Tuesday, March 26, 2013

God's Message,in Stone #5

The Living Stone
Pet rocks, some fancy some plain are often a reminder of some tourist venture or childish delight. They sit silently and simply stare. I’m reminded by them of the spiritual life of too many people. They look nice but they are lifeless.

God doesn’t desire ‘pet rocks.’ He longed for living stones. Only such people could share in His kingdom. How would this be possible? By the Lord of Glory who came into the ‘quarry’ where ‘pet rocks’  are found. There He came to offer life. Without His intervention there is no way for the lifeless stones to create the life Heaven requires. Evolution is impossible in the spiritual world as well as the physical.

Here again we behold the wonder of the identification of Jesus Christ as ‘The Stone.’  We have briefly looked at the biblical record of Him being the rejected stone which became the foundation Stone and one day will be the crushing Stone. That is all well and good but how does it turn a person from being a cold, lifeless spiritual non-entity to God?

In 1 Peter 2:4 we read ‘Come to him, a living stone though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight…’ Why this title? It is because Jesus as the rejected Stone took on Himself our sin, judgement and death. If He was still in the tomb He would remain the rejected and useless stone. However Jesus rose from the dead with great glory, power and righteousness. Now the Lord has the power and authority to impart His life to those who hear the message of the cross of Christ.

It is as though the Holy Spirit comes to each ‘pet rock’ and stirs their deadness with a life giving message. Each individual rock can either respond or stay dormant. There isn’t any favouritism. The resurrection life of Jesus is open to all who long to come alive to God. Then be released from the eternal uselessness of being a pet rock in the World’s quarry of despair. To remain there means Heaven’s rejection.

Peter goes on to call those who respond to the Living Stone the self same title. The Lord places His resurrection life within the believer. Each one is unique. Each one is lovingly and graciously placed with others to form a spiritual house. As such this ‘house’ is permeated with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. What a wonderful privilege we have been given. No wonder the Bible speaks of how the living stones consider The Living Stone precious.

Ray (living stone) Hawkins.
Next week The Smitten Stone.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

God's Messages in Stone #4.

The Foundation Stone for…

My grandson was building a tower of interlocking blocks. It was broad based and patiently erected. Trouble came when its height was excessive and also when floor vibrations increased. It shook. It rattled. It collapsed. Then the tears flowed and tantrums erupted.

Foundations are essential for any edifice to endure the pressures placed upon it. This is also true for an individual life, a family  or nation. One of the sad aspects of living a reasonably long life is to see the truth of this in the lives of those you know. They built their life on money, pleasure, fame, success and even religious observances but their lives crashed because of either no foundation or inadequate ones.
We have been considering Jesus Christ in various roles as ‘The Stone.’ He is the rejected Stone, the Crushing Stone now consider Him as the foundation Stone. ‘No one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Jesus is our foundation for our Faith.
He is the fulfilment of Isaiah 28:16: ‘Therefore thus says the Lord God, I am laying in Zion a foundation stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation.’ The Bible reveals the Name, the character, the work and words of this person.  He cannot be undermined by evolutionary theory, higher criticisms or religious counterfeits. His claim is contained in many passages. A very graphic expression is found in Matthew 7:24-29 in the parable of the wise and foolish builders.

Jesus is our foundation for Redemption and forgiveness.
In the Old Testament He is the promised one. Check Genesis 3:15. The substitutionary one Isaiah 53 and the coming one Daniel 7.  (Many other passages can be written). The crucifixion, entombment and resurrection of Jesus, known historically, made Him our foundation for Salvation.

Jesus is the foundation on which to build our lives.
In the midst of our earthly living many foundations are offered.  When tested by the various storms of life they will topple. Jesus supplies us with a foundation on which to build; a morality which is pleasing to God and health giving to self and family; hope that takes us through savage times and ultimately into the presence of the Father.  

There are many other facets about a life built upon Jesus we could consider. Get a Judeo-Christian bible and discover them for yourself.  Jesus didn’t say building your life upon His character, cross, and word would be easy. What He does promise is that you will stand in life’s storms. More than that, you will stand in the Father’s presence and know acceptance.

(Ray (locked into the Foundation Stone) Hawkins.
Next week What Jesus makes us – Living Stones.

Monday, March 11, 2013

God's messages in Stone #3.

The Destroying Stone.

Dreams play a prominent part in the Bible’s history. One of the most famous is found in Daniel 2. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream he couldn’t recall. A young Jewish captive had been enrolled in the King’s Magi school. He undertook the life threatening task of revealing both the dream and its meaning. Daniel gave the honour and glory for this to God.

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was of a huge idol It had head of fine gold, chest and arms of silver, the middle and thighs of bronze, the legs of iron and feet a mixture of iron and clay. Then a Stone comes hurtling out of the heavens and strikes the idol around the base and feet. It is shattered to smithereens.  Part of God’s message through Daniel and hence to us was ‘God…reveals…what will happen at the end of days.’

The Lord God of Glory has not left us in ignorance of future events. He has spelt out coming events to warn us to make Him our personal place of safety. We do this by calling out to Him to save, to forgive, to keep us in His care.

As you read Daniel’s account you notice the four kingdoms degenerate and the fourth become much more oppressive, especially of God’s people. The fourth one is featured in the New Testament book of Revelation.

Who is the Stone? Again Daniel supplies the clue in chapter 7:9-14. It is The Son of Man. He who was the Rejected Stone; He who was charged with blasphemy because He claimed to be the Conquering and Ruling Stone mentioned in Daniel 7:13-14; He who was crucified, buried and rose again. The Rejected Stone has become the Destroying Stone. We know Him as Jesus Christ.

Why is He coming to overthrow?
Because the leaders of the world powers set themselves up as gods. This culminates in one single person rising to power. He opposes the Person of Jesus Christ, the reality of the Triune God, the morality God requires and the truth of the Bible. This evil king also seeks to destroy the nation of Israel and all who are followers of Christ Jesus. He is termed ‘The Anti-Christ.’

The Bible doesn’t spell out the time frame for the beginning of this event. It does however guarantee it will take place. Jesus as the Stone will come to vindicate His name, save His people and also establish the fifth Kingdom. This coming kingdom has eternity written all over it. The Bible says in effect ‘don’t mess with the Stone of Heaven but make Him your life’s foundation Stone.’

When that happens the rejected stone becomes the destroying stone will become the eternal ruling stone.

Ray (safe from the Destroying Stone) Hawkins.
Next week.  The Foundation Stone.

Monday, March 4, 2013

God's Messages in Stone #2.

The Rise of the Rejected Stone

The importance of the centre stone.

Most of us enjoy watching a film where the rejected baseball player makes good.  When he hits the home run to win the World Series we stand up and shout. We are thrilled by his rise from tragedy to triumph.

A much more critical triumph over rejection is found in the Bible. Not only was the person rejected but he was slandered, falsely accused and judicially murdered.  What is more he knew what was in store for him, yet pursued his course to attain something everlasting not for himself but for all of us. Even those who did the foul deed!

Using the metaphor of ‘the stone’ we read of this person in Psalm 118:22-23: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.’ This was read at the Jewish Passover meal. Guess who read it? Jesus!  Before He came to earth this Jesus knew what to face. Isaiah 53:3 tells us He would be despised and rejected. Why then would He go through with it? Many reasons! Among them is to achieve your salvation and acceptance with God plus so that He might be the ‘capstone’ of God’s purposes.

What historical fact do we have to verify such a claim? Jesus was condemned by Jewish and Roman authorities for offences against their Law. He was crucified and the tomb’s rock door was sealed with an official seal. A guard of soldiers was also posted around it. Still Jesus broke through the power of death, the tomb and rejection with His resurrection.  From the lowest Jesus has risen to the highest.

Now we are confronted with a choice.  Will He be one of three stones over and in our own life? Will he remain for you the rejected stone despite all the evidence of His triumph? Will He be the Stumbling stone, the stone of offence because you don’t like His claim to your life? Or will He be the capstone of your life. The One who gives you dignity, meaning, hope and the joy of knowing forgiveness for the time when you treated Him as the rejected or stumbling stone.

1 Peter 2:6 uses another defining term about this ‘Stone.’ ‘See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him shall not be put to shame.’ That is a wonderful promise endorsed by countless millions since the first Easter Sunday who have believed in Jesus as Lord and Saviour. That commitment of faith makes Jesus both the cornerstone and the capstone of your life. It means you are kept you under His care in time and eternity.

Ray (under the capstone) Hawkins.

Next week. The Destroying Stone.

For more on  the Rejected but Triumphant Stone read my 31 Day Devotional Meditations 'Captured by Calvary' at all good Christian Bookshops in print and Ebooks.