BOTTLES ON LIFE’S BEACH?

(June 28, 2020) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring a timely challenge…

Ever thought of your life as a bottle with an important life message landed in strange territory? Hmm? Intriguing… but firstly some intro comments –

Been wondering over the past few months of lockdown how others are going? Thoughtful friends, both church and non-churchgoers, have caringly phoned/SMSed/Skyped/emailed us enquiring about us… and we’ve been doing likewise.

Seems we’ve all found things to do, ensuring we aren’t bored. One matter that keeps coming up in conversations is: ‘When will we get back to normalcy?’

Reality: No More ‘Normalcy’
We won’t – not normalcy as we used to know (if we can refer to pre-lockdown times as ‘normal’!). Life has changed; the world is in a bigger mess than ever: disrespect, crime and hooliganism are rampant… consumer-wise and business-wise it’s a whole new ballgame ‘out there.’

(more…)

CALLED TO COMMUNICATE

(June 28, 2020) Dr George Forbes, former director of Australia AoG (ACC) World Missions, shares…

I’ve always been an observer of missionaries and their activities, and of what happens in nations where missionaries serve – and of churches and individuals’ reaction (or the lack of it) to missionary needs, especially of prayer backup and financial support.

With the coming of the expanding computer age assisting our programs, correspondence and training of new missionaries, I would observe all this too, availing myself and staff of the IT world benefits. And over the past several years since my ‘retirement’ I’ve become an observer of the new generation of missionaries.

Working at Communicating
Missionaries have long shared the love of God… it’s the basis of their ministry! Since my retirement I observed a new generation of committed missionaries, prepared by credible mission schools training, boldly following in the footsteps of honoured predecessors who had set the pace over centuries of missionary enterprise.

And as long as I was able I would work with my generation in my church and community, praying for the younger generation and cheering them on. I strongly believed – and still do – that some of this generation will make their mark for God in the fulfilling of the Great Commission among all nations.

Communicating God’s Love Today
We’re in a time of unprecedented pandemic tragedy worldwide… in the midst of all that’s going wrong and thousands of people needing help, the 1983 song People Need the Lord is so relevant today. (more…)

TROUBLE WILL COME… BUT TAKE HEART

(June 24, 2020) Carol Round shares hope for all troubled by what’s happening around us…

My heart is heavy.

History is repeating itself. I lived through the turmoil of the 60s during the Civil Rights movement. I saw the injustice. Segregated schools and restaurants. Separate water fountains and restrooms left an imprint on my impressionable mind.

What is happening in my own country today didn’t begin with the murder of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement. It isn’t the first time hatred has led to an uncalled-for death. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Trouble is all around the world these days! Protesters are calling for change. But change can only happen when each one of us takes responsibility for our own words and actions.

Nothing Will Change Unless We Do
Nothing will change until we, as Christians, quit placing our hope in government to save our country. We must embrace the teachings of Jesus Christ, and not just give lip service to our faith. If we are sold out to Jesus, we should not be conformed to this world. (more…)

RED AND YELLOW, BLACK AND WHITE

(June 21, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, challenges recent fallacies …

Many years ago in Sunday school in Ireland I – and many others – used to sing the following song:

‘Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.’

In recent days this song has been in my mind one again, especially the lines – ‘Red and yellow, black and white, All are precious in His sight.’

Everyone matters!
The graphic video of the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis was alarming to watch and no one can condone that vicious act of brutality.

Sadly, however, the reaction of many people has been to aggravate the situation and, under the pretence of taking the high moral ground, they have resorted to law-breaking, violence, lying and looting.

Their current slogan, now declared with stubborn aggression, is ‘Black Lives Matter.’ I wholeheartedly agree that black lives do matter because –

  • ALL lives matter!
  • Including the lives of unborn babies.
  • A sobering fact is that in America each year abortion is the leading cause of death among blacks.
  • In fact there are as many abortions of black babies as live births, yet the BLM protestors ignore that fact!

Christian values opposed agenda!
Under the banner of Black Lives Matter an atheistic Marxist agenda is being pursued, an agenda stands opposed to Christian values and beliefs. 

If the followers of the  Black Lives Matter movement were truly concerned about ‘black lives’ why are they totally silent regarding the thousands who are being persecuted and killed worldwide every year, for example, the  2,983 Christians killed in northern Nigeria in 2019?

BLM is not at all concerned about racial harmony or social justice or creating a harmonious society, but is about social disruption and revolution.

Protest marches and rioting are presently the preferred method of grabbing people’s attention and promoting this malevolent plan.  By selectively taking some facts, some figures and some incidents, the supporters of BLM then interpret them in ways that advance their goals. Other facts that do not support their purpose are conveniently ignored.

Take the George Floyd incident, for example…
If the killing of a black man by a white policeman in America demonstrates that white policemen generally are hostile to black people, can white people claim that the recent killing of the white Australian woman, Justine Damond in Minnesota by a black policeman, Mohamed Noor, is evidence that black policemen hate white people? Obviously not!

Or does the fact that police shoot more men than women demonstrate that policemen are more bigoted towards men? Again, obviously not.

Let me be clear – the violent death of anyone regardless of race or gender is disturbing and even more so if that person is wholly innocent of any crime or violent act. But to use those deplorable incidents as an excuse for increasing violence, destruction and civil disobedience is unjustifiable.

Bending the knee fallacy
In recent days we have seen how effective the promotion of this radical and divisive social programme has been with American politicians, sportsmen and sportswomen, actors and numerous others (including the politically-correct administrators of the AFL in Australia) who are ‘taking the knee’!

What does this act signify?   Historically the act of ‘bending the knee’ was a formal act of surrender and submission and an acknowledgement of the superiority of the one before whom one was bowing.  It is alarming, therefore, to see political leaders and others kneeling in submission before a godless and destructive social fallacy.

How much wiser to follow the advice of the psalmist who wrote: ‘Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our maker’ (Psalm 95:6).  He alone deserves this act of reverence and submission.

Time for truth-telling
That Marxist agenda that has been so enthusiastically and graphically reported has also been vigorously advanced in Australia with the aid of a left-leaning media that promotes the narrative of aboriginal suppression since the arrival in 1788 of the First Fleet of British ships at Sydney.

The picture being presented is that Australia’s ‘first people’ have consistently been subjected to slaughter, suppression, slavery and injustice and that now is the time to right that wrong!

However, Alice Springs Councillor Jacinta Price (who is aboriginal) has written an article ‘to provide the overwhelming evidence that demonstrates these accusations are lies.’ She concludes by stating, ‘… a narrative that claims to try to stamp out racism but applies racism in doing so and encourages a racist over-reaction. Yes, it’s time for some truth telling.’ (It is interesting that the Australian news media are generally wholly uninterested in an aboriginal voice that runs counter to the narrative they want to tell).

Masked pretences
The BLM anti-social agenda is generally masked under a pretence of having compassion and identifying with the needs of the disadvantaged and those who are being victimised in various ways. It denounces ‘police violence’ but encourages rabid public violence, it condemns racism while promoting it, it demands the right to be heard while abusing the opinions of those who disagree. Lies have replaced truth. Hatred has replaced love.

  • Fury has replaced civility.
  • Violence has replaced compassion.
  • Slogans have replace discussions.
  • Intolerance has replaced freedom of speech.

As Jacinta Price has commented, ‘We have been hoodwinked into believing that somehow reconciliation means appeasing the aggrieved, those who refuse to forgive, and we are held to ransom every time the goal posts are shifted.’

Values turned upside-down
Daily on television we witness a graphic portrayal of major reversals of moral values. There have been many times in history when this has happened.

For example, in Isaiah’s day the prophet challenged his own people with these word, ‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter’ (Isaiah 5:20).

  • Values are turned upside-down when God is disregarded and when His word is dismissed.
  • The further a nation draws away from God’s standards, the more it slides into decadence, division and disintegration.
  • That happened in Isaiah’s day and the same thing is happening today.

As Christians we are called on to pray for our nation and its leaders. And we need always to remember that ‘God treats everyone on the same basis.  Those who fear him and do what is right are acceptable to him, no matter what race they belong to’ (Acts 10:34-35 GNB).

‘Red and yellow, black and white, ALL are precious in His sight.’

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Dr Jim McClure, author of several books such as the enlightening Grace Revisited and Bible study series, welcomes questions from Christians seeking enlightenment on biblical perspectives.

Grace Revisited is highly recommended – as are Looking for Answers in a Confusing World, Overview of the Old and New Testaments, Love, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage, The Masonic Deception, Word of Life in the Old and New Testaments and Interpreting the Letter of James. All are available in electronic version in EPUB, Kindle and PDF formats with hyperlinks and offered free. Link for orders and questions: jbmcclure@gmail.com

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GOD’S INDISPENSABLE GIFT TO HIS CHURCH

(May 20, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares some great Pentecostal insights …

Let me share with you a few recent experiences.

Something missing…

  1. As I was typing this article on my computer today, it suddenly shut down in mid-sentence. That was a little frustrating but after I plugged in the charger, the computer reopened and enabled me to complete the article.
  2. A friend’s mobile phone, which she had had for a number of years, decided that it had worked long enough. It was out of energy! I helped her to buy a new phone and restored the information from her old one. Now she can confidently phone her friends – and play ‘Words with Friends’ – without the fear of a black screen suddenly appearing.
  3. A few weeks ago I got into my car, turned the ignition key – and nothing happened! No noise from the starter motor. No ignition lights on the dashboard. Nothing but silence! I had accidentally left my car door open a little for a couple of days and the battery had drained.  Fortunately a friend came to my rescue with a battery charger and soon the car was on the road again.

Dynamite power source!
The similar factor in the above accounts is obvious – that my computer, my friend’s mobile phone and my car failed to work because their power source was missing! (more…)

PENTECOST ‘LOCKDOWN’ AND CHAPTER 29 WILDFIRE

(May 14, 2020) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share…

Pentecost Sunday is only a couple of weeks away – the last Sunday, last day, of this month!

In Judaism, Pentecost – Shavuoth – was the harvest festival celebrated fifty days after the second day of Passover (Pesach) on the sixth and seventh days of Sivan, and commemorating the giving the Torah on Mount Sinai.

Today it’s a two-day holiday for Jews to renew acceptance of God’s gift, pledging everlasting loyalty to him, and God’s ‘re-giving’ the Torah.

Christian Pentecost Celebrations
It’s not known exactly when the first Christian Pentecost Sunday celebration occurred, but it was mentioned in the Epistula Apostolorum, an Eastern church work, 2nd century. As time went on Pentecost celebration became popular, in fact in Europe it was a more popular time for baptism than Easter.

In any case Pentecost Sunday for Bible-believing Christians, especially Pentecostals, became a festival celebration of Holy Spirit baptism, not water baptism!

On the seventh Sunday after Easter, it commemorates the initial outpouring, the descent of the Holy Ghost, on those faithful believers who had gathered together waiting as Jesus had instructed them – ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 1:4-5).

Now we can’t gather in church buildings to celebrate Pentecost this month due to lockdown but let’s take a fresh look at some things that happened in their ‘time of lockdown’ to those faithful followers who were committed to following the risen Saviour. (more…)

FINDING JOY DURING TRIALS

(May 11, 2020) Carol Round reminds us that we can find pure joy in these troubling times…

Joy may seem out of reach for those who are suffering during the current pandemic. I can understand, and I pray for those whose trials are greater than mine.

As I spend time with my heavenly Father each morning, I lift in prayer those who are on the front lines. They include medical personnel, first responders, law enforcement, truck drivers, grocery store employees, and others required to work during this time.

Despite the fact I can’t visit my grandchildren and hug them right now, I consider myself blessed. I work from home, so I’m used to isolation. I do, however, miss attending church in person, having lunch with friends, shopping for non-essentials, and inviting friends over for a meal.

The apostle James’ advice in James 1:2 actually comfort me:  ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.’ (more…)

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING IN EARNEST

(May 11, 2020) Brian Bell shares some personal thoughts and challenges from the book of Haggai

Let me reassure you, the title of this meditation is not drawn from the writing of a work of a similar title by the author Oscar Wilde. I don’t intend sharing about ‘being Earnest’ but about ‘being in earnest.’

Firstly, the adjective ‘earnest’ indicates ‘showing sincere and intense conviction.’ With this definition in mind, I share a few thoughts – an inspiration arising from reading the book of Haggai, NLT (1996 version).

Here, through the prophet God speaks to his people – people who thought they were living in luxury – and Haggai seeks to open their eyes to the Lord’s perspective about their situation when he challenges ‘consider how things are going for you’ (Haggai 1:5).

God’s perspective – the ‘not enough of’ list
Through Haggai the Lord highlights in verse six some ‘not enough of’ items as he sees the situation:

  • HungerFood to eat but not enough to fill you up.’
  • Thirst – ‘Wine to drink but not enough to satisfy.’
  • Insufficiency – ‘Clothing to wear but not enough to keep you warm.’

He also adds two other shortages – (more…)

LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

(May 11, 2020) Dr George Forbes, missionary statesman, shares Pentecostal insights…

May 31 is Pentecostal Sunday, a perfect time to remember that Jesus promised his disciples just before he ascended to heaven that he would not leave them as orphans: He assured them that he would send the Holy Spirit to be with them and in them (John 14:14,18).

The power and reality of this truth is life changing for all who experience it. Jesus said that we must be born again. This is when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us.  We are born into a new life that makes us a child of God.

The Spirit desires to lead
Because he is in us, the Holy Spirit can lead us. That is a dimension of life only possible for born again believers. His leading is dependent on factors that quite often affect our lives. I think of some of the factors, such as…

  • Busyness
  • Hurrying/rushing around
  • Worldliness
  • Sin
  • Missing devotional time
  • Lack of prayer.

The Holy Spirit is sensitive to our behaviour, our ability to hear his voice, as well as our choices in life. He is ready to guide us in the path of God’s favour and blessing; however, he will not push or compel. (more…)

CORONAVIRUS AND FALSE TEACHERS

(April 26, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares a warning…

I have been reflecting in recent days on the worldwide distress being caused by the Coronavirus (Covid-19), I’ve read so many articles and watched so many YouTube videos in which some preachers have strongly stated that God has clearly promised protection for his people in the midst of plagues and diseases.

Dissonance…
Christians should not be concerned or stressed by current events because we live in the assurances  of God’s promises found in various verses in the Bible – particularly Psalm 91 which is frequently mishandled – but it is crucially important to understand what those verses are actually promising!  (See my March article Link: Is Divine Protection Guaranteed?)

I have watched well-known preachers on video as, with great passion and animation, they loudly remind the virus that it has no claim over Christians. And yet a large number of Christians worldwide have been victims of the pandemic and many have died – including many who had boldly declared that such a thing could not happen to God’s people!

There is a dissonance between the declaration that God will save his people from plaques and illnesses and the reality of what is actually happening in the world.

This links with two important questions – Can we trust the Bible?  Can we truly believe the promises God makes in his word?

So what are we to believe?
My answer is that… (more…)