On The Lighter Side

A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible; Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the verse.

Little Rick was excited about the task — but, he just couldn’t remember the Psalm.

After much practice, he could barely get past the first line. On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of
the congregation, Ricky was so nervous.

When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, and that’s all I need to know.’

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

Biblical Encounters To Ponder Upon – new word search

For those of you who like word searches Marlene has just devised and created a particularly challenging word search based on the theme ‘Biblical Encounters To Ponder Upon’.

The word search is freely downloadable by going to:

http://christianwordsearches.net/BiblicalAttributes.html

 

Happy Word Searching!

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Family Likenesses

A minister stood up before his congregation one Sunday morning with a big grin. “Four days ago,” he said, “I became a grandfather. And I am delighted to tell you that not only is he a very beautiful baby, but – he looks exactly like me!”
Many parents and grandparents have had the same thrill: the new arrival is going to grow up to look like them! The Bible has a lot to say about how God feels when we are born into his kingdom, his family.
Firstly, no human baby is brought into being because he/she decided that it wanted to exist. The baby was dependent on the parents’ decision. And the same is true in the spiritual sphere. If you have any interest or faith at all in God, you may be sure that that in itself is a sign that He is calling to you.
Secondly, when a human baby is born into a loving family, there is great rejoicing. The Bible tells us that there is great rejoicing in heaven every time anyone of us turns to God and asks Jesus to be our Saviour.
Thirdly, a human baby can do nothing to ‘gain’ life. All that baby has to do is to accept life, and begin to live. There is nothing you can do to ‘earn’ your salvation,  you have to go through Jesus, and what He did for you on his death on the cross.
There is a fourth thing about babies. They grow up! They take on the language and behaviour of their family. Paul, writing in Colossians, put it this way: “You used to
walk in the way of sexual immorality, anger, … slander, and filthy language. But now you have put on the new self, which is being renewed in you through the knowing your creator. Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.…”
Sadly, we will never be perfect. All our lives, we will sin. But the Bible has two descriptions of sin. One verb in the Greek refers to occasional actions. As long as we
live, we will commit haphazard sins. But there is another tense of the verb to sin, and it refers to habitual, ongoing actions. If these are still ruling our lives, then we do not have the family likeness, we do not have God’s Spirit within us. We need to go back to new birth: by turning to Jesus Christ.

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

OPEN DOORS is an international ministry serving persecuted Christians and Churches throughout the World.

I have just received their November 2014 magazine and I feel drawn to quoting from the Editorial.

“Christmas is a time to celebrate, meet the family and worship the Lord. It’s a time for meals, decorations and presents.

But for some of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world, none of this is possible. I think of persecuted Christians in the Central African Republic, Iraq and Syria. What can they look forward to when there is no room for them – and no silent night?

Christmas used to be a time of big celebrations in Syria, when Christians would go out and even distribute Christian literature. But that was before the war. It won’t be like that this year. The situation is becoming worse.

It is not safe in Damascus. People don’t sleep at night. Before the war, we had the best Christmas in the world. We had freedom, but now I think no one is in the mood for singing in the streets. In most of the Christian houses there is sadness; many lost relatives”.

Syrian Christian, Hanna, says, “For sure, God is with us, all the days of this war. God hears our prayers, God is good. That doesn’t change during all the shooting and bombing. Around 25% of Syria’s Christians have left the country, but the churches are not empty.

New people are always attending church, interested in the gospel, and comforted by the message.

And the church is making room for them, doing its best to be a place of encouragement, so there will be presents for the children and something extra for those who have lost their homes.”

“Every year of this war, “says Hanna, “we said that things would change and would get better. To be honest, humanly speaking, I see no hope for 2015, but I know that God is there.

He is moving things and He holds the coming year. I trust Him.”

Hanna asks us to keep speaking up for the safety of Christians, to make room for them in our prayers.

“Pray for an end to the bloodshed, for the broken ones, for encouragement. Without prayer we would all be dead by now!”

It’s not easy for us, living in the relative security of a safe environment, to hear such words as we plan our Christmas celebrations. But that is exactly why Jesus came, ‘to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear (Luke 1:74).

Zechariah celebrated because he could see the Lord redeeming His people. He could see hope, rescue, forgiveness and mercy coming to ‘shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace‘ – which is exactly what Hanna, and all our persecuted Christian family, are praying for this Christmas.

Let’s join them – by making room for them within all our hearts.

 

 

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

The Power of Prayer

“TO TRAVEL hopefully is a better thing than to arrive” wrote Robert Louis Stevenson.

The religious journey has something of this “feel” about it. It is not that spiritual goals are unimportant, of course, but the great blessing is really to know that you are travelling in the right direction.If this is true for individual pilgrimages, it applies to corporate situations too.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish,” it says in the book of Proverbs. Where there is no sense of direction in events, the same is true.

How desperately we all try to see the right direction for the greater peace of what used to be Yugoslavia, but confusion and contumacy reign.

In Ireland over the years of the Troubles, direction has been lost in sectarian feuds and traditional but unquestioned religious hostility.

There was a sense of puzzlement throughout the nation on that Wednesday when interest rates went up and down in rapid but perplexing succession. Had we lost our economic sense of direction? When we lose our way in both personal and corporate situations, we can experience a lostness and a meaninglessness that is devastating.

There was a time when Mary Magdalene found herself looking in the wrong direction. Her weeping eyes were focused on the tomb and her missing Lord. Then she turned round and, looking in the other direction, she found herself face to face with the living Lord. This was a turning-point indeed for Mary.

One of the “eternal verities” is the belief that God’s grace and power can completely change the direction of lives.

“I met a man,” said the late and great Dr John White, referring to his encounter with Jesus. That was the secret of his robust conviction. The vocabulary of faith includes words such as renewal, regeneration, redemption and reconciliation. They testify to the fact that, through grace, everything can change – aims, attitudes, reactions, relationships, even indeed our whole philosophy of life.

No wonder St Paul says to the Thessalonians: “Pray without ceasing,” or Tennyson to us all, “More things are wrought by prayer. than this world dreams of.”

Rev Denis Duncan

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Letter to God

A Sunday School teacher invited her children to write a letter to God.

They were to bring their letter back the following Sunday.

One little boy wrote, “Dear God, We had a good time at church today. Wish you could have been there.”

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

Expecting A Baby

The Advent season can make you wonder: how did Mary feel when she was expecting her first child? The huge responsibility of knowing that the Saviour of the universe was growing inside her and that it was her job to keep him safe, alive and kicking!
Those of us who have had children will remember the great expectation we felt; and how we did everything possible to keep ourselves healthy so that nothing hindered the development of the baby within us.
Expectant mothers regular health checks, keep an eye on weight gain, blood pressure and any other health issues. They can also often sit talking to their ‘bump’, dreaming of what their baby will one day become.
This advent, let’s make it our prayer that Christ will continue to grow in our hearts unhindered in any way. May the seed of his spirit planted in us grow, watered by his word, to bear much fruit of righteousness.
May God grant us the grace to avoid and remove from our lives anything that may taint damage or corrupt the precious seed of faith that grows within us. May our lives be regularly checked against, and found in tune with his holy Word.
May we always walk in step with you, Jesus. May your Holy Spirit and your precious Word always be the fresh air we breathe.
In Jesus name

Amen

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey