PRAYER CHANGES/CHARGES!

(November 11, 2020) Robert and Maureen McQuillan challenge:

Recently we heard an outstanding declaration by CS Lewis (portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins) in that great, heart-touching 1993 movie Shadowlands

  • ‘Prayer doesn’t change God – it changes me!’

Prayer is so important in the Christian’s life, a daily must as far as we’re concerned, something we’re into each morning over breakfast before we’re into the ‘whatevers’ the day brings forth. We’ll also find ourselves praying at different times during the day… about something arising in our own circumstances or about a request from someone (either known or unknown Christian, or a non-Christian stranger)… or in response to a leading by the Holy Spirit.

Prayer is…
1) Vital
Wigram’s Englishman’s Greek Concordance of the New Testament lists over 100 scriptures on prayer and praying. Jesus’ own prayer life is mentioned around 30 times in scripture (Jesus-Praying).

  • One key scripture is Luke 18:1 – Jesus urging that his disciples ‘should always pray and not give up.

(more…)

SECURITY… UNDER GOD’S WINGS

(November 3, 2020) Erica Grace, ex-missionary to South America, reminds us of a great truth!

What comfort to know that only under his wings we are always safe. Such on that day when we were nearly halfway between two cities in Bolivia, Sucre and Cochabamba, and our worst nightmare came true.

Winding our way around the high Andes Mountains, on very narrow roads, we came face to face with a huge lumber truck, full beyond capacity. It was coming down the same narrow road at full speed!

It was as if Psalm 73:19 – ‘In the blink of an eye, disaster! A blind curve in the dark, and – nightmare!’ – had become a reality!

Security in Jesus’ all-powerful name!
Chris only had a few seconds to get as close as he could to the side of the road.  As I looked out my window, I couldn’t see the edge of the road, only hundreds of metres of drop. The raging river down below looked like a tiny thread, that’s how high we were.

At that moment all we managed to utter wasJesus– reverently, prayerfully and calling for his help! (more…)

DO YOU LISTEN WITH YOUR HEART?

(November 3, 2020) Carol Round shares an important biblical-based discipline…

‘Make your ear attentive to wisdom. Incline your heart to understanding’ Proverbs 2:2 (NASB) and a recent devotional in The Upper Room about listening with the heart led me to meditate on the writer’s words.

Her husband had retired early because of Parkinson’s disease. Because his voice had become soft and monotone, his wife often had trouble understanding his speech. However, she said, ‘Our adult son always understands what his dad is saying.’

One day she asked her husband the difference between their son’s approach and hers. Her husband replied, ‘Our son listens with his heart.’

The writer realised her preoccupation with household duties meant she wasn’t listening intently enough to hear and understand her husband. She said, ‘His words fell on rocky ground. Our son listened intently with a joyful heart and was able to understand his father.’

Listening for God’s message
The writer began to wonder if she approached scripture in the same way as she did her husband. She wrote. ‘Sometimes, when I read the Bible, I become so preoccupied with my to-do list I don’t listen for God’s message.’ (more…)

THE POSITIVE OUTLOOK

(November 1, 2020) Brian Bell shares …

These are continuing uncertain and unstable days when people are naturally concerned about the outlook, as around the world we see Covid-19 infection rates rising and sadly more deaths, concern for their families and the repercussions of the economic impact brought about by the efforts of governments to deal with the pandemic.

Last month  I shared recently some thoughts on my time recovering from surgery (Link: God’s-Repair-Shop). Also, during that time I had been reading through the apostle Paul’s letters to the various churches.

I was drawn to Paul’s words as recorded in 2 Corinthians 7: 5-6 (NLT version) and I share here a few short thoughts by way of meditation and encouragement.

In verse 5 we read of Paul’s dilemma, ‘When we arrived in Macedonia there was no rest for us. Outside there was conflict from every direction, and inside there was fear’ and in verse 6, ‘But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus.’

Paul’s outward look
‘Conflict from every direction’ – do we who are in the Lord’s service today expect to find it anything different? For brevity I suggest two main sources of conflict… (more…)

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY!

(October 28, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares a scriptural warning…

Have you heard any gossip lately? More to the point, have you passed on any gossip lately?

I am using the word ‘gossip’ in the commonly understood sense of making derogatory and slanderous comments about other people.  While gossiping is endemic and ‘highly contagious’, it should find no place among Christians – but sadly it does!

Speaking against others
In his letter James made some pointed comments to the Christians in his day. He wrote, ‘Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it’ (James 4:11).

The Greek verb which has here been translated here as ‘slander’ literally means ‘speak against’ and James used it three times in this verse.  The word can refer to slander, gossip, insult, or to talking in ways that are belittling or damaging to others, or even to hinting at something concerning another person.

The J B Phillips translation of these words incisively states, ‘Never pull each other to pieces, my brothers.Paul and Peter gave a similar warning to the Christians to whom they wrote (2 Corinthians 12:20 and 1 Peter 2:1). (more…)

A RESTRAINING HAND; A PROTECTIVE GOD

(October 20, 2020) David McGuire, missionary to Romania, shares a testimony about God’s protection…

‘We don’t want you to go down there and help them other people,’ a short, dark man stormed threateningly.

On that warm Monday afternoon in the spring of 2000, my construction crew and I had just finished work on homes in this poor Gypsy settlement called the Valley, at the edge of the village of Albesti, Romania. Now we were being threatened by this irate man. His wife, brothers and cousins were all echoing his words.

‘If you go and help them people at the far end of the Valley, like you’ve been helping us, we’re going to beat you up,’ the angry Gypsy man told me through my interpreter.

To Romania with love
I’m an Englishman, born in Manchester and raised in Glossop, a small town nearby.  Being a builder, when God called me to serve him in Romania, I responded with a desire to use my skills to help in every way I could and for over 20 joyous years I’ve been doing so. It was here that I had met and married Rodica. We have a lovely daughter, Sabrina.

House building for the poor has been since 1998 and spread over many villages. Dreams from the Lord about running a ‘feeding with Bible stories to kids’ program in several villages and linking with local churches became part of our outreach. We would buy Bible cartoon DVD stories DVDs for kids showing them as we would feed them in local buildings. Watching these cartoons was a first exposure to the Bible for kids from non-Christian families. And, we praise God, they responded well!

 

 

 

David, Rodica and Sabrina

Poor parents were also being touched by God and we would move on from village to village. But… well do I recall one dangerous day in the Albesti village when I was threatened by the man mentioned above! (more…)

STORMS OF LIFE? JESUS CARES!

(October 24, 2020) Robert and Maureen McQuillan remind readers that Jesus truly cares…

Life is like a terrifying storm to several at this pandemic time – including some Christians!

And not just because of uncertainties regarding loss of income, delayed/postponed desperately needed operations, increased crime, unruly behaviour in our streets and beaches, lockdown, and such.

Many, including some church leaders, are concerned about the future… and seemingly unanswered prayers. We’ve had some share feelings of ‘I don’t know what I’m meant to be doing… now or in future days. Doesn’t Jesus care?’

Doesn’t Jesus care?
What an audacious, unwarranted question! Of course, he cares!

Remember the Mark 4 incident where Jesus directed his disciples to cross over the lake by boat to a different region?

Verse 37Message recounts that ‘A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it.’  Verse 38a appears to casually mention that in all this fury ‘Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping!’  Then we read that the obviously frightened disciples ‘woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”’

See the bigger picture here… Jesus’ friends are accusing him of not caring! And with the storm raging around them, they would not have been gently whispering in his ear! No, this would have been a harsh, possibly screaming frantic, ‘Hey! Don’t you care?’ And no acknowledgement of his status as either Rabbi, Teacher or Friend! (more…)

IN DEFENSE OF ‘WHINGERS’

(October 19, 2020) Erica Grace, ex-missionary to South America, challenges us to really care for others.

As we were waiting for the bell to ring, the children were running all over the school playground. Suddenly ‘Adam’ (not real name) tripped and fell down the concrete steps, right by my feet.

 I reached down to help him but his mother stopped me, saying, ‘He’ll be right. I don’t want him to be a whinger.’  Then she turned to Adam and said, ‘Get up, Adam. Men don’t cry!’

My eyes followed little Adam as he got up and limped behind a bush to rub his little knees and wipe away his tears.  Yes, little Adam will never become a whinger.

People need to share!
A few days later I sat waiting for a bus at the Ringwood station. We were having a heat wave and even the shade was hot. Suddenly an elderly lady came from nowhere and sat right next to me, so close to me that she was in fact sitting on the edge of my dress!

In my heart I felt annoyed, she had so much bench space; why sit so close on such a hot day.

I admit that I was thinking of pulling my dress from under her… but that first reaction was to change quickly when she suddenly turned her deeply lined face to me and said in a loud, anguished voice: ‘I just came from my nephew’s funeral. He was only 26. If only he had been able to talk to someone, he wouldn’t have committed suicide.’

(more…)

THAT CLEVER GOD

(October 11, 2020) Jerry Wiles shares…

In 1967 in Kabul, Afghanistan, I was introduced to some new and different customs and cultural dynamics.  Being stationed at an Air Force base in a neighbouring country, I had the opportunity of traveling to several surrounding countries in that part of the world. 

During those years, I became somewhat aware of the geo-political issues in the region.  In subsequent years I got connected with people doing business and mission work in the region. 

The Lord was using those experiences and relationships to prepare me for something I could not have foreseen at the time.

God’s mission strategy
Most of the decade of the 1980s I worked with an international publishing and broadcasting ministry. 

During the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, we were involved in some mission work in the same region.  In partnership and collaboration with medical and relief organisations, we were able to distribute Bibles and gospel literature among the Mujahideen freedom fighters and in the refugee camps of Northwest Pakistan. 

Over the course of those efforts we made some encouraging and amazing discoveries. 

Surprised by the work of God
The USSR was assigning known Christian troops to duty in Afghanistan, which was the most undesirable place of service in their military complex at the time! (more…)

MASKS, RESTRICTIONS AND GLORIOUS ASSURANCE

For some of us, face masks trigger old memories. 

As children way back in WW2 days we were so pleased to receive our gasmasks.  It was comforting to carry your mask with you, but to wear it was a different matter.

Yes, you felt more secure and it was comfortably shaped when you put it on,  but immediately you put the mask on the visor steamed up, which meant you couldn’t see much and although you could shout through it your voice was muffled, so it was hard for anyone to understand what you were trying to say!

There are times when life imposes restrictions on us. Today we find ourselves in another time of masks needing to be wore – different masks admittedly, but with restrictions. (more…)