Dave’s Snippets

Dr. David Allen

WHO WOULD DO SUCH A THING?

At a time when natural disasters, terrorist atrocities and deaths inAfghanistanare almost regular occurrences what happened on the beautifulislandofUtoeyain the south ofNorway  shocked the entire world. The massacre of nearly one hundred young people who were enjoying a summer camp seemed beyond belief and we all asked the question of who could have done such a terrible thing.  Why did Anders Breivik kill so many of his own people who were enjoying such an educational and profitable time in an idyllic location? 

What has emerged is that Breivik had conceived a deep hatred of Islam and, indeed, anything     he believed was undermining his own twisted version of Christianity, including the ruling    Labour party. The killing of the flower of the socialist younger generation was his diabolical    attempt to cut off the tender shoots. The result  will probably be the very opposite : for every one who has  died  there will arise a hundred others  to take their place; and the people ofNorwaywill never abandon their democratic and  laissez-faire lifestyle.

Going back to the question we asked at the beginning, we need to consider those memorable words of Jesus in Matthew chapter 5. What he said on that occasion we sometimes try to overlook as being altogether too personal and painful. His words, in paraphrase, mean “If   you are angry that is tantamount to murder; and if you are lustful that is as culpable as the actual sexual sin itself.”

This is what has been called one of the “Hard Sayings” of Jesus; but it is certainly true to say that the thought is the seed and root of the action. Hatred has often provoked terrible acts of wholesale murder: anti-Semitism resulted in the holocaust; the Crusades caused the deaths of   thousands of Muslims. To be frank, we are all capable both of hatred and cruelty, hence for the truism that “but for the Grace of God go I.” 

Horrified though we are by what happened inNorwayrecently, we should not forget the words of the Apostle John: “If we claim that we have no sin we are fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him he will forgive us and cleanse us of all wickedness.” Such horrors should make us look inwards and not congratulate ourselves for our own supposed righteousness.

                                  

 

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A Message from the late David Wilkerson

Rev. David Wilkerson

ON THE PATH TO VICTORY

The tremendous spiritual letdown that follows a mountaintop experience of blessing or victory is common to every follower of Jesus. We call these experiences “dry spells” but they seem like a deep plunge into spiritual darkness, an immersion into great testing after we have known a special touch of God.

We can find these dry spells plaguing the lives of godly men and women throughout the Bible. This low period in the spirit comes mostly to those whom God intends to use. Indeed, it is common to everyone he trains to go deeper and further in his ways.

As you look back on your own dry experience, ask yourself if such a period followed a renewal of the Spirit in your life. Maybe you had experienced a fresh awakening, an earnest prayer, asking the Lord, “Touch me, Jesus. I feel lukewarm. I know my service to you isn’t moving forward as it should. I’m hungry to have more of you than I have ever known. And I want zeal to do your work—to pray for the sick, save the lost, bring hope to the hopeless. Renew me, Lord. I want to be used for your kingdom in greater measure.”

Because you got serious with God, your prayers began to get answers and you started to hear God’s voice clearly. Intimacy with him was wonderful, your zeal was increasing, and you sensed his movement in your life so strongly.

Then one day, you woke up and the heavens seemed as brass. You were cast down and didn’t know why. Prayer seemed like agony, and you didn’t hear God’s voice as you once did. Your feelings began to seem dead, your spirit dry and empty. You had to live only by faith.

Beloved, if this has happened to you, do not panic! And don’t beat yourself up. I know this kind of plunge personally, from the mountaintop to the lowest pit, seemingly in an instant. Peter speaks of it specifically, advising us not to think some strange thing is happening to us: “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings” – 1 Peter 4:12-13.

The Lord allows our dry spells because he is after something in our lives. So rejoice and praise him, even though you may not feel like it!

                             

God’s Kingdom

Rev. John Willoughby

GOD’S GLORIOUS KINGDOM.

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

X. PRINCIPLES AND WARNINGS FOR KINGDOM LIVING.

1. THE PRINCIPLES OF RIGHT MOTIVATION.

Religion is concerned with keeping observances and laws, but the King is interested in the inner motives of the heart. The Scribes and the Pharisees specialised in religious acts, for they did all the right things, but often with the imperfect motive of being seen by men. It is good to sometimes question the reasons we do things with questions such as – ‘why am I doing this’, ‘is my motive pure’, or ‘what will be the end result’? The Psalmist wrote, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps 139:23-24). Three areas are mentioned for Kingdom motives:

a) Giving. Mt 6:1-4. For Christians financial giving can be a great blessing (Mal 3:8-12), but to those who hold back it can prove a serious curtailment to spiritual growth (Lk 18:22). The principle of giving regularly of 10% of our income came into being before the law (Gen 15:18-20) and is an act of faith in a big God. Jesus said, “Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use it will be measured back to you” (Lk 6:38). He also said that when we do give, it should be with the motive of blessing God and His purposes and should be done in privacy and with humility, for all we have is of Him.

b) Prayer. Mt 6:5-15. As with giving, prayer should be part of the Christian discipline, not only at special times, but also as part of our daily walk with the Lord. It forms part of the outworking of our relationship with Him and the more we do it, the more that relationship is strengthened. In v9-13 Jesus gives us not a religious set of words to be repeated, but rather a guide for our every day prayers. Our motives should firstly be to give glory to Him (v9-10), then to give our petitions and ending in proclaiming His power and glory in all situations (v11-13).

c) Fasting. Mt 6:16-18. It is good to note that Jesus said in v17, “when you fast”, repeating His words, “when you do charitable deeds” (6:2) and “when you pray” (6:5). Similar to giving and praying, our motives are not for self glory and the acclamation of men, but rather it is to be done, “in a secret place” to the glory of our “Father who sees in secret.” Fasting is not an option for a Christian, but should be part of Kingdom living and as with giving and prayer, it needs to be part of a disciplined lifestyle, with the result that there is often a battle with the flesh – but His grace is always sufficient. Fasting should not be done in a vacuum, but should be accompanied by other spiritual disciplines. Sometimes, especially when dealing with strongholds of the enemy, prayer together with fasting is the means of victory (Mt 17:14-21).

2. THE PRINCIPLES OF RESPONSIBLE STEWARDSHIP.

Mt 6:19-24. As citizens of the Kingdom we have given all our personal rights and all we have to the King, we therefore own nothing, but are simply stewards of what He has given back to us to use for His glory. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (v21), this is a key to responsible stewardship. Paul referring to the “rich in this present age” wrote, “Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may may lay hold on eternal life” (I Tim 6:17-19). Our heart follows our giving, not the other way around. What we invest our finances in, reveals where our heart’s affections really are. As Jesus said, “you cannot serve both God and riches” (v24). God must always come first. If we invest in earthly things – moth, rust and thieves will destroy, but treasures invested in the eternal Kingdom will not only show our heart’s loyalties now, but will also produce eternal rewards.

3. THE PRINCIPLES OF RIGHT PRIORITIES.

Mt 6:25-34. Worry about the future can rob us of our peace and joy, but He wants us to by faith trust in Him for all things. The good can often be the enemy of the best. Jesus clearly defines our priorities, “seek first the Kingdom of God …. ” (v33). As we make Him and His Kingdom our priority with dedication and commitment, so we will find that our security rests in a loving and faithful Father, who wants our good and in His timing all the things we need will be given us.

4. THE PRINCIPLE OF TOLERANCE TOWARDS OUR BROTHER.

Mt 7:1-5. It is easier to criticize others than to recognise our own imperfections – seeing the speck in somebody else’s eye, yet not seeing the log in our own! We should not, however, be blind to other’s faults (v6), thus ignoring them, but rather to minister to them in love and compassion, seeking by prayer and counsel to help them to overcome those weaknesses, but being always aware of our own fallibility. How we treat others determines how we are treated. Paul wrote, “let us not judge one another any more, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way” (Rom 14:13).

5. THE PRINCIPLE OF DISCRIMINATE TEACHING.

Mt 7:6. Pearls are formed in the hidden depths of an oyster and are formed by friction and hardship. The deep things we learn of Kingdom life, that which are precious and valuable, need to be guarded and not given to those who will not receive them, but rather shared only with those who are hungry for the truths of the Kingdom. We read in Prov 9:8-9, “Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser; teach a just man and he will increase in learning”. We are to share the message of the Kingdom with all, but the mysteries of the Kingdom are only for the committed.

6. THE PRINCIPLES OF CONSISTENT PRAYER.

Mt 7:7-12. The ‘asking’, ‘seeking’ and ‘knocking’ are all a continuous action in the original language, thus ‘keep on asking’ etc. We may see a progression in prayer in these verses:-

* “Ask and it shall be given you.” Making our requests known to God with thanksgiving and faith is the simplest form of prayer. As we continuously ask, so our heavenly Father will give, “good things to those who ask Him” (v11).

* “Seek and you shall find.” A deeper level of prayer is seeking after God – in order to know Him, to be changed into His likeness and to make Him known to others. He promises that, “You shall find Me, when you seek with all your heart” (Jer 29:13). This type of prayer demands more time, dedication, repentance and sacrifice, but it also results in greater rewards, both in answered prayers and in a deeper spiritual life.

* “Knock and the door shall be opened.” This is not an aggressive faith, which often insists on an immediate answer, but rather a persistence in prayer. As we discern what is the mind of the Holy Spirit and follow Him in gently knocking daily in prayer at His door, so our petitions will be answered in His timing and in His way (Lk 11:5-8). It can be discouraging when we do not see immediate answers to our prayers, however, Jesus encourages us to, ‘keep on knocking’.

7. THE PRINCIPLES OF TRAVELLING THE KINGDOM PATH.

Mt 7:13-14. Jesus said, “I am the Way the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn 14:6) and “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me he will be saved” (Jn 10:9). Entry into His Kingdom is only through Christ, which puts us on the narrow path of daily faith in Him alone, as opposed to the broad way of the world, which would include all other paths of faith living, whether in false gods or the world system. Travelling the way of the Kingdom often leads to many difficulties and persecutions, as we stand for integrity and righteousness, but it “leads to life” (v14) and stretches into eternity.

8. THE WARNINGS OF FALSE:

a) Ministries. Mt 7:15-20. Those who have matured in their Christian walk by taking the, “solid food” of His Word and have put its truths into practice are also able to discern, “both good and evil” (Heb 5:14). John wrote, “Beloved do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (I Jn 4:1). How important it is to, “test all things” and “hold fast what is good” (I Thess 5:21), especially in the last days (Mt 24:11). All ministers of the Kingdom must be tested by the fruit of their lives and their ministry must be in agreement with God’s Word, when dealing with fundamental doctrine.

b) Disciples. Mt 7:21-23. It is false to proclaim Jesus as Lord with our lips, yet deny Him with our lifestyle. He said of those who would follow Him, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jn 14:15). James warned us, “be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (1:22). Only God can cause miracles and bring healing. He may in His grace use one of His servants to bless others, but the most important thing is that our hearts and lives are wholly His and we give Him glory at all times.

c) Foundations. Mt 7:24-27. We read in Eph 2:20-22, the “chief cornerstone” of the Christian faith is Christ Himself, “in whom the whole building , being fitted together grows into a holy temple in the Lord”. Wrong foundations can prove disastrous for any physical building, but how much more important it is for those who are, “being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (v27). Peter was given the revelation that Jesus is, “the Christ , the Son of the living God”. Jesus replied, “on this rock (truth) I will build My church” (Mt 16:16-18). How important it is that the foundation of our lives as Kingdom people is built on the solid foundation of the rock of Christ.

                                 

Minute Message

Rev. E. Anderson

HOW MUCH CAN GOD TRUST YOU WITH?

‘If you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth…’ Luke 16:11 NLT

We never really own anything, it’s just a loan. It was God’s property before we arrived and He lend it to somebody else after we’re gone. Our selfish culture says, ‘If I don’t own it, why should I take care of it?’ Those who understand God’s will live by a higher standard. They say, ‘Because God owns it, I’ll take even better care of it!’ In God’s kingdom, ‘…those who are trusted with something valuable must show they are worthy of that trust – 1 Corinthians 4:2 NCVI. To illustrate this, Jesus told the story of a businessman who entrusted his wealth to his servants while he was away. When he returned he evaluated and rewarded them accordingly: …

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”’ – Matthew 25:21 NIV. When you make the most of what God has given to you He promises three rewards. First, you’ll be given commendation: Well done, good and faithful servant!’ Next you’ll receive promotion: ‘I will put you in charge of many things’. Finally, you’ll be honoured with a celebration: ‘Come and share your master’s happiness’.

For many of us, money is the greatest test of all. Jesus addresses this: ‘If you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? – Luke 16:11. There’s a direct correlation between how you use your money, and the quality of your life. So the question is: could the way you’re handling your money be preventing God from blessing you with more?

                                

News and Views

Pastor Rike and Family

INDONESIA

If you have ever visitedIndonesiaor spent your holidays there, you’ll know it is a beautiful country – 17,000 islands in thePacific Ocean, picturesque beaches and stunning nature.

It is also the world’s largest Muslim-majority country and has won widespread respect for its long tradition of pluralism, religious freedom, and its remarkable transition from an authoritarian rule to a democracy.

But the tradition of people living in harmony and worshipping freely is under threat.

A CSW team has just visitedIndonesiabringing back disturbing news. Ben, CSW’S Team Leader forEast Asia, just informed me: ”Radical Islamism is on the rise posing a serious threat FTC the country’s stability and security.

The Indonesian government is weak and struggling all fake adequate steps to protect Christians and other religious minorities-from harassment, discrimination and violence.

Violations of religious freedom affecting Christians have increased from twelve incidents in 2009 to about 75 in 2010. Radical voices are accusing churches of ”Christianization” and using this allegation to justify church closures, leaving pastors and entire congregations at a loss.

Religious minorities are being attacked including four men-from the Ahmadiyya community, who, still very traumatized, sat in aJakartaapartment and described to me how they were almost killed by a Muslim mob earlier this year simply because their belief is regarded as heretical. ”

And there is even more cause for concern.

A report published by The International Journal of Press/politics states that apparently 63 per cent of Indonesian journalists surveyed, approved of conservative fatwas (religious rulings from Islamic law) that criticize secularism, pluralism and liberalism. At least 20 per cent of Indonesian journalists agree with the use of violence. Another survey found that 40 per cent of students in non-religious schools approve of violence as a way of resolving religious and moral arguments.

These signs are very troubling.

The CSW team also visitedWest Papua, an Indonesian province, where mass migration is posing a great problem to the indigenous population, who are predominantly Christian. Indigenous Papuans feel distinctly marginalized, discriminated and suppressed by the mainly Muslim migrants and suffer abuse by Indonesian military and security forces.

Listening to what Ben and the team have found and the information they brought back, it is clear the situation inIndonesiahas deteriorated significantly within the past year.

Some voices in the country talk of the early signs of ”Pakistanisation”, which as in the case ofPakistan, describes a path of intense persecution and religious violence. A situation we are all too familiar with. Considering thatIndonesiais the largest Muslim- majority country and a democracy, it is in all our interests to ensure that action is taken so ”Pakistanisation” does not happen.

Without the light of truth, you and I would not be able to pray effectively. Nor would we be able to expose the warning signs so they can be clearly seen by the whole world. I have included an edited version of Ben’s visit diary with this letter, which will give you a little more insight into the situation inIndonesiaand the lives and the suffering of some of the people he met.

Every day, CSW staff are working to uncover what is happening not only inIndonesiabut also in many other places around the world so that together we can pray, challenge governments and see freedom upheld.

Even as I write this letter, Ben has recently returned from the EU Parliament inBrusselsand has just presented ourIndonesiareport to advocate for change at the US Congress and US State Department inWashingtonDC. There is much that can be done internationally to influence change in the country.

                                 

From the Pastor’s Pen

Rev. A. E. Garner

DISCOVERY 

A girl named Mary was walking along the beach near Lyme Regis inDorset. She was looking for fossils, a skill she had learned from her father. With her Geologist’s hammer she found a thirty foot long skeleton of an Ichthyosaurus. Mary’s discoveries did not end there! As she grew older more important discoveries were made, including the east pterodactyl found inBritain, She became famous and opened a Museum and a Fossil Shop, both of which were visited by some of the greatest men inEurope. She became known as the “Fossil Woman of Lyme”. Instead of acknowledging God as Creator, she based her whole concept of life on the theory of Evolution and called The Garden of Eden a fable. Was she correct. 

There is no doubt that Seth, Enoch. Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David (descendants from Adam) lived on earth. If Adam and Eve are a fable, where did these men come from? There isn’t the slightest doubt that the nation ofIsraelcame from Jacob. But, if Adam and Eve didn’t exist neither did Jacob. The Bible says that men suppress the truth by their wickedness. For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities (His eternal power and divine nature) have been clearly seen, being understood by what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Men have exchanged the truth of God for a lie. All men do not have faith.

Let all    who believe that God created the heavens and the earth thank God for faith.

Let all    who believe that God created man thank God for faith.

Let all    who believe that Jesus is the Son of the Invisible God, who died to rid us of sin and was raised to give us eternal life, thank God for faith.

Let all    who believe that God has a purpose for their lives and will reveal it to them and enable them to fulfil it, thank God for faith.

I believe the Lord reigns on the throne of the Universe and He is going to have the last word. I see Him who is invisible. I love Him who is invisible. I serve Him who is invisible. I am looking forward to the day when the invisible one will appear and I shall see Him and enter into His everlasting kingdom.

Let’s shout it from the roof-tops, it’s no fable but fact.

Thank God for faith.

                                

Sermons of Note

Rev. E. Anderson

THE GREAT MOTIVE AND MOTIVATION OF LIFE

 Reading    Philippians 1

Text          1: 21

Introduction

PAULINE EXPRESSION: in one simple phrase the apostle Paul makes it known what is the great inward motive and motivation of his inward being. He states very clearly what his aim and ambition is above all else – “for to me, to live, is Christ’ – Philippians 1: 21. He could not place the issue more succinctly. Later in chapter 3 he opens up further on this matter by affirming his mind and heart – “that I may know Him” – v10. No one is to be left in any doubt as to where His commitment was. He was addicted to and absorbed with Jesus Christ and he desired that everyone else should know it. He is not ashamed of Christ but is desirous by life and labour Christ will be known.

A DIVINE STANDARD AND RULE: In stating his personal dedication to such a loft aspiration, he at the same time underlines what should be the inspired motive and motivation of ever divinely called Christian. This is not only for himself, all Christians should be found embracing this and to see it manifest in a great degree within their lives and lifestyle. He purposely affirms this so that it will be readily appreciated and accepted by all who have come to know Christ and have placed their faith in Him. It is to become patently obvious in all who have decided to become both a believer and follower of Christ. It is to be the great motive and motivating factor and feature in the whole of Christendom. One word and name should sum up the aspiration and action of the whole body of Christians – it is Christ. Not money, fame or any other thing should be in the contest.

VARIETY OF WAYS AND SEASONS: Through the whole of his Christian life and service it is possible to trace the fact that Paul lived up to this expression. Having met the Christ in an extraordinary way he was immediately impacted and won over to Christ for Him to bring this about. It was a radical encounter that dynamically changed his life and focus and set him on course for the realisation of this motive and motivation. It is possible to review his Christian experience and come to the conclusion of a person utterly sold out to Christ At every phase and stage he is manifesting his unity with this expression. He magnified and glorified Christ in numerous ways:

1/.  IN HIS PERSONAL WITNESSING FOR AND TO CHRIST

No sooner is he converted to Christ he seeks to make Christ known to others, sharing his testimony. No sooner is he divinely transformed he is about the business of making Christ known – “And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God” Acts 9: 20. This appears to be the constant feature of his life henceforth. He cannot be restrained from sharing his life transforming experience with others, to all classes of people. Before Agrippa he can say: “I continue to this day, witnessing both small and great…” – Acts 26: 22. In the ultimate moment of his life he is ready to witness to Caesar – 2 Timothy 4: 16, 17. All could see and hear that he was living for Christ.

2/.  IN HIS MINISTRY WITHIN THE LOCAL CHURCHES

Throughout his Christian life and service he counted it a privilege and joy to serve the local churches and his devotion to Christ is in evidence. Paul spent some time in the church atAntiochwith his co-worker, Barnabas. It is apparent from the context that he ministered Christ to that fellowship. He was divinely motivated to impact these first Christians with a greater knowledge of Christ and the faith and in consequence these people became overwhelmed and blessed with Christ. It wasAntiochthey were first call ‘Christians’ – Acts 11: 26. He gave great Christian teaching that led the believers into a fuller and deeper devotion to Christ.

3/.  IN HIS MISSION IN FOUNDING CHURCHES

The call of God came to him along with Barnabas to be the first missionaries of the Christian Church. This was a special assignment that was communicated to the whilst in the church atAntiochand they arose to fulfil the challenge the known world with Gospel of Christ. Most of the late chapters unveil him hard at his calling in the proclaiming the Gospel and of planting churches wherever he went. When he went into the cities, towns and villages of various nations he was motivated with this motive, to see such moved by the message of Christ. He wanted to see communities switched on to Christ and to form a congregation of Christian believers. Wherever he went and whoever he met, were candidates for Christ’s kingdom and to be involved with Christ at the local level. See what happened when he was shipwrecked and landed onMalta’s shores – Acts 28: 1-10 and what occurred when he landed inRome- vv16-31.

4/.  IN HIS ENCOURAGING OF OTHERS IN COMMITMENT TO CHRIST

In the course of his Christian career and ministry he was able to impact other people who became Christian and true followers of Christ and who were called to serve Christ in a leadership role. Living for Christ meant majoring in training and using others along side of himself to serve Christ in a great manner. He had a great band of workers that were influenced by Christ and served in a choice way. One can list Timothy, Titus, Apollos, Pricilla and Aquila etc. who were grateful for his example and lead. He demonstrated apostolic authority in their connection and they were will to learn from him because they knew he was Christ focused and driven.

5/. IN HIS COMPOSITION OF LETTERS TO CHURCHES

Many are aware of the fact of the valuable time spent in writing letters to various churches seeking to be an encouragement and to give counsel and guidance concerning their belief and behaviour. He wanted his compositions to be of such a character and quality that the people would be more Christ orientated and committed. In his writings he is moved and motivated to place Christ very much before each church and that each would show deference to Him above all. His letters to the Philippians and Colosse for instance really highlight Christ in a special manner, making clear all the Church must know and be submissive to Him. Although he couldn’t be with them, he would use the opportunity to write and afford the counsel that was much needed.

6/.  IN HIS FINAL ACT OF SURRENDER AND SACRIFICE OF LIFE

He did express in Philippians his attitude towards death. It presented no problem to him and spoke of it in a positive way. He could say: “For to me live is Christ, and to die is gain. Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” – 1: 20, 21. The opportunity at death would give him the privilege and delight to express his commitment to Christ. When it was due, it did not find him unprepared – 2 Timothy 4: 6—8. His ultimate act would be to witness to all, his generation and those to come where his love and loyalty lie. His final moments would declare very clearly that he was sold out to Christ.

CONCLUSION

This motive must be birthed with every Christian and fully developed so that the whole motivation of life is consumed with complete surrender to Christ. The point must be reached where we Christ has everything and that there is the readiness to give everything to Him, nothing withheld.

It is Christ who is present and seeks to inspire and enable so that all are sold out to Him in every way. He looks on and sees what kind of motive is our possession and He, above all, seeks to encourage that attitude of mind and  heart so that the issue is truly settled.

                             

Pastor’s Weekly Thought

Rev. Ian Williams

CHICKEN NUGGETS 

I have been inspired by watching Jamie Oliver’s American Food Revolution – he is trying to introduce healthier food to American schools where they eat mainly processed food. During the program, Jamie shows children how chicken nuggets are made. At each stage of the process the children were disgusted at the things that went into making the nuggets but when Jamie cooked the final product they all still wanted to eat it.
 
The truth about chicken nuggets is that they are not wholesome – they taste nice because of the additives put into them, but if all you eat are chicken nuggets, they are not good for you.
 
In the same way chicken nuggets lack the ingredients to make them wholesome, the way we honour within our culture can lack the substantive ingredients to make it matter. Applauding at the right time is not enough. To be a people who are truly honouring, we need to add other ingredients such as; prayer, encouragement and support.  
 
The author of Hebrews sees living in a way that is honourable as vitally important, so much so, that they request specific prayers that they may live a life that is honouring.
 
‘Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honourably in every way.’ Hebrews 13:18
 
The challenge today is to live life honourably in every way, don’t just expect a token applause or smile to be enough. Here are some of the people the Bible tells us to honour; Our parents, our partners, those who have responsibility for leading our nation, and those who lead in our local church. Pray for them and when you have opportunity show them encouragement, love and support.

                                   

Great Stories

Rev. E. Anderson

THE HANDSHAKE

The simple touch of a human band was enough.

At the first stab of dawn a cockerel crowed. For a moment, a cruelly brief moment, I was back at the family farm inClarkesville,Georgia, with my wife, Anne, slumbering beside me, and our five children snug in their beds down the hall. I could almost feel Anne’s sturdy warmth. As the sun pierced the tiny, barred window and forced open my eyes, I was jerked back to my true surroundings at a North Vietnamese POW camp, ‘home’ for the three years since I’d been captured during the bloody offensive in February 1968.

I eased into a sitting position on the wooden slab that was my bunk, trying to stretch out the ache in my back. My eye roamed the dingy cell. I knew every inch of it. It was all I knew. Three years of total isolation. I received no word from home, no contact with other prisoners. I’d not even been allowed to write to Anne, though in my heart I spoke to her day and night, praying God would keep her and the children safe and let them know I was surviving.

Survival. I had to keep my mind disciplined. In my thoughts I ‘reread’ the books from my college literature classes. Oliver Twist, Crime and Punishment, Of Human Bondage. One guard reminded me a bit of Henry Fonda, and that got me projecting my favourite movies on a bright, wide internal screen. I watched My Darling Clementine again and again, slowing down and replaying favourite scenes. Also, I never stayed from my greatest comfort. Daily, I read Scripture – not that I was actually permitted a Bible. But deep in my mind I read and reread the pages from Sunday school until they were smudged creased and tattered.

Still there were moments I thought I might snap. Worse than any torture, the sheer agony of solitude, of being unable to experience the simplest human contact, was what I feared would finally undo me. Somehow I think my captors knew that too.

God, I prayed that morning as I did every morning, please help ease the loneliness. Give me strength to go on. Slipping off my bunk I began my daily routine. I was required to sweep out my cell. I relished the job. It brought order and purpose to the start of my day.

As usual, I took my broom and went over every precious foot of floor. When I finished I flicked the small pile of sweepings through a four-inch gap at the bottom of my door into the passageway beyond where some unseen camp trusty would sweep it up for collection.

Suddenly, the little pile was swept briskly back into my cell.

Odd, I thought. Why would he do that? I pushed the pile back out, thinking the trusty had made a mistake. It came right back in. This is deliberate, I realised testily. I swept it out. Again it came back.

Now I was mad. I flicked the rubbish back under the door and got down on my hands and knees. As soon as the broom came towards the gap again, I reached under and grabbed it.

‘Khong!’ the trusty hissed. Vietnamese for ‘no’. He jerked back the broom but I held on, terrier-tight. For a moment we grunted and tussled. His struggling told me he was frightened. If he were caught messing with one of the American POWs he’d be harshly dealt with.

I thought about that. He was, after all, a prisoner, like me. Why get him into any more trouble than what had already landed him in here? So I turned the broom loose. At least that’ll teach him a lesson, I thought to myself.

It was curious that I didn’t hear him scuffling off. I’d have thought he would have wanted to get away from the crazy American. Instead, there was just his laboured breathing on the other side of the door. I stayed on my knees by the opening, straining for some clue to his behaviour. Finally he was silent. I wasn’t even sure he was still there when, to my astonishment, the strangest thing happened. He thrust his thin hand under my cell door. I stepped back. He slapped his palm on the floor, and then offered it to me in the form of a handshake.

I froze. Maybe this was a trick. But something silently whispered reassurance that the man on the other side was trying to reach out to me.

Slowly, I stretched my fingers towards his, almost afraid to touch another human being again in friendship. When I lightly felt his hand he quickly pulled my fingers into his hungry grip. A kind of warm physical music played throughout me, a combustion of feelings that had been trapped for so long. I put my other hand over his, covering our grip. Then he reached under the door and did the same.

It was a dangerous moment, but we let it linger as long as we could. Then quickly we both withdrew our hands.

I never encountered that trusty again, whoever he was – a North Vietnamese civilian, a South Vietnamese soldier? But for a moment we were just two human beings reaching out.

In the remaining two years of my captivity I was sustained by the simple touch of a hand. That one moment of caring  human contact that I so desperately needed, that we all need, to go on.

                              

 

Healing Testimonies

Mrs. E. E. Dellor

ANOTHER REMARKABLE HEALING 

I write these few lines as my own personal testimony to the power of the Lord Jesus Christ to heal. I was a songster in the Salvation Army. One Sunday we went to conduct some meetings in another corps. That Sunday morning I left my mother’s house as well and as fit as anyone could be. In the meeting I was seized with what has been a mystery to the doctors. l became stiff down my right side, and could not walk. Two of the brothers had to carry me to where I was to have tea. There I had to stay until they carried me to the station. After the train journey I had to be taken home in a taxi. When my dear mother opened the door, she exclaimed, “Oh! has she met ‘with an accident?” The doctor was called in – he tried to move my arm and leg, but they had become useless. I was helpless: tile doctor said l would never walk again.

One day I was lying singing- “Lest I forget Gethsemane, Lest I forget Thy love to me, Lest I forget Thine agony, Lead me toCalvary”.

My mother and sister came into the room, and they found me shaking from head to foot. They naturally thought l was in a fit : we did not understand it; but now I know it was the power of God working in my whole being.

For over three years I could not lift my arm, nor use my hand to wash my face. My little girlie six years old can bear out this statement. She has seen me try to get down the stairs as a toddling child would, and, go up on my hands and knee’s like a babe. I was attended to at theIpswichHospital, and was X-rayed twice. For months l have been going to the hospital: four doctors have attended me, but l was a mystery to them all.

Then l saw a specialist; he said nothing could be done but to have the leader of my arm cut, and a silver wire put in, He said, “Are you prepared to come into the hospital? “I said, “No.” He replied, “Very well, if you refuse an operation you must discontinue treatment”. “Very well”, I said but  there is one treatment l will continue, and that is prayer”. “Oh that rests with yourself” said he

I came to the Divine healing service conducted by Principal George Jeffreys; he prayed for me, anointing me with oil in the Name of the Lord, and l was healed. On the way home my foot was slipping up and down in my shoe; my arm felt as though I was holding an electric battery. When I look back and think what a cripple I might still be had it not been for His healing power, l could write much. One day I pray I shall be able to tell of His love to me. Well may I sing, “God is just the same today”.

Thank God now l can walk and swing my arm above my head. Praise God, He answers prayer.

                               

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