Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Quest for Glory

The Quest for Glory

What is glory and how do we get it?

I see a young soldier, he looks barely 18 to me, he has got fear in his eyes, but he has one goal... to get glory and honour... I see him, going through his training, a hard routine, 20 press-ups followed by 30 crunches, then an hour jogging, and then more push-ups, by the end of the day, he is completely worn out. But it’s all for the prize at the end of his career. Then I look at this soldier a couple years later... he is fighting in Afghanistan, against a foe which he has been taught to hate... he’s never seen any Afghans but he, nevertheless, believes they are evil. Then I see him doing one great act of bravery, running into a group of Afghan soldiers with nothing but his stone heart and his gun, he is shot, but not before he is able to take a few enemies down. As he lies there bleeding to death on the battle field, he thinks to himself that he has done that great brave deed which will finally bring him that honour which he so much deserves, and then he thinks of his family and friends at home, and how proud they are going to be of him... and while thinking these thoughts, he breathes his last expiring breath, and he leaves this world never to return.

The soldier gets his glory in the end, his medals are sent to his grieving family, but he is not alive to see how proud they really are of him... That soldier did a grand thing, greatly to be admired and so rare in these times... but was this great sacrifice really worth it for the glory? I’ll let you decide later!

Then, I look at the young aspiring actress, whose dream is to make it big in this world... She starts off small, taking a small extra role in a movie... taking a few acting classes along the way, then she takes on some major supporting roles... by this time she’s living and breathing he acting career, she’s loving her newfound fame, and just looks forward to her big break... Then it comes, she gets a starring role in the summer’s surprise blockbuster, and she is suddenly a household name!

The fame is great but, now that she has her glory, where does she go from here?

I could also tell you about the rock-star, and the great politician, and the author of mystery novels, but alas I do not have the time for all that.

But you might laugh at some of the attempts I myself have made in my quest for glory... how at school I tried all I could to be like the other boys, so that I would be popular... but how can you be someone else? There’s a reason I was born to be me!

Then when I found that I was popular when I tried to be no-one but myself, I thought that I must have a great character... So I decided that I wanted to become an actor... but the sad thing is I never got past any auditions... it just wasn’t to be.

Then I decided to become a famous preacher! Well, I’m a preacher, but I doubt God will ever make me famous. And why should I become famous? Are preachers not just the messengers that bring the message that there is a God that saves sins? Then should all the glory go to God!

Well, I’ve been having some little bits of problems... The Lord has taught me to pray, He has taught me to trust in Him, He has taught me the need for trials, but up until recently I have had precious little instruction on how to truly glorify God.

Paul Washer is currently doing a series of sermons called “the Family Catechism” or something like that... you can find it on Sermon Audio. But this sermon series, I really recommend, because it is very simple teachings telling us the reasons that we exist on this earth, and Washer explains about the catechism.

The catechism asks the question, What is the chief end of man? (the purpose of his being created) and it answers that the chief end of man is to glorify God. Read your Bible, especially Psalms, and you will see that this glory is the one thing most needful!

So when I realised that this was my purpose in life, i was confused as to whether it was still right for me to pursue my employment! I work as a healthcare assistant, which is basically an unqualified nurse, and although it’s all about helping people, the matters of the body seem so unimportant when viewed next to the matters of the soul... basically should I not rather be preaching full time rather than doing me day job?

Well, I prayed deeply concerning the matter, and I was very close to deciding that I need to resign my post, and that wasn’t really what I wanted to do, so I was going round with a long face looking very sad.

But you know what? Christian’s shouldn’t be going around looking sad... Christ died for you, if you are thinking about Christ all the time, like Christians should, shouldn’t we be virtually ecstatic all the time?

And thus it was that I found the way in which I could keep my job and yet be continuously testifying of the glory of God...People will look at me and see that there really is something special about me, and maybe they might ask me why I am always so cheerful all the time, and then I could simply say the name Jesus, and that would be as good as preaching 1000 sermons... as they say 1 picture is better than 1000 words, maybe I might say, 1 Godly life is better than 1000 sermons!

So to glorify God, we have to appear different to the world, and to appear different to the world, we have to think about Christ as opposed to how we can glorify ourselves. So then comes the question... “How can we always keep our minds on Christ?” Sounds really complicated, but it’s really quite simple... reading your bible and praying to God is like spending time with God... and isn’t it the people you spend the most time with that you think about the most?

Now, my prayers have been very self-centred recently, most of my prayer time has been used up in asking for this thing and that thing... but what I intend to do in the future is still to ask God for everything, but also to thank God for all the things He has done for me, just thank Him for everything, and in this way I intend to give god the glory due to Him!

It is truly impossible to glorify God as He ought to be glorified, and we will always be trying to make ourselves glorify God more on this Earth, and even in Heaven we will glorify God for eternity, and still we will need to glorify God more!

Well, I hope this sermon has been of some use to the glory of God


Monday, June 27, 2011

Josiah and Family

Josiah and Family

Well here we are back again.

I have preached on how people around you can affect your proximity to God, then my next sermon was about how God uses troubles and trials to bring us to become closer to Him, and then my last sermon was about how we can spend more time with God through the method of praying and reading the Bible. Each of them are methods God uses to bring people to a closer communion with God, or possibly the Devil may use the same methods in drawing you further from God. So today we are going to look at another aspect which will make a huge difference on a Christians walk through life. And that is the Family.

We will look at the family today mostly in connection with King Josiah of Judah, and how the family shaped his walking with God.

The hard part, however, is that family is something we are born into and we don’t get to choose our family. And we know from experience that Christians are drawn in from all walks of life, some are born into very Godly families, some are born into very wicked families. But one thing is certain, that they will take note of how family life affects a person, and seek the Lord’s help when they are called to start their own family.

It is true that the family plays an important role in our lives, but it also follows that we also make a big impact on other members of our family.

I get the feeling that maybe I’m waffling on a little bit, so I hope that in the following sermon that I will be able to make the subject a lot clearer to you by studying the life of King Josiah.

King Josiah’s story can be read in 2 Kings 22 and 23 and also in 2 Chronicles 34 and 35.

I will be turning to quite a few verses in the Bible, so I advise you to keep it handy.

I’m sure you have all heard of King Josiah. He was one of the few Godly kings of Judah. After the reign of a few ungodly kings, it was Josiah who ordered that the temple of God be re-established and encouraged the nation to worship God as He should be worshipped. We must always that the Lord if He blesses our nation with Godly rulers.

But it’s not really with Josiah that I want to start my study, it is with his grandfather King Manasseh, where our narrative really begins. Remember the subject of our sermon, it is the family, and we shall see what effect King Manasseh had on his grandson.

If you know your Bible well you will know that king Manasseh was the wickedest king Judah had ever seen. He completely led Israel astray, encouraging them to worship all kinds of false gods. Why could someone be so wicked? Well, Manasseh was probably thinking that adopting all these false gods was doing Israel a favour... you see, he adopts a god from Egypt, and one from Arabia, one from Babylon, and one from the Persians, and in this way he is bringing Judah closer to the other nations, in effect stopping all chances of war occurring. In a way it looked as if Manasseh was a great king, he might even been labelled the Peaceful King. See how that when we are in sin, the greatest sinners can look like saints!

Well time passes and God brings Manasseh into trouble, he is taken captive by the Assyrians and brought into Babylon and put in prison.

Remember what I said about troubles and trials? God only chastens his sons... if you are a child of God and you are walking in sins, God will not leave you like that, He will cause trouble to come on you that you will realise that you are not doing that which is right in the sight of the Lord.

So it happened that while Manasseh was in prison in Babylon that he saw the error of his ways, and he was given a spirit of true prayer, and prayed unto the Lord, and the Lord heard his prayer, and delivered him out from prison, and he was restored unto his kingdom.

The evidence of Manasseh’s repentance is shown in that he cast out all the idols, and rebuilt the sacred places of God. You see, we can’t repent one day and then live like sinners ever after. If we are living like sinners now, it is quite likely that we never repented in the first place. Paul Washer says that the evidence that we truly repented then was that we are still repenting today.

So in relation to Josiah, how would he have viewed his grandfather? Would he have seen him as the most ungodly king in history?

Well, if we do a bit of mathematics, we can look in the book of 2 Chronicles, and in 34:1 we see that Josiah was 8 when he became king, his father Amon reigned for 2 years (33:21) and the King before him was Manasseh, so we take away 2 from the 8, so Josiah was 6 when Manasseh died, just old enough to understand a lot of what his grandfather taught him. If we look in 33:14-16, we will see all the work that Manasseh did after his conversion, and that must have taken quite a few years, so it’s quite likely that through Josiah’s life he had a Godly grandfather to look after him..

You could imagine the conversations the Godly Manasseh would have with his young grandson. Manasseh would tell Josiah all about how he was the chief of sinners but God had mercy on him, and if God could have mercy on such a wicked sinner why couldn’t He have mercy on his young grandson? I’m sure in those six years, Manasseh had the time to teach his grandson how to pray.

I could talk all day about King Manasseh, but there are a few other family members I need to talk about.

So at the age of 67 King Manasseh dies, and his 20 year old son Amon becomes the new king. In 2 Chronicles 33:22 it tells us that king Amon “did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord”.

Let’s look at it from Amon’s point of view for a moment. Amon was a prince, that means he could do whatever he wanted; he had a great dad whose philosophy was that life’s short so enjoy it and get the most out of life. Amon just wanted to party all the time, and that’s just what he was able to do, and his dad was fine with that! Then while Amon was still in his early teens his dad is taken off as a captive, but that’s not the worst thing... Dad comes back bonkers! Insane! Dad thinks that there is a God, and that God says we can’t have fun and get drunk every night. Dad’s a real killjoy isn’t he now?

Amon won’t listen to his father’s instructions... he falls in love with a girl when he’s 14, he marries her when he’s 15, even though his father advised that he wait until he is mature enough to lead a household to pray and worship God. Amon’s philosophy is have as much fun as you can so he marries the girl, and she becomes pregnant, and their first Son is born, and they call him Josiah.

At the age of 20 Amon’s father dies, and he is left with the responsibility to lead the nation of Judah! It is no wander that such a foolish young man leads the nation astray.

But I don’t reckon that Amon was so much a popular king, I don’t think his servants really liked his arrogant attitude, and eventually Amon is murdered in his own house by his servants.

And now at the very young age of 8, King Josiah was crowned and placed on the throne of Judah.

Josiah was a great king, he remembered what his grandfather taught him, and encouraged all Judah to worship the one true God.

One thing I would like to mention about Josiah is that he found the book of the law in the temple... that would be the first 5 books of the Bible that Moses wrote under the inspiration of God. And he ordered that the book be read to him, and in reading that book he was convicted of things that he wasn’t doing right and those wrong things he was doing, and he repented. It is important to prayerfully read the Bible and when given a word from God to seek to do what He commands.

There’s so much that I would like to say about Josiah but I seem to have run out of time.

One last thing I would like to point out is Josiah’s son and successor of the crown: Jehoahaz.

In 2 Kings 23:31 it says that Jehoahaz’s mother, and presumably Josiah’s first wife was from Libnah, presumably a foreign woman, a non Jew, who was not brought up to serve to Lord. All I will say is that in choosing a wife we must be aware of what effect it can have on our children. Josiah’s wife was a non believer and so her children were not taught the fear of the Lord, and they did that which was wrong in the sight of the Lord.

All I want to end with today is that I hope you will think prayerfully about the things we have discussed here, and think of the ways in which you affect the people around you, both in your family and close friends, and I hope you will be shown ways in which you can influence them for good.

There is a warning, however, you alone are responsible for your walk with God, and you must never blame your upbringing for the way you act. You are responsible to God, not your parents. The point of this sermon is that you will look to future generations and help them in their walk with God.

The Lord bless his word.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sermon - Pray Without Ceasing

Pray Without Ceasing

1 Thessalonians 5: 17 says “pray without ceasing” which is the title of our sermon today.

I have recently been reading the biography of George Muller, and like many others I have been very much inspired in reading about his amazing prayer life. It is recorded that on many occasions, Muller had to rely on God for his provision of food and daily necessities, as he was not given a set wage from his church but received only money from offerings, and trusted wholly in the Lord to supply his wants. Well, on many an occasion it is recorded that he is virtually down to his last meal and he prays for provision from God and god sends some money by some miraculous means. He tells us that this happened on many an occasion, but God has always given him something, never has he gone without a meal or necessities of life.

Well, I don’t know how you feel, but I find the thought of completely relying on God for all my necessities quite daunting, and I fear I don’t quite have the faith do such an act.

But it’s not only Muller that has had experiences like this, I remember Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China, being in exactly the same situation.

So what the big difference between Muller and Taylor and myself? The answers right there in front of us in our text. PRAYER! These two great men had a great prayer life. But don’t think that they are any kind of super human and not on our level. We all have the potential to become great prayerful men and women of God! And in the following sermon I’m going to show you how. And don’t think I’m standing here telling you to do something I’m unwilling to do myself; I too need to take the following measures to procure a closer walk with God!

Paul Washer notes that those men of God who are used so powerfully in the work of God and in revival have also been those men who have had a great prayer life.

I remember once there was girl I loved so much in my youth, I thought that we would be together forever, and I thought that I could never live without her! But now I hardly ever thing about her... the truth is that I really can live without her. So what changed between then and now? I’ll tell you what changed... I spent time away from her, I moved thousands of miles away, so I never saw her, I didn’t hear her voice and she didn’t hear mine, there was no conversation. For weeks after that my soul was pining for her, but in time I forgot that she even existed, I started to like other girls etc etc.

The same thing can happen with God. Soon after my conversion, I loved to hear about God, I wanted to know whatever anyone said about Him, I lived and breathed Him, I prayed without ceasing. Then things seemed to go really well I was on top of the world, but I soon developed a proud nature, and got it (subconsciously) in my head that it was because of my good deeds that everything was going so well, and because in some manner I had become a semi-god, I gradually done away with my prayer life little by little, I even got to the point where I wasn’t praying in the morning when woke up, indeed the only time I ever prayed was if I was in dire need.

So what are some of the problems here?

Pride is one of the major things here, there’s not much we can really do about pride, but a great prayer is that God would give us a thorn in the flesh like He gave to Paul, that ever reminder that we are mortal and need the help of our great Redeemer. Sometimes God will give you a disease or a disability that will always remind you that you are a frail worm. George Muller had some major sicknesses which were instruments to bring him closer in prayer. These things are really hard to think about, but what is a thorn in the flesh compared with eternal condemnation and separation from God?

Another thing that was a big problem with my prayer life was that I thought that it was only the big things that needed to be prayed about, like family troubles or if I was worried about my health. But let me be clear, if you can’t decide what breakfast cereal to have in the morning PRAY about it! God wants to hear about the little things too!

Do you remember when we were little children? We used to think that dad knows everything! And the slightest question we would go and ask dad! Well God tells us to be like little children, and that means that every little thing we should ask our Heavenly Father! Even right now, when I’m thinking of what to say next I’m saying a little prayer in my head to God asking Him!

Let me be clear, Prayer is our only connection to God in this life. Forsake prayer and you forsake God!

Another thing that was wrong with my prayerless life was that I hadn’t planned any time for daily communion with God in reading the Bible and praying. I had an idea that it was stupid to arrange a time of prayer because prayer was something that just happened and that I should only pray when the spirit of prayer fell on me. That sounded Biblical and all, but now that I have a bit of experience and all, I realise that it was a very stupid thing, and it gave my sinful nature the excuse to give up reading and prayer altogether. So the first thing I did after I became aware of my prayerless state was to introduce a morning and evening devotional session. A time of Bible reading and prayer.

Have you noticed that reading the Bible and praying is very much like having a conversation with God? We read a portion of the Bible which is God’s way He chooses to talk to us, then we respond in prayer.

Have you noticed that when you hang around with a group of friends for a long time, they might introduce you to a kind of music which previously you didn’t like, but because they play it so often you gradually became used to it and started to prefer it more that the former music you used to listen to? This is kind of like communion with God, the more time you spend praying and reading the Bible, the more you will become like God, loving the things God loves and hating the things God hates. This is what it was like for Muller and Taylor, it wasn’t any great deeds of their own, but through spending much time with God, they began to mirror God!

We’re kind of like monkeys in a way, you know, monkey see monkey do. So this is a great piece of psychology for all of you, if you want to be a pop star all you need to do is hang around all the pop stars, if you want to be a movie icon, hang around the movie stars, if you wanna have a fun time, go to the pubs and the clubs where everyone is well versed in how to carnally amuse themselves. I assure you, spend time with them and you will learn their ways and become like them. But if you want to be like God, read the Bible and pray!

Now there are endless examples in the scripture of people praying and their pray being answered, here are just a few:

Jonah: Jonah’s just like me, he was told to go and preach to Nineveh, but, probably because of prayerlessness, he refused and took a ship to Tarshish, but in God’s mercy, Jonah was sent a thorn in the flesh, Jonah was cast into the sea, he saw his life flash before his eyes, and he was eaten up by a whale or a big fish. There was just enough air in the belly of the whale for Jonah to breath, but I imagine that he had great difficulty breathing, and seriously feared for his life. I think that Jonah must have been in such a wayward state for God to have to use such measures to bring him into submission. I don’t reckon he spent much time in Bible reading and prayer. But in God’s mercy, even Jonah wasn’t beyond hope, and neither are you or I. Jonah prayed, and renewed his relationship with God.

I’m sure the road was a bit rough in places and Jonah had times when he forgot to pray, and I’m sure those times felt far too many, but I’m sure after an ordeal like that, Jonah started to have a deeper prayer life!

Manasseh: Manasseh was probably the most wicked of all the kings of Judah, he was responsible for turning all Judah away from the true God and got them worshipping idols, but even he, at the end of his life was given that wonderful gift of prayer, and He prayed to God to forgive him of his sins, and I am sure that if I were to die this very evening I with go to Heaven and see Manasseh there worshiping at the foot of the throne worshipping God that had mercy on such a sinful sinner as he.

David: I could say so much about King David and prayer, but I have run out of time. But let me finally point you to the Psalms, and you will see that each one of them is a prayer and most of them are Davids. Some of them are short like Psalm 117, some of them are long like Psalm 119, God doesn’t care about the length of the prayer, all God cares is that you pour out your soul to Him, just say everything that is on your mind!

And remember, God is only a prayer away!

God be with you all, and I look forward to seeing you become a praying people!


Friday, June 17, 2011

Sermon - Gold in the Furnace

Gold in the Furnace

The hymn is beautiful:

Gold in the Furnace Tried

Ne’er loses aught but dross,

So is the Christian purified,

And bettered by the cross.

My past few days have been about testing and trials.

Yesterday, I had an examination for a course I am doing for my career in nursing. I was being tested to my limit on what I have been taught about care. I did the best I possibly could, so I am very thankful to God!

Today, I had my driving test. I had to prove to an examiner that I was competent to drive a car before they issue me with a license. I failed the test.

The failure in a way was the third test; would I accept graciously that it was God’s will that I should not be successful at this time? Or would I kick up a fuss, and question the Lord’s authority in not granting me a driving license? I admit I was sorely tempted to get really upset and even angry at God. At one stage it seemed that surely I would pass the test, and in one moment my expectations are dashed to pieces. Well, I must thank God that I was given the grace to accept what His providence had laid up in store for me.

Well these are indeed very minor issues in the big scheme of God’s great plan. We will often come into trials, but as the Gold I mentioned in the hymn, these trials will not only pain us, but they will purify us.

Let me tell you a story,

There was once a young man, we shall call him George. George was a non-Christian, he had been brought up that way and had no idea that there was any alternative to his way of life. George had met Christians in the past, but he had looked on them the same way we would look on someone with mental difficulties. In effect he thought Christians were insane although he didn’t think quite like that, he just thought of himself as somewhat enlightened.

George works as a successful computer technician, you have a problem with your computer, you take it to George’s firm and they fix it. A very profitable trade.

Well, it so happens that there is a major recession in the country, and hard times come upon Georges firm, and they have to dissolve business. George then finds himself without a job.

George has to do lots and lots of job searching... he looks for anything related to his specified field of work... there seems to be nothing at all going in computing, or anything vaguely similar.

In a moment of desperation, George is forced to go to the local Job center and ask for just any job that comes around. Finally he gets a job at a computing firm... as a CLEANER...

The new job is such a disgrace to George, who is used to high paying computer job, now having to do meagre cleaning, it is so humiliating for him. However George decides that he will try and make do with this job for a while until something better comes along.

In time, George start to really enjoy his new cleaning job, this being mostly due to the fact that he met a beautiful young lady, who he likes very much. They start off on small talk, talking about the weather and so on, and soon, he starts making bigger conversation with her, they start laughing together, and people are starting to notice that these two young people are spending a lot of time together. Yes, you guessed it, they are in Love! Madness right? The young lady I shall call Jane.

Well here comes the good part, Jane is a Christian, and soon George is becoming more sympathetic towards Christianity. If we look forward in time we might see George as a young preacher talking about his conversion and about his lovely wife Jane.

Well, that’s a beautiful story isn’t it?

Do you think that perhaps God sent that recession along to help George get in contact with Jane, and thus get to know Jesus? Do you think George was pleased when the recession hit? Do you think that maybe in years to come George will look back in time over all the way the Lord has led him and realise that this recession was for his souls good? Will he thank God for the recession?

The recession is like the furnace God used to purify Georges heart, which when Jesus entered became like pure gold.

What trials and tribulations are you in right now? I assure you in years to come you will thank God for them!

Here are some examples from scripture:

Joseph: Joseph is hated by his brothers, sold to the Arab slave traders and brought as a slave to Egypt, a strange land where he would have felt so alone. But if that wasn’t bad enough, he was accused of doing something very bad, and he was thrown in prison and locked up for years. And I assure you in those days prison wouldn’t be such a nice place! So you see Joseph must have thought that everything was going against him. He would have felt desolate, as if the whole world was against him. He must have wandered whether it was even worth living. Have you had times like that? Well, time passed, and we know the story, he eventually becomes prime minister over all the land of Egypt. He would then be able to see all the way that God had led him, and see that all his trials worked for good!

David: First thing we hear of David is him being anointed as King over all Israel. Samuel comes to his lowly farm and tells him that he will no more be looking after sheep, but he will be a mighty king. This must have sounded ridiculous to David, but God gave him the grace to believe it and to wait for the Lord to perform His oath. And all seemed to be going great when King Saul invited David to come to his palace and play his harp for him there... this is great, he is now one of the royal court, everything is going just as God had planned. But soon Saul turns on David and wants to kill him. Now David feels so far from the crown that God had promised him. And nothing seems to be going right.

Are you starting to see a bit of a pattern here? Everything seems to be going wrong... but eventually things come to a climax when life seems hardly worth living, and all of a sudden God does something wondrous and you are blessed beyond belief!

If you are a real child of God, I’m sure you have experienced a bit of this tribulation, perhaps you are even at the point of giving up hope, and God begins to work a miracle for you.

When things are all going so well, thank God for that, but be warned that if God never brings trouble on you, it may be a good indication that you are not a real Christian as it says in Hebrews 12:8 “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” There have been times when I have been enabled to pray that God will bring some kind of trial upon me so that I may be made a better Christian in a closer walk with God.

Well the time has run out, but I will leave these words with you, and I hope that you will have a new perspective on whatever troubles you are going through right now. And I pray that God will give you the strength to endure these trials!

God Bless!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Sermon - Birds of a Feather

1 Thessalonians 5:22 says "Abstain from all appearance of evil"

The title of this sermon is taken from a worldly proverb which seems to have been in use since at least the 16th century, having appeared in poetry from that period.

The proverb goes: "Birds of a feather flock together" the simplified meaning of this proverb is that, similar kinds of people tend to like each others company. Rich people tend to hang around with other rich people, poor people associate with poor people, artistic people will seek out each others company.

You may wonder at my choice of using a worldly parable as the basis for my sermon today. But the parable has a much higher truth if you look into it a bit more.

Christians SHOULD seek each other's company.

The story is told of a young lamb, who lives among a large flock of sheep, owned by one great shepherd. To personalise the story a bit, I am going to give our little lamb a name. The lamb's name is Greece.

Now, Greece had been taught from his youth that sheep eat grass, and that it is very dangerous to go wandering away from the flock.

One day a new sheep was introduced to the flock. This sheep had something strange about him... to start with, he had a funny name: he was called Fang. Greece thought that this was a strange name for a sheep, but his mother assured him that Fang was from a different kind of sheep fold, and they probably used different kinds of names there.

Another thing that concerned Greece was that Fang didn't seem to be so much interested in eating grass as the other sheep were. Indeed, on one occasion Greece had seen Fang try to eat some grass but spat it straight out in disgust. Soon after that Fang had told Greece that sheep really didn't need to eat so much grass if any at all, saying that it's only the old bigoted sheep that think that grass is actually healthy for you. Apparently Lambs knew better than the elder sheep...

Well, it so happened that one day, Fang was talking to Greece and asked him whether he should like to go on a little adventure. To that Greece was confused, and enquired as to what an adventure actually was. Fang told him that he needed to get out and enjoy himself a bit more, and explained that an adventure is when you go and explore places that you have never been to before. Greece was a bit hesitant as he knew that leaving the flock was a very foolish thing to do. But in the end he decided to go with Fang, he thought to himself, what could possibly go wrong?

It was a strange feeling for Greece to leave the sheep fold from which he had grown up in, but soon he was engrossed in all the new things he was seeing and experiencing. He was thoroughly enjoying himself, although he felt slightly bad about disobeying what his parents had taught him.

In time Fang brought Greece to his flock, where he introduced Greece to all his family and close friends. Fang's flock was so different from Greece's flock, they weren't so interested in grass, which secretly Greece was starting to get tired of, but they were more interested in having fun and enjoying life.

Greece so enjoyed his time with Fang's flock that he decided to spend more time with them. In time he became one of them, totally engaged in having fun and enjoying himself.

But one day Fang's flock did something very strange, they started to take off all their wool as if they were being shorn. And to Greece's amazement underneath they all looked like dogs. If Greece had known a bit more about wildlife, he would have known immediately that they were wolves. Fang told Greece that they were going to help Greece to do the same to him. The wolves immediately pounced on him and - I don't really need to tell you what a pack of wolves will do to a sheep, do I?

Well I'm sure you understood the parable. The sheep are the people of God. They eat grass which is the reading of the word of God. Greece was warned never to leave the flock, never to leave the ways of God. Greece disobeys. We should always be wary of someone who professes to be a Christian, but they start to question, the traditional ways in which we practice our faith.

Greece enjoyed the ways of the wolves (the world) and started to spend time with them. Eventually the world consumed him and he was dead the Christ, the Great Shepherd.

So this brings us back to the start.

Birds of a feather flock together.

Spend time with the world and you will become like the world.

I was like this once. I was brought up as a Christian, taught to read the Bible. Then one day, I got a new job in computing. I started to make lots of new friends, I was successful at my job, I had a great personality, so I was really well liked.

The problems started occurring right from the beginning, I was too afraid to tell people that I was a Christian. I didn't think to myself that I was too afraid, I just reasoned with myself, that there was no reason why they should know that I'm really any different from them. So I chickened out from telling the world about Jesus, my Saviour.

Well, soon, as you may have guessed, I started to live live my colleagues, I was drinking with them, laughing at their dirty jokes, and I looked nothing different to them. I looked like a SINNER.

Acts 4:13 says: "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."

You really can tell the real Christian among a throng of non-believers. They stick out like a sore thumb!

Now here are a few examples from the scriptures:

Solomon. Solomon was the wisest king that ever lived yet he did one of the most foolish things ever. Solomon began to marry foreign women, those women who were very beautiful, but who were not Jewish and thus were never taught about God and brought up to feed on his Word. Young men must beware, even the wisest man could sin in his choice of a wife. We need much prayer in regards to choosing a spouse.

Moses. Moses spent all of his time leading the people of Israel, which was what he was commanded of God to do. The Israelites had a very short temper, and seems to get angry at the slightest change of events. This rubbed off a bit on Moses, who when commanded to speak to the rock that it may bring forth water, he disobeyed and out of anger struck the rock. This was accounted as sin unto him. Again another warning of a true man of God, who was lead astray by the people he was with.

My mind will not seem to bring forth any more examples from Scripture, and the hour is starting to grow late, and I am starting to get tired, so I will leave the word with you. Ponder these thing in your heart, and try to think about who and what kind of people you spend your time with.

God be with you all.