Peter Meney, Practical Matters

“Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit.”—Micah 7:1

It is always encouraging to discover we are not alone when we face a problem or have to struggle with a challenge in life. For believers in Christ the scriptures provide practical examples of men and women who have travelled the pilgrim’s way before us, learning and experiencing what it is to be a stranger in a strange land.

When Micah said “Woe is me” at the beginning of chapter seven in his little prophecy he was declaring effectively, “What a miserable man I am. How wearisome my life has become.”

It might seem strange to hear a gospel preacher make such a statement. After all, are not preachers the ones charged with comforting and encouraging the church? If they are depressed, what hope for the rest of us!

It is interesting to note what causes Micah to lament. What is it has provoked this man of God to so much grief? Simply this, he cannot find a spiritual man with whom to fellowship; an upright man, a kindred spirit, with whom to worship God!

Perhaps knowing this we might feel a little more sympathetic towards this lonely soul. Do we imagine the church in the Old Testament was strong and vibrant and faithful? Certainly, there were moments, periods when it seems a widespread recognition of the work of God in the nation Israel did occur, yet mostly it seems the Lord’s true people, the spiritual people, were only ever a remnant, widely scattered, frequently isolated, often downcast.

In many ways Micah is like us, or we like him. If we are blessed with the…

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“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:18)

Commenting upon this verse J.C. Philpot said,

“Those who have every reason to fear as to their eternal state before God, have for the most part, no fear at all. They are secure, and free from doubt and fear. The depths of human hypocrisy, the dreadful lengths to which profession may go, the deceit of the carnal heart, the snares spread for the unwary feet, the fearful danger of being deceived at the last; these traps and pitfalls are not objects of anxiety to those dead in sin. As long as they can pacify natural conscience, and do something to soothe any transient conviction—they are glad to be deceived! God does not see fit to disturb their quiet. He has no purpose of mercy towards them; they are not subjects of His kingdom; they are not objects of His love. He therefore leaves them carnally secure, as in a dream—from which they will not awake until the day of judgment.”

Friend, is not this a terrible condition; to be left alone by…

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“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.”—Amos 8:11

What a terrible condition for a land, a nation, a church or an individual to be in. Starving souls and a famine of hearing God’s word, that is, the preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God”, says Paul. Then what else can this famine mean, what else can this famine produce, but a scarcity of faith? A deprivation of true spirituality imposed by God Himself.

Men imagine they can exercise faith as they please, by their own free will, but if God will not give it, nor the hearing of the gospel produce it, then not only is the gift withheld but, so too, is the means of revealing that gift. Men have neither faith in their hearts nor Jesus Christ, the object of faith, set before them in the gospel.

If God sends this famine it will not be broken by an evangelism committee or church-growth programme. Not all the plowing, sowing or watering, suppose we wet the ground with our tears, will cause such a famine to lift. Salvation is of the Lord!

“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?”

Lord, remember mercy. Send us preachers. Create in us a hunger and thirst after righteousness, and feed Thy people with the Bread of Life.

Peter Meney

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“And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.”—Exodus 33:19

A Daring Request

Have you ever thought what an daring request Moses made when he asked God, “I beseech thee, shew me thy glory”? What would possess a man to ask such a thing? Was he merely curious? Was he presumptuous? Was be being foolish or bold?

Have you considered that Moses might be desperate? If he was, it was with good reason. Moses’ confidence in God had been shaken. He no longer knew whether God was with the Children of Israel, or against them. There had been sin in the camp; corruption of the most heinous and despicable sort. In Moses’ absence on Mt. Sinai, a golden calf had been cast and worshipped. Idolatry, immorality and open revolt against God had burst forth. Aaron, Moses’ brother, was at the head of the rebellion.

Three things then happened. The pillar of cloud the symbol of God’s presence was removed from the camp. God informed Moses that from now on a created angel would guide the people. God appeared to distance Himself from Israel by referring to them as Moses’ people rather than His own people. The implication was clear. God was no longer going to bless Israel with His presence (Exodus 32, 33).

Is God With Us?

Today we sometimes wonder the same thing. Is God with us? If we are God’s people, His chosen people, how are we to know? Often we do not see the evidence of His presence. If God is with us, might He condescend to…

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Private prayer is by definition a personal activity. It is the soul speaking with God. It is coming into a spiritual communication, through the mediation of the Holy Spirit, with our heavenly Father. A believer approaches God upon the ground of Christ’s cleansing blood and justifying righteousness. No other acceptance is possible. No other qualification is necessary. Holiness must meet holiness (1 Corinthians 2:14).

When we come to God in private prayer there need be no constraints, procedures or predefined pattern for our approach. We do not have to pray in a special place, kneel, stand or sit down, to be heard. There are no special words that must be used or formulas to follow. Vain repetition is not prayer, we do not need beads.

Rather, we speak as children to a loving parent. Our limitations are understood, our frailties conceded, our struggles with sin, lack of faith and hardness of heart are all allowed for (Romans 8:26). In Christ we are always fit to speak with God, in ourselves we are always in need of His accommodations. Never stop praying because you are unfit to come before God. Never imagine you are heard, except for Christ’s sake.

Purposeful prayer

Yet, there are themes in prayer that will always bubble to the surface when a child of God prays. Giving thanks is always appropriate when we speak to the Lord; thanks for…

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Precious Death

8 May 2022, by

It is strange to think of death as something precious. Death is our enemy, the wages of sin, the harbinger of sorrow (1 Corinthians 15:26, Romans 6:23, Psalms 166:3). Yet, the Psalmist tells us that the death of a Christian is a precious matter to the Lord. What strength this must give every child of God as they anticipate their own death and what comfort to those who lose a loved one in the Lord. Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints (Psalm 116:15).

Spurgeon points out that Jehovah himself, views the triumphant deaths of his people with sacred delight. ‘They shall not die prematurely’, he says, ‘they shall be immortal till their work is done; and when their time shall come to die, then their deaths shall be precious. The Lord watches over their dying beds, smooths their pillows, sustains their hearts, and receives their souls. Those who are redeemed with precious blood are so dear to God that even their deaths are precious to him.’

And John Gill comments, ‘Saints are precious to him, living and dying; there is something in their death, or that attends it, that is delightful to him, and of high esteem with him; as when they are in the…

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The Lord’s people are a poor people. God keeps us poor out of mercy and love for He knows if we become rich in the riches of this world our confidence will rest not upon Him and His lovingkindness, but upon our mistaken estimation of our own self-worth.

The Lord’s people are a needy people. True, He supplies all our needs, according to His riches, yet manna-like His supplies are sufficient only for the day and must be refreshed, restored and renewed every morning. So the Lord would have His people return to Him frequently, call upon Him often, and forget not all His benefits.

Poor and needy as His little ones are, here, too, is a marvellous truth. The Lord thinks upon us. David says, “I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me” (Psalm 40:17). Have we remembered the Lord this morning? Have we thought on Jesus today? His love? His mercy? His longsuffering? He has been thinking about us.

Child of God, our blessed Saviour thought about you before the sun ever rose for the first time. Before time began or ever the world existed the Triune God set His…

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The woman with the thin face was captivated by the sermon. Her attention was fixed and her eyes widened with each new section introduced. She’d never heard the End Times preached so plainly. The speaker flitted expertly from Daniel to Revelation and back again.

She heard how the great bear of communism would stumble and collapse, how Islam was rising to persecute the church and what personal qualities would allow early identification of the Beast and the Man of Sin. It was heady stuff and she lapped it up. Next week it would be ‘Creation’, next month, ‘The Role of Women in the Church’. She could hardly wait.

The young man with short hair sits bolt upright with almost military poise. For him the best sermons emphasise God’s judgment on sin. He wants to hear about God’s punishment on abortionists and sodomites. He is passionate about direct Christian action and is eager to know what protests and demonstrations are planned for the Spring campaign.

A young woman sits cradling a child in her arms. It distracts her occasionally but she is not concerned. All she needs is the closing application. The theology isn’t unimportant but she has learned to…

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These few comments are for you who worship with only a handful of believers or are forced, by reason of conscience or convenience, to worship alone in your own home.

It has long been an encouragement to the saints that where two or three are gathered in God’s name, the Lord Jesus has promised to be there in their midst. Remember those who gathered on the hillsides of Scotland during the covenanting years, or met in forests of the Soviet Union for fear of the authorities. They did not meet without the presence of their Saviour.

Even where one worships alone the pledge of the Lord is, ‘Lo, I am with you always’ Matthew 28:20. Those who are housebound, or hospitalised, or even the prisoner in his cell, may be sure that invoking the…

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Our standing as Christians is founded upon the Lord Jesus Christ alone. We say it, we hear it, and nodding affirmatively we agree that it is true. Yet, all too often we fail to grasp the implications of this fact.

All too often our actions and our attitudes, our feelings, our hopes and fears are motivated by something quite different. Instead of looking to Christ we look to ourselves. We imagine that if we could better overcome temptation we would be happier, if we could subdue our sin we would find more peace. We suspect that our interest in God’s love is hindered by our lack of faith and wonder if our conviction for sin has been deeply enough felt.

So we become pre-occupied with ourselves and measuring the successes and failures of what we do as Christians, instead of being pre-occupied with Christ, the foundation that never fails. We build our…

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What do you live for? Some people live for family and some live for work. Some people seek for pleasure while others pursue their passion of sport, music or art. The Apostle Paul could say that for him to live was Christ. What did he mean? What do I live for? What do you?

What did Paul mean when he said, “For me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:12). I think he meant that Christ was first and last in his life (Revelation 22:13). Everything he did was with an eye to Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:9). The person and work of Jesus Christ filled his thoughts and expanded his horizons (Ephesians 3:20). The service of Jesus Christ consumed his time and exercised his labours and energy (Romans 1:1). Preaching Jesus Christ was his business (Romans 1:15-16). Glorifying Christ was his aim (2 Corinthians 8:23, Ephesians 1:6).

The presence of Christ cheered and comforted Paul (2 Timothy 4:17). If he could not go with Christ he would not go alone (2 Corinthians 2:12). He spoke of the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:23), he spoke to the Lord (Acts 22:19) and the Lord spoke to him (Acts 26:15). He knew Christ as a friend when other friends forsook

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It is the preachers’ calling and purpose to comfort and encourage the Lord’s people. Spiritual comfort can be enjoyed only when the Saviour of sinners is lifted up before them in all the fulness of His glorious accomplishments.

Courage to stand for truth in this dark and sinful world flows from the settled knowledge of peace and reconciliation with God through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Those who preach duty, obligation and self-examination must of necessity draw their hearers’ eyes from the Lord Jesus in order to focus upon themselves. Such practices can never bring comfort to the downcast pilgrim, or strength to Christ’s feeble folk.

Brethren, if we are able, in our worship together, to approach the Great Triune God and there catch a glimpse of the loveliness of the Saviour Jesus Christ who has done all things well, I know our souls will be blessed and our hearts inspired to better serve Him and adore His wonderful name.

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