The Fourth Rocky Road Epistle Chapter 6

The words below from Nigel Harris (CEO of TearFund) seem very apt at the moment.

For those of us living in the UK, our world is opening up again as the coronavirus restrictions begin to be lifted. You may have heard the phrase 'building back better', as businesses take the opportunity to do things differently and more effectively. We don't need to go back to 'normal' because we have the chance to do things better than before.

But what does this mean for us personally? How can we make the world a better place? Where do we start when we see so much injustice and face so many challenges?

As Christians, we can trust that God will take everything we offer him today – no matter how small – and do more than we could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).”

Today (By Rachael Adams)

What is in tomorrow, but what we sow today?
A kind word, a smile,
the planting of a joyful flower,
a prayer, a song,
it's hope holding on.

For a better tomorrow
can only be built from today.
Chains can be broken, and people set free –
but only if we align our hearts with those in need.

The every day is the extraordinary – 
today, not tomorrow, is where we find God at work.
These are the tender moments we can join with our creator
to heal our broken world.

What is life, but a tapestry of our actions?
When we look back, what will it show?
Oh Lord, let it show a life with you –
of bringing your justice, your love and your truth.

Nigel Harris notes that many will echo those last few lines in wanting their lives to be a blessing to others. He comments that “we can be encouraged that every prayer, every act of generosity, and every word spoken in love today will be used by God to build a better tomorrow.”

Zoom Bible Study

On Wednesday 9th June, at 7.15pm for 7.30pm start.
Romans 2 v.17 to 3 v.8, “What really matters?”

All are welcome to join - please ask Laura for details. Or if you prefer to do this Bible Study at home, then read the passages several times and consider the following questions.

  1. In chapter 2 verses 17 to 20 there are ten benefits that were a source of pride to the Jews at that time. What might be the equivalent for Christians?

  2. Sum up the comments in verses 21 to 24. Is God’s name ever dishonoured because of the behaviour of Christians?

  3. What does Paul highlight in verses 25 to 29? How does this apply to us today?

  4. Chapter 3 v.1-8 Paul cites four objections that people raised. What kind of behaviour does he strongly reject? What two qualities of God does he stress?

The next Bible Study will be on 30th June – please note a 3 week gap.


Please pray for our Mission of the Month – Manna Publications.

This Thursday (27th) Margaret Shaw is going to be on the church carpark, near the entrance, doing some craft from 2pm to 4pm (weather permitting). If you can do join her for craft and chat. We pray that others from the local community would see this and want to join her as well.

Last week’s chapter included several dates and the suggestion of changing the start time of the service to 10.30am? We will be looking at this at Deacons on 13th June, so if you to contribute to the discussion please speak to one of the deacons.

Over the next few weeks we are starting a series looking at Old Testament Characters and how aspects of their lives parallel that of Christ’s.


Reflection

From Phillip on Parallels to Christ” - in the lives of Abraham and Isaac

I have to say that the story told in Genesis chapter 22 is not one of my favourites. I find it uncomfortable reading when God asks Abraham to sacrifice his own son. Perhaps the problem is that I home in on that aspect – child sacrifice and miss out the important lessons. So, let’s start much earlier in the life of Abraham.

Abraham was already an old man when God brought him outside and said to Him, “Look up at the sky and count the stars - if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”  (Genesis 15 v5). Abraham believed God’s promise even though naturally speaking it was impossible for Abraham and his wife Sarah, who was long past child-bearing years, to have a child.

Abraham’s faith in God was tested with this promise, to see if he would believe God, no matter what common-sense told him. Abraham did not waver in his faith, and God kept his word. Sarah gave birth to a baby boy, and they named their son Isaac.

Sometime later God tested Abraham’s faith a second time. “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love – Isaac - and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”  (Genesis 22 v2). What was Abraham supposed to think about this? None of it made sense. God seemed to be contradicting Himself. But Abraham’s faith in God stood firm. Although the situation seemed utterly impossible, he got up early in the morning, loaded his donkey, with the wood required for the offering, and started the three-day journey into the mountains with Isaac. (Genesis 22 v3-5).

We can only imagine the thoughts that went through Abraham’s mind as he travelled to Mount Moriah. Thoughts of doubt and misunderstanding and yet he carried on for his faith was steadfast – he believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that God would keep His promise. Abraham continued on, climbed the mountain, built the fire, placed Isaac on to it and was on the point of killing his son when God intervened and Isaac was released. In the New Testament the letter to the Hebrews explains Abraham’s faith in this way – By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”  Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. (Hebrews 11 v17-9).

So far, I have concentrated on Abraham, but what about Isaac? He was not a child by this time, but probably a teenager or even a young man. Like his father Isaac had faith for he did not doubt or question Abraham but trusted and obeyed him. His total surrender to the situation shows that he also trusted God. Even when Isaac was tied up and placed on the altar, even when Abraham reached for the knife to slay him; we do not see any retaliation from Isaac. He had faith that God knew what he was doing and good would come from the situation.

In the lives of Abraham and Isaac we see parallels to the life of Jesus. Abraham by faith was told that he would be the father of many nations and Jesus is the first born – the heir of our salvation. Isaac was prepared to die on the sacrificial table and Jesus went willingly to the cross. True, Isaac was replaced at the last minute by a sacrificial lamb, but Jesus himself is our sacrificial lamb. Jesus went through death for us because like the Abraham and Isaac before him he knew that God could even raise the dead.


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Rocky Road Epistles Chapter 19
The nineteenth letter from Rev Laura Staves to the scattered flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church, Kettering.

Rocky Road Epistles Chapter 18
The eighteenth letter from Rev Laura Staves to the scattered flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church, Kettering.

Rocky Road Epistles Chapter 17
The seventeenth letter from Rev Laura Staves to the scattered flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church, Kettering.

Rocky Road Epistles Chapter 16
The sixthteenth letter from Rev Laura Staves to the scattered flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church, Kettering.

Rocky Road Epistles Chapter 15
The fifthteenth letter from Rev Laura Staves to the scattered flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church, Kettering.

Rocky Road Epistles Chapter 14
The fourteenth letter from Rev Laura Staves to the scattered flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church, Kettering.

Rocky Road Epistles Chapter 13
The thirteenth letter from Rev Laura Staves to the scattered flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church, Kettering.

Rocky Road Epistles Chapter 12
The twelfth letter from Rev Laura Staves to the scattered flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church, Kettering.

Rocky Road Epistles Chapter 11
The eleventh letter from Rev Laura Staves to the scattered flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church, Kettering.

Rocky Road Epistles Chapter 10
The tenth letter from Rev Laura Staves to the scattered flock of Rockingham Road Baptist Church, Kettering.

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