Bible Study 27th October - Faithful To The End

 

Canvey Island Methodist Church Bible Study - Tuesday 27th October 2020

Finding Hope In The Psalms-   Fruitful To The End

 

Psalm 92:12-15.        New International Version

 

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord,  they will flourish in the courts of our God.  They will still bear fruit in old age,  they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

 

Key Verse: 

 

They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green. (Psalm 92:14).

 

Comment:

 

When is someone old? Back in the day when, as an 11 year old,  I transferred from “Canvey County Junior School” to “Canvey Haystack Secondary School” (Furtherwick Park , now Castle View) I looked up in awe at all the fifth former’s, considering them to be all grown up!!! As for the teachers, to me, most of them seemed really ancient, although in reality most were probably only in their forties or fifties. 

These days……. I have decided that old people get younger as I get older!!

But there are reminders of the passing years.

Last evening, Cathy and I watched “Piers Morgan's life stories 3” in which he  interviewed Cliff Richard at 80 (available on ITV Hub). 

Cliff Richard at 80!!!!

How did this happen? 

And why does he stil look younger than me!?

 

And then recently, someone younger than me unfortunately slipped over on a rain soaked pavement and her daughter instantly decided that now that her Mum was “Old” that she had not “fallen over” but in fact had “Suffered a Fall!”. Needless to say, this did not go down well with the person concerned. 

 

But here’s the good news. When it comes to life with God, those who trust in Jesus Christ for righteousness, will still be growing good fruit for, and in Him right into old age. (Whenever that starts). 

They are described as flourishing like palm trees and growing like cedars of Lebanon. Palm trees shelter from the heat in hot places and produce juicy coconuts for the hungry and thirsty to enjoy. Cedars of Lebanon grow slowly, strongly, sturdily and are long lasting. Here’s one Cedar of Lebanon in the mountains of Lebanon that is apparently over two thousand years old. (Please note, the people sitting in its pleasant shade are not 2,000 years old).

 

Anna and Cathy Sitting at the base of a really old Cedar of Lebanon.


 

In these strange days of covid separation, it is easy for us to feel discouraged and so this message of hope that promises all of us the ability to be able to bear fruit for God (at any age and indeed into old age), is both timely and an encouraging one. Indeed in our own strength, living the Christian life can seem occasionally to be difficult and it can be tempting to see our lives as being defined by such struggles. However, Praise God, such difficulties and/or  failures definitely do not define us as Christians but instead what does is our hope and faith in Christ. By His death we are forgiven, by His resurrection we are assured of new life, and by the Holy Spirit's indwelling we find new strength as we are willing to welcome Him in. It is by the grace of God in Christ that our willingness to serve God is translated by His touch; our lives growing fruit of the Holy Spirit that, in turn, blesses others. For the early Christians it was when people saw these fruits in action that they were known as Christians and the same is true today. When we share our love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control to others then their lives will be touched by God. This is Love In Action, Love which honours God.

I was struck this morning as I read the comment in the “Every Day With Jesus” Bible Reading. Selwyn Hughes was writing about how the Holy Spirit moves through lives that are surrendered to Him. He gave this picture to illustrate the theme which, I think, is applicable when we are thinking about allowing God to grow the fruits of the Spirit through our lives. 

 

“Just as a canvas surrenders itself to the painter, a violin to a musician, a wire to electricity, so in surrendering to the Holy Spirit we put ourselves at the disposal of the one who is divine. If you ask for the gift of the Spirit Himself then you also surrender yourself. You cannot ask the Holy Spirit for the gift of Himself and not give your own self”

 

God is not restricted by the age at which a person comes to Him; whether we are younger or whether we are older!!. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”.

 Luke 18:16. 

And to those of us who are older: “They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green”. Psalm 92:14.

 

Arthur Jackson, writer of this week's “ Finding Hope in the Psalms” theme of being fruitful to the end writes about someone he knew called Lenore Dunlop. 

 

“Although Lenore Dunlop was ninety-four years young her mind was sharp, her smile was bright, and her contagious love for Jesus was felt by many. It wasn’t uncommon to find her in the company of the youth of our church; her presence and participation were sources of joy and encouragement. Lenore’s life was so vibrant that her death caught us off guard. Like a powerful runner she sprinted across life’s finish line. Her energy and zeal were such that, just days before her death, she completed a sixteen week course that focussed on taking the message of Jesus to the people of the world. 

The fruitful, God honouring life of Lenore illustrates what’s seen in Psalm 92: 12-15. This Psalm describes the budding, blossoming and fruit-bearing of those whose lives are rooted in a right relationship with God (vv12-13). The two trees pictured were valued for their fruit and wood, respectively; with these the psalmist captures a sense of vitality, prosperity and usefulness. When we see in our lives the budding and blossoming fruit of loving, sharing, helping and leading others to Christ, we should rejoice. Even for those who may be labelled “Senior”, it’s never too late to take root and beat fruit. Lenore's life was deeply rooted in God through Jesus and testifies to this and to God’s goodness. (V15). Ours can too.

 

Points to Ponder:

How does your life reflect the fruit found in a growing relationship with Jesus?

What can you add or eliminate to help you grow? 

 

Hymn: All To Jesus I Surrender.   

https://youtu.be/SW8EA7DEQ2M

 

Prayer:

Father, please give me the strength to bear fruit that clearly demonstrates that my life is rooted in the life of Jesus, your Son?

 

May God Bless you all. 

 

Colin 


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