Living under the Lordship of Christ

To own Jesus Christ as Lord will make a difference in the everyday decisions we make in our lives. We must be willing to pay the price of discipleship.

 The truth is well illustrated in the life of American businessman, Jack Eckerd, who was the founder of a very large drugstore chain in America.

Shortly after his conversion, he happened to be walking though one of his stores when he noticed the magazine racks with their glossy copies of Playboy and Penthouse.

 Although Eckerd was retired from active management, he called the president of the company and urged him to get rid of those pornographic magazines. The president protested because substantial profits were gained from their sales.

 Being the largest stockholder, Eckerd himself stood to lose a lot of money by such a decision. Eckerd remained firm in his objection and he prevailed. The offensive magazines were removed from 1700 drugstores.

When he was asked what motivated him to take this action, Eckerd replied,” God wouldn’t let me off the hook!”

NIV  Luke 9:23  Then he said to them all: “Whosoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Love Triumphs over all Obstacles

A young man and woman were engaged to be married and were looking forward to their wedding day. However, the wedding was postponed because the young man was called up for military service. He continued to write letters to his sweetheart from the field of battle. Letters regularly came and went in which they expressed their love for each other.

The one day the young woman received a letter in handwriting with which she was not familiar. In it, the woman read these words, “There has been another battle. I have lost both arms. I asked my comrade to write for me, and to tell you that I release you from our engagement to be married, for now I will not be able to work and support you.

The letter was never answered.

The young woman left on the next train and travelled to the military hospital where the young man to whom she was engaged, lay.  When she found him, she approached his bed and flung herself down by the side of the bed. With passionate words, she said, “I will never give you up. These hands of mine will work for you and we will live our life of love together.”

1 Cor 13 4-10  “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.”

The Power of the Gospel to Transform Lives

The story is told of a college professor who visited the Fiji Islands. Being agnostic, he critically remarked to an elderly chief, ” You’re a great leader, but it’s a pity you’ve been taken in by those foreign missionaries. They only want to get rick through you.  No-one believes the Bible any more. People are tired of the threadbare story of Christ dying on a cross for the sins of mankind.  They know better now. I’m sorry you’ve been so foolish as to accept their story.”

The old chief’s eyes flashed as he answered. ” See that great rock over there. On it we smashed the heads of our victims. Notice the furnace next to it? in that oven, we formerly roasted the bodies of our enemies. If it hadn’t been for those  good missionaries and the love of Jesus that changes us from cannibals into Christians, you’d never leave this place alive.

You’d better thank the Lord for the Gospel; otherwise we’d already be feasting on you. If it weren’t for the Bible, you’d now be our supper!”

Psalm 19: 7-8  “The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF STEADFASTNESS

John Wesley was a man used mightily by Christ for the building of His church in the 18″‘century. He achieved much in his life time but not without considerable opposition, but he remained steadfast.

Consider the following page from John Wesley’s Diary:

Sunday morning, May 5th, preached in St Ann’s, was asked not to come back anymore.
Sunday p.m., May 5th, preached at St John’s, deacons said, “Get out and stay out.”
Sunday a.m., May 12th, preached at St Jude’s, cant’ go back there either.
Sunday p.m, May 12th, preached at St George’s, kicked out again.
Sunday May a.m. 19th, preached at St somebody else’s deacons called special meeting and said l couldn’t return.
Sunday p.m., May 26th, preached in meadow, chased out of meadow as a bull was turned loose during the services.
Sunday a.m., June 2nd, preached out at the edge of town, kicked off the highway.
Sunday p.m., June 2nd, afternoon service, preached in a pasture, 10,000 people came to hear me.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Beware of Anger

contributed by the Rev. Paul Seiler

If a rattlesnake is cornered, it can become so frenzied that it will accidentally bite itself with its own deadly fangs. In the same way, if we harbour hatred and resentment in our hearts, we will be hurt by the poison of our own malice. We may think that we are hurting our enemies by displaying our wrath, but the real harm is inflicted deep within our own soul. Anger can also cause us to do and say things which we may come to deeply regret.

Consider the following true story:

A certain young man wrote a nasty letter to his father.

A Christian friend with whom he worked in the same office advised him not to send the letter because it was written in a fit of temper.

The young man was so angry he did not listen and sealed up the letter and asked this friend to mail it for him. Instead, his friend simply slipped it into his pocket and kept it until the next day.

The following morning the young man arrived at the office looking very worried. He said to his friend, “l wish I had never sent that note to my dad yesterday. It hurts me deeply, and I know it will break his heart when he reads it. I’d give 50 dollars to get it back!”

His friend took the envelope from his pocket and handed it to him and told him what he had done. The young man was so overjoyed that he actually wanted to pay his friend 50 dollars!

A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back. (Prov. 29:11)

Losing Faith in Atheism

contributed by the Rev. Paul Seiler

George Bernard Shaw was a brilliant man. His stories have delighted many and his writings show great genius.

Yet he was an atheist and he rejected the message of Scripture and placed his trust in his own systems of belief.

George Bernard Shaw was a rationalist which means that he based his view of life on his own limited human reason.

His system of belief provided him with no comfort in later life. Throughout his life he could not find lasting inner peace, and he slowly lost confidence in what he believed.

Shortly before he died in 1950, alter experiencing the horrors of two world wars, he wrote, “The science to which I pinned my faith is bankrupt. Its counsels, which should have established the millennium, have led directly to the suicide of Europe. I believed them once. In their name I helped to destroy the faith of millions. And now they look at me and witness the great tragedy of an atheist who has lost his faith.”

It is surely the case that the fool has said in his heart that there is no God.

Psalm 10:4 In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God”.

Proposed New Year Resolutions for 2017

From The Minister

It is customary at the beginning of a New Year to make certain resolutions. There are those who resolve to lose some of the weight that they have put on over the Christmas season.

There are those who resolve to do more physical exercise.

We make all manner of resolutions concerning things that matter to us. As Christians we should be committed to pursuing a holy life for this is God’s purpose for us.

According to the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Church in Ephesus, God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4). The Holy Spirit, speaking through Peter, exhorts believers to be holy because God is holy (1 Peter 1:15).

The writer of Hebrews warns that no one will see God without holiness (Heb.12:14). We are not saved by our attempts to live a holy life, we are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus (Eph. 2:8,9).

However, if we have been born again and have become citizens of Christ’s eternal kingdom, then we have God’s Holy Spirit living in us, and He will be engaged in the process of making us holy. We are not saved by our attempts to be holy, but we are saved unto a life of holiness (Eph.2:10).

Two proposed resolutions for 2017, based on Psalm 1.

I RESOLVE TO READ AND MEDITATE UPON THE SCRIPTURES REGULARLY AND CONSTANTLY AND NOT TO BELIEVE ANTHING CONTRARY TO GOD’S WORD.

I RESOLVE TO PURSUE A HOLY LIFE AND TO SHUN ALL WICKEDNESS.

They Gave Their Lives

The church has known many a martyr for the faith and one of the early Christian martyrs was Polycarp (69-155).

Polycarp was a good friend and pupil of the apostle John and a leading figure in the church in the first part of the second century AD.

Polycarp was the bishop of Smyrna and was among one of the early martyrs for the Christian faith.

ln the year 155 at the age of eighty six years Polycarp was arrested by the Romans and brought before the Roman proconsul Statius Quadratus.

The proconsul said to him, “Swear by the fortune of Caesar; repent and say, Away with the Atheists.” (An atheist in this sense was one who denied the existence of the Roman gods.)

Polycarp refused to do so, urging him again the proconsul said, “Swear and I will set thee at liberty, reproach Christ.”

Polycarp declared, “Eighty six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury, how then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour.” Polycarp joyfully went to the stake; amidst the flames he praised God for having been deemed worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake.

And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found life shall lose it and he who has lost life for My sake shall find it. (Matt. 10:38,39)

The Lord Jesus at the Centre of Human History

There have been many figures throughout human history who have exerted a great influence on the world. However, no single figure has exerted a more profound influence than the Lord Jesus Christ. Even our calendar dating system (e.g. 2016AD) is based on Jesus’ birthdate at Bethlehem in Judea, although several years out.

 The Christian world divides time to before Christ (BC) and after Christ (AD)

AD refers to the Latin term –anno Domini, which means in the year of the Lord. This practice of dating things from the time of Jesus’ birth was first introduced in the year 525AD, and became standard in the Gregorian calendar.

 Throughout the Middle Ages until the present day, this has been the unofficial global standard and recognised by international institutions such as the United Nations.

There are those today who are not happy with this convention, but it has held for a very long time, and it is based on the biblical truth that Jesus Christ stands  at the very centre of all human history.

 He is, as the Apostle John says in Revelations, “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”  (Rev 22:13)

The Cost of Christmas

It cost Mary and Joseph the comforts of home during a long period of exile in Egypt to protect the little babe.

It cost mothers, in and around Bethlehem, the massacre of their babies by the crude order of Herod.

It cost the shepherds the complacency of their shepherd’s life, with *the call to the manger and to tell the good news.

It cost the wise men a long journey and expensive gifts and changed lives.

It cost the early Apostles and the early church persecution and sometimes death.

It cost missionaries of Christ untold suffering and privation to spread the Good News.

‘It cost Christian martyrs in all ages their lives for Christ’s sake.

More than all this, it cost God the Father His own Son-He sent Him to the earth to save men. It cost Jesus a life of sacrifice and service, a death cruel and unmatched in history.