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STRUGGLING WITH DISAPPOINTMENT?

(October 14, 2021) Mama Lava shares great hope…

This post is going to write itself because I write it with tears running down my cheeks!

I had awakened with happy expectation. This was the day I had been looking forward to for quite a while because it had been entirely set aside for the enjoyment of a long-awaited opportunity. It had been circled on the calendar of my heart and anticipated with a child-like giddiness.

But… it quickly became apparent that the day wasn’t going to happen according to plan. Disappointment surged in, uninvited and unruly.

God could also change the circumstance… but I didn’t want to be further disappointed if he chose not to. I wanted him to change my attitude. Quite frankly, that day was simply the most recent in a string of struggles with disappointment. I wanted God to show me the lesson I had been needing to learn so that these kinds of situations would not hinder me anymore.

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GOD IS PERFECT IN ALL HIS WAYS

(October 12, 2021) Carol Round reminds us that…

… God is indeed perfect! And that his Son, Jesus, declared it in Matthew 5:48, challenging us to be perfect too: ‘Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.’

Confession time
I’m a Christian, but not perfect. I make mistakes and I mess up – sometimes big time. But God’s grace is bigger than my sins. And, for that, I am grateful.

As a recovering perfection seeker, I know what it’s like to strive to do and to be perfect. The only thing I accomplished, in the end, was my own unhappiness. The more I tried, the more I was burdened to maintain what I thought being perfect meant – ‘a state of flawlessness, without defect.’ For humans, that is impossible!

Jesus is talking to his disciples – the Sermon on the Mount, and Matthew 5:48 however can be puzzling to some. It was for me… until I read different translations of this verse and a commentary.

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IN GOD’S GOOD TIME

(September 5, 2021) Samuel Thomas (* Note: Not real name but good friend of Dr Robert and Pr Maureen McQuillan) praises God…

As I reflect over the last few years, I recall being advised by quite a few folk that I was too old (I’m now 64) to work any longer, especially due to medical issues.

What? I thought, believing that Jesus Christ wants me to share his good news until I die… especially still in the work force!

I had been a senior consultant with a multinational company specialising in sales and customer service for about 10 years. Prior to this position I was an executive, real estate consultant and franchise owner for over 20 years.

My faith in Jesus Christ has been front of mind and spirit for most of my life.

Refusing to accept the negatives
I refused to think that Jesus Christ wanted me to quit job hunting and sought advice and prayers from a few Christian friends.

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WHY DO WE COMPLAIN SO MUCH?

(September 4, 2021) Carol Round challenges us about grumbling…

Most people probably aren’t aware of how much they grumble!

James had something to say about complaining – ‘Friends, don’t complain about each other. A far greater complaint could be lodged against you, you know. The Judge is standing just around the corner’ (James 5:9Mge).

I used to laugh when my dad used that expression, which originated, according to some sources back to medieval times when people had to be hung with a new rope to ensure it didn’t break. The idiom became a satirical way of chastising those who tend to complain even about the most trivial things.

Thus, the irony of complaining about the roughness of new rope around the neck when one should be really worrying about the much more important matter of being executed.

Without realising it, griping can become a habit, leading to overlooking the good in life and in others.

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FINISHING WELL

(September 2, 2021) Brian Bell encourages finishing the race of life…

Exciting and yet in the current climate, challenging as the 2020 rescheduled Olympic Games in Japan may have proved, they may not have been your favourite ‘must watch’ event of 2021 to date.

In 1 Timothy 4:8, Paul tells Timothy that ‘Bodily exercise is of some benefit, but godliness with contentment is of greater gain.’

While I believe the apostle’s words about bodily exercise were specifically directed to Timothy’s situation, as with all scripture we too may benefit from its general exhortation.

Paul’s words remind us about priority (a common theme in scripture) our aim as believers is for ‘God likeness’ in our attitudes and daily living but if we are able to take physical exercise, it is good to do so within our limitations.

Keep going
At the 1968 Olympic Games held in Mexico City, Tanzania was represented in the marathon by John Stephen Akhwari. Part way through the race, Akhwari fell and was injured. He decided to get bandaged up and continue, which he did, finishing in last place over an hour behind the other runners.

 When interviewed later Akhwari was asked, ‘Why did you bother to get up and finish the race’ to which his reply was ‘My country didn’t send me to Mexico to start the race, they sent me to finish.’

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MEDICAL EMERGENCY: VISION OF HEAVEN AND HELL

Mark Ellis shares a good news story…

As a self-made man focused on providing an abundant lifestyle for his family, Jim Woodford had no place for God in his life.

However, Jim is married to a strong Christian, Lorraine, who prayed for him diligently, according to a report by CBN. ‘God please change his heart,’ she prayed. ‘Bring him to know Jesus Christ and just make a change in him and deal with this materialistic way.’

‘Break him or remake him’
Jim was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome at age 61, a rare, incurable autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system erroneously attacks the peripheral nerves and damages their myelin insulation.

The syndrome results in ‘unremitting, electrical current pain in every part of my body, accompanied with paralysing inability to move,’ Jim (right. Photo: CBN screenshot) told CBN. Lorraine saw changes in his personality as the condition worsened. ‘He was just getting to be a very angry person. The pain was just consuming him.’

Despite the ordeal, Jim refused to turn to God. At a certain point, Lorraine began to get impatient. She said, ‘God, I’ve been praying, but I haven’t seen any change. Maybe you just have to break him to remake him.’

In April 2014, Jim went to inspect a field he wanted to sell. To manage his pain that day, he had taken four times the normal dosage for his medication. As he sat in his truck, he felt a burning sensation in his legs.

‘Forgive me, God’

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‘MANY CLAIM TO HAVE UNFAILING LOVE BUT…

(August 8, 2021) Geri B brings an insightful challenge…

… a faithful man who can find?’ asks the wise Solomon in Proverbs 20:6.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ‘faithful’ as ‘steadfast in affection or allegiance, firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty, full of faith.’

In James’ epistle faith is intrinsically linked to deeds…  ‘What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such faith save them?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds’ (James 2:14, 17-18). 

Hebrews 11 mentions those who lived their lives in faith by their deeds and we are exhorted to live in the same manner – whatever the circumstances we find ourselves in and the outcome.

However there is someone not mentioned in that chapter who also epitomises a life of faith… but he is often overlooked because of the woman he married.  However I would like to briefly examine his life to gain a little insight into what it can mean to live a faithful, full-of-faith life.  The ‘faith-ful’ life he lived was one of having the fear of God, being obedient and evidencing humility.

1. Fear
I speak of Joseph, a godly and righteous man, a descendant of King David, introduced in the book of Matthew as the fiancé of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  He was also a kind and gracious man who did not want to expose Mary to public disgrace by breaking their engagement due to her pregnancy, even though by the law he had every right to do so.

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WALKING THE TALK

(August 8, 2021) Carol Round challenges us to ask God’s will for our lives…

Our pastor often asks the congregation the following question: ‘Do you know who you are and to whom you belong?’

In other words, do we belong to the world, or do we belong to Jesus Christ?

Belonging to the world means we’re not following the example of our Saviour and Lord. If we claim to be a Christian, yet let ourselves be swayed by the world’s values, we can’t walk the talk. While none of us is perfect, it requires us to walk in love to follow Jesus’s example.

In 2020, contemporary Christian artist, Josh Wilson released a song called Revolutionary.  I love the lyrics. In part, he sings about our differences and that we don’t always agree on everything. He says that doesn’t mean we have to be enemies. Maybe we need be brave, take a leap of faith, call a truce, and find a better way, he adds.

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READY TO HANG MYSELF, BIBLE APPEARS IN MY CELL

(July 22, 2021) Scott Bailey (prison I.D. left) shares his testimony…

‘I’m not going to survive this. There’s nothing left to live for. I give up!’

Through tears I fashioned a noose from the bed sheet, eyeing the light fixture at the top of my cell. It should hold me I thought. What was there left to live for? I had failed in every area of my life, withdrawal from drug addictions would probably kill me anyway. I prepared to end my life. I had become a prisoner of my own making.

Cancer death sentence
Years earlier, I had received a blow that changed my life forever… My doctor told me, ‘Scott, you have a rare cancer called Mucadermal Carcinoma. Due to the rapid growth of the tumour in your lymph nodes, you have one to three years maximum to live.’

He had removed a large tumour located near my brain, nerves had been nicked and the right side of my face was paralysed. All I could hear echoing in my ears was the death sentence. Reeling from shock, I recounted the beginning of my drug addiction 15 years earlier.

What was once a ‘party addiction’ of heroin, cocaine and pills now became a way of life, massive amounts. It didn’t matter; I was going to die anyway. I pushed away those who loved me. I became so strung-out that I kept a syringe of heroin in the drawer waiting for me so that when I woke up in cold sweats in the middle of the night.

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LORD, WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?

(July 20, 2021) Carol Round challenges us to ask God’s will for our lives…

Most of us are familiar with the story of Saul, the persecutor of the early Christians, how he was struck down struck down on the road to Damascus.

Acts 9:3-6 NKJV records that ‘Suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord? …What do you want me to do?’

After being struck down on the road to Damascus, he was used by God and eventually became the apostle, Paul.
 
Paul discovered God’s gospel truth and God’s will for his life. He then spent the rest of his days spreading the message of the good news and planting churches throughout the Mediterranean world.  
 
The apostle determined God’s will for his life with one important question: ‘What do You want me to do, Lord?’

It’s the question every one of Christ’s followers should be asking.

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