(April 14, 2018) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share…
‘Titanic’ means of exceptional explosive strength, size or power. Such are the titanic ‘if onlys’ of life that can sink us! Today, April14, we recall another titanic… the RMS Titanic.
106 years ago – April 14 1912 – at approximately 11.39pm, on its maiden voyage the Titanic struck an iceberg. Three hours, one minute later, at 2.40am Monday morning the so-called unsinkable, luxury liner was gone in the calmest but coldest seas (28degrees under).
1523 souls perished, including John Harper, a brave young Baptist minister, who kept encouraging people to trust God and to accept the Lord Jesus… even as he too sank into the deep.
Only 750 were plucked from the frigid sea. It was a very sad time indeed, as the Walter Lord’s prolific 1955 book called it, A Night to Remember (Made a movie in 1958).
(April 21, 2018) Carol Round asks …
Do you find it difficult sometimes to keep your eyes on Jesus? I know I do.
When we find our lives spiralling out-of-control with unexpected illnesses, the death of a loved one, family dysfunction or worldwide uncertainty, it’s often easier to wring our hands in despair than to turn to the one who gave his life for us.
Jesus never promised us a life of luxury or one without pain and heartache. Look at his life, lived simply and ending in an agonising death. But he did promise to be with us during our trials.
Smiles from a servant’s heart
Recently, I was blessed to have lunch at an assisted living facility with a friend who will turn 90 later this year. As each of her table companions joined us to eat, Josie introduced me. I’m certain my friend is the oldest of the five women, but you wouldn’t have guessed it by her actions.
Before the others arrived and I could assist her, Josie had parked her walker and moved a chair from a nearby table and placed it next to hers – for me. When I realised her intent, I admonished her and said, ‘Josie, you should let me do that.
Then, when the last of our tablemates joined us, Josie rose to help manoeuvre her friend’s walker and pull back her dining room chair so she could be seated. When she returned to her seat, I said, ‘Josie, you have a servant’s heart.’ She just smiled. (more…)
(April 19, 2018) Mark Ellis reports…
Charged with being a spy, Czech missionary Petr Jasek endured a 14-month imprisonment in Sudan where he was tortured by fellow cellmates. But Jesus supernaturally imparted peace during his confinement and he became a bold witness, winning many to Christ.
In his role as the Africa regional director for Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), Jasek went to Sudan to document the persecution of Christians, which was happening in the Nubah Mountains in clashes between the government and rebels.
Imprisoned in a tiny cell
Jasek was detained by the Sudanese police at Khartoum Airport in December 2015. Seems immigration staff found a duplicate passport he carried for security purposes, which led to his immediate arrest and imprisonment.
‘I was put in a cell at about 1:30 am,’ he told VOM. ‘It overcrowded, with people covering the floor. They had to squeeze around a little bit so they would create some small room for me to lie down on the floor. The conditions were sparse. I had no blanket… just two extra T-shirts, an extra pair of pants, toothbrush, toothpaste and soap; that was all.’
Guards had refused him blankets or a mattress. Because he was from the Czech Republic they told him they thought he should be used to cold weather.
At 5:30 am he was awakened by the Islamic call for prayer. All six of his cellmates began praying fervently. ‘They showed me a place behind them where I was supposed to stand while they were praying. The rule is that me as a Christian, I had to stay behind them so they would not look at me while they are praying.’ After the prayers, they identified themselves as DAESH, the Arabic acronym for ISIS. All his cellmates were ISIS fighters! (more…)
(April 18, 2018) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, reflects on a special term…
‘All Nations’ – this term ‘all nations’ occurs 72 times in the New Testament. The entire Bible has 452 direct references to all the nations in this world. This alone is substantial evidence of God’s interest in every nation on earth.
When you find that God’s word, the Bible, links ‘all nations’ with the eternal purposes of God, the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and above all, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the value of all nations to God becomes very clear.
The command of Jesus Christ to his disciples recorded in Matthew 28: 18-20 adds vital meaning to God’s love and plan for all nations!
He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, as you go, disciple people in all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. And remember, I am with you each and every day until the end of the age.’ (more…)
(April 17, 2018) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, reflects…
In English there are some words that sound very impressive, such as iridescent, ethereal, serendipity, ineffable, and so on. On the other hand there are some words that sound pathetically unimpressive.
However some of those unimpressively sounding words are supercharged with significance… such as if or but. It’s hard to imagine anything less impressive than those two common little words.
Nevertheless they lie at the heart of the most marvellous of all Christian truths – the resurrection of Jesus that millions of people around the world joyfully celebrated earlier this month.
But did the resurrection of Christ really happen?
Is the recently celebrated Easter story just a fascinating tale? Can we really believe that a brutally executed man came alive again three days later?
It does seem to stretch the bounds of credibility and, as atheism is embraced by more and more people today, many dismiss the reality of that event and believe that it should be classified as a fairy tale.
Recently I read these words by a Californian college professor of sociology and secular: ‘The world is better off when supernatural tales lacking evidence fade, especially when these tales teach that all humans are evil and rotten and in desperate need of salvation which can only come about through the brutal torture, murder, and resurrection of the son of a magical deity. As for the death and resurrection of Jesus, well, fewer and fewer people are buying that old tale. Increasing numbers of men and women in formerly Christian societies are losing their faith.’
This professor is right in one sense – individuals and Christian societies are losing faith in that story. And many just cannot give any credibility to the fact of a man coming alive again three days after he had died. (more…)
(March 30, 2018) Mike Shreve reminds readers of eight great truths in respect of Jesus’ resurrection …
Most believers view the resurrection of the Lord Jesus either through a historical or a prophetical lens! They tend to either look backward to Jesus’ victory over the grave or look forward to the resurrection of believers at the conclusion of this age.
But seldom do believers grasp the present tense benefits that have come to us as a result of this spiritual conquest.
Here are eight powerful ones:
1. Deliverance from spiritual death
‘But God . . . because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ’ (Ephesians 2:4-5).
When Adam fell, he died spiritually and began dying physically. But when Jesus came out of the grave, believers were delivered from spiritual death right then When we received the resurrected Saviour in our hearts, the resurrection process began.So those who repent and turn to Jesus are first resurrected spiritually on their way to complete physical resurrection at the coming of the Lord. We are given a ‘new spirit’ (Ezekiel 36:26). (more…)
(March 25, 2018) Ben Godwin reminds us of Easter realities as he shares a king’s goodness toward a troubled young man…
The news spread rapidly. Israel had suffered a devastating defeat. King Saul and his son, Jonathan, had been slain in battle by the Philistines.
It was common in ancient regime changes to execute all the royal family to eliminate any heirs to the throne and a nurse acted quickly.
Terrified, she scooped up a five-year-old prince to whisk him to safety. But in her haste she stumbled, dropping the boy… and unfortunately both his legs were broken. Consequently, Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, was lame the rest of his life.
Mephibosheth is a fitting type of the human race – he was of a royal line but crippled by a fall.
Years later, during his reign as king, David wondered, ‘Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?’ (2 Samuel 9:1 NKJV). He was told Mephibosheth was living like a pauper in an obscure town called Lodebar.
Lodebar means ‘without pasture or barren place.’ That describes our spiritual condition before we met our heavenly king! Life without God is a barren wilderness. Nothing can satisfy the hole in our soul that only he can fill.
David, a type of Christ, gave this maimed man four things which God has also given to us: (more…)
(March 19, 2018) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, reflects on the real Easter message…
The gospel is the best good news on earth!
It has been so since Jesus died on a cross at Calvary and rose again from the dead on the third day. The Easter holiday season exists because of the gospel.
I’m wondering: How will you celebrate Easter this year?
The apostle Paul puts the key events of that first Easter clearly and powerfully in chapter 15 of his first letter to the Corinthians.
- He opens with the all-important declaration of what he called the ‘gospel.’
- Reminds the Corinthians that he had preached the gospel to them.
- That they had received it.
- Were believers who not only received this gospel but believed
- Then warns them that they should continue in this faith – or they would have believed in vain.
Paul then repeats the gospel he had taught them some time before, beginning with the fact that the death of Jesus Christ was according to the scriptures.
In other words, it was a fulfilment of prophecy that Christ would die for our sins, be buried and rise from the dead on the third day. (more…)
(March 19, 2018) Stuart Reynolds reflects …
It was Swiss theologian Karl Barth who said, ‘Take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.’
In this connection, do note how the Bible is a commentary on our times today:
- The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:1: ‘But mark this: There will be terrible (literally ‘violent’ in the Greek) times in the last days.’
But note also a testimony to God’s triumph in Psalm 2, which begins with these words:
- ‘Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his Anointed One, saying, “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.”’
Almost every news story could be introduced, explained and concluded with those words. Bad news is so often linked with rebellion against God or ignorance or breakage of his laws.
Let’s consider three important issues:
1) Humanity’s Petulance
A father was driving to school one day. His youngest child was standing on the back seat. Realising the danger, the father said, ‘Sit down, son, I may have to stop suddenly and I don’t want you to get hurt.’
‘No!’ squeaked the rebellious refusal from the rear, ‘I don’t want to!’ Again the father said, ‘Please sit down, I don’t want you to get hurt.’ ‘No!’ came the stubborn reply. (more…)
(March 18, 2018) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares a concern…
Deuteronomy 29:29 clearly declares: ‘The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.’
Relevant concerns today
Matthew Henry, the 17th century Bible scholar, made this comment: ‘He has kept back nothing that is profitable for us, but only that of which it is good for us to be ignorant. The end of all divine revelation is, not to furnish curious subjects of speculation and discourse, but that we may do all the words of this law, and be blessed in our deed.’
Although these words were written over 300 years ago, they are still especially relevant today.
I am very concerned about:
- The plethora of books that have been written in recent years ‘explaining’ the mysteries of God and using the Bible like an Old Moore’s Almanac or the writings of Nostradamus.
- The increase of those who write articles and books based on what they claim to be personal divine revelation which, of course, is untestable!
- The corresponding hunger among many Christians for those who feed their imagination with ‘interpretations’ and ‘explanations’ of cryptic and hidden ‘truths’ supposedly found in the biblical text, and for those who publish their own speculation dressed as revelation from God.