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DISASTER FOR THOSE WHO REFUSE TO REPENT AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL

When the Lord Jesus commands all people to repent and believe the gospel, if we are wise we shall take note lithse2and do as He commands, for there is no higher authority in heaven or on earth. He is the Light of the world and He has authority to guide us along the right path in this world.

Max Lucado gives the following illustration of this from an incident that occurred to a naval officer, Frank Koch, who was serving in the US Navy.

Frank was serving on a battle ship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The battle ship was one of two battleships in an exercise that was experiencing very heavy weather for several days.

Frank Koch says, I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities.

Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing reported, “Light, bearing on the starboard bow.”

“Is it steady or moving astern?” the captain called out. The lookout replied, “Steady, Captain,” which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship,

The captain then called to the signalman, “Signal that ship: We are on a collision course, advise you change course twenty degrees.” Back came the signal, “Advisable for you to change course twenty degrees.”

The captain said, “Send: l’m a captain, change course twenty degrees.”  “l’m a seaman second-class,” came the reply. “You had better change course twenty degrees.”

By that lime the captain was furious; he felt that his authority was being undermined. He spat out, “Send: l’m a battleship. Change coarse twenty degrees.”

Back came the flashing light, “I’m a lighthouse.”

Frank Koch said “We changed course.” In this instance a prudence dictated that the captain change course to avoid disaster.

We had all better take note of Jesus Christ’s command, for disaster is ahead of all those who refuse to turn from their sins, and take up the cross and follow Him.

Having Trouble Praying?

Having Trouble Praying?

Prayer is not an acquired art but is instinctive. We pray for help when life is just too much for us and, interestingly enough, pray with our whole being that we be heard – particularly when we are desperate and anxious.

Are there any rules? Strictly speaking there aren’t.  We do not have to be great scholars to speak with the unseen Spirit that is our Father. St Paul described the Spirit in these words:

            God, in whom we live and move and have our being.

So, just as we are surrounded by wireless and TV waves and have to tune in to make use of them so we have to tune into God, the Spirit, through prayer. And that word “prayer” simply means talking to Him.

On the other hand, there are some aspects that we should think about. One has to face up to what Martin Luther said, ‘Don’t lie to God.’ What’s the point? If there is something we should do and we don’t, isn’t the really straightforward thing to do is to pray for the desire to be put in to our hearts? Another could be the need to be definite. For example, it is not enough in our private prayers to say we have been sinful. We must face up to what sins we have committed. As God said to Job,  “… I will demand of you and you will answer.”  So simply say what it is that you have done wrong and ask for forgiveness.- and mean it.

Then, too, we have to remember that the whole family of human beings is, in effect, the family of God and we have to live in harmony with the rest of the family and that’s where the word “love “comes in – in this case meaning ” being considerate of,” and that  means simply being ”kind”.

 Life is like a picture at the cinema. We come in with the picture well on (when we are born) and leave before it is finished (when we die). Hence God’s purposes – and sometimes ours – are best served when our particular prayers are not answered. The action has already begun so can we really expect it  to be changed when it is in full flight? What best suits everybody seems to be the rule that applies and still allows for answers in particular situations.  Remember, the cup of suffering was not taken away from Jesus when He prayed in Gethsemane.

Prayer is not a means of escape but a means by which we are enabled to overcome and handle matters in all situations in life – overcoming in the sense of never being without peace within; peace which passes all human understanding and never being without the feeling of being in touch with God. And the last way we benefit is to have what we call Grace, a generosity of attitude and spirit which enables us to say, ‘Father, forgive them they know not what they do.’

If you are having trouble praying try talking to God as if He is sitting opposite you.

                                    – Adapted from and with acknowledgements to William Barclay.

If you wish, by all means talk to your minister or priest about anything in the above article. (SM)

LOVE – “Can Western Civilisation be saved?”

    “Can Western Civilisation be saved?”

 “Western civilization has been transformed from the lovechild of Christianity and the Enlightenment into a malformed neo—Marxist culture” wrote Jennifer Oriel in “The Australian” 11/7/16. Then Paul Kelly in “The Australian” 15-16/4/17 stated, Progressive morality is elbowing out Christian values… Christian tradition faces erosion from … the failure of its churches and clerics (and)…Secularism and the rise of an alternative progressive morality.” The recent Census confirms these writings. So where to now? What’s ahead?

 

An old story tells how an “important–on-earth successful” man appeared at the bar of Heaven. St. Peter asked him what he did on earth and he replied that he had made a lot of money. Money!!! The whole of Heaven laughed. Why? Because he had missed the point to love (like or being kind to) others was far more important than using a once only life just to amass money – necessarily left behind when one dies. Read some of the obituary notices in the press – what gets a mention – love or money?

 

Love is a Christian core belief. It matters in life and at life’s end – loving, being loved, and helping others. They all matter. So, if we don’t teach that to children, the “I want” or “I suits Me” attitudes will prevail. Those who cause domestic violence and road rage – as well as “one-hit fatal” punchersare

 “I want” and “I suit Me” followers. If children imitate them and are not taught otherwise we will end up living among violent people – Barbarians.

Christ said, “Love (care for or be kind to) one anotherand, also, that we had to tell others that, when we believed in Him, His death on the Cross negated our individual sins, and that the final destiny of Christians was to be with the God who created them. If not that,what’s the point of being born? If just to get power or money then, at the end it seems like a lot of worry and trouble for nothing.  Why, if it then means little?

 

Well, what if you object that Christianity wants you to believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead? Did He? Consider just one event. A disciple named Peter denied knowing Jesus three times on the night before Jesus’s crucifixion. Later, after having met the risen Jesus, Peter changed his whole purpose in life, taught others about Jesus, and was, finally, crucified in Rome. Why? What made him die rather than disbelieve that Christ was alive? But remember that there were others who saw Jesus alive.

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In non-Christian Rome, Christians met at near dawn on a Sunday to know and encourage each other. They believed in God and in his Son, Jesus, as do Christians today. So, can the West be saved? Yes, if we teach our children to believe in Christ and the Christian way of caring for each other and our legislation in Parliament reflects it. Think about it.

 

           Speak to a minister or priest if you want to know more.  (SM)

NEW HOPE IN THE MIDST OF TRIALS

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.

Love for One’s Enemy

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)

Being Old Does Not Mean Being Useless

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)

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.

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.

Out of the Mouths of Infants

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.

http://www.bible-studys.org/Books of the Bible.html

This Book has been fenced off in black. Many homes have a copy but it is rarely read though it is the most powerful book one can ever read. Many know about it but that’s all – yet it is the key to why we’re here and where we’re going. It has often been recommended by the oddest people and brandished in the most obnoxious ways. Some have died so that it can be read.  To start at the beginning is to become lost before you even get to the New Testament. Stay with me for a bit of help.

Did you know there was an Old Testament and a New Testament? Start again – what does the word “Testament“ mean? It simply means “Agreement”.  With whom?  With people. Between God and the people of ancient Israel and now us. And there were several agreements by God with them – which they couldn’t keep. Well, there’s a start! The Old Testament records the efforts and failures of those times. It’s best to read it as a history of God looking for and making several arrangements with the human beings He has created.  And that’s what the word Covenant means –New Covenant means New Agreement.

Here’s a short way to help you to get a bird’s eye view of the Old Testament.  Go to the New Testament and read the section entitled ”Hebrews” .The loud and clear message from that section is that the main figures mentioned there had FAITH- an unshakeable belief in God and that God cared for them enough to send His Son as a human being into the world.

 Now read the section entitled “John” in the New Testament to know what happened to Jesus and what his crucifixion meant for us. In short, He made it possible for us to have a direct relationship with God. That’s why we   say, “Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  

This can help -double click on this link – it’s easy to find your way:

http://www.bible-studys.org/Books of the Bible.html

As suggested, a brief encounter is to read Hebrews and John and get into a new relationship with God for your inner peace and the promise of everlasting life. Try it – you deserve it.

(If you wish, speak to any minister or priest about this– SM)

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.