Easter

GOD STILL LOVES ALL THE NATIONS!

(April 01, 2022) Honouring the memory of the late missionary statesman Dr George Forbes, we run one of his blogs, bringing an Easter reminder that God still loves the world…

Nations around the world have experienced so many troubles these past few years – and still are! But God truly loves them all!

God cares for all nations, just not Israel
David, who knew his God’s heart wrote, ‘O let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for you [God] shall judge the peoples righteously and govern the nations on earth’ (Psalm 67:4).

When this short psalm was written and then sung in Israeli households and other places, the truth of God’s love for all nations, as well as His eternal purpose for them was expressed well.

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REMEMBERING CALVARY

(April 01, 2022) Brian Bell challenges us to remember and really know that God loves us…

In the United Kingdom last week, we ‘put our clocks forward’ a reminder that for us we are moving into the spring season.

If you’re anything like me, your memory may have good recall in some things, not so good on others. God knows our human tendency to forget and takes steps to help us remember.

One example of this is found in Deuteronomy 15:15ESB: ‘You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you.’

As we approach this Easter season, I offer some very simple thoughts from this verse to help us remember.

1. A season to remember
In Ecclesiastes 3:1KJV the writer tells us that ‘To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.’

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THAT DARK FRIDAY’S HOURS

(April 01, 2022) Robert and Maureen McQuillan solemnly share Easter thoughts…

The night is always darkest before the dawn!’ is an old but for many today still a very realistic adage.

It’s Easter’s Good Friday next week – but a dark Friday indeed when one fully realises what Jesus Christ must have gone through!

Good Friday? Bad Friday, evil Friday, fearful Friday!

Thinking aboutthat daycaused Robert to recall staying overnight at a colleague’s home many Easters ago. Not immediately sleepy, he browsed the bedroom’s shelves and found the most unusual book… an old, handwritten volume of on-the-scene experiences of a young WW1 British soldier.

An amazing diary really, filled with drawings of horrific battle scenes. One incident caught Robert’s attention… aware of what his friends and he would face as one particular new day broke on them, the writer had painfully detailed fears, confusions, and concerns.

Dark hours
Certain death faced this little group of outnumbered comrades when superior forces would attack them! Graphically he described that dark lonely night filled with alarm, horror, fear, and tension as they waited in the terrifying blackness during those long trying, uncertain hours.

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ST PATRICK – RADICAL DISCIPLE AND MISSIONARY

(March 17, 2022), Alan Higgins brings a timely challenge…

It’s St Patrick’s Day today and I recall what our patron saint did with discipleship and mission.

The main scriptures – familiar to many – that I have chosen are Jeremiah 29:11 and Matthew 28:16-20 … scriptures, I believe, that must have been on Patrick’s heart.

What can we learn from them… and what do they tell us about Saint Patrick, the Irish legend?

1. Patrick’s life exemplifies Jesus’ command to reach the lost     
The gospels give us the following messages from the heartbeat of Jesus, not just Patrick, on the importance of fulfilling the great commission.

Matthew 28:16-20 is what Patrick set out to do in Ireland – to make disciples in this nation. His life and ministry teach us to be open to the call of God in our lives.

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THE JOHN 3:16 TWELVE GOLDMINE TREASURES

(April 01, 2021) Honouring the memory of the late missionary statesman Dr George Forbes, we run one of his Easter blogs, a reminder that the real message of Easter is a precious goldmine treasure:

Easter is an annual holiday celebrated by many millions around the world.

  • For devout followers of Christ it is a highlight of the year; a time to give thanks to God for his great gift of the Saviour. 
  • For many others it may be the one-day they attend or think about attending a church, because it seems the right thing to do. They hope it might help when the day of accounting comes.
  • For a vast number of people it has no meaning… so they simply treat this time as a holiday break from normal routines.

Easter’s great truth
Millions of Christians commemorate the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus, especially at Easter, though most also celebrate the great victory of Calvary every time they take communion.  Many Christians say that they regard Easter as the most important celebration of the year.

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THE BLESSING OF THOSE UGLY ἧλος – THOSE GRUESOME HĒLOS!

(April 11, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan reflect on Easter…

We were just recalling this morning that we’re now in our eighth month here – our new territory in the beautiful Doreen suburb Melbourne – where our new home is being built overlooking Plenty Gorge!

Eight is a good number… with its spiritual significance of ‘new beginning’ and ‘resurrection’ (Genesis 17:12; Exodus 22:30; Leviticus 14:10-23; Matthew 28:1; John 20:26; 1 Peter3:20).

Easter – an attention-grabbing reminder found
Thinking beyond our new beginnings, the significant word ‘resurrection’ naturally led us to remember that Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, is next week… when Christians and churches will celebrate the historical fact that Jesus Christ did rise from the dead, that  ‘death could not hold him down.’ And what a blessing Jesus is as Saviour and Lord! We can all be so encouraged and move forward, following and serving him! (See George Forbes’ article about remembering the commission of Jesus, the Hope of the World).

But… back a moment while we explain the intriguing title of this article – ἧλος (hēlos) being a blessing.

So much has happened since we made our move to here, led by the Holy Spirit! So many new contacts, so many opportunities to pray with and bless people in the marketplace– especially those who haven’t yet discovered Jesus, share a word of knowledge that blows them away, to encourage… and more.

And among travels around picturesque parts of our local territory, there’s a shopping precinct we delight to visit, not only for groceries but for lunch served by great staff (good friends now too) and a wander through some interesting shopping precincts.

Easter – a reminder of helos
One store, our friend Maria’s Raging Earth, South Morang/MillPark, had some items we needed for our new home and as we were purchasing them, we noticed the most unusual cross that stood out among many other ‘general’ types. This particular one so grabbed our attention… reminding us of what Jesus suffered for us before and on Calvary’s hill, the racking pain caused through hanging on that ‘old wooden cross’ as he died for our sins, our shortcomings that offend a Holy God.

Check this pic! (Sorry…it’s not too clear). It’s the wooden cross with the centre display of – not Jesus, he’s risen, hallelujah! – but a cross comprised of… (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…)

SHAPED BY UNITY IN 2018

(January 25, 2018) Tim Edwards shares some challenging post Christmas/pre-Easter/pre-Pentecost reflections…

To many Christmas 2017 is long gone! It’s almost the 30th of January 2018 already! We’re rushing towards another 30thEaster’s Good Friday… the 30th of March! In fact I’ve seen some Easter eggs and hot-cross buns in supermarkets already!

As we move ahead in 2018 our church is continuing to work our way through the Cover to Cover Bible with daily scripture readings. But – although we’re definitely moving forward – I feel led of God to share some thoughts that came to me last December that are so relevant for moving forward in 2018.

For example, I recall we found ourselves in what appeared to be the somewhat strange predicament of pre-Christmas preparations while studying scriptures traditionally associated with Easter!

Strong link between Easter and Christmas
The more I read, thought and prayed, the more I realised that the link between Christmas and Easter is so strong, so real, tangible and necessary.

Easter, the suffering and death and resurrection of Christ, couldn’t have happened without Christmas (the birth of Christ) and by the same token Christmas is simply not complete without Easter – they are two components of the same story; both vitally important and eternally joined.

Jesus himself drew the link between the two events in the middle of his trial at the hands of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate: he referred back to the first Christmas and said, ‘The reason I was born and came into this world is to testify to the truth’ (John 18:37).

As he stood there approaching the designated time of his death, Jesus reminded the listening crowd of his birth, thereby joining the dots and bridging the gap for them by explaining what it was all about – that he came to testify to the truth, truth that would bring humanity into relationship with a loving God. (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…)