DECEPTION – A DIFFERENT VIEW ON ‘THE CHRISTMAS STORY’

(December 8, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share …

Great! It’s almost Christmas! And what a joyous time it can be!

This Sunday several churches with present their Carols by Candlelight evening, believing for a grand turnout of joyous Christians to celebrate the birth of the Saviour of this fallen world – and to worship our gracious God from full hearts.

Of course many Christians are aware that ‘Christmas’ as such isn’t mentioned in scripture, that no one really knows the exact date, let alone month, when  Jesus was born – but that’s okay for those who really know what this season is truly  all about and celebrate from the heart, not the head!

We’re really celebrating God’s incredible love for every sinner in willingly giving us his Son, born incarnate of the virgin Mary and destined to become our redeemer by dying on Calvary’s cross as our substitute for sin’s penalty (John 3:16).

Traditionally Christmas is a 5F matter… food, family, fun, fellowship and freebie gifts. But the genuine Christian aspect is all about our celebrating that God so loved the world that he freely gave us the greatest gift of all – Jesus – and that forgiveness and full salvation is available on repentance of sin to everyone who accepts Jesus as Saviour.

What an amazing event that so-named ‘first Christmas’ was!
No wonder the angelic host heralding that first good news declaration proclaimed to the bewildered shepherds: ‘Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Saviour has just been born in David’s town… Glory to God… Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.(more…)

CHRISTMAS – WHEN THE ULTIMATE LIGHT SHOW SUDDENLY BEGAN

(December 16) Ed Delph shares a Christmas thought-provoker…

1. Here’s a Christmas-linked thought. ‘I opened two gifts this morning. They were my eyes.’

2. Here’s a Christmas-linked question: ‘What good is sight without light?’

Sight requires light. The same is true with insight.

Insight requires the light of revelation
A definition of revelation is when something that was or is hidden in darkness comes into the light. It’s a ‘reveal-a-tion’ and it could be physical, mental or spiritual.

Prophesies from God’s prophets given 750 years before the birth of Christ were fulfilled in the birth of Christ at Bethlehem.

Please read the account described in the first two chapters of Matthew and Luke…

  • Suddenly light appeared, leading to the  revealing of the presence of the greatest ever freely given ‘Christmas present.’
  • Information given 750 years earlier became revelation.
  • Knowledge became understanding.
  • The ‘Word of God’ became the ‘God of the Word’ now in flesh appearing.
  • Truth hidden by time and darkness became truth highlighted by the light.
  • Chronos (progression of time) became kairos (the right time) – the future became the present.

(more…)

WHY WORRY? IT’S CHRISTMAS

(December 14, 2017) Maureen McQuillan brings an encouraging Christmas linked thought…

Worrying doesn’t solve our problems or lift our burdens! In fact it causes us to ‘stew’ over matters and they hang around causing additional headaches and trouble minds and hearts!

Thought: It’s almost Christmas… think of young Joseph and the burdens that he could have been carrying some 2000 years ago and worrying over…

  • Newly married… to a young girl with whom he’s never been sexually intimate and discovers she’s pregnant!
  • Then has a strange notification by an angel that the baby was conceived by the very Spirit of God!
  • Has to take the pregnant Mary with him to Bethlehem to register for a census!
  • This approximately 160km trip would have taken them 8-10 long days of walking.
  • Probably a scary, uncomfortable journey for the young pregnant Mary, but what about Joseph?
  • Then at Bethlehem, he’s unable to find lodgings as the time of her delivery of this babe draws so close!

Joseph’s attitude
I like Joseph’s attitude to his uncertainties when he first contemplated what lay ahead if he honoured marriage with his beloved… like his forefather, David, he too was obviously a man after God’s own heart. (more…)

WHAT CHILD IS THIS?

(December 8, 2017) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, shares some biblical Christmas truths…

As we near Christmas once again I am thinking of missionaries who will not be home for Christmas.

The primary reason is because they are away from home, serving God in mission to the nations. Their primary task is to make Jesus Christ known as the Saviour of the world.

Yes, they will of course celebrate Christmas, away from home, and their loved ones. Perhaps they will sing the lovely carol, What Child Is This?

Ever popular, this carol was written in 1865 by William Chatterton Dix (an insurance company manager who had been struck by a severe illness. While recovering, he underwent a spiritual renewal that led him to write several hymns, including lyrics to this carol).

An important question
This precious old carol raises a very important question: What Child is This? (more…)

WILLINGNESS – MARY’S KEY

(December 5, 2017) Geraldine Brandt reminds us of a special lady who willingly trusted God to fulfil his word…

May I bring a particular aspect to the Christmas story – the biblical Mary that I see!

When we think of Christmas we naturally think of Jesus Christ, born of Mary, a virgin – born in a manger, born to die on a cross for the sins of the world. That’s as it should be!  There is no greater message to be proclaimed, nor any other focus that should be given.

But can I add that one of the greatest messengers of this truth is the mother of Jesus, Mary herself.

Mary does not preach this message, she lives it!  When we take time to go through the gospels and study this woman of God we find a very humble woman, great in faith, persistent in prayer and steadfast in her trust in God, specifically trusting that what he said about her son, Jesus, would come to pass.

Willing to obey
From the very beginning – Mary’s encounter with Gabriel, the archangel of God Most High – we see a woman who is willing to do the will of God, and to do that will without fanfare, complaint, or requested recognition. (more…)

IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD

(December 4, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, pinpoints some clarity to the whats and whys of what is happening in the world today…

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was the title of a 1963 comedy film.

Sadly, while the title can so accurately describe to world today, there is little that is humorous in it.

(more…)

STANDING FIRM ON WHAT YOU BELIEVE GOD’S WORD TEACHES

(November 30, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan encourage those going through challenging times, especially leaders who teach solid scripture truths…

Ever wonder which unrealistic idiot came up with ‘Just trust Jesus and everything will be absolutely fine in life’ or ‘The Christian life will be like a bed of roses so no worries’ or led new converts to think Christianity is ‘Easy Street to heaven’ – or that ‘Ministry’s great… all fame and glamour, no hassles.’

Probably some dodo man, think you wise realistic ladies!

The reality is that …

  • Life is a gift from God, to be appreciated each new day and lived to the full as best possible.
  • Ministry is a privilege, not to taken carelessly or irresponsibly as it must honour the Lord.
  • Unfortunately we have a lying, distracting enemy!
  • Although we can fully trust God and his word for our needs, we live in a fallen world.
  • Life itself – not just Satan – can unexpectedly unleash furious storms against us!

Bad things happen, even to Christians! (more…)

KEEP GOING!

(November 26, 2017) Brian Bell encourages keeping on track

 We live in a world where in sport of every kind athletics enjoy a high profile.  The apostle Paul says ‘bodily exercise is of some benefit, but godliness with contentment is of greater gain’ (1 Timothy 4:8).

Paul’s words remind us about priority, if you are able to exercise, it is good to do so, within your limitations.

At the 1968 Olympic Games held in Mexico City, Tanzania was represented in the marathon by John Stephen Akhwari. Part way through the race, Akhwari fell and was injured. He decided to get bandaged up and continue, which he did, finishing in last place over an hour behind the other runners.

When interviewed later Akhwari was asked, Why did you bother to get up and finish the race’ to which his reply was: ‘My country didn’t send me 5000 miles to start the race, they sent me 5000 miles to finish it.’

What a lovely perspective. You see, Akhwari could have stopped running; he was injured, he could not have won a medal position, so no one would have faulted him, but he decided to keep going.

As we approach another new year has there been an experience in the last year when you felt you couldn’t keep going? (more…)

THE TRUTH ZONE

(November 26, 2017) Stuart Reynolds challenges the church about subtle ‘twilight talk’ …

‘The place is here, the time is now, and the journey into the shadows that we’re about to watch could be our journey….You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension – a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone….’

Many of us from more than a generation ago will recall these words from Rod Sterling, as he would introduce another episode of that cult classic TV show, The Twilight Zone, where there is no ‘up’ or ‘down’ or ‘out.’

Reality
The world without God has always lived in a Twilight Zone of darkness, desperation, destruction and death.

The burden of this article is over the increasing journey of retreat and regression the church has made back into that same zone of vagueness, uncertainty, and indistinctiveness, where …

  • Less and less is clear, sound and sure.
  • Commands have become suggestions.
  • Truth is a matter of opinion and feeling, resulting in a muddled-morality.
  • We have a mixed message that leaves us bereft of a truly ‘blessed assurance.’
  • Christian fundamentals have been replaced and succeeded by subtle and dangerous baseless assumption!

(more…)

MISSIONS AND ESCHATOLOGY

(November 26, 2017) Missionary statesman George Forbes shares some challenging thoughts…

Missions and eschatology! This is possibly the most complicated subject in missions due to the strongly divergent views and outcomes of each eschatologically position taken.

In my experience I have found that many do not realise they have taken a position that affects how they understand the missionary task and its outcomes. They simply believe that the gospel is the power of God to salvation and the gospel is for all nations and are unaware of the problem that begins with the position taken by many – that the church and Israel have different destinies.

Consequently many do not fully consider their obligations to completing the global task of missions. (more…)