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Dr Tow's Letter 28 May 2017

My dear readers,
(Extracts from RPG, Jan – Mar 1998, Edited by Dr SH Tow)

(LUKE 7:11-17; 1 KINGS 17:17-24)

NO widow stands by the bier of her only son, no mother by the empty cot of her babe, no lover beside the fading beauty of his beloved – but the Son of Man, unseen but glorious, is at hand, seeing, understanding, touched with compassion, and saying, in His tenderest tones, “Weep not!” "He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live" (John 11:25).

WEEP NOT: LOVE IS ETERNAL. Hast thou forgotten that there are three things which abide, the greatest of which is love? Is it likely that those blessed ties which bind us in Christ can be snapped by death, which can only touch the body, but is not able to reach the soul? No, though severed from your sight, the dear ones that are gone are thine today, and have not forgotten, but love thee still. In Christ their love is made perfect.

WEEP NOT: RECOGNITION OF THE BELOVED DEAD IS CERTAIN. Did not Mary and the women, Peter and five hundred more, recognise Jesus after His resurrection? Is He not the same Man? Are we not to be like Him? Recognition went so far, in His case, that Magdalene recognized the very tones of His voice, when He said, “Mary,” and she answered, “Rabboni.” Weep not! In Christ we have everlasting hope.

WEEP NOT: THEY SHALL RISE AGAIN, NEVERMORE TO BE SEPARATED. The Lord raised this youth to life; but there had to be another parting on earth. But when in heaven thy dear ones are reunited to thee, there will be no partings. "And God shall wipe away all tears ... and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying ... for the former things are passed away" (Rev 21:4).

THOUGHT: In God's eternal kingdom “the former things are passed away.”

(LUKE 10:38-42; PS 55:16-17)

The village of Bethany is made famous to this day by the family which occupied a special place in the heart of Jesus: Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Our reading today centres on the sisters, more particularly on Martha. Mary had one consuming desire, to know more of God and His Word. Nothing gave her greater pleasure than to be instructed in things of heaven. Thus she "sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word" (Luke 10:39). Mary had her priorities right. For this she earned the Lord's commendation: "But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:42).

Martha, on the other hand, was carried away by an excessive zeal, being "cumbered about much serving." Her one passion was to see to the temporal needs and entertainment of their special Guest. She was overanxious about every minute detail, that nothing might go wrong. Not only did she fuss, but she wanted Mary to be similarly encumbered like her. For this, Martha received from the Lord a gentle rebuke: One thing is needful! Spiritual feeding must not be disrupted by the physical.

Martha is not alone in her overanxiety – troubled about many things. These "many things" include the legitimate cares of this world: our work and studies, our business and social commitments, our family and domestic affairs, our recreation and entertainment including serving the Lord. All of these are necessary and lawful, but they must take second place to things of the Spirit – "that good part." That good part was the study of God’s Word. Without the Truth we serve wrongly. Zeal without knowledge can be dangerous. When priorities are reversed, legitimate things become snares to our hearts, keeping us away from God, and from things of God which can even lead to sin.

Beware, then, of being "troubled about many things" to the neglect of our daily Quiet Time with God in the study of His holy and perfect Word. These all belong to the "one thing needful" whose place must not be surrendered to the "many things" which troubled Martha.

QUESTION:Are you a Mary or Martha?

(LUKE 17:20-25; DAN 7:13-14)

To the Pharisees' enquiry our Lord said, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation." It is utterly unlike the kingdoms of the world. Its appearance is mysterious, beyond the observation of the natural man. He will not see the spiritual Kingdom of God, but it is "within you," i.e. in your midst, not physically but in the hearts of the believers today.

The spiritual Kingdom of God centred in a manger at Bethlehem, unnoticed by the high and mighty, the wise and rich. The King visited the temple in Jerusalem, and none but Simeon and Anna recognized the King. Thirty years later it was proclaimed throughout the towns and cities of Judaea and Samaria, but none received it save for a few disciples from Galilee. The rulers and Pharisees had eyes but saw not, even though they professed to be waiting for the Kingdom. The King came unto His own, and His own sent Him to the cross. That was Jesus at His first coming.

One day the Kingdom of God will be visibly established. It will come in a way and at a time when men think not. It shall come suddenly, and without warning, at the return of Jesus Christ. "For as the lightning ... so shall also the Son of man be in his day" (Luke 17:24).Of the precise day and hour of this climactic event we know nothing. But in God's good time, it will come on the church and the world without announcement, "in such an hour as ye think not" (Matt 24:44). Our Lord will come with power and great glory, "with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that ... obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess 1:7-8).

The question is: are you part of the Kingdom? Are you ready to receive the King?

PRAYER: Lord, keep my heart burning hot, ever ready for Thy coming.

Yours faithfully in the Saviour’s Service,

Dr SH Tow