Faeroe Islands

1 06 2020

Also called Faroe Islands.

It is an Archipelago of 18 rugged islands between Iceland and Scotland, 16 of which are inhabited. Total area, a mere 1,399 square km. Situated between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Norwegian Sea.

Capital: Torshavn      20,300 people

Map of Faroe Islands

People: Faeroese 97%, Danish 2.6%, Other 0.4%

Official Languages:  (1) Faeroese, which is if the Scandinavian family; (2)Danish. Both have Bibles.

‘The fishing industry (along with fish farming) accounts for 50% of the GDP and for almost all exports. There remains hope, although dwindling, or exploitabke oil reserves, which would help diversify the economy’. (Operation World, p. 331).

Life Expectancy: 79.3 years

Politics: A self governing region of Denmark. The parliamentary democracy is usually represented by coalition governments, and since it is not part of the EU, all trade is governed by special treaties.

Religion: Completely free. Although the Lutheran Church is recognized as the national church, and is supported by a state-levied tax.

Christian 90.50%.    Non-religious  9.28%.     Other.   0.08%.   Baha’i.  0.05%

Prayer Points:

  1. We pray for wisdom in Government, to oversee their increasing autonomy from the Denmark government.  For courage to make strong decisions regarding the shrinking fishing industry, and the oil industry speculative discussions.
  2. We pray for the ongoing fresh movement of the Holy Spirit among the people.
  3. We pray for the 29% of the population who are evangelicals to be built up in the faith, alive to, and alert, and aware of the big issues at work in the world, and able so to be a blessing to the wider community.  For the robust, Christ centred theology needed, to continue to receive the Scriptures as the written Word of God, (that bears witness to Jesus – the incarnate Word of God) and to be able to receive the scientific insights of modern study, in a way that enhances biblical faith.
  4. We pray for the good aspects of the Christian radio and TV resources, to be fruitful in assisting the churches, in the making of disciples of Jesus Christ.

We give thanks O Lord for this unique group of people, in this uncommon environment. May they be a blessing in your world, Father, as they make their unique contribution.

 





Ethiopia

19 05 2020

Capital: Addis Ababa

Population:  10.8 million

African Nationborders with Kenya, Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan.

Life Expectancy:  54.7 years

People:

  • Semitic/Ethiopian: 14.5%  Amhara, Tigrinya, Gurage, Silti
  • Cushite: 41.6%
    • Oromo. Hararghe, Tulama, Wallega, Macha, Selale, Arsi
    • Somali
    • Afar
  • Omotic
  • Nilotic
  • Other

Language: 35.9% Literacy.  Official: Amharic, English, Regional languages.  Total 88.

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Economy: Agriculture. Coffee, cattle, corn. (Decades of under-development and war).

History: An ancient, long, written history. Orthodox Christianity expressed in a State Church, from 1270—1974.

The revolution of 1974 overthrew the Emperor Haile Selassie and imposed Marxism on the country, from 1974—1991. Some 17 years of suppression of freedoms, religions, and political opponents.  Brutal Murders. Mass Graves. Now there is a Red Museum, recalling the horror of Marxism, saying: ‘NEVER AGAIN’.

The costly 1998-2000 war with Eritrea financially drained the nation, but unified it too.

Religion: Today, it is perhaps: 1/3 Orthodox, 1/3 Evangelicals, and 1/3 Muslim.

Points of Praise:

  1. Sustained remarkable growth of evangelical members of churches.
  2. Unity among believers
  3. Bible is increasingly distributed and read
  4. Increased political stability.

Prayer Points:

  1. For uniting in the nation, and for peace with neighbouring nations; especially for a decrease in hostilities with neighbours Somalia, and Eritrea.
  2. Poverty to be overcome. Better use of aid.
  3. For the Orthodox Church to grow, to mature in faith, be transformed in active members who know the gospel well. As a landlocked nation, with no access to a shipping Port, it has been ‘a Christian island in a sea of Islam’ (Operation World, p.329).
  4. Giving Thanks for Massive growth in Protestant and Independent Churches, praying for wisdom, and good fruit in Evangelism and Mission, and in planting of many more churches in Africa and South Asia.
  5. For leadership training. Bless the Lutherans and Pentecostals and Nordic Missions
  6. For wisdom in facing the challenge of Islam’s growing influence on the nation.
  7. For hospital care to battle with HIV/AIDS. For Orphans to be loved and cared for.
  8. For Foreign Mission workers to hear God’s Call and be a blessing.
  9. For the many children and young people on the Addis Ababa Rubbish Dump, needing help and encouragement, and the ability to learn and be nourished.
  10. For the Bingham Academy, in Addis Ababa, where so many children of missionary workers are educated. May the school community, from Reception to Year 12 prosper and grow. Praise God for their work. May the Spirit of Christ Jesus guide, move, bless and awaken this land further to the Father’s love for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Equatorial Guinea

24 10 2019

The Republic of Equatorial Guinea is situated on the East Coast of Africa, bordered by the nation of Cameroon and Gabon. Nestled in the ‘Gulf of Guinea, it includes several islands, Bioko and Pegalu being two main ones.

Capital: Malabo (131,000 people) The capital is situated on the Isla de Bioko, where Spanish is spoken.  Other languages on the mainland include Bantu (77.3%) and French, and various other African languages among many tribes and groups.

New Capital:  Oyola (by 2020 – on the mainland)

https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/why-is-equatorial-guinea-changing-its-capital.html

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Corruption is a Major Problem:

Discovery of massive offshore petroleum deposits in 1995 transformed the economy. Oil revenues are a State secret. Large is the divide, between the filthy rich, and the struggling poor.

Here is how The Guardian newspaper viewed the Corruption of the nation. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/oct/23/equatorial-guinea-africa-corruption-kleptocracy

Points for prayer from Operation World:

“Training leaders and discipling believers are strategic and growing ministries. Three training institutions exist (Reformed, WEC, AoG) along with TEE programmes. YWAM runs short-term Discipleship Training Schools.

  • Pray that graduates may be used of the Spirit to evangelise the nation and disciple believers.
  • Pray for greater opportunities for laity to grow in their faith; the move from a nominal Catholic/animist worldview to a biblical one is a significant transition.

Missionaries have increased in number, including growing numbers from West and Central Africa, but they need wisdom in the convoluted socio-political situation. Several delicate and difficult situations in relating to indigenous leadership have occurred in recent years. Pray for grace and humility on the part of both expats and nationals. The main agencies are: EqGuiMsn, YWAM, AoG, WEC.” 

http://www.operationworld.org/country/equa/owtext.html

Prayer: Gracious Father, in such a rich and diverse nation, we can but pray for your Spirit to awaken hearts and minds to the knowledge of Jesus Christ as the Risen Lord over all of the affairs of humanity.  May the people know Jesus as Victor over death. May they know his power over all evil spirit, and evil leaders. Amidst the enormous amount of corruption and injustice (in the not-sharing of the economic benefits of petroleum), we pray that your humble love, will proceed into the hearts and lives of the many tribes and communities within this nation. We give thanks for those who know Christ in all his grace and power, and ask that in the weakness they feel, humanly speaking, they may communicate to glorious truth of the gospel in fresh compelling ways. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 





El Salvador

22 05 2019

Location in Central America, (near Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala). Some say ‘Latin America’.

Population: 6.6 million people, mostly Hispanic, speaking Spanish.

Religion:  Christian 94% .   Non-religious 5%

History:  Independent from Spain since 1821. A separate nation in 1838.

Centuries of exploitation of the majority by powerful, wealthy plantation owners.  A long series of corrupt dictatorships. Gross inequality. Provoked an armed leftist uprising in 1981.  There were 12 years of Civil War. Over 75,000 people were killed.

While the Roman Catholic Church is the ‘official religion’, the Constitution recognises other faiths.  There is a growing number of Evangelicals. Many (3.3 million) Salvadoreans live abroad, and send money home; many are working illegally. Among the youth there are many gangs of young people, orphaned and fatherless.

Prayer: O Father, we pray that the Word of Christ, the way of freedom, and the gracious Spirit of renewal – may visit this land with life-giving power, stirring people to faith in God, and enabling the seeking out of true economic justice in the land. May the evangelical church be given wisdom to know how best to proceed and make headway, through literature, preaching and use of the media. In Jesus name we pray.

 

Location of El Salvador

 

 

 





Egypt

6 05 2019

Geography: Mostly desert. Only 3% is arable land. This is along the banks of the delta of the Nile River, and around the Western Desert oases.

Population: 98 million.

People: 92% Arab.

Produce: Agriculture, natural gas, oil, textiles, tourism, (& Suez Canal dues!).

Politics: Relative stability under President Mubarak. In 2006 the Muslim Brotherhood gained 20% of the elected parliament seats. They ran as independents, since religious parties were banned from running. …Many Egyptians are disillusioned with the political process.

Religion: “Islam is the State Religion; until recently the large Christian minority were left in relative peace. The last – 20 years (2020) – however, have seen higher levels of communal  violence. The rise of Islamism caused Islamist violence” (Operation World).

Christians 12.8% .     Muslim 86.67% .       Non religious 0.5%

History in Review: It is sobering to recall that for over 1,000 years Egypt was a majority-Christian country, even after the Arab Muslim conquest in AD640. Egypt gave to the world some of its greatest theologians and the monastic movement.

                         

Prayer Points:  

  1. For the recognition of the Church’s history in Egypt over the past 2000 years.
  2. That the Scriptures will be read, as so many have been strategically distributed by the Bible Society.
  3. For innovative us of the Media to proclaim the Gospel
  4. For the great prayer movement of recent years to expand and prove to be a huge blessing for the nation.
  5. For God’s blessing upon the Coptic Church, by far the largest body of Christians in the middle east, and a key for the proclamation of the gospel in this nation.
  6. For the steadfastness of the Christian community. In the last 20 years persecution of Christians has steadily increased. Operation World report that: “Harassment, discrimination on individual and communal levels and financial incentives for Christians to adopt Islam are all used to break the morale of Christians. Some areas, such as Upper Egypt, face more intense pressure than others. In most cases, the attacks that occur are carried out by vigilante Islamists groups – but often with the tacit acceptance of local security forces. Identity cards stating religion can be a huge challenge for believers from Muslim backgrounds, who tend to be on the receiving end of persecution more frequently than Copts. O Lord we pray for Christians who waver, that they may find new courage to hold fast to Christ; and we pray for the Egyptian government to respond to unfairness and attacks and violence, with genuine resolve for the wellbeing of all people – and for them to legislate and act with “an even hand. We give thanks for the many Muslim-background people who are being found by Christ Jesus – that they may work out how best to respond to Jesus, and to love their family, community and nation.
  7. May the people of Egypt come once again, into the great hope of forgiveness, joy and salvation, through knowing the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ, in the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit.




Dominica

18 10 2017

A 750 square km Island in the Caribbean. African Caribbean people descended from slaves brought by the French and English.  Ruled by France until 1759. Then English. Independent in 1978. English is the official language but 80% speak French Creole.

Population:  66,600

Capital: Roseau.

Dominica

Religion: 91% Christian, but high very nominal Catholicism.

Prayer: That the Spirit of God will move anew bringing the good news of Jesus Christ, – crucified and risen, and reigning now – to the people of this isolated island, with power. May the Pastors, who often suffer ‘burn-out’, find suitable work to sustain them in their important preaching and teaching roles.  May the evangelical churches in nearby nations find ways to offer support and encouragement.

 





Djibouti

16 10 2017

Capital: Djibouti   … (imagine that!)

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Population: 1 million. About 61% are Somali people, also Afar (28%), Arab (8%).

Official Language: French and Arabic.

A hot dry enclave between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, with possibly the hottest average temperatures of any county on earth.

Religion: Muslim 97% (and the State religion). Religious freedom for foreigners.

Prayer:  Living Lord, ascended Jesus, who loves this nation of people, may your Word be preached here with power.  In this strange nation, so calm and stable, yet with huge problems of unemployment and famine, may the miracle of coming to know Jesus Christ as the Saviour and hope of the world, occur among significant people, that the joy of the true God’s plan and purpose, as Father and Redeemer may be revealed for many people. Come Holy Spirit and bring a quenching of human thirst, in a dry and weary land. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 





Cuba

11 06 2016

The largest island in the Caribbean. (Near the Bahamas, Haiti and Jamaica)

Population11, 350,000

Capital: Havana (Pun: I’m hav’n’ a good time in Cuba)

People:  Hispanic 98%, Asian 1%, Other 1%

Economy: “Sugar production, along with the rest of the economy, collapsed with the Soviet meltdown as aid and subsidies dried up. The US trade embargo, devastating hurricanes, repressive centralized socialist planning, corruption and poor productivity hamper progress. Lack of many essentials (including food) still affects the country, yet there is a high standard in literacy, education and health. Tourism is becoming more and more economically important.” (Operation World, p. 291).

Politics:  “Independent from Spain in 1898. Fidel Castro’s revolution (he was born in 1926) brought Communism to power in 1959, replacing a corrupt and venal regime” (O.W.)

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Religion: Christian 56%, Non-religious 25%, Ethnoreligious 18%, Hindu 0.14%, Chinsese 0.14%, Other 0.14%, Buddhist 0.14%  (where is Islam?…)

Prayer Points:

  1. For political, economic, demographic and ideological needs.
  2. For the purification of the Catholic church
  3. For recovery of the Evangelical churches, devastated by waves of emigration to USA
  4. For the 500,00 plus people imprisoned for ideological reason under Communism
  5. For renewed leadership in the churches, able to cope with change and growth
  6. For the less reached people groups especially those in the Santeria cult, linked with similar evil spiritual powers to Haitian voodooism.
  7.  For the foreign missionaries, largely restricted access.
  8. For the 1 million Cuban refugees (legal and illegal) living in the USA, and their fruitful influence on their home country.
  9. For the Christian help ministries with Bible distribution, Christian literature, radio and music.

Thank you Lord, our God, for the growth of the Church in Cuba in recent years. Thank you for the refinement of the church at a local level, and the Spirit’s persistent ministry to the church. May the numerical growth continue, and may locals have wise leadership and courage to be a rich, powerful blessing to their nation, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

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Côte d’Ivoire

7 06 2016

 

Known until 1985 as ‘Ivory Coast’ (English), Côte d’Ivoire is an extremely beautiful place.

It is an African west coast nation situated between Ghana and Liberia. It has rainforest to the south and savannah and highlands in the north.

Capital: Yamoussoukro (895,000 approx.) Abidjan is the economic, cultural capital. Population. 4.1 million.

Population:  24 million approx.

Operation World says: it is “One of the world’s largest producers of cocoa, coffee and palm oil” (p. 284).

They obtained independence from France in 1960.  But political coups, failed peace agreements, and political tensions have dogged the nation. As with many other African nation, there is a Muslim north and a non-Muslim (Christian and animist) south.

Religions: Muslim 41%, Christian 33%, Ethnoreligious 24%

Money: They use the West African Franc. As does Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.

It is good to ponder the very existence, life, uniqueness and glory of every nation. For just as the nations enter the arena of the Olympic Games in a unique, noble, glorious manner, so too from Côte d’Ivoire, “people will bring into [the Holy City , the future community] the glory and honour of this nation” (Revelation 21:26).

Prayer Points:

  1. For political leaders who are visionary, non-partisan and free of corruption.
  2. For ways to handle million of immigrants from neighbouring countries.
  3. For the ongoing growth of the Evangelical churches, sharing God’s Word.
  4. For believers in Christ to resist the temptation to return to animist ways.
  5. For the demographic sectors of society needing the gospel.
  6. For the nearly 1 million people who have contracted AIDS in the country.
  7. For the ministries of many young people who have recently become Christians, to flourish.

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Ivory Coast.

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Language: French is used by 48% of the population. Also Jula is a native trade language in the north. There are 77 indigenous languages. Only half of these have Scriptures.

Politics: Independent from France in 1960. Lots of tension, and need for stability. Muslims is the north, and non-Muslim in the south. Missionary activity is very difficult.  Syncretism is big. So is Traditional religion.

Prayer: O Lord Jesus, Ascended and at work, we pray for new upcoming leaders who are free of corruption. We give thanks for the rise of Evangelical churches, and pray the blessing of hearing upon the Word; this is the true hope. For movement beyond nominalism in the Catholic churches. For bible teaching to expand, and missionary training to grow. For the many unevangelized people to be reached with the gospel.  For the young people to respind to the Word of hope. Lord hear our prayer.

 

 

 

 

 





China (Republic of): Taiwan

20 02 2014

Taiwan (formerly ‘Formosa’, a name used by the Portugese) is a mountainous island, situated 160km east of mainland China. Taiwan includes the Penghu archipelago and the islands of Kinmen and Matsu. With a population of 24 million people it is one of the world’s most densely populated places.

Capital City: Taipae 2.6million       Life Expectancy: 78.5 years.

Economy:  High Tech goods.

Brief History: Taiwanese Aboriginal inhabitants owned the land. The Dutch and Spanish (1626-1642) established colonies there in the 17th century. Next, the Qing Dynasty of China (1683-1895) took over. Then it was under Japanese Rule from 1895—1945.  Again, Chinese rule prevailed under the Nationalist Government. When mainland China became subject to Communist Rule in the Mao Zedong power-grab of 1949, Taiwan became a refuge for the Nationalists, under Chiang Kai-shek. It remains independent, (uneasily) today, from mainland China.

Religion: It is a secular State with freedom of religion. It is a stronghold of both Buddhism and a ‘ubiquitous’ Taiwanese folk religion, with Confucianism, Daoism also quite prominent. Operation World (p. 260) says that Taiwan is still the only major Han Chinese population in the world where, from a Christian perspective, a significant spiritual breakthrough has never occurred.

Chinese Religion 60.74%;  Buddhist 28.8%; Christian 5.82%; Non-religious 2.31%; Other 2% +  (O.W.)

Prayer:  We pray for wisdom for Taiwan’s leaders, to continue to negotiate peaceful relationships with mainland China. We pray for corruption to decrease and a love of honesty, and of the truth to arise. We pray for the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and of God’s love for the people of Taiwan to be made known, through the ministry of the Christian churches. In particular we pray that the Christian people would become known as trustworthy, and a new open-ness to listen to the good news of Jesus would occur. We pray for the training of more Pastors to occur, and for the 33 seminaries and Bible schools to have a renewed energy, vision and enabling by the Spirit of God, in this matter. We pray for the Christian youth and university students to be given a deep desire to take up this call. We pray for missionaries to hear the call to this place, as the doors are wide open for full time work to take place here.  We give thanks for the joyful hope that Christ has already brought to Taiwanese people, and ask that it may occur more and more.

 





Bolivia

11 12 2012

Bolivia is a land-locked Latin American country. And what a history it has. Prior to European Colonization the Andean region of Bolivia was a part of the Inca Empire.  The conquistadors took control of the region in the 16th century. During the Spanish colonial period it was known as ‘Upper Peru’.

(Peru is to the West, then the sea… while Chile is southwest, and Brazil to the north. Paraguay and Argentina are to the south).

Bolivia

Independence from Spain came in 1825. But. Over 200 successful coups or revolutions have retarded genuine progress.

“Once South America’s richest area, but corrupt, unstable governments, the fall in silver, tin and cotton prices on international markets and a poor infrastructure render it the continent’s poorest nation”.

Population: 10 million. Of these, 9.1 million identify as Christian (7.7 million Catholic).

The Roman Catholic Church remains the official State religion—and that is a problem, in so far as the other groups experience discrimination.

“Pray that the millions of nominal and Christo-pagan Catholics might come to a living faith in Christ”. (OW)

Leadership Training is a desperate need. Evangelical Christians are praying the nation may grow to consist of 30% Christian.

CapitalLa Paz (administrative) 1,673,401; Sucre (legal) 288,000, Other major city: Santa Cruz 1.7 million.

 





Barbados

25 09 2012

It seems hard to believe, but this Island has had a Parliamentary government since 1647. It has been independent from Britain since 1966. It has continued as a stable democracy since then.

Tourism, sugar, light industry and off-shore banking, are at the heart of economic life in Barbados.

Barbados is 94.94% Christian, of a total of 273,000 people, in this prosperous and successful island state in the Caribbean.

Prayer points:

1. The legacy of slavery. Scars remain from when Anglicanism endorsed and prospered from slavery.

2. Genuine responsiveness to the present Lordship of Jesus Christ, is an ongoing issue.

3. The Churches are dealing with denominational mistrust.

4. External mission forces:  The community are increasingly involved with the occult, and are under constant ‘missional’ activity from Muslims and Mormons.

5. Young people: are subject to high degrees of sexual immorality, births outside of marriage, cohabitation and disregard for marriage. Children and youth need more helpful programs.

um, …Britain politicians like holidays there





Angola

13 08 2012

19 million people. Capital, Luanda. Life expectancy 46.5 years.Very high infant mortality rate and chronic malnutrition.

“Widespread poverty despite having some of the world’s richest natural resources.Enormous untapped potential — huge oil reserves, diamonds, minerals and good agricultural land… but…little trickle-down benefit to the millions of destitute.” (Operation World).

A Portugese colony for 450 years (official language: Portugese). The history Includes Marxism’s inherent failure to win hearts to this doomed ideology, Cuban military assistance propped it up for a while, civil war has been cruel (almost constant war for 40 years, from 1962-2002), ‘Separatist agitation persists’.

‘The first President, a Marxist, vowed to eradicate Christianity with 20 years (and obviously failed)’. Wow. For still, the population is 94% Christian, 4% Ethno-religious, 1.1% Muslim.

For every 350 people, 1 is victim of land mines! 70-90% of the population live in poverty.

Ascended Lord Jesus, we look to you, and we pray for reconciliation to flow from the cross of Calvary, where the Father made you, to BE sin and judged it all, so that in you we might be forgiven, and made new. We pray for the healing of the many deep, and painful wounds among this unique part of your amazing and wonderful, yet deeply suffering humanity. We pray for the strengthening of Christian leadership, and in particular for a new start ‘in Christ’, for the children. 





Albania

7 08 2012

In the mountainous Balkan republic which is Albania, there are 3.1 million people: About 2/3 are Muslim, 1/3 Christian, some non-religious, with quite strong tensions between the Muslim, Catholic, and Orthodox. From 1944-1991 Communism was imposed on the country. The new religious freedom, has since seen a significant growth in the work of the small numbers evangelicals. As we might expect, a lot of cults and ‘cowboys’ rushed in. I see the evangelicals are at work amid ‘The Bektashi’, a Sufi dervish movement, deemed heretical by Sunni Muslims because of the influence of folk religion and the occult. Looks like a good time for the locals, who know Jesus Christ well, to see their own, authentic work advance. I am thinking of a book I have recently ordered, ‘Signs Amid the Rubble’ (Newbigin).

The capital city is Tirana. There are a good few ‘gypsies’ there. And over half of all Albanians live outside Albania – many in what is now the independent, largely Muslim country of Kosovo.





Mark Noll’s Quality Book

24 05 2012

Mark Noll's Quality Book

A very helpful and detailed overview





All You Nations

22 05 2012

1 Praise the LORD, all you nations! Extol him, all you peoples!

2 For great is his steadfast love toward us, And the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever, Praise the Lord! 

 – Psalm 117

1 αλληλουια αἰνεῖτε τὸν κύριον πάντα τὰ ἔθνη ἐπαινέσατε αὐτόν πάντες οἱ λαοί

2 ὅτι ἐκραταιώθη τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια τοῦ κυρίου μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα

– Psalm 117

 

By the Spirit (Gen. 1), God in Christ, has created all the nations. God in Christ Jesus is of course interested in all the nations. Indeed in Christ, God has redeemed the nations, through Jesus death and resurrection. Now in the ascension of Jesus Christ, the nations are seated in heavenly places, “in Christ”.

We have a human being who represents us there, at the right hand of God. The human being Jesus, is spatially somewhere!! His humanity was not reabsorbed into the Godhead. Jesus the man did not somehow “throw off” his manhood, and revert to the pre-incarnation situation of the Son of God; he remains Man and truly man, forever. And we are in Him. He is also truly God, truly the Son of God.

In Christ! This is the true destiny of the nations – redeemed in Jesus Christ. To opt for hell is a strange and shocking option folks.  Therefore, change your mind about God, have faith in him, for he is good. Turn to him anew in trust, and in sincere thankfulness for his redemptive plan. He bore our sins, took our guilt upon himself, he bore away our unbelief, and in his crucifixion, bore the judgment of this tragic sin. He did this in his abandonment! While we were still enemies of God, he entered into our hell, and bore the judgment of God’s ‘no’ upon our evil. This is love. This is grace. This is the action of the God of grace.

Begin, therefore, to live as One who has – by the Holy Spirit’s indwelling – been forgiven fully, and given the gift of eternal life. Receive the Holy Spirit, none less than God himself, indwelling, abiding in your life, thoughts, mind and human heart. Come into God’s Presence as one wholly sanctified. 

Hey all you nations – Praise the Lord! 

You Australians, Praise the Lord!

中国,赞美主!  (哈利路亚赞美主)

Μπορείτε Έλληνες  αλληλουια αἰνεῖτε τὸν κύριον

Voi italiani! Lodate il Signore!

Ju shqiptarët! Lavdëroni Zotin!

Siz Türkler! Allah’a şükretmek!

Bạn Việt! Ngợi khen Chúa!

شما ایرانی ها! ستایش پروردگار!

Wewe Waafrika! Bwana asifiwe!

Usted peruanos! Alabado sea el Señor!





Lord of himself and all besides…

1 05 2012

Lord of himself and all besides; with an irresistible power to force, and even hurry, events on a world scale; and yet with the soul that sat among children, and the heart in which children sat. He had an intense reverence for the past that was yet too small for Him. It rent Him to rend it, and yet He had to break it up, to the breaking of His own heart, in the greatest revolution the world ever saw. He was an austere man, a severe critic, a born fighter, of choleric wrath and fiery scorn, so that the people thought he was Elijah or the Baptist; yet He was gentle to the last degree, especially with those ignorant and out of the way. In the thick of life and love he yet stood detached, sympathetic yet aloof, cleaving at once both to men and to solitude. …With an almost sacramental idea of human relations, especially the central relation of marriage, he yet avoided for Himself every bond of property, vocation, or family; and He cut these bonds when they stood between men and Himself… With a royal, and almost proud, sense of Himself, he poured out His soul unto God and unto death and was the friend of publicans and sinners. ‘King and beggar (says Weidel), Hero and Child, Prophet and Reformer, Polemist and Prince of Peace, Ruler and Servant, Revolutionist and Sage, man of action, man of ideas, and man of the Word—He was all these strange things, and more, in one person.

(P. T. Forsyth – The Person and Place of Jesus Christ, p. 65f).

“Such is the figure who dominates the Gospels”, says Forsyth.

So, blog readers, here is true humanity. Here is Jesus, the Messiah. Here folks, here is the One who is interested in your life, and in your eternal wellbeing. Here is One, who speaks to our present moment, through the Spirit. Here is One who came to atone, and who comes to indwell, and affect and change. ‘Behold, the Man’!





Stories That Tell: The War Stories

25 04 2012


“Thou shalt not kill”
(Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17)

 In mixing with members of SAPOL in recent years, I came across a saying, which is a bit of a take-off of the old diggers in Australia. They say something like ‘we were all standing around telling war-ies’. This term war-ies is short for ‘war stories’, and is a slang term synonymous with ‘tall tales’, bragging, or embellishing old exploits.

Geoffrey Bingham’s War Stories are not really that sort of thing. While some of them may truly recount and even embellish certain funny or even strange historical incidents, the stories are written not merely for entertainment, but in order to convey something of the truth of life, during war times, as a person of faith has seen, understood and experienced it. Most of the war stories, like the other types are undoubtedly written in the hope of helping to lead a person to ponder life more deeply, and in particular, to consider God and all his works in creation and redemption.  Christ has come to meet us amidst all of life, including painful, poignant, tragic, sad, miraculous and even, or especially in the humorous days of war.

THE PACIFIST POSITION—A BRIEF WORD

There are many Christians who regard pacifism as the only authentic response to war. One Internet blogger recently wrote: “Participation in the military… is a violation of one’s commitment to Jesus Christ”.[1] Familiarity with Geoffrey’ Bingham’s writings, and his own decision—as a pacifist—to join the armed forces during WW2, have helped me to think through this issue in a helpful way. The following extract is taken from Geoff’s theological teaching, and a subtitle: ‘The Christian and War’[2]

A “just” war might be said to be one, which, resists oppression and defends righteousness and freedom. Whilst killing in war is evil it is pleaded that the evil of tyranny, especially that which results from such forces as Nazism are worse evils and a choice between two is necessary. A realistic recognition of man as he is will determine a person’s view, e.g. whether a view of depravity is taken, or a humanistic view of man’s innate potential of good. The problem that complicates the decision about “just” or “unjust” wars is that it is rarely, if ever, that the evil is on one side. So many elements complicate the matter entirely. Such elements could be aggrandisement by one country against another, armaments interests, sub-Christian views of retaliation (for wrongs done or imagined), racial hatred, and personal lust for power by leaders or nations.

(f) The Pacifist Position

There are Christians who are pacifists. The question of whether Christianity is pacifist is a wider question. Some reconciliation of the use of war in the Old Testament and the forecast of war to the end-time in the Scriptures has to be worked out by one who would be a pacifist or a non-pacifist. The whole question of righteousness, as of love, must be sorted out, with an understanding of penal elements within the context of nations and international relationships. Realistic views of man’s sin and depravity must be taken and then decisions made. In this regard it is to be considered whether pacifism springs from a Christian or a humanistic source, and if from the latter whether it is, nevertheless consistent with general Christian teaching where the Bible does not give a specific direction. A further consideration is that wars spring Out of the evil of man and simply to accept them as a necessary evil in passive fatalism is a contradiction of the moral powers the believer possesses and may even become moral (immoral?) acquiescence. The pacifist believes in non-resistance, non violence, non-killing. He claims that man being evil does not excuse wars. Positive pacifism alerts others to war’s evil and seeks to outmode war. Retaliation is sub-Christian as also selfish aggrandisement and all national and racial hatreds. Whilst wars may be predicted as continuing this is no reason for acquiescence in any. Christ took the way of non-resistance and accomplished his goal. Because pacifism has not worked, nor may not work is no reason why it should not be espoused and followed. Evils such as slavery have been diminished by teaching. If all refused to fight wars would cease and governments would wish to gain the support of their people by not fighting. It is not a utilitarian question but a (totally) moral one.

(g) Pacifist or Not Pacifist?

Each person must abide by his own convictions whilst he is sure they are right. He does not go against his own conscience for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. He is responsible, however, to make sure – as far as possible – that his convictions are correct. That honest believers see two views in the Bible is patently clear, i.e. war is right (in some circumstances) and war is wrong (in all circumstances). These conclusions ought to be reached only when the total Biblical portrayal is considered. No conclusion is valid which omits the fact of man’s depravity, of constituted authorities and of the working of penal elements of God’s wrath in history. The question may not seem, finally, to be an “either-or” but a concession that whilst war and killing are evil of themselves it may be simplistic to work from this basis alone. The whole matter of morality and judgement is also involved.

In war, or even if a crazed violent attacker is shooting people in any society, Christians must face the moral question of ‘what shall I do in order to truly love my neighbour?’ How do I lay down my life in love, to care for or protect others?  To my shock, Mennonite Christians often view police as merely agents of State violence.[3] 

THE FIRST WAR STORIES

Geoffrey Bingham’s first book of short stories was entitled ‘To Command the Cats’. It was published by Angus and Robertson in 1980; however many of the stories had been previously published in the Bulletin, a weekly Australian Magazine, in production from 1880 to January 2008. Geoff writes:

On return to Australia a story written in the POW camp—‘Laughing Gunner’—was snapped up by the Bulletin as soon as I submitted it. That was why I chose it s the title story to this book. Thirty-three more stories were accepted y the same journal within a few years, and I was dubbed as their most prolific writer. I owe most in my writing career to the poet and short-story writer Douglas Stewart, who was literary Editor of the Bulletin for twenty-four years’[4]

A SHORT PRÉCIS OF SOME WAR STORIES—AND SOME QUOTES

It Sometimes Happens But Not Often

A professor – a Dutchman – held captive as a P.O.W. loses hope, and intends to die.  But his dear friend, an army Chaplain prays constantly at his bedside.  Then a miracle occurs. A hen arrives and lays an egg on the bed – most suitable for making eggnog –, which the Dutchman loves. Hope returns – a mystery – and miracle of mercy takes place before their eyes, and in their hearts and lives. Geoffrey heard about this event:

The Dutchman had watched it from beginning to end. He had lain still, afraid lest the hen be scared away. When it had gone, his nerveless hands had fumbled towards the warm, smooth fruit of the fowl.

‘Oh, no!’ exclaimed the chaplain. ‘Don’t touch it. It’s too precious.’

Nevertheless he did let the skinny Dutchman feel it with his long, spatulated fingers, and then he took it.

‘Wait for the eggnog,’ he cautioned cheerily, and went away to beat the ingredients together, to grind the precious shell into lime-powder, and to make the drink complete and nourishing.

The Dutchman was sitting up, this being the first time in many weeks. An orderly had arranged a couple of pillows for him, borrowing them from empty beds.

‘Praise be!’ the academic was saying. ‘Praise be!’

‘Praise be!’ agreed the chaplain. ‘Now drink this up.’

The professor needed no urging. His hands trembled as he held the rusty cup, but he insisted on holding it himself. He kept sipping and sucking and sighing, and then heaving away with asthmatic joy.

‘Gott is goot!’ he said eagerly.

‘He is good!’ agreed the chaplain.

He watched the last precious drops disappear into the pink mouth of the patient.

The Dutchman was rubbing his hands together soulfully, glee­fully.

‘A hen, eh?’ he said. ‘Just a little hen, eh?’

He chuckled to himself, and then shook his hand feebly towards heaven.

‘What a humour, eh?’ he asked. ‘The goot Gott He sends the little bird to lay eggs all over the old professor so that the old professor must not die.’

‘That’s right,’ said the chaplain, scarcely knowing what to say.

He added, ‘The good God needs the old professor, eh? He doesn’t want to lose all that training, all that wisdom, all that knowledge.’

The Dutchman stared at him. ‘You t’ink that, hey?’ he asked. He looked admiringly at his old chaplain friend, shook his head and went off into his asthmatic gurgle.

‘Oh, the Gott, He is goot,’ he said. He kept chuckling. ‘He is very goot.’

Then he remembered the hen, and his gurgling became deep, even more asthmatic. After a time he was gasping, and the tears were coursing out of his fine old eyes, and on to the silver-grey thatch on his torso.

‘Oh, so goot,’ he was saying in helpless joy. ‘Oh yes, and oh, so lovink.’

When the chaplain slipped away because he could not hold back the tide of his own tears, he heard the Dutchman repeating to himself, like some endless refrain: ‘Oh, so lovink. So lovink.’[5]

Laughing Gunner

The story of a soldier – an unusual man – who held a strange obsession for machine-guns.  Nicknamed Tiger, he was not at all interested in the duties of a regular foot soldier, with gun and bayonet. However, he was very eager to operate the machine-gun. He was passionately involved in the fighting prior to the fall of Singapore, during World War Two. He revelled in his task, taking his stand with the machine-gun, as the Japanese invaders made their relentless approach.

The Life and Death of Puggi Mahomet – (This is not a précis, but is a small direct extract)

“How many times, down through the years, I have thought about that event, and Chikka has also! As I said before, Sproggie, Blower and Chips got theirs in action. Joe and Don R had to live with the thing for all the years they worked on their sheep sta­tions, but they never wrote to us, or rang us about the matter. Every Anzac Day we would not mention the subject, be­cause there was no way of settling the matter. We would just sit to­gether in the Botanical Gardens in silence, thinking about it.

The seven of us agreed that Puggi was a slippery cuss, and would worm his way out of any trial. What was worse, he knew the whole signal system now, and if the Japs came we were done for, with that sort of communication.

The six men said to me, ‘Danny, we make this decision to­gether—the seven of us—but only you can veto it.’

In a way, the decision was left to me, and I knew we had to do something. We were not at war with Japan, but give us a few days and we would be. Of that we were all sure. To let this man go free meant disaster.

‘The court decides against you, Puggi Mahomet,’ I said, but even then I felt a bit sick.

It was then Puggi rushed us. He was an expert in karate, and had Chips and Sproggie toppled in a second. He grabbed Sproggie’s rifle to keep us at bay. This decided the other men, and in a flash Blower’s bayonet went through the old ‘point, withdraw’ exercise. Puggi fired his .303, but the bullet went into the air. Joe and Don R rushed him with their bayonets, and we were all sick in the moment that we had done it. Whilst he writhed, I fired a shot and that finished him.”[6]

The Rim

An autobiographical account of a World War 2 gun-battle: a charge near Singapore.  Australians with rifles, against a Japanese machine gunner, other soldiers and snipers; one of the many Australian men charging is badly wounded by a bullet to the leg, and as his blood flows out onto the ground. New thoughts of life and death and survival and recovery come to the man as he lays still on the ground, until help comes; profound questions of duty, heroics and folly – are raised.

The Skylark of Takafau           

The freedom of a little bird, singing in a cage, in Osaka, signals something profound to Prisoners of War, during World War 2. A story of imprisonment, hope and freedom.

Three Rice Cakes

A crisis of faith occurs in the life of a Prisoner of War. Should he continue to take the smallest rice cake, and suffer personal deprivation and hunger – out of love for others – or should he abandon this principle, and select the largest rice cake for himself? Amidst an inner personal battle of immense importance, the prisoner reasons to himself that if there is no such thing as true law, and judgment then ultimately nothing matters. If nothing matters, then self-preservation at the expense of others is nevertheless the only truly logical course of action for him to pursue. An unseen miracle occurs – and a hidden resolve is strengthened – which has ramifications for the remainder of this man’s life. Autobiographical. (Also published in the booklet of the same name). [7]

The Power Within

Upon what strength does a person draw, in order to maintain the integrity needed for a moral life? This story from WWII is of a man who can behave well, and talk well, and even tell extremely funny yarns, yet can be a person who is driven, solely, by his own self-sufficiency. It illustrates how a person can behave with high morality, and do so entirely from one’s own resources. However, the great deceit is that a person, can—of themselves—be virtually faultless and blameless in thought, speech and action.  Such deception, of oneself, is a failure to face the reality of the human race as we find it, and share in it; if not faced, this way of being can end, sadly, in self-justification and ultimately, self-destruction. Faith draws upon true power. (Also published in The Raymond Connection and other stories, and in At the End of His Tether).

From Singapore to Sydney           

An autobiographical account of the release of prisoners from the Changi P.O.W. Camp on Singapore Island (in 1945) – the story – a true one – includes some interesting personal impressions as it traces the journey, beginning with the boarding of the transport ship – Oranji – and the subsequent return to Australia.  The whole account is very moving indeed, and the service of love and kindness rendered by the Australian women in the Red Cross imparts a beautiful insight into the mystery and communion of the human race, as a male-female entity.  One feels like applauding, as Geoff Bingham captures with words, the scene of the welcome in Darwin. One is drawn to contemplate the glory of Australia as a unique and grand nation.


[2] Geoffrey C. Bingham, ‘Christian Ethics and Their Practice’, Living Faith Studies, Series 3, No. 30, N.C.P.I., 1978, p. 218

[3] Andy Alexis-Baker, ‘The Gospel or a Glock? Mennonites and the Police’, in The Conrad Grebel Review, Volume 25, Number 2, Spring 2007, p. 23-49 (Note: “Glock” is the name of a company that manufactures handguns popular with police departments for decades). Alexis-Baker says: “Because of the idolatrous character of the police, because police represent a threat to church order, and in the spirit of the early Christians and Anabaptists, Mennonites should ban police occupations for all current and potential members, and do so with the historical recognition that the police have served as the bridge for wider acceptance of warfare, idolatrous collaboration with the state, and further breakdown of community discipline and life” (Baker, p. 40).

[4] Geoffrey C. Bingham, ‘Preface’ in Laughing Gunner and Selected War Stories, Troubadour Press Inc. Blackwood, 1992, p. xiii; This book as been very well received in Australia, winning the 1993 Christian Book of the Year award, from the Australia Christian Literature Society. It is a great gift suitable passing on to others, especially around Anzac Day, each year. Further to this, a most comprehensive summary of Geoffrey’s war years is included in the highly recommended book by Geoffrey Bingham, Love is the Spur, Eyrie Books, North Paramatta, 2004.

[5] Geoffrey C. Bingham, ‘It Sometimes Happens, But Not Often’ in Laughing Gunner, p. 154-155

[6] Quote taken from G. C. Bingham, Laughing Gunner, p. 21-22

[7] This story appears in numerous books including G. C. Bingham, Angel Wings, p. 77-85.





Sin akıl dışıdır (Turkish)

25 04 2012

Sin akıl dışıdır.
Bunun için iyi bir mantığı yoktur.
Bu kendini yıkıcıdır. Bu yıkıcı, diğer-kişidir.
O, kozmik etkileri vardır.
Bu bir başkaldırıdır.
Bu kalıcı kalite hiçbir şey sağlamaz.

Ve henüz biz bunu. Hepimiz bunu.

Biri hariç … O, kim – irrasyonel değil seve seve-idi.

Bize Oğul, gerçekten rasyonel, gerçekten harika bir gönderme, Peder ederiz.





Karl Barth

11 04 2012

Among the greatest of all theologians, the name of Karl Barth is big in the theology department!  One only has to read a small part of the work of Karl Barth to realise that he is a man with something great to say about creation, reconciliation, God the Father, Jesus Christ the Eternal Son, The Holy Spirit, the resurrection, the crucifixion, human hope, the future, the joy of life in the present, suffering, thinking, the Bible, demonic power, the Word of God, experience, theology, Christo-centricity, sin, salvation, law, living life, and being human. 

Here is a new link to some of his work:

http://kbarth.org/

Image

Enjoy. And wrestle! Cheers.





Turning Points

11 04 2012

In history there are many significant turning points: events which are ‘the last straw’.

(1) Some Turning Points are for the better.

(2) Others are for the worse, or, so it would seem.

It is good to consider the way in which all things are working together for good, and ‘turning points’ arise in the purposes of God. All things work together for good for those who love God (see Romans 8), and are called according to his purpose.

Today, may be a turning point in your life.





Marriage – The Definition Matters

3 04 2012

I am grateful to John Milbank for this article. Marriage matters in the building of human society, and with fast impressionism dominating our media, we need to think more carefully.

The following article is most helpful and really deserves our attention:

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2012/03/13/3452229.htm





To Work Yourself Out of a Local Job

2 04 2012

Roland Allen tells us how Paul, the Apostle, worked himself out of a local job, wherever he went.

The Risen Jesus met an angry Paul (then called Saul), who was in no mood for Christianity! This confrontation was also a stunning revelation. Paul received the gift of the Holy Spirit. And he changed his mind about many things. Paul now knew Jesus Christ was the key to history, and the key to Israel’s very existence as a unique people. So… Paul now followed Jesus, as the Lord of death, and of life, and of the future for him, and for all nations, and the creation.

Paul began churches – that is, groups of people who also knew Jesus and lived by a new power, the gospel good news, and the infilling and indwelling of the Spirit of God. Grace reigned, and does reign still.

Roland Allen, in Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? reminds us of how Paul went about his work in taking the gospel to new places:

“He gave place for Christ. He was always glad when his converts could progress without his aid. He welcomed their liberty. He withheld no gift from them which might enable them to dispense with his presence… he gave as a right to Spirit-bearing body the power which duly belong to a Spirit-bearing body. He gave them freely, and then he retired from them that they might learn to exercise the powers which they possessed in Christ. He warned them of dangers, but he did not provide an elaborate machinery to prevent then from succumbing to the dangers.” (p. 149)

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The gospel has its own power. Once it is planted, and sends down roots, it becomes fruitful. “The River of God is full of water”. The branches grow on the Vine. Christ Jesus, living is the Vine.  The Father is the vinedresser and ensures the garden produces much fruit that remains. So, planting is a great thing, so is watering, and so is growth.

What stunning news the gospel is…. it is amazing that the Christian church is not growing faster. But then, there are opponents, celestial and terrestrial. Even so, the growth is part of the plan… as is the planting.

Doing yourself out of a local job!  Hmmnn. A good method indeed.





Karl Barth – Ja und Nein

21 03 2012
See this on Karl Barth:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HSTf7Rc81Pw“Ja”! – Manche sagen: “Barths Theologie stellt in sich eine Struktur der radikalen Offenheit gegenüber der Welt” (Paul S. Chung).

Nach denen sich andere, die Betonung Barths christozentrischeBlick sagen: “Nein”.

Frage: Verstehen Sie jetzt?
Antwort: Ja und Nein





Karl Barth – Yes and No (JA and NEIN)

21 03 2012

Karl Barth – Yes and No (JA and NEIN)

“Yes”!!! –  some say: “Barth’s theology presents within itself a structure of radical openness toward the world” (Paul S. Chung).

To which others who emphasis Barth’s Christocentric view say: “No”.

Q. Now do you understand?   Y and N!





భవిష్యత్తు కోసం ఆశిస్తున్నాము (Telugu) … India

16 03 2012
ఫ్యూచర్ ఎందుకంటే, ఆశను పూర్తిగా భవిష్యత్తు-గా ప్రస్తుతం తో పెరిగింది యేసు క్రీస్తు దయగల చేతిలో ఇప్పుడు-ఉంది. క్రైస్తవులు, విశ్వాసం ద్వారా ఉన్నవారిని ఈ ప్రపంచంలో మరణం-లో పైగా విజయ ఒక ద మ్యాచ్ గా మళ్ళీ మరణించాడు, గులాబీ ఎవరు పెరిగింది యేసు, కలిసింది. యేసు తన జీవితం మాకు-చూపిన ప్రతిగా, మరియు ముఖ్యంగా మాకు అన్ని తన వేయడం-దయగల, loving దేవుడు మరియు తండ్రి యొక్క క్రాస్ వద్ద ఉంది.

క్రైస్తవులు అందరూ అన్ని విషయాలు (: Ephesians 3:9 హోలీ బైబిల్ చూడండి) సృష్టించిన దేవుడు లో యుగాలకు దాగి రహస్యము ప్రణాళిక అంటే చూడండి కావలసిన. అతని ప్రణాళిక అన్ని విషయాలు, ప్రజలు మరియు దేశాల, loving జీవితం మరియు మరణం ద్వారా మరియు యేసు యొక్క పునరుజ్జీవం పునరుద్దరించటానికి ఉంది. ఈ యేసు, మరియు అతని గుర్తింపు, మరియు తన పని, ప్రపంచంలోని మిస్టరీ ఉంది!

దేవుడు ఈ మొత్తం విశ్వం-గెలాక్సీల మా అద్భుతమైన, అందమైన, మంచివాడి-ఇంకా, తరచుగా బాధాకరమైన-ఉంది, ఇది మా డ్రీమింగ్, మరియు ఈ భూమి దాటి చేసింది. అతను ప్రతిదీ-జంతువులు, మొక్కలు, సముద్ర మరియు పర్వతాలు చేసిన, మరియు మానవత్వం-తో యేసు ద్వారా, (అనుగ్రహించు మరియు అది పెంచు) అది నిను కీర్తించుటకు ఆలోచన. ఉంది దేవుడు ఆ అద్భుతమైన ప్రణాళికలో చేర్చేందుకు భూమిపై ప్రతి దేశం చేసింది. అతను తన ప్రణాళిక వెల్లడించింది అవుతుంది, ప్రాయశ్చిత్తం ద్వారా పాపం వ్యవహరించేవారు ఇది దేశం ఆలోచన ఉన్నట్లు ఒక ప్రత్యేక దేశం, ఇస్రేల్ పిలుపునిచ్చారు. ఇది యేసు జన్మించాడు ఆ, ఇస్రేల్ ద్వారా ఉంది. అతను చేసిన ఇది దయ్యం, పనులు నాశనం వచ్చింది. అతను యొక్క శక్తి ద్వారా, తన పునరుత్థానం శక్తి ద్వారా ఆ విజయం వెల్లడించడం తన సొంత స్పిరిట్-పవిత్రాత్మ-అతను ప్రపంచ కనుక మానవులు దాగి ఏ చూడవచ్చు ఆ, దేవుని మాకు ఈ విధంగా అన్నాడు ఏమి, కలిగి మీద బయటకు కురిపించింది ఉంది ఈ అందమైన. దేవుని నమ్మకం, మరియు ఆశను సృష్టి నివసిస్తున్న అయితే, గొప్ప భవిష్యత్తు కోసం ఎదురు చూడడం.

క్రిస్మస్ యొక్క జన్మ జరుపుకుంటారు వన్-దేవుని కుమారుడు-ఎవరు లోతుగా మరియు పూర్తిగా ప్రియమైన, మరియు తండ్రి గుడ్ విల్ చేయాలని క్రమంలో, ఆ ప్రేమ లో లోతుగా మరియు పూర్తిగా బాధ పడింది, మరియు ‘ట్రీ తన శరీరం లో మా పాపాలు భరించలేక (క్రాస్) ‘. యేసు పేరు లో దేవుడు మాకు ప్రకటించాడు: మీ పాప అన్ని క్షమించబడిన ఉంటాయి. దేవుడు ఇప్పుడు శాంతి లో, మరియు దేవుని trusting నివసిస్తున్నారు. ఒంటరిగా యేసు క్రీస్తు ద్వారా సమర్థించుకున్నాడు శాంతి లో వెళ్ళండి. తన యోగ్యతా విశ్వసించండి. దేవుని ప్రేమ నిండిన. అన్ని ప్రజలకి సేవ మరియు గౌరవం. ఈ శుభవార్త తో ఇతరులు పులకరించు! వారి జీవితాలను ఈ హోప్ తప్పిపోవుటకు లేదు ప్రజలు హెచ్చరించు. ఇది దేవుని దయ మరియు లివింగ్ నుండి ఉచితంగా వంటి హామీ స్వీకరించేందుకు లేదు వెర్రి ఉంది.

ఈస్టర్ గుర్తుపెట్టుకొని యేసు రోమన్ నియమం (పొంతియాస్ పిలేట్) కింద జరిగింది, ఇది మరణం, మరియు సమ్మతి మరియు అనేక యూదు నేతల కోరిక తో కలిగి ఉంటుంది. యేసు, తన ఆశాజనకంగా సందేశం తన నిజమైన దేశం లో ఒక ముఖాముఖి ఉంది! ఈస్టర్ కూడా యేసు మరణం ద్వారా, మా పాపం వ్యవహరించే లో గుడ్ ఫ్రైడే రోజున దేవుని కృతి యొక్క జరుపుకునే వేడుక. ఇది చాలా ఇప్పటికీ, కూడా భరోసా పవిత్ర శనివారం, ఆ నిశ్శబ్ద ఉత్సవాల్లో ఉంది (మేము తరచూ గా)-గా దేవుని కుమారుడు సమాధి లో చనిపోయిన వేస్తాయి. చూర్ణం ఆశిస్తున్నాము. లేదా అది ఖచ్చితంగా కనిపించింది. అవును అతను మరణించాడు. కానీ, అతను మరణం ఓడించడానికి, మా మరణం మరణించాడు.

ఈస్టర్ ఒక సమయంలో అప్పుడు కూడా 500 మంది పైగా ఆదివారం ఉదయం మరియు అతని తరువాత మహిళలు, పురుషులకు కనిపించే యేసు యొక్క పునరుజ్జీవం జరుపుకునే వేడుక. ఇది మానవ జాతి తరపున మరణం పైగా ఆ విజయం అన్ని చిక్కులను ఉత్సవాల్లో, చరిత్రలో outworking, ఉంది.

కం, అతను దగ్గరలో ఉంది. , యేసు కమ్ టు నమ్మి, అతని ఆత్మను స్వీకరించే.కొత్త ఆశలు తో వస్తాయి.

మీరు విశ్వాసం తో బైబిల్ చదువుకోవచ్చు, అప్పుడు, ఈ ఆశ యొక్క నిజం మరియు వండర్ యొక్క మరింత దేవుని స్పిరిట్ మీరు గొప్ప విషయాలను “చూపిస్తుంది” గా, మీరు బ్రద్దలయ్యాయి ఉంటుంది. అది ఆశ, ఆశ, ఆశను పైగా లాడెన్ ఎందుకంటే బాధ అప్పుడు, వ్యక్తిగతంగా చూసిన మరియు సృష్టి భరించారు-లో, మరియు చేయవచ్చు! సందర్సకులలో మీ సంఖ్య బైబిల్ కలిగి ఉంటే, ఇంకా లివింగ్ లార్డ్ కోరుకుంటారు.

మీరు, తండ్రి లివింగ్ శిలువ మరియు లార్డ్ జీసస్, మీ అన్ని మంచితనం కోసం దేవుని ప్రియమైన స్పిరిట్,, మరియు దయగల పవర్ లివింగ్, మా తరపున ధన్యవాదాలు. మాకు స్పందిస్తారు మరియు నమ్మకం లెట్. మాకు ఈ ఆశ మేము ఎలా అనారోగ్యంతో మా జీవితాలను-సరే ద్వారా ప్రవహించే లేకుండా ఏ ఇకపై ఆర్టీఎఫ్ లెట్, ఎలా విచారంగా లేదా ఒంటరిగా ఎలా చెడు లేదా గాయపడేది, నేరాన్ని లేదా సిగ్గు.

మీ క్షమించే దయ ఇప్పుడు పూర్తి ఉద్దేశ్యంతో దేవుని పనిచేస్తున్న ఇతరులు చేసేది, ఇది పనిచేసి మాకు సృష్టి లోపల నివసించడానికి equips. ఇది ఒక కొత్త మార్గంలో గడ్డి, సింహాలు, ఆకాశంలో మరియు సముద్ర చూడటం, మరియు దేవుని ద్వారా వాగ్దానం విధంగా, కాబట్టి ధనిక మరియు అద్భుతమైన ఒక భవిష్యత్ తో అన్ని చూసిన అర్ధం!

ట్రెవర్ Faggotter





미래를위한 위대한 희망 (Korean)

16 03 2012

미래 때문에, 희망 가득 미래로 현재와 부활 예수 그리스도의 은혜 손에 지금이다. 그리스도 인은 믿음으로이자는 복이 있나니이 세상에 죽음 인 이상의 승리 남자로 다시 사망하고, 장미는 부활 예수를, 만났다. 예수님은 그의 인생 미국에 표시된 순서대로, 그리고 특히 우리 모두 자신의 십자가 – 은혜, 사랑하는 하나님 아버지의 십자가에 있습니다.

그리스도 인들은 모든 사람이 모든 것을 (엡 3시 9분 성경을 참조)를 만들었 하나님의 자녀 연령에 대한 숨겨진 수수께끼의 계획인지보고 싶습니다. 그의 계획은 모든 사물, 사람과 국가, 사랑하는 삶과 죽음을 통해 예수님의 부활을 조정하는 것입니다. 이것은 예수와 그의 신원, 그의 작품은 세계의 신비입니다!

하나님이 모든 우주 – 은하의 놀라운, 아름답고, 쾌적한-아직 종종 고통스러운 가정이다 우리의 꿈을이 땅에 넘어 왔습니다. 그는 모든 – 동물, 식물, 바다와 산이했고, 인류 – 함께 예수님을 통해 (축복하고 확대) 그것을 예찬하는 계획.있다 하나님께서는 그 놀라운 계획에 포함시킬 땅 위에있는 모든 민족을 이루었습니다. 그는 자신의 계획이 발표됩니다, 속죄를 통해 죄를 처리하는 민족 사상으로 하나의 특정 국가, 이스라엘을 촉구했다. 그것은 예수가 태어난 그, 이스라엘을했습니다. 그가 행하신 마귀의 작품을 파괴하러 왔어요. 그는의 능력으로 그의 부활 능력을 통해 그 승리를 공개하지 않습니다 자신의 성령 성령 – 어느 그는 세계 때문에 인간이 숨겨져있는 것을 볼 수있는, 하나님이 우리에게 말하고있는 것을 듣기, 필요에 따라 부어있다이 은혜로운 하나님을 믿는 믿음과 소망과 창조에 사는 동안 큰 미래를 기대하고 있습니다.

크리스마스의 탄생 축하 행사, 한 하나님의 아들 – 누가 깊이 그리고 완전히 사랑했으며, 아버지의 좋은 뜻을하기 위해서는, 그 깊이 사랑하고 완전 고생했고, ‘이 나무에 자기 몸을 우리의 죄를 부담 (크로스) ‘. 예수 이름으로 하나님이 우리에게 선언합니다 : 당신의 죄를 모두 용서된다. 하나님은 지금 평화, 하나님을 신뢰 살고 있습니다. 혼자 예수 그리스도로 말미암아 의롭다 평화 이동합니다. 자신의 장점에 믿어. 하나님의 사랑으로 가득합니다. 모든 사람을 섬기고 명예를 위해. 이 좋은 소식과 함께 다른 스릴! 그들의 삶이 희망을 놓치지 않으들에게 경고해. 그것은 하나님 친절하고 생활에서 자유롭게 그러한 보증을받지 않도록 어리석음이다.

부활절은 기억 예수 로마 규칙 (총독 빌라도)에서 일어난 사망, 그리고 동의 많은 유대인 지도자들의 욕망과를 포함합니다. 예수님은 자신의 희망 메시지를 자신의 진정한 생활의 대결이었다! 부활절에는 예수의 죽음을 통해 우리의 죄를 다루고의 성 (圣) 금요일에 하나님의 작품의 축제입니다. 정말 그래도 역시 태세 성 (圣) 토요일, 그렇게 조용할의 축제이다 (우리가 종종 있기 때문에)으로 하나님의 아들이 무덤에서 시체로 누워. 짓눌린 바란다. 아니면 그것은 분명히 보였다. 네, 그는 죽었다. 그러나, 그는 죽음을 이기기 위해, 우리의 죽음을 죽었다.

부활절 한 번에 다음에도 오백명 이상의 일요일 아침에 그의 다음 여성, 남성에게 나타나는 예수의 부활의 축제입니다. 그것은 인류를 대신하여 죽음 그 승리의 의미의 축제 역사상 outworking입니다.

가까이와. 예수에게 와서 믿고, 그의 성령을받는. 새로운 희망을 함께가요.

당신이 신념을 가지고 성경을 읽을 수있다면,이 희망의 진실과 놀라움으로 더욱 더 하나님의 성령이 당신을 위대한 업적을 “보여주는”으로, 당신에게 공개 깰 것이다. 그것이 희망, 희망, 희망과 이상 라덴 때문에 고통이 후, 개인적으로 볼과 창조 견뎌냈 기능 및되어 있습니다! 당신도 성경이 없다면, 여전히 살아있는 주님을 추구합니다.

당신은 아버지를 생활 십자가와 주 예수의 모든 선하심에 대한 하나님의 사랑하는 정신, 그리고 우아한 전원 생활, 우리를 대신하여 감사드립니다. 우리가 응답하고 믿어 보자. 우리가 희망 우리가 얼마나 아픈 우리의 삶 – 상관없이 흘러없이 더 이상 살 수가하자, 슬프거나 외롭고, 어떻게 잘못되었거나 상한, 죄책감이나 부끄러운.

귀하 용서해주기 은혜는 이제 완전한 목적을 가지고 하나님을 처리할 다른 서비스를 제공, 그것을 제공하는, 우리가 창조 안에 사는 equips. 그것은 새로운 방식으로 잔디, 사자, 하늘과 바다를보고하고, 하나님 께서 약속되기 때문에, 그래서 풍부하고 놀라운 미래를 다 보는 의미!

트레버 Faggotter





امید بزرگ برای آینده (Persian)

16 03 2012
آینده پر از امید است، زیرا در آینده با حضور در حال حاضر در دست بخشنده از عیسی مسیح افزایش یافته است. مسیحیان کسانی هستند که ایمان دارند، ملاقات عیسی مسیح افزایش یافته است، که فوت کرد، و دوباره به عنوان یک انسان گل رز، پیروز بیش از مرگ در این دنیا. عیسی مسیح است در نوبه خود نشان داده شده است ما در زندگی خود، و به خصوص در صلیب خود مصلوب شدن، بخشنده، خدای توام با عشق و پدر همه ما است.

مسیحیان می خواهند همه را ببینید طرح از رمز و راز پنهان برای سنین به خدا که همه چیز را (نگاه کنید به کتاب مقدس: افسسیان 3:09) است. برنامه او این است که آشتی دادن همه چیز، مردم و ملت، از طریق زندگی توام با عشق و مرگ و رستاخیز عیسی مسیح است. این، عیسی و هویت خود، و کار خود را، رمز و راز از جهان است!

خدا این کل جهان، کهکشان، فراتر از رویای ما، و این زمین است که شگفت انگیز ما، زیبا، لذت بخش و در عین حال، اغلب به صورت دردناکی به خانه ساخته شده است. او ساخته شده است همه چیز، حیوانات، گیاهان، اقیانوس ها و کوه ها، و بشریت با یک برنامه به آن تجلیل و تکریم (برکت دهد و آن را بزرگ)، از طریق عیسی مسیح است. خدا هر ملتی بر روی زمین ساخته شده تا در آن طرح شگفت انگیز گنجانده شود.او نام یک کشور خاص، اسرائیل به فکر ملت است که طرح خود را با گناه از طریق کفاره برخورد خواهد شد نشان داد. آن را از طریق اسرائیل بود که عیسی متولد شد. او آمد تا از بین بردن آثار از شیطان است، که او انجام داده است. او که نشان می داد پیروزی از طریق قدرت قیامت او، قدرت خود را روح، روح القدس، که او به جهان به طوری که انسان ممکن است آنچه را پنهان است، شنیدن آنچه را که خدا به ما می گوید، ریخته ایمان به این خدا بخشنده است، و پیش بینی آینده، در حالی که در ایجاد با امید زندگی می کنند.

کریسمس بزرگداشت تولد است که یکی، خدا است پسر که است دوست داشتنی عمیق و به طور کامل، و تا عمیقا و به طور کامل در که عشق رنج می برد، برای انجام اراده خوب پدر، و گناهان ما تحمل “در بدن او بر روی درخت (صلیب). در نام عیسی مسیح خداوند اعلام را به ما: همه گناهان شما را ببخشند. خداوند در حال حاضر در صلح زندگی می کنند و اعتماد به خدا. برو در صلح توجیه از طریق عیسی مسیح به تنهایی.در شایستگی او اعتماد کن. با عشق خدا پر شده است. خدمت و افتخار همه مردم است. بلرزون دیگران با این خبر خوب! هشدار دادن به مردم به این امید برای نجات جان خود از دست. این حماقت است که به دریافت تضمین چنین آزادانه از نوع و زندگی خدا.

عید پاک شامل مرگ به یاد عیسی مسیح، که تحت حکومت روم (پنطیوس پیلاطس) اتفاق افتاد، و با رضایت و خواست بسیاری از رهبران یهودی است. عیسی رویارویی در زندگی واقعی خود، پیام امید خود را! عید پاک جشن از کار خدا در روز جمعه در برخورد با گناه ما، از طریق مرگ عیسی مسیح است. همچنین این جشن که آرام، بسیار هنوز هم مقدس شنبه، آماده (اغلب) به عنوان خدا پسر مرده در قبر دراز کشیده. امید خرد است. یا پس از آن قطعا به نظر می رسید. بله او درگذشت. اما، مرگ او مرگ ما، برای شکست دادن مرگ.

عید پاک جشن قیام عیسی مسیح در صبح روز یکشنبه و ظاهر شدن خود را به زنان، از مردان، پس از آن بیش از 500 نفر در یک زمان. این جشن از همه مفاهیم، outworking در تاریخ، که پیروزی بر اعدام از طرف نژاد بشر است.

بیا نزدیک است. بیا به عیسی مسیح، باور، دریافت روح خود در او. بیا با امید جدید.

اگر شما می توانید کتاب مقدس را با ایمان بخواند، سپس، بیشتر و بیشتر از حقیقت و شگفتی از این امید خواهد شکست باز به شما، به عنوان روح خدا “” شما کارهای بسیار خوبی را نشان می دهد. درد و رنج پس از آن می تواند دیده شده است و تحمل در ایجاد و شخصا، به دلیل آن است که بیش از مملو از امید، امید، امید!اگر شما هیچ کتاب مقدس، هنوز هم به دنبال خداوند زنده است.

با تشکر از شما زندگی پدر، به صلیب کشیده و زندگی حضرت عیسی مسیح، روح عزیز از خدا، برای همه خوبی، و قدرت بخشنده، از طرف ما. بگذارید ما پاسخ دهند و معتقدند. ما زندگی می کنند دیگر هیچ نیست بدون این امید که از جریان زندگی ما هر چه قدر هم که بد ما، چه غمگین و یا تنها، چگونه بد یا زخمی شده، احساس گناه یا شرم.

فضل آمرزنده شما در حال حاضر ما مجهز به درون ایجاد زندگی می کنند، خدمت به آن، خدمت به دیگران خدمت به خدا با هدف کامل. این بدان معنی دیدن چمن ها، شیرها، آسمان و دریا را در یک راه جدید، و دیدن آن همه با آینده ای بسیار غنی و شگفت انگیز، به عنوان وعده داده شده توسط خدا!

ترور Faggotter





أمل كبير للمستقبل

16 03 2012

القائم من الموت. المسيحيون هم أولئك الذين لديهم عن طريق الايمان، التقى يسوع القائم من الموت، الذين لقوا حتفهم، وارتفع مرة اخرى كرجل، منتصرا على الموت في هذا العالم. يسوع بدوره يظهر لنا في حياته، وخصوصا على الصليب من صلب له، والله، كريمة المحبة والاب لنا جميعا.

المسيحيون يريدون الجميع نرى ما هي خطة من الغموض خفية للأعمار في الله الذي خلق كل شيء (راجع الكتاب المقدس: أفسس 3:9). خطته هو التوفيق بين جميع الأشياء، والناس والدول، من خلال حياة المحبة وموت وقيامة يسوع. هذا يسوع، وهويته، وعمله، هو سر العالم!

وقد جعل الله هذا الكون كله، المجرات وراء الحلم لدينا، وهذه الأرض التي هي لدينا، جميل مدهش، لذيذ، حتى الآن، وغالبا ما تكون مؤلمة في المنزل. التي قام بها كل شيء، الحيوانات والنباتات والمحيطات والجبال، والإنسانية، مع. خطة لتمجيد عليه (صلى الله عليه وكبره)، من خلال يسوع وقد جعل الله لكل أمة على الأرض ليتم تضمينها في أن خطة مدهشة. ودعا أمة واحدة خاصة، وإسرائيل ليكون الفكر إلى الأمة التي تعاملت مع خطته من خلال الخطيئة والتكفير، وسيتم الكشف عنها. وكان ذلك من خلال إسرائيل، التي ولدت السيد المسيح. وقال انه جاء لتدمير أعمال إبليس، الذي قام به. فهو يكشف عن أن النصر من خلال قوة قيامته، من قبل السلطة من بلدة الروح، والروح القدس، الذي كان قد سكب على العالم، بحيث يكون، أن البشر قد ترى ما هو خفي، نسمع ما يقوله الله لنا الإيمان بهذا الله كريمة، وتوقع مستقبل عظيم، بينما الذين يعيشون في خلق مع الأمل.

عيد الميلاد هو الاحتفال بمولد واحد، الله الابن، والذي أحب بعمق وبشكل كامل، وعانت بشدة وبشكل كامل في هذا الحب، من أجل القيام مشيئة الآب جيد، و “يتحمل خطايانا في جسده على شجرة (الصليب). في اسم يسوع الله يعلن لنا: مغفورة لك خطاياك جميع. الله الآن في سلام، والعيش الثقة بالله. يذهب في سلام مبررة من خلال يسوع المسيح وحده. الثقة في الجدارة له. سيمتلئ بالحب الله. خدمة وشرف جميع الناس. التشويق وغيرها مع هذا الخبر السار! تحذير الناس حتى لا تفوت هذا الأمل في حياتهم. فمن الحمق عدم تلقي مثل هذه الضمانات بحرية من هذا النوع والله الحي.

عيد الفصح يشمل تذكر يسوع الموت، وهذا ما حدث في ظل الحكم الروماني (بيلاطس البنطي)، وبموافقة ورغبة العديد من زعماء اليهود. وكان يسوع المواجهة في رزقه صحيح، رسالته بالأمل! عيد الفصح هو أيضا احتفال لعمل الله في يوم الجمعة العظيمة في التعامل مع خطايانا، من خلال موت يسوع. بل هو أيضا في الاحتفال الذي هادئ، لا يزال جدا السبت المقدس، تستعد (ونحن في كثير من الأحيان)، والله الابن ملقاة في قبر. نأمل سحقهم. أو هكذا بدا الأمر بالتأكيد. نعم مات. لكن، ومات موتنا، لهزيمة الموت.

عيد الفصح هو أيضا احتفال قيامة يسوع صباح يوم الاحد وظهوره للمرأة، ثم الرجال، ثم أكثر من 500 شخص في وقت واحد. هذا هو الاحتفال كل اثارها، العمل الظاهري في التاريخ، من أن الانتصار على الموت نيابة عن الجنس البشري.

تأتي قريب. يأتي إلى يسوع، واعتبرت، وتلقي روحه. تأتي مع آمال جديدة.

إذا كنت تستطيع قراءة الكتاب المقدس مع الإيمان، ثم، فإن المزيد والمزيد من الحقيقة، وعجب من هذا الأمل كسر مفتوحة لكم، لأن روح الله “يبين” لك أشياء عظيمة. ويمكن بعد ذلك تم النظر وتحمل المعاناة، في الخلق، وشخصيا، لأنه من خلال لادن مع والأمل الأمل، الأمل! إذا كان لديك أي الكتاب المقدس، لا تزال تسعى لورد الحي.

شكرا المعيشة الأب، المصلوب والمعيشة الرب يسوع، الروح عزيزة من الله، من أجل الخير لكم جميعا، والسلطة كريمة، نيابة عنا. دعونا الاستجابة، ونعتقد. دعونا لا يعيش لفترة أطول من دون هذا الأمل التي تتدفق من خلال حياتنا عدم النظر عن مدى سوء ونحن، وكيف بالحزن أو وحيدا، مدى سوء أو كدمات، بالذنب أو الخجل.

نعمة لكم متسامح يجهز الآن لنا أن نعيش في خلق، وخدمته، وخدمة الآخرين خدمة الله مع كامل الغرض.وهو ما يعني رؤية العشب، والأسود، السماء والبحر بطريقة جديدة، ورؤية كل ذلك مع مستقبل غني جدا ومذهلة، كما وعدت من قبل الله!





Great hope for the Future

16 03 2012

The Future is full of hope, because the future—as with the present now—is in the gracious hands of the Risen Jesus Christ.  Christians are those who have by faith, met the Risen Jesus, who died, and rose again as a Man, victorious over death—in this world.  Jesus has in turn shown us—in his life, and particularly at the cross of his crucifixion—the gracious, loving God and Father of us all.

Christians want everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things (See The Holy Bible: Ephesians 3:9). His plan is to reconcile all things, people and nations, through the loving life and death and resurrection of Jesus. This Jesus, and his identity, and his work, is the MYSTERY of the world!

God has made this whole universe—galaxies beyond our dreaming, and this earth which is our amazing, beautiful, delightful—yet, often painful—home.  He has made everything—animals, plants, ocean and mountains, and humanity—with a plan to glorify it (bless and magnify it), through Jesus. God has made every nation on the earth to be included in that amazing plan. He has called one particular nation, Israel to be the nation through which his plan to deal with sin through atonement (propitiation), would be revealed.  It was through Israel, that Jesus was born. He came to destroy the works of the devil, which he has done. He is revealing that victory through his Resurrection power, by the power of his own Spirit—the Holy Spirit—which he has poured out upon the world—so that human beings may see what is hidden, hear what God is saying to us, have faith in this gracious God, and anticipate the great future, while living in the creation with hope.

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of One—God’s Son—who has loved deeply and fully, and has suffered deeply and fully in that love, in order to do the Father’s good will, and ‘bear our sins in his body on the Tree (the Cross)’. In Jesus name God declares to us: Your sins are all forgiven. God now in peace, and live trusting God. Go in peace justified through Jesus Christ alone. Trust in his merit. Be filled with God’s love. Serve and honour all people. Thrill others with this good news! Warn people not to miss this hope for their lives. It is folly not to receive such assurance freely from the kind and Living God.

Easter includes remembering Jesus death, which happened under the Roman rule (Pontius Pilate), and with consent and desire of many Jewish leaders.  Jesus was a confrontation in his true living, his hopeful message! Easter is also the celebration of the work of God on Good Friday in dealing with our sin, through Jesus death. It is also the celebration of that quiet, very still Holy Saturday, poised (as we often are)—as God the Son lay dead in the tomb. Hope crushed.  Or so it certainly seemed. Yes he died. But, he died our death, to defeat death.

Easter is also the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus on Sunday morning and of his appearing to women, then men, then over 500 people at one time. It is the celebration of all the implications, the outworking in history, of that victory over death on behalf of the human race.

Come, he is near. Come to Jesus, believing, receiving his Spirit. Come with new hopes.

If you can read the Bible with faith, then, more and more of the truth and wonder of this hope will break open to you, as the Spirit of God “shows” you great things. Suffering can then been seen and endured—in the creation, and personally, because it is over laden with hope, hope, hope! If you have no Bible, still seek the Living Lord.

Thank you Living Father, crucified and Living Lord Jesus, dear Spirit of God, for all your goodness, and gracious power, on our behalf. Let us respond and believe. Let us not live any longer without this hope flowing through our lives—no matter how ill we are, how sad or lonely, how bad or bruised, guilty or ashamed.

Your forgiving grace now equips us to live within the creation, serving it, serving others, serving God with full purpose. It means seeing grass, lions, sky and sea in a new way, and seeing it all with a future so rich and amazing, as is promised by God!

Trevor Faggotter





Singers and Dancers

20 08 2011

Singers and dancers alike say, “All my springs are in you.” (Psalm 87:7).

What amazing talents human beings have been given. Singing is something that most people can do—at least, to some extent. Little children, often love to sing away when they are happy.  Even so, a grand, regal, resonating singing voice is surely an extraordinary gift.   Likewise with dancing. To draw upon the presence of God in the exercise of our gifts, is surely something that we can do, consciously and unconsciously, or not. (Some even deny God’s existence, while exercising the gifts he gave). However, when looking to God, and asking him to bless the work of his hands – us – we may well be praying a good prayer, so that, we may be a blessing to others. To cause others enjoyment and encouragement and even a crisis leading to faith—with the gifts he has given us, namely, us the person he has made, has got to be a good thing, I reckon.

Proverbs 4:23 cautions one to, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life”.  Natural water springs are quite a beautiful feature of some of the farming land on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. When springs are flowing well, life surges and grows.

The theologian and teacher, Baxter Kruger, said something like this: “I knew as a child that something vast, deep, ancient and beautiful, was running through all of life—an invisible river of glory is running through our lives”.

When our springs are in the invisible river of glory, and when we are drawing upon those subterranean resources, the exercise of our gifts, and talents, flow in a river of life, and blessing into the life of others, and so into the world around us.

Jesus once cried out: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”  Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:37-39).

Jesus was indicating that he himself, was the source of a river of glory, springs of life, to flow out to others.

Interestingly, this ‘river flow’ had an important background in the rock, that supplied water for Israel in the wilderness – as this whole blog title says: ‘And That Rock Was Christ’.

Interestingly, Moses had to smite, or strike the rock for the water to flow. Jesus was struck, or smitten upon the cross, as he was glorified, before the river of the Spirit began to fully flow. This was the place where the guilt of humanity was entered into and borne by Christ. Guilt is like a great blockage in the flow of human life, and love. Guilt is that which must be taken, to allow a true human flow of life into the world, into the future.

A river flows out from Eden, and flows into the world, and onward unto the future Eden of God, where there is a River of Life waters the Tree of Life, and the trees with fruit bring healing to the nations (Revelation 22:2).

The Word of Life, that the Ascended Jesus speaks, is the action of the outpouring of the Spirit of God—the River of Life—into the parched and dry weary world of suffering, lonely, lost, guilty and therefore uncertain humanity.  This river flushes out the old debris and brings with it new life—welling up to eternity.

To be part of the significant flow of God’s word in  Christ is to be in the flow of our true humanity, and it brings blessing and life. It is what we are created for.

How is it going with you? In the flow? Flowing? Or damn dammed up? May the Spirit flow anew, evoking life, evoking fresh participation in the invisible river of glory, the Word of the Gospel to the nations of the world: look up, receive, believe, Christ is triumphant over death; the Father is the God of ALL grace; he raised Christ and gave him into death for us all-to deal with us, fully in judgment; humanity has a new hope. Let’s begin to live that way!





Return My Zeal

13 07 2011
Return My Zeal

Give me back my burning zeal,

Give me back the fire I knew,

Cause me to rise again in faith,

And cry the message of Your love.

 

Let not the pining of my heart, 

The hurts that made my soul withdraw,

Be counted as real in that great day

Nor be a mountain in my sight

That now I cannot climb.


Faith takes the hill, removes the pile,

Restores the inner fire to burn again

Until the nations of the world

Have heard the message of their God

That He has saved their souls.

 

Forgive the dimming of that flame,

The sinking down to ashes grey,

Breathe with Your Spirit into it

And make the fire become the blaze

Consuming all my love of ease.

 

And cause the flesh of me to glow,

Inspiring heart, enflaming mind

Until I saw beyond these eyes

The conquest of all evil powers.

 

I saw the conquest of our hearts,

Once bent on evil and on sin,

Now gripped by love, by pure love

That conquers death arid hell itself

Until mankind itself be free.

 

Come down, dear Lord, in pity come,

Renew the fire until it glow,

Until my voice cry out again

To all the nations of the earth,

‘Repent and find your God,

Repent, believe, look up, receive.

Messiah the Lord of heaven and earth

Will pardon to eternity,

And give his own new birth.’


© Geoffrey Bingham, in 'This Building Fair', NCPI, 1988




Where Pathways Cross

19 02 2011

Where pathways cross

And something resonates within

The objective mind ponders the unseen director

Where pathways cross

And there is a deep struggle within

The subjective mind is uncertain

Where pathways cross

And it is that Eternal One who speaks

A meeting of an indescribable dynamic ensues

Where pathways cross

And this One is known, as such, as a true friend

Faith arises, and Life truly begins

Where pathways cross

And iron sharpens iron

Friends, views and thoughts bother well the other

Where pathways cross

And prayer is there for blessing, for good alone

The Living One works in his own strange way

Where pathways cross

And pride, sloth and falsehood still scuttle around

What we are, and are not, comes home ever anew

Where pathways cross

And a holy burning undoes our plans

Life takes us in an odd, new direction—and feel

Where pathways cross

And real hope, true longing, stirs in our bones

Moments tell—we know, Life is from his hand

Where pathways cross

And we are never again the same

So great is the Mountain, so grand the view

Where pathways cross

And we pursue, pursue, pursue, our own road only

So deep is the Valley, so same-old the view

Where pathways cross

And one comes to us, along that road less travelled

What vista’s, what thrills, what delights—even in bogs, we sense, lie ahead

Where pathways cross—destinies are forged

© Trevor Faggotter 18.2.2011





The Mystery of Lawlessness

29 01 2011

January, 2011: Egpyt suddenly breaks out in lawlessnesss. The Police can not be seen on the streets. And the army steps in to keep some sort of order. The government is strangely absent for comment. Wow.

Whenever we look at aspects of anarchy and intense political unrest, issuing in some degree of violence, then we are in a good moment to reflect upon the biblical phrase, which says:  “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work” (2 Thessalonians 2:7).

Lawlessness, or iniquity, or sin, is certainly a mystery. Why humanity embraces sin, lawlessness, and rebellion, has no good answer. The bible speaks of many mysteries. Mysteries from a biblical standpoint are insights, that become possible to comprehend, only when one thinks from the logic of the cross of Christ. Mysteries,  are only clearly seen, as one knows Jesus Christ, and thinks in him, with thoughts that are Christo-logical.

I for one, am very thankful for the great work of the Police in Australia, and around the world, where stable government is working reasonably well.

The creation, and humanity generally, responds well to good authority. It is a great blessing to society, and to living with others in community life. It means that safety can be a reasonable expectation for a society.

I find it extremely difficult to view creation, as lacking an authority framework within it, to function. And the order and rule of human behaviour, somehow needs good authority.

The Lord is King – of all creation. Thank heavens for that! And as he exercises Lordship over rebellious elements of creation, including human creatures, and celestial ones, we have a blessed pattern in which to find our bearings, and to know what we too, should do,

May you be blessed in doing your part, especially as it pertains to the restraint of lawlessness. May we know the power of Jesus Christ’s Risen Lordship over nations – leading them to find real life, through Christ.

It would be a frightening world, were there no restraint upon ‘lawlessness’.  May we anicipate good things, as we give attention and careful thought to such matters as true law, and true government, for the benefit of others!

In many countries, governments have failed to constrain evil satisfactorily. Whenever society has capitulated to the powers of evil, to angry violent human beings, and wherever lawlessness reigns, humanity experiences de-humanization and degradation and shame.

Jesus came into the world to destroy the works of the devil, and that would include lawlessness.  Jesus came to re-humanise humanity. May we who respond to his Lordship, not be afraid to ‘bite the bullett’ and to take the tough decisions needed, so that society can reflect the truth of humanity, living together with one another.





Australian Society

17 05 2010

Someone on ABC radio, the other night said of Australian Society: “we live in a multi-faith society, not a secular society. Some 75% of Australians lay claim to a faith, or sorts”. Well said. Most identify as Christian – even if many of these may be nominal, rather than dynamically or actively so.

It has implications for the premise on which we conduct our public conversations.

It would be great to wake up to our rich Christian heritage.





Suffering—physical, emotional, spiritual

11 05 2010

Suffering produces endurance‘ (Romans 5:3)

We all learn to endure a certain amount of physical pain. Some people seem tougher, and have a higher pain threshold than others. However, physical suffering does more than just ‘hurt’. It often has far wider affects upon a person. It affects one’s emotions, which in turn can deeply affect one’s spiritual well-being, and responsiveness to God.

When we read of the sufferings of others, whom we admire, it often helps us reflect more with-faith, upon our own battles.  For example, we learn of Martin Luther, that he suffered from excruciating kidney stones and headaches, with buzzing in his ears and ear infections and incapacitating constipation and hemorrhoids.

This physical pain affected his emotional state, and—in the inter-connectedness of all things—it affected him spiritually, too. In writing to his friend, Philip Melanchthon, Luther wrote the following:

“For more than a week I have been thrown back and forth in death and Hell; my whole body feels beaten, my limbs are still trembling. I almost lost Christ completely, driven about on the waves and storms of despair and blasphemy against God. But because of the intercession of the faithful, God began to take mercy on me and tore my soul from the depths of Hell” (Heiko A. Oberman, Luther: Man Between God and the Devil, p. 323).

Again, Luther wrote to Melanchthon from Wartburg castle on July 13, 1521 while he was supposedly working feverishly on the translation of the New Testament:

“I sit here at ease, hardened and unfeeling—alas! praying little, grieving little for the Church of God, burning rather in the fierce fires of my untamed flesh. It comes to this: I should be afire in the spirit; in reality I am afire in the flesh, with lust, laziness, idleness, sleepiness. It is perhaps because you have all ceased praying for me that God has turned away from me…. For the last eight days I have written nothing, nor prayed nor studied, partly from self-indulgence, partly from another vexatious handicap [constipation and piles]…. I really cannot stand it any longer…. Pray for me, I beg you, for in my seclusion here I am submerged in sins” (E.G. Rupp and Benjamin Drewery, eds, Martin Luther: Documents of Modern History, pp. 72-73).

* These helpful insights are John Piper’s written up in The Legacy of Sovereign Joy, Crossway Books, 2000, p. 104-105. I have here, imparted his work, not my own. I greatly appreciate John’s gems, such as this, which he keeps opening to us!





What did happen to the dinosaurs?

9 02 2010




In A Howling Wilderness Waste

12 01 2010

Although the earth is greatly populated, there are millions of people who live in a kind of wilderness, daily—parents, children, cousins, uncles, aunts, friends, loners, vagabonds, the unwanted, the unloved, the guilty, and the ashamed people … and so on.  Of all the lonely ones, so many are living in cities today. So many of us, still find ourselves situated ‘in a howling wilderness waste’.

What a phrase, ‘howling wilderness waste’!!

One thinks of hungry dogs, or wolves howling at night. On thinks of being lost, uncertain of the way to go, while being surrounded by the hungry animals, and creatures of the night. On thinks of a person rattling around in the emptiness of life.

These words come from the Bible. They speak of God (the Father), sustaining, Jacob, and thus, his ancient people ‘in a howling wilderness waste’. The phrase is, He sustained him in a desert land, in a howling wilderness waste” (in Deuteronomy 32:10).

One can also think of Jesus immediately following his Baptism:

And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wildernessHe was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him (Mark 1:12-13).

I love the open space of outback Australia. I love to go where no one else is around, and experience the open country, and the wind. I even like wastelands, like gibber plains, and desert areas. But the howling wilderness waste need not be this physical, geographical location, at all. It can indeed refer to the person who has lost close fellowship with other people.  And in particular, a person who has close affinity with, and love for, their Maker, their Creator, the true friend of humanity. Indeed Abraham, was called ‘the friend of God!’. He knew this close affinity with God. It made all the difference. He was blessed!

The larger context of the reading is worth a look: Deuteronomy 32:4-10. It refers to this One, the Rock!

4 The Rock, his work is perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God, without deceit, just and upright is he; 5 yet his degenerate children have dealt falsely with him, a perverse and crooked generation.6 Do you thus repay the LORD, O foolish and senseless people? Is not he your father, who created you, who made you and established you? 7 ¶ Remember the days of old, consider the years long past; ask your father, and he will inform you; your elders, and they will tell you. 8 When the Most High apportioned the nations, when he divided humankind, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the gods; 9 the Lord’s own portion was his people, Jacob his allotted share. 10 He sustained him in a desert land, in a howling wilderness waste; he shielded him, cared for him, guarded him as the apple of his eye. 11 As an eagle stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young; as it spreads its wings, takes them up, and bears them aloft on its pinions, 12 the LORD alone guided him; no foreign god was with him. 13 He set him atop the heights of the land, and fed him with produce of the field; he nursed him with honey from the crags, with oil from flinty rock; 14 curds from the herd, and milk from the flock, with fat of lambs and rams; Bashan bulls and goats, together with the choicest wheat–you drank fine wine from the blood of grapes.

God sustained Jacob, in the wilderness.  He also sustained the apostle Paul amidst his persecuted life, following his having met and proclaimed, Jesus Christ:

In Romans 8:26, Paul writes that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”

Yea. And we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with sighs too deep for words, daily, and when we are in our howling wilderness waste!!

Sometimes, the circumstances of life can prove to be a howling wilderness waste, amidst ill health, or the tragic death of loved ones, or just in the sameness of the days, and the seeming unfairness of so much in life.

Sustained ... in a howling wilderness waste





All Things Must Pass

12 09 2009

All Things Must Pass’, by George Harrison is a collection of music, a 1970 record album, which, as the title suggests, announces the impermanence of all things – life, love and mop top pop bands.  It is ironic that this album stands as one of his greatest legacies!  It was produced at a significant time: The Beatles had broken up as a band, only 6 months beforehand, George’s wife Patty was falling for his best friend Eric Clapton. And George’s mother had just died—things were quickly very different. Looking back over the years of the Beatles huge stardom, this album was ‘his hand full of earth upon the coffin’ of the band (M. Cheney).  Interestingly enough, a song emerging at this same time was Harrison’s search to know God: ‘My Sweet Lord’, (“I really want to know ya yea”…. in, I think, Eastern religion terms). It was a popular song!

All Things Must Pass, is a saying which echoes (sort-of) that of Jesus’ own statement:

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away

(Matt. 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33).

Not quite all things must pass, then! The words of Jesus have an eternal quality, because they are spoken by the eternal one: How about that?

Saul (or Paul), like many others, fiercely opposed that idea. Maybe you doubt it? But he did come to know it. So can you. It all hinges on the present activity of this Risen Man, this Son of God, and the work of his Spirit in you and me, now.

In the light of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and seeing that the new eternal kingdom has arrived in him, and will coming fully at his next coming-appearing, the Apostle Paul put it like this:

For the present form of this world is passing away (1Corinthians 7:31).

We don’t like it when our world changes rapidly. But there is a good aspect to it… Do you think much on the good aspects of this statement?

It was on this insight, that Paul charted his course through life. He had rich insight, and certain faith, in what Christ was doing, and had done. In him there is a new creation. The old things are not only passing away, but, indeed, in a human being who is ‘Christed’ – forgiven, and made new, then those ‘old thing’ are made new.

Many things in our old world—that we liked—are passing away. This we find hard. These are some of mine, or my parents… experiences, think on your own:

(1) The good old slower life, when people had no cars and computer, but they did have time to chat by the roadside, with the horse and dray creating little road noise.

(2)  The good ol’ days when England, Australia, and the noble Westminster system of government, worked well, and people could speak at length, and gain a hearing, and reflect – and not be manipulated by a smart 20 second sound-bite.

(3) The days in Europe, recovering from WW2, as growth and peace came in various places, industry grew, the new possibilities opened up, and the whole future was not threatened by the growth of legalistic Islam, and ghettos and terrorist bomber violence.

(4) The days when a monogamous mum and faithful dad and numerous children, and grandparents, and uncles and aunts, were accepted as the normal basis of family life, and the push, push, push, for the a new anthropology, and view of marriage was not ‘in your face’.

(5) Ice cream and chips were reserved at Christmas or a birthday, not in the weekly supermarket trolley; childhood obesity was not hear of; you could play in the trees, miles from home, without a ‘keep out’ sign, or a sanctimonious ‘safe plastic sterile playground’ [to ward of the insurance claims], or a greenie initiative preventing your joy, you could run home without fear of being molested, stolen, beaten up, or of finding no one at home; these were great days!

(6) There are squillions of thoughts, multiplying, however…

Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, who, although Christians, had become bogged in a few deficient ideas: He gave them some health-giving instructions concerning married life, unmarried life, normal creational human passion, and working in the things of the gospel, in the light of this fact:

For the present form of this world is passing away (1Corinthians 7:31).

Here is the full text.  Try and read it with prayer, not just a critical eye! 🙂

7:1 ¶ Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is well for a man not to touch a woman.” 2 But because of cases of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

5 Do not deprive one another except perhaps by agreement for a set time, to devote yourselves to prayer, and then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 This I say by way of concession, not of command.

7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has a particular gift from God, one having one kind and another a different kind.

8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am. 9 But if they are not practicing self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion.

10To the married I give this command–not I but the Lord–that the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

12 To the rest I say–I and not the Lord–that if any believer has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her.

13 And if any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. It is to peace that God has called you.

16 Wife, for all you know, you might save your husband. Husband, for all you know, you might save your wife.

17 ¶ However that may be, let each of you lead the life that the Lord has assigned, to which God called you. This is my rule in all the churches.

18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision. 19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing; but obeying the commandments of God is everything.

20 Let each of you remain in the condition in which you were called.

21 Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. Even if you can gain your freedom, make use of your present condition now more than ever. 22 For whoever was called in the Lord as a slave is a freed person belonging to the Lord, just as whoever was free when called is a slave of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of human masters.

24 In whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters, there remain with God.

25Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.

26 I think that, in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are.

27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a virgin marries, she does not sin. Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that.

29 I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; 33 but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided.

And the unmarried woman and the virgin are anxious about the affairs of the Lord, so that they may be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please her husband.

35 I say this for your own benefit, not to put any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and unhindered devotion to the Lord.

36 ¶ If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his fiancee, if his passions are strong, and so it has to be, let him marry as he wishes; it is no sin. Let them marry. 37 But if someone stands firm in his resolve, being under no necessity but having his own desire under control, and has determined in his own mind to keep her as his fiancee, he will do well.

38 So then, he who marries his fiancee does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better.

Yes folks, what a piece of writing!
Yes, it needs some clarification. A commentary will help.
The hope is, that in Christ, you will ‘do well’!
The point is there is a noble, creational way of living, in the present age, in the light of the impending crisis, yes, the coming of the kingdom. This is it. It is a gracious kingdom, with room to move, under the gracious care of the Lord, for each of us. Are you keeping uppermost in mind what matters most?

The world of sin and death, is passing away, and the world of holiness and life, is breaking in upon us. Amidst all the uncomfortable changes, faith sees Jesus.

Jesus Christ, and his kingdom. Thy Kingdom Come.





Greatest Father’s Day

5 09 2009

There have been some great Father’s Days. But what is the greatest?

Father’s Day, today, in 2009, has become another opportunity for the opportunist commercial world to capitalize on the spare—or not so spare—cash of the community. Father’s Day for many dad’s has sometimes been – a day of genuine joy. A time for dad’s to spend with their wife, and their children, or brothers and sisters and their families.

A few years back, the traditional sort of Father’s Day may have begun with breakfast in bed, a new pair of socks, or a tie, some chocolate, and a  maybe new set of garden pruning shears, or similar.  Cool.

However, the Greatest Father’s Day, may have been the day that the creation was finished, to the point of creating the man and the woman, and placing them in the Garden of Eden. Yes, here in this ancient event, we have the Father creating a home for his family. And what a home creation is!

Added to that is the Day that the eternal Son of God, became a human being, a son, like Adam. The Day that Jesus was born was certainly hailed as one of the Greatest Father’s Days ever.  Here, the second Adam came to do that which the first Adam, had failed to accomplish.

But perhaps, above all Father’s Days, was the Day in which the wayward members of the family—the human family, were reconciled through the profoundly strange events of the cross of Jesus Christ. The Day the Father over-reached Jesus, as it were, and in his love, and together with Jesus, and the Spirit, reclaimed, redeemed, and renewed the children in rebellion—this indeed was a Day of grace. And here, perhaps, the gracious Father was at his best – in dealing with our sin, the holy Father laid it upon his own sinless Son, Jesus, and there it was borne, and destroyed, in the mind, conscience, and body of the finest Son ever. This was an action of—from one point of view—unimaginable horror and loneliness. Yet, it was a deed of the deepest love ever known. It was a work of the Father, on behalf of his eternal family. It was the Greatest Father’s Day.

We could add to this the Day the Son of God, rose from the grave, victorious over death forever.  This happened as the Father, by the Spirit, raised Jesus from the tomb, alive forever more.

And we could add to that the Day the Spirit was poured out upon all flesh, to enable the great ingathering of the Family. All nations, coming home at last; the family coming home, washed, sanctified, justified, in the merits of Jesus—the great Elder brother of all those of faith.

Yes, there have been some good Father’s Days. Let us remember the Father—The Father—with us. May this Father’s Day be a good one for many.

Blessed be the God and Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ!





His ministry was wider than one church

19 06 2009

Geoff Bingham

Geoffrey Bingham will be talked about for a long time to come. More than that, his life and ministry will continue to be appreciated far and wide. He will, I feel sure, be read more widely, too. Amazing what the gracious Father, our God, does with a sinner isn’t it?  And the good things we see, are thanks to the merits and joy and sufferings and love of our Lord Jesus Christ, made known as his Spirit is poured into our hearts, bringing forgiveness, and effecting reconciliation. From rebels to Sons! What a change.

This is a good link to the article in the Sydney Morning Herald Newspaper:

His ministry was wider than one church.





At the Library

25 05 2009

What an excellent photo this is! …

3779_700.jpg (image).

Ben Meyers included in his post recently, saying:

“And since I’ve been waxing eloquent about books, I’ll leave you with my favourite bibliophile photograph: a photo taken in 1940 of the bombed library at Holland House in Kensington, London. This is what libraries are all about (click the image to enlarge).”

http://faith-theology.blogspot.com/2009/05/comparing-new-barth-edition-print-or.html#links





Evil accomplishes absolutely nothing in the ultimate

20 05 2009

My friend Geoff Bingham speaks of the enemies of a Christian, as “a phalanx of evil seeking corporately to destroy us”. An infantry, close knit army of opponents, like sin, Satan, the principalities and powers, the world, the flesh and death’.

He goes on to say that ‘evil is unremitting in its implacable intention to destroy’.

But then this statement: ‘Evil accomplishes absolutely nothing in the ultimate’. 

Christ’s cross is the place or victory for the truth, and for good. It means also, the defeat of evil – ultimately.  Evil is doomed, and Christ reigns.

To be sure, God’s truth is marching on, against the “phalanx” of evil. Jesus Christ has triumphed over all the powers of evil. His building will accomplish all that is needed for a substantial future for humanity – a humanity of faith, and hearts changed towards God.

(See page 226 in The Splendour of Holiness, G. C. Bingham)





And The Rock was Christ

19 05 2009




Share our headlines with your friends | The Christian Institute

9 05 2009

Share our headlines with your friends | The Christian Institute.





基督死了。 基督上升。 基督再将来。

2 05 2009

基督死了。 基督上升。 基督再将来。

그리스도는 죽었다. 그리스도는 일어난다. 그리스도는 다시 올 것이다.

Christ Died. Christ is Risen. Christ Will Come Again.

Le Christ est mort. Le Christ est levé. Le Christ viendra encore.

O Χριστός πέθανε. Ο Χριστός αναστήθηκε. Ο Χριστός θα έρθει πάλι.

Christ è morto. Christ è aumentato. Christ verrà ancora.

Cristo murió. Se levanta Cristo. Cristo vendrá otra vez.

Christus stierf. Christus is toegenomen. Christus zal opnieuw komen.

Christ starb. Christ wird gestiegen. Christ kommt wieder.

キリストは死んだ。 キリストは上がる。 キリストは再度来る。
Христос умерло. Христос поднято. Христос будет приходить снова.
Christ morreu. Christ é levantado. Christ virá outra vez.
Well, no matter how you say it, the wonderful exclamation of life, hope, faith and the love which lies at the heart of creation, is such stunning, all encompassing truth, that the simple words – at the heart of the gospel sound out across the nations. 
Of course, Christ, or the Messiah is none other than Jesus of Nazareth. More than a prophet. More than a political King. More than a servant. He is the Man, in whom God himself has come among us, and now shares in the life of humanity, eternally. All this, in order that we may gain our bearings, through him, as our sin is forgiven, our lives reconciled to God, and our place in the eternal family secured.
Praise to the Lord.




Karl Barth – God in the History of His Deeds, on mp3

29 04 2009

Karl Barth: Great Theologian:

“evangelical theology is concerned with Immanuel, ‘God with us’… a happy science!”

The much-loved, much-studied, and much-criticised theologian, Karl Barth is not with us, bodily, for he is now, with the Risen Lord Jesus.

Karl has departed from his participation in this world—where sin and death are present. But, if you are interested, you can still … ha! read his books (this post was originally about an MP3 lecture in English. But it is no longer at that URL.  I am sorry to say, I can’t direct you to listen to him.  Oh well. If anyone knows where it went, please let me know!)

I—did—love the accent … as he spoke in English!

So instead of listening to a quote, why not read a little of his writing…

“The truth of the knowledge that Christ in his revelation has the power of the Creator, depends upon it being the acknowledgment of a fact and  not an arbitrary combination. Where this power is experienced, there is literally nothing to combine, creation and revelation are not two truths to be held side by side, compared with each other and put into touch with each other, but the one reality of Jesus Christ, as the Revealer with the power of the Creator.  And in that case this power of the Creator cannot be thought of as one specially related and limited to revelation. Augustine, therefore is right when he lets even the angels, and Luther therefore, is right when he lets even the broody hen, be created  by the Word. ” (p. 511-512, CD, Volume 1. Part 1)





Such Graciousness

19 03 2009

‘Such graciousness!’ The other night, while considering John’s Gospel, chapter 4, it came to me that the one thing that the woman at the well was moved by—changed by—was ‘such graciousness’ imparted by Jesus towards her. This woman, of whom he was fully aware, what a mess of life she had made – with five husbands and another man as well—he loved, he received, he be-friended. He did this, not by ignoring her failure, but by loving her in spite of them. But more than that, he ‘right-wised’ her. He “righteous-ed” her. He justified her. He accepted her; he welcomed her. Not by by-passing the mess, but by giving himself graciously to her.

This is stunning.

During this past term I have been covering some old rich insights, from church history. While looking at the Reformation, I came across Martin Luther’s statement, prior to his coming into a dynamic Europe-tearing faith in Christ.

Martin Luther the monk, said: ‘If I could believe that God was not angry with me, I would stand on my head for joy’. His friend and mentor in grace, Staupitz, tried to convince him of God’s graciousness, but he could not see it, or feel it, of know it.

Sometime later—after the renewed—Martin Luther, had weighed into a debate in criticism of indulgences. He was not initially against the indulgences as such-there was a Papal theology widely accepted for it;  it was just that indulgences were being ‘hawked’ to pay for St. Peter’s Cathedral, and Martin was deeply offended by the manner in which an authorized itinerant showman, named Tezel, was at work on behalf of himself – as well as the papal system.  It stirred everything up, in the world, when he attacked that.

Background:

Pope Leo X issued the sale of indulgences to fund the completion of St. Peter ‘s Cathedral in Rome. John Tetzel was an itinerant papal-fundraiser, who promised his hearers immediate release, according to his rhyme: ‘As soon as the coin in the moneybox rings, the soul from purgatory springs’, and again, ‘Throw your money into the drum, heaven’s gates open and in walks mum’. If a person bought an indulgence for himself it would ‘wash awash the foulest of sins, even if the person had raped the Virgin Mary’. He was crude, tasteless, vulgar, and even contrary to the official theology of indulgences—for at the least the church did teach that the purchase must be accompanied by repentance to be effective. Luther had pastoral responsibility for teaching students, as also for the church where he preached. His concern was a very practical one, that people were being ripped off by such a corrupt and blatant scheme. Luther had no desire to stir up a public quarrel, let alone begin a movement to tear apart the very fabric of Europe. He was not even criticising the official sale of indulgences, just Tetzel’s perversion of the practise.

But then, this amazaing thing:

Luther’s revelation concerning the meaning of Romans 1:17.

He said, ‘I hated that word “righteousness of God,” which …I had been taught to understand philosophically… I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners… I was angry with God …I raged with a fierce and troubled conscience. Nevertheless, I beat importunately upon Paul at that place, most ardently desiring to know what St. Paul wanted. At last, by the mercy of God…I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith. And this is the meaning: the righteousness of God is revealed by the gospel, namely, the passive righteousness with which merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written, “He who through faith is righteous shall live”. Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates. Here a totally other face of the entire Scripture showed itself to me.’ (John Dillenberger (Ed.), Martin Luther: Selections From His Writings, Doubleday, New York 1961, p. 11)

This, I think, is what the Samaritan woman at the well experienced, in John 4.

It is what gets at us, most deeply of all!

God right-wises us. In the gospel, God is shown to be righteous, not for getting his pound of flesh in punishment for sin. But rather, in taking sin seriously – as Jesus had done with the troubled woman – God still comes to us righteously. And as he comes to us, righteously, it is as the friend who justifies us. He is seen to be righteous in his exercise of grace!  Wow.

This is a turn around 180 degrees from what some have called ‘legal’ repentance.  Legal repentance is not genuine repentance. It is a trick-contract with God. Legal repentance is a little heavy deed of self, in order to get off the divine hook of guilt.

Like buying a pizza, you pay the price (repentance), you get the pizza (grace). No! No! No! That is sometimes how we think it works, in our sinful heads. No. God does a great thing in the gospel. And when Jesus comes to us, it is to bring us the Fruit of that great dying death.

Now:

God comes in generosity, and looks upon us, in mercy, and sets us right. What a scenario. He tips us right way up.  Judicially all is sorted; but practically, it is God’s graciousness that just does that, that is amazing. So lovely, so gracious. Not counting our sins against us. Wow.  

This is the gospel. Such graciousness.





And the Rock was Christ

17 05 2007

One of the most important things ever said, was: “And the rock was Christ”.

These words appear in a letter sent to people, living in the port of Corinth. It was sent by the Apostle Paul to the early Christian church; this group of believers, had been founded by the Risen Jesus Christ, through the ministry of the Apostle Paul, around about 51-53 AD. Paul spent 18 months there, while he lived with, and worked as a tentmaker, alongside 2 Jews, Priscilla and Aquila (see Acts 18:1-18).

“And the rock was Christ”: The words are most important, because of what they means now, and what they refer back to. They hark back to the rock, which, strangely supplied Israel, God’s people, with water, during their years in the wilderness (about 1250 BC; or 1400 BC according to traditional scholars).

This is part of Paul’s letter:

I want you to know, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same supernatural food and all drank the same supernatural drink. For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless with most of them God was not pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness. (1Corinthians 10:1-5).

What is this? They drank from the supernatural Rock, which followed them? How does a rock follow a group of people? (Exegetes must deal with the text).

One passage worth reading to get the background is Numbers 20:2-13

Now there was no water for the congregation; and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people contended with Moses, and said, “Would that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD! Why have you brought the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness, that we should die here, both we and our cattle? And why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain, or figs, or vines, or pomegranates; and there is no water to drink.” Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the tent of meeting, and fell on their faces. And the glory of the LORD appeared to them, and the LORD said to Moses, “Take the rod, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water; so you shall bring water out of the rock for them; so you shall give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his rod twice; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their cattle. And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to sanctify me in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel contended with the LORD, and he showed himself holy among them.

“And the rock was Christ”? Numerous other references can be found in the Old Testament, which show that traditionally, God was referred to as The Rock.

  • “The Rock, his work is perfect; for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is he (Deuteronomy 32:4).
  • “But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked; you waxed fat, you grew thick, you became sleek; then he forsook God who made him, and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation (Deuteronomy 32:15)
  • He said, “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; thou savest me from violence (2Samuel 22:2-3).
  • “For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? (2Samuel 22:32).
  • “The LORD lives; and blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation (2Samuel 22:47),…

Putting it together:

“And the rock was Christ”? Paul is equating this rock, with Jesus, the Christ. He is not saying that a man was with them, back there.  But he is saying, that this One, this Christ, was present throughout the Old Testament.

Now we know that Jesus of Nazareth, was born of Mary, as a baby. And that he was a true human being. He was NOT God stuffed into a skin, like air into a paper bag. He was truly a human being. No one really thought any differently of him. We also know that he was the Christ (or Messiah). This was the mystery of his personhood, revealed to Peter, by the God and Father of Jesus Christ – our Father in heaven (see Matthew 16:16-17).  This revelation has flowed out into the world.

The once very angry Saul, was met by the Risen Jesus Christ while Paul travelled the road to Damascus. This was a stunning confrontation. Saul had thought that Jesus, the man from Nazareth, was just plain dead. He had also thought that the early Christians were blasphemous. He was out to arrest them. But, he himself, was … arrested by Christ. He was faced with the facts. Jesus, the Nazarene, was the Messiah, (which means “the Christ”).

Saul’s life was radically altered.
 His somewhat pessimistic outlook was replaced by a strange new hope.
 His name was soon changed to be Paul.
 His character was changed too. He had seen what life was all about.
 He was no longer on the road to destroy Christians.
 He was on the road, to take part in a world-changing matter:

The resurrection of Jesus as Victor over death, in this world (not just the next!)

Paul’s new task, and new joy, was to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things. Creation had a future. The mystery of creation was that it had a servant nation – Israel. And a rock had been with them all their days. And the rock was Christ.

Commenting, on this passage, Geoffrey Bingham says:

“I found it remarkable that not one commentator has even questioned Paul’s statement, nor found it extraordinary”.

He goes on to explain what Paul does here:

‘Paul takes the word ‘Christ’ and projects it back to the time when Israel was in the desert. We may say that Paul was using the term ‘Christ’ to show that in his being as Word and Son he was present in Israel.’ (G. C. Bingham, Christ and the Triune Glory NCPI, p. 43).

Do you know the plan of the mystery? It was hidden for ages. It has now been revealed, and is being revealed. The wisdom of God in its rich variety, is now being made known to the world, through the church!

Jesus was the one who ‘came down from heaven’ (John 6:38; 58). Prior to his coming he was not a fleshy man, but a person nevertheless. Indeed he was the Divine Person, the Eternal Word, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Living Christ, the Son of God.

“The Christ”, had been with God, at Creation. He had been with Israel in their journey. Israel knew that Moses struck a rock for water to flow for the people. (‘And the rock was Christ’). At this point in history, Christ helped Moses. He was the spiritual food. He was the supply of Living Water, in the wilderness. He was the Word, speaking to their hearts. He appeared and spoke to the hearts of the first believers, who knew: And ‘the Word became flesh’ and lived among us. And we have seen his glory. His resurrection from death is grand; his suffering on the cross was essential, that our sis be forgiven, and that we be reconciled to God, our Father.

Rock Solid – that is what God’s gift to us, is, in Jesus Christ. He is moveable, in that he goes with us, always. He is secure and stable for the human race, in that his Cross is founded deeply within the purpose of creation, securing eternal life, and gushing forth rivers of living water – to drink, as human beings.

“And the rock was Christ”. Remarkable words. Remarkable truth. Remarkable future.








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