(Pharisaic) Hedges and Fences

Written by Aleck Cartwright

Hedges and Fences

Donna, my wife, and I recently moved into a small flat. We have been married for three years and in all that time we had never had a home of our own. We had lived our whole lives as missionaries with no home and no possessions. We travel a lot, all overrepparttar world but had been praying for our own space for a long time. God provided a small flat in our little village where we could finally have a two bedroom home and we were overjoyed.

The flat had a little garden inrepparttar 126999 front and atrepparttar 127000 back ofrepparttar 127001 house and suited us fine. The house was in varying stages of disrepair and we wondered how much time and money we should spend on fixing it up as we were just renting. In some ways I think it was indicative of how we as Christians are unsure of how involved inrepparttar 127002 world we should be since we are “just passing through”. We relinquish our duty as Christians not willing to engage withrepparttar 127003 world because we don’t think that it is worth it! Allrepparttar 127004 while disregardingrepparttar 127005 one verse we all know by heart (For God lovedrepparttar 127006 world so much that He gave His one and only begotten son… how much more can you invest, than to die forrepparttar 127007 ones you love?) But that is another story and I could possibly write chapters on it, but we’ll leave that for another day.

On that note, we realised that we had a lot of work to do onrepparttar 127008 little place. We came home fromrepparttar 127009 office and spent every evening cleaning until midnight as it was such a mess! As I said before we had no furniture or any worldly possessions so we had an empty house to fill and we would have to, overrepparttar 127010 next six months, trust God to fill it with everything we needed!

We would need appliances, cutlery and plates, a sitting room suite, tables, a bed, cupboards, drawers and wardrobes. We also needed to get intorepparttar 127011 garden which was looking like a jungle! I remember how exhausted I felt coming home from work each day and seeing allrepparttar 127012 work we still had to do.

I also used to borrow garden equipment from a neighbour. I distinctly rememberrepparttar 127013 first time I cutrepparttar 127014 hugely overgrown hedge. The neighbours all noticed and commented onrepparttar 127015 change. The elderly neighbour upstairs was very grateful too. It was amazing how encouragedrepparttar 127016 neighbourhood was that someone had moved in and was actually looking afterrepparttar 127017 property and takingrepparttar 127018 time to look afterrepparttar 127019 garden.

I realised that pruning hedges makes people stand up and take notice. If people in my neighbourhood are touched byrepparttar 127020 fact that I cut my hedge, how much more isrepparttar 127021 world touched by Christ in me on a daily basis through my life. This hedge was a witness inrepparttar 127022 neighbourhood and was in complete contrast torepparttar 127023 previous tenants way of thinking. People noticed and appreciatedrepparttar 127024 effort we made to make our home inviting.

In this small way I realised that people, like children, noticerepparttar 127025 smallest detail of our lives and can be affected by it both positively and negatively. We have lived in this little flat for seven months now and recently new neighbours moved in to takerepparttar 127026 place of our elderly friend upstairs, as she went to a home where she can be better cared for. These new neighbours have an effect on us too. They are very loud and constantly fight and scream obsenitys at each other. It has been a loud and hard lesson to learn, but how we live really has an effect onrepparttar 127027 world we live in and people take notice!

God-life: Job's Suffering

Written by Aleck Cartwright

God-life: Job and You

I am readingrepparttar book of Job again in light of all that is happening overrepparttar 126998 world withrepparttar 126999 injustice of life and I am realising again that "life isn't fair but God is good".

(Hebrews 11) Abel believed God and he died, Enoch believed God and he did not die, Noah believed God and pretty much everybody else died. The only thing that they had in common was that they all believed God and it pleased Him. All that matters is if we believe, because then we can supernaturally bear all ofrepparttar 127000 often overwhelming circumstances and situations of life by our simple faith in God. His "yolk is easy and His burden is light"

The problem of suffering leads us to one of four conclusions, 1. there is no God and life is a pathetic joke, 2. God is cruel and arbitrary and cares nothing for mankind, 3. God is powerless, or 4. God is alive and at work in our lives but we do not always completely understand what he is doing. Number 4 takes incredible faith.

As Job put it,"Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." The book Of Job actually hit me very hard as I read what it says. Job suffered terribly. His suffering would be on par with those in Africa or Asia or with any third world nation like Mozambique or Madagascar, where there is terrible demoralizing poverty.

Job had everything to lose atrepparttar 127001 beginning ofrepparttar 127002 book and actually did lose everything in a very short period of time. He had friends who tried to give him counsel by reasoning with him about why all of this was happening. In fact His friends guidance was on par with any wisdom that man could give today. Job is one ofrepparttar 127003 earliest books ever written, and yet not much has changed since then. There is nothing new underrepparttar 127004 sun.

Suffering has been a part of life ever sincerepparttar 127005 fall and yet God turns it around for our good. It is incredible that Satan had to ask God's permission to terrorise Job, he doesn't seem to have free reign, and also seems to be leashed, so that he can't take Job's life ultimately.

I also found it interesting that Job never once blamed Satan for his suffering, when that is what we do first and foremost. Is it that Job did not have a concept of Satan? Every time Job contemplates his suffering, he asks, "Why God?". Job sawrepparttar 127006 centrality of God inrepparttar 127007 universe and his own life. If we could focus on God and believe that He really does work all things out for our good, it may just be easier to understand why bad things happen to good people.

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