During the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century, German pastor Paul Gerhardt and his family were forced to flee from their home. One night as they stayed in a small village inn, homeless and afraid, his wife broke down and cried openly in despair. To comfort her, Gerhardt reminded her of scripture promises about God’s provision and keeping. Then, going out to the garden to be alone, he too broke down and wept. He felt he had come to his darkest hour.
Soon afterward, Gerhardt felt the burden lifted and sensed anew the Lord’s presence. Taking his pen, he wrote a hymn that has brought comfort to many. “Give to the winds they fears; hope, and be undismayed; God hears thy sighs and counts they tears; God shall lift up thy head. Through waves and clouds and storms He gently clears the way. Wait thou His time, so shall the night soon end in joyous day.”
It is often in our darkest times that God makes His presence known most clearly. He uses our sufferings and troubles to show us that Hi is our only source of strength. And when we see this truth, like Pastor Gerhardt, we receive new hope. Are you facing a great trial?
Take heart. Put yourself in God’s hands. Wait for His timing. He will give you a “song in the night”.
NIV Psalm 91:1-4 He who dwells in the secret place of the Mast High shalt abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
https://www.stpaulspc.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/stpauls-300x110.png00christinehttps://www.stpaulspc.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/stpauls-300x110.pngchristine2017-07-03 12:59:042017-07-03 13:01:21NEW HOPE IN THE MIDST OF TRIALS
ln the days of the American Revolutionary War there lived at Ephrata, Pennsylvania, a Baptist pastor by the name of Peter Miller who enjoyed the friendship of General Washington. There also lived in that town one Michael Wittman, an evil-minded man who did all in his power to abuse and oppose this pastor. One day Michael Wittman was involved in treason and was arrested and sentenced to death. The old preacher started out on foot and walked the whole seventy miles to Philadelphia to plead for this man’s life. He was admitted into Washington’s presence and at once begged for the life of the traitor. Washington said, “No, Peter, I cannot grant you the life of your friend.”
The preacher exclaimed, “My friend, he is the bitterest enemy I have. Washington cried, “What? You’ve walked seventy miles to save the life of an enemy? That puts the matter in a different light. I will grant the pardon.”
And he did. And Peter Miller took Michael Wittman from the very shadow of death back to his own home in Ephrata – no longer as an enemy, but as a friend.
By Stephen Olford
Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not. (Rom 12:14)
https://www.stpaulspc.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/stpauls-300x110.png00christinehttps://www.stpaulspc.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/stpauls-300x110.pngchristine2017-05-30 11:09:402017-05-30 11:09:40Love for One’s Enemy
Being old does not mean being useless. It is a remarkable fact that in the great Renaissance period when art reached its most glorious triumphs, many of the greatest artists produced their masterpieces comparatively late in life. Leonardo Da Vinci was close to fifty when he completed the Last Supper, which is one of the greatest pictures in the realms of art. Giovanni Bellini continued working to a ripe old age without showing decline. Both Titian and Michael Angelo produced their greatest masterpieces when they were old men.
There is a well-known engraving of the sixteenth century which represents an old man sitting in a child’s wheel chair with the inscription over it “Ancora lmparo” (l still learn). This phrase was constantly on the lips of Michael Angelo as in old age he hewed marble and refused to rest. John Wesley was still preaching 14 sermons a week when he was eighty five. Sarah was ninety years of age when God opened her womb to give birth to lsaac, the child of promise. Moses was eighty years of age when God called him to lead His chosen people out of Egypt. These are of course extraordinary examples, but they certainly prove that being old does not mean being useless.
The glory of young men is their strength and the honour of old men is their grey hair. (Prov. 20:29)
https://www.stpaulspc.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/stpauls-300x110.png00christinehttps://www.stpaulspc.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/stpauls-300x110.pngchristine2017-05-21 18:21:132017-05-30 11:04:41Being Old Does Not Mean Being Useless
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.
Then one day-the young woman received a letter in a handwriting with which she was not familiar. ln it the young woman read these words, “There has been another battle. I have lost both arms. I asked my comrade to write for me, and tell you that I release you from our engagement to be married, for now I will not be able b work and support you.”
That letter was never answered. The young woman left on the next train and travelled to the military hospital where the 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, “l will never give you up. These hands of mine will work for you. 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.
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A man was going down a street when he saw in a store window a very beautiful picture of Christ’s crucifixion. As he gazed spellbound at the vividly pictured story, he suddenly became conscious that at his side stood a young boy.
The boy, too, was gazing at the picture, and his tense expression indicated to the man that the crucifixion of Jesus had really gripped his eager young soul. Touching the boy on the shoulder, the man said, “Sonny, what does it mean?”
“Doncha know?” he answered, his face full of the marvel of the man’s ignorance. “That there man is Jesus, an’ them others is Roman soldiers, an’ the woman what’s cryin’ is His mother, an” he added, “they killed ‘im!” The man did not want from in front of that impressive piece of artwork but he had other things he had to do, so he turned and walked away. ln a few moments he heard footsteps on the street behind him, and there came rushing up the boy. “Say, mister,” he exclaimed breathlessly, “l forgot to tell you, but He rose again!”
How refreshing is the faith of the young and how it stands in contrast to the cynicism of many a higher critic of the Bible who deny the resurrection of our Lord.
1Cor 15:3-4 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
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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.
https://www.stpaulspc.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/stpauls-300x110.png00christinehttps://www.stpaulspc.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/stpauls-300x110.pngchristine2017-01-22 11:00:122017-01-28 11:44:55THE IMPORTANCE OF STEADFASTNESS
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)
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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”.
https://www.stpaulspc.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/stpauls-300x110.png00christinehttps://www.stpaulspc.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/stpauls-300x110.pngchristine2017-01-10 05:31:432017-01-10 05:31:43Losing Faith in Atheism
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.
https://www.stpaulspc.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/stpauls-300x110.png00christinehttps://www.stpaulspc.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/stpauls-300x110.pngchristine2017-01-03 01:45:012017-01-28 11:47:16Proposed New Year Resolutions for 2017
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)
https://www.stpaulspc.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/stpauls-300x110.png00christinehttps://www.stpaulspc.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/stpauls-300x110.pngchristine2016-12-27 01:08:582016-12-27 01:09:11They Gave Their Lives