(January 15, 2019) Brian Bell reflects on winning tactics against an enemy …
We’re two weeks into 2019 already!
Over past months I’ve been reading and meditating on Old Testament scriptures and have been encouraged and challenged as the Lord has reminded me of encouraging truths I can apply to my own life as I seek to victoriously move ahead in 2019 – as can the body of Christ, those believers who make up the church.
In particular I’ve been reminded of spiritual warfare and, knowing my own battles and that if the Lord tarries the enemy will continue to be active in 2019, I share some brief thoughts based on 2 Samuel 10: 6-13 that I trust may be helpful.
I won’t include a historical overview other than to say that Joab was King David’s general. In the verses I mention here, Joab has been sent by David to meet a large army made up of Ammonites, Arameans and others. The story opens as Joab approaches the place of battle… let me share from his winning tactics what I see as lessons for the church.
This thought is in the words of verse 9: ‘When Joab saw he would have to fight on two fronts…’
It’s good to be wise and not underestimate the approach and tactics of an enemy – as believers we need to remember that the ‘enemy’ is not ‘people of flesh and blood’ (as the apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12). So, for example, people with whom we may disagree even on some point of doctrinal theology should not be seen as enemies!
We can be sure the enemy will always seek to display his best and most subtle attack formation – the word ‘appraisal’ is a way of describing how Joab sized up the situation. (more…)
(November 10, 2018) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring a challenge…
Dr Jim McClure’s Teaching article this month is timely as tomorrow is Remembrance Day – which remembers that the horrific WW1 came to an end a century ago and the tragedy of the sacrifice of so many lives so young and not so young!
Yes WW1 freedom came at a staggering price… Dr Jim also reminds us that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, willingly paid the greatest price of all in dying for every sinner.
In our modern society many may not be engaged in outright war but there is a great enemy that grips many, even Christians – fear! Pastor Jeff Benson in his article encourages us that God can set us free from personal fears and weaknesses.
(March 30, 2018) Mike Shreve reminds readers of eight great truths in respect of Jesus’ resurrection …
Most believers view the resurrection of the Lord Jesus either through a historical or a prophetical lens! They tend to either look backward to Jesus’ victory over the grave or look forward to the resurrection of believers at the conclusion of this age.
But seldom do believers grasp the present tense benefits that have come to us as a result of this spiritual conquest.
Here are eight powerful ones:
1. Deliverance from spiritual death
‘But God . . . because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ’ (Ephesians 2:4-5).
When Adam fell, he died spiritually and began dying physically. But when Jesus came out of the grave, believers were delivered from spiritual death right then When we received the resurrected Saviour in our hearts, the resurrection process began.So those who repent and turn to Jesus are first resurrected spiritually on their way to complete physical resurrection at the coming of the Lord. We are given a ‘new spirit’ (Ezekiel 36:26). (more…)
(March 17, 2018) Robert and Maureen McQuillan challenge fearful Christians…
Hic sunt dracones – Here be dragons!
Some people think that ancient globes depicted dragons as warnings of the unknown ahead in unexplored territories. Not so! Well… one did – the tiny copper European 1510AD Hunt-Lenox globe.
Paper maps were different. It was the medieval practice to depict sea monsters, beasties and other fearsome mythological creatures beside uncharted areas: cartographers of ancient maps adapted this to indicate possible dangers ahead.
Hic sunt dracones – Here be dragons! was the warning to brave explorers, adventurers and land pioneers who, like our modern Star Trek heroes, dared ‘to boldly go where no one has gone before.’
Ancient dragons were mere mythical fantasy!
But as the church determinedly moves forward in 2018 – ‘boldly going where no one has gone before’ (or should have gone by now!) – Christians will do well to remember the general warning of dangers ahead in that ancient line, Here be dragons! (more…)
(April 16, 2017) Dr Jim McClure, renowned theologian, reminds us of the power of Resurrection Sunday …
He’s alive! He’s alive! He’s alive! This lay at the centre of the message of the early church. This was the passion burning in the hearts of the first Christians. When they met each other in the street, they didn’t say, ‘G’day’ or ‘Hello’ or ‘How are you?’ They said, ‘He is risen!’ To which was given the reply, ‘Indeed he is risen!’
Eight times in the book of Acts we read that God raised Jesus from the dead. And it was a central theme in Paul’s teaching. In fact he wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:14, ‘If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.’ And then in verse 20 he wrote, ‘But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.’
I don’t think that today’s Christians have the same passion as those early Christians when we think of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It has become a doctrinal statement rather than a passionate, motivating conviction. But not so in the early centuries.
Oh, we still mention it and claim how wonderful it is, but often it just seems like an echo of the past. Do you remember the last time you were in an area, perhaps surrounded by mountains, and you decided to call out to hear the echo reverberating around you? The first echo that returns is quite loud, but succeeding ones get weaker and weaker. (Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello.) (more…)
Missionary statesman Dr George Forbes reminds us that the real message of Easter is a precious goldmine:
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. For many others it may be the one-day they attend a church, because it seems the right thing to do. They hope it might help when the day of accounting comes.
Geraldine Brandt reflects on a so-called weakness and shares encouragingly…
‘Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God … Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me … Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?’
Psalm 42 excerpts – cries from the heart of David, calling on God in the midst of despair. We can picture his state of depression. (more…)
RECOVERY FOR CHURCH LEADERS
Dick Hardy, pastoral leadership consultant, writes:
One of the major personal issues for leaders and people in churches is that of pornography. Many church leaders have fallen as a result of pornography addictive behaviour. These same leaders feel isolated and privately cry out for help. (more…)