From the Pastor’s Pen

                              

                            Rev. A. E. Garner

ANGER

I remember a Christian farmer treating a lady in a very unchristian way. I exploded reproving him with loud protestations. What I said was justifiable but my attitude wasn’t. Later I apologised for losing my temper.

Ecclesiastes says, “Anger resides in the lap of fools”. Doctors say, “When a person is in good humour his digestion works normally when angry, it doesn’t”. Irritation is a feeling we get when someone upsets us. Resentment comes when the mind continues to focus on the irritation and won’t allow it to pass.

A famous physician said, “Individuals who harbour hostility and anger are five times more likely to die from heart disease”.

Proverbs 37 says, ”Cease from anger and forsake wrath.”

Do you have bitterness and resentment or anger buried deep within you? It may damage your health – spoil the harmony of your home – hinder God working in your Church – it will certainly harm your relationship with God.

At the end of the year children in Japan write on a kite something they don’t like about themselves. They let the kite go then cut the string and of it flies carrying away their nastiness. Jesus waits to do it for you, humble yourself and let him.

                             

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Just a Thought

                                

                                Rev. A. Linford

FINISHING THE RACE

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish” – Luke 14:28-30.. 

Jesus spoke these words near the close of his ministry on earth with the purpose of warning followers that good intentions would not be enough to see them through hard times. Many followers would not have what it took to finish the race!

I believe the most tragic condition possible is starting out fully intending to lay hold of Christ and grow into a mature disciple, and instead slowly drift away, and become cold and indifferent to him. He laid a foundation but could not finish, because he did not first count the cost. He ran out of resources; he went so far and then quit.

God, wake us up and make us to understand that we are all changing. There is no such thing as standing still; you are either changing daily into Christ’s image or you are changing back into your old carnal ways. For those who have determined to lay hold of Christ at all cost, who are taking up their cross, denying self, and going on with him, Paul said, “We are all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord”‘ – 2 Corinthians 3:18.

What a joy to meet these who are finishing the race. They are growing in the wisdom and knowledge of Christ, becoming more distant from this world and its pleasures, and becoming increasingly heavenly minded. Their spiritual senses are highly exercised and their discernment of what is of God or the flesh is ever increasing. The older they get, the hungrier they are for more of Christ. They cut away all earthly attachments and with growing intensity, they long to be with him in his glory. For them, to die is gain and the ultimate prize is to be called into his presence to be at his side forever. It is not heaven they seek but Christ in glory!

You can be sure that when Christ returns, he will have a glorious church eager to be with him. It will consist of those who have become so unattached to this world and so united with him that moving from the corruptible to the incorruptible state will be but one last love step into his presence!

You may have fallen down in the Christian race, but you can get up and run again. Jesus will not let you lie down by the track, exhausted, crippled. He will lift up your weakened knees and give you supernatural strength to finish.

He will not fail you. By grace, you are going to finish the race and the Lord will be at the finish line to say, “Well done!”

                                

Healing Teaching

                                  

                        Rev. John Willoughby

A BIBLICAL APPROACH TO DIVINE HEALING.

(All scriptures in ‘New King James Version’, unless otherwise stated.)

IX. HEALING FOR CHRISTIANS TODAY – PRAYING IN FAITH. 

The Bible says that, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” and that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb 11:1, 6). Faith is also a gift (Heb 12:2) and is very different from presumption. The following are some aspects related to praying in faith.

1. FAITH IN A BIG GOD.

a) It is based solely on what God’s Word declares. John 17:17. The Bible says, “let God be true and every man a liar” – Romans 3:4. Our faith does not look to any other source for confirmation or encouragement. If we are to pray in faith, we must know the Word of God, concerning His will about healing. To know it we must read, study, memorise and meditate on it. The more we do this, the more our faith will increase (Jn 15:7).

b) It knows the will of God. Matt 8:1-4. The leper said to Jesus, “if You are willing, You can make me clean” (v2). He hahewd no doubt that Jesus was able to heal him, but he doubted whether Jesus had the will to heal him. Jesus replied, “I am willing, be clean” and the Bible says, “immediately his leprosy was cleansed” (v3). We must also be certain in our hearts about the fact that He wants to heal. (There are sometimes things in our lives, which can delay healing, such as unforgiveness or sin, but the desire of God is still to heal).

2. FAITH IS BOLDLY SPECIFIC.

a) It has a definite object. Mark 10:46-52. Jesus asked, “what do you want Me to do for you?”. The blind man was specific, “that I may receive my sight” (v51). We too must ask specifically and not vaguely.

b) It confesses boldly. Mark 11:23-24. Paul wrote, “since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I believed and therefore I spoke’, we also believe and therefore speak” – II Corinthians 4:13. The literal meaning of the word ‘to confess’ is ‘to agree with’ or ‘to say the same thing’. We need:

* Our confession to agree with the Word of God.

* To confess in faith to ourselves and others what we have prayed for and (by faith) received.

* To act on the confession of faith. Many do not receive healing, because they do not act on the words of faith that have been spoken. James wrote, “faith without works is dead” – James 2:20).

3. FAITH HAS RIGHT MOTIVES.

James 4:2-3. In this passage we see that there are two main reasons we do not receive – we do not pray (v2) and when we do ask, we pray with wrong motives (v3). We are simply channels for God to use in order to fulfil His purposes, for we in ourselves can heal nobody, nor can we heal ourselves. God is extremely jealous of His glory and will not share it with another. Jesus said to His disciples, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). Pride or personal gain should have no place in the heart of one who prays for or receives healing, rather let us always give honour to Him for the wonderful things that He alone has done, for it is not our faith that has caused the miracle, it is God’s power and grace.

4. FAITH IN GOD, DESPITE SICKNESS.

Our faith must be in a Heavenly Father, who loves us and wants the best for us, despite whether we are healed or not healed. It is good to trust Him for healing, but we must also be honest and admit that not all are healed, when prayed for in faith. We need grace:

a) To trust in Him despite past disappointments. John 5:2-8. In Mark 5:25-26 we read, “Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse.” This woman had been disappointed over many years, yet when she reached out by faith and “touched His garment” (v27), she was instantly healed (v29). Sometimes we have received medication for many years and have been prayed for many times, yet we are not healed. Our trust must still rest in a Father who loves us and wants the best for us.

b) To continue steadfastly in faith. Matthew 7:7-8. God often heals over a period of time and very often our faith is tested, because the healing is sometimes not immediate. True faith endures and continues to believe steadfastly, even when the healing is not immediately evident, for its foundation is the Word of God. In Heb 10:23 we read, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” He continues, “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward” (v35).

c) To continue to believe that God loves us and wants our best, despite not being healed immediately. Romans 8:28. We are living in a fallen world system and sometimes we are called to show His grace, as we go through suffering. This suffering (whether physical or not) can often entail much grace and faith. A loving sensitivity with a lack of condemnation for those who are not healed (including ourselves) is most important. Whatever happens He has promised, “never to leave you nor forsake you” (Heb 13:5).

5. STEPS OF FAITH FOR HEALING.

The following can be of help, as we pray and seek God’s healing for our body:

* Be sure that you are in a right relationship with God and others – I Corinthians 11:27-30.

* Seek the presence of Jesus in you life, for it is He who will give your heart the faith you need – Romans 12:3.

* Saturate yourself with God’s Word – Rom 10:17.

* Continue to expect a miracle – trust in Christ’s power – Matthew 7:8).

* If you are not healed immediately, continue to remain in a loving relationship with Him – John 15:1-7. Through all situations we can grow spiritually and it is good to examine your life to see what changes God is trying to bring about in you – Romans 8:28.

* Call for the prayers of others – the elders of the church, family members and Christian friends – James 5:14-16.

* Attend a service where a person with a respected healing ministry is present – Acts 8:5-7.

* Keep on rejoicing, whether healing comes immediately or whether you have to wait for it Philippians 4:4, 11-13.

* Have peace in your heart that God’s delays in answering prayers are not denials of those requests. Sometimes God has a larger purpose in mind that, when realized, results in His greater glory – John 11:4, 14-15, 45.

* Our focus of faith needs to be on God, but also realize that the Bible acknowledges the proper use of medical care – Matthew 9:12.

                              

A Minute Message

                                          

                        Evangelist Barry Woodward

THE ULTIMATE LIBERATOR

There is a true story about a woman called Wendy, who was trapped by rejection guilt and fear. Wendy’s mother had died when she was only three-years old, and her stepmother had always hated her. Wendy’s stepmother use to scrub her in scalding water until her skin was red and raw. ‘You are ugly!’ she would shout. ‘You’ll never have a boyfriend! No one could ever love you!’ So Wendy grew up believing she was ugly, stupid, and totally unworthy of anyone’s love. And even though Wendy was bright, when she got pregnant it did prove her stepmothers’ point: ‘I always said she was useless!’

Bringing up a child as a single parent was difficult and then Wendy found out   she was pregnant again with twins, so she regrettably, had an abortion.

As time went by, things started looking up for Wendy. She got a job, and she got married. Yet still those feelings of rejection and guilt clung to her. Some days she would take three or four baths to try and wash herself clean. Wendy fell pregnant again and she was terrified that God would punish her for the abortion.

Then one night she had a dream. She saw Jesus smiling down at her. He made her feel clean and beautiful, the way she longed to be, then as she stretched out her arms towards Him. She woke up. ‘It was only a dream.’

Not long after that, Wendy was invited by a friend to go to church.  The speaker said during his talk that she could be forgiven. She thought all she deserved was punishment and rejection. But that day she asked God into her life. It was then that she felt a sense of liberation from the past, and she felt like new. She said ‘I felt clean all the way through,’ I even lost my fear of losing the baby.’

The lesson from this story is short and simple. Not matter what your history has been, when you make a connection with God by asking Him into your life, He gets to work by freeing you up from your past. He deals with the things in your life that need to be dealt with and then you start to feel brand new! Why? Because God is the Ultimate Liberator.

Is there something in your past that is haunting you? Do you feel like you’re a prisoner to something, and you can’t seem to break free? Do you live in fear of your past mistakes? The Bible says: “If the Son sets you free, you will be absolutely free.” 

Whatever it is your life, you can be freed up because God is the Ultimate Liberator.

If you want to find out more and receive a free book called ‘Making the Connection’, please email gail@proclaimtrust.org

                                  

Dave’s Snippets

                                       

                              Dr. David Allen

LESSONS   FROM EGYPT 

Many days have been devoted in the media to momentous events in Egypt, particularly in   Cairo. The sheer weight of the popular protests has succeeded in removing Hosni Mubarak   after many decades of virtual dictatorship. The final outcome is far from certain: will a democratic system eventually be set up or will reactionary forces make a comeback? Similar   protests in Bahrain, Yemen and Libya, are, even as I write, gaining momentum; and my hope   is that all these peaceful movements  eventually succeed and  millions are released from oppression and that moderate and democratic regimes are set up in time. Surely that must be our prayer!

However, as a historian, one particular and significant incident struck me in the centre of Cairo: during the chaotic scenes, a group of ordinary Egyptians surrounded the Museum of Antiquities in order to protect those precious artifacts from looters.   A few entered through a   skylight, but though some damage was done, priceless exhibits going back to Pharaoh   Tutankhamun’s era survived.

Britain does not, of course,  possesses anywhere near such a long history and culture as Egypt; but I see interesting parallels between what happened in Cairo and what  is happening   in present Britain.  The greatest treasure that we possess is the Christian faith, planted initially   in the Roman era and replanted by Augustine in the late sixth century. It is arguably what made Britain great but is unfortunately being assailed today by “looters” more dangerous   than those who got in through the skylight of the Museum in Cairo!

We are told that Christianity is just one of many viable religions and also that all faiths lead   to the same goal. In addition, disciples of Freud, and later modern “experts”, tell us that   religion is nothing more than an invention or a cuddly toy for the feeble for men and women of   limited intellect.

However, looking around at our current broken society, the obvious main reason for our dire and tragic situation is simply this: whilst we were somnolent, the looters have, over many decades,  plundered our real treasure, leaving many at the mercy of a “soulless, aggressive, nonchalant, nihilistic” secularism. So surely it is high time that we, just like those who protected the precious antiquities, should awake and “hold on to that we still have so no one will take our crown” (Revelation 3 verse 11). Finally, so as not to take parallels too far, note that Christians should not be curators of antiquities but, instead, guardians of the living flame!

                               

Just a Thought

                                         

                                  Rev. A. Linford

SKYWAY

 

“A highway shall be there” – Isaiah 35: 8-10 

The way to Zion is described in terms that illustrate the way to Heaven.

It is the only way. There is no other road to Glory but by Jesus – John 14: 6.

It is a straight way – a highway that leads up to God. Any other proposed way is but a by-path that leads to a moral and spiritual cul-de-sac.

It is a safe way. “No lion shall be there”. On his holy track we are guaranteed a divine security. God who opened the way, guards the path who tread it.

It is a fool-proof way. “Wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein”. If we trust in God we cannot go astray.

It is a holy way. Only, those dedicated to God may tread it. It is reserved for those who are ”washed in the blood of the Lamb” -Revelation 1: 5, 7:14.

It is a way of companionship. A variation of verse 7 (according to A R Fawsett) reads: “for He (the Holy one) shall be with them”. And with this agree the works of Jesus, ‘And lo, I am with you always, even unto the world” – Matthew 28: 20. We shall never walk alone on the way to the Holy City.

It is a way whose beginning is but a step away. Jacob saw this way years ago. It was to him a ladder whose top reached Heaven but the first rung was at his feet. So with us: the ”skyway of God” is at hand. All we need do is believe and step out.

                                                     

Illustrious Ministries

                             

                              Huldah Buntain

FIFTY YEARS ON THE FIELD

In 1954, with a 1-year-old daughter, Mark and Huldah found themselves on a ship to Calcutta, the beginning of a voyage that would take them across the Atlantic for three months on two ships. Their first approach to their new home was up the narrow and treacherous Hooghly River.

“It was like entering the mouth of a dragon,” Huldah says. “The murky water resembled sewage flowing down a wide gutter, only this current contained dead dogs and cows and even the skeletal remains of a human body.”

Huldah, widowed since 1989, still lives in the same apartment and runs the ministry she and her husband began 50 years ago. From its humble beginnings, the Calcutta Ministry has grown to include more than 800 churches, an entire educational system, several Bible colleges, a hospital, a nurse’s training centre soon to become a college, and a teacher’s college. Huldah oversees and visits them all. She spends roughly three to four months a year in her Calcutta apartment. The rest of her time is spent travelling throughout India and the world.

Huldah is responsible for ministry in 11 Indian states, including 230 million people. Thirty thousand children from these regions are in Mission of Mercy schools.

Calcutta Changes

Computers have changed the face of India. Huldah says that if you have a problem with your computer and you call a tech support line, you are most probably speaking to someone in India for help. And unlike the early days when she moved there, you can now buy electronic equipment and modern appliances. You don’t have to ship them from America.

But poverty still crushes in on Calcutta. For one reason, there are 18 million residents living in a nine mile by four mile area. And between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the week, the population swells to 25 million. Some of Huldah’s own employees see their children only on weekends because they travel in from such a long distance. They leave home before their children are up and return after the kids are in bed so that they can earn a wage in the city.

Hope for the Future

At 79, will Huldah Buntain retire? “NO!” she says emphatically. The satisfaction of changed lives is far too great. She recently met a young doctor and his nurse/wife in Toronto who were “our children.” He was a boy from an extremely poor region who had come to a Mission of Mercy school and later married a nurse trained in Huldah’s nursing training centre.

Huldah’s ministry is literally helping blind eyes see. Another of her recent success stories involves the 100 blind students taught at one of her schools. After being observed by a doctor, five blind children in the Mission of Mercy Hospital were selected to receive a unique eye surgery allowing them to see and read. Another 20 students are being screened to determine their possibilities for this surgery.

Huldah will release a 50th anniversary book at the end of this year outlining all the miracles God has accomplished in India through His servants Mark and Huldah.

Greatest Satisfaction

For Huldah, the investment in thousands of lives is a thrill. Of the 1,500 people on Mission of Mercy’s staff, Huldah is excited to point out that two-thirds of them came through Mission of Mercy’s programs as children. Seeing another generation come along keeps her excited and moving forward. 

Huldah Buntain is truly one of those people who, when the end has come, will have a whole host of witnesses for whom she has been the vehicle by which they came to Christ.

                                

Prayer Dynamics

                                 

                              Rev. David Wilkerson

COMMITTED TO BE SEEKERS

“And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications…. And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession…. And while I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel…” (Daniel 9:3, 4 and 20). These were praying men!

You see, the first commitment they had made—to live a separated life—had to be backed up by a second commitment, to be seekers after God. Indeed, it is impossible to live a holy life without spending much time on your knees, seeking God for the power and authority to lead such a life.

Don’t be mistaken—faithful praying will not keep you out of a crisis. On the contrary, most likely it will bring you to a fired-up furnace and a lions’ den. But prayer will prepare you to face it all with trust—to become a living sacrifice for Jesus’ sake!

Daniel’s praying led him straight to the lions’ den. And this test came years after that of the Hebrew men—when Daniel was in his eighties! This may frighten you, if you wonder how long it will be before you stop having crises. Perhaps you thought you’d learned all your “important” tests after a certain number of years in the Lord. Yet, here God is allowing one of his greatest prayer warriors—a man of a quiet, tender spirit—to face the crisis of his life after decades of faithful intercession!

Beloved, the testing only ends when Jesus comes—or when you die in Christ! This is why prayer is so important. You can make a commitment to live an undefiled life—but that commitment is impossible to fulfill without also having a commitment to seek God.

                                    

Great Stories

                                 

                           Rev. E. Anderson

DESERT RESCUE

                          A small child recalls his first encounter with angels.

Why won’t anyone stop to help us?  Mum asked as a car whizzed ignoring my sister’s frantic waves.

It was almost fifty miles through the desert to the next town, and I knew there was no way the three of us could walk that. Mum didn’t have a clue as to what was wrong with our car.,

‘Let’s get in out of the sun’ Mum said. We all climbed back into the car. ‘We’d better pray she offered.

I didn’t know exactly what to pray for. An angel with a tow truck? Still we all bowed our heads and asked God to help.

After a while, we saw a blue Toyota coming down the road. The driver pulled right up to us, as if he knew we’d be there. An older couple got out. ‘We were on another highway’, the lady said, ‘and we heard in our prayers that someone needed our help’.

That seemed a little weird to me. But the man was a mechanic and found out the problem right away. (Your battery’s dead. I’ll take it and get it recharge’.

Then the lady handed us a bag of sandwiches and assured us that they’d be back. So we ate and waited. Sure enough, a few hours later they came back with a charged-up battery.

The old lady put her hands on Mum’s cheeks and said, “You’ll be alright’. Cheryl’. Then she turned to my sister and me. ‘Michael and Janet,’ she said, ‘be good to your Mum. See that she gets home safely to Indiana’.

Then they were gone. Suddenly, it hit us. That lady had called us by name, all of us. She also knew that we were going to Indiana. But we’d never told the any of that stuff.  

Surprisingly, it didn’t seem all that weird to me. After all, the One who told them where we were had heard our prayers – and knew out names.

                                     

News and Views

                          

  Tim and Cerri Griffiths and villagers

LIFETIME VISION

Joy as couple see lifetime vision take shape

A COUPLE of ex-missionaries saw a lifetime vision start to take shape when work started on a children’s village in Sierra Leone last year.

Tim and Ceri Griffiihs, pastors at Crayford Christian fellowship, established Compassion Africa in 1990, a few years after returning from Sierra Leone where they worked as missionary relief Workers. The former teachers set up the charity after witnessing the ‘appalling’ poverty and huge problems endured by the people of the West African nation. ‘

MEDICAL

Their compassion Africa Children’s village is the latest project. It will include a multi-purpose community centre, skills workshop, school, after-school facilities, a medical centre and playing fields. 

Pastor Tim said: “The Compassion Africa Children’s Village will rescue and rehabilitate children who have been orphaned or are in need.

“Our village will provide a cohesive, cooperative, organised community in which well behaved and lovingly disciplined children will live in families of four to six people at a time”.  Each house built from locally manufactured brick will be individually designed an have its own garden.

A community-based training programme will run in the village for residents in the surrounded area which will cover personal and spiritual development, life an leadership skills, vocational an creative arts skills.

                          

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