Matthew 19:19

τέταρτος μάγος – THE FOURTH MAGI

(November 26, 2021) Robert and Maureen McQuillan, as with other contributors this month, again encourage blessing others…

As many know, we relax watching good movies, particularly film noir, and wholesome TV shows. Recently, although it’s only November, we kept finding great Christmas-centred YouTube ones highlighting the Christmastime season as one of generosity and giving.

Next month, of course, brings around that time of year when we celebrate the coming to earth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, born of the young virgin Mary, fulfilling Isaiah 9:6.

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Celebrating Christ’s incarnation
Sadly
, to many it’ll just be a holiday season but to those who know the gift of our gracious, loving God, we’ll celebrate it remembering we owe him so much for the miraculous incarnation of his Son who would willingly sacrifice himself on Calvary’s cross to pay the penalty of our sins (John 3:16).

And, of course, we owe much to the Holy Spirit who, as Romans 8:11 declares, ensured that Jesus rose from the grave (‘With healing in his wings’ to quote from that Wesley/Whitefield hymn that became the carol Hark the Angels Sing), as well as birthing the church (Acts 2).

Looking ahead, most Christians will be making Christmastime special, getting together with family, enjoying fellowship and good food, gift-giving, relaxing and happiness-finding and making. But… unfortunately some will miss out next month because they’ve heard myths generated around what we call the Christmas story and been disillusioned!

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ANTI ‘CANCEL CULTURE’ CHRISTIANITY

(April 13, 2021) When folks become subscribers to this free monthly Onliner,we receive a brief intro, such as a young Asian describing himself as… ‘A Normal Person: 100% Honest and Trustful Person.’

In other words… who and what he is.

The fruit of the Spirit
Not that this young man’s a prophet, but Jesus warned his followers against untruthful, dishonest Christianity: ‘You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act’ (Matthew 7:15-16NLT).

Christianity needs to be kept simple! Jesus liked to keep things simple and here he makes recognition simple… ‘the way they act’ identifies all true Christians, let alone prophets. He went on to teach that a good tree produces good fruit whereas a bad tree, bad fruit, rapping it with ‘Thus, by their fruit you will recognise them’ (vv17-18). How simple!

F B Meyer has written ‘The worth of the gospel has been attested all down the ages by the characters which it has produced… There are many new systems of theology, many nostrums are being loudly advertised, but the one test of them all is in the fruit they bear.

Nothing superspiritual here… ‘fruit’ is fruit, something easily recognised and desirable. For followers of Jesus, this is reaching out with our Christian characteristics to help whoever we can in some way. People see us in action, observe us! We’re the fifth gospel – The Gospel According to You. May they see the characteristics of honesty, trustworthiness, generosity, helpfulness and more.

Paul describes nine of these in Galatians 5:22-23, calling them the fruit of the Spirit

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