Romans 3:23

EXCUSES THAT COULD KEEP YOU OUT OF HEAVEN 

(November 05, 2022) Richard Winter highlights that there is no excuse for concealing wrong actions!

On the spur of the moment one day, my good friend Ray and I decided to ditch school and play golf. It was an easy decision; the golf course was behind a pine forest right that was itself behind our high school and we wouldn’t be seen from the school.

So Ray and I rode our bikes through the pines, retrieved some old clubs and balls from the golf shed, and took off our school blazers and ties that identified our school – and away we went.

We had only played five holes when conscious struck us, and we decided we’d better go to school. So, ties and jackets back on, we cycled down the hill and joined others who were going into the next class, hoping that no one had missed us.

What we didn’t know was we were seen ditching school by a passing driver who went to our school office and reported us! Suddenly an announcement came through: ‘The two boys seen riding through the pine forest this morning – come to the office.’

Well, Ray and I stood up and off we marched. But not bravely, we were really scared and everyone was watching us. What could we say, as we were ushered into the principal’s office – we were completely rumbled.

Excuses’ don’t excuse!
There it got scarier. The principal kept doing whatever he was doing, writing apparently. Occasionally he would look up, glare and start writing again. Minutes went by and soon we were perspiring!

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MY ‘HEART’ MAY FAIL… BUT GOD IS MY STRENGTH!

(August 6, 2022) Brian Bell reflects on the ‘heart’ …

My thoughts turned recently to Asaph’s Psalm 73:26 which says, ‘My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart…’ 

Just as we also may do today, the psalmist was struggling with what we might call apparent ‘injustices’ of life.

My flesh
‘Fail’ seems to be in the sense ‘to falter in weakness’ and this suggests to me not simply a failing as in a sudden moment of pressure, or by reason of sustained pressure – think of an elastic band – but a weakness which is a tendency, having always been there and always will be.

‘Flesh’ in its literal sense refers to our physical bodies. I’ve known many people familiar with weaknesses of their physical body to a greater or lesser degree; some who were born with or acquired a disability, and more recently those with cancers which have destroyed their formerly healthy bodies.

Even those of us who may not presently be affected by a specific disability or illness and are fortunate to enjoy general good health, realise the experience of others is a sufficient testimony to the fact that our physical bodies can falter in weakness!

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THE ‘MINISTRY’ OF SICKNESS

(February 11, 2022) Brian Bell shares realistically about sickness and divine healing…

This may seem a strange title to choose. I have been a believer for more than 50 years. During those years one of the most constant scriptural issues about which much debate and questions have been considered has been sickness in the life of a believer.

I don’t say I will bring any new ‘revelation’ – however, having had a cancer diagnosis in 2020 and with my wife, Eveline, who has also been under treatment for a few years and knowing many others with a diagnosis including those who recently have as we would say ‘lost’ their battle with cancer and more recently covid-19 and such, it has been a topic I prayerfully revisited.

And, as always, I share my own views based on how I see scripture and without disrespect to others.

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Origin of sickness
From a scriptural perspective, I believe sickness is a condition inherited by the entire human race as a result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience (Genesis 3). As a result of their disobedience we live in mortal and corruptible bodies and without exception we will one day reach the end of our life’s journey.

Although the temptation to disobey was brought by Satan, sickness of itself is not I believe ‘caused’ by Satan – remember the Lord allowed Satan to ‘test’ Job and among other things Job experienced sickness on his body.

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THE ESSENCE OF EXISTENCE

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(May 16, 2021) Bonnie Spencer shares a meditation on our existence…

I rarely ponder philosophical questions.

They take me back to the merry-go-round of my childhood playground. We’d get the wheel spinning so fast that I’d hold on with a death grip to keep from flying off and bouncing across the hardpacked dirt!

Ride to nowhere
In college I took the required Philosophy 101. It was one of my top five least favourite classes. I couldn’t wrap my brain around questions such as…

  • What are thoughts?
  • Where do they come from?
  • Do numbers really exist?
  • Are they something man has created?
  • Why do women open their mouths when they put on mascara?

Occasionally, though, I do end up on that ride that goes nowhere. That was the case recently when my mind encountered the idea of existence. What if I had not been born? What would it be like if I had never lived?

The alternative, of course, would be that I never existed… ever. I wouldn’t know anything. But that would be okay, I thought, because… well, I wouldn’t even know I didn’t know anything. By now, the wheel was spinning furiously while my neurons were off swinging on the monkey bars instead of communicating with their neighbours!

Reality
The reality is that I do exist, and it can’t be undone. So here I am. I didn’t ask to be here, and no one asked me if I wanted to be here.

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WHAT MAKES THINGS BREAK UP LIKE THEY DO?

(April 04, 2020) Brian Bell asks the question above

In my mid-teens I was studying for what was then an ‘O’ level in English Literature. In the process of that study I had to read William Golding’s book Lord of the Flies.

If you have read the novel or are familiar with it from some other source (such as the film version) then bear with me; however, for those who are not familiar let me give you a very brief summation…

The novel is set on an unknown, unnamed island on which a plane, carrying a group of choir boys, has crashed and none of the adults survive. It then describes how the boys form separate groups and their behaviour begins to disintegrate.

Two of the boys are Ralph and another referred to as ‘Piggy’ – as the process of disintegration takes place, Piggy asks Ralph the question, ‘What makes things break up like they do?’

It was this question of Piggy’s which at that time in my life led me to write an essay basically on the topic ‘God is Left Out. This was selected for publication in the school year book but its assertion that our brokenness resulted from leaving God out did not, so far as I recall, impress my English teacher, who was rather sceptical.

And so here I am, some 50 years later and ‘What makes things break up like they do’ is still a relevant question!

Why? The world is still disintegrating, presently in the grip of Covid–19. And so I share some brief thoughts on ‘break up’… (more…)