Posts Tagged ‘rocks’

“Upon this Rock I will build my Church…”

September 7, 2019

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Ireland is full of famous “rocks,” like the Rock of Cashel in Co. Tipperary, the Rock of Dunamase in Co. Laois and the “Big Stone,” (“Cloughmore” pictured) in the Mourne Mountains, Co. Down. Standing stones are also a fascinating phenomenon in Ireland; many of these are associated with old legends about how they came to be there but I love to draw spiritual analogies from those rocks…
Rocks are sure foundations, rocks are reliable, unchanging, and unmoveable; rocks can be a refuge and a hiding place from the storm and Psalm 81v16 speaks of “honey in the rock.”
Unfortunately many people in Ireland believe that Peter was the “first pope,” of whom they say that Jesus said… “upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
However, Jesus when He made this statement was speaking of Himself as the Rock and to get understanding of this we need to read the entire chapter of Matthew 16, especially from Verse 15… “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jo-na: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16v15-18)
When Jesus went on to say “Upon this rock I will build my church” He was clearly referring to Himself because of His words in the previous verses. Throughout the New Testament only Jesus is referred to as “the Rock.” In 1Corinthians 10 Paul is speaking of Moses and his ancestors… “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (Verse 4)
In 1Peter 2v8 Jesus is referred to as “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.”
There is no doubt that Peter was a beloved disciple and later in the New Testament, a faithful and fearless servant of the gospel but he is not the “Rock of our salvation.” Read the words of Jesus to him in Matthew 16v23… “get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Peter, like many, may have meant well by his words (“Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Verse 23) but these words were not pleasing to the Lord. Peter was a mortal man; the church was never built upon mortal man but upon the Lord Jesus Christ “in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (Colossians 1v14)
“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1v18) Unfortunately mankind like to establish their own organisations, claiming that only their particular denomination is “the church.”
The church, as I have said previously, is not a building, or an organisation or a denomination – but that body of believers throughout this world who have given their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ and are born again of the spirit of God. “Now ye are the body of Christ and members in particular.” (1Corinthians 12v27) This chapter continues to show how the “body,” of which the Lord Jesus Christ is Head, have differing gifts.
“Wherefore also it is contained in scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious: and he that believeth in him shall not be confounded.” (1Peter 2v6)
Praise God, these words are also prophesied of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Old Testament … “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah 28v16)
In Psalm 62v2 the words… “He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved,” are repeated again in Verse 6, this time reinforced by omitting the word “greatly.”
Praise God if we build upon this Rock, like the wise man Jesus refers to in Matthew 7v24, spiritually speaking we are building on the Rock which cannot move.
… “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16v18)
We are living in days when the “gates of hell” are most certainly trying to prevail against the church. Black clouds are threatening those who have taken refuge in the Rock of Ages… that Rock which is so eloquently spoken about throughout the Psalms and many other books of the Bible. “The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.” (Psalm 18v46)
But when God promises that the “gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” He will keep that promise. While the famous earthly rocks we are familiar with will some day pass away, the Rock of our salvation is eternal and unchanging and many times prophesied of in the Old Testament. Unto those who believe “he is precious” (1Peter 2v7) but a “rock of offence to them which stumble at the word.”
“And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.”(Isaiah 8v14&15)
“And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (Matthew 21v44)
Manmade religion seeks to exalt man above God. How can a mortal man be the rock upon which God builds His church?
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus.” (1Corinthians 3v11)

Will Your Anchor Hold in the Storms of Life?

October 18, 2014

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As I write, I hear a storm raging in the darkness of the night. The leaves are blowing from our trees, which only some weeks ago were resplendent in thick-leafed foliage. That Indian summer sun seems but a memory now as blustery October gales reduce the trees to stark silhouettes. Sometimes we have no wish to dwell upon the stark realities of life either, but as sure as autumn follows summer; storms and dark waters in life are something which we will all have to face at some time or another.

A short distance from where I live is the sea and I know that the wind there will be even wilder with high foaming tides and as the hymn describes it so vividly: “the billows roll.”

As I listen to the wind tonight, my mind travels back to summer when I saw a boat named “Steadfast” in the little town of Kilkeel in County Down. The boat rested in gentle lapping waters, safely anchored in a peaceful harbour. Oh how I long at this moment for that… “harbour bright where we shall anchor fast by the heavenly shore, with the storms all past for evermore!”

But for those who know Him, we must endure the high seas of life for another little while. What is your anchor this day in the storms of life which shall surely come? Is it a philosophy, a certain denomination or a theory that you cling to? This night as dark waters of depressing thoughts and discomfort would seek to drown me, “the cables passed from His heart to mine” and I have an “Anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll, fastened to the Rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.”

Oh that all who read would have that glorious assurance of knowing that their “hopes abide within the veil.”

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Mel-chis-ed-ec.” (Hebrews 6v19&20)

Link to the hymn “We have an Anchor:”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQQO8v-0VBo

 

 

Remembering Fanad Lighthouse, Donegal, Ireland: A Spiritual Analogy

September 10, 2011

Resilient in the face of stormy winds, lashing sea and cold cutting rain, it stands through good times and bad. Throughout the seasons, resolute against the skies, whether cloudless blue or black and threatening, it shines brightest on the darkest night and remains a symbol of comforting light and warning to those on peril on the stormy seas.

It is firmly founded upon the rock, for if it was built on sand, it would long ago have fallen to the crashing sea, storms and rain.

Like the lighthouse, the Christian’s life can receive a very personal battering and sadly sometimes when we are seriously attacked, we can also be lashed by tongues. At times like this we can understand something of the lot of Job whose ‘comforters’ (for the most part) were very quick to pass judgement in an unwise manner.

Thank God for the Book of Job which illustrates how God can draw us closer to Himself through the trauma of life’s bitter storms, for our latter end (like that of Job’s) will be victorious and enriched as He moulds us to be the individuals that He wants us to be. And we can also be now more equipped to counsel and comfort those who suffer too, as is illustrated by the words of 2Cor. 1v3&4… “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted by God.”

The Psalms, too, are full of exhortation to confide in Him, our Almighty Confidant and Counsellor… for who greater than this can we turn to? Psalm 91, which begins: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty,” is a Psalm of victory for the Christian who is on the receiving end of something which is challenging his faith.

And so the lighthouse remains strong in the face of bitter lashings and vile winds, because the rock is its foundation. Yet even this rock is not imperishable for some day, with every island of the sea, it will flee away. (Rev.16v20) But the Christian’s life is built on that Eternal Rock; the Rock of Ages, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Dear Lord, the Rock of my salvation, please help me to remain calm in the midst of life’s fierce storms and enable me to love thee more and more…