Features

AVOIDING SPIRITUAL FAINTING SPELLS

(May 14, 2018) Ben Godwin brings a friendly encouragement …

My first hospital visit was a fiasco!

I was a teenage preacher and had never been in an Intensive Care Unit. The man I visited had open heart surgery and was on a ventilator. As I prayed for him, I was overcome by the sights, sounds and smells and became dizzy.

The room started spinning so I stepped into the hall to gather myself. I saw his wife, called her name, tried to shake her hand but blacked out and hit the floor!

Moments later, I regained my senses via smelling salts. So much for being God’s man of faith and power!

Fainting is ‘a loss of consciousness due to abnormal blood circulation.’ In a spiritual sense, to faint means ‘to lose heart or courage, to give up, or to quit.’ Many believers today suffer from spiritual fainting spells –they abandon their faith and give up on God.

 

 

 

 

Here are six main culprits: (more…)

JESUS MIRACULOUSLY HEALED WOMAN’S ‘INCURABLE’ CANCER

(May 11, 2018) Mark Ellis shares…

She was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow, which is considered incurable. But with Jesus-centred faith, prayer, and a powerful dream, God brought a miraculous healing that confounded her doctors.

‘They said I had three to five years to live,’ says Tecla Miceli. ‘It was dreadful and I was scared to death.’

Tecla grew up in Sicily and came to the USA as a 16-year-old with her parents. Fortunately the cancer was caught at an early stage. As she was opposed to chemotherapy doctors agreed to monitor the progression of the cancer with bone surveys and blood tests every 60 days.

‘The oncologist did a spinal and it came out at 17 blood plasma level and the threshold is 5,’ says Gary LaFerla who accompanied his mother to the doctor visits.

Alarming cancer cells increase
At 17%, doctors were willing to wait on the chemo. But after three years of monitoring Tecla, doctors noticed an alarming increase in cancer cells. ‘It was full blown cancer, at least 27% in her blood,’ Gary says.

Raised as a nominal Catholic, Tecla was born again through the influence of Gary and his sister Laura, who were involved at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, California.

Nicky Cruz, the former gang member, was speaking when Tecla visited Calvary Chapel for the first time. Moved by his message, she felt compelled to go forward. (more…)

THE FIBONACCI SEQUENCE

(May 2, 2018) Peter Fitzgerald challenges Christians in business, indeed every believer…

Fibonacci is amazing stuff; it involves something I was never very good at – mathematics.

In business marketing applying the mathematical principle of multiplication will work immensely more powerfully for you than the principle of addition.

Parallels can be found in the growth of Christianity (Acts 6:1), the spread of the gospel message (Mark 4:6; Acts 12:24), and God’s promise to bless his servant Abraham (Hebrews 6:14)… it’s plethuno – to increase, abound, multiply.

Heard of the Fibonacci Sequence?
It’s named after Italian mathematician Leonardo of Pisa, known as Fibonacci, who was considered ‘the most talented Western mathematician of the Middle Ages.’

Check out the Fibonacci sequence on Google (eg https://www.livescience.com/37470-fibonacci-sequence.html) and see some amazing multiplication in nature!

This growth sequence doesn’t go as we normally count – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and so on. It’s a series of numbers where a number is found by adding up the two numbers before itStarting with 0 and 1, the sequence goes 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, and so forth. Written as a rule, the expression is xn = xn-1 + xn-2.

(more…)

KEEP YOUR EYES ON JESUS

(April 21, 2018) Carol Round asks …

Do you find it difficult sometimes to keep your eyes on Jesus? I know I do.

When we find our lives spiralling out-of-control with unexpected illnesses, the death of a loved one, family dysfunction or worldwide uncertainty, it’s often easier to wring our hands in despair than to turn to the one who gave his life for us.

Jesus never promised us a life of luxury or one without pain and heartache. Look at his life, lived simply and ending in an agonising death. But he did promise to be with us during our trials.

Smiles from a servant’s heart
Recently, I was blessed to have lunch at an assisted living facility with a friend who will turn 90 later this year. As each of her table companions joined us to eat, Josie introduced me. I’m certain my friend is the oldest of the five women, but you wouldn’t have guessed it by her actions.

Before the others arrived and I could assist her, Josie had parked her walker and moved a chair from a nearby table and placed it next to hers – for me. When I realised her intent, I admonished her and said, ‘Josie, you should let me do that.

Then, when the last of our tablemates joined us, Josie rose to help manoeuvre her friend’s walker and pull back her dining room chair so she could be seated. When she returned to her seat, I said, ‘Josie, you have a servant’s heart.’ She just smiled. (more…)

IMPRISONED, TORTURED BY ISIS, CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY LED 40 TO CHRIST

(April 19, 2018) Mark Ellis reports…

Charged with being a spy, Czech missionary Petr Jasek endured a 14-month imprisonment in Sudan where he was tortured by fellow cellmates. But Jesus supernaturally imparted peace during his confinement and he became a bold witness, winning many to Christ.

In his role as the Africa regional director for Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), Jasek went to Sudan to document the persecution of Christians, which was happening in the Nubah Mountains in clashes between the government and rebels.

Imprisoned in a tiny cell
Jasek was detained by the Sudanese police at Khartoum Airport in December 2015. Seems immigration staff found a duplicate passport he carried for security purposes, which led to his immediate arrest and imprisonment.

 Petr Jasek

‘I was put in a cell at about 1:30 am,’ he told VOM. ‘It overcrowded, with people covering the floor. They had to squeeze around a little bit so they would create some small room for me to lie down on the floor. The conditions were sparse. I had no blanket… just two extra T-shirts, an extra pair of pants, toothbrush, toothpaste and soap; that was all.’

Guards had refused him blankets or a mattress. Because he was from the Czech Republic they told him they thought he should be used to cold weather.

At 5:30 am he was awakened by the Islamic call for prayer. All six of his cellmates began praying fervently. ‘They showed me a place behind them where I was supposed to stand while they were praying. The rule is that me as a Christian, I had to stay behind them so they would not look at me while they are praying.’ After the prayers, they identified themselves as DAESH, the Arabic acronym for ISIS. All his cellmates were ISIS fighters! (more…)

EIGHT PRESENT-TENSE BENEFITS OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST

(March 30, 2018) Mike Shreve reminds readers of eight great truths in respect of Jesus’ resurrection …

Most believers view the resurrection of the Lord Jesus either through a historical or a prophetical lens! They tend to either look backward to Jesus’ victory over the grave or look forward to the resurrection of believers at the conclusion of this age.

But seldom do believers grasp the present tense benefits that have come to us as a result of this spiritual conquest.

Here are eight powerful ones:

1. Deliverance from spiritual death
‘But God . . . because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ’ (Ephesians 2:4-5).

When Adam fell, he died spiritually and began dying physically. But when Jesus came out of the grave, believers were delivered from spiritual death right then When we received the resurrected Saviour in our hearts, the resurrection process began.So those who repent and turn to Jesus are first resurrected spiritually on their way to complete physical resurrection at the coming of the Lord. We are given a ‘new spirit’ (Ezekiel 36:26). (more…)

A CRIPPLE IN THE CASTLE

(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…)

REBELS WITHOUT A CAUSE

(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…)

BILLY GRAHAM –THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PREACHER OF THE 20TH CENTURY DIES

(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…)

FLIES-ON-THE-WALL AND THE SECRET LIFE OF SAINTS

(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…)