Things New and Old

Jesus talked about a man who has at his disposal things fresh and stored.
“Every scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings from his treasure things new and old.” Matthew 13:52

The advantage of having been around for a while is that older people have access to things newly discovered and things we have been blessed to understand many years ago.

Many things that come on the scene as new and fascinating to the younger generation look much like a dressed-up version of things we have all seen before. 

This can lead to cynicism and disinterest. Many years ago I helped on a Christian bookstore at a conference and was surprised at the level of disinterest expressed by those who had been Christians much longer than me. I couldn’t tell if the books I was commending were simply of no interest to them, or whether they really could see how shallow those books were.

At best our past experiences give us an ever broader perspective and allow us to make connections between new insights and things we have long understood.

Christ asserts that instruction in the Kingdom of Heaven has the capacity to enrich us with old and new things, such as the Gospel of Christ expanding and revealing Old Testament patterns and prophecies. Scholars say that in the Old Testament Christ is concealed, while in the New Testament the Old Testament truths are revealed.

People who have walked with the Lord over many years, especially enjoying the blessings of the Gospel, should be a wonderful resource of things old and new for those who care to listen.

Sadly there have been men and women mightily used by God in the past who have been overlooked by the young generation coming up. That reflects the natural tendency in youth to imagine they have insights surpassing those who came before.

I recently heard a preacher say that when he was nineteen he was sure he understood everything. Now, at nearly twice that age, he has seriously reviewed his previous confidence.

That is not to say anyone should care what I have to say, but it does point to a possible grace I can share, that of bringing a perspective that puts the old and new in some balance. Maybe you’ll think so as I continue to share various thoughts along the way.

May you be enriched as you sample and enjoy Things New and Old.

Your Presence, Lord

During the early 1970’s my family was drawn into what we now call the Charismatic Revival. It was a wonderful time of resurgence of the presence and power of God in ordinary lives. At the time we thought we were on the final run to the return of Christ and that what we were experiencing would only get better. History proves, however, that the season of revival passed and the sense of God’s presence among us waned.

I accept that faith stands strongest when it has no props, including evidence of God’s power around us. When we rely on good feelings or amazing answers to prayer to confirm God’s reality to us then there is something deficient in our trust in Him.

However, looking back, the frequent experiences of God’s touch or God’s presence boosted faith and prompted people to step out boldly where they might have shrunk away.

If there is one thing I am sad about for my children and grandchildren it is that they know next to nothing of the wonder of God’s continuing presence in their lives. Most have never had a ‘Wow’ moment in their walk with God and for that I am disappointed.

So of late my prayer has been that God would grant to me and my family an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives, so that we regularly find ourselves in God’s presence and regularly find God present in our world.

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are a key part of that, with revelation insight into our circumstances or quickening of a Bible truth for us to stand on, or divine coincidences happening so often that we simply expect them to happen over and over again, especially in response to prayer.

Living life with an active supernatural dimension is about the highest way to live. And to see God touching lives around us, sometimes through what we do or say, is also very touching. It awakens a confidence that God’s Kingdom is alive and well and powerfully in force in our lives and our world. That perception is a wonderful boost to faith.

So allow me to encourage you to seek God’s presence, not just as a nice feeling from time to time, but as an invasive and persistent reality that transforms your day to day life, causing you to live with awareness of God’s awesome reality and God’s amazing power and grace release to and through you.

Honouring Ps Clive Field

This is my dad, Ps Clive Field, who passed into glory on May 16, aged 88 years.

My father, Pastor Clive Field, passed into glory on May 16, 2019.
Just yesterday the family gathered from far and wide for the funeral, which was a celebration of his life.

Clive was born in poverty and obscurity. Until his salvation in 1959, he despised the church, and tragically, through his own irresponsibility, his 3 year old son drowned while he should have been watching him.

Then, in his mid 20’s, through the ministry of Billy Graham, mum and dad, Clive and Rose, were gloriously born again and their sad lives rescued.

Dad went on to become a preacher, church planter, head of a denomination and spiritual father to many he raised into ministry.

Clive had next to nothing going for him yet was held in God’s hands.

Despite Clive’s rejection of God, God never rejected him.

Despite Clive’s weaknesses, God was ready to be strong in and through him.

Despite Clive losing his son through irresponsibility, God had already given His Son, Jesus, on purpose, so Clive could move in the power of God and enjoy eternity with God.

Clive is testimony to what God can and will do with the most unlikely people, and with people who have already gotten things terribly wrong.

And so it is with mixed emotion, and grateful hearts, that we farewell Clive Field and invite each of you to let Clive’s wonderful God do in and through you, what God did through his unlikely servant, Clive Field.

God’s Mercies

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

Oh how sweet the Lord’s mercies. Thoughts of our own greatness are a delight to the human mind, but in reality we are hopelessly dependent on the mercies of God. Our true delight is that He delights in us. Our greatest strength is the Lord’s arm working in and through us. Our greatest hope is that He will move with His power and glory through our inept and faltering efforts.

I once complained to the Lord that I was unhappy with a situation I was in, saying something like, “I deserve better than this.” Immediately I sensed a reply deep within, asking, “So you want what you deserve, do you?”

That sent a shock through me and I immediately disclaimed by complaint. “No, Lord. I don’t want what I deserve. I want Your mercies and Your grace in my life.”

I am delighted with the life God has given me and the various talents I get to enjoy, but I know that the value of my life is not in me finding vent for my thoughts, words or actions, but for me being a channel through which God can express Himself.

My greatest successes in life have not come from my capacities, but from God opening things to me or moving through me, or responding to my prayer for Him to move.

So I have become accustomed to celebrating my ineptitude and disclaiming my own power. I rely on God’s mercies and His grace and am quick to recognise that God can make me a hero even when I do the wrong thing or my knees crumple under me, because the victory and blessing comes from Him, not from my resources.

Apostle Paul celebrated a similar mindset, saying “That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2Corinthians 12:10 NLT

Enough?

I struggle with the sheer abundance of devotional material already available. Why in the world should another word be written, and why from me?

I recalled this morning that I have hundreds of sermon summaries from my pastoring years. I don’t refer to them and no-one reads them. So why write even more material?

This week I met yet another chap who writes blog posts. The written word is at flood proportions today.

Yet I also remember that God is a God of abundance, and superfluous abundance. Years ago I saw calendar photos of isolated locations of amazing beauty, some with sunsets and others with miles of sweeping blooms. Yet, apart from the photographer, you could believe no one else even saw those delights. And the photographer wasn’t there all day every day drinking in the same amazing sight. Then I thought of fruit trees growing in forests and on remote mountain slopes and of the huge amount of pristine water that flows in remote places into the sea.

There is an amazing superabundance of things in God’s economy. Every moment of every day there is a continuing sunrise and sunset, producing a non-stop stream of glorious vistas. Yet most of us don’t even see one each day. It’s as if God is creating an abundance to be wasted.

What about the starry sky. How many stars would have been enough? 

How many varieties of bird would have been enough? How many flavours would have been enough? How many sensations for our body to feel or aromas for us to smell would have been enough?

God is not the God of ‘enough’ but the God of superlative abundance.

So, if God wants me to write something to add to the abundance, that’s perfectly consistent with His character and economy.

Maybe along the way I’ll write something that has more value or impact than I expect, but for now I’m working on the discipline of taking time each day to write, as the thoughts come to mind. And I’ll pile this bunch of words onto the seemingly endless mountain of things already written, so I can honour the God of abundance who blesses me abundantly and who wants to give to His creation and to His children yet more than they already have.

So, these words are penned (typed) for the glory of God.

May He be honoured by that which comes out on the page. Amen.