Thought for the month – July 2016

Camp 2016 is scheduled to start this month (July) and is for set for four consecutive separate weeks. We hope many of you reading this will enjoy the experience of one of those weeks, or facilitate the attendance. We know that some young people are unable to come this year because of other commitments, but we trust you will still think of us and pray for us, and maybe have the opportunity to attend another year.

Repercussions. Life is full of decisions. Some seem relatively minor and appear to have few (if any) long-term consequences. What shall I wear today? What should I eat for my next meal? Other decisions clearly have significant implications for the future. How much shall I study for my exams? Whether to marry, and to whom? To which University (if any) do I apply? There is a decision that has the most far-reaching implications. That centres on the question: “Where will I spend eternity?” The alternatives are often summed up in the posed question: “Heaven or Hell?”

Restrictions. By now, decisions should have been made about whether to attend Camp this year. At the time of writing, there is still opportunity for some to enrol for this year’s Camp, but time is running out. With the best will in the world, you would not be able to attend Camp this year if you left the decision until the end of August. The opportunity will have passed. The ‘by-default’ decision would have been not to attend. Many of our decisions are similarly time-restricted. The decision regarding our eternal destination and current spiritual welfare is time-limited as the Bible says, “behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). We dare not leave the decision too late. To delay at all is a danger. “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1)

Regime. Many decisions have an effect on the way we live. The decision to attend a particular school or place of employment may affect what we should wear. A uniform may be required, and we have to obey the establishment’s regulations. If we chose to live in another country, we have to keep the laws of that land. The overall decision of the recent Referendum was that the UK should leave the European Union. One of the main arguments put forward to leave the EU was regarding sovereignty. Who should determine the way we live? A similar choice is made regarding our spiritual lives. Under what regime will I live? Those who are destined for heaven are described as heavenly citizens: “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20 NKJV). For the true Christian, there has been a change of rulership. “[God the Father] has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Colossians 1:13 NKJV). The decision for the UK to leave the EU has been made by majority of the voters, but the actual change has to be effected by those in power. It will also take two years to put into effect. The decision to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour is an individual personal decision. The change effected is by the power of God, but is done instantaneously.

Requirements. Apart from time restrictions, there are often particular requirements to be satisfied regarding decisions we make. Acceptance at a certain university may require achieving a particular level or grade of exam. School placements may depend on where you live. The requirement for the Kingdom of God is the New Birth “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). This comes about through repentance and faith. Repent: “[God] now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30). Believe: “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: … through faith in his blood” and “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Review. To quote from a song, “We’re reviewing the situation”. “Remain or Leave?” is a frequent choice. Maybe it is “Do I remain in my job, or do I leave for employment elsewhere?” For my holiday, “Do I remain in the UK or leave for a foreign location?” Recently the political choice has been “Remain in the EU or Leave”. Despite the warnings given, that choice is not the most important in a lifetime. The most important decision you will make is “Do I remain in the jurisdiction of darkness in my sin, or leave for the kingdom of God’s Son?” The consequences are not just for life; they are for eternity.

Barry Stoller composed the well-recognised “Match Of The Day” theme tune. A song that was sung to its first part for many years (with variations in lyrics) asked a very important personal question.

Why don’t you put your trust in Jesus
And ask Him to come in?
He saw your need from up in heaven
And came to die for sin.
So ask Him now to be Your Saviour;
Invite Him in today:
He will strengthen, guide and keep you
As you walk the narrow way;-
He will strengthen, guide and keep you
As you walk the narrow way.

Why don’t you put your trust in Jesus?
He’s more than just a friend,
For He will guide you and protect you
And will keep you to the end.
Why don’t you put your trust in Jesus
And let him take control?
He’s the Son of God who loves you
And He died to save your soul;
He’s the Son of God who loves you
And He died to save your soul.

(ANONYMOUS – COPYRIGHT CONTROL)

Michael Sparkes
Committee Member and Support Leader on Junior Camp (Week 1)