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Friday, 14 October 2016

Change!

The following words "jumped out" at me as I read the regular bulletin from Dr Jim Denison that arrived in my Inbox today.

"The best way to deal with a changing world is to depend completely on an unchanging God."

We live in a world that, certainly for those of us who dwell in the so-called "western world", experiences change exponentially!   I am of a generation that can recall 78 rpm records.  Then there were 45 rpm, and 33 rpm (long play - maybe six tracks on each side!).  Before I knew it, recording was being done on tapes - that came in reels from about 3" in diameter to about 6"+ in diameter.  I had barely become accustomed to that medium, before cassette tapes became all the range.  Then it was Compact Discs (I still recall the "Tomorrow's World" programme that 'introduced' them!), and Mini-discs.  My "studio" was filling up - with equipment and recording/playback media that was still perfectly functional, but was already "historical"!  

Now, of course, everything is done with MP3 files, and I can store hundreds of tracks on a mere 1Gb memory stick that is smaller than my thumb!  And all of that has only to do with recording and playing back of sound!

If we look at the world of transport; of communication; of politics; of almost anything one cares to name; then, as the hymnwriter so succinctly put it: "Change and decay in all around I see"!

So Jim Denison's words are a timely reminder.  "For I the Lord do not change;" (Mal 3:6), is the word of Almighty God to His chosen people - the Children of Israel.  When we turn to the writings of the New Testament, we read that: "Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with Whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." (James 1:17); and, of course, the well-known words from the unnamed (human!) author of the letter to Hebrew disciples of Jesus: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever." (Heb 13:8).

It is a simple fact of life that the vast majority of us like to have at least a large element of stability in our lives.  We may sometimes (often?!) complain about the humdrum existence we think that we are living - but we don't really want upheaval - in our homes; in our families, in the workplace; in the church.  

Yet, even within the visible church, is there not a hankering after novelty?  We want to hear the latest "great speaker".  The "new song" must be sung this Sunday.  I have to have the most up-to-date Biblical app on my smartphone (actually I don't even possess one of these gadgets!).  We are constantly veering round in our faith and life, following the latest "new belief," accepting every modern idea, or doubting some established Christian teaching - like children, "... tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles." (Eph 4:14).

Could it possibly be that many of us, in our Christian lives, are not seeking the stability that we are offered?  One of my favourite verses from the Book of Psalms reads: "He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure." (Ps 40:2).  "He ... set my feet upon a rock" - that's stability!  The psalmist-king, David, continues: "He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear, and put their trust in YHWH. Blessed is the man who makes YHWH his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods!" (vs.3-4).  It is as I am standing, solidly upon the Rock (Who is Christ Jesus) that I can be stable - and may attract others to Him.

We have a stable, unchanging, dependable God.  Let us be more stable as we follow Him.

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