to the Jews.   When  will  theologians  realise  that  the  Jews represent only a small portion of the Israel nation? Unfortunately, we in the isles will be hit by these cursings, also other Israel lands. There is no doubt that  they will begin to bite very hard as we progress further into Jacob’s trouble.

If we review our standing in the world during the Victorian era, we  were  ‘set on high  above  all nations of the earth.’ (Deuteronomy 26:19)  Those  proud days of Empire, so despised by the one worlders today have gone, and we ourselves have almost  become  a  third world country. Spiritually and financially we are almost bankrupt. Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) clearly saw the downward trend of Great Britain. In his Recessional, one can feel the pathos and nostalgia for those days when we hearkened diligently unto the voice of the Lord our God. He rewarded us mightily with an Empire which spread across  the world.  Inevitably,  as has happened previously in our history it wasn’t long before we let the ends go. Kipling’s Recessional makes one weep when we think how the gospel could have continued  to be  preached,  and  education  freely given.

‘God of our fathers, known of old,

Lord of our far-flung battle line,

Beneath whose awful Hand we hold

Dominion  over palm  and pine

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget – lest we forget!

Tumult and the shouting dies;

Captains and the Kings depart;

Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,

And humble and a contrite heart

Lord God of Hosts be with us yet,

Lest we forget – lest we forget!

 

Lo, all our pomp of yesterday

Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!

Yes, indeed, we have forgotten, but God hasn’t forgotten! Those things that are done in dark corners by politicians and churchmen, God sees them all. His condemnation of the pastors was made known to the prophets in no uncertain terms. Isaiah for example set this down in chapter 56 verses 10-12:

His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, everyone for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink and tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.

Likewise, Jeremiah was given avision concerning the unfaithful  pastors  in chapter 23 verses 1-4:

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! Saith the  LORD.

Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.

And I will gather the remnant of  my flock  out of all countries  whither I  have driven  them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.

And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.

As the Lord looks at the churches today, what does He see? Those that are neither hot nor cold, but only lukewarm .

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor and blind, and naked; I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (Revelation 3:17-18)

Many of our churches are bursting at the seams to hear what?  The Word of God faithfully preached  by pastors who are on fire for the Lord? Who teach the deep things of God? Who explain the signs of the times? Do they implore those who are not born again to repent? Thank God there are still some faithful pastors. Sadly, some make a mockery of God’s Holy Word. They say that generations of faithful Christians got it wrong by believing that the Bible states that sodomy is wrong. We today they boast, have been given a new understanding of the Bible. Indeed they have, but not by the Holy Spirit! They have listened to lying and seducing spirits. All this is being passed on to their congregations who have swallowed their filth hook line and sinker.

We have traitors in the pulpits such as Steve Chalke who make a mockery of God’s Word. He declares that penal substitution is cosmic abuse! Churches invite him to preach from their pulpits. Do they shout him down and show him the door? No, they politely listen to his blasphemy and shake his hand as they depart. When, O when will they wake up? Why are the congregations so asleep that even when Satan is inside the church, they fail to recognise him? Most are too polite to say anything, ‘we must not be judgemental.’ Such churches need to be cleansed by the blood of the Lamb! How many Christians know that we have powers available to us which are meant to be used?

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and  he will flee  from  you.  (James 4:7)

The Lord has graciously given us the armour of protection  and the weapon. (Ephesians 6:10-16)

This being so, why are we so reticent to use them? Is it because we are too lazy? Or is it because we would rather leave it to tomorrow, because  tomorrow  never comes?


The Train Of  Life

At  birth we  board a train  and  meet our parents. We believe they will always travel by our side.  However, at some station,  our parents  will  step  down from the train,  leaving  us on this journey  alone.

As time goes by, other  people will  board the train, and they will  be significant  –  siblings, friends, the love of your life, children, and many others. Some will step down and leave a  permanent vacuum.

Others will  go so unnoticed that  we  won’t  realize they  vacated  their seats. The train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hello’s, good-byes, and farewells.

A successful  ride requires having a good relationship with all passengers. We  must give the  best of ourselves.

The mystery to everyone is, we do not know at which station we ourselves will step  down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty, we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue  to  travel  on the train  of life.

We wish you a joyful journey on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love.

Lastly,  we’re glad  you  are one of the passengers  on our  train! !

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