Church Newsletter September 16
Ok. Using this simple C code:-
// Display the numbers 1 through 10
for(count = 1; count <= 10; count++)
printf(“%d “, count);
and running on Pi Model B – 512MB memory using time command displays these results:-
sys 1m5.940s (so it took just under 4 mins in real time to reach a million).
On Pi2 – 1GB memory using time command displays:-
sys 0m8.000s (so it took a little over 10 seconds!).
Clearly one must take into account the CPU speed which on Pi2 is 900MHz quad-core compared to 700MHz with a floating point.
So RaspberryPi 1st model (study) has been running MySQL, PHPMyAdmin et.al for 4 years plus. Slow to execute queries on the database. Installed all the necessary onto my RaspberryPi 2 (located in garage!) and then exported database from Pi -> imported into Pi2. Flawless. Quicker. Improved.
Let’s suppose you’re a reporter interviewing Noah, one of the most famous celebrities of the ancient world. He and seven family members survived the great flood thousands of years ago. He built a boat when he was 600 years old. But he doesn’t build them now. He’s changed career. Over the last three centuries he’s taken up farming. Not bad for a man who’s 950 years old.
So you research your ancient relative’s story. Yes, he is yours and mine and everyone’s great, great, great, great,…Grandfather…after the flood, his three sons were the ancestors of all the people on earth (9:19). But you can’t come up with a decent headline. After all, the flood has so many amazing parts to it. How will you sum it all up in just a few gripping words?
For when we come to Genesis 9, a lot has occurred. It’s a great day. The world just began again. In perfect justice thousands of wicked people had been wiped off the planet. God has high hopes. He beckons to Noah, leads him out of the ark and makes a promise: “That never again will all living beings be destroyed by a flood; never again will a flood destroy the earth”. (v.11). Noah was commanded to multiply and repopulate the earth. All wild animals, large and small, the birds and fish were placed under his stewardship and given, in addition to plants, as food. There’s a possible headline:-
“The Day We Stopped Being Vegetarians” – as up until that time human beings had never eaten meat. Now though, for the first time, they are given divine permission to eat animal flesh – but not rare steaks! As the Jewish kosher law prohibiting the consumption of an animal’s blood is underwritten in verse 4: “You must not eat meat with blood still in it.”
For the life of the flesh is in the blood (Dt.12:23). To me, my health depends upon the quality of my blood and the circulation of that blood around my body. I believe that God has given us such laws, as He knows what’s best for us, and wants us to avoid contamination. That may be too simplistic for you and I accept that food laws are debatable things. It’s up to you what you eat.
Much, much later on in the NT people are still arguing about consuming food that’s been offered to idols, Peter had an incredible vision of a sheet being let down from heaven with all manner of animals, reptiles and birds and the Lord saying, “Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean”. (Acts.10:15). Paul also states rationally that eating food sacrificed to idols is not wrong in and of itself, but is better avoided for the sake of Christians who think it is wrong and would consequently be led into sin.
We can’t deny that blood is the life. When paramedics arrive at the scene of an accident, one of the first things they do is check for a pulse. If they find one, they know the person is alive. Incredible that thousands of years later the Son of God spoke of His sacrifice and His blood shed as being the blood of the New Covenant, of this New Promise – – for in Him is truly life: “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Heb.9:22). That’s some headline isn’t it! The Bible is consistent and true for every generation.
Returning to Noah and his family standing on dry land what about this:-
“God Gives Humanity A Second Chance” – wow! What about the first time that “bow in the clouds” appeared? This is the first unconditional promise mentioned in Scripture and it’s everlasting. It applied to our ancestors; it applies to our descendants and even to the earth itself. Noah and his family were blessed. He was the first man to plant a vineyard. There’s another headline for you:-
“Ancient Hero: Boat Builder Becomes Farmer” – when the vines were sagging under the burden of Noah’s first crop, after tramping on the grapes, there’s a barrel wine. He takes a cup, fills it to the brim and drinks. It tastes really good. Full bodied, sweet and…He drinks some more…and then some more. Then his head begins to feel bad. He tries to stand unaided, but finds himself pitching forwards. Eventually he crawls to his tent. He doesn’t remember taking his clothes off. Soon he’s out cold, snoring like a bear and completely naked.
What a scoop! This is scandalous. Noah’s a man of God. The Bible condemns drunkenness. Yet every saint has a past, every sinner has a future. Don’t be fooled. Sometimes we think that people in the Bible are heroes bigger than life, but normally we see that they’re a lot like us. Noah harvested his crop. That’s good. He drank too much wine and became drunk. That’s not so good as he set a poor example of holiness to his sons.
Despite this, the Lord trusted Noah and we should pay more attention to the genealogies in the Bible, as his direct line of descent had some amazing attributes. STurning to Genesis chapter 5 for example we see he was a direct descendant from Seth. This line is sometimes referred to as “the glory line” as it leads to Abraham the father of the nation. Subsequently, it was through the seed of Seth that Jesus was born.
Noah’s great-grandfather was Enoch who went to heaven without dying, as he was someone who walked so closely with God in faith that he didn’t die, as one day God took him away, so they could spend more time together. What a privilege for him!
But he had a son, Methuselah (the oldest person in the Bible if you’re ever in a quiz) who lived to be 969 years old – and was Noah’s grandfather. Now Methuselah means something pretty significant: “When he is dead, it shall be sent.” When you do the maths, it transpires that he died the same year that the flood came. Coincidence? I don’t think so – it’s a GOD-INCIDENT! His death shall bring…
This is a godly family tree. As long as Methuselah was alive, he was a walking prophecy. Although Scripture is silent I think that’s why he lived so long –for “When he dies, judgement will come” – The Good Lord didn’t want to send the flood, He didn’t want to send judgement, death or a watery grave. But His long-suffering patience and forgiveness had run out. The tipping point had been reached.
Despite the ridicule, Noah was a preacher of righteousness whose name means “comfort, rest”. Not coincidence. The doors of the ark remained open until the rain began to fall. It was salvation, but people didn’t respond. And the rest, as they say, is history. Noah, his family and boatful of animals survived as testimony to the Lord’s promise.
Although a sermon on the dangers of alcohol can be gleaned from these verses today, the main point of the Scripture, I think, reminds us that even godly people can and do sin and that their families can be affected with damage and pain as a result. Noah’s youngest son, Ham, showed a severe lack of respect for his father, and, above all for God. He saw the state he was in, but sought out his brothers – effectively mocking his father.
When Noah sobered up and learnt what his youngest son had done to him, he pronounced a curse on his descendants, telling Ham they would be slaves to his brothers (9:25). Ham’s descendants were the Canaanites, traditionally hated by Israel and the curse was fulfilled when the Israelites entered the Promised Land and drove them out under Joshua. Nevertheless the way God works in history is staggering! Rahab is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus, part of “the glory line”. She was a Canaanite prostitute who saved a couple of Israelite spies when she was living in Jericho. She was a direct descendant of Ham, but what mattered is that she trusted in the true God of Israel. She was justified by faith.
And it all goes back to when the Lord placed a rainbow in the sky as a sign of His promise. Whatever race we come from is not important because of the covenant of pure and free grace. We may not understand it, but through the plan of salvation, God is truly working His purpose out for entire humanity, the whole of creation. This truth is hugely encouraging because it gives us hope when we have messed things up big time. The rainbow states there is always the possibility of a new beginning. Noah’s descendants re-populated the earth. As the generations unfold, God uses the people He wants to use.
And thousands of years later the family line continued all the way to Jesus Christ: the perfect and final sacrifice. He died on the cross for me and for you. His blood is so powerful that it paid the price for all our sins. Until the judgement day when Christ returns to destroy evil forever He is faithful to His Word. A thousand years is like a day, and a day is like a thousand years to the Lord and He doesn’t want anyone to perish. Although our hearts are evil, He continues to try and reach us. He shows His love and patience in order to save us. That’s the headline we want: “Read all about it! While we were helpless, at the right time, Christ died for sinners.”
I’m thankful for the rainbow and the cross because I need a second chance every day. The promises are forever; they will not be broken. God has not forgotten us. When we struggle with sin, thank Him for all His mercies. We’re part of His story. If we come to Jesus, we will not be turned away. His blood will save us and our names will be written in the Book of Life.
Blessed be the Word. Love in the Messiah.
Lord God, through Noah you gave us the rainbow as a sign that you would never separate yourself from us again – and through Christ you gave us the cross as a sign of your everlasting mercy and grace – that opens to us the gates of your Kingdom. In these signs we recognize and acknowledge your love and how that love is present to us to sustain us and guide us each day. We thank you Lord, and we promise as your covenant people, to follow in your ways. Amen.
The kingdom of God is justice and peace. Come, Lord, and open in us the gates of your kingdom.
From start to finish Jesus did not astound this world with power as the world conceives power. His is the “upside down” kingdom. Humble shepherds were the first visitors to the manger; His preaching on the mountainside to ordinary folk, revealed His authority; a woman was the first to see Him raised from the tomb (who’d believe her in that day and age?); and forty days after His resurrection, Jesus, who had washed feet and cooked breakfast for His disciples, was taken up in glory to heaven.
Incarnation, Resurrection, Ascension – BIG words associated with Christ – which means, “anointed one”. Prophets, priests and kings were anointed with oil in the scriptures, but no one else throughout the Bible’s long history has ever been anointed simultaneously, and fulfilled all three roles as prophet, priest and king. Think about the prophets and what they did – proclaiming the truth of God to the people, called by the Lord to serve as His “covenant enforcers” – reminding people of the behaviour He expects from them and where such behaviour is leading them: reward or blessing; repercussion or curses. Those of us studying Deuteronomy have come across this time and again.
Moses, who penned Deuteronomy, was a prophet who predicted that sometime another prophet like himself would come: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you…and I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.” (18:18). Who was He talking about? Not Jeremiah, Micah, Elijah or Isaiah – but the Lord Jesus – sent to us to warn us of the everlasting result of the choice we must make between life and death. SWhen Jesus raised the widow’s son, the people were all “filled with fear and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us!” they said; “God has come to save his people!” (Lk.7:16).
Then after Jesus multiplied the loaves and fed thousands some people exclaimed, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!” (Jn.6:14). This is the prophet Moses predicted, but Jesus is far greater than Moses. Moses fed the people with manna – the bread of heaven – but Jesus is the Bread of Life. Though Jesus performed the same types of miracles that prophets, empowered by the Holy Spirit were able to do, He is greater than all of them for in these last days, the author of Hebrews writes, God has spoken to us by a Son (1:1-2). The Superiority of Christ Jesus who is fully God, who spoke on His authority as the eternal Word of God. All the prophets that preceded Him said, “Thus says the Lord” – but Jesus could begin His teaching with the amazing statement, “But I say unto you…before Abraham was, I AM.”
The Messianic promises were fulfilled. God the Father has accepted the Son as the perfect atonement for sinners. Grace, righteousness and life instead of law, sin and death; no other sacrifice for sin ever needs to be made again! Jesus is acting now as our great High Priest. In the OT the priests, men from the tribe of Levi, were ordained by God to offer sacrifices. In so doing they made the people “acceptable” to come into the Most High’s presence – albeit in a limited way. In Judaism there was only one high priest, and he was the one who would enter the innermost sanctum of the temple once a year, the Holy of Holies, behind a massive curtain to offer the atoning sacrifice for God’s people. Jesus is the ultimate High Priest. The sacrifice He offered for sin was not the blood of goats or bulls, because that couldn’t remove the stain of sin. Instead, Jesus, who was without sin, offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice. He has now passed through the heavens, sits at the right hand of the Father and continually brings us near to God, intercedes on our behalf, allowing us to approach the throne of grace with confidence. It’s where we find mercy in our time of need: “Lord, my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead…weeping may last for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Ps.30:3,5).
It’s much better for us to be living now then it was back then. People couldn’t even enter into the first room of the temple – only the priests – but the veil has been torn in two from top to bottom indicating in a symbolic way on earth that the way of access to God in heaven was opened by Jesus’ death. Remember Jesus lives in the presence of God and is continually glorifying God through prayer: “There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim.2:5) He’s offering up prayers and petitions, interceding for all those who believe in Him. He is the only person in the whole universe, for all eternity, who can be such a heavenly high priest!
Moreover, Christ is also King! We’re in a relationship with a monarch. Everything is under His rule and authority. Daniel foretold: “his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” (Dan.7:13-14). Can you see how astonishing this is? Jesus was born to be King of the Jews. He was born to be our Lord and King. Today’s psalm shows reverence for Him: “Sing praises to the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name.” (Ps.30:4). When Jesus began to preach He announced the arrival of His kingdom – which is not of this world – yet we greatly desire it to be so – thy kingdom come – and one day it will, when Jesus is recognised King of all creation who will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. He has no rival to His power. His kingdom cannot be destroyed and will not pass away.
Also, Jesus has been seen in heaven. Stephen, the first Christian martyr saw the glory of God proclaiming: “I see heaven opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:56). The image continues in Revelation – which gives us more detail of the majesty of the Most High, with angels bowing before Him in constant praise (Rev.5:13-14). In one of his epistles, Paul elaborates: “Christ rules over all forces, authorities, powers and rulers” (Eph.1:21-23). During His earthly ministry Jesus’s work was geographically limited. But now He is at work everywhere and able to hear and respond to His people’s prayers no matter the time or place. The whole world really is in His hands! As the Church waits for His return we are called to trust in Him, remembering He has all power and authority and through His Holy Spirit has promised us His continual presence.
As we share bread and wine at this table today, Jesus is here, and we are present with Him. Had He not ascended, He could not have sent the Spirit. Had the Spirit not come, we would not be gathered here today. So follow the commands of God, keep in relationship with Him through prayer and reading your Bible. Have hope that you will have eternal life and be raised on the last day.
So if the offices of prophet, priest and king affirm all this – then surely it’s apparent that we need to make Jesus Christ the center of our lives, because a couple of hours on a Sunday isn’t good enough. Being a Christian is about restoring that lost image of God within, being sanctified by His Holy Spirit more and more into His likeness. Christ is the last Adam. Even in the first Adam you can see the 3 offices are part of the true human condition:-
Before the Fall, Adam was a “prophet” in that he had true knowledge of God. He was a “priest” in that he was able freely and openly to offer prayer and worship to God. He was also a “king” in the sense of having been given dominion and rule over creation (Gen.1:26-28). When sin entered the world, everything changed. The wages of sin is death for a start (Rom.6:23) and fallen human beings aren’t prophets anymore, as we prefer false information about God. We no longer have priestly access to Him as sin cuts us off. Instead of ruling over creation as kings (and queens), we are subject to the harshness of creation.
Well thank God for His gift of salvation. The great rescue of mankind “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom.6:23). As Christians we have a “prophetic” role as we proclaim the gospel and bring eternal life to people. We are priests because Peter calls us a royal priesthood and he invites us to be built into a spiritual temple, and our good works are sacrifices pleasing to God. (1.Pet.2:9). Paul goes further telling us that we should “present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your true worship” (Rom.12:1) – which is basically saying, “If Jesus isn’t lord of all –He isn’t Lord at all!”
We also share a part in the kingly role of Christ for when Jesus returns and rules over the new heavens and earth, we will once again be “prophets” because our knowledge will then be perfect and we shall know as we are known. We will be priests forever for we will continually worship and offer prayers to God as we dwell in His presence. And we shall be sharing in ruling over the universe, for Jesus says: “He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne…” (Rev.3:21) and as saints we will judge the world.
To be joined to Christ as prophet, priest and king is an amazing privilege indeed. Praise God that the Gospel is simple enough for children and yet, confounds the wise.
Love in the Messiah. Blessed be the Word.
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a road. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the King’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.
Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand!
Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.
During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:
“What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50’s, but how would I know her name?
I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.
“Absolutely, ” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant…They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”
I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.