RED AND YELLOW, BLACK AND WHITE

(June 21, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, challenges recent fallacies …

Many years ago in Sunday school in Ireland I – and many others – used to sing the following song:

‘Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.’

In recent days this song has been in my mind one again, especially the lines – ‘Red and yellow, black and white, All are precious in His sight.’

Everyone matters!
The graphic video of the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis was alarming to watch and no one can condone that vicious act of brutality. (more…)

GOD’S INDISPENSABLE GIFT TO HIS CHURCH

(May 20, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares some great Pentecostal insights …

Let me share with you a few recent experiences.

Something missing…

  1. As I was typing this article on my computer today, it suddenly shut down in mid-sentence. That was a little frustrating but after I plugged in the charger, the computer reopened and enabled me to complete the article.
  2. A friend’s mobile phone, which she had had for a number of years, decided that it had worked long enough. It was out of energy! I helped her to buy a new phone and restored the information from her old one. Now she can confidently phone her friends – and play ‘Words with Friends’ – without the fear of a black screen suddenly appearing.
  3. A few weeks ago I got into my car, turned the ignition key – and nothing happened! No noise from the starter motor. No ignition lights on the dashboard. Nothing but silence! I had accidentally left my car door open a little for a couple of days and the battery had drained.  Fortunately a friend came to my rescue with a battery charger and soon the car was on the road again.

Dynamite power source!
The similar factor in the above accounts is obvious – that my computer, my friend’s mobile phone and my car failed to work because their power source was missing! (more…)

PENTECOST ‘LOCKDOWN’ AND CHAPTER 29 WILDFIRE

(May 14, 2020) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share…

Pentecost Sunday is only a couple of weeks away – the last Sunday, last day, of this month!

In Judaism, Pentecost – Shavuoth – was the harvest festival celebrated fifty days after the second day of Passover (Pesach) on the sixth and seventh days of Sivan, and commemorating the giving the Torah on Mount Sinai.

Today it’s a two-day holiday for Jews to renew acceptance of God’s gift, pledging everlasting loyalty to him, and God’s ‘re-giving’ the Torah.

Christian Pentecost Celebrations
It’s not known exactly when the first Christian Pentecost Sunday celebration occurred, but it was mentioned in the Epistula Apostolorum, an Eastern church work, 2nd century. As time went on Pentecost celebration became popular, in fact in Europe it was a more popular time for baptism than Easter.

In any case Pentecost Sunday for Bible-believing Christians, especially Pentecostals, became a festival celebration of Holy Spirit baptism, not water baptism!

On the seventh Sunday after Easter, it commemorates the initial outpouring, the descent of the Holy Ghost, on those faithful believers who had gathered together waiting as Jesus had instructed them – ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 1:4-5).

Now we can’t gather in church buildings to celebrate Pentecost this month due to lockdown but let’s take a fresh look at some things that happened in their ‘time of lockdown’ to those faithful followers who were committed to following the risen Saviour. (more…)

FINDING JOY DURING TRIALS

(May 11, 2020) Carol Round reminds us that we can find pure joy in these troubling times…

Joy may seem out of reach for those who are suffering during the current pandemic. I can understand, and I pray for those whose trials are greater than mine.

As I spend time with my heavenly Father each morning, I lift in prayer those who are on the front lines. They include medical personnel, first responders, law enforcement, truck drivers, grocery store employees, and others required to work during this time.

Despite the fact I can’t visit my grandchildren and hug them right now, I consider myself blessed. I work from home, so I’m used to isolation. I do, however, miss attending church in person, having lunch with friends, shopping for non-essentials, and inviting friends over for a meal.

The apostle James’ advice in James 1:2 actually comfort me:  ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.’ (more…)

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING IN EARNEST

(May 11, 2020) Brian Bell shares some personal thoughts and challenges from the book of Haggai

Let me reassure you, the title of this meditation is not drawn from the writing of a work of a similar title by the author Oscar Wilde. I don’t intend sharing about ‘being Earnest’ but about ‘being in earnest.’

Firstly, the adjective ‘earnest’ indicates ‘showing sincere and intense conviction.’ With this definition in mind, I share a few thoughts – an inspiration arising from reading the book of Haggai, NLT (1996 version).

Here, through the prophet God speaks to his people – people who thought they were living in luxury – and Haggai seeks to open their eyes to the Lord’s perspective about their situation when he challenges ‘consider how things are going for you’ (Haggai 1:5).

God’s perspective – the ‘not enough of’ list
Through Haggai the Lord highlights in verse six some ‘not enough of’ items as he sees the situation:

  • HungerFood to eat but not enough to fill you up.’
  • Thirst – ‘Wine to drink but not enough to satisfy.’
  • Insufficiency – ‘Clothing to wear but not enough to keep you warm.’

He also adds two other shortages – (more…)

LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

(May 11, 2020) Dr George Forbes, missionary statesman, shares Pentecostal insights…

May 31 is Pentecostal Sunday, a perfect time to remember that Jesus promised his disciples just before he ascended to heaven that he would not leave them as orphans: He assured them that he would send the Holy Spirit to be with them and in them (John 14:14,18).

The power and reality of this truth is life changing for all who experience it. Jesus said that we must be born again. This is when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us.  We are born into a new life that makes us a child of God.

The Spirit desires to lead
Because he is in us, the Holy Spirit can lead us. That is a dimension of life only possible for born again believers. His leading is dependent on factors that quite often affect our lives. I think of some of the factors, such as…

  • Busyness
  • Hurrying/rushing around
  • Worldliness
  • Sin
  • Missing devotional time
  • Lack of prayer.

The Holy Spirit is sensitive to our behaviour, our ability to hear his voice, as well as our choices in life. He is ready to guide us in the path of God’s favour and blessing; however, he will not push or compel. (more…)

CORONAVIRUS AND FALSE TEACHERS

(April 26, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares a warning…

I have been reflecting in recent days on the worldwide distress being caused by the Coronavirus (Covid-19), I’ve read so many articles and watched so many YouTube videos in which some preachers have strongly stated that God has clearly promised protection for his people in the midst of plagues and diseases.

Dissonance…
Christians should not be concerned or stressed by current events because we live in the assurances  of God’s promises found in various verses in the Bible – particularly Psalm 91 which is frequently mishandled – but it is crucially important to understand what those verses are actually promising!  (See my March article Link: Is Divine Protection Guaranteed?)

I have watched well-known preachers on video as, with great passion and animation, they loudly remind the virus that it has no claim over Christians. And yet a large number of Christians worldwide have been victims of the pandemic and many have died – including many who had boldly declared that such a thing could not happen to God’s people!

There is a dissonance between the declaration that God will save his people from plaques and illnesses and the reality of what is actually happening in the world.

This links with two important questions – Can we trust the Bible?  Can we truly believe the promises God makes in his word?

So what are we to believe?
My answer is that… (more…)

RELAX IN TROUBLING TIMES!

(April 07, 2020) Maureen McQuillan encourages …

It seems that many times in life we go through a spiritually dry period where we’re fighting difficult circumstances, sicknesses, doubts, fears, other personal troubles – and perhaps our great enemy, Satan.

The reality is that often the real problem is that we’re fighting in our own strength!

Trusting God in storms
And so we become weary spiritually, physcially,emotionally and even mentally. Much energy is expended with few satisfying results. This is when we need to recall some of the many scriptures which assure us that the Lord will fight for us – if only we will let him!  Eg –

  • Exodus14:14 – ‘The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.’
  • Deuteronomy 1:30 – ‘The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you.’
  • 2 Corinthians 10:4 – ‘The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.’

Admittedly Paul talks of fighting… but this is in respect of the ‘good fight of faith’ (1 Timothy 6:12) – not one of a personal, draining struggle, but of really relaxing by trusting God in the midst of whatever storm that we’re facing. That is to say, trusting God to bring us through whatever the storm may be, even this current covid-19 pandemic.

 In other words, when faced with difficulties, seemingly insurmountable problems or whatever, we do as scripture urges – we hand the battle over to the Lord who is stronger and wiser than us. Then, and only then we can trust him for the victory… in his timing. (more…)

LOCKDOWN!

(April 6, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, reminds us of Jesus’ victory over his ‘lockdown’…

In recent weeks nation after nation have been imposing lockdown measures on their citizens to help prevent the spread of the deadly Coronavirus.

Some of those measures have frustrated and, in some cases, angered a lot of people worldwide.  Yet most have responded stoically and have accepted that while, frustrating and depressing, lockdown is necessary for the life and health of millions of people worldwide.

‘Lockdown’ isn’t some new method!
‘Lockdown’ is also a method of control that throughout history national regimes and political ideologies (for example, communism and extreme racist or authoritarian systems such as Nazism) have imposed as a technique of political control.

What a relief and what joy when the lockdown is over! This is what the world is hoping for: Christians are praying for!

This week I have been reflecting on another ‘lockdown’ that happened 2000 years ago and how great has been the joy ever since when it was over.

When Jesus died on the cross on the first ‘Good Friday’ and was placed in the tomb, his followers were greatly distressed and grief stricken and some were even bitterly disillusioned as they were convinced that he was the promised Messiah – but his death appeared to put an end to that hope. (more…)

THE EIGHTH QUESTION

(April 05, 2020) Robert McQuillan shares a fond memory – and brings an Easter missions-centred challenge…

Missionary statesman Dr George Forbes’ Easter article (link below) boldly declares that the heart of every missionary’s message is – Jesus! And goes on to share aspects about that powerful name.

His title reminded me of when we travelled to South Korea back in 1994 to join some two thousand AoG delegates from around the world to celebrate the historic First World AOG Congress in Seoul, hosted by Dr Yonggi Cho, then AoG World Fellowship Chairperson. I also had the privilege of sharing Sheraton Hotel rooms with Dr Andrew Evans, then AoG Australian President.

Each day of the congress, held mainly at Yoido Full Gospel Church, saw outstanding speakers glorifying God, his Son Jesus and the all-powerful Holy Spirit. Later I’d be reporting several superlative quotes by AoG leaders, such as –

  • Andrew Evans: ‘Jesus is the king of glory – everything and everyone is under his throne.’
  • Thomas Trask (USA): ‘When we move under the dynamics of his Spirit and power, it is in order that Jesus is glorified.’
  • Colton Wickramaratne (Sri Lanka): ‘Jesus – we need to be beautified from everything that contaminates.’
  • Peter Kuzmic (Croatia): ‘The greatest power in the world – the God who can change history.’
  • Errol Bhola (Guyana): ‘A big God can do things in a big way.
  • Prince Guneratnam (Malaysia): ‘We need to believe that there is the possibility of our nation – indeed the whole world – coming to know Jesus.’
  • Loren Triplett (USA): ‘Jesus said we ought to pray “Your kingdom come”.’
  • David Yonggi Cho: ‘The sin of greatest concern to me today is disbelief in Jesus.’

World’s largest prayer meeting!
Inspiring yes, but what happened on the Monday after Sunday’s several Holy Spirit anointed services was mind-blowing, so incredible that one would later resort to clichés like: ‘You would have had to been there to experience it for yourself!’ So many Christians from all over had gathered to pray!

Can you image over one million people gathering on the huge, runway-long Yoido Plaza to pray for the world? (more…)