October 2018

VIEW FROM THE PULPIT

                                           On Friday 28th September a massive earthquake hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and triggered a tsunami with waves over 6 metres high.  The 7.5 magnitude earthquake has caused loss of life and catastrophic devastation to a number of families and townships. The confirmed death toll from the quake is now in excess of 1,760 with thousands of people not accounted for. The tsunami took the lives of hundreds of people in coastal areas and caused liquefaction to occur.

A CNN report quoted Jonathan Stewart a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of California, Los Angeles as saying "During the earthquake, water pressure is generated in the soil, which causes a dramatic loss of strength. The strength loss can be so great that the soil behaves almost likes a liquid".  The foundations of many buildings were undermined and BBC television reported a corn field swept 1 mile away from its original location. The Global Seismographic Network (GSN) records the seismic activity caused by the movement of the tectonic plates. The frequency of earthquakes recorded is approx 500,000 a year, the majority of which are of low magnitude causing no damage. Those of 5.5 magnitude and above cause the most destruction. Understanding the seismic scale is not easy but in terms of energy and power the 8.7 quake is about 23,000 times STRONGER than the 5.8! When God created the earth, He created it perfect.

The earths crust was not broken until the days of Noah when a universal judgement - the flood caused the crust to fracture creating seven main tectonic plates. It is the movement and collision of these plates that produce earthquakes. There are many earthquakes recorded in the Bible, to mention a few, there was one in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified. A few years later there was an earthquake at Philippi when the prison was broken up and the Jailor who was suicidal was converted to Christ. In the future there will be a great earthquake during the days of the Great Tribulation. Psalm 11 v 3 presents a question "if the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do"? 2 Tim 2 v 19 gives us the answer "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His."

The Psalm 11 quote reveals the state in which society is today.  For the foundational moral governmental laws of God have been jettisoned and replaced with laws that are contrary to Gods law. In the U.K. the 1964 Wilson Government passed 3 Private Members Bills, Sydney Silvermans Abolition of Capital Punishment Bill, Leo Abse's Homosexual Bill and David Steel's Abortion Bill. These were later followed by the Divorce Reform Act. When growing up as a young boy in 1940's and a teenager in the 1950's only one murder happened in my home town of Northampton. In the same town in the past four months four murders have taken place. Society is experiencing an increase in crime with prisons overcrowding because the capital offence has been downgraded.  Stabbings and knife crime have become a common occurrence.  Since 1967 sodomy has increased along with HIV/AIDS. At the end of 2016 there were 36.7 million people worldwide currently living with HIV/AIDS including millions of children.

In 2006 my wife and I visited a hospital in India where a small unit housed 13 four to six year olds with HIV/AIDS. As we sat with them they came to our knee to read the Telugu alphabet. A young woman who cared for and taught the children was herself HIV, she had been infected by her husband who had died from the disease. Since then a new building has been erected that houses over 50 such children. Last year over 5,000 HIV patients were treated at this hospital.  The effects and consequences of homosexual activity is devastating and far-reaching. Wikipedia states that since 1967 to the present time 8.7 million babies have been aborted in the U.K. Looking at the Department of Health and Social Care Abortion Statistics for England and Wales in 2017 just under 200,000 abortions took place - an increase on the previous year. How many Doctors, Nurses, Teaches, Plumbers, Construction and Agricultural workers would have been produced during those 50 years of terminating lives? Truly foundations have been destroyed and Society is paying the consequences! In such circumstances the Psalmist asks "what shall the righteous do?"

Christians can pray to a God who values all life, whether in the womb or out of it. Paul gives us the obvious answer that there is a foundation that will never be removed for "the foundation of God standeth sure." Some people build their lives upon the shifting sands of men's opinions. The Christian builds his life upon the solid rock Christ Jesus. God is omnipotent (all powerful) omniscient (all knowing and seeing) and omnipresent (He is everywhere). In his omniscience he knows them that have trusted Him for salvation. These believers are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the Day of Redemption. It is an individuals responsibility to determine where they stand in relation to God. He does not want anyone to be lost in Hell but would have ALL to be saved and be with Him in Heaven for all eternity.  John 3:16 teaches us that "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."

Having read this can I ask you if your life is on the firm foundation- that Rock that will never let you down, or is your faith misplaced elsewhere? I mentioned earlier about a suicidal Jailor involved in an earthquake at Philippi, he asked the question "Sirs, what must I do to be saved" and the all important answer came "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." God bless.   Stan Burditt