OTHERS AND YOU – THE CHALLENGING VESTIBULE

(August 25, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring some challenging reflections…

Vestibule – now there’s a word that indicates a chamber or channel opening into another. Hmm.

As we follow Jesus many times doors open that lead into new discoveries and adventures in God as we hear and yield to the Holy Spirit’s soft whispers to our heart. In this connection we recall the following challenge that speaks of discovering an important vestibule leading to heaven’s riches…

Others May, You Cannot … over the years there have been a number of items, tracts or articles based on this challenging thought and its relating issues.

Some 40 years we were handed the following thought-provoking piece that we were told was written by Bill Britton – one that’s still fresh, challenging and meaningful, especially if you’re sold out to the ministry call of Christ on your life. 

‘If God has called you to be really like Jesus, he will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put on you such demands of obedience that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians.

‘And, in many ways, he will seem to let other good people do things that he will not let you.

‘Other Christians (and ministers), who seem very religious and useful, may push themselves, pull strings and work schemes to carry out their plans, but you cannot, and if you attempt you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

‘Others may boast of themselves, their work, success and writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing. And if you begin to, he will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

‘Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or have a legacy left them, but it is likely that God will keep you poor because he wants you to have something far better than gold, namely a helpless dependence on him that he may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury. (more…)

POSSIBILITIES UNLIMITED   

(September 20, 2019) Dr George Forbes, missionary statesman, reflects on a great biblical truth…      

The truth recorded in various verses of the Bible is that God himself is the source of possibilities that are unlimited.

From creation on through every generation God’s everlasting arms have lifted up and encouraged so many. He has been a refuge for troubled, hurting men, women and children, more times than can be numbered. The Almighty God of heaven and earth cares so much for us… all because of his love for us. 

But… sadly too often God’s love has been ignored and even rejected by proud sinful humankind – yet he made us, provided for us, patiently waited for our hearts to change and turn to him for fellowship and help. It is his unlimited love and mercy that give me hope today… and is available to all!

Possibilities are unlimited because of God’s love!

Certain moments can become opportunities for miracles
Jesus showed this to be true in his ministry, his death and his resurrection. He taught his disciples that the things that are impossible for us are possible for God.

One time he said to the father of a child dumb from birth because of demon possession, that anything was possible to a person who believes (Mark 9:20ff). Asked if he believed, the father cried out, ‘I believe, help my unbelief.’

That moment an impossibility became a miracle of healing and deliverance! And at Jesus’ command the boy was set free from the impure spirit.

Example of a hindrance
When a religious leader who diligently kept the law of Moses asked Jesus (Luke 18:22-30), ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’ the answer Jesus gave him was profound! (more…)

FORGET THE FORMER THINGS

(September 20, 2019) Carol Round encourages us to let our Christianity shine forth in a needy world round us…

‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland’ (Isaiah 43:18-19).

Forget the past? Sometimes it’s easier said than done. In fact, I would say that it’s impossible to let go of the times we’ve been lost in the wilderness – unless we look up.

What does it mean to look up? Look up and seek… seek God, seek his forgiveness, seek his guidance, and seek his hand. Let him lead you from the past into his presence.

God’s presence washes over us like a fresh, spring rain, soothing our weary soul, reviving our spirit, and infusing us with hope. His hope, his strength, and his love can lead us from a life of despair to delighting in him.

Delight yourself in the Lord
In Psalm 37:4, David writes, ‘Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.’

Many believe, especially new Christians, that God will give us anything our hearts desire if we have enough faith. But, as we mature in our faith, we begin to understand what is important in life and to our heavenly Father. (more…)

BE A LIGHT IN A BROKEN WORLD

(August 27, 2019) Carol Round encourages us to let our Christianity shine forth in a needy world round us…

In one of the ‘civil’ social media posts, I responded with the challenge that we need more Christ-followers who reach out to the –

  • Hurting
  • Disenfranchised
  • Lost
  • Lonely
  • Angry
  • Mentally ill.

Warming a pew each Sunday doesn’t make you a Christian
Jesus left the building (the church) and spent time with the very people mentioned above. If we claim to be a Christian, we need to be following in his footsteps. Kindness begets kindness. Apathy breeds apathy. Hate breeds hate.

Each one of us can make a difference, one person at a time.

 

 

Reach out – make a difference (more…)

WHAT SOBERING WORDS – ‘TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN, MUCH IS REQUIRED!’

(August 26, 2019) Dr George Forbes, missionary statesman, reflects and challenges…       

For many years now, as it has been my joy to serve the Lord Jesus Christ, I have been guided and constrained by his words as found in the gospel of Luke, chapter 12 verse 48.  They ring in my mind and spirit every time I read them or think of them.  

Those challenging words from Luke’s gospel are – ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’

Sobering words!
These are sobering words indeed – challenging words, clear words – about our responsibilities as servants of God. 

And when we consider it we have indeed been given so much –

  • Forgiveness of all our sin
  • Born again by the Spirit of God
  • Washed by the atoning blood of the lamb of God
  • Peace with God
  • Adopted as children of God.

Every believer experiences the grace and mercy of God from the moment of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.  Then we grow in his grace and every day we experience his mercies. We also grow in the knowledge of Christ, finding more of the power of his love and the fellowship of his sufferings. (more…)

JONAH – THE UNIVERSAL RECONCILING LOVE OF GOD

(August 26, 2019) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares on the most misunderstood book in the Bible…

The book of Jonah is probably the best known book in the Old Testament – but for all the wrong reasons! Most people think of it as a pleasant bedtime story for children about a man who fell off a boat and was swallowed by a whale. A few days later the whale spat him out and he walked off into the land of happy-ever-after.

But that is not what the book of Jonah is about. Its message is much more interesting, challenging and radical than that.  In fact it is one of the most revolutionary books in the Old Testament!

Background to the story
The story of Jonah is set around 2700 years ago and the people of Israel believed that they were in an exclusive relationship with God who loved only them. They had a kind of exclusive and territorial mentality about Yahweh.

God chose Jonah to ‘shake their world’!

Yet we do not actually know much about him. We know that his name means ‘Dove’ and that he came from a town near Nazareth.  He was given an unenviable task – to go to Nineveh, the oldest and most densely populated city of the ancient Assyrian Empire which was also considered to be one of the wickedest cities in the world and its people were known for their ruthlessness, cruelty, child sacrifice, sexual perversion and witchcraft.

1. The reluctance of Jonah
(i) Jonah’s call
God’s call to Jonah was personal and specific – ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me’ (1:2). (more…)

SPEAKING PERSONALLY

(August 23, 2019) Brian Bell shares a meaningful, encouraging meditation straight from his heart…

The inspiration for this short meditation is drawn from my recent readings in Joshua and Judges (NTL) –and in particular Joshua 24:3, ‘Israel served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the leaders who outlived him – those who had personally experienced all that the Lord had done for Israel.’

Also Judges 2:7, ‘…the Israelites served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and the leaders who outlived him – those who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel.’

Personal experience of faith
Perhaps you remember where you were when you came to faith in the Lord Jesus… for me it was a very simple ‘act’ of  prayer in my bedroom as a young teenager (which I recorded in the flyleaf of a Bible) – very much in contrast to the apostle Paul’s Damascus road encounter!

Many years ago I recall Reverend Sam Workman talking about those who were ‘walking on the clean side of the broad road (that would describe where I was) but whatever our background and where, when and how we came into salvation our personal experience will have been different.

It is very clear the leaders God raised up for his people were people of faith – just like us, they were not without their flaws, but they were those who had a personal experience of faith… as the writer to the Hebrews reminds us!

As I consider this aspect, it is clear that in relation to faith there are – (more…)

A HEART FOR THE HARVEST

(July 19, 2019) Dr George Forbes, missionary statesman, reflects …

The Lord gave me ‘a heart for the harvest’ early in my life journey of faith! Through prophecy and a vision, within a year of my conversion I was called to the nations!

But… I failed to understand the prophecy and direction that God set before me. For many years I did not understand it: In fact it wasn’t until almost ten years later when Charles Greenwood, my pastor at Richmond Temple, guided me toward the first steps that began to unfold this major step in my life.

There’s a world harvest, not just local!
After serving as a local pastor in five churches, over about 15 years, I was asked to visit Papua New Guinea for some weeks in 1968.

Until then, my focus was on local people who needed Christ.  I did not yet have a ‘heart for the harvest’ in the world. That came progressively over some years. My annual visits to Papua New Guinea were in reality my training for the harvest in the world. I owe much to the older missionaries who demonstrated a commitment and love for the indigenous people that I did not yet have.

A lesson I valued early in my many travels as I visited missionaries and negotiated with government authorities for permits, was the necessity of never giving up and not getting tired of doing what is good, because reaping time is ahead. I also learned well that it is God who supplies ‘the seed’ of the word of truth that can set the captives free and produce an ever-growing number of new local churches of new believers (2 Corinthians 9:10).

Keys of responsibility


Every local church where the believers honour the word of God has the biblical responsibility to consider and obey the words of the Lord Jesus to look with open eyes and observe the fields where there is a ripe harvest. This is a responsibility that must be honoured in faith. (more…)

‘EATING JESUS’ BODY AND DRINKING HIS BLOOD’

(July 19, 2019) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, explains on this powerful imagery challenge declared by Jesus…

We are living at a time when we are increasingly compelled by the dictates of those who have embraced the philosophy of ‘political correctness’ to avoid the use of language and actions that may ‘cause offence.’  People are being encouraged to rage against those things that they claim have offended them and increasingly that rage is funnelled into legal action!

Consequently a diverse range of people, including comedians, sports people – and preachers – are being silenced for fear of prosecution.

When Jesus caused offence!
Of course, such taking of ‘offence’ is often a manipulative tool to silence and control and as a tactic it has been used for thousands of years.

In fact, Jesus sometimes ‘offended’ those to whom he spoke. For example, one day when he was in Capernaum a crowd gathered to hear what he had to say and they were quick to take offence at his words.

We read in John 6:32 that he said, ‘I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven.’

And in verse 41-42 we see the outraged response to this – ‘At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I came down from heaven?”  How dare he say that! What an arrogant upstart!’ How offensive are his words!

Despite this reaction, Jesus ploughed ahead – ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”  Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”’ (John 6:51-52). (more…)

CONNECTING – CARING CONTACT!

(July 17, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan caringly – and concernedly – encourage connecting …

Wandering along a beach one time we unexpectedly met an old friend. In the ensuing chitchat she expressed how difficult it was to connect with people in her church. Yet she had done her best in reaching out to various folk but, despite promising, they hadn’t got back to her.

The result was that no meaningful contact has been established and this friendly, insightful lady was thinking about finding a more amicable church.

On another occasion, when we were in our local library a lady from yet another church recognised us and shared something similar: ‘There are so many lonely women in church that can’t seem to make a close relationship. It is so hard.’

Connecting widely
We’ve also come across men who haven’t been able to connect in church life and be able to share their feelings with other guys.

And then there are ministers of busy churches who do not have real friends to confide with. Some wrongly feel they can’t even share with their denominational leaders in case the ‘upper echelon’ thinks they aren’t spiritual enough or not capable of dealing with things. (Side comment here: We’re delighted to now know Kelvin, a great guy dedicated to reaching pastors, priests and ‘lay people’ who need the connection of ‘a friendly ear’).

Seniors too can have their difficulties – but the biggest shock is when a precious child confides with you that he or she feels they cannot share their heart secrets with anyone, not even their dad or mum. Kids too need reaching and blessing, as our brother-in-law Ken Gardiner of Life4Kids, kendor.life4kids@gmail.com will tell you. (more…)