God's Church, precious and heaveny light bearer

Text Numbers 8:1-4 Time 29/04/12 Place Childs Hill Baptist Church
In Revelation 1 we have wonderful description of the risen and glorified Lord Jesus. Before John sees the Lord he hears a voice and turns to see who it is coming from. He tells us (1:12, 13) I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. By lampstand is meant the article of furniture that was found in the Temple, where there were several, and in the tabernacle, where there was just one, and that we read about here in Numbers 8:1-4, the menorah.
We looked at a whole long chapter last week but this week I just want us to focus on these four verses.
The lampstand is described most fully in Exodus, in chapters 25 and 37. In Chapter 25 Moses is told to make it and in Chapter 37 we read that
They made a lampstand of pure gold. They hammered out its base and shaft, and made its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms of one piece with them. Six branches extended from the sides of the lampstand - three on one side and three on the other. Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms were on one branch, three on the next branch, and the same for all six branches extending from the lampstand. And on the lampstand were four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms. One bud was under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand, a second bud under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair – six branches in all. The buds and branches were all of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold. They made its seven lamps (which were to be set up on it so that they would light the space in front of it) as well as its wick trimmers and trays, of pure gold. They made the lampstand and all its accessories from one talent of pure gold (75 lbs or 34 k – worth over a million pounds at today's prices). We do not know the size of the lampstand though the rabbis thought it was 5' tall and 3.5' wide. They also say that seven lamps were lit in the night and three in the day.
Back in Revelation 1 we read that John is told to write down what he saw. He is also told that The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
The menorah or lampstand has become a well known symbol of Judaism but when we read of the lampstand here it is right that we should think of the church of God. This lampstand is a picture of the church – and of a church like this one. It is not the only thing the lampstand points too. It can also stand for life – life and light are often mentioned together. It can also stand for God's Word, which the Psalmist in Psalm 119:105 says is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
What I want us to do this evening then is to consider the local church as pictured here and I want to say two main things.
1. Consider the church of God and its precious and heavenly nature
Perhaps we can begin at the end and look first at verse 4. There we read This is how the lampstand was made: It was made of hammered gold - from its base to its blossoms. The lampstand was made exactly like the pattern the LORD had shown Moses.
There are two things to note here then. This lampstand, like the church was to be
1. Precious - made of hammered gold. Everything in the holiest parts of the tabernacle was gold. Some things were made of wood covered with gold (like the table and the ark). Other things (like the mercy seat or atonement cover over the ark and the lampstand) were made of pure gold. There are more expensive metals than gold but it is generally agreed that gold is the most attractive. Even today in the Olympics for example you have the order of the medals – gold, silver, bronze. God was also often connected to sacred places as here but the main thing about it is how precious it.
Now given that the lampstand mentioned here is later connected with the New Testament churches it is wise that we ask whether there is any significance in the fact that it is made of gold, hammered gold. Surely that suggests the preciousness of the church to God. The fact that it is hammered gold may be hint to us that the church is often a suffering church but the main thing is the preciousness to God of his church.
In 1 Peter 1:9 Peter says to believers But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. This goes back to Exodus 19:5, 6 where God says Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation and Malachi 3:17 On the day when I act, says the LORD Almighty, they will be my treasured possession.
It is the church that Christ loved and gave himself up for to make her holy …. Hence some of the seemingly extravagant language in Song of Songs. It is called in Acts 20:28 the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

This is a reminder that we must always have a high view of the church and remember how precious each individual in it is.
2. Heavenly - made exactly like the pattern the LORD had shown Moses. The lampstand in the tabernacle was not the result an idea that a man had. No, like other items in the Holy Places of the tabernacle it was made exactly like the pattern the LORD had shown Moses. Its design was God given. In Hebrews 8:5 that point is taken up when he say that earthly priests served at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." The tabernacle was designed to teach us things that are found only in heaven.
Something similar could be said of the church. The church is not a human institution. It is a God appointed assembly made up only of those who he chose in eternity. It is the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. Although some are in heaven already while others remain on earth it is sill a heavenly grouping, heaven wrought and heaven bound. This is why the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
So another thing here is to remember the God given design of the church. The blue print is in heaven as it were.
2. Consider the church of God and the call for it to shine
If we go back to verses 1-3 we see that there are two parts to what is said there.
1. There is the command
1, 2 The LORD said to Moses, Speak to Aaron and say to him, When you set up the lamps, see that all seven light up the area in front of the lampstand. The lampstand we know was on the south side of the Holy Place and the table on the north side. There were no windows and so the lampstand did the job of lighting up the area where the table was. Aaron is given the responsibility for doing this.
He is to light all seven lamps. The lampstand appears to have had one central stick and three coming out on either side, making seven in all, the number of perfection. Whether the six branches were rounded or straight we do not know you see both designs.
2. The obedience
We read in verse 3 that Aaron did so; he set up the lamps so that they faced forward on the lampstand, just as the LORD commanded Moses. That very first time it was Aaron himself who did it. At other times no doubt there were other priests involved. Aaron did, however, just as he was commanded and set up the lampstand so that it would do exactly what it was intended to do – to shed light. God had already spoken (7:89) from between the two cherubim above the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law and the sacrifices were soon to begin. It was right then that the lampstand shed its light so that the bread could be put on the table and the incense on the golden altar.
Jesus himself is the Light of the world but his people are also to be lights in the world. Perhaps in terms of the lampstand we can think of the central stick as pointing to Christ and the others as sharing with him in this work. Certainly the lampstand bears light where as the lights are lights kept alight by the olive oil in them, which speaks of the work of the Spirit.
Remember Jesus's words in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:13-15) You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. We are to live as children of light For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. In Ephesians 5:9-13 Paul says Live as children of light.(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible - and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.
This is an important part of Christian teaching that some are taught very young. I remember singing when I was very young “Jesus us bids us shine with a pure clear light like a little candle burning in the night”. I never quite got it as I thought the words were “Jesus bits of shine”.
Rather it is
Jesus bids us shine With a pure, clear light,
Like a little candle Burning in the night.
In this world of darkness So let us shine -
You in your small corner, And I in mine.
This is what the often mocked children's song “Jesus wants me for a sunbeam” is all about.
Jesus wants me for a sunbeam, To shine for Him each day;
In every way try to please Him, At home, at school, at play.
When I was a bit older they used to have us sing
Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning
Give me oil in my lamp, I pray
Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning
Keep me burning 'til the break of day
There was also a modern version of it
Give me batteries in my torch, keep me shining
Give me batteries in my torch, I pray
Give me batteries in my torch, keep me shining
Keep me shining 'til the break of day
(There was even a slightly irreverent chorus Ever ready, ever ready)
I used to refuse to sing it because I didn't see what it had to do with anything. I now understand that it is a reference to lamps as on this lampstand and shining for the Lord.
Spurgeon once said in a sermon
I would not give much for your religion unless it can be seen. I know some people's religion is heard of, but give me the man whose religion is seen. Lamps do not talk, but shine; a lighthouse sounds no drum, it beats no gong, and yet far over the waters its friendly spark is seen by the mariner. So let your actions shine out your religion. Let your conduct talk out your soul. Let the main sermon of your life be illustrated by all your conduct, and it shall not fail to be illustrious. Have I not told you before that the only bit of ecclesiastical history we have in the whole New Testament is—what? The sermons of the Apostles? No, no, the "Acts of the Apostles." So let your history be written, so that it may have this title - 'The acts of such-and-such a man'. This will furnish the best proof that you have been with Jesus.”
Perhaps we can say from this passage in Numbers that Christian leaders have a responsibility to keep the lamps lit, as it were, but it is important that we all shine and that is the main thing to see here. As a church we are to be a lampstand, holding Jesus high that all may benefit from seeing him. We too must lead holy lives that point to him and that show the way from darkness and sin into his Kingdom of Light. This is what we must increasingly do as individuals and together.
This is what we are designed to do. This is what all our precious privileges should lead to – shining out. In Philippians 2 Paul calls on believers to Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then he says you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold out/hold firmly to the word of life. $ The footprint of the menorah must have been quite small but it could send out light quite a way. We must be the same. Think of a lighthouse sending out its light far and wide.

Giving to the Lord

Text Numbers 7 Time 22/04/12 Place Childs Hill Baptist Church
I want us to return this evening to the Book of Numbers. We come next to Chapter 7. There is clearly a break between Chapters 6 and 7 and part of the reason for that is that in Chapters 7-9 we go backwards in time. Numbers 1-6 actually deals with a time a month after Numbers 7-9. Numbers 7-9 really follows on from Exodus 40. The reason for the order is that Moses is about to describe how they set out on their journey through the desert carrying the tabernacle or tent of meeting and this chapter explains how carts and oxen were provided for the Levites to transport it.
As you can see, Numbers 7 is quite a long chapter and quite repetitive, though we only have to cast our minds back to the days before cinema and TV to see how effective a chapter like this could be when read aloud.
We are very practical people no doubt, however, and we immediately want to know what we can learn from this chapter. It is not very difficult to see what we can learn from this chapter as its theme is very obvious.
First in verses 1-9 we read how people made offerings (2) how They brought as their gifts before the LORD certain things (3) which were in turn given by Moses to the Levites.
It is the same in the rest of the chapter. We read (10) how they brought their offerings and how the LORD had said to Moses, Each day one leader is to bring his offering …. And so 12 times we read The one who brought his offering on the first day, etc. These offerings in each case included a grain offering, a burnt offering, a sin offering and a fellowship offering. At the very end we read (84) These were the offerings of the Israelite leaders … followed by more references to the various offerings and adding (88) These were the offerings, etc.
It doesn't take a genius then to work that this is a chapter about giving to the Lord. It is a description of a special offering or series of offerings that took place under the old covenant. Its lessons are relevant to the subject of giving under the new covenant in Christ.
Reports suggest that the average Christian gives much less. In America most Christians do not give regularly (only 7% do, they say). Of those who do, the average is only 3.8% of their income. I'm not sure what the situation is with us but a sermon on giving is surely not out of place. I will focus on financial giving here but there are many other ways to give as well, of course.
So I want to say two things to you

1. Consider the roots of giving to the Lord as seen here
1. Consider the worship connection
We are told that it was When Moses finished setting up the tabernacle, and had anointed and consecrated it and all its furnishings and when he had also anointed and consecrated the altar and all its utensils that the leaders of Israel, the heads of families who were the tribal leaders in charge of those who were counted, made offerings. This is the context for this act of giving. Worship is the normal context for giving. Paul speaks about it in 1 Corinthians 16:2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. It is part of our worship. That is one reason why we still pass round the bag.
Is giving part of your worship?

2. Consider the free will connection
The gifts they brought before the LORD that They presented before the tabernacle were freely given. It was their own unforced freewill offering. They waited on God to see how whether they would be accepted.
Are you freely giving to the Lord?

3. Consider the response connection
The men weren't told to do this. It was a spontaneous response. They saw the need and wanted to help. No-one forced them to it. The gifts were just what was needed as transporting the tabernacle was not going to be easy (even the silver sockets holding the frames in place weighed around 4 tons). We read that (6-9) Moses took the carts and oxen and gave them to the Levites. He gave 2 carts and 4 oxen to the Gershonites (responsible for curtains, etc, the lighter stuff), as their work required, and he gave 4 carts and 8 oxen to the Merarites, (responsible for the frames, stands, pegs, etc – the heavier stuff) as their work required. They were all under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron, the priest. (But Moses did not give any to the Kohathites, because they were to carry on their shoulders the holy things, for which they were responsible.)
How good are you at seeing needs and responding? The church is always on the move so there are always new needs. When this church was started they did not have comfortable chairs or microphones and I don't suppose they served coffee and tea either. They certainly couldn't record the sermons and they didn't have a website. But things change and part of wisdom is to see that and to adapt wisely, the costs in money and time and energy being met by God's people who respond to the need.

2. Consider how God responds to such giving as seen here
The rest of the chapter looks a little forbidding but as one writer says it is very simple. Note
1. God receives gifts
Just as the leaders had provided carts and oxen to carry the tabernacle so now they make offerings. We read that (10, 11) When the altar was anointed, the leaders brought their offerings for its dedication and presented them before the altar. For the LORD had said to Moses, Each day one leader is to bring his offering for the dedication of the altar.
The Lord accepted them (which suggests they were brought in faith). He will receive your gifts if you give in faith.
2. God recognises those who give
The gifts were to be given day by day so that each tribe could be acknowledged individually. The tedious nature of it for us shows how each giver was recognised individually. The main offerings of those days (grain, burnt, sin and fellowship offerings) were all now offered for the very first time. The grain offering was given in a silver plate weighing 130 shekels and one silver sprinkling bowl weighing 70 shekels with a gold dish weighing 10 shekels, filled with incense.
The burnt offering or holocaust, the Shoah, acknowledged sin and symbolically brought atonement. It involved sacrificing one young bull, one ram and one male lamb a year old.
The sin offering was for specific sins or dedications and involved just one male goat.
The fellowship offering involved 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 male goats and 5 male lambs.
The givers were 
  1. Nahshon son of Amminadab of the tribe of Judah
  2. Nethanel son of Zuar, the leader of Issachar
  3. Eliab son of Helon, the leader of the people of Zebulun
  4. Elizur son of Shedeur, the leader of the people of Reuben
  5. Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai, the leader of the people of Simeon
  6. Eliasaph son of Deuel, the leader of the people of Gad
  7. Elishama son of Ammihud, the leader of the people of Ephraim
  8. Gamaliel son of Pedahzur, the leader of the people of Manasseh
  9. Abidan son of Gideoni, the leader of the people of Benjamin
  10. Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai, the leader of the people of Dan
  11. Pagiel son of Okran, the leader of the people of Asher
  12. Ahira son of Enan, the leader of the people of Naphtali
Verses 84-86 note that they gave 2 silver plates, 12 silver sprinkling bowls and 12 gold dishes with their combined weights. It then says The total number of animals for the burnt offering came to 12 young bulls, 12 rams and 12 male lambs a year old, together with their grain offering. 12 male goats were used for the sin offering. The total number of animals for the sacrifice of the fellowship offering came to 24 oxen, 60 rams, 60 male goats and 60 male lambs a year old. These were the offerings for the dedication of the altar after it was anointed.
3. God reveals himself to those who give
The final thing to note is verse 89 which says When Moses entered the tent of meeting to speak with the LORD, he heard the voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant law. In this way the LORD spoke to him. It is in the light of these sacrifices which point to Christ that God speaks. Those who give not only know the joy of giving but also of God speaking.
John Currid says
The Moody Monthly once reported a story of a church in Siam (now Thailand) that was composed entirely of tithers:
"There are 400 members, and every member tithes. They receive 40 stangs (less than 20 cents [about 12p]) and their rice each week. Of this, each gives weekly one-tenth. Because of this they have more for Christian work than any other church in Siam. They pay their own pastor, and have sent two missionary families to spread the Gospel in a community cut off from the outside world. They are entirely responsible for this work and are very earnest about it. They are intensely interested in all forms of Christian work, especially work for unfortunates of every kind, and their gifts for this kind of work are large. They not only have accepted Christ but also, having found him good, are making him known to others. And every member is a leper."”
Are we good givers?

God's Blessing on his people

Text Numbers 6:22-27 Time 01/04//12 Place Childs Hill Baptist Church
I would like us to look this evening at the closing verses of Numbers 6.
Here God speaks to Moses and tells him to tell Aaron and the other Levitical priests how to bless the Israelites. We know that these blessings were used. In 1979 two small silver rolls were found at the site of Ketef Hinnom. Both contain the words in Hebrew found here and have been dated back to the seventh and sixth centuries BC.
Once again we are in the Old Testament and so the application of such verses is not easy but there are several important things to say.
A Christian cannot help seeing that the blessing is threefold. The LORD's name is repeated three times. Everything in us wants to say something like
God the Father bless you and keep you;
God the Son make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
God the Holy Spirit turn his face toward you and give you peace.
Of course, the text does not say that and it would be wrong to suggest it did or to say that it teaches the Trinity. It is a subtle hint in the right direction, however, and it would be odd if we did not notice it.
Less obvious is the fact that the yous here are singular (The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.) There is probably a stress on the unity of God's people. They are indeed one and together know God's blessing.
Otherwise let's say three things.
1. Realise that the only source of true blessing is God
To be blessed is a good thing. It means to be happy, contented, to have good things. People seek blessings in all sorts of things. They may rarely used the word blessed but that is what they desire. They want happiness, they want fulfilment. They want to feel whole and complete. Sadly, again and again people seek such blessings in this world rather than in God, in the creature rather than in the Creator. People think their job can make them happy, their career; or they think that money will make them happy; some look to their family or their friends. If you read this passage carefully, however, it is clear that blessing ultimately comes from God.
1. It is God who tells Moses to tell the priests to do the blessing. This is initiated by him.
2. The blessing itself also makes this perfectly clear. It is not the priests who do the blessing in fact. The people certainly do not bless themselves. No, look what it says:
So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.
The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.
3. Then just in case you've missed it, in verse 27 it says that when the priests have blessed the people So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them. The priests give the blessing but it is God who does the blessing.
That's the first lesson here then. All true blessings come from God. If you want to be blessed look to him not to anyone or anything else.
2. Understand that God gives his blessings through mediators
Another thing that comes out here is the way that God brings his blessing. Moses is instructed to tell the Levites to do the blessing of the people. This is a reminder that God brings his blessings through mediators. A mediator is a go between, a middle person, an arbitrator. A priest is a go between between man and God. Interestingly this verse shows us that as well as praying for the people and making sacrifices and offering incense Aaron and the other Levitical priests were to bless the people.
Now, of course, the old covenant is no longer in place. The new covenant has been brought in through Jesus Christ. Whereas Aaron was the High Priest under the old covenant now in the new covenant Christ is and whereas under the old covenant the priests were all men from the tribe of Levi under the new covenant every believer is a priest.
The two lessons here therefore are that if we want to know God's blessing then we need to look firstly to Christ the High Priest and then to his servants. This is how God's blessings come. And so blessing is a matter of looking to God and seeing that it is in Christ that all those blessings are stored. There also needs to be a realisation that God uses his servants to bring blessings to his people. Here we are thinking most obviously of preachers of the Word who declare God's Word and then bring that work to a close by blessing the people. However, it includes all God's people who pray for one another or speak a word of encouragement or anything of that sort.
So here is something to think about. Firstly, the fact that all blessings are found in Christ. Secondly, the power that all who believe have to be a blessing to one another. We cannot be a blessing to them in and of ourselves of course but we can be a channel of God's blessing to them. Indeed we must be eager to be a channel of God's blessing. To be a believer is to be a priest and part of the work of a priest is to be a means of blessing to others. We must take our work seriously.
3. In what ways does God bless his people?
In the blessing recorded here there are six elements – three pairs of two. These six show us the sorts of things that God's people can expect from God. One writer has called it a steam of blessings – a staccato list of divine dispensations to come upon Israel for her well being.
1. The LORD bless you
The priests were to begin by simply saying The LORD bless you. In the Old Testament, blessings were more often of an earthly character but there is no limitation to it. We get an idea of blessing in Deuteronomy 28:3ff
You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock--the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you. … The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity--in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground--in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you. The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The LORD will make you the head, not the tail.
There is nothing like the LORD's blessing.
2. and keep you;
This speaks of the LORD as a guardian over his people. He protects them from danger and spares them. To have the LORD watching over you is a great blessing indeed – one that we should crave for ourselves and pray for others.
3. the LORD make his face shine on you
Think of the sun shining down from the sky on to earth. This expression was a common one in the ancient near east for looking on someone with favour. You know the expression "a place in the sun". Often the psalmist prays for God's face to shine on him. Eg Psalm 31:6 Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love. Nothing can compare with knowing the favour of God. Again it is something to desire for ourselves and for others.
4. and be gracious to you;
Literally this refers to bending or stooping in kindness to an inferior and means to favour or to bestow. To know God's grace, his undeserved love and mercy is the greatest blessing anyone could know. Long for that blessing and pray it down on others.
5. the LORD turn his face toward you
The idea here is of giving comfort to someone. To turn your face to a person is to show them that you care about them and are concerned for them and want to help them. To have such a favour from God is a glorious and wonderful thing.
6. and give you peace.
We spoke about the peace that God gives this morning. It is more than a mere absence of war. It is a peace that transcends understanding and that is both objective and subjective. It is peace with God first and foremost but it also means peace with men at least to some extent now and even more so in the world to come. Yet again, here is something to long for, to aspire to and to pray down on fellow believers.
So here is a prayer to pray firstly for yourself
"LORD bless me and protect me; LORD make your face shine on me with favour; LORD be gracious to me – show me your love even though I deserve nothing; LORD turn your face toward me so that I am encouraged and give me peace."
Pray it too for others
"LORD make them happy and guard them; LORD look on them with favour; LORD be gracious to them – show them your love even though they deserve nothing; LORD turn your face toward them so that they are comforted and give them peace."
To be so blessed is to have God's name on you. It is to be in him and so to be sharing to some extent at least in his character. What a glorious thing to be called a Christian, to have the name of Christ upon us. Let us live lives worthy of that wonderful name.
I don't know much about Samuel Taylor Colerdige the romantic poet but shortly before his death he wrote these words quoted by John Currid in his commentary on Numbers to his godson.
I too, your Godfather, have known what the enjoyments and advantages of this life are, and what the more refined pleasures which learning and intellectual power can bestow ; and with all the experience which more than threescore years can give, I now, on the eve of my departure, declare to you (and earnestly pray that you may hereafter live and act on the conviction) that health is a great blessing, —competence obtained by honourable industry a great blessing,—and a great blessing it is to have kind, faithful, and loving friends and relatives; but that the greatest of all blessings, as it is the most ennobling of all privileges, is to be indeed a Christian.”
To be a Christian is to know God's blessing, his keeping, his face shining on you and lifted towards you, his grace and his peace. May we all know that now and increasingly in the future.