SO MANY VOICES

(C) calvarydayton


“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!”

Matthew 27:22

Following Jesus requires listening for his voice. The problem is that we let too many other voices drown out Jesus’ voice.

First is the voice of compromise. It says, “Everything is negotiable.” With Jesus, however, there is no dealing. No negotiation. No compromise. With him it is all or nothing.

Second is the voice of expedience. It says, “I have other affairs to attend to, for I am a busy person.” Our agendas are full. We are a people of pragmatism. Let’s get on it and get it over with.

Third is the voice of politics. This voice asks the question, “Is it popular?” The voice of politics lacks the courage to stand up for what is right.

But finally, there is the voice of God. The still small voice speaks to the heart, saying, “Follow Jesus.” It is the voice rapping on the door of our heart asking us to obey. It doesn’t plead or demand or beg. It yearns, but it does not yell.

How many people do you think leave a church service in which the gospel is preached, knowing they should respond to Jesus but don’t? Our hearts can become calloused. The more we refuse to listen to God, the harder our hearts become. Ignore the voice and fail to heed it, and eventually the voice of God can hardly be heard.

Pilate heard so many voices that day as he pondered what to do with Jesus. He heard the voice of compromise, the voice of expedience, and the voice of politics. So many voices. He even heard the voice of God. How could he not? Jesus was standing right in front of him.

So many voices. What voice will you listen to?

All Hallows Eve.

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October ends with Halloween

A pointless celebration.

For ghosts and ghouls do not exist

‘cept in imagination.

All Hallows Eve, its proper name

The night before all saint’s day.

To celebrate the saints of old

And I would just like to say.

Halloween is just not us,

Imported from the States.

And of the many things that come our way,

It’s not one of the greats.

So you can keep your Halloween,

Your pumpkins, trick or treat.

Frightening the old and frail,

That live along our street.

We can’t abide your Halloween,

and we don’t want it here.

It’s not the ghosts who frighten me

It’s God the one I fear.

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The Potters Wheel.

A Poem for National Poetry Day 2020 on October 1st.

The potter sits at his spinning wheel

hands slippery with water and clay.

Thumbs dig deep as his fingers feel

a bowl curling up on the way.

It pleases him to see its form,

with its wafer thin shape at the edge,

it’s everyday life, to him it’s the norm,

a finished and fine featheredge.

A slip of the hand, the work is a ruin

returned to a pottage of clay.

Fear not, he thinks, I know what I’m doing,

there’s plenty more time in the day.

The clay, is it just like a person?

Fragile and easily damaged?

Ruined by one stupid action,

left as a wreck if mismanaged.

But that’s not the end of the story,

like clay, we can all be reformed.

Remoulded, rejiggered more finely

I know, I’m reliably informed.

It says so quite plain in the bible

Jeremiah, in chapter eighteen

When broken and down we are liable

Be made best that we’ve ever been.

©joseph r mason 2020

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At the Potter’s House

18 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel.But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®

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The true tree of life.

cross dawn dusk landscape

There is a tree that brings you life,

That takes your worries, takes your strife.

A tree that’s known by many names,

Forgives your sin and takes your blames.

The tree that’s in Golgotha set,

That takes away all we regret.

 

And that’s the only tree of life,

The one that sorts your afterlife.

I speak of course of Calvary’s tree

Where someone died for you, for me.

He’d done no wrong to call his own.

And now he sits on heavenly throne.

 

And on this tree, shaped to a cross,

Paid for my shame, my sin and dross.

There Jesus died, my pain endured,

There my sickness and pain were cured.

Give thanks to him, my sin he took.

If you don’t believe me, read the book.

 

©joseph r mason 2020

Revelation 22:14 NIV

Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.

John 3:16 NIV

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

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A Modern Psalm

Joseph R. Mason

Psalm_tatoo

Did the elders not seek your face?
Did they not pray out loud to you?
Did they not wait upon you
And seek your guidance?

Did we not fast and pray
To do your good pleasure?
Late into the night
To seek your true guidance?

Did we not take your precepts to the people?
Did we not tell them the word from the Lord?
Then why oh Lord have they not heard?
Why Oh Lord do they not listen to your truths?

Are we like prophets of old?
Despised in our own house.
For You will withdraw Your blessing,
From a house divided against itself.

When they say, oh Lord,
We do not like the style of worship,
Did they ask you?
Did they really seek your face?

When they say Lord,
We do not like the drums
We do not like the cymbals
Do they argue with your Psalms?

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Setting a Strong Example of Faith

I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.3 John 1:4

For the Christian couple, the greatest joy is to see our children walking in truth. This sentiment is echoed by the apostle John in his last epistle. He considered the believers his “children” since he had been a father figure to them as their faith grew, and their faithfulness to Christ brought him much joy. Conversely, the greatest sorrow is seeing our children turn away from God.

The greatest influence we have on our children’s religious beliefs happens in the first eighteen years of their lives. Children listen to what we say, and they observe our actions. The closer our practice is to our preaching, the more our children respect our faith. However, the greater the distance between what we proclaim and what we practice, the less likely they are to follow our religious beliefs.

What if our children are already grown, and we failed to do this when they were young? It is never too late to say, “I realise that when you were growing up, my lifestyle did not demonstrate very well what I claimed to believe. I wish I could go back and live parts of my life again. Of course, that’s impossible, but I want you to know that I regret the way I failed you.” This, coupled with a changed life, opens the door for further influence on your adult child. None of us are perfect. Dealing with past failures is the first step to renewed relationships.

Heavenly Father, you know how deeply I yearn to see my children walking in faithfulness to you. I ask your forgiveness for the times when I was not a good role model. Please help my spouse and me to be honest about our failures, and may they not stand in the way of our children’s belief. Amen.

D.I.V.O.R.C.E.

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DIVORCE, WHAT THE BIBLE HAS TO SAY….

There is a word never spoken in church. a word never preached on, not discussed at bible studies and not even prayed over at prayer meetings. A word so terrible that we spell it out rather than say it out loud. D.I.V.O.R.C.E. At least, when Tammy Wynette sung that terrible (my opinion, and not necessarily yours), terrible song in1968 (and yes, I am old enough to remember it), she spelt it out rather than say it out loud so as not to upset 4-year-old little Joe.

It’s the same in Church, nobody mentions the “D” word! Let’s face it, when did you last hear Matthew 5:31 preached on? “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery”. I have heard the Sermon on the Mount from which this is taken preached on so many times, but the preacher neatly skips over these 2 verses and carries on regardless. So let’s work through a few of the subjects in the famous sermon.
The Beatitudes – Easy one that
Salt and Light – Oh yes, just give a few good examples
Fulfillment of the Law – Simple, just confuse them with a bit of theology
Murder – Should be safe, none in the cburch that I know of.
Adultery – Again, should be a safe one, after all, no one’s going to put their hand up.
Divorce – Better miss that one, might upset 20% of the congregation, can’t have them all walking out, the treasurer wouldn’t like it. Anyway, it’s not important
Oaths – Simple

Eye for an Eye – Simple

Love for Enemies – Easy one for a good preach.

…..and so on, but……Jesus says about divorce twice in Matthew and again in Mark, so it might be important!
Jesus actually said these things twice, in Matthew 19:8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery”.

Mark 10: 6-12 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’[a]7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,[b] 8 and the two will become one flesh.’[c] So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this.11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery”.

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Now this is all very difficult stuff to read, especially if you are divorced. In the USA one in four “Christian” marriages end in divorce. Figures for the UK are not available, but I am sure they will also paint a sorry picture.

Oh, but we can justify divorce because it was permitted by Moses. But Jesus said, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.

One important fact that we have to say very clearly is: “God loves divorced people” He loves them just the same as married people, single people, people living with partners, widows and widowers. That doesn’t mean that he loves divorce. He hates divorce, but he still loves the people involved. He hates adultery, but still loves the people involved.

The problem today is many have an easy, no blame, cast aside view of marriage. People say their vows before God with their fingers crossed behind their backs. There is no commitment, marriage is a bed of roses, fragrant flowers and sharp thorns together. You have to work at a marriage, there has to be an attitude of give and take not just take. If you are finding marriage a struggle, try putting down your mobile, looking away from FaceBook, come off Twitter, close your laptop and look your partner in the eyes and talk. Give them some undivided attention. Do it every day, several times a day. Ask about them, don’t just talk about “me”. You may think that sounds too simplistic, well it isn’t. What most marriages lack today is “us time”. “Us time” is where you turn off the TV, silence the mobile, ignore the telephone and just enjoy each others company. I have spoken to many struggling people, and often when the three of us sit down to talk about their marriage, that is the first time for years that they have sat down together and talked in an open and frank way to each other. Most people don’t need a counsellor, they just need space and time to get to know each other. I was going to put “get to know each other again”, but for some, even after years of marriage, it might be getting to know them for the first time properly. Discuss their hopes and fears, not yours, talk over their perceived problems, not yours. Often you may start a sentence with “But I thought you liked it when I…..” or “I thought you enjoyed going to…….” Don’t think about what you think your partner wants or wishes. Ask them. Don’t assume you know anything, enquire about everything.

If you can pray together without embarrassment, then pray together and for each other. Don’t use prayer time to drop little bombshells or have little digs, you will not be blessed and it won’t help your healing. If you can’t pray together, make sure you pray for each other earnestly. Lay out before God what is wrong. Confess to him what you are doing wrong and seek forgiveness. Do not tell God what is wrong with your husband or wife, he can hear that from them. (He actually knows already). If you are going to have that long awaited talk with your wife or husband, pray first that you will be guided and prompted by the Holy Spirit.

Don’t end a marriage, mend a marriage.

May God bless you for reading this missive.


New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


A Modern Psalm

Psalm_tatoo

Did the elders not seek your face?
Did they not pray out loud to you?
Did they not wait upon you
And seek your guidance?

Did we not fast and pray
To do your good pleasure?
Late into the night
To seek your true guidance?

Did we not take your precepts to the people?
Did we not tell them the word from the Lord?
Then why oh Lord have they not heard?
Why Oh Lord do they not listen to your truths?

Are we like prophets of old?
Despised in our own house.
For You will withdraw Your blessing,
From a house divided against itself.

When they say, oh Lord,
We do not like the style of worship,
Did they ask you?
Did they really seek your face?

When they say Lord,
We do not like the drums
We do not like the cymbals
Do they argue with your Psalms?
The unerring word of God?

Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet,
Praise Him with the harp and lyre,
Praise Him with tambourine and dancing,
Praise Him with the strings and flute,
Praise Him with the clash of cymbals,
Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.

Where oh Lord does it say
Praise Him with long faces
Praise Him with frowns and without movement
Praise Him on the mighty organ
Be downcast and Praise the Lord.

Is it all about you, Lord? Is it all about you?
Or is it all about me Lord? All about me.
For now you have withdrawn you blessing
From a house divided against itself.

Who’s church is it anyway?
Is it your church Lord? The church of the Lord?
Or the church of fools? Whose god is the church ?
Divided against itself,
for its own pleasure and destruction.
Separated from You until you heal its wounds.

Lord have mercy on us.
Lord have mercy on us.
Lord have mercy on us.
May the name of the Lord be praised.

©joseph r mason