Tithing to the Lord

“Speak thus to the Levites and say to them: ‘When you take from the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them as your inheritance, then you shall offer up a heave offering of it to the LORD, a tenth of the tithe (Numbers 18:26).”’

The church of which I am a member does not have a policy of ‘mandatory’ tithing. I’m pleased about that, because in the New Testament the subject is barely mentioned, and a case is not made for it under the New Covenant (Matthew 26:28) and according to the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).

Jesus mentioned tithing in one of His parables – Luke 18:12. It was about a Pharisee and a tax collector, both of whom went to the temple to pray. The Pharisee was righteous in his own sight, and he boasted of giving tithes (Matthew 23:23) twice a week of all he possessed. He contrasted himself with the tax collector who stood afar off, and wouldn’t even look up. He obviously felt himself to be more worthy and holy on the grounds of his actions. By contrast the tax collector made no effort to justify himself. He knew he was an unworthy sinner in need of God’s forgiveness, and on those grounds he pleaded for mercy. Of the two, Jesus said the tax collector was justified on account of humbling himself, and he was the one who would be exalted (v 14) before God.

A Tithe

Well, what is a tithe?

There’s a fair mention of tithes in the Old Testament. The first citation is in Genesis, Chapter 14. Abram had defeated ‘Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him (v 17).’  On his return after rescuing his nephew Lot with his family and possessions, he met the King of Sodom, and Melchizedek, king of Salem, who was also ‘the priest of God Most High (v 18).’ Melchizedek blessed Abram. In return he gave him a tenth of the spoils he had acquired from his victory over Chedorlaomer.

Basically, a tithe is a gift of one tenth or thereabouts of one’s income. It is set aside for God’s purposes, and offered to Him. The giver may see it as a sacrifice of thanksgiving (Psalm 116:17). In today’s churches, offerings of money are used for promoting the gospel and for the remuneration of ministers (1 Timothy 5:18), i.e., those who lead and pastor the church.

In Old Testament times the Mosaic law required tithing of all manner of incomes. Tithes were to be given to the LORD (Leviticus 27:30). The main recipients were the Levites, who in turn were to offer one tenth of the peoples’ tithings as,‘’heave’ offerings to the LORD (Numbers 18:26).

The people were not to eat of tithes they had set aside except, ‘before the LORD’  their ‘God in the place’  chosen by Him (Deuteronomy 12:17, 18 ).’ These tithes were composed of grain, new wine, oil and the firstborn of the herd, plus other specified items. In the third year the tithe of their ‘increase’ was to be given to ‘the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow (Deuteronomy 26:12).

Tithing Today

There can be no justifiable case for ‘mandatory’ tithing in Christ’s church today. Nowhere does He stipulate such a rule. Paul the Apostle, when writing to the Corinthian church, reminded them of their prior commitment to help the poor in the Jerusalem church (1 Corinthians 16:3). He said the Corinthians should set aside what they could afford on the first day of the week (v 2). In that way they would be able to fulfil their promise. This cannot be taken as a premise or an argument for tithing, because it isn’t.

On the other hand there is no reason whatsoever why Christians should not tithe, but of their own volition. A good many of the members of the church of which I am a member tithe on a monthly basis. The advantage of doing so is that the church operates as a charity; therefore it can legally claim tax *rebates [Gift Aid] on regular givings from its members. Paul was all for paying taxes (Romans 13:6, 7) and fortunately in the UK we have this legal benefit whereby charities can claim rebates on taxable incomes.

*Tax Relief when You Donate to Charity

https://www.gov.uk/donating-to-charity/gift-aid

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An Eternal Inheritance in Christ Jesus

We all inherit something from our mothers and fathers; namely their genes. We may not inherit property, possessions or money, but we inherit sin through our parents who inherited it from Adam via their ancestors (Romans 5:12). Irrespective if our parents were pious believing Christians at the time of our birth, we still inherit sin passed down through them from their ancestors going back to Adam (Romans 3:23).

Nevertheless God sees all believers as He sees His only begotten Son (John 1:18); i.e., as perfect (Colossians 1:28) in His righteousness, despite the fact that they retain their bodies of sin (Romans 6:6; 8:10) until death. Afterwards, when Christ comes again (Matthew 16:27) to bring them into His eternal kingdom to give them an eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15) their bodies will be transformed, and they will be resurrected (John 6:45) with new spiritual bodies (1 Corinthians 15:44).

God’s Promise of an Inheritance for His Old Testament People

God promised He would give His ‘Special People’ (Deuteronomy 7:6), i.e., the Old Testament Jews, a specific land flowing with milk and honey (Numbers 14:8; Deuteronomy 6:3) where they would find peace (Psalm 72:7) and plenty (Joel 2:26). To enter in and possess the land they agreed with God and pledged they would obey Him (Exodus 19:8). If they were to obey Him, He would fight their battles (Joshua 10:14)  and take them into the land of Canaan.

God brought them out (Acts 7:36) of slavery from Egypt under the leadership of Moses who led them to the borders of the promised land. There he died (Deuteronomy 34:1-5) because God did not allow him to enter the land on account of his disobedience (Numbers 20:11, 12). Moses saw the land, but he did not receive the inheritance. The promise for him has yet to be fulfilled, for he was faithful, truly believing and trusting God (Numbers 12:7; Hebrews 3:1-6).

It had been a forty-year tortuous journey through the desert (Deuteronomy 8:4). All apart from two of the original adults who departed from Egypt died in the wilderness along the way because of their lack of faith and disobedience. The exceptions were Joshua and Caleb, because they had been faithful and obedient (Joshua 14). Under the leadership of Joshua those who had grown up to become adults and their children entered Canaan where they overcame many kings and kingdoms, dispossessing them of their lands and property (Joshua 24:18). Eventually, King David reigned as King of the United Kingdom of Judah and Israel (2 Samuel 5:5). Under the reign of his son, Solomon, there was peace (1 Chronicles 22:9) and prosperity (1 Kings 10:27) just as God had promised.

God’s Promise of an Inheritance for His New Testament People

Under the old covenant of works, i.e., the Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 34:27, 28), God fulfilled his promise of a physical land as an inheritance for His people. They would live there in peace and prosperity. It was conditional, according to their faith and obedience (Deuteronomy 30:10) as worked out in practice.

God’s promise for His New Testament people was also conditional, but on the part His Son who would fulfil all that the prophets foretold of Him (Luke 24:44). Jesus agreed with His Father to be sent to the earth where He would live an obedient (Philippians 2:8) and faithful life to His Father on the part of those who would believe in Him (Galatians 4:4, 5). He would die (Luke 23:32, 33) and suffer on their behalf to pay for their sins (1 Peter 2:24), and He would be raised to life (Acts 10:40) to give them new spiritual life and new spiritual bodies (1 Corinthians 15:44). He would transform them completely to be fitted for an eternal inheritance in heaven (Hebrews 9:15). There they would have a perfect life of peace and prosperity without pain (Revelation 21:4) or sadness.

His New Testament people, i.e., all those who are born again of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8), figuratively travel through a desert land which is this corrupt (2 Peter 1:4) and evil world where the devil and his cohorts have but a short time (1 Corinthians 7:29) before it (2 Peter 3:10) and they are utterly destroyed (Revelation 20:10).

Christ overcame satan at his resurrection when He triumphed over sin and death (Colossians 2:15). He did away with the Mosaic covenant, having fulfilled it and instituted the new covenant (Hebrews 9:15) in His blood (Matthew 26:28), which is a covenant of grace whereby believers are forgiven their sins (Matthew 9:6; John 3:16). His elect (Romans 8:33) are given the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:8, 9) and they are empowered by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:4, 5) for obedience to Him.

Because of this, Christ’s people reign with Him (Revelation 20:6) in their faith and obedience. He is their King (John 18:37) and Lord (1 Thessalonians 1:1) who gives them abundant life (John 10:10) and a wonderful inheritance (John 14:2; cf Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:24) in His kingdom. They are His special people, a chosen people, priests (1 Peter 2:9), kings and brothers of Christ.

Their prize (Philippians 3:14) and inheritance is Christ Himself with all His glory (1 Peter 4:13) in whom they live eternally.

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Secrets Known to God

‘For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:14).’

Personal Secrets

We all know what it is to have personal secrets. I’m pretty certain there’s no one who reaches an age beyond ten years that hasn’t had a personal secret; in fact, by a much younger age most of us must have had several. I am saying this because from when I was a nipper I’ve had loads of them. Later, when I was in the army I had to sign up to the *Official Secrets Act which allowed me to divulge my name, rank, number and the service I was in, but nothing else. Even to this day I can remember my army number, and that’s after being allocated it 64 years ago when I was conscripted into the Royal Artillery for National Service.

So why do we have secrets? Well, if they are personal there could be many reasons. Maybe we would be embarrassed to divulge them, or perhaps for selfish reasons we may want to keep certain knowledge to ourselves. It could be that we don’t want to ‘snitch’ on someone and we are concerned for their welfare. There could be all sorts of noble or ignoble reasons for keeping personal secrets.

Collective Secrets

Collective secrets are far harder to keep. The more people who know a secret the more chance there is that it will be divulged. Governments, military forces, intelligence agencies, businesses and criminal organisations all take extraordinary measures for keeping their secrets secret.

However, despite all these efforts to keep them secret they are now and again revealed.  Not so very long ago, **Julian Assange worked with ***WikiLeaks which published confidential information that had been hacked from Hillary Clinton’s email account; likewise it published emails from Sarah Palin’s account.

Secrets Under God’s Spotlight of Judgment

“Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?” says the LORD; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the LORD (Jeremiah 23:24).’

The Bible tells us that God knows all our secrets. There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed (Matthew 10:26). Now, that could be quite embarrassing, and even frightening for many, especially if they come to the realisation that they will have to face judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) from the God of all heaven and earth, and having been found short (Romans 3:23) they will be sentenced to everlasting hell.

With this knowledge we would be foolish to ignore the judgment to come. So is there a way out for those who are guilty of having secrets about things they have done that they should not have done? The Bible tells us we are all guilty; for all of us have sinned (Romans 3:23). If our secrets try to hide our sins, we are, as it were doubly guilty, but God is compassionate and forgiving to those who repent (Exodus 34:6, 7; Acts 17:30, 31).

He sent His Son Jesus to give us a way out (Galatians 4:4, 5; 1 John 4:9, 10) – a way whereby we can be found ‘not guilty’ – not guilty of transgressions before Him. Jesus took upon himself all the sins of the elect (Ephesians 1:7) and to suffer and to die in their place to pay for the punishment due to them. He lived a perfect life on their behalf, a life of obedience to His Father, without one sin having been committed by Him. How could he do it, since He was a man born of a woman like other men? He could accomplish it because He was born without sin (Hebrews 4:15); since He was conceived by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). He was unique. That did not mean He was not tempted (v 15) as other men, but more so. Hence He is sympathetic, and understanding. He is compassionate and loving. He forgives those who come to Him with their secret and open sins, confessing them before Him and asking for His forgiveness.

‘For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God (1 John 3:20, 21).’

Nothing gives Him more delight (Job 33:26) and pleasure than to receive unto Himself those who realise the error of their ways and who want to please Him (1 Thessalonians 4:1) and ascribe to Him the glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). They have no more secrets before Him, and they couldn’t be more happy.

*Official Secrets Act 1989 [Present Day – I signed up to the previous one.]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Official_Secrets_Act_1989

**Julian Assange Biography

https://www.biography.com/people/julian-assange-20688499

***WikiLeaks

https://wikileaks.org

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The Christian and Gender Orientation

Individual Responsibility

We hear a lot these days of LGBTQ+ people. They can’t be lumped together and dismissed by the majority who may consider them to be different, for they are not! They have *minds, bodies and souls like all human beings. God made them this way; in His own image He made them (Genesis 1:27).

Every person is responsible for their own actions before the Lord God Almighty (Romans 14:12; Revelation 20:11-15), whether they accept this or not, whether they believe in Him or not. There is no discrimination on the part of the Righteous Judge (Genesis 18:25) of all the earth. He can only do what is right. It is not anyone’s business to judge another (Matthew 7:1; Luke 6:37; Romans 14:13), and that’s making judgments of all people, regardless of their gender orientation.

Compassion

We should be compassionate (James 5:11), just as Jesus is compassionate towards those with biological differences from the norm.  God is the Architect of all life (John 1:2-4), and He is particularly interested and concerned with ALL humans (John 3:16), irrespective of their genetic makeup.

Gender Equality

Today a lot of emphasis is placed on gender equality; for example, pay should be the same for women as for men when their jobs are identical. Anyone in their right mind would agree. The mantra is for girls to have the same opportunities as boys for learning to play football, cricket and other physical sports, including boxing and rugby. Who can argue about that? Whatever their gender, in an ideal world, youngsters should be able to take up what sports and hobbies they want. They should be free to study whatever subjects they are interested in. Later, when they apply for jobs, they should be recruited according to merit and ability, not gender.

God Differentiates between Genders

However, God does differentiate between genders (Genesis 5:2). There is no doubt about it. Each has a role to play **according to His Word, the Bible. Obviously a man cannot bear children, but his role in a Christian family is to be the head (Genesis 3:16; 1 Corinthians 1:3) within it.

In the Old Testament the punishment of death was imposed on a man or woman who wore clothing normally worn by the opposite sex (Deuteronomy 22:5). The law was severe in this respect. We find no such direct requirement under the law of Christ, i.e., the whole of the New Testament, and the Old Testament as interpreted through the revelation of the New. Jesus was mute on the subject of dress, but Paul gave instructions to Timothy that the women in his church were to dress modestly, and not to adorn themselves with gold or pearls (1 Timothy 2:9).

Paul also pulled no punches in his condemnation of lesbianism and homosexuality (Romans 1:26, 27), pointing out that what these people did was ‘contrary to nature’. He said, ’the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (v 18)’.

A Problem

Where there is doubt and confusion on the part of an individual as to their sexual orientation, there’s a problem:

What if I am androgynous, i.e., a person born with both male and female reproductive organs? I certainly am not like the majority of people. I have to accept that I am who I am, or I have to make a choice as to who I would like to be. If I wish to change from being androgynous I shall have to undergo operations for the removal of one set of my reproductive organs, but what is my chromosomal makeup? Am I ‘xy’ or am I ‘xx’? For that will help me determine my sex, or will it? Although I am ‘xy’ I feel more like ‘xx’. Therefore I would prefer to be female. What do I do? Do I have to accept the risks involved of undergoing life-changing surgery? What if it goes wrong? If the surgery is successful, what shall I feel like afterwards? What if I want to reverse my gender? It will be too late! The change is irreversible.

This talk is not theoretical. It is very real for more people than most of us realise. Not only do people find themselves with similar predicaments, but their mothers and fathers, their brothers and sisters, are also affected, because they are related by family. Indeed, androgyny affects many life situations, none more challenging than for those caught up in it to find marriage partners with whom they may have children. In some cases the joy of having their own offspring may be impossible.

Discrimination

We cannot avoid observing how the world treats people with gender orientations that are not considered to be ‘normal’. Sometimes the minority are discriminated against, and in a few cases they are treated abominably with hatred.

I pose the question, “If you are a Christian, how do you respond and relate to the 1.7 percent of the world’s populace who are LGBTQ+? Do you love them as Jesus loves them (John 3:16)?” The gospel message for them is the same as for all people, “Repent and believe (Mark 1:14), and you will be saved (Romans 10:9).” For sure, God’s elect are among ALL who call upon the name of Jesus (v 13). Like all of us, some will go to hell and others to heaven. It’s not for us to judge (Romans 14:12; Revelation 20:11-15).

Gender in Heaven

Gender will play no part for those who will dwell in the new heaven (Revelation 21:1); for there, all its citizens will be ‘like angels’ (Matthew 22:30). The elect (Matthew 24:31) will be comprised of a predestined (Romans 8:29) number who will live forever; therefore there will be no need for procreation.

*Mind, Body and Soul

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/07/23/mind-body-and-soul/

**Women Teaching from the Scriptures

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/01/26/women-teaching-from-the-scriptures/

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Spot the Christian!

First Impressions

How can you know if a person is a Christian? – Superficially, in the first instance, by what they say and do. In certain countries you may have a clue by how they dress, particularly the womenfolk, who by tradition or custom may wear head coverings and full length dresses. You certainly can’t go by clerical attire, because some clergy who wear such garments have been found to be frauds. They do not truthfully preach the Word of God, and more than a few have been found guilty of pedophilia, along with other serous crimes. Their lifestyles do not match up to what they purport to be, i.e., ministers of God (Titus 1:15, 16).

The truth is that superficial clues do not reveal if a person is a bona fide Christian. His or her identity is far deeper than outward appearances. A Christian is one who is one inwardly (Romans 2:29) – a follower of Jesus. He is a person who has Jesus at the heart of his being (Galatians 2:20). He unashamedly and openly loves Him (Romans 1:16). He does all he can to please and to obey Him (Galatians 6:2), and his trust in Him is unshakeable.

A Scenario of Speculation

Imagine one day you find yourself walking along a crowded street, and you are wondering if there are Christians in the melee. Perhaps there are none at all, apart from you, if you have that privilege and blessing (Psalm 2:12).

As you continue on your way you observe a young man who is wearing a brightly coloured ’T’shirt, which has on the front of it a large Maltese cross and the name Jesus emblazoned over it. You ask yourself if this fellow is a Christian. At that moment a car draws up, and you notice it has one of those Jesus fish symbols you occasionally see on the back of a car. A lady steps out and walks towards the colourful youngster. She greets him with the words, “Hi brother!” and they shake hands. You think, ‘Yes, it all makes sense. Maybe they are both disciples of Christ, and they are meeting together for fellowshipping with others in their Lord’s name.’ However, you have no positive proof that they are ‘real’ Christians; so you pray, “Dear Lord, You can do all things. I pray they are Yours, and if so, please let them be effective witnesses for You. May they enjoy sweet fellowship in Your name and dedicate their lives to You and Your glory (1 Corinthians 1:21). Amen.”

The True Christian

So how do you know who are the ‘true’ Christians? First of all you need to find out if they have the only, but absolutely necessary qualification, which is not earned, and is a gift. It is the gift of ‘faith’ in the Son of God (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Basically, God’s elect (Colossians 3:12) know in their heart that they love and trust Jesus with their own life. They believe in all that He has said about Himself in the Bible (Luke 24:25-27). If they are put to the ultimate test of allegiance they will sacrifice their *lives for Him and for His cause. After all, He died and rose again to give them eternal life (John 3:16), and salvation from the torment of **hell.

As we observe someone who claims to be a Christian we will be aware of his conduct and disposition towards people – indeed, his dealings with all aspects of living. Does he display characteristics similar to those of Jesus, such as being compassionate, loving, empathetic, helpful, kind, patient, honest, humble, and generous? Does he put others before himself? Does he serve and respect all people (1 Peter 2:17)?

As we get to know this person more intimately, do we find him talking about His Lord? Does he tell us of the transformation (2 Corinthians 5:17)  that has taken place in his life because of Jesus? Does he worship with other Christians, and how do they as a whole relate to their families, friends and the wider community? Can we observe their ‘good works’ (Ephesians 2:10)? Do they shine as ***lights in a dark world? Are they different to those who are not Christians? If they are truly different to those who dwell in darkness, their bright light will shine and point to the wonderful and breathtaking ****Morning Star.

  

*New Testament Martyrs

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/06/21/new-testament-martyrs/

**Hell

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/03/30/hell/

***A Light to the Gentiles

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/08/29/a-light-to-the-gentiles/

****The Morning Star

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/08/11/the-morning-star/

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Our Anger and God’s Anger

My Anger

When I was kid, around the age of ten, I used to get bouts of anger, and for the life of me I cannot remember what caused them, but I believe they came about through my inadequacy to express my thoughts clearly to adults with regard to my frustrations. The worst thing about those episodes was me venting my anger by slamming doors. That seemed to do me a world of good. I would find a quiet place and brood over my anger until it would subside. I can’t ever remember going back to my Mum and Dad and apologising for my outbursts.

The beautiful thing was my parents’ response. They just left me alone to cool off. They never once told me not to behave in that way. Being wise, they knew I would grow out of my temper tantrums, and sure enough I did, but it took much longer than ever I thought it would. Even in early adulthood I would have flushes of frustration, particularly when other people did foolish things. I reasoned their actions were a waste of time, effort, and sometimes a waste of resources and needless expense. Surely, just by applying a little reason, any sensible person would appreciate the error of his actions.

So what was my response to my anger flushes after becoming a Christian? I jolly well had to come to grips with them, as I was accountable to God for my thoughts and actions.

Overcoming Anger

Now God is the source of all goodness, and He has every solution to problems encountered by His adopted children. He gives them His Holy Spirit to be their Enabler. Through and by the Spirit it is possible for the Christian to change his behaviour. He is called to renew his mind (Romans 12:2), and to be a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15) which is only possible by being born again through the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-6). I know this through personal experience and because God’s word, the Bible tells me so. Where there is a desire to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25) He is there with the Father’s children to give them a helping hand (John 14:26).

Emotions and feelings are deliberately subjugated by the Christian when he is being tempted to lose his cool under provocation. The last fruit of the Spirit as set out in Galatians 5:22 is ‘self-control’. It is not an immediate gift, but a ‘fruit’, i.e., something that comes after a period of growth. The tree has to be planted in the right place, looked after, fed and pruned; then it brings forth good fruit (Matthew 12:33). To state the obvious, a Christian’s fruit comes as a result of being in the True Vine (John 15:1-8), Jesus Christ.

Legitimate Anger

Is it legitimate for a Christian to be angry? We read of King David being angry with the enemies of God. He hated them (Psalm 139:21). David saw himself as a warrior acting at God’s behest (Psalm 18:32-50). He was the commander of God’s forces on earth and it was his duty to obey his Supreme Commander, the King of heaven and earth. On that premise, we too who are Christians, can legitimately be angry with the enemies of God, but at the same time we are to forgive those who vent their anger on us (Ephesians 4:26) because we are on God’s side.

God’s Righteous Anger

God’s righteous anger is reserved for those who trespass against Him (Numbers 32:13-15; Psalm 7:11; 18:7). They deserve and get everlasting punishment (Romans 1:18-2:9).  We who are pardoned from our sins are amazed at His great love for us (Ephesians 2:4), because we deserve His anger. Instead He sent His Son to die on a cross, to suffer death and hell on our part and to rise from the dead, so that we also will rise from the dead (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Afterwards we shall dwell where there will be no anger in the new earth that God will create (Revelation 21:1-4).

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A Christian’s Eulogy

Hebrews 9:27, 28 ‘And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.’

You are a Christian and the thought came to you, if you were to write your own eulogy, what form would it take? You have to be utterly honest (Exodus 20:16; John 8:32; 3 John 4) and write factually about yourself. What main points would you want to include?

Technically a eulogy is a speech in praise of a person or a thing, especially a set oration in honour of a deceased person.

Not so long ago a friend whom I had known over many years died. I wasn’t surprised, because he had been suffering with poor health and was aged over ninety. Nevertheless his death came as shock. Not longer was he there for our telephone conversations which were usually about our reminiscences of sailing small boats. His daughter asked if I would write a few words that could be read at her father’s funeral. I agreed. Sadly I would not be able to attend the funeral, because I was unwell myself.

A Portion of the Eulogy to My Friend

On our second cruise to Ireland we had the misfortune of meeting two gales – one on the outward passage from Falmouth, and the other on the return passage, when sailing to the Scillies. The second of the two gales was severe, and we were fearful for our lives. You can’t imagine how uncomfortable it was being tossed to and fro, up and down and from side to side. Outside, all hell was let loose. The wind howled and shrieked in the rigging, and the foaming crests thumped against the hull.

Things were not always like that. We had many wonderful encounters with sea creatures, including sailing in close proximity with whales, dolphins and sharks. The sharing of sunsets, glorious night skies with shooting stars, beautiful cliff scenery, sandy beaches, secluded coves and swimming from the boat in calm waters were our great pleasures. The eating of freshly caught mackerel, straight from a sizzling pan, flavoured with mayonnaise and toasted breadcrumbs – nothing can beat it. There were captivating moonlit nights, misty mornings, glorious sunrises, cold dank sea fogs, and the sound of ships’ horns. Fog was always frightening – the horror, and the dread of being run down by an unseen ship made the heart pound.

These things are not forgotten – elation, joy, happiness, contentment and fear!

When holed-up in a sheltered anchorage waiting for a gale to subside, many a tale we told one another. There were countless reminiscences and the swopping of good books for wiling away the time. Discussions about profound and deep things; mysteries, philosophies, history, politics and religion, war and peace – God – we probed them all. Our friendship deepened, and in the autumn of our lives we maintained contact with one another.

So for me, it has been a profound privilege to have known ‘X’ and to have shared so many wonderful adventures together. He was indeed, a good man who always considered others before himself. I shall miss his friendship and support, his generosity and care. I shall miss his distinctive and comforting voice. I shall miss him – a friend lost, but never forgotten.

Thank you God for ‘X’. He has been a blessing to so many. “Goodbye, dear friend.”

The Standing of ‘X’ before God

Over the years that I had known my friend I had repeatedly made clear to him the gospel of the good news of salvation (Romans 1:16, 17; 10:15-17) through Jesus Christ. He read the Bible and had some understanding of the contents, but I could never get from him an acknowledgement that he believed and trusted Jesus (1 Timothy 4:10, 11). He never clearly stated that Jesus was his Lord and Saviour (Romans 10:9). He often spoke of spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:14) and believed in *miraculous healing. On the other hand he certainly did not worship with Christians (Hebrews 10:24, 25), and he did not on any occasion pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17) with me. I saw in him and witnessed many kindnesses and tenderness. He always respected the law of the land and honoured people. His moral standing was high.

DespIte these things I could not be sure of his eternal state at the time of his death, but God would have heard my prayers for him over the years. Maybe his soul is with Jesus; however, it’s not for me to judge! The God of all the earth will have judged rightly (Genesis 18:25).

The Challenge

Now I leave you with that challenge dear Christian friend – What would you write about yourself?

*The Miracles of Jesus

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/01/09/the-miracles-of-jesus/

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