The Parable of the Ten Virgins

Although it is only during the past four years that I became a Christian and accepted our Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour, as I read my Bible and Pray, every day, I find myself drawing ever closer to our Heavenly Father and experiencing an ever-deepening relationship with Him.

In my reborn life, I always put God first and am obedient to His will. And it is through His grace and mercy that He gave me a Healing Miracle when I lay in my bed ‘dying’.

Before I was saved I was a serial sinner – but our Father God, in His loving and infinite wisdom, showed me that He had forgiven all my past sins and misdeeds and that now was the time when I could start afresh!

Living a sinless life is far from easy, there are temptations lurking around every corner and Satan is always trying to distract me by offering me the opportunity to do things that would be displeasing to God.

But with the guidance and protection of our Father God I tell Satan that he must leave me alone; that I am not interested in anything that he tries to offer me, and that he must stop trying to interfere in my life.

Whenever I face challenging decisions in my life, where choices are involved, if I ask the one question, “What would Jesus do?”, the answer is usually plain and simple.

When God created our world, the seventh day – the Sabbath – He intended it to be a day of rest. And for thousands of years the Sabbath Day – Sunday – was a day when no work was done.

It was, in my humble view, a great mistake and an error of judgement by those who approved the change in the law, for Sunday to become just another day in the week.

Satan must be jumping up and down with joy and happiness when he sees how much the Church is declining because people are being seduced away from the church because there are now so many leisure activities for people to attend that take them away from God.

Sadly, many traditional church-goers are being pressurised by their non-Christian friends and family to go out with them on Sundays, taking the children to Amusement Parks, Football Matches etc.etc.

And these ‘Christians’ are too weak to stand up for their beliefs and still attend their church regardless of the demands of their family and friends, who long ago have forsaken the Lord our God.

When I was a child, my parents insisted that I went to Church every Sunday morning, and my Sunday School was always full because other parents also insisted that my friends should go to Sunday School.

I was not allowed to go out to play with my friends on  Sundays and my parents never went anywhere on a Sunday, except, of course, to Church.

But, as I grew up, away from the influence and control of my parents, I became a backslider and indeed continued to be a backslider until Jesus saved me four years ago.

Perhaps the style of worship needs to change to encourage younger people to go to church? Many of the churches I have visited these past four years consist mainly of elderly people, who have been members of their church for many years; they are very happy and content to worship in their own cocooned comfort zone!

From my visionary standpoint, the main problem is that many of the church services are lifeless and (please forgive me, Lord) DULL. It is thus easy to see why young people fail to be attracted to the Church.

I have seen videos of church services in America where the young people take a prominent part, often through music. Music can prove very uplifting to the soul – and young people love charismatic hymns and tunes that are a very long way from anything written by Charles Wesley.

Churches here in the UK need to wake up and alter their modus operandi to meet the needs and expectations of the 21st Century generation of young people!

My wife, Marlene, and I now attend The Christian Centre in Ebbw Vale. The Christian Centre is an Apostolic Church with an ever-growing congregation, with a higher percentage of young people than many churches today.

It is a vibrant church. Every Sunday there are Worship and Praise Services and the singing is breath-taking. The anointing is very POWERFUL.

Where is the church (all churches) heading? Personally, I would love the old Biblical Teachings to manifest themselves into our 21st Century lives.

But times they-are-a-changing and with the ever-present internet (especially Facebook) we are now living in a world of which Moses could never have dreamt!

Here are some signs that the church is asleep:

  • The absence of conviction of sin
  • A lack of the fear of God
  • Little sense of outrage over the godlessness of society
  • Watching pornography and feeling justified
  • Avarice, greed and lack of financial integrity
  • No sense of outrage over the Church’s lack of credibility in the world
  • Little or no concern about people going to hell
  • Little concern about the lack of knowledge of God’s word
  • Indifference to the biblical view of marriage
  • Indifference to holding grudges and unforgiveness
  • Indifference to talking to people about Christ
  • Tolerating heresies such as open theism and hyper-grace teaching
  • Indifference to the teaching that the Bible is infallible
  • Indifference to how much time is spent in prayer and quiet time

When I was saved, and gave my heart to Jesus I thought that all Christians frequently read the Bible and prayed, at least once, every day.

But it didn’t take me long to discover the truth – that the average Christian doesn’t pick up, or look at, a Bible from one Sunday to the next.

Can we honestly say that we are ready for the Second Coming of Christ?

AW Tozer wrote that if the Holy Spirit were completely withdrawn from the Church, “95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference”.

Tozer is undoubtedly correct. Only a very few churches that I have attended since being saved have had the presence of the Holy Spirit. Very few Ministers and Lay Preachers ever refer to the Holy Spirit in their sermons and my impression is that very few members of their congregations know what the Holy Spirit does and can do for them.

Many Biblical Scholars believe that the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25: 1-13) is eschatological – referring to the last days. I am sure that God meant this parable to be prophetic.

This parable refers to the customs of the Jews, when celebrating a marriage. The bridegroom used to go in the evening to fetch home his bride by the light of oil lamps. These were carried by bridesmaids (the ‘virgins’), which could be as many as ten, and when they arrived at the bride’s house, there was a feast awaiting them.

Christ is the bridegroom of the church and those who are of the true faith are the companions of the bride, and they are patiently awaiting the arrival of Christ.

However, this does not refer to all Christians; some Christians cannot be included because they have strayed from the Lord’s pathway and are only lukewarm and synthetic Christians.

Of the ten bridesmaids/virgins mentioned “five were wise, and five were foolish”.

The foolish virgins had lamps, but no oil in their vessels to replenish them with: that is, they had enough religious knowledge to make a plausible appearance but their hearts were not truly sanctified and stored with holy affections and dispositions by the newly creating Spirit of God.

But the wise virgins already had oil in their lamps as well as a firm foundation in the Word of God.

In Matthew 25: 5 Jesus is saying that because the bridegroom took some time in coming, both the wise virgins and the foolish virgins fell asleep.

The five wise virgins, who have extra oil, represent those who are ready for that which is going to come; they are preparing themselves with great enthusiasm and excitement for the Second Coming and the return of Christ.

They not only have faith in Christ but they trust him implicitly and they are determined to wait patiently, for as long as they need, for Christ to return.

The five wise virgins have real grace in their hearts and who are, notwithstanding occasional lapses through sleepiness, in habitual readiness to meet Christ, either in death or in judgement, and they shall graciously be permitted to have eternal fellowship with Christ in His heavenly kingdom.

But the five foolish virgins represent false believers, who profess to know Gospel truths but they are more concerned about their worldly wealth and enjoying themselves rather than any deep desire to see the bridegroom (Jesus).

Their hope is that because they are associated with true Christians this will be enough to bring them into the Kingdom of God at the End Days.

The foolish virgins, when awakened through death or judgement, will soon discover that all their false truths will come to nothing and that their pleas for salvation will be too late and that they themselves will be permanently excluded from fellowship with Christ.

For in Matthew 25: 11-12 it is written: –

11 Afterwards came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

And in Matthew 7: 21-23 we read: –

21 Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name, have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

This parable dynamically demonstrates the wisdom and profound effect of being ready and the devastating effect that will take place if one is unready and unprepared,

The five wise virgins, being ready, were admitted to the marriage feast, but the door was then immediately shut; and the five foolish virgins, coming afterwards, were denied admission and disowned by the bridegroom, as persons with whom He had no acquaintance.

Are you prepared for His Second Coming?

Will you be invited to the Lord’s Table?

AmenThe Ten VirginsThe Ten Virgins from the Self-Interpreting Bible published in 1778

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

The Fire of God

Statistically, the number of people attending church each Sunday is seriously declining.

This may be the fault, in part, at least, of the Ministers, Deacons and lay preachers of every religious denomination but it cannot be denied that now that our Sabbath day (Sunday) is becoming less and less sacred and less and less holy, many people find an excuse not to go to church because, for example, they prefer to watch a football match!

We have allowed our churches to become empty because the world has taken its focus away from the Word of God and we are not being obedient to reading His word and teaching our children the ways of the Lord.

We need to be baptised by the Holy Spirit, so that we can worship in Spirit and in truth. The church fire has been dimmed and will go out if we do not take immediate action!

The fire of God needs to come down upon each one of us so that we can once again put God first in our lives. In Matthew 6:33 we read:-

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

John Wesley (the founder of the Methodist Church) in the eighteenth century often preached at outdoor meetings when many thousands of people gathered to listen to what he had to day – and many of those people had walked miles and miles to get to the place where Wesley was preaching.

How many people would be prepared to walk 10+ miles to church every Sunday? Very few I would expect!

God will never leave, nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31: 6) but He is very disappointed when we ignore Him because we cannot find time to attend Church on Sunday and seldom talk to Him in prayer.

In my humble experience, God always listens to my prayers and, on many occasions, He will answer them in a positive way.

And I am sure that He will listen to your prayers too. You just need to set aside some time every day, no matter how busy you may be.

Praise be the Lord. Hallelujah.

Happy New Year to you all

God Bless

Geoffrey

What Is Your Favourite Bible Verse?

I asked various well known people to share with me their favourite Bible verse and any memories with which they associated their chosen verse.

And 120+ people in the ‘Public Eye’ have very kindly sent me their favourite Bible verse, which has led to the creation of this special book,

“What Is Your Favourite Bible Verse?”    
Contributors include:-   
Lord David Alton
Lord Jeffrey Archer
Baroness Joan Bakewell
17 Bishops
Gyles Brandreth
Alun Cairns, MP (Secretary of State for Wales)
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, MP
Chris Grayling MP
Lord Leslie Griffiths
Lord Michael Howard
Carwyn Jones (First Minister of the Welsh Assembly)
Lord Neil Kinnock
Adrian Masters (Political Editor for ITV Wales)
Lord David Owen
Rev Gareth Powell (Secretary of the Methodist Conference)
Lord David Steel
Hannah Thomas
Rev Steven Wild (President of the Methodist Conference (2015/16)
Rev Roger Walton (President of the Methodist Conference 2016/17             
Plus many other well known people.
Many of the memories and insights are amazing.
For further information and to order your copy of “What Is Your Favourite Bible Verse?”
please go to:-
Profits from this unique book will go towards the much needed repairs of Clydach Methodist Church (near to Abergavenny).
With many peaceful blessings
Geoffrey

The Holy Spirit on Kindle

Since I had a near death experience in January 2013, the Holy Spirit has been very close to me. And when God spoke to me, He told me that it was very important that I write this book – which 185 pages and 51,000 words later – I have done!
 
If you have a kindle I warmly invite you to take a look at:-
 
 
for further information and to purchase a copy for only £3.77 which you may then download onto your computer.
 
May our Father God bless you mightily in everything you say and in everything you do
Peace be unto you
Geoffrey

Church Bells Ring and Crosses Rise Over Freed Towns

Open Doors Weekly Email

Church bells ring and crosses rise over freed towns

For the first time in over two years, church bells are ringing and crosses are being erected in towns across Iraq’s Nineveh Plain liberated from so-called Islamic State (IS) militants.

In the town of Bartella, returning church leaders found hymn books scattered, pews upturned and graffiti scrawled on the walls. But in an act of defiance and hope, church leaders this week sounded the church bells – announcing the end of the town’s invasion and occupation by IS.

Qaraqosh, Iraq’s largest Christian town, has also been liberated, answering the prayers of many of its displaced inhabitants. In a series of moving pictures, church leader Ammar returns to Qaraqosh and erects a cross atop his church. “Thanks to God… It was a wonderful day to see Qaraqosh,” Ammar says. “Yes, they destroyed and burned houses and churches but of course we will fix it again.”

Church leaders are beginning to return to the village of Karamles too. Thabet takes with him a large cross which he plants in the ground on a hill overlooking the village. “I am so happy I can do this,” he says. “I’m smiling from cheek-to-cheek and I weep tears of joy at the same time. This is the trip I have been praying for for two years now.”

“My dream is to bring back all the Christians to this village,” he adds. “Then we will worship outside on Barbara Hill; we will take communion in the open air. Everybody will see that this is the church; this is the body of Christ; this is Christian land. That is my dream – to give a testimony to the world.”

Please Pray:

  • Praise God for the liberation of towns across Iraq’s Nineveh Plain from IS!
  • For the liberation of Mosul and other towns in the region. Ask God to protect civilians living in warzones and those being held captive by IS
  • For Open Doors workers in the region as they continue to support thousands of believers in the changing situation.
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Future remains uncertain

Before the IS invasion in 2014, this region was home to the largest concentration of Christians and religious minorities left in Iraq. Thousands of displaced families are being cared for by Open Doors’ partners in Kurdistan and our commitment is to support them for as they long as they need us. Open Doors has worked in the region for over 20 years. Thanks to an incredible response to appeals in 2014 and since, our partners are currently supporting 15,000 displaced families with emergency relief, trauma care and long-term rebuilding.

As the battle for Mosul intensifies, the UN and other aid agencies are predicting a humanitarian crisis, with up to one million people expected to flee Mosul itself when the fighting reaches the city. Open Doors partners are monitoring the situation and are planning how they will support displaced people to return to Mosul and the surrounding villages once it is safe for them to do so.

Because the truth is, that even with IS gone, they will be returning to devastated and destroyed communities. With your help we will be with these communities for the long-term. Their churches will need rebuilding, their homes will need to be restored. They have lost their possessions. But they want to return home.

Thank you for your prayers and support. Please continue to pray, give and speak out for Christians in Iraq.

Bring hope to the Middle East

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With many thanks for your prayers,

Lisa

Lisa Pearce
CEO Open Doors UK & Ireland

Please support Open Doors in every way you possibly can. There are so many people still being persecuted for their Christian beliefs in too man countries throughout the world.

With many peaceful and hope-filled blessings

Geoffrey

Torment in the Land of the Kings

Legend held that Laksh’s homeland had been cursed for generations. Long ago, it is said, kings used it as a place to dispose of dead bodies and other refuse, and now spirits roamed the land, tormenting the people. When one of the spirits attacked Laksh’s wife, however, he knew she wasn’t suffering because of dead kings. This was the work of jealous neighbors.

 Neighbours Send Evil Spirit to Attack Woman

Laksh and his wife, Udgita, lived a contented life with their two children, but their neighbours weren’t as fortunate. The family members often fought with each other, and it pained them to see Laksh and Udgita’s happiness. Unable to achieve the same fulfillment, they lashed out at Udgita with a spell of black magic.

One day, Udgita closed her eyes and began murmuring things no one could understand. When people came near, she grew fearful, thinking they were trying to harm her. The same episode happened again the next month and the month after that.

A local witch doctor named Daivya began treating Udgita as the monthly attacks came, but the attacks only worsened. Now, when the evil spirit came, Udgita became violent with increased strength, ripping off her clothes and refusing to let others come near her.

One of Laksh’s relatives suggested visiting a Gospel for Asia-supported pastor, Chanchal, who had prayed for other people harassed by spirits and had seen them released, but Laksh felt uneasy approaching a pastor of a different faith. He could only hope Daivya’s treatments would begin to work soon.

Torment in the Land of Kings

Pastor Offers Prayers

Udgita’s condition didn’t improve, and life still carried the same responsibilities. Laksh had bills to pay and errands to run. He was picking up some things from the store when he happened to run into Pastor Chanchal.

Casually chatting as they got ready to buy their things, Laksh put away his fear of the pastor and shared about the spell placed on his wife by their neighbors. Pastor Chanchal told Laksh about God’s love and assured him that he would visit the family soon.

Still worried, Laksh allowed Daivya to come over one more time, but while the witch doctor was in the middle of his rituals, Laksh saw Pastor Chanchal coming. Laksh told Daivya to leave the room and let the pastor take charge of Udgita’s situation, but Daivya wasn’t quick to give up his role.

“It will do more harm to your wife to involve two different religions in this matter,” Daivya warned. “I am almost at the end of doing rites. Let me complete it.”

Laksh insisted the witch doctor stop, convinced Pastor Chanchal could save his wife. Several visiting neighbors supported his decision. While Udgita slept quietly in the other room, Pastor Chanchal sat down in the living room and began reading aloud from the Bible.

Suddenly, Udgita began to shout.

Woman Lashes Out As Pastor Prays

Udgita demanded that someone close the door to her room and quickly became violent. She tore down the mosquito net over her bed and ripped off her clothes.

Unable to enter the now half-naked woman’s room himself, Pastor Chanchal told Laksh to go to Udgita and control her, but Laksh was afraid to approach her. His wife’s strength had been increasing under the evil spirit’s power, making her violent display a serious threat to anyone who came near her.

Families and individuals often seek prayer from pastors, just as Laksh reached out to Pastor Chanchal.

Torment in the Land of Kings

“Nothing will happen to you because I will be praying to the Lord here,” Pastor Chanchal assured him.

Once again, Laksh swallowed his fear and, desperate to save his wife, faced the demon inside her.

Woman Released from Torment

When Pastor Chanchal (not pictured) began reading from the Bible and praying for Udgita, the woman became so violent that even her husband feared her.

Pastor Chanchal prayed fervently as Laksh walked into the other room, and to the amazement of Daivya and the other visitors, peace descended on the home. As the pastor spoke with His God, Udgita became calm.

As soon as he realized what had happened, Daivya rushed over to Pastor Chanchal and asked for the booklet he had used to drive out the evil spirit.

“I did not use any magic book like you,” Pastor Chanchal said, “but I used the Word of God. I have no Bible to give you, but what I can give you is this piece of literature. The Word of God is written in it. You may read it.”

That evening, Daivya couldn’t stop reading the literature. The next morning, he came to Pastor Chanchal’s house full of questions, and by the end of their visit, he had found his answers in Jesus Christ.

“I want you to come over to my house,” Daivya told the pastor, “and if you could help me remove all the religious booklets [and] charms, it would be so kind of you. I will now go to my teachers, and I will tell them of the new things I have learned about Christ.”

Woman’s Husband and Former Witch Doctor Share Christ’s Love

Having seen God’s tremendous power, Laksh and Udgita also decided to follow Christ, and like Daivya, Laksh began telling his co-workers about the One who had given his family new life.

Torment in the Land of Kings

This man pores over a piece of literature, just as Ugdita’s witch doctor was desperate to know more about the Word.

Torment in the Land of Kings

For now, other villagers fear persecution too much to embrace Jesus, but some of them say they believe in God’s Word. As Daivya, Laksh and Udgita continue to share what He did in their lives, they trust their neighbours will one day have the courage to believe in Christ without reservation.

What more effective way to share God’s love than through His own Word? Put literature into the hands of missionaries like Chanchal, and see how God changes people like Daivya, Laksh and Udgita again and again.

(A Report by Gospel of Asia)

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey