THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS MY FRIEND

(May 2, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan comment on some realities:

‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’ is a saying quoted every now and then. Particularly when we hear of certain nations – normally considered enemies, or could-be enemies, that no one ever envisaged working together – suddenly becoming friends against a possible new enemy.

Actually it’s ancient proverb going back to the 4th century BC, suggesting that two opposing parties can or should work together against a common enemy. Evidently, the first recorded use of the current English version was in 1884.

A classic example was the tension in WW2 Europe common between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union. Both US President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill were wary of Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union leadership. But despite their inherent differences, they recognised a need to work together to meet the threat of Hitler’s leadership and Nazi aggression. They developed foreign policies with an understanding that Soviet cooperation was necessary for the Allied war effort to succeed.

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WORDS OF LIFE (#G1) THE WORD – LOGOS

(April 26, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, noted theologian, begins a series on selected Greek words…

Many of the words we use end in ‘ology,’ for example, theology, psychology, geology, etc. That suffix comes from the Greek word logos which means ‘word’ and it is one of the most theologically significant words in the Bible. To our way of thinking a ‘word’ is merely a building block which, when combined with others, becomes a means of communication.  However in biblical understanding a word is so much more than that.

The noun logos is related to the verb laleo which means ‘to speak.’  It is significant that in the New Testament logos is used over 300 times: the KJV normally translates it as ‘word’ although it also uses other expressions such as ‘account’ and ‘speech.’  (Another Greek word that is translated ‘word’ is rhema but we shall not examine that here).   (more…)

LOST DREAMS AND HOPES?

(April 23, 2017) Maureen McQuillan brings a great encouragement …

When you were very young did you have dreams and hopes about what life had to offer you?

I remember as a little girl sitting on the doorstep of our small home in a little country town back in Northern Ireland and dreaming of travelling faraway and – well, many other things too.

I guess we all did something similar. But I wonder… perhaps life has had its disappointments and today you’re sitting somewhere looking back – with regrets.

The too hard basket
Perhaps those little child’s dreams and hopes of yours have long gone, maybe even been shattered. Today they’re in the too hard basket. Maybe you’ve been knocked off your feet by life’s hard knocks and it’s just too difficult to start dreaming and hoping afresh.

Maybe too many doors of opportunity have been slammed in your face, or you feel locked into in an unsatisfactory lifestyle with no apparent way out. You’re thinking: What’s the use of even hoping, never mind dreaming for something better?

And perhaps as you look in the mirror each morning, you realise yet again how time has passed so quickly and you wonder what you have really achieved in life. (more…)

HE’S ALIVE!

(April 16, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, renowned theologian, reminds us of the power of Resurrection Sunday …

He’s alive!  He’s alive! He’s alive!  This lay at the centre of the message of the early church. This was the passion burning in the hearts of the first Christians. When they met each other in the street, they didn’t say, ‘G’day’ or ‘Hello’ or ‘How are you?’ They said, ‘He is risen!’ To which was given the reply, ‘Indeed he is risen!’

Eight times in the book of Acts we read that God raised Jesus from the dead. And it was a central theme in Paul’s teaching. In fact he wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:14, ‘If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.’ And then in verse 20 he wrote, ‘But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.’

I don’t think that today’s Christians have the same passion as those early Christians when we think of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It has become a doctrinal statement rather than a passionate, motivating conviction. But not so in the early centuries.

Oh, we still mention it and claim how wonderful it is, but often it just seems like an echo of the past. Do you remember the last time you were in an area, perhaps surrounded by mountains, and you decided to call out to hear the echo reverberating around you? The first echo that returns is quite loud, but succeeding ones get weaker and weaker. (Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello.) (more…)

THEBUZZ

GLEANINGS (April 9, 2017):

  • USA/POLAND – Only a young girl, but she sacrificially saved many!
  • GROVE, OK – God always has a plan

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‘GOD BLESSED MY HANDS TO SAVE MANY LIVES’

Mark Ellis shares yet another good news report …

Irene Gut Opdyke was only a teenager when Hitler’s Panzer divisions overran her beloved Poland, separating the young nursing student from her family, and launching her on a mission a Catholic girl with Aryan features might never have imagined – rescuing Jews from certain death.

‘God blessed my hands to save many lives,’ she said shortly before her passing in 2003. She was honoured by the Israeli Holocaust Commission in 1982 as one of the ‘Righteous Among the Nations,’ a title given to non-Jews who risked their lives by aiding and saving Jews during the Holocaust.

Irene wrote a book about her ordeal, In My Hands (Random House), a riveting tale of heroism and survival under perilous conditions. (more…)

THE TEST OF TRUTH

(April 8, 2017) Stuart Reynolds brings Easter challenge …

Last month as I listened to BBC Radio 2’s Breakfast Show my interest was piqued by one of Chris Evans’ guests – Israeli historian Dr Yuval Noah Harari, talking about his book, Sapiens.

Harari contends that Homo sapiens (‘the only extant human species’) rule the world as the dominant species because of our unique ability to believe in things which exists only in the imagination: nations, money, human rights, and, of course, religion. Evans concluded the interview by asking Harari what is the most important piece of advice he could give for the future well-being of the human race.

His response? That our paramount need is to do our best to differentiate between what is fiction and reality:  ‘Humans find it very difficult to know what is real and what is just a fictional story in their own minds, and this causes a lot of disasters, wars and problems… The best test to know whether an entity is real or fictional is the test of suffering. A nation cannot suffer, it cannot feel pain, it cannot feel fear, it has no consciousness. Even if it loses a war, the soldier suffers, the civilians suffer, but the nation cannot suffer. Similarly, a corporation cannot suffer, the pound sterling, when it loses its value, it doesn’t suffer. All these things, they’re fictions…’

I immediately said to my wife, Helen, ‘He has just defeated his own argument!’ If it be so – ‘the best test to know whether an entity is real or fictional is the test of suffering,’ then the greatest undisputed statement of truth in the whole universe, never mind in human history, must the person of God in his only Son Jesus Christ, of whom the Bible says is ‘The Suffering Servant.’ (more…)

WHICH JESUS DO YOU WANT?

(April 8, 2017) Chris Pick, Special to ASSIST News Service shares an Easter reflection…

Let’s go back in our hearts to that Black Friday nearly two thousand years ago. The Roman Governor Pontius Pilate presented before the crowd two men: One man named Barabbas and the other Jesus. Pilate declared: ‘It is your custom that I free one prisoner to you at Passover! Which do you choose?

‘Give us Barabbas!’ the angry mob cried.

Why did the crowd choose this man over the Messiah? What did they expect?

One was a sinner – one was sinless but chose to become sin
It is quite possible that Pilate presented before the crowd two men named Jesus. Some scholars believed Barabbas’ real name was ‘Jesus Barabbas.’ The Greek scholar and early Christian theologian Origen found many early manuscripts of Matthew 27:16-17 which referred to Barabbas as ‘Jesus Barabbas.’ And the name ‘Jesus’ was a common name in first-century Galilee.

So, if Barabbas’ first name was Jesus, then the question could be rephrased, ‘Which Jesus do you choose?’ It’s a question that can still be asked today as we are presented with so many different ‘Jesus’ figures globally. To some, he is a great teacher. To some, a prophet. To some, he is God’s son. To some, a mere man. And sadly to some, just a myth. (more…)

LIVING IN FAITH

(April 6, 2017) Tim Edwards brings another timely kingdom word…

When we hear from God to move ahead in something new and we obey, we take a step forward and we become more conscious of our personal growth and development in the Lord.

And guess what?

At that exact time we can be assured that many of us will start to face trials and tests in our lives. Why? Because it is often at times of growth in our lives that we find ourselves being stretched!

Anyone in that category right now?
As we stretch and grow – which is ultimately fantastic by the way – and as we are tested and find ourselves in new and strange situations we need to know what is holding us together; what is sitting in our foundations. We need to look more closely at what is happening in our heads and hearts and ask ourselves what we believe and what exactly we hold to be true. (more…)

WHEN THE SPIRIT SPOKE…

(April 6, 2017) Missionary statesman George Forbes shares from experience on a successful mission’s strategy…

Some years ago, when I was working closely with missionaries in many countries I was led by the Holy Spirit to the record in the book of the Acts of the Apostles found in the 13th chapter.

It helped me greatly as I worked with many missionaries whom God had called.  It is the account of the time when Saul, for a time, was one of the prophets and teachers in the church in Antioch.  Before the important event that took place there, Barnabas and Saul had worked together in the will of God. They served the churches in various places, helping and encouraging them as they moved about in ministry.  (more…)

THE QUESTION THE LATEST SUPER-DUPER COMPUTER COULDN’T ANSWER

(April 6, 2017) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share Easter thoughts:

So many times we hear people raving about our amazing world of computerisation – and the vastness of the information one can find so quickly on Google. Such as the oft-quoted ‘Got a question? Ask the computer – Google knows everything!’

And countless times this is true. Google is regarded as the biggest dictionary in the world!

But, having heard such a proclamation yet again recently and with Easter only a few weeks away, our thoughts went back to the heart of an article/story we ran a few years back.

And so this blog is all about a certain question – one that even the latest, greatest super-duper computer couldn’t answer and broke up into pieces trying! The question? A single three letter one – Why? (more…)