Sunday, 29 January 2017

Demonstrating the Lord’s Grace and Wisdom

Mark 14:9; ‘Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her’

Source: WallpaperSafari
Recently at our local men's group the leader asked us to talk about someone who had influenced our lives for the good, who had now gone to be with the Lord. I immediately thought of my dear Grandmother and Aunt, both of whom have played a significant part in my life and were women of action and faith. My grandmother although a very slight woman physically was resolute both in body and spirit and had a quiet and immovable faith and truly believed that what the Lord said He would do. One evening when the cottage they lived in was lit by oil lamps, the lamp was about to go out and everyone was going to bed. (They were relatively poor and there was only a small stock of oil at any one time - none on this occasion). At that moment, a visitor came. Not wanting to turn them away my Nan invited them in knowing that they would soon be sitting in darkness. Without doubting she offered a prayer about the oil. The lamp just kept burning for the hours that the visitor was there. On the day that she died, just before she passed she came to for a moment and not able to speak she signed ‘176’ to those around her – which was the number of one of her favourite hymn; 'I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene'.

My Aunt was physically immobile for several years and in pain every day. Nonetheless her sense of gratitude to the Lord for every blessing was one of her signature themes. She would say ‘Chris we need to be grateful for all that the Lord has given us, don't we?’ She continued my Nan's practice of praying for the wider family every day and we always knew that we were being remembered in prayer especially when the day was presenting a particular challenge. Both my grandmother and my aunt had a positive influence on my life and it was nice to remember both during the men’s group meeting.

My mind also thought about two other people who few will remember (maybe no one outside of a very small circle). They very strongly brought to mind the scripture Psalm 116:15 ‘Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints’. The first is a lady we knew as Mrs Reading. Her life had been such that she would have many reasons to be discouraged and bitter but instead she was the opposite. She was grateful for every small thing. She possessed little material goods and used to put out previous year's Christmas cards along with the decorations to make festive. She was so encouraging and her chuckle and peals of laughter were a delight. She was a person who on reflection you wish that you had visited more often and got to know better. Her faith was simple and her generosity of heart and encouragement great. The second person, Shirley, was a lady whose husband was a member of the family, who came to know the Lord at the time when ‘Make Way’ was very popular and if there was chance for suggesting a song would always say; ‘Shine Jesus shine’. Shirley was quite a sick person with several ailments including an amputation that had gone badly wrong. She loved the Lord dearly despite the difficulties of day to day life and the pain, and persevered in coming to meet other Christians whenever she could despite the complications of travel and movement. On the day that she went to be with Jesus her husband (not a churchgoer) witnessed that Jesus came for her. They were watching television and her attention suddenly diverted elsewhere in the room. She saw the Lord and He simply took her home.

Apart from the inspiration and encouragement that the examples above give us, as simple life stories, there is also something deeper about our relationships with God and the things that He wants us to do and be. I think that it inspires us to keep our faith simple - Jesus said that if we want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven we must come as little children; Matthew 18:2-4 ‘Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven’.

If we aspire to lead we must be the servant of all. Mark 9:35 ‘He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else’. For me it’s also a major lesson in ‘being before doing’. None of the women discussed above could have sustained their behaviour and actions unless they had a relationship with Jesus first. Their character and grace came from the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ within them, not formulae or programmes or even a natural tendency to do good works.

Most importantly we need to be who God wants us to be and to never underestimate or undervalue what this means to others around us, in the Kingdom of Heaven and to the Lord himself. The Old Testament in 1 Samuel 30:24 establishes that; ‘The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle’. The reward for whoever helps those directly involved in doing God's work will be the same as those directly involved; Matthew 10:41-42 ‘Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward’.

In the New Testament, we are told that the church resembles a body and everyone has different functions. We are also told that we should not despise our own role or the role of others because like the women above we cannot know the impact that we have on others or the massive significance that our lives may have in heavenly places. Our mission is to demonstrate the Lord's grace and wisdom to principalities and powers; Ephesians 3:10 ‘His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms’, and the Universe is watching on. So be encouraged and don't become weary in doing good; Mark 14:9 ‘Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her’. Amen.

Author: Chris Pearson

May God bless and enrich your life

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  1. Thank you for this blessing. It made me think about my Christian journey and that God wants to use me as a vessel to bring Jesus into the lives of those around me each day: 'we need to be who God wants us to be and to never underestimate or undervalue what this means to others around us, in the Kingdom of Heaven and to the Lord himself' Amen.

  2. Thank you dear brother Chris for taking the time to share this really heart warming testimony. All the Glory to God always.
    I would love to have met all those wonderful people who influenced your young life but I would have especially loved to met your beloved Grandmother and sat with her to absorb her pearls of wisdom with the little oil lamp burning. Thank you God's for your amazing provision only you kept that little lamp burning that night Amen. God help my life to always Bless others in the most simple, loving and kind acts. God Bless Chris

  3. What an incredible testimony to God's amazing grace to and through His people. We never know what influence we may have on other people as we walk with God which is why we should never give up or lose faith. It also shows that until we go to be with Him God can still use us if we let Him, no matter how young, old or illequiped we may feel or be. The body of Christ is beautiful in every way. Praise God.

  4. Thank Chris for such amazing words to encourage us so we all can have an influenced on others as we journey together serving our Lord it is a great privilege to help each other with the truth of the words of the Bible may the peace and blessings be with you all

  5. James 5v16-B The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.The Eternal values of those lovely Christian ladies in the Aeticle are evident of Gods Grace and love in action . a heartwarming article with such a lovely song at the end was very moving . how blessed we are to be reminded of the lovely saints that God gifts to the world . for us thank you for bringing us this blessed Article .