GLEANINGS (January 12, 2017):
- COLOMBIAN AIR CRASH – Soccer team survivor ‘under God’s wings’
- THE LAWS OF THE LIGHTHOUSE – Pure wisdom!
- A HAPPY NEW YEAR? – Make it one of prayer!
- HEROES OF FAITH – God can use anyone
- SATAN’S STRONGHOLDS – Smash his footholds now!
SURVIVOR HELD BIBLE DURING SOCCER TEAM AIR CRASH
Mark Ellis, Senior Correspondent for ASSIST reports a great testimony…
One of the few survivors of a crash involving a Brazilian soccer team’s charter flight to Medellin was holding his Bible and reading Psalm 63 at the time of the crash.
Helio Neto (31) was one of six survivors of the crash, which claimed the lives of 71 people, including many players and staff from the Chapecoense team from southern Brazil, one of Brazil’s top teams.
A strong Christian
Helio Neto (left) is a strong Christian who carries his Bible everywhere. ‘It’s the first thing he takes when he travels,’ his wife Simone told the Daily Mail. His tattered Bible also survived the crash and was retrieved by Simone.
The British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, operated by a charter airline named LaMia, declared an emergency and lost radar contact just before 10pm on November 28. Authorities discovered the plane had run out of fuel as it approached the outskirts of Medellin.
The appearance of the crash scene – on a rugged mountain slope – reveals the plane smashed into small pieces. At first glance, it appears that no one could have possibly survived. But one soccer player was hidden in the shadow of God’s wings.
Neto was reading Psalm 63, which says: ‘On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night; Because you have been my help; Then I will rejoice in the shadow of your wings.’
While Neto plays central defender on his team, he also had a mighty Defender in the heavenlies, an ever-present help in his time of distress.
Pulled out of the wreckage and transported to Rio Negro hospital in Medellin, Neto spent nine days in a drug-induced coma and on a ventilator. He came out of the coma and off the ventilator December 9. His first question was about the outcome of the soccer team’s game.
Helio Neto being pulled from the wreckage
The night before the accident Neto had a prophetic dream that the plane would crash. ‘Probably he will talk with you about this, but he had a dream the day before the trip. He dreamed that the aircraft was falling, a very dramatic thing, and he told he wife that he didn’t want to fly,’ Dr Mendonca said. ‘So this affected him a lot. It was a really shocking thing.’
Doctors described Neto’s condition as ‘delicate’ and he must have surgery on his lungs, skull, knees and wrists.
Mark Ellis is founder of www.GodReports.com a website that shares stories, testimonies and videos from around the world.
THE LAWS OF THE LIGHTHOUSE
Ed Delph shares another thought-provoker…
Have there been moments in your work place or personal life when you thought you were right, and did not see the need to change, only to face a big disaster? Many of you have heard of the following anecdote which illustrates the perils of stubbornness and the need to change. Read on!
In U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, the magazine of the Naval Institute, Frank Koch illustrates the importance of obeying the Laws of the Lighthouse.
As night fell, collision ahead…
Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on manoeuvres in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities.
Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing reported, ‘Light, bearing on the starboard bow.’ The captain called out ‘Is it steady or moving astern?’ and the lookout replied, ‘Steady, Captain,’ which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship.
The captain then called to the signalman, ‘Signal that ship: “We are on a collision course, advise you change course twenty degrees.” ‘
Back came the signal, ‘Advisable for you to change course twenty degrees.’ The captain said, ‘Send: “I’m a captain, change course twenty degrees.”’
‘I’m a seaman second-class,’ came the reply. ‘You had better change course twenty degrees.’
By that time the captain was furious. He spat out, ‘Send: “I’m a battleship. Change course twenty degrees.”’
Back came the flashing light, ‘I’m a lighthouse.’ We changed course!
Smart move, huh?
I like that title, the Laws of the Lighthouse. We don’t break the laws, the laws break us. Our hubris, determination, blind vision, selfish search for significance, stubbornness or ignorance running full speed ahead in our battleship of life is no match for the solid rock the lighthouse sits on.
Author Max Lucado says: ‘The Laws of the Lighthouse contains immutable, immovable truths. Real light houses have four characteristics: They warn you of potential danger. They signal safe harbour. They are stronger than the storm. They shine brightest in the fog.
The Laws of the Lighthouse contain more than good ideas, personal preferences, personal quests and honest opinions. They are God-given, time-tested truths defining the way we should navigate our life. Observe them and enjoy secure passage. Ignore them and crash against the ragged rocks of reality. The wise captain shifts the direction of his craft according to the signal of the lighthouse. A wise person does the same.’
Yes, there are immovable, immutable truths in life we all need to be aware of. Choices do have consequences. Many times truth makes us miserable first but saves our lives second. Someone once said, ‘You don’t break the Ten Commandments…the Ten Commandments break you.’ That’s hard on our hubris and current pop thinking, isn’t it? Many of us have been raised with the attitude of: ‘I know everything and what I don’t know won’t hurt me.’ Sounds like the battleship, doesn’t it?
Challenge for the wise
Let me ask you some personal questions concerning the Law of the Lighthouse from life coach HT Lee:
- What could represent the battleship and lighthouse in my life or workplace?
- What would or could happen if nothing is changed/moved?
- What cannot be changed/moved?
- What can be changed/moved?
- Where do I need to be more open to possibilities that are unknown?
- How can I cultivate more wisdom and flexibility so I can steer skilfully out of danger?
That’s great advice!
Remember, the reason God sent Jesus was so we could arrive in the safe harbour of an eternal life. Jesus warns you of potential danger. Jesus signals a safe harbour. Jesus is stronger than the storm. Jesus shines brightest in the fog.
Remember too what was said before? ‘The wise captain shifts the direction of his craft according to the signal of the lighthouse. A wise person does the same.’
Dr Ed Delph is president of Nationstrategy, an organisation with the strategy of envisioning and empowering today’s leaders in the church to be some of tomorrow’s leaders in the community. Links: firstname.lastname@example.org / http://www.nationstrategy.com
LET’S START A PRAYER REVOLUTION IN 2017
Carol Round, Special to ASSIST encourages…
I Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV) says, ‘I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness‘
Unless you have no access to media, you know that the word ‘divisive’ would best describe last year. Lines were drawn. Anger increased and hate-filled words filled the airwaves and appeared on Internet sites.
Christians were not exempt
I don’t want to dwell on the ugliness, but we, as Christians, need to seek unity, stand firm in our faith, show grace to those who do not and hold our leaders – at all levels – accountable. But even more important, there’s one more thing we must do. We must pray for the wisdom and well-being of our elected leaders.
We can learn from the words found in Ezekiel 22:30: ‘I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.’
We are the ones who must stand in the gap for our leaders. We must lift up our nation – wherever we live – with all the faults before the throne of God and pray that he continues to work in our midst.
In The Battle Plan for Prayer by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, the authors write: ‘Since the influence of people in these positions can cause such a ripple effect, and because their various roles are fraught with hard choices and difficulty, the Bible commands us to pray for all those in leadership over us. We must pray “for their salvation, for their ability to lead or govern, for their commitment to the highest standards and priorities, both personally and professionally.”’
Stand in the gap
If ‘our’ candidate was not elected, we shouldn’t harbour resentment. We must pray for ourselves as well. Regardless of any election outcome, we are all affected by the choices our leaders make. The choice we make, whether to pray for our leaders or continue to bemoan election results, ultimately affects our future and the future of our great nations.
The Kendricks write, ‘So prayer creates a revolutionary spin on the natural tendency to resist or resent authority. God’s call for us is to realise that unless they are asking us to sin, our obeying of authority (in all other situations) is actually obeying him. And by praying for those in authority, we are working in the best interest of everyone.
‘By faithfully praying for your country’s top leaders and elected officials, even those whose views differ from yours, knowing their leadership touches the lives of the many people under their jurisdiction. God still uses imperfect authorities to carry out his perfect purposes (John 19:11; Acts 4:24-28). The Lord, of course, is able to turn the heart of a ruler (Prov. 21:1), and our impassioned prayers and petitions are part of how he does it.’
Join me in starting a prayer revolution in the New Year!
Carol Round, Special to ASSIST, follows her passion of using her writing and speaking abilities to inspire others. Recommended: Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God. Link: Carol’s A Matter of Faith weekly column: email@example.com / www.carolaround.com
Recommended: Carol Round’s Nana’s 3 Jars – a great children’s book on giving, saving, spending, faith and generosity – http://www.amazon.ca/Nanas-3-Jars-Giving-Generously/dp/0692280197.
GOD USES ANYBODY WHO HAS FAITH
Harold Harvey shares a 2017 encouragement …
Hebrews eleven is known to us as the chapter of Heroes of the Faith.
We can expect to find such people as Moses, Abraham, Sara, Moses and Noah to be listed among them for their stories and achievements were arrived at through faith.
But what is surprising are a couple of other people about whom many would think twice about listing as heroes of faith…
Rahab the prostitute
Rahab had heard of the victories Israel had after their deliverance from Egypt and she was convinced her own city of Jericho would suffer the same fate for God was with Joshua and his people. She not only believed in God (although believing in God did nothing to improve her morality – she was still a harlot) but that he was with the Israelites and that was what actually saved her and her family.
So, because Rahab believed that God would enable the Israelites to conquer the city of Jericho, she hid the spies – an act of faith on her part which led to her deliverance. Her arrangement with the spies was that she would tie a scarlet cord (or thread) in the window of her house so that the attacking Israelites would save alive all those in the house marked by the scarlet thread.
This is much the same way as those who believe in the shed blood of Christ (‘the scarlet thread’) to atone for our sins are saved from the wrath of God against sin on Judgment Day.
If any reader doesn’t know Jesus as Saviour, I urge you to be sure the ‘scarlet thread’ of Christ’s atoning blood avails for your soul on Judgment Day. It needs to avail today – but it will be too late on Judgment Day.
Jacob the schemer
Another surprise, when we consider his history, is the inclusion of Jacob among the heroes of faith. Although he is somewhat honoured in the title of God who is the ‘God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,’ his name means ‘supplanter’ – ‘schemer’ and ‘heel catcher.’ When he and his twin brother, Esau, were born he was holding onto Esau’s heel as if to prophetically demonstrate that he would take his place. It so happened that Jacob would take Esau’s place with respect to getting Esau’s larger share of their father’s inheritance.
Here is how that loss occurred. Esau returned home famished from the day’s unsuccessful hunting. Jacob was cooking a lentil stew which to Esau’s nostrils smelt really good. He asked his brother for some of the stew. Jacob saw this as his big opportunity to deprive his brother of his inheritance and said, ‘I’ll give you some stew if you will sell me your birthright (the elder son’s inheritance).’ Esau replied with, ‘What’s the good of an inheritance if I die from starvation in the meantime!
So, Esau ‘despised the inheritance’ and sold it out for ‘a mess of pottage.’ It was foolish of Esau we might say but what of Jacob? Surely he was indeed a schemer and conniver.
Later we have the account in Genesis 32 where Jacob meets an angel of God. The two wrestle and Jacob holds onto his opponent for dear life. The angel appeals to Jacob to loose his hold for daybreak was approaching. Jacob said he will not let loose his hold unless the angel blessed him.
The angel did so and told Jacob his name was no longer Jacob but Israel ‘for as a prince’ he had wrestled with God and had prevailed: he had power with God and with men (Genesis 32:28).
Further, Jacob worshipped God when dying (Heb. 11: 21) because, now Israel, he believed God would honour his promise made to his grandfather Abraham that he would multiply extensively his descendants and give them the land of Canaan.
These two accounts show us that, in the economy of God, he is able to use whoever he chooses!
Morals were suspect in the cases of Rahab and Jacob above, but what worked in their favour was that they both believed God and acted accordingly.
We all have something that can cause us to think God can’t use us – but he’s God and he can! And will as we believe and act! 2017 moves on!
Harold Harvey, Koongamia, WA, has ministered in Foursquare Church and Christian Revival Crusade churches and is currently a minister in the Australian Christian Churches. Now retired – though not believing in ministerial retirement – he continues ministry with weekly write-ups (Beams of Light), link: firstname.lastname@example.org Adapted from a recent Beams of Light.
DON’T GIVE THE DEVIL A FOOTHOLD!
Rick Warren gives good advice for 2017…
When you give the devil a foothold into your life, he takes a stronghold. What does that mean? If you give Satan control of one little part of your life, he will soon take over the whole thing. You give him a foothold into your life, and he turns it into a stronghold.
Let me explain it this way: On D-Day, Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy. It was critical that they establish a beachhead – that is, a foothold on the beach that would allow them to set up a staging area to bring in more men and equipment for the battle. From that tiny foothold, the Allied forces were able to push inland in an effort to liberate France.
But Satan isn’t trying to liberate you!
He wants to establish a foothold in your life in order to take over more and more of your life. Once he gets deep enough into an area of sin, he turns the foothold into a stronghold, and that makes it harder for you to take back control of your life.
How does Satan get a foothold in your life? In Ephesians 4:27, the example is anger, but it could be any negative emotion. If you fill your life with worry, he’s gained a foothold in your life. If you fill your life with resentment, he’s gained a foothold in your life. If you allow guilt to turn into shame, Satan has a foothold in your life.
The apostle Paul says the best way to deal with these negative emotions is immediately. He says, ‘Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Do not give place to the devil’ (Eph. 4:26-27, MEV).
Deal with it immediately!
You make a choice to deal with it right away.
Otherwise, the negative emotion will fester in your heart and give Satan the opportunity to establish a foothold in your life.
- What negative emotion have you allowed the devil to use to take a foothold in your life? Or what emotion has the potential to become a foothold for the devil?
- What does it mean for a negative emotion to fester in your life?
- How can you be proactive about dealing with negative emotions that may arise in your life?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of pastors.com, a global internet community for pastors.
Disclaimer: Articles, as well as the sources linked to, do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ConnectingwithYou! Our thanks mainly to Dan Wooding, ASSIST (www.assistnews.net) and other news sources for timely gleanings