(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, 2017) 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.
(March 17, 2018) Robert and Maureen McQuillan challenge fearful Christians…
Hic sunt dracones – Here be dragons!
Some people think that ancient globes depicted dragons as warnings of the unknown ahead in unexplored territories. Not so! Well… one did – the tiny copper European 1510AD Hunt-Lenox globe.
Paper maps were different. It was the medieval practice to depict sea monsters, beasties and other fearsome mythological creatures beside uncharted areas: cartographers of ancient maps adapted this to indicate possible dangers ahead.
Hic sunt dracones – Here be dragons! was the warning to brave explorers, adventurers and land pioneers who, like our modern Star Trek heroes, dared ‘to boldly go where no one has gone before.’
Ancient dragons were mere mythical fantasy!
But as the church determinedly moves forward in 2018 – ‘boldly going where no one has gone before’ (or should have gone by now!) – Christians will do well to remember the general warning of dangers ahead in that ancient line, Here be dragons! (more…)
(February 28, 2018) Robert and Maureen McQuillan write…
Like this Gypsy Smith quote below? It’s from the cover of Stuart Reynold’s latest book, Getting Ready for Revival.
A challenge for every Christian, not to think ’Maybe I’ll do something later’ but to act on now!
One of Oxford Dictionary meanings of ‘Revival’ is: ‘A reawakening of religious fervour, especially by means of evangelistic meetings.’
It’s been many years since the days of genuine ‘religious fervour’ in churches with regular testimonies of sinners saved, lives changed, growth in one’s faith, sick people healed at every meeting.
Something has been missing for some time; church life has definitely changed! We’ve become too sophisticated, too locked into restricting ‘in-house’ systems, and the absence of the unchurched.
That golden oldie, Give Me That Old Time Religion, declaring salvation being good enough for everybody; loving one another; taking us to heaven; and ‘it’s good enough for me’ had something going for it!
In respect of something being missing in many churches (not all of course, praise God!); perhaps the following is on your mind too … (more…)
(February 25, 2018) Brian Bell challenges…
One of my favourite songs contains a chorus which includes the phrase ‘It always makes a difference when Jesus passes by…’
The message of the song is derived from specific instances in the life of Jesus. The brief meditation I share here is based on one – with suggestions as to how he made a difference and how we may try to follow his example.
Our daughter was married back in 2002 and I well remember the effort we made and (to be honest) the money spent to try to ensure the wedding guests were comfortable and would enjoy their meal.
Remember the incident of the wedding in Cana of Galilee (John chapter 2)? Let’s recall how the presence of Jesus ensured the guests Cana guests were able to continue enjoying the wedding. (more…)
(February 25, 2018) George Forbes, missionary spokesperson, brings a pre-Easter challenge…
The verses in chapter five written by the apostle James in his short letter have been encouraging to me over the years.
James uses the illustration of a farmer waiting patiently for the autumn and spring rains to remind believers of the patience required of them as they wait for the second coming of Christ.
‘Therefore be patient, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and has long patience for it, until he receives the early and the latter rain. You also be patient, establish your hearts, for the coming of your Lord draws near’ (James 5:7-8 MKJV). (more…)
(February 22, 2018) Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service, shares some very personal reminisces…
American evangelist Billy Graham – a confidant to presidents, a guiding light to generations of American Christians and a world-travelling preacher who saw millions give their lives to Christ, died today (Wednesday, February 21), at the age of 99.
Dr Graham, who was known as ‘America’s Pastor’ passed away at his home in Montreat, North Carolina.
‘The skinny preacher with the booming voice evangelised to nearly 215 million people over six decades and prayed with US presidents from Harry Truman to Barack Obama,’ said CNN. ‘Several presidents, including Lyndon Johnson, George W Bush and Bill Clinton, relied closely on his spiritual counsel.’
A dynamic young Billy Graham preaching
Billy Graham was the reason I got into journalism
But on a personal side, it was 50 years ago in London, England, when I got my first job in journalism. It was with The Christian, an historic British newspaper that the Graham Association had bought and modernised. (more…)
(February 22, 2018) Stuart Reynolds challenges …
‘Flies-on-the-wall’ documentaries are not new – if our television broadcast schedules are anything to go by, we can’t get enough of them!
And with the rapid progress of camera technology, such broadcasts have become deeper, clearer, even truer, spawning a whole new breed for our watching – from The Secret Life of Pets to The Secret Life of 4 & 5 Year Olds,’ and, if you really want it, The Secret Life of Books and even of Buildings!
What about The Secret Life of Saints? What would ‘flies-on-the-wall’ learn and admire… or be unimpressed by?
Watchman Nee wrote: ‘This is the test. How much of my life is seen? When men look on the surface, have they seen the whole, or is there more? Have I, in the unseen, a secret history with God?’ (more…)