Where Is Happiness Found?

by the Rev. Paul Seiler

How is happiness to be found?
It is most certainly not to be found in unbelief. The philosopher Voltaire wrote: “l wish I had never been born”.
Nor is happiness to be found in pleasure – as Lord Byron found out. He devoted his life to seeking pleasure. He wrote: “The worm, the canker, and the grief are mine alone.”
No one will find happiness in great wealth as Jay Gould, the American millionaire found out. When dying he said: “l suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.”
Happiness is not to be found of position and fame. Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of position and fame. He wrote: “Youth is a mistake; manhood, a struggle; old age, a regret.”
Happiness is not to be found in worldly success. Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept, because, he said, “There are no more worlds to conquer.”

Where, then, is happiness found?
The answer is simple: Happiness is to be found in the Lord Jesus Christ alone.
Therefore you too now have sorrows; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you. (John 16:22)

Christ Rules and Reigns in Triumph

On one occasion Michelangelo turned to his fellow artists and said with frustration in his voice, “Why do you keep filling gallery after gallery with endless pictures on the one theme of Christ in weakness, Christ on the cross, and most of all, Christ hanging dead?”

He asked, “Why do you concentrate on the passing episode as if it were the last work, as if the curtain dropped down there on disaster and defeat? That dreadful scene lasted only a few hours, but to the unending eternity Christ is alive; Christ rules and reigns and triumphs!”

Michelangelo was surely right, a preoccupation with the death of Christ to the exclusion of the resurrection is inconsistent with the Scriptures. We should never think of the cross in isolation from the resurrection. We should always remember that the Lord Jesus died an atoning death, but He did not remain dead.

We serve a risen Saviour, who even now sits in His glorified state at the right hand of His Father in heaven.

Therefore also God has highly exalted Him, and bestowed upon Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of those who are in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:9-11)

Prayer

by the Rev. Paul Seiler

Anniversaries are significant times in our lives when we look back and reflect. Today we give thanks for those faithful Christians who declared themselves workers for God as our earliest congregation was formally constituted back in 1863.

Prayer would have been a key foundational element of their gatherings and it should be the same for us today.  Jesus said, “Ask and you shall receive …” (Matt. 7:7) Prayer is one of the main means to the advancement of God’s kingdom in this world.

It was through the prayers of Abraham that Lot and his two daughters were delivered from the destruction of Gomorrah. 

It was through the earnest prayers of Hezekiah that God saved the Jerusalem from being destroyed by the Assyrians. 

It was through the earnest prayers of Daniel that God opened the door for His people to return to the Promised Land. 

We live in a spiritually barren period of time; many have departed the church.  St Paul’s congregation here in Spring Hill is much smaller now than it has been in previous years, with an aging congregation.  We have a considerable challenge before us in days when most people in Australia regard the church as having little relevance. 

How are we to respond to such a challenge?

In much the same way as Hezekiah, when it looked as though the Assyrians would destroy Jerusalem.  Hezekiah humbled himself before God and prayed that God would do a miracle and He did. 

Let us pray for a miracle!

The Grace of God Overcomes Hatred

contributed by Paul Seiler

We are all aware of the terrible bitterness and hatred that exists between lsraelis and Palestinians. Humanly speaking there is no solution to this ongoing hostility. Apart from the grace of God the cycle of violence will likely to go on and on.

However, there is a solution. Consider the following true story.

Yishael Allon, a Jew living in West Valley City, Utah, USA gives the following account of his conversion and its outcome.

About 17 years ago Yishael met his cousin’s wife Sandy, who was dying of leukemia. Sandy was a Christian, and Yishael was impressed by the peace that filled her heart and a love radiated from her life, which gave her a “special glow”.

Yishael wrote, “She was the first real Christian I had ever met, she was different. I would question her, and all she’d talk about was Jesus.”

ln 1980, Yishael heard the gospel on the radio and he received a Bible. As he read lsaiah 53, the Holy Spirit convinced him that the prophet was speaking about the Lord Jesus, the same Jesus that Sandy knew.

Yishael recalls, “I believed in the Lord Jesus and became a ‘completed Jew’ “

 Before becoming a Christian Yishael had a deep hatred for the members of the PLO who had murdered thirty seven of his friends. However, since becoming a Christian Yishael’s attitude to the members of the PLO has completely changed. He now says, “A year and a half after my conversion, the Lord has given me His love for my enemies, I am now able to love the members of the PLO who murdered my friends.”

Romans 12: 20,21 “Therefore if your enemy is hungry feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Christ’s Kingdom Endures Forever

by the Rev. Paul Seiler

Nikita Khrushchev became the Soviet Communist leader of the USSR in 1953 and was deposed in 1964. He once boasted that he would make Christianity extinct in Russia and exhibit the last Soviet Christian on television by 1965.

Khrushchev has since gone to give account of himself to the Judge of all mankind, and his deadline for the extinction of Christianity in Russia has also passed.

Christianity in Russia today is stronger than ever, and the Communism that Khrushchev served has crumbled. Throughout history, there have been those who have arrogantly set themselves in opposition to God. These proud arrogant men have strutted across the stage of history defying God, but fail to recognize that there is an Almighty King in heaven, who rules over all things and who sits in heaven and scoffs at their rebellious actions against Him.

Such arrogant people fail to recognize that there is an Almighty God before whom we must all stand.

The Psalmist says,

‘Why are the nations in an uproar, and the peoples devising vain things? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed: “Let us tear their fetters apart, and cast away their cords from us!” He who sits in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. (Psalm 2:14)

ThePower of a Good Testimony

by the Rev. Paul Seiler

Roy was imprisoned for his involvement in a robbery. While in prison, God began to work in Roy’s life. He was brought to see his own wickedness and was brought to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The spirit of God completely changed his life.

Following his conversion, he served out the rest of his sentence in an exemplary manner, living a life of godliness. Just before Roy’s release, some years later, he was handed a letter by the prison chaplain. The letter had been written by another prisoner, who had been saved through Roy’s testimony. The prisoner wrote the following to Roy: “l came to this place despising both preachers and the Bible. When you told me you were saved, I said to myself, ‘There’s another one taking the Gospel road just to get an early parole, but Roy, I’ve been observing you for a couple of years, and your testimony has rung true. I kept track of you when you were in the yard exercising or working in the shop or eating your meals. You never made a slip. Now I’m a Christian, too, because I watched you! The Saviour who saved you has saved me!”

Others had tried to convince him to become a Christian by argumentation, but Roy had exhibited a changed life. It is by the power of a good witness that we shall make a difference in this world.

The Lord Jesus said,

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matt. 5:16)

What can God do with fifty cents?

contributed by the Rev. Paul Seiler

A sobbing little girl stood near a small church from which she had been turned away because it “was too crowded”.

“l can’t go to Sunday School,” she sobbed to the Pastor as he walked by. Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the Pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday school class. The child was so happy that they found room for her, that she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus.

Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings and the parents called for the kind hearted pastor, who had befriended their daughter, to handle the final arrangements. As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump. lnside was found 57 cents and a note scribbled in childish handwriting which read, ‘This is to help build the little Church get bigger so more children can go to Sunday school.’ For two years she had saved for this offering of love.

When the Pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do. Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion. He challenged his Deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building. But the story does not end there! A newspaper learned of the story and published it. It was read by a Real Estate Realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands. When told that the Church could not pay so much, he offered it for 57 cents.

Church members made large donations. Cheques came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl’s gift had increased to $250,000.00 – a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century). Her unselfish love had paid large dividends.

When you are in the city of Philadelphia, look up Temple Baptist Church, with a seating capacity of 3,300 and Temple University, where hundreds of students are trained. Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday School building which houses hundreds of Sunday Scholars, so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside during Sunday School time.

In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face of the little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history. Alongside of it is a portrait of her kind Pastor, Dr Russell H Conwell, author of the book “Acres of Diamonds”.

The Storms of Life are Necessary

by the Rev. Paul Seiler

We would all rather have the sunshine than the rain, but just imagine what our world would be like if it never rained again.

An example of such a place is found in Northern Chile. There is a region in the great Andes mountain range where it never rains. Each day the sun rises brilliantly over the tall mountains and all day long it shines brightly down from overhead. Although storms often rage in other parts of the mountain range, because of its unique features and location it never receives a drop of rain.

One would imagine this area would be an earthly paradise; but it is not. lnstead, it is a barren and desolate desert! For where there are no storms there is no life. Too often we long for total sunshine and joy in life. We often wish to be rid of our trials and burdensome responsibilities. We fail to realise that like this sunny, unfertile part of Chile, life without its burdens and trials would be unproductive.

We need sunshine and showers. The storm clouds of suffering may at times blot out the sun and threaten to engulf us. But the trusting Christian recognises that in God’s wise design and under His sovereign control they actually bring showers of blessing.

Beloved do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you. (l Pet 4: 12-13)

Don’t Follow the Crowd

by the Rev Paul Seiler

A scientific magazine published an article concerning a certain species of alligator. Being lazy beasts, alligators seldom hunt for their dinner, they just lay in wait for their unwary victims to come to them. They lie near the bank with open mouths, acting as if they are dead.

Soon flies begin to alight on their moist tongues, and several other insects gather. This crowd attracts bigger game – a lizard will crawl up to the alligator to feed on the bugs; then a frog joins the party. Presently a whole menagerie is there; then there is a sudden earthquake “WHAM” the giant jaws come together and the party is over!

Here is the lesson: Don’t be lured by large groups of people. Remember, the crowd is always found on the “broad way.’ Usually only a small number can be found walking along the “narrow way.” Most people take the easy path; it is so easy going with the crowd. Christians are those who enter by the narrow gate and travel the narrow way unto salvation.

Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few there are that find it. (Matt 7:13-14)

Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory

by the Rev Paul Seiler

Donald Cargill was one of the bright stars among the Covenanters in Scotland.

This man was among many Scots who refused to compromise the gospel and the doctrine of worship. Consequently he was condemned by the church authorities in Scotland at the time. He was condemned by the government and sentenced to the gallows.

When he came to the scaffold, Cargill said these moving words, although it was said that the drums were beaten in an attempt to drown out his voice: “Now I am near to getting to my crown, which shall be sure; for I bless the Lord, and desire all of you to bless Him that He hath brought me here, and makes me triumph over devils, and men, and sin – they shall wound me no more. I forgive all men the wrongs they have done to me, and pray the Lord may forgive all the wrongs that any of the elect have done against Him. I pray that sufferers may be kept from sin, and helped to know their duty — farewell reading and preaching, praying and believing, wanderings, reproaches, and sufferings. Welcome joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Tim. 4:8)