MyDevotions.today We have recently launched our new MyDevotions.today website that will bring you daily devotions that you can access via desk top computer, tablet or mobile phone while on the move. The daily thoughts cover a range of topics and will give you something to think about as you go about your daily activities. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You (the Lord) will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” It is a good idea to seek the Lord first thing in the morning so you can begin your day with Him. It seems as if David the man after God’s own heart used to do the same. He writes in Psalm 5:3 “My voice you shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to you, and I will look up.” Build your faith each morning, keep your mind on Him and let His peace keep you all day.
Contents EDITORIAL 4
IF 21 By Steve Yull
Choosing To Be Different 6 “Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.” Misfit Messiah 8 The Messiah came as a deliverer from an even worse enemy, sin. A Longing For Belonging 10 “You do not fit in the company of sinners anymore so give up trying.” Persecution, Are You Prepared? 12 “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you...” World In View 14 • ISIS Behead Christians • Bake or Brake • Should We Defend Ourselves? Square Pegs In A Round World 16 “My friends, don’t be surprised if the people of this world hate you.”
Think! 22 A Strawberry Experience By Homer Slack
Did You Know? 24 The Minority Report. Jargon Buster 26 Understanding Religious Terminologies. Note To Self By Angela Slack
The Story Teller Portrait Of A Good Soldier
In Praise Of Hymn 30 Reviewing Great Christian Hymns. – O Jesus I Have Promised
TESTIMONY 18 “I was wide awake, looked at the clock, then I heard out loud this audible voice say...” - Steve Yull
WORLD IN VIEW
July - September 2015
As I walked along a corridor of my local college campus I saw this thought posted on a notice board: “No matter how educated you are, how talented you think you are or how beautiful you might be, what says who you really are is how you treat people” Typically, I wrote it on the notepad I always take with me. Immediately I got stares from the students waiting in the hallway. Was it strange that I was using a notebook and pen to copy it down rather than taking a picture with my smartphone (which occurred to me after) or was it that I was actually reading and showing interest in information that was posted on a real wall not a virtual blog? I believe it was both. The content of the thought and the response of the learners to my copying it down made me really introspective. What has society become? What manner of people are we? I began to shudder at the thought of how cynical the youth are. Innocence is all but lost, and humans are fast losing their humanity to the sterile coldness of machines. In South Korea a couple was jailed for manslaughter because they were so addicted to playing a virtual game online that required them to take care of a virtual avatar infant, that they neglected to feed their real infant child and it died of starvation. Absolutely shocking isn’t it? Frankly not much has changed in the world, the more things change the more they remain the same, nothing is new under the sun. Each generation is repeating the mistakes of the former one because the 4
current one fails to learn from the lessons of History. Lost in a our cosmopolitan lifestyle we are too dependent on our modern toys and gadgets. The arrogance of this age is ironically a sure sign of its ignorance because the wise are teachable and asks questions from the past. Are we understanding the signs around us? Why are we persistently cynical about warnings? Are you one of those people who ignore the fire alarm? So preoccupied we are with living we are ignoring the fact that our planet is dying. Incidentally, the Bible prophesies that… “...the last days will be dangerous times. People will be selfish and love money. They will be the kind of people who brag and who are proud. They will slander others, and they will be disobedient to their parents. They will be ungrateful, unholy, unloving, contrary, and critical. They will be without self-control and brutal, and they won’t love what is good.” 2 Timothy 3:1-3 Common English Bible (CEB) A review of just a few headlines this past quarter shows that the Bible is spot on: ISIS Beheads Ethiopian Christians in Libya, mass execution and beheading of Ethiopian Christians in Libya, ISIS releases video of beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, Beheading of British aid worker David Haines by ISIS, Kurdish Fighters Find Image of Baby Girl Being Beheaded by ISIS Militants. Bruce Jenner’s sex change to Caitlyn Jenner has gone viral on social networking sites, AFAN: All Faiths And None - what does it mean for monotheistic religions like Christianity?
July - September 2015
Volume 3 - Issue 3
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Irish Christian couple ordered to shut down business because they refused to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual wedding on the grounds that it violated their religious beliefs. What other things will be regarded as criminal by the state in the near future? So how is the church responding, are we truly torchbearers to this dark, decaying world? Knowing the seasons and reading the signs are vital life skills as much today as it was in Noah’s time. A war is ongoing around us, we are increasingly criminalised for our faith and must
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report for duty and fall into rank and file. Fear is already gripping many as in light of the news headlines the situation is getting quite intense and the unbelievable is happening where we least expected it to. Our weapons are not earthly ones, we love when others hate, we forgive when others seek revenge, through the power of God working in us. Through HIM we are more than conquers because love overcomes evil and perfect love overcomes fear. All Jesus requires of us is faith-that is trustful obedience to Him. He is more than able to defend us.
The question is; are we a generation that will defend the Christian faith, or will we run and hide and watch it fall into obscurity? Do we believe the Message of Jesus Christ is worth preserving? Are we fit to fight for our faith? 
I remain in Jesus’ Service. Love as always
Editor and Cofounder
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Choosing to be
For the second time Paul is arrested and is now in solitary confinement. He begins his very last letter to his young protégé, Timothy, warning him of coming heresies, but encouraging him to remain steadfast in God.
A touch of sadness may have brought tears to his eyes. “Endure afflictions… I am ready to be offered, my departure is near. I have fought valiantly and finished my race, I have kept the faith.” In the loneliness of his prison cell he longs to see some committed brother. “Do your diligence to come to me: because DEMAS HAS FORSAKEN ME, HAVING LOVED THIS PRESENT WORLD.” (2 Tim 4:10) The Bible teaches a clear difference between the believer and those who love worldly things. Jesus once told the Jews who hated Him, “You are from beneath; I am from above; you belong to this world; I do not belong to this world.” (John 8:23) Then to His disciples, “If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own: but because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of this world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:18) Both Jesus and Paul were talking about the system of materialistic thinking that governs those whose aims are earthly success, pleasure and prestige. In Abraham’s time, his nephew, Lot, had set his eyes upon the well watered fields beside the wicked city of Sodom. (Gen 13:10) Lot probably rose early morning and set up his trading just outside the city. His daughters assisted him and were soon 6
laughing coquettishly with Sodom’s lustful young men and imitating their ungodly customs.
King David’s first psalm warned, “Blessed is the man that does not walk, sit or stand in the company of ungodly people, but who enjoys the law of the Lord.” (Psalm 1:1-2) Some professors of faith drift away because of earthly worries, wealth and worldly pleasures. Jesus asked, “Why do you worry about clothing? The field lilies don’t worry about what they look like. God takes care of them. Therefore do not say ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear? For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt 6:28-33) King David again described his supreme joy. “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes,” and “I have set the Lord always before me… In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 101:3; 16:8, 11) What happened to Demas, Lot and his daughters began subtly within their hearts, a drifting away from the Word of God, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers… What communion has light with darkness… Therefore come out from among them and be separate!” (2 Cor 6:14-18) We are living in an enlightened age they say, under the influence of modern technologies. Ungodly leaders not only cave in to perverted concepts and humanistic values but demand submission
July - September 2015
Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter
to heathen ideas that have destroyed nations like Greece and Rome and are again taking root in today’s societies. The word ‘tolerance’ is being thrown about. Committed believers are losing their jobs and being scandalized and hated because they boldly refuse to submit to anything that conflicts with the Word of God. Willing to be labeled ‘narrow-minded’ they walk the narrow way that leads to life (Matt 7:13, 14). The worldly professor of religion that sits beside you in a place of worship has not heeded Paul’s advice, “Examine yourself to see if you are genuinely saved. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Cor 13:5) or John, the Beloved’s caution, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15-17), or James,
the apostle’s stern warning, “Do you not know that whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God?” (James 4:4) As he walks and talks, his dreams are centered DOWN HERE, his vision elsewhere. He was caught in the net, dragged in, but the good fish must be separated from the bad fish. (Matt 12:47, 48) Jesus’ taught, “If any man come to me…” and He requires FIRST PLACE and that all earthly connections, even family be handed over to His Lordship. No exceptions! (Luke 14:23) Sadly, judgment awaited Lot and his family, and they barely escaped, only because the Lord knows that Lot was a righteous man, who had been misguided by the enemy. (2
Pet 2:7-9) Sodom burnt to the ground, and all Lot’s business with it. The worldly companions of his daughters all perished in the flames. Babylon, Greece and Rome all disintegrated as great kingdoms because they rejected the clear teachings of scripture. And watch as some of the great kingdoms of our age begin to pass away and into history for the same reason. God had inspired Abraham to be different and to separate from his closest relative, Lot. He was seeking a city whose builder and Maker is God. (Heb 11:10)
of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible. (Heb 11:24-27) Every hero of faith became a stranger and pilgrim on the earth and declared plainly that they were seeking a better country. They seemed odd to everyone else who blindly surrendered to popular opinion and fitted into the crowd. Will you choose to be different? Are you willing to stand alone from the crowd? p
Later on, Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people July - September 2015
By C Richard McCaw author, music teacher and many years as a Bible teacher
MISFIT MESSIAH Intimacy In The Kingdom
Thor - www.flickr.com/photos/geishaboy500/ - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
July - September 2015
Is it any wonder Jesus didn’t fit in?
“Church for that brother is an empty experience, where he and others come week after week for a spiritual shot in
e came into his own world, but his own nation did not welcome him. John 1 :11
Who do you think Jesus is? He is many things. King of kings, Saviour, Messiah, Christ, Son of God... His people, the Jews, had been waiting for the promised Messiah for thousands of years yet when He came, they rejected Him. Why? There are many prophecies in the Bible about the promised Messiah. Some of them tell us he was going to be a suffering servant. Others say He was going to be a warrior King who would deliver His people from their enemies. Jesus came to His people when they were under the rule of Rome. The Romans were cruel and demanded heavy taxes. The Jewish people wanted their Messiah to come as the long expected deliverer from Rome. But what did they get? The Messiah came as a deliverer from an even worse enemy, sin. He was not a warrior and He did not look like a King. Instead He wandered about the land with a motley crew of ex tax collectors, outlaws, terrorists and fishermen with no permanent address! His own town’s people banned Him from the synagogue! The people believed their problem was Rome: that their suffering and trouble was someone else’s fault. God knew their problem was sin: their own hearts needed dealing with.
Let’s look a little closer. Did Jesus live like other Jews? Was He a rebel? First of all, He kept all the biblical feasts set out in the Law. There are many examples of Him going up to Jerusalem for them as commanded in the Torah. He even went to the feast of Dedication (we call it Hanukkah today) which is not in the Bible. He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath. He taught that we should keep the commandments and even that we should obey the Scribes and the Pharisees when they read from the Law of Moses! So far there is nothing they could have a problem with. Anyone who has read the Gospels will know that the Scribes and Pharisees hated Jesus. They tried time and again to catch Him out so that they could discredit Him. In the end, they had to lie and pay false witnesses to convince the Romans to get rid of Him. Even then, Pilate took some convincing! The ordinary people loved Him. The religious authorities hated Him for that. He performed miracles that they could not explain so they resorted to accusing Him of doing it by demonic means. He really did not fit into their expectations of a Messiah at all. The problem they had was that they could not ignore Him. Huge crowds travelled in His wake. Even more clogged the streets wherever He went. You see, the people paid more attention to Jesus than they did to the Pharisees and all their fancy man-made traditions. They were jealous! Jealous of His popularity and power, but that was not all. He told people that the Scribes and Pharisees were wrong! Perhaps they could have put up with the miracles and the crowds at a pinch, but to tell people they were wrong! That was too much! Is this what comes to mind when you think of Jesus? A very Jewish man who kept the Law and taught the commandments? For many believers this would come as a shock! What would happen if He turned up at your church next weekend? Would He be considered odd? Out of place? Or would He fit right in? It’s worth thinking about. Whatever your conclusion, look at the Gospels and ask yourself why you answered as you did.
If you belonged to the world, its people would love you. But you don’t belong to the world. I have chosen you to leave the world behind, and that is why its people hate you. John 15:19 Everyone will hate you because of me. But if you remain faithful until the end, you will be saved. Matthew 10:22 Jesus tells us more than once that we will be hated if we belong to Him. Sadly, this even happens in some churches. True believers sometimes find that the truth is not welcome in the one place you would think there would be no problem. Jesus came to His own people. They should have accepted Him and the good news He brought, but they either rejected Him outright or only took what they wanted and went on their way. Only a few believed and followed Him in the end. Many were healed. But the story of the 10 lepers shows us that not many were truly grateful. Some did not take the trouble even to say thank you. On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus went along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men with leprosy[a] came toward him. They stood at a distance and shouted, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” Jesus looked at them and said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” On their way they were healed. When one of them discovered that he was healed, he came back, shouting praises to God. He bowed down at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was from the country of Samaria. Jesus asked, “Weren’t ten men healed? Where are the other nine? Why was this foreigner the only one who came back to thank God?” Then Jesus told the man, “You may get up and go. Your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:11-19 Take courage. If we are misunderstood because we seek to follow Jesus we are in good company. Let us decide today to be true to what He has shown us no matter what the world thinks of us. Matthew 10:22 has a wonderful promise. “If you remain faithful until the end you will be saved.” p Messianic Prophecies fulfilled by Jesus, www.accordingtothescriptures.org/ prophecy/353prophecies.html 
www.cbn.com/spirituallife/ biblestudyandtheology/jesus_prophecy_fulfilled. aspx Article by Yve Clark songwriter and speaker with special interest in Biblical Studies
Jesus told us that as believers we would be hated, misfits just as He was, simply because the world hates Him and all He stands for. July - September 2015
A LONGING FO
A woman who was adopted as a very small child was treated very unkindly by relatives and adopted siblings who disagreed with her adoption. At first she could not understand why her siblings were so unkind but as she grew older she discovered that she was adopted. She soon began to understand why they were calling her names and saying terrible things about her biological mother. She felt that her birth parents had abandoned her to an adopted family from hell.
July - September 2015
Yo not fit com of si anym give up
OR BELONGING EFFECTS OF REJECTION This unfortunate situation caused her to experience feelings of rejection that resulted in her going to extremes in her efforts to find acceptance. She become a perfectionist and a workaholic as she endeavoured to work her way into people’s ‘good books’ with the hope of being accepted and loved. She longed to make cherished connections with others. Needless to say, many times she would seek friendship and acceptance in the wrong places which would result in her experiencing the heartache of rejection all over again. Her fear of rejection brought her the very thing she feared. The tragedy is, even after she got married and had a family of her own, deep inside she was plagued with an emptiness and a need to connect with her roots. She longed for brothers, sisters, a mother and a father she never had. She had a lingering longing for belonging. REJECTION, A CHRISTIAN REALITY A person who suffers from rejection will no doubt find it difficult to be a Christian. As the woman described above longed to connect with her roots, many members of the family of Christ long for the world they left behind. They still long for the world’s acceptance, applause, admiration and company.
ou do t in the mpany inners more so p trying
I can assure you however, that if you truly belong to Christ the world will only offer you rejection and heartache. You need to move on, now that past friends and family have turned their backs on you. You have made a decision to follow Christ so forget trying to fit into the company of sinners. What Peter says here is extremely interesting. “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living
in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you...” (1 Peter 4:1-4 (ESV)) We do not belong here; we have no place down here and the world no longer loves us. Jesus came unto His own and they rejected and killed Him. As the people of the world rejected Jesus in the same way they will reject us. John 15:18-20 “If the people of this world hate you, just remember that they hated me first. If you belonged to the world, its people would love you. But you don’t belong to the world. I have chosen you to leave the world behind, and that is why its people hate you. Remember how I told you that servants are not greater than their master. So if people mistreat me, they will mistreat you.” 1 John 3:10-13 “You can tell God’s children from the devil’s children, because those who belong to the devil refuse to do right or to love each other. From the beginning you were told that we must love each other. Don’t be like Cain, who belonged to the devil and murdered his own brother. Why did he murder him? He did it because his brother was good, and he was evil. My friends, don’t be surprised if the people of this world hate you.” The need to be loved and accepted is a genuine emotion but do not seek it in the wrong places or you will experience the very opposite of what you seek. Jesus loves you, so find your place among God’s people. They await you with outstretched arms. p
By Homer Slack author, preacher, Bible teacher, IT tutor, programmer & graphic designer
July - September 2015
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10 -12)
Have you ever felt persecuted, I mean really persecuted because you are a Holy Spirit filled and born again Christians who truly loves God? Personally, I never have. Family members on two occasions, when I spoke of Jesus, said, “I think we better end this conversation now.” HA! I was at the risk of being chucked out of their house but in love I carried on. Another time the issue was concerning Christmas and a store that was decorated to the hilt with more Christmas things than I had ever seen. I had already been to this store and my relatives had taken their grandchild there. I said that at one time I was into Christmas and treated it as having a gift party, all in one morning. But praise God, I now know differently because of its pagan origins. If folks want the traditional side of Christmas fine. They said Christmas was ‘for the kids’ and told me to shut up but because I had listened to their side of the story I refused. I gave them the full truth about Jesus, Christmas and salvation. They sat tight in their seats and found it difficult to look me in the eye but they did not reject me or beat me up. I said it all firmly in love and prayed the Holy Spirit would water the seed
“A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you...”
sown. Even speaking of the Lord at other times to non-believing family or about answered prayer can result in “Mmm! Oh yeah!” looks. Funny isn’t it when we pray to God, that’s okay but if we say God spoke to us - not with everyone else - we get that, oh dear they’re losing it look! I would not deem this as persecution as no one threatened to harm or do away with me. I can’t help it, I cannot even stop and I don’t want to. If the Lord has me to tell folks about Him it bubbles up
July - September 2015
with spiritual ﬁre inside of me. Sometimes it is said gently sometimes firmly. It is not always the same words it varies but always what the Holy Spirit wants to say. When I am prompted to give out gospel tracts, praise the Lord, folks faces beam and they say, “thank you”. Only once did someone openly reject it, I felt upset but this was not persecution. “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said unto you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also... He who hates Me hates My Father also... But this happened that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’” (John 15:18-25)
Jesus prophesied about these things and we continue to see the fulfilment. People all over the world are suffering terrible persecution. Some we hear of but an awful lot we don’t. Presently, here in my little plot of the world I’m not persecuted, but is that day coming? Before I go home to be with my beloved Jesus, when speaking about Him, will someone be listening and accusing me of whatever the enemy decides to have them say? Will I be turned over to be killed as things worsen and be dragged off to be tortured and done away with? Over time it will become harder to speak of
Jesus as opposition and persecution will increase. In many countries it is already happening. “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, The Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father, He shall testify of Me. And you also shall bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” (John 15:26-27) We have the Holy Spirit, intercessor, comforter, teacher, helper and advocate. He leads us into all gospel truths guiding us and giving us strength to endure the backlash and hostility of this fallen world. Jesus did not leave us helpless, the Holy Spirit lives in us and will guide us. When Jesus says we are to
take up our cross and follow Him we have to drop our self-centeredness and become God-centered. Read Matthew 16:24-26 and 1 Peter 4:1219. We may have to one day give up everything and absolutely stand on the word of God and our belief in Jesus. It may cost us our lives as it has done many people. Come what may, whatever, whenever, will we be willing to die for our belief? We trust God that He is more than able to deliver us. If we die naturally or for our faith what is our hope? Where is our destiny our true home? Read these comforting words what Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” Then He said about our destiny, ‘‘In My Father’s house are
many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3) If you have received Jesus one day He will take you home. This, folks, is an absolute promise from Jesus to us His bride who will spend eternity with Him. Stand steadfast on His promises, obey and trust in His strength; honour God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. He is able to keep you come what may. p
by Lynda K Smith writer, proof reader, poet and Evangelist
Why Struggle? Consider the butterfly by David White
Someone will say God is not good because of all the suffering in the world. Someone will say God should allow Euthanasia so people can die with dignity. The Christian response is God allows suffering, struggling and pain for our benefit. To want an easy life is probably natural and not necessarily unchristian. Even Jesus requested the Cup of Suffering be removed, but He submitted to, “not My will but Thine”. The Bible says perseverance produces character and also our reward in Heaven will be greater. Which suggests God wants people of good character in His Heaven not lazy 21st Century materialists. As an illustration: Somebody with a wrong theology watched as a butterfly try, struggle and struggle to get out its cocoon. Thinking they were helping the creature they cut away the rest of the cocoon and the butterfly fell to the floor and died. Its wings weren’t strong enough to fly. It was God’s will for the butterfly to struggle and struggle until its wings were strong enough to break out the cocoon and fly. An easy life was fatal for this butterfly. As Christians we should embrace our struggles and not give in as God has a reason for them. Christian history is full of real life stories of saints who struggled and overcame, by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony and not loving their lives unto death. July - September 2015
WORLD IN VIEW Unprecedented Persecution Bake or Break Oregon judge fines Christian bakers $135,000 for refusing to bake a gay ‘wedding’ cake
ISIS Behead Christians A shocking new video appearing to show at least 30 Christians being beheaded and shot by ISIS in Libya has been released. The 29-minute video, titled ‘Until It Came To Them - Clear Evidence’, shows dozens of militants holding two separate groups captive, thought to be in the south and the west of the country. At least 16 men, described by Islamic State as the ‘followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church’, are lined up and shot in a desert area while 12 others are filmed being forced to walk down a beach before being beheaded. This follows another video in February of the beheading of a group of 21 Coptic Christians on the beach in Libya, though that terrain was rockier than the one shown in the latest film. It raises fears that ISIS is consolidating its presence on the ‘doorstep of Europe’, as Libya is just a few hundred miles from the coast of Italy. 14
Ethiopia was unable to confirm its citizens were killed in the footage but condemned the ‘atrocious act’, a government official said. The video shows the men at the coast wearing Guantanamo-style orange jumpsuits and being held at the neck by fighters in combats with balaclavas covering their faces. The victims inland are forced to kneel as militants dressed in combats and green masks stand behind them holding rifles. It starts with what it called a ‘history of Christian-Muslim relations’, which includes scenes of militants destroying churches, graves and icons. A masked fighter in black then brandishes a pistol as he vows to kill Christians if they do not convert. Wilgress, L. Slaughter on the beach: ISIS behead and shoot more Ethiopian Christians in sickening new propaganda video, 19/04/2015. Accessed 27/05/2915. Available at: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/ article-3045711/Slaughter-beach-ISIS-beheadshoot-Ethiopian-Christians-sickening-newpropaganda-video.html
July - September 2015
GRESHAM, OR, April 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An Oregon Christian family has been fined $135,000 for refusing to participate in a homosexual “wedding” ceremony. Aaron and Melissa Klein ran “Sweet Cakes by Melissa” for seven years in the notoriously left-wing environment of Portland, Oregon. But on January 17, 2013, a lesbian woman asked the Christian couple to bake a cake for their homosexual “marriage” ceremony. Upon learning the ceremony would be for two women, Aaron said, “I’m sorry. I hope I didn’t waste your time, but we don’t do same-sex marriages” based on his belief in the Bible. Rachel Bowman-Cryer stormed out. Klein said that later that day, her mother confronted him inside his bakery, saying that “truth had changed” for her. “She told me that I needed to read my Bible,” he told CNSNews, “and I quoted Leviticus 20:13, at which point
she told me I was wrong, and stormed out.” The next thing the couple knew, Oregon officials had informed them they faced prosecution for violating state law. Laurel Bowman-Cryer, who is now “married” to Rachel, sent a complaint to the state, saying that Klein “proceeded to say we were abominations unto the lord” (sic). “This is absolutely unacceptable.” In a subsequent report, the lesbian couple claimed the incident left them feeling “mentally raped.” They claimed to suffer from 88 separate symptoms of mental anguish – including “surprise,” being “stunned,” experiencing a “dislike of going to work,” and that one or both of them had resumed smoking. The Kleins, overwhelmed by a social media campaign that led to a lagging wedding business, closed their bakery that September. They briefly moved their business inside their home, but someone broke into their company van and defaced it by scrawling the word “bigot” on the side. Gresham, OR. Oregon judge fines Christian bakers $135,000 for refusing to bake a gay ‘wedding’ cake, 27/04/2015. Accessed 27/05/2015. Available at: www.lifesitenews.com/ news/oregon-judge-fines-christian-bakers135000-for-refusing-to-bake-a-gay-weddi
Northern Ireland bakers guilty of discrimination over gay marriage cake A Northern Ireland bakery has been found guilty in a landmark ruling of discrimination for refusing to bake a cake with a pro-gay marriage theme. Ashers Baking Company received worldwide support from evangelical
Should we Defend Ourselves? and born-again Christians over its refusal to make the cake for a local gay rights activist in the region. But a judge in Belfast high court on Tuesday ruled that the family-owned firm was guilty of discriminating against Gareth Lee on the grounds of sexual orientation. District judge Isobel Brownlie acknowledged that the McArthur family, which owns Ashers, do “hold genuine deeply-held religious beliefs”. However, she pointed out that government regulations were there “to protect people from having their sexual orientation used for having their business turned down”. The judge added: “I believe the defendants did have the knowledge that the plaintiff was gay.” Outlining her reasons why this was a case of discrimination, Brownlie said: “The defendants are not a religious organisation. They conduct a business for profit. As much as I acknowledge their religious beliefs, this is a business to provide service to all. The law says they must do that.” Ashers was ordered to pay agreed damages of £500 plus court costs. McDonald, H. Northern Ireland bakers guilty of discrimination over gay marriage cake, 19/05/2015. Accessed 27/05/2915. Available at: www.theguardian.com/society/2015/may/19/ northern-ireland-ashers-baking-companyguilty-discrimination-gay-marriage-cake
A new attack against faith in Jesus has been launched by the devil. As the news clips demonstrate, our right to believe and practice the teachings of Christ is being taken away in the so called ‘modern’ First World nations. In other Middle Eastern and some African countries our right to life is being taken away by Muslim extremists who are beheading and shooting Christians in great numbers. Before this article was even finished the news of the young man who shot and killed 9 people during a church prayer meeting is flooding our television screens. The shocking thing is that this happened in the US (Charleston, South Carolina). So how do we react? I know it is difficult but Christians are not meant to take up arms and assume our own defence even in the vilest of onslaughts. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, period. We do not fight as they did in the Old Testament using sword and spear. No, today we call upon the name of the Lord for He is the One who now fights for us. We shouldn’t get into brawls or lengthy court cases to retain our rights or material possessions. Defend the rights of others where you are able to but let the Lord defend you. “But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings:.. and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.” (Heb.10:32) p
July - September 2015
“One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong, can you tell which thing is not like the other, before I finish my song.” (Sesame Street, Children’s Television Workshop)
Everyone wants to fit in and feel a sense of belonging and security in a community. This is natural as we were created Yes, I can, Me, Me, Choose Me! to be a part of a family, God’s Family. However, have you If you were like me and grew up ever felt as if, your face just singing along to this children’s doesn’t fit, no one gets you television song, then you will or understands you? Do you remember watching this particular find yourself uncomfortable telecast of Sesame Street and with the dirty jokes around scanning the television screen carefully trying to spot the difference. you, the gossip about others or the boss breaking the rules and Spotting the difference is a crucial throwing their weight around learning stage of child development. at the expense of the other hard It follows on from recognising object working employees including permanence, that is the object/ yourself? Do you feel pressured person is still there even though it/ and guilty to go along with it all? Do they can’t be seen, games like peek you feel like a square peg in a round a boo, is played with babies to help them grasp this concept. Growing up, world? I developed the finesse of spotting not just external differences in people If you are a born again believer in and objects but the underlying details Jesus Christ you most definitely are peculiar and odd. You became as well; as I became more observant a misfit and everything about you and savvy to the subtle differences in became fundamentally different people and things. when the Spirit of Jesus miraculously transformed you from your old sinful I also became aware of my own nature into a brand new creation - a differences and felt an inward child of God. This world is definitely rebellion to express my individuality the opposite of everything that God and not to be labelled. I couldn’t stands for. It is no longer our home quite figure out who I was; I went through a phase of trying on different we are a part of a heavenly Kingdom personalities for size, especially those which we eagerly anticipate by Faith. A new world that will be a paradise of people who were very impressive and that I had admired for one reason that God will rule supremely. or another. However, by the time The New Heaven and the New I became an adolescent I began experiencing an anxiety to fit in and to Earth “I saw a new heaven and a new earth. not stand out. I was losing myself to the pressure of people’s expectations The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and so had the of me. I didn’t recognise myself sea. Then I saw New Jerusalem, that anymore I was not happy. holy city, coming down from God in heaven. It was like a bride dressed 16
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in her wedding gown and ready to meet her husband. I heard a loud voice shout from the throne: ‘God’s home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own. Yes, God will make his home among his people. He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever.” Revelation 21:1-4 If you are not a born again believer perhaps you are experiencing the Spirit of God drawing you back to where you belong to what all humans were originally created to be. We were created in the image of God
a RO U
works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” (KJV)
and did not evolve from nothing. (http://creation. com) “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created He them.” Genesis 1:27 (King James Version (KJV)) The Bible says in Psalm 139:14 “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy
We are created by God and when sin entered the world through our first ancestors Adam and Eve, we lost our original position of being God’s children where we were like Him and fellowshipped with Him. God is Holy i.e. He is perfect and without sin. In fact He cannot bear to come into contact, let alone look at sin. So He had to banish Adam and Eve our foreparents away from His presence. God so longed to restore fellowship with mankind that he sent Jesus Christ the perfect man, His Holy Son from Heaven to pay the penalty for our sins so that we might have access back to Him and have our position of being His children restored. The world will hate you because of Jesus! Unfortunately, mankind has lived so long outside of Fellowship with God that we have continued to degenerate further and further away from God’s nature and we have violated God’s Law. We disregarded God entirely, even in how we handle our bodies, treat each other and how we abuse the planet, the perfect paradise that He created for us to live in. The world is in its present state because mankind has turned its back on God and His plan for our future. If things are going to be restored for the better it will take people who have also been changed and restored to the image of God and filled with
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His wisdom and power. Sadly, the world will not thank you for your help or welcome your telling them that they are degenerate and that they need to return to God in order to change. Jesus said they will hate you for it! “My friends, don’t be surprised if the people of this world hate you.” 1 John 3:13 “If the people of this world hate you, just remember that they hated me first. If you belonged to the world, its people would love you. But you don’t belong to the world. I have chosen you to leave the world behind, and that is why its people hate you. Remember how I told you that servants are not greater than their master. So if people mistreat me, they will mistreat you. If they do what I say, they will do what you say.” 1 John 5:18-20 We are square pegs in this round world. We are merely ambassadors living temporarily in this strange world; our world is spiritual and one day it will be revealed to all who have eyes to see it. It will be a beautiful city of God foursquare. Are you a square peg trying to fit into this round world? Give up, you are square by design. You are shaped to fit into the foursquare Kingdom of God. “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:12 (KJV)
July - September 2015
By Angela Slack educational curriculum/ literacy specialist, technical auther and worship leader
he first memory I had of my earthly father was him smashing my mum’s face repeatedly against the door frame in our home. Me and my older brother were still very young, I was about 4 years old and he was about 6 years old, our older sister was eight years old. My brother tried stopping our father and was sent flying across the room. When I was 9 years old we would go round to my sister’s boyfriend’s house to play; sometimes we would sleep overnight. This was when I would be repeatedly sexually abused by my sister’s boyfriend’s stepfather. One day my sister’s boyfriend bet me that If I could drink a beaker of all the alcoholic spirits that he had poured into it, I would get 50 pence. I eagerly drank the lot. 50 pence was a lot of money to a 9 year old in 1974 I won the bet and nearly lost my life. All I could remember was lots of people in my bedroom, including my abuser, trying to wake me up, and my bed spinning around like a helicopter blade. Fortunately, I survived and the abuse ended as we never saw that family anymore. I never told anyone about the abuse for years. It became a heavy yoke and a burden of shame and guilt around my neck that I would carry for along time. A GODSEND NEIGHBOUR Fortunately when I was 10 years old, I met my next door neighbour Bill who was a kind, lovely man about 66 years old. He took me under his wing and became grandfather/father, friend to me. I was grateful because as I grew up I had a lot of problems with anger and unforgiveness which I can see now was related to my abuse. I would quickly get into fights and lash out at people. 18
One day I was fighting with my brother in our backyard and Bill heard us and some how this elderly man scaled our a 10 foot wall and separated us. Thankfully, all I had was an eyebrow wound that was spurting blood. I had so much pent up anger that I took on the toughest kids in school to prove something. I didn’t prove much as I kept coming out with a mess of cuts and bruises.
terminally ill with pancreatic cancer, he went from 83 kg to 32 kg in weight. As his life was visibly slipping away my mum took him under our roof to look after him in the final weeks of his life. He was in a lot of pain, knew he was dying and asked me not to upset myself or cry when he was gone. In the end he looked like a concentration camp victim and it was awful to see someone you love so much suffer like that.
I began having unprotected sex with girls at 14 years old. Looking back I think that I started so early to be sexually active to prove to myself that I was not gay after being abused by a man and being introduced to things that no child should experience. I had started smoking by 15 years old and it was badly affecting my performance in football, which I was very keen on. Bill had managed to get me to stop smoking by the time I was 18 years old, as he was able to stop himself from a 60 a day habit because it was killing him. He really had become my grandad/guardian angel and with that my football rapidly improved. I became captain of the school team and played for Grimsby Town, Skegness and Humberside under 19s. Bill would proudly come and watch me play like I was his own grandson and I would proudly play like he was my own granddad.
LOOKING FOR LOVE When he eventually passed away I tried to do what he said. I tried not to cry and to carry on as normal. He meant well, but this became another heavy yoke that I would carry for years.
One day I finally told him of my abuse when I was 9 years old, he was absolutely livid and wanted to know who the culprit was. I wouldn’t tell him. I cried my eyes out. I thought confessing to my grandad was enough without the added trauma of naming my abuser. Ten years was a long time to carry around a burden of guilt and shame. I just couldn’t cope. My wonderful grandad became
July - September 2015
Looking back I realise that grieving is a natural process we have to go through. We have tear ducts for a reason. I Had this lump in my throat where I wanted to cry but I held back. I couldn’t shift this heavy burden I was carrying so I began to drink heavily and became very promiscuous, “looking for love in all the wrong places”. From an outsider’s view I must have looked like I was doing great, boozing, womanising and being the eternal joker. I was like that Smokey Robinson hit song “tears of a clown when none is around”. That was me, I loved making people laugh because it hid the pain and burdens I carried on the inside. Many years later a priest would say to me “we all have many masks in our wardrobe” well I had several. HOW DID I COME TO FAITH? I reached 44 years old and had become a total atheist, I was a gambler, alcoholic, workaholic, working seven days a week for years. I had an eating disorder and ate my way into debt. I was full of unforgiveness and self hatred, I suffered with anxiety and depression, and was
MONY of Steve Yull
I was wide awake, looked at the clock, then I heard out loud this audible voice say...
July - September 2015
also addicted to porn. I was at work one day pulling a ½ tonne load on a hand jack, when I felt a crushing pain in my chest I felt a tingling sensation in my left arm. I fell to the floor and when I tried to get up the pain would take me down again. An ambulance came I was rushed to the hospital. I laid in hospital wired to heart monitors thinking I’m going to die. Then the nurse came in saying its ok the tests were clear. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and felt my life had to change. One day while browsing through a bookstore I came across a book by Lorraine Hay, entitled ‘You can Heal your life’ I bought and read it in one day. In a nutshell it was saying that if I changed the way that I think I will change my Life. Then I watched a television programme called “Enjoying everyday Life” by Joyce Myers, a Christian evangelist. What made me listen to her was the fact that she had been a victim of sexual abuse as a child as well. In fact her own biological father had raped her over 200 times yet she had forgiven him to the extent that she looked after him in old age and brought him to Christ to be baptised. I could not believe this as I was very unforgiving and I made it my life’s mission to get anyone back who had hurt me. Then Joyce Meyer said “be addicted to Jesus”. My ears pricked up I obviously had an addictive nature, so this made me think. LIFE CHANGING WORDS Soon after, I had the urge to go to church and the first person I met was father Terry, the Priest. He instantly recognised me as he remembered me from 30 years back when I used to play football for the youth centre football team where he was the youth leader. He quickly made me feel comfortable in a strange environment. I then sat down next to Jenny and Andy who were very 20
friendly and kind to me and guided me through the order of service. Then father Terry preached the words of Jesus Christ that would change my life forever. Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, because my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Learn from me and I will give you rest for your soul. Matthew 11:28. This to me was like refreshing cold water, for a man who had been lost in a desert for days. I did not fully understand the scripture. For example, at that time, I did not understant what a yolk was. A yolk? What has an egg got to do with anything, I thought. Then I quickly learnt that a yoke is a harness that is placed on an oxen for pulling a plough. I kept going back to church and found that the people were very friendly, loving and kind. They would listen to my problems despite having far worse problems themselves. They did not judge but loved me just as I was. After a few months I got baptised by father Terry. Andy and Jenny became my Godparents. After about 6 months of my being baptised I had the most life changing experience of my life. PERSONAL ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS I woke up at 3 a.m. on the 8th of December, 2010. I was wide awake, looked at the clock, then I heard out loud this audible voice say: “Confess it with thy mouth, Believe it with thy heart, I have faith in you because you love me.” I went down stairs and lit the blue Yankee Candle and held it to my heart. I was experiencing this overwhelming feeling of God’s love, being poured into my heart, and all the hatred and
July - September 2015
unforgiveness being poured out. Tears of joy were rolling down my face. The fabulous exchange of God’s love for my hatred lasted throughout the night for 5 hours. It was the most wonderful experience I have ever had. God had removed my heart of stone and replaced it with one full of love, forgiveness and compassion. The change in me was miraculous. I stopped drinking, gambling, I stopped watching porn, and horror films, I stopped watching documentaries on the Nazis and the SS. I even soon got debt free. Anxiety and depression was replaced with peace and joy. I did have a relapse with drink in 2012, and that messed up my relationship with God, my heavenly Father. I had to make a choice between drink and God. The separation from God was unbearable. I vowed never to drink again. God’s peace and joy came flooding back and I have not relapsed since. My God is a loving, listening and forgiving Father who always wants His children to repent [turn away from] their sin and turn to Him instead. He also gives us the comfort of His Holy Spirit when we face difficulties. I used to have many gods and role models in my life but now I only have one - Jesus Christ, my Lord, my Saviour, my Redeemer. He is the true role model, the Lord of lords and King of kings. I have now found the things I have been searching for all my life. I write this testimony in the hope and prayer that someone, even one person, with the help of God the Father, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit will come and see what faith in Jesus Christ is about. Thank you everybody for your help and support, Jesus love you and so do I. p
f there is a place without any pain
If there is a good deed without any gain If there is suffering and a soul that is lost
Dedicated to the life and memory Of Grandad Bill The late William John Ford 1908 -1986
Can we help and not count the cost? If we see anybody cry do we feel sorry then quickly pass by? For I have been wrong and lost in my ways But Jesus searches for those some would call strays Search your heart mind and soul If heaven is your true goal.
ÂŠ Steve Yull 2013 July - September 2015
By Homer Slack
a Strawberry experience
One day we found a small strawberry plant sticking out from between the slabs of concrete in our garden. We had no clue how it got there but knew it would not thrive where it could end up crushed under our feet.
The country in which I grew up wasnâ€™t ideal for growing strawberries so though I had often eaten the fruit I knew very little about the plant. 22
Now that we were living in the UK, growing strawberries in our garden would be ideal. So I was very excited about the prospects. My daughter who grew up in the UK and knew a little more about strawberries than I, confirmed that it was indeed a strawberry plant. Armed with this assurance I carefully transplanted it in a section of the garden where it could strive.
July - September 2015
Prospects Of Year Two It survived the transplant and grew a little that year, but not enough to put out fruits. We continued to care for it by ensuring it was well watered and enjoyed rich mulched up soil. We patiently waited until the next year when it did grow larger and greener and even extended itself to form three other plants nearby. What was even more exciting was that they each put out a few blossoms. I would check daily as I
dreamed of soon eating beautiful lush strawberries grown in my own garden. Blossoms soon turned to fruits, but these fruits were very small. I was a bit disappointed but comforted myself with the thought that I really needed to be patient with my little strawberry plants. Year one brought plants with no fruit, in year two there were a few plants and all had little fruits. Logically year three should bring more and larger plants with much larger fruits. I could hardly wait for the spring of year three. It was a long wait but I was sure our patience would be greatly rewarded. Year Three is Here This is now the third year since we have been nourishing and nursing our strawberry plants. Without a doubt this would be the year when we would reap. I watched through spring into early summer as the plants spread out and produced many more plants and as blossoms came out and transformed into tiny fruits. The tiny fruits that should have grown into large fruits however, remained tiny. I explained my dilemma to a British friend who was visiting, then took her out to look at the plant bed that was now overrun by strawberry plants with tiny strawberries. The Strawberry Conundrum It was then, after three years, that I understood that my strawberries were not real strawberries but wild strawberries. This meant that we would not be able to reap proper edible fruits from these plants. Besides, what started as a single plant would eventually take over the whole garden. I could already see this happening. I was bitterly disappointed that in the end I only had a plant that would overrun my garden without producing anything fruitful. God is a Gardener As you read Luke 13:6-8 and Mathew 3:10 you will find that God is a gardener and we are the trees in His garden. Like any gardener, when God lovingly cares for the fruit trees in His garden He expects good fruits. Producing fruit is NOT AN OPTION, for trees that use up soil, take up
space and receive the nourishing and care of the gardener. Likewise, God demands and deserves fruit from His garden. Listen to what Jesus says, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” John 15:8 And again in verse 16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit…”
because we appreciate His loving sacrifice. Our willingness to sacrifice anything and everything for Him is the absolute least we could do. In this context what we do is not works of the law. So do not feel condemned by thinking you are trying to work your way into heaven simply because you have a desire to please God and do what is He says.
Remember that a tree planted for fruit bearing is of no use to the farmer if it remains fruitless. In the same way fruitless follower’s of Christ are of no use to God and will end up cut down and on the fire.
I have now uprooted every bit of that wild strawberry plant and have subsequently replaced it with good strawberry plants. I am now excitedly awaiting a summer strawberry harvest. Consider how much God is looking for fruitfulness in our lives. THINK! p
What are the Fruits that God Wants? The fruit God requires are good works. Paul explains our purpose in Christ, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) These works essentially have to do with our attitude towards God and how we treat people. Yes you read right, WORKS. Today men are throwing God’s people into confusion by letting them think that all works are works of the law. Understand that there is a difference between works of the law and works of faith/good works. WORKS OF THE LAW are DEAD WORKS and are NOT inspired or empowered by the Holy Spirit of God but are self willed, self centred, sacrifices offered to God that God did not require. (see Ps 40:6) They reject God’s sacrifice, that justifies sinners and try to keeping the law and make other self-sacrifices. (see Amos 5:21) The righteous requirements of God could only be met by God Himself in human form. Nothing we do could meet the requirements that would justify us before God and qualify us to come into His presence. WORKS OF FAITH/GOOD WORKS are inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit of God. God tells us to do something and we do it even if we have to make great sacrifices to obey Him. We willingly obey
Further Reading John the Baptist also spoke about the
importance of bearing fruit. He said, “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance... And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 3:8-10) We are indeed saved by Grace through faith and not by works so the salvation of our spirit is not the issue. The problem is the conversion of our souls, the renewing of our minds and the discipleship of our bodies otherwise called sanctification. This perfecting process that matures us and forms us into the image of Christ takes time and work. We daily overcome temptations to sin by obeying and applying God’s word and we are able to do it by the power of the Holy Spirit working through us. If we were to remove all the Scriptures that tells us what we must do or not do the Bible would be reduced to a little booklet. Listen to this Scripture, James 2:23-24. “And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” So, how do we know that Abraham believed God? Because of what he did. If you do nothing it is a sign that you are not saved and that you do not have faith. Followers of Christ will DO many things to the glory of God. We are workers in His Kingdom and in His mission field. Our assignment is to take the Gospel to the world. If we are not BEARING FRUIT we are in BIG TROUBLE.
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It is said that for a lifeboat to be effective, it must be in the water in the sea. If however, the sea begins to come into the lifeboat then it will not be able to fulfill its purpose of saving lives. The same is true for the church. For the church to be effective it needs to be out there in the world, but if the world gets into the church and floods it, the church will become ineffective. Today the world seems to have taken over the ‘church’ but not to worry, God is going to separate His sheep from the goats.
op l e Pe
ea who b
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Ge nti les
The E & C lect hose n rH
By Homer Slack
NOT ALL were pleasing to God God’s elect and chosen ones are a group within the wider group of God’s people. God’s people are also group within the wider world. In other words, God separates a people from the world who go on to bear His Name but these are not all saved. From among those He takes an even smaller group, those who are truly saved and will be with Him forever. The following will illustrate the separation that will take place among God’s people. Everyone of us have been given the same opportunity to trust in Jesus and do what is right. If some use the opportunity of God’s grace to do wonderful things for Him why didn’t we all? Listen to the reminder Paul gives in 1 Corinthians 10:1-5 “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed
them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.” Five times in this passage Paul uses the word ‘ALL’ in his warning. All our forefathers the Israelites, as they travelled out of Egypt, had the same opportunity and resources available to ensure a successful entry into Canaan yet only two of the original two million made good use of it. What a waste! NOT ALL of God’s people who left Egypt entered Canaan. Paul speaking even of the present nation of Israel quoted Isaiah’s prophecy. “Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: ‘Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved.’” Remnant means: “A part or quantity that is left after the greater part has been used, removed…” (Oxford Dictionaries) NOT ALL plants were planted by the Lord Remember also that Jesus taught
that the wheat and the tares were all in the master’s field, but one group was good for food while the other only good to be burnt. (Matthew 13:24-30)
2 Timothy 2:20 “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.”
NOT ALL soil produced fruitful trees “For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; 8 but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.” Hebrews 6:7
NOT ALL are chosen Jesus himself said “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14) In this illustration we see two clear levels of separation. Level 1. Not all who were called came. Level 2. Not all who responded to the call were selected to stay.
Here scripture speaks of two types of soil. Both benefitted from the same rain, yet one type produced useful food while the other only thorns and weeds. NOT ALL vessels were of honour Though they were all in the master’s great house only some were vessels of honour. Many were vessels of dishonour that will soon end up discarded and broken in a garbage heap.
NOT ALL were sheep At the final judgment sheep and goats were all together so Jesus had to separate them. He distinguished them based on what they did. (Matthew 25:31-46) The challenge remains for this generation to make the minority report. The gauntlet has been thrown down by satan, the god of this world. Are we a separate people, holy, acceptable unto God or are we no different from the people of the world? p
Only 8 people out of the whole world
Only 3 people out of two whole towns
Only 2 people of an estimated 2 million
Only few are chosen of the many called
Only Noah and his family, eight in all, were saved out of all the world when God destroyed the earth with a flood. Noah preached and warned for a hundred and twenty years but no one heeded his warning 2 Peter 2:5. When they got into the ark along with all the animals God shut the door. Noah couldn’t open it for anyone else.
Only Lot’s family, his wife and two daughters were saved of all the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. Not even his wife made it to Zoar. She turned into a pillar of salt after leaving Sodom but before getting to Zoar because she longed for what she left in Sodom. She perished on the way. Genesis 19:15-16
Only two people, Joshua and Caleb, out of an estimated 2 million people who originally left Egypt made it into Canaan. All the rest died between Egypt and Canaan. Calculations therefore indicate that, apart from Joshua and Caleb, no one over 41 years entered Canaan. They perished on the way. Numbers 26:65
This is no joke! People had similar concerns in the days of Jesus as we do today. A question often asked today was also asked of Jesus i.e. “... are there few who are saved?” (Luke 13:23) Jesus didn’t answer it directly there but He did in other places. He said, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)
July - September 2015
JARGON BUSTER DEAD WORKS
The righteous requirements of God could only be met by God Himself in the human form of Jesus. Nothing we do could meet the requirements that would justify us before God and qualify us to come into His presence. The Bible says, it is only by the grace of God that we can be saved, and we receive that salvation through faith.
GRACE There really is no better, simple description of grace other than the undeserved favour of God towards us.
THE WORLD The word “world” in the Bible can simply mean this planet on which we live. However, it more often means the world system opposed to God’s way of doing things. In John 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom doesn’t belong to this world.” Matthew 4:17 tells us , “Then Jesus started preaching, ‘Turn back to God! The kingdom of heaven will soon be here.’” That’s what SHARE Magazine is all about, living in the Kingdom of Heaven and not for the kingdom of this world’s system.
Truth is, because we are all sinners, the Bible says there is only one thing we deserve. It tells us in Romans 3:23, “Sin pays off with death.” As sinners death is all we deserve! But the good news is, this verse goes onto say, “But God’s gift is eternal life given by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Amazingly in the Bible there are only two definitions of sin! One is found in Romans 14:23, “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” So, anything we do outside of our relationship with God is actually sin. Did you see that? God defines sin not as something that is good or bad. Instead He is telling us that the reason we exist is to have a relationship with Him. That means anything we do outside of that relationship with Him is, in His sight, sin. That is, we do as we like and rebel against God’s will and His way. The other place the Bible defines sin is found in 1 John 3:4, “Everyone who sins breaks God’s law, because sin is breaking God’s law.” It’s that simple, if we break God’s Law, we sin. Where do we find God’s Law? Only in His Word the Bible!
Wow, we don’t deserve it but God is willing to forgive our sin and give us eternal life because of what Jesus did at Calvary. Now that is, without doubt, God showing us undeserved favour!
(Ephesians 2:8) Having saved us, God then expects us to abandon the former things, grow up and become mature Believers:
Faith in the Bible is much more than simply believing something. The Apostle James tells us, “My friends, what good is it to say you have faith, when you don’t do anything to show that you really do have faith? Can that kind of faith save you?” (James 2:14) The best way of describing faith is the term, trusting obedience. Everything we do with God has to start with that trusting obedience. The very first step of our salvation starts with trusting obedience. In his public sermon in Athens the Apostle Paul states quite simply, “but now God commands all people everywhere to repent”. So, our first step of trustful obedience is to repent - stop going our way and start going God’s way. God’s way is made clear in the Bible His Holy Word.
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“We must try to become mature and start thinking about more than just the basic things we were taught about Christ. We shouldn’t need to keep talking about why we ought to turn from deeds that bring death and why we ought to have faith in God.” (Hebrew 6:1) Having been saved, we next find out what God wants us to be doing and what pleases Him by, reading the Bible, and doing it. So, what are ‘dead works’? Romans 14:23 says, “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin…” and “Faith comes by hearing God’s word” Romans 10:17. Dead works are simply everything that we do outside of God’s will. DEAD WORKS come from us and are NOT inspired by the Holy Spirit. They are an attempt to impress God by what we do rather than trust in what Jesus has done. We cannot do or sacrifice anything to save ourselves, even things He lays out in His law. We can please Him by not continuing to live in sin but only because Jesus has done what was required to save us.
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Note to Self... Integrity is: remaining consistently the same whether in public or in private. If I am square by design I will never fit into a round hole so why do I keep trying, instead of just being me?
Is my value based purely on my achievements or on my character?
I am a person not a job description, my title defines my function not who I am.
If the applause fades will I still keep doing what is right?
Itâ€™s painful to disappoint loved ones but life changing to please God. If it comes to it, choose God.
July - September 2015
Portrait of The “ You therefore must endure
True stories that grip the very heart of you
hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. ”
To book the story teller:
Email : index_us@ yahoo.com Personal Mobile Number : ++7940 875-674 Office Phone Number : ++1472 485-408 Fax Number : ++1472 485-408
Ex-military service people will proudly tell you that no man gets left behind. This is the kind of camaraderie of brothers in arms. Living and fighting alongside those who you depend on for survival is a stark reality for the good soldier. Do we have this militant resolve to protect each other in the Army of God? A certain young man who started preaching the gospel from his late teens and continued until he married. Before he got married it was quite easy to get up and go. His lifestyle was very easy to maintain and he had little family responsibilities. Obviously, this changed after marrying since he was then no longer living with his parents and had his own family expenses. Responsibilities were bearable until their first child came very early in their marriage. They were unprepared! STRUGGLING TO BE FAITHFUL He was now facing the dilemma many young ministers face. How could he fulfil the call of his ministry without forfeiting his responsibility to his family? This was especially difficult since the church of which he was a member had no structure to support and develop young people called to work in God’s Kingdom. In spite of the struggles this young family endevoured to continue preaching the gospel. Often they had little to eat or were hindered by car troubles since they were unable to afford a modern vehicle etc. However they had been ministering effectively to many people. By the time their second child was six months old they had spoken at six different retreats. In each case they had lived under difficult circumstances on site for about a week. Often their hosts did not consider
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remuneration therefore they had to pay for their own travelling expenses etc. At one of these youth retreats, with his wife and infant stayed home, his car ran out of petrol and he needed buy things for his baby. However, his hosts only gave him 18 bananas. After a week of ministry he was forced to call a friend and borrow money for petrol in order to return home. Since they were members of a church they thought of seeking advice from their leader who acknowledged them
e Good Soldier WASTED YEARS This young minister and his wife had a heart for God’s work, so armed with this prophet’s advice who was also their church leader went full force into setting up a business. Remember, the quicker the business became successful the sooner they would have resources to go off and do God’s work. After many years and no less than ten different attempts, their project had failed. With great sorrow they now recall the many years, money and heartaches wasted. Their many hours working, thinking, planning, accounting and filing legal paperwork to meet government standards and requirements should have been time spent with God and doing His will. They now realise that this bad advice was given by a false prophet.
as God’s ministers. Their church leader was a renowned so-called prophet and miracle worker who advised them to put their efforts into establishing a business first. He said that, when the business became successful this young minister would be able to take time off to do God’s work, without worries about income or family expenses. He said that he believed this was God’s way because people were not giving to support ministers as they used to years ago.
BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS This story made it clear why Jesus in Matthew chapter 7, after speaking of the broad way and the narrow gate, immediately went on to warn against false prophets. “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of false prophets…” Matthew 7:13-15 Beware of false prophets because they will direct you away from the narrow gate that leads to life and tell you the broad way is the correct way to go but Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate…” (Luke 13:24) The narrow gate is where we get
squeezed and is taken onto the difficult path, but this is the gate that leads to life. That young man should not have gone down the broad road of business but continued on that difficult path. That leader should have arranged practical continuous support rather than just giving him empty words. The God who calls, appoints and sends, is the same God who will provide. GOD IS NO MAN’S DEBTOR God made provision for ministers but unfortunately churches that do not practice God’s principles fail not only young ministers and their families but countless others as well. Listen, “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life…” and “Who ever goes to war at his own expense?” Those of us called to be soldiers must be involved in spiritual warfare and not be bound to the pressures of business. Do not worry, focus on fighting and remember that King and Country will provide our uniform, boots and rations and all our needs. Have faith and stay on the narrow path! Do your best to help those who you know are called by God to work in His Kingdom and are taking the true gospel to the world. Do not allow them to starve and have such difficulties when you can help, God may want to provide for them through you. p  2 Timothy 2:3-4;  1 Corinthians 9:7
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In Praise of Hymn O Jesus, I have promised
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O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end Be Thou forever near me, my master and my friend; I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by my side, Nor wander from the pathway if Thou wilt be my guide. O let me feel Thee near me! The world is ever near; I see the sights that dazzle, the tempting sounds I hear; My foes are ever near me, around me and within; But Jesus, draw Thou nearer, and shield my soul from sin. O let me hear Thee speaking in accents clear and still, Above the storms of passion, the murmurs of self will. O speak to reassure me, to hasten or control; O speak, and make me listen, Thou guardian of my soul.
O Jesus, Thou hast promised to all who follow Thee That where Thou art in glory there shall Thy servant be. And Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end; O give me grace to follow, my master and my friend.
O let me see Thy footprints, and in them plant mine own; My hope to follow duly is in Thy strength alone. O guide me, call me, draw me, uphold me to the end; And then in Heaven receive me, my Savior and my friend.
Reviewing Great Christian Hymns
Written By John E. Bode (1816-1874) Bode penned these word to commemorate his daughter and two sons confirmation service. This great hymn went on to inspire many children as it was popularly sung in schools hymn books and became childrenâ€™s and adults favourite; it is a lasting testimony that the Christian faith is an active commitment to Jesus Christ that requires a childlike faith that is unspoiled and unwavering. unwavering.http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/o/j/i/ojihprom.htm
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First runner up in THE SENSATIONNEL BLACK BEAUTY HAIR AWARDS 2013
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