IT’S A PAGAN WORLD OUT THERE!

July 4, 2022) Richard Winter encourages standing strong for our faith in today’s pagan society…

I like options. But what do you do when the option seems to fly in the face of reality? Can we really ‘have it our way, anyway, and anytime’? If you can, it makes life seem that we’re buying from the like of Burger King – because this is how they sell the Whopper.

Now I like the term Whopper, but I also feel that in a country once termed as Christian, we are being told some whoppers! You know – untruths, inaccurate assessments, actual lies. Examples: Today we have gone from Father God to Mother Earth. In public schools, we cannot celebrate Easter, but we can celebrate Earth Day!

Pluralism and paganism
As a nation we have moved away from our Christian centredness. Although we have many Christians, no longer do people claim America a Christian country! Increasingly, many Americans believe that Jesus is only one option among many.

This is pluralism… and we are expected to accept that –

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‘ALL’ SCRIPTURE – THE SECRET OF GREATNESS

(July 2, 2022) Brian Bell reflects on ‘a few seed thoughts’…

It is said that during Queen Victoria’s reign, a visiting diplomatic delegation asked the Queen how Britain had become powerful in the world.

The Queen’s response did not mention the number of ships in her fleet, she made no reference to the number serving in her armies, she did not give an account of her boundless merchandise or the details of her inexhaustible wealth but answered by handing the delegation a beautifully bound copy of the Bible.

Secret of greatness
This incident (which I understand has been suggested as possibly being an unfounded anecdote) is nonetheless depicted in Thomas James Barker’s 1863 painting, The Secret of England’s Greatness.If it isn’t familiar to you, I respectfully suggest you consider looking up that portrait of Queen Victoria meeting an African envoy and presenting him with a copy of the KJV Bible.

(Houston Baptist University)

Personally, I find it captivating – showing something of the ‘awe’ of the event with the Bible having a prominent position.

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NOT BEING AFRAID

(June 22, 2022) Maureen McQuillan responds to a concerned, fearful mother…

Dear Pastor Maureen

I’m so pleased that my adult children are doing the Christian thing and using their career skills to help needy and troubled people, especially nonChristians, but I’m afraid that they may be getting into difficult and dangerous situations. Please help me find peace. Josie.

Hi Josie

Naturally, it’s great that your children are following in your footsteps – and the Lord’s – and reaching out to help troubled people. The reality is that we all have to make major decisions in life and no matter who we’re endeavouring to help (and lead to Christ) sometimes awkward or dangerous moments come up.

But we Christians are directed in scripture not to be worried or concerned about anything. Being concerned not worried, as any good mother should be, is all right but we are not to be afraid… otherwise we open a doorway for the devil, our enemy, to rush in through!

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NEHEMIAH – GOD’S CALL TO BUILD THE WALL (Part 4)

(June 22, 2022) Hope Flinchbaugh shares some more thoughts about Nehemiah’s wall building journey, challenging us to know that God has a plan for us…’

It’s hard to leave our comfort zone! And that was the initial challenge Nehemiah faced in moving on from his comfort zone to fulfilling God’s plan for his life.

Being cupbearer to the king – a  noted position – meant Nehemiah was in and out of the king’s presence several times a day. He had money, a position that clothed him well and gave him personal honour, a position where he enjoyed a small realm of trust and influence before the king.

When he learned that the exiled survivors of Israel were living in appalling conditions, that the walls of Jerusalem were rubble and the gates of the city were in cinders and ashes, Nehemiah was deeply touched. He immediately fasted, prayed, wept, and was willing to move…  but what was the next step?

Waiting patiently
That must have felt so anticlimactic!

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UNITY IN THE CHURCH

(June 21, 2022) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, challenges all Christians to be unified in these uncertain times…

In Jesus’ prayer just before His arrest in Gethsemane, as He fervently poured out His heart to God the Father, passionately interceded for Himself, His disciples and then for the church.

A particularly striking and challenging emphasis in His prayer for the church was expressed in the following words  ‘May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me’ (John 17:23).  

This clearly demonstrates that the unity of Christians was a central yearning of Jesus.   He understood that persuasive gospel outreach in a  much-divided world would be significantly more effective if the church expressed its inherent oneness in Him.

Jesus prayed for unity
Notice that Jesus prayed for unity and not for uniformityin the church.

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‘THERE’S A HOLE IN THE BRAIN!’

(June 19, 2022) Zeke Young, studying at the Lighthouse Christian Academy near Inglewood, CA, shares a good news testimony of God’s love and healing power…

Stan Lander stared blankly at his wife Aleta when she asked a question. It was the second time some sort of brain fog prevented him from articulating, even thinking. The doctor’s scan revealed an inoperable, probably cancerous mass in the middle of his brain.

‘It was a death sentence,’ the Edmonds, Washington, man remembered on a CBN video. The second scan only confirmed their worst fears. ‘Is this my life?’ Stan (pictured right) asked in disbelief.

Grim news indeed
The doctor’s prognosis was grim: the rare CNS Lymphoma spelled three to six months to live. ‘Even in the midst of that dire prognosis, we knew that God was still for us and had a plan for our life,’ Stan says.

Stan and Aleta are Christian believers. So, in time of trial, they gathered their courage and prayed. Their church joined them in prayer.

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PROPHETIC WORDS

(June 17, 2022) Robert McQuillan encourages a Pentecost enquirer…

Dear Dr Robert

Thanks for sharing last month about Pentecost Sunday. Please tell me about what’s called either ‘a word of prophecy’ or ‘a prophetic word.’ Jonno.

Dear Jonno

Either term is acceptable. In brief, prophesying means boldly speaking an encouraging, timely word from God to bless people –
a) One on one, not just face-to-face but via phone/email/Skype.
b) To your church on Sundays (as was generally expected years ago!), or at other church meetings even business ones.

As one of the Holy Spirit’s nine supernatural manifestation gifts (1 Corinthians 12) it can operate anywhere, anytime. Like the accompanying gifts word of wisdom and word of knowledge, it’s spoken in faith (itself one of those nine ‘operational gifts’).

This means that you must know the Holy Spirit personally eg through an intimate relationship of prayer, reading God’s word, trust and experience, whereby you just know that know that you know it is the Holy Spirit taking over and using you to bless, encourage, challenge some individual, or your church in general.

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WINTER’S HERE… DEPRESSION SINKHOLES AHEAD?

(June 11, 2022) Maureen McQuillan shares some wintery thoughts…

Recently we were warned by various weather newscasters that summer was over and the days ahead would be colder. They certainly are! Brrrr!

Robert keeps asking me each new morning, ‘Where would you like to go today, Darling? Short drive around the countryside, have a meal or even a cuppa somewhere?’

I normally reply, ‘But the sun’s not shining, it’s cloudy and dull.’ To which Robert says, ‘We’ll be in the car, nice and warm’ and I – not depressed, mind you – respond, ‘It may look okay outside but it’s overcast. It may not be snowing but just open the front door and you’ll feel the cold. Let’s wait until a better day, we’ll enjoy it more. Here at home we can enjoy a nice meal or coffee… by the fire.’

Winter woes
Now I deliberately mentioned above that I’m not depressed by cold weather, nor any dark thoughts about winter time. But cold days could have some people longing for springtime, dreaming of warmer locations… and depressed.

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HEART-ROCK LIFE IN A HARD-KNOCK WORLD

(June 10, 2022) Mama Lava again shares personally and deeply from her heart…

‘It’s the hard-knock life!’

I’m sure you’ve heard the sentiment, made famous by the popular Broadway musical Annie. It is relatable as it focuses on the difficulties of living…

  • Empty belly life
  • Rotten smelly life
  • Full of sorrow life
  • No tomorrow life (Excerpted from the lyrics of It’s the Hard-Knock Life by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin)

Hard knocks focus
I went to the store last night and found the price of eggs has tripled in the last couple of weeks. So much for inexpensive protein! Empty belly life? Not quite. But I briefly considered a chicken coop in my small space, which could make for a more rotten smelly life for sure!

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SHINING A LIGHT IN A BROKEN WORLD

(June 10, 2022) Carol Round challenges us to be relevant in these dark times …

Jesus’ invitation in John 12:44-46 is very relevant today: ‘Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”’

Darkness and evil are rampant in our broken world! Mass shootings. Countries at war. Fractured families. Political division. Without hope, we find it difficult to find our way into the light.

But, if we truly believe Jesus is the answer, then why are we allowing the darkness to lead us to wring our hands in despair? Why do we point fingers and blame others for the ills of this world? Maybe we need to be pointing the finger at ourselves.

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