So much great stuff in Proverbs 27!
Isn’t it great that the Bible is not just about getting us ready for heaven, but living better now? Just had our Friday morning men’s meeting here and waved the guys off. One of them, is off on holiday for a month in Bermuda (nice!) so this will be his last one.
We carried on our study from Carl Beech’s Spadework – what a fantastic book for this kind of thing!
At the end we reflected and prayed with gratitude for seven and a half years of 6am meetings – lots of laughs and tears. Nobody teaching – but everyone learning. Some of us are going to keep on going a few more weeks yet, but as they left I read verse 17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
You could of course modernise that and talk about ‘one person sharpening another…’ In fact, yesterday the news was full of legislation presented by the lady one paper called ‘Harriet Harperson,’ – the new Equality Bill. However wrongheaded some feel parts of this may be in my opinion, nobody should argue that men and women should be treated equally. But that doesn’t mean they have to be treated the same. And I think that’s the case in church. We can accept, value and celebrate our distinctiveness as males and females – the differentiation is part of the glory of God’s creation.
It’s really important to have men’s ministries in church:
Cholesterol heavy breakfasts
Curry and chips
4 x4 driving
Golf days and so on
But such things are just gateways – not the end product. Sometimes I get to speak at such events and realise that many men go to them just to get their (Christian) wives off their backs for a while about God. They’ll have a meal and a pint occasionally and even put up with a ‘God-slot’ – as long as they don’t have to get too involved with Jesus! And they see churches as clubs for the ladies.
May God bless women in every church who are serving the Lord. We’d be in big trouble without them, but that has meant men can end up as passive spectators. Men now make up only 30 to 40% of churchgoers, and descending. In Why Men Hate Going to church David Murrow states – ‘…you cannot have a thriving church without a core of men who are true followers of Christ. If the men are dead, the church is dead.’
The 2007 Church Attitudes Survey revealed that 54% of Christian women thought that UK church services appeal more to women – and 67% of Christian men agreed.
A lot of attention has been given to the decline in the number of children in our churches, but if men become Christ followers that often has a very strong impact on the whole family. Click this link for a report detailing a fascinating study which states that it’s the religious practice of the father of the family that, above all, determines the future attendance at or absence from the Church of the children.
Let the iron sharpen the iron! We need to be able to repent of abuses of patriarchy and masculine excesses, without vilifying or condemning masculinity itself, and men need to hear God’s challenge to be a man of God – in the home, in the church and in the community.
One thought on “Iron sharpens Iron”
Woven. Christianity is woven throughout our entire nation, being the very fabric that makes up these islands. It keeps the judgement of God from falling on us that is why we have been preserved from the many wars that have buffeted our shores. We need never feel that the darkness that comes upon us is permanent, for the light of Christ will always prevail by dispersing it with his glory.
We need not be troubled by wicked people, for our God is surely dealing with them. I am amazed when I see Christianity in all our great institutions, I cannot begin to speak of all our workforce, builders, lawyers, nurses, miners, factory workers, who make our nation so great and confess Christ Jesus as Lord, Well, the list is never ending, where God’s people can be found, Christianity is literally everywhere. It cannot and will not ever be removed from these islands.
Do not listen to doom prophets, when you hear them say things for example, like the abortion issue, they say, “surely this will bring God’s wrath upon us all, for that wicked thing that people do to our unborn children.” Well, God’s judgement will fall on them that commit such horrific killings, but I assure you, the righteous will not be included in God’s judgement. We remember how God’s mercy is shown to us in Genesis 18:24-26, I quote,
“Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked that be far from thee: Shall not the judge of all the earth do right? And the Lord said, if I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.”
You can see from this scripture that God will surely spare our nation, because there are more than fifty righteous Christians living here. Now Jesus has told us that this world is inhabited by the children of the kingdom and the children of the wicked, and that He will not bring final judgement on the wicked until the end of the world, because He will not destroy the wicked while the righteous are here. At the end of the world Jesus said in St Matthew 13: 41, – 43,
“The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”And so, that is how we can be confident that God will not let us be overwhelmed by these recent troubles that we face in our nation. Praise God, for every born-again believer that God has placed in our lands.
EVANGELIST BILLY BOLITHO
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