John 8:12

WHAT’S IT WORTH?

(January 07, 2023) Richard Winter challenges…

Many have said to me that all they want to do is get to heaven, that ‘Life is tough and I’ve had enough.’

As a pastor, I want everyone to go to heaven. Indeed every Christian should want this, remembering Jesus’ Matthew 28:18-20 great commission!

Two issues here…
a) Heaven!

All that heaven is and means is a sermon in itself!

When you know  about the incredible place ‘heaven’ is going to be, what our loving heavenly Father has planned for all who believe in Jesus, the alternative is not even a consideration! One can but think, ‘Who would want to go to hell?’

b) ‘Life is tough…’ 
This makes me think… have they had another bad year and merely ‘want out’? If so I understand, because we’ve all bad memories and are believing for a greater year in 2023!

But then I query if those ‘wanting out’ understand that every Christian will be going to the heaven with its perfection and peace – but only in the Father’s timing! Being a Christian doesn’t guarantee us an ‘automatic opt-out of life’! I can’t see that anywhere in scripture and I feel that many such ‘drop-out Christians’ are defining their lack of maturity!

Let me take that further…

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CHRISTMAS – THE LIGHT OF HOPE HAS COME!

(December 21, 2022) Dr Jim McClure reminds us that Christians have triumphant hope above the storms, sufferings and sadnesses of today’s dark times… 

‘Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you’ declared the prophet over 2700 years ago.

In chapter 59 he painted a picture of corruption that primarily referred to a time of national distress for Israel, a time when people were blindly groping in the darkness of sin, a time of hopelessness and fear, a time when encroaching despair threatened to extinguish all confidence for the future. 

But Isaiah’s message contained a further dimension. It was not only relevant to the collapse of society at that time but also pointed into a future time when that crushing darkness would be banished in the glorious light of God’s intervention and presence. 

Crushing darkness in our time 
We are living in perilous times! 

Not only do we continue to learn of increased crime, such as the murder of two young police officers, football crowd rampage, continuing covid cases and deaths, Russia still warring against Ukraine, financial uneasiness, teenagers in trouble, troubled minds… but, moving at an unprecedented pace, the overthrow of sound moral principles that have stood the test of time and the welcoming of perverse values in which good is called evil and evil is called good.  

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REAL HOPE CALMS LIFE’S STORMS

(December 21, 2022) Maureen McQuillan shares this encouragement …

A Christmas/New Year greeting from a friend referred to 2022 as a year of mystery, one of ‘What’s going on?’ And wondering if 2023 will be similar, and if so can we get through more mysteries and storms?

Anyone else thinking like this? I wonder… perhaps 2022 has brought disappointments and you’re looking back with regrets and recalling sorrows… hoping for a better today, never mind come 2023.

Whoa… let’s stop right there and remember what we’re celebrating come Sunday! The birth of Jesus, our friend and Saviour. The Christian’s great hope is that no matter what goes wrong, whatever storm hits us any day, we can rejoice that our Lord is no longer the babe of Bethlehem, but advocate in heaven before the Father (1 John 2:1). And in the boat of our life, still our friend and storm breaker!

Storms of life
Mark 4:35-41 tells about Jesus crossing the lake with His disciples and, tired, decides to have a nap. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s verses 37-38a – ‘A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.’

Now this would have been frightening for anyone, never mind Jesus’ disciples. KJV describes this ‘squall’ as ‘great’… megas, indicating big, mighty, loud. Scary! They (friends as He called them!) ‘woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”’ 

Hold it right there! If you’ve been encountering storms, F.B. Meyer has written: ‘They that bear Christ’s company must prepare for squalls.’ Regarding ‘mysteries’ that may lie ahead in 2023, I ask this… are you really a companion of Jesus? If so, you’re ‘bearing’ – are in – the best company, so why act as if you have no hope! Your friend will bring you through!

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SHINING A LIGHT IN A BROKEN WORLD

(June 10, 2022) Carol Round challenges us to be relevant in these dark times …

Jesus’ invitation in John 12:44-46 is very relevant today: ‘Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”’

Darkness and evil are rampant in our broken world! Mass shootings. Countries at war. Fractured families. Political division. Without hope, we find it difficult to find our way into the light.

But, if we truly believe Jesus is the answer, then why are we allowing the darkness to lead us to wring our hands in despair? Why do we point fingers and blame others for the ills of this world? Maybe we need to be pointing the finger at ourselves.

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LIGHT OF THE WORLD ILLUMINATES THE DARKNESS

(October 22, 2019) Carol Round encourages us to let our Christianity shine forth in a needy world round us…

My neighbours were excited to show me the photos and video of the ten tiny turtles they’d rescued. They’d observed the mother turtle laying her eggs in their yard sometime in mid-summer.

To prevent predators from digging up the eggs, the couple placed an old metal crate over the site and marked it with a fake flower. When I enquired about their new yard ornament on one of my daily walks, I learned about the eggs and was excited about the approaching due date.

Days, weeks and months passed until the couple decided they would dig up the nest. They knew the eggs should have already hatched.

Digging in the darkness
Using a trowel, the couple began digging up the dirt. Roots impeded their progress, but eventually they rescued the hatchlings. As dusk gave away to early darkness, they needed a flashlight to wash the small reptiles.

After removing the dirt from the tiny bodies, the couple placed each turtle into a plastic container. Walking to the nearby lake, they lowered the container into the water to allow the turtles to swim out on their own. The couple thought their rescue mission was over.

However, the turtles kept swimming to the shore where the couple’s wife was shining a flashlight. Then, it dawned on her that the turtles were attracted to the light. Turning the flashlight’s beam toward the lake and moving it gradually away from the shore did the trick. The ten siblings swam away.

The creation of light
Hearing the story of the baby turtles following the light, I was reminded of the many times ‘light is mentioned in scripture. In John 8:12, Jesus tells the Pharisees, ‘I am the light of the world.’ (more…)