A BETTER COVENANT

(August 17, 2022) Neil Brightbard joyfully reminds us of a great scripture truth…

Whenever we think of ‘better’ we expect something superior to what we’re used to. And we usually want to know more.

‘Better’ compares to  good: a higher standard, or more suitable. Where Hebrews uses it to describe ‘covenant’ the Greek word is kreittōn… stronger, best! When Christians consider the phrase – a better covenant – let’s be aware this is speaking of something spiritual that is boldly ultra-superior.

I wish to share why the Hebrews 8:6 and 12:24 covenant is such a stronger, better covenant, one that we should boldly grasp.

The heart of Hebrews
We don’t know who wrote Hebrews. Possibly Paul, Apollos or Luke. The sophisticated teaching and excellent Greek grammar suggests a high intellect. Whoever wrote it revealed things that no other book does. Particularly the doctrine of the high priesthood of Jesus.

Hebrews isn’t just good theology! Written so well with spiritual authority primarily to discouraged Jewish Christians needing their faith strengthened, its chapters are clearly a –

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AGNOSTIC JEWISH PHILOSOPHER FOUND JESUS AFTER READING THIS BOOK

(August 13, 2022) Mark Ellis shares the remarkable story of a martyred converted Jewish  philosopher… 

The German Jewish philosopher Edith Stein was born into an observant Jewish family on Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Hebrew calendar, also known as the Day of Atonement.

Despite her family’s strong faith, she became an agnostic in her teens and pursued an academic career, earning a doctorate in philosophy, summa cum laude, with her brilliant dissertation about empathy.

She joined the faculty of the University of Freiburg, where she became an assistant to Edmund Husserl, who had established the school of phenomenology.

‘This is the truth’
In the summer of 1921, Edith spent several weeks at the country estate of a pupil of Husserl’s who had converted to Christianity. One evening she picked up The Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila. Captivated, she read the book throughout the night.

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HITTING THE MISSION FIELD RUNNING – IN HIS SEVENTIES!

(August 12, 2022) Michael Ashcraft brings an encouraging example-for-all story…

Full of youthful energy and untiring passion, German Gastellum wanted a bigger ministry challenge to pour his indefatigable self into – the mission field of Villa del Rosario, Colombia, just across the border from socialism-scourged Venezuela.

Chasing souls with vigour in his 70s
He was a spry 72 then! Yes, you read that right. Seventy-two years old! That’s when he started. Now, he is 75!

‘God gives me the strength through the Holy Spirit,’ he told God Reports at a June Bible conference in Tucson. ‘And the body is healthy. I have been through sicknesses and covid and all that, and I have survived that because of the high defences I have. One, I have spiritual defences; I have prayer and the power of the Holy Ghost working in me, and then I have normal defences and they’re kind of synchronised.’

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HOTDOGS, DRAMA, AND PROCLAMATION!

(August 10, 2022) David McGuire, the missionary to Romania who uses his camera to ‘write’ reports, shares an update… 

With the Holy Spirit’s help and protection the thoughtful, caring team here is continuing to transport food to Ukraine, and to Ukrainian refugees here in Romania asisting them also.

Open doors
Indeed it’s been a weekly event to Ukraine, involving collecting from five different food depot locations in Romania and transporting to four in Ukraine! But our caring team members delight reaching out to our needy ‘neighbours’ as it’s a vital part of being a Christian (Luke 10:27).

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SPELUNKING!

(August 9, 2022) Richard Winter shares timely advice…

Let me share something from my childhood days.

I grew up just a few miles from the caves where a famous Australian Bushranger – bandit – hid while robbing gold carrying stagecoaches coming from the rich goldfields the state of Victoria. And my best friend and I often went splelunking together.

Splelunking? That’s going down holes in the ground, exploring caves that lead under the earth. Yes, it can be quite dangerous and it worried our mothers! But the nearby Captain Melville caves were just the start for us. Soon we heard about other places where we could go spelunking.

Then came Queen’s Scout days. That was a life of adventure and danger – isn’t that what all boys long for? Well, we did. There were no computers back then and life was best lived outside home – so off we went.

I loved those caves! In most cases you were exploring not only what’s under the earth but what was inside you! No mobiles in those days and one could be easily troubled by thoughts such as –

  • How will we get back?
  • Could we turn around the tight cavern corners?
  • If we need help, how can we get some way down here?
  • Do we have a plan for the worst-case scenario?

Entrapment caves
I’ve found that many people don’t like certain caves… but they’ve learned to dwell in them mostly by themselves or with a few family members or friends to help.

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MY ‘HEART’ MAY FAIL… BUT GOD IS MY STRENGTH!

(August 6, 2022) Brian Bell reflects on the ‘heart’ …

My thoughts turned recently to Asaph’s Psalm 73:26 which says, ‘My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart…’ 

Just as we also may do today, the psalmist was struggling with what we might call apparent ‘injustices’ of life.

My flesh
‘Fail’ seems to be in the sense ‘to falter in weakness’ and this suggests to me not simply a failing as in a sudden moment of pressure, or by reason of sustained pressure – think of an elastic band – but a weakness which is a tendency, having always been there and always will be.

‘Flesh’ in its literal sense refers to our physical bodies. I’ve known many people familiar with weaknesses of their physical body to a greater or lesser degree; some who were born with or acquired a disability, and more recently those with cancers which have destroyed their formerly healthy bodies.

Even those of us who may not presently be affected by a specific disability or illness and are fortunate to enjoy general good health, realise the experience of others is a sufficient testimony to the fact that our physical bodies can falter in weakness!

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WHAT BREAKTHROUGH DOES YOUR MIND MISS WHEN YOU’RE TOO BUSY?

(August 6, 2022) Mama Lava challenges our minds to hear God’s voice…

Have you ever been too busy to notice what was happening around you? Can you recall a time when you were so deep in thought you completely overlooked details that were right there? I sure have!

And it makes me wonder what breakthroughs our mind misses when we’re too busy?

Blinded by busyness, Example 1
Here’s an example from a recent experience (My apologies if this is TMI  ie too much information). I was seated on the porcelain throne at the time next to the bathtub. The shower curtain was closed and hung mere centimetres from my right shoulder.

I lingered there, physically. But my thoughts were elsewhere, occupied with mental lists, strategies and plans. When my business was done, I leaned over to flush. Because of the tight space, my face practically brushed the shower curtain.

My mind suddenly dropped all other thoughts and joined me in the moment! Something was not right! You know that feeling? My scream was choked into silence by my heart as it jumped into my throat to hide from the hockey puck-sized black spider just chillin’ on that white curtain.

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SET YOUR HEART ON THINGS ABOVE

(August 5, 2022) Carol Round encourages us to think deeper about life…

‘O Lord,’ I cried out, ‘be with him in this heat. And Lord, if he doesn’t know you personally, please place someone in his path who can lead him to you.’

My prayers were for a man who was striding across the bank’s parking lot toward a large grocery store.

What stirred my heart to pray for him was the heavy backpack he was toting and the sweat pouring down his face. In my heart, I was almost certain he was homeless.

As I drove away from the bank, I thought about the backpack weighing him down in the triple-digit heat. Was he toting all his worldly possessions with him? What was his story? Why was he out in the daytime heat? Where was he headed?

Where our heart leads us
Our hearts can lead us astray when we value worldly things over a relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s so easy to be seduced by today’s latest gadgets which can distract us from a simple life lived for Him.

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YOUR DECISION DETERMINES YOUR DESTINY!

(August 04, 2022) S. Sam Selva Raj challenges Christians to determine their destiny…

Everyone has a unique calling from God; He leads each of us in different ways. Our callings may be different – but the decisions we make determine our destination.

Take Elijah and Elisha for example… and Gehazi, Elisha’s helper.

1. Elijah
God called Elijah to serve as His prophet, and to challenge an evil king (1 Kings 17:1). His decision not to hold back determined his destination.

God’s choice is not necessarily based on one’s educational qualifications, financial standing or family background. Elijah’s qualification was that he was always ready to listen to God’s voice and do what He said.

Now Ahab, Israel’s king, was eviler than any king before him. He had God’s people worshipping Baal, a pagan god (I Kings 16:30-32)!

But God dealt with him through Elijah who was –

(i) Dutiful
Someone whose faith on God was very great, Elijah didn’t fear the consequences of presenting the Lord’s word to this evil king.

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‘COURAGE TO CONTINUE’

(July 26, 2022) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, challenges every Christian to be a role model…

One of the great world leaders many decades ago was Winston Churchill. Recently I came across a statement he made which made me stop and think. He said, ‘Failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.’  

1. Present experience
One of the things that has encouraged me in my ministry has been the courage of the prophets. One of their principle roles was to remind the people to live faithfully for God and to reject any ‘moral’ standard that opposed what He had revealed. Often the prophets were vigorously opposed as they declared what God had revealed. They were prepared to confront the ruling powers that were leading people away from God and they challenged the people to be faithful to God’s revealed truth.

They never preached compromise!

  • Isaiah didn’t mince his words when he declared,  ‘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).
  • Amos was told by the leading priest in Israel told Amos, ‘Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there’ (Amos 7:12).
  • Jeremiah, during his 40 years of ministry was physically attacked, insulted, imprisoned in a hole in the ground, and put on trial for the things he preached were not what the people wanted to hear. The king even destroyed the scroll containing God’s word that Jeremiah had written, but God told Jeremiah to rewrite it.

All those men were threatened and abused because their preaching did not agree with moral and religious values of their day.

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