Jurong Outreach

"whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ."

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Every Man in His Place

In Judges 6-8, we learn about Gideon.  God chooses Gideon to deliver his people from the Midianites. Gideon calls the Israelites to war against the Midianites.  Thirty two thousand men respond to his call.  Twenty two thousand go home because they are afraid to fight.  God tells Gideon that there are still too many men.

God does not want the Israelites to believe that they defeated the Midianites.  He wants them to know that they defeat the Midianites only because God is on their side.

Gideon is told to have the men go to the water and drink.  Those who drink from the water by lapping water from their hand will be the ones who fight.  Only 300 men drink  water  this  way.   Gideon  takes  these  300  men  and  divides  them  into  3 companies.  The three companiess then surround the Midianite camp in the middle of the night.  Each man has a trumpet, an empty pitcher and a torch light.

At the appointed time each blows his trumpet and breaks the pitcher.  And each shouts “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon.”

The Midianites are surprised and end up fighting among themselves.  Many kill each other.  The rest run for their lives. It is a huge victory for the Israelites.  They won the battle without having to use swords.

It is interesting that in chapter 7, verse 21, we read, “And they stood every man in his place round about the camp…”  Each of the 300 men had their appointed place to stand.  Each had his job to do.  Their success depended on each staying in his place.

Those in the church have a place.  Each person is needed if the church is to be successful in the community.  God expects us to all work together to evangelize our community.  God is the one who wins the battle but each of us must do our part.

There is a need for team work in preaching the gospel.  Some individuals can read the Bible out loud.  Others are good at explaining what the text says.  Others are good encouragers.  There is a need for those who plan the work of teaching and preaching.

Just like in the days of Nehemiah and Ezra.  After the wall of Jerusalem was rebuilt by Nehemiah and the Israelites, the people gathered to hear the law of God read.

Nehemiah 7:66-67, tells us that the population of Israel at this time was about 50,000.

On the first day of the seventh month, the people all gathered in Jerusalem They asked Ezra to bring the book of the law of Moses and instruct them in what they were to do.

Ezra stood on a pulpit of wood which had been made especially for the occasion.

He opened the book and read from it in front of all the people.  In Nehemiah 8:7, we read, “Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place.”  Nehemiah had led the people in completing the wall of Jerusalem and in encouraging the people to follow God.  Ezra was able to read the law well.  He also had encouraged the people to rebuild the Temple.  The men named in our verse above were talented in explaining the text. The chief of the fathers andthe Levites and priests led the people in a desire to know more about God’s word (Neh. 8:13).

Every member of the Lord’s church is important in playing a part to encourage one another to serve the Lord and remain faithful to Him.  May you find a place of service to the Lord in His church in 2015 and resolve to serve Him diligently throughout the year. (1 Cor 12:14-27) 

Verse 14 For the body is not one member, but many.

Verse 25 That there should be no schism in the body;but that the members should have the same care one for another.

Verse 27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

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The Long Walk Home

It had been a long day. The man was tired, hungry and sore. Yet, still he faced the long walk home. He was weary to the bone, but He began to put one foot in front of the other, for He had not been home in a very long time. The man was aware of activity all around Him. He was conscious of a throbbing headache and his back had been hurting all day. These things, however, were suppressed, for surely He had other things on His mind. Life had been burdensome from time to time. The man had seen good friends and family pass away. He had shown goodwill toward His fellow man, only to have it thrown back in His face. He had been honest and forthright, only to be ridiculed for it. He did not lie, cheat or steal; yet, few people were impressed by this conduct. He stood by His friends in difficult times, yet most of His friends did not return this loyalty. He was a good brother to His siblings, but there existed a gap between Himself and His family. Yes, the man had a lot on his mind as He travelled home.

Weary beyond belief and deep in thought, the man did not at first realize that He had been approached by someone. A hand fell on His shoulder and Jesus of Nazareth lifted His weary eyes and looked into the face of Simon of Cyrene. Simon took the weight of the cross off the shredded back of God’s Son. Jesus continued the long walk home, still carrying the sins of the world.

Yes, life had been burdensome from time to time. The Lord had left His heavenly home over thirty years before. He who was equal with God came to walk among men. He came not to condemn, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17.) He came to save the souls of men, even these men, who ridiculed Him as He walks toward home. As He approaches the place called Golgotha, He wipes the blood from His forehead where the thorns had cut so deeply. He looks at these people whom He loves, as they shout obscenities in their hatred for Him. He came here to save them, but the rough hands that yank Him to the ground show no mercy. Many hands hold the King outstretched upon the cross. Men hold His arms – He chooses not to move them. Dull spikes are driven through His hands – He chooses not to stop them. Spikes are driven through His feet – He allows it. The cross is raised and the weight of His body pulls on the new wounds. His body screams, but His mind recalls the necessity of this moment and He cries out, “. . . Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34.)

He is almost home. It is all over now, except for dying and rising from the grave as He had promised. Then He will ascend to the Father and He will be home again. Having shed His blood, having been the sacrifice for the sins of the world, He will abide in heaven forever, where He will intercede for those who follow Him.

The body of Jesus died on the cross that day. But Jesus had promised to do what no mere man could do.

“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (John 10:17,18.)

Jesus said He would not only lay His life down, but by His own power He would take it up again. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is an event that cannot be disputed by rational people. The evidence is overwhelming. The Jews of the day certainly would have produced the body of Jesus if the body was to be found. The weight of eyewitness testimony alone would be more than sufficient in any court of law, to prove that the resurrection of Jesus Christ did happen (Matthew 28:1-7, Mark 16:9,10, 12, Acts 1:3 1 Corinthians 15:4). Jesus overcame death as He said He would. He then ascended to the Father where He sits at the right hand of God in the seat of power. (Hebrews 1:1-3).

Every child of God seeks heaven as his eternal home. From the time one emerges from the waters of baptism, one faces a long walk home. When the Christian walk seems too long or too hard for you, remember our Saviour’s long walk home. Remember that long ago day when He trudged through the streets of Jerusalem. He was wounded, mocked, spat upon and totally in control. He chose to walk to His execution for you. Now, how hard is your walk?

Remember as well that this same Jesus arose from the grave by His own power. He intercedes for you. He had the commitment to die for the sins of man and His Word has the power to bring you safely home, if you walk as He walked. So when the road is long, look to the horizon and keep walking. When the road is hard, put your head down, grit your teeth and endure. Our Lord did.

~ Paul Hoover ~