Sunday, February 18, 2018

This I know...

It is time for me to finish my blog postings. I have appreciated the opportunity of sharing my heart, mind and faith with you these past few years. But with the unknown length of time I have ahead of me (I’m not sick, just ageing) I want to pursue some other things.

This, my final sharing with you will be done in two parts. I am using a verse from Paul’s letter to Timothy as the basis of the blog. What Paul wrote expresses my heartfelt gratitude to Jesus Christ and my confidence in Him. The verse is… I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. ( 2 Timothy 1:12.)

I know: There was a time when I didn’t know Jesus in a personal way. I knew about Him. I was impressed by the stories written but Jesus was a stranger, aloof and distant. That changed one day on the footpath outside the Rockdale church of Christ (New South Wales, Australia). It was after the Sunday church service and I knew in my inner being the Lord was dealing with me.

He wanted to know me. This meant I had to know Him! It was a relationship founded upon His invitation and my faith response.  That was sixty years ago.

In whom: Could I have been imagining what I heard within? That was possible but as they say ‘the proof is in the eating.’ The reality of that moment has been proven countless times, and tested more times than I care to remember. Jesus invited me to know Him, not merely to hear about Him or see Him as a noble stranger, but to know Him. This meant He must be my Saviour, Lord, Master, and friend. How was I to grow this relationship? Through knowing His word, being involved in worship of and fellowship with Him. That means sharing with His people. Something strange began to take shape. A new ‘me’ emerged. Hypocrisy slid away. Ignorance was replaced by His word. Faith grew as it confronted the doubts and insinuations which developed.

I have believed. Some will wonder how I, or anyone, can have a personal relationship with Christ. For He is unseen and dwells in the spiritual realm. That is similar to saying a blind person cannot enjoy the warmth of the sun or the freshness of the wind. At first it is hard to define but once experienced, built upon, tested and even neglected for a period (which has its own sense of sorrow), you know the relationship is real.
What do I believe about Jesus?
 Time and space are too limited for an adequate reply. Suffice to write that across sixty years and a church based ministry spanning over fifty years I have found Him faithful. Jesus is faithful to His Word. He is faithful to His name and titles. He is faithful to His personal promises to people such as you and I. Jesus promised never to leave or forsake those who trust in Him. But, what is His reaction to the times I have smeared my calling, broken His trust, played on the edge of the darkness, grieved His Spirit or doubted His
grace? Discipline falls, but not divorce. Pruning is applied, not removal from His presence. Silence falls, but not separation. His intentions are to bring me to repentance, to an awareness of my stupidity that generates a heartfelt cry for His mercy, forgiveness and cleansing. The unseen scars on my soul are evidences before the angels, the demons and my conscience, Jesus is my Lord, Saviour and healer! He is faithful and His power liberating.

And am persuaded: Certain memorials were erected by Israel as a testimony to some act of God on His people’s behalf. They expressed the nation or the individual’s intention of wanting to honour the Lord. What observers thought of those cairns is not the issue. I have certain unshakeable events in my life which makes me bow in adoration and gratitude before Him.
Without explanation I list: being accepted into Bible College; meeting my future wife,
Mary. Having the Lord confirm to us separately and indelibly His will to marry. Guiding and providing for us in our self-supporting church planting ventures. Mission trips to Africa. Purchase of a house. The gift of writing books.

Atheists may laugh, philosophers may scratch their heads and readers may put it down to luck. But ‘I know!’

That He is able: After walking with Him hand in hand with Mary we have emerged with a confidence in our Lord’s strength. That word ‘able’ is the word for power, ‘dunamis’. This power is evident in the Gospel for it lifts a person out of eternal death into eternal life. The cross displays Christ’s power to anyone who believes in the crucified and risen Lord. It is His power (1 Peter1:5) which alone can keep us safe and secure. We are unable to save ourselves, nor keep ourselves saved. Christ alone has that ‘dunamis’. He alone is our boast. 

To be concluded next week
©Ray Hawkins February 18th 2018.


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