Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord
Will He find Faith on the Earth?
I am writing this on our way back from a few days vacation in the Baltic States of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. They were interesting places, having come a long way since they escaped from Soviet domination around 1990. Estonia is the most prosperous, very much like its neighbour Finland; Roman Catholic Lithuania is the nicest; Latvia has further to go to catch up with Western Europe. But what is sad is that I could not establish a spiritual link with anybody – taxi drivers, waitresses or even a family connection – I saw no peaceful faces. Yes, a lot of big churches, but where is there the knowledge of true salvation? In Lithuania we saw the Hill of Crosses – 400,000 of them in 2006. It was weird. Lithuania is RC but in 1840’s Russians tried to force them to go Orthodox . So this started as a protest movement . Now doubtless, it is a money earner for the church!
There must be many there who truly knew The Lord, but we didn’t meet any despite praying for it. May God work mightily in these three little countries.
Before then, however, we spent a happy long weekend with our dear Christian friends in Gothenburg, Sweden. On the Saturday we were on one of the islands, and on the boat we saw a group of young people from the self-styled Plymouth Brethren Christian Church. Getting off the boat I waved towards them, and one young lady waved back cheerily. Later we were having a snack outside at a café, when the same young person came by ostensibly to buy some mineral water. As she came out our friend greeted her, and she chatted happily for several minutes. She was an English girl, married to a brother from Sweden. Our friend knew the family well, and they lived close by. He spoke of the Lord’s coming and our being together, to which she responded well. As she was going our friend said to her ‘May The Lord richly bless you’. Her reply: ‘May He bless you too’. That encounter was a highlight of our holiday.
God has His reserves everywhere. Just because we have had to judge a system as evil, that does not mean that it is void of true believers who have peace with God, especially those who never went through the turmoil of the 1960’s.
There were many prayers about the Scottish referendum, so I am sure God’s hand was over the result. Personally I was a bit ‘pro-yes’, so I have to be humble! Scotland has had a major part in the testimony of our Lord. Men like John Knox, groups like the Covenanters come to mind. It has also been a land where party and personal feeling run deep: Rangers vs. Celtic, Campbells vs. McDonalds, Wee Frees vs. Wee-wee Frees etc. Sadly these divisions have affected God’s people. They will be together in glory.
Are ‘Brethren’ Special?
I came across an interesting piece from a letter written by JN Darby in 1875 (click here for my lightly edited version). By then he had become rather disillusioned with sectarian brethrenism, but still felt there was something special amongst so-called Plymouth Brethren. But what was special was what the brethren possessed from the Lord, not the brethren themselves. God could take what they had from them and give it to others.
It is blessed to gather with a few simple Christians, assembling themselves to the Lord’s name, outside the camp (He rejected here), having no name or organisation. Brethren with a small ‘B’. May that always be the case. It is indeed a day of small things
I have nearly finished lightly editing JND’s Outline of the Books of the Bible, providing a concise overview of each book, briefer than the ‘Synopsis’. My plan is to put it into an e-book. For the original outline click here.
It will all be right in the end
A worldly expression, ‘Karma’ they say. But what does the Christian say?
‘I have strength for all things in him that gives me power!’ (Phil 4:13) All things? If the Bible says all things, then it means all things. I doesn’t say I can DO all things. Indeed, I feel very weak even for the simplest thing. But with Jesus all things are possible. Have I faith?
Forgive me, that’s a ‘brethren’ expression. What are your concerns about the group of Christians you gather with? We can share one another’s burdens. There may be something that you are linked with, that I would feel is not according to scripture – ordained ministry in any form, for example. There may be things that you would point out in my conduct that does not befit a Christian. That is how we help one another.
The Lord is coming soon. May He be with you
God’s blessings, your brother,