Shalom

Welcome in the name of the LORD Jesus Christ.

The Hebrew word “Shalom” means completeness, welfare, peace, safety, soundness in body, health, prosperity, quiet, tranquility, contentment, friendship. This peace bought for us by Jesus is more than a peaceful feeling.

In Hebrew, the literal translation is “Nothing missing, nothing broken,” so it is often used to describe ‘salvation’ in Hebrew – the completeness offered by Yeshua Ha’Maschiach, Jesus the Messiah – Shalom describes our new covenant relationship to God through Christ’s blood and sacrifice.  We become not only His child but His friend.

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Avodah – Hebrew for Worship and Work

Have you ever thought about the connection?  Is worship work?  Is work worship?

The root word means to work or to serve. The cluster of words derived from the root give us insight into the nature of both worship and work.

An oved is a worker. An evid is a slave. Avdut is slavery. Work involves the idea of serving someone. Avodat Elohim is the service or worship of the true God. Avodah zara is literally strange worship (it is also the title of one of the tractates of the Talmud, which discusses the subject of idolatry and corrupt and false worship).

Avodat Elillim is idolatry, the worship of false gods. Indeed, false worship or idolatry is in essence serving the devil and leads to avdut-bondage, slavery to Satan.

Worship of the true God in Messiah Jesus through the Holy Spirit and in truth is hard work. It demands expenditure of energy. Worship is not mere campfire singing. It requires focus and concentration of our faculties. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10*).

Worship requires an inner humbling, a surrender of self-will, a repentance of sin, and trust. It requires cultivating the presence of God. It ascribes to Him the supreme value of who He is and acknowledges His worthiness (worth-ship) in words, deeds, and posture. Worship is hard work.

Work (labor, enterprise, exertion) is always serving. For the worshiper of God, the believer in Jesus, it is serving God. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17).

One of the great recoveries of the Protestant Reformation was an affirmation of the dignity of all honest occupations and manual labor as vocations (literally, callings). Historically, the Jewish father was considered derelict if he didn’t teach his son a trade. Most rabbis also plied a trade (for example, Rabbi Moshe, the shoemaker or Rabbi Shaul, the tentmaker).

Work is an essential part and expression of our humanness. It is not, as some mistakenly assume, a result of the Fall. Work was part of Adam and Eve’s activity in Eden before they sinned. They were to “work” the Garden “and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). Work is an expression of the creativity inherent in human nature made in the “image of God.” After all, God is continually working, as Jesus pointed out: “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John 5:17).

Only work that is drudgery is a consequence of the Fall. In Messiah we can experience a substantial redemption from drudgery to meaningful, enjoyable work and achievement. Whatever your job, it can be an expression of worship if you do it unto the Lord.

In modern Hebrew, uv-dah means fact. A fact works in or with reality because it is true to reality. Likewise, in modern Hebrew, u-vad means adapted—something worked over to fit reality.

One more point is necessary: “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind [worship].’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ ” (Matthew 22:37–39). These commands are always in that order. If you get them turned around, it will destroy you. That’s a fact. It won’t work; it is not true to reality. If you give yourself first to neighbor-love, you will find out it cannot be sustained. You will burn out. Only neighbor-love growing out of primary love for God has staying power. Neighbor-love works when it flows out of a life of worship.

Worship has priority over work, yet true worship is hard work. Work can be a form of worship, and the work of worship has priority over all other work.

“Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Let’s remember, “Night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4).

Let’s worship God and get to work.

*Scripture quotations are from the New International Version.

This word study is adapted from Hebrew Nuggets, a series of Hebrew word studies by William D. Bjoraker.

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May They Be One

On the very night He was betrayed, on the night He sweat drops of blood in prayer, our Lord Jesus Christ, prayed for all His followers and all who would become His followers. Central to His prayer was the unity of His followers “May they be one.

Again and again in His High Priestly prayer of John chapter 17, Jesus prays to the Father that the Church may be ONE.

Unity does not just happen – wholehearted prayer is vital.

“Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” (John 17:21)

“And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” (John 17:23 KJV)

Churches across the world have chosen to ignore our Lord’s prayer and proudly advertise their disunity from church notices boards up and down the country.

Denominations divide up the family of God, that Jesus died to unite. Such division of the body of Christ quenches the Holy Spirit and grieves the heart of a loving Heavenly Father.

There is no scriptural justification for denominations – there is no record of any church in the New Testament making itself a denomination.

The only basis in the Bible for church membership is repentance and baptism. (Acts 2:38) It has nothing at all to do with agreeing to a man made constitution.

Denominations are an addition to the word of God. (Revelation 22:18)  They are neither desired nor required by God. They are man-made – a work of the flesh.

In Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV) the Holy Spirit lists the works of the flesh: “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

The Holy Spirit lists sects - divisions, and factionsalongside adultery, idolatry, witchcraft and murder.

At the very first church business meeting in Acts 15, the Holy Spirit refuses to burden believers with a list of conditions, other than four essentials – none of which are mentioned in most Church membership rules and regulations or constitutions. (Acts 15:28-29)

The apostles and elders in Jerusalem said we would “do well” if we observe these four things. They saw extra conditions as a yoke which even they could not carry. (Acts 15:10)

All Christians are already members one of another, all Christians are already in covenant of membership with each other – sealed with the blood of Jesus.  To add another condition to church membership is to say that the sacrifice of Christ, the precious blood of Jesus is not enough. It is to insult the spirit of Grace.

We should never act as though any brother is not a partner with us in the work of the Lord. Jesus shed His blood for that brother, and we dare not treat Jesus blood with contempt – it would bring us under severe judgment. (Hebrews 10:29)

To call oneself a church member is to imply that I have a part in the work in this place while other members of the congregation do not. It is the eye saying to the hand “I have no need of you” or the head saying to the feet “I have no need of you.” (1 Cor:21)

It cripples the body of Christ, and is condemned by the word of God. Dividing Christians into “US” and “THEM” is sin – it leads to sickness and death. (1 Cor  11:17; 18:29-30)

Sectarian divisions bring dishonour to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and are condemned by the apostle Paul.  (1 Cor 1:10-13)

“Now I say this, that each of you says: ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas.’” (1 Cor 1:12)

Or “I am of Christ.”

It is wrong to give allegiance to Apollos, Paul or Cephas – or to Luther, Calvin or Wesley or any other church leaders. It is wrong to live by the thirty nine articles of the Church of England, or the policies of the Baptist Union or the Assemblies of God rule book – or any other partnership covenant.

These creeds are not the Word of God – they are man’s interpretation of the Word.  And Christ is divided! (1 Cor 1:13)

Was Paul crucified for you?

Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

No matter what good intentions a group of leaders have, they will at times fail to honour God.  As it is written; “There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10)

Man-made membership of any church does not increase commitment. Some members do not attend services or prayer meetings as regularly as non-members.

“For the good that members will to do, they will fail to do.” (Romans 7:19)

The “members” will feel condemned for their failure (Romans 7:24) and the spiritual life of the church will suffer as a result.

We know that Jesus is building His church and he knows that building on division is a waste of time because a house divided against itself cannot stand.  (Matthew 12:25)

All denominations were formed as a result of divisions over doctrine, when the Bible is very clear that division between Christians are only ever permitted on moral grounds. (1 Cor 5:11)

“We should not reject those who don’t agree with us but in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth.”  (2 Tim 2:25)

Denominations were not founded on humility but on pride and that is like building on sand says Jesus.

Whereas scripture is quite clear. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

“Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Co 3:11)

Paul the great apostle and teacher appealed to the church in Corinth: “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)

The most important work that the Lord is doing in the world today is building His church – and we know that He who does all things well wants a glorious church, without spot blemish and wrinkle. We know that He is fully able to do this, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against such a church. As a master builder the Lord can only build on a foundation of unity or else when the storms come the church would be washed away. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Jesus is our righteousness. (Jeremiah 23:6; 2 Pet 1:1)

The only man we should give allegiance to is the Lord Jesus Christ.

The only statements we should live by are the whole word of God.

The only strategy we should have is that of the Holy Spirit.

The only structure we should have is that which is built by Jesus. (Matthew l6:18)

The Lord Jesus Christ said: I will build my church. (Matthew 16:18)

Here is a simple list of some things church leaders could do to put remove the man-made barriers to unity in their own church:

1.  Repent of all forms of none Biblically based division.

2.  Remove all barriers to the real unity Christ prayed for, and pray along the lines of John 17.

3.  Remove the none Biblical divisive names that speak disunity from their church notice boards, literature, etc., etc.

4.  Stop having formal membership and accept anyone who confesses Christ as LORD as a brother in Christ.

5.  Get serious about the Biblical grounds for disfellowshipping someone 1 Cor 5. (We did this at our meetings even though we had no formal membership.)

6.  Preach and teach Bible based unity – and expose the barriers that Christians sinfully justify.

7.  Join with everyone who wants to be an answer to Jesus’ prayer of John 17 and pray.

8.  Expect the Holy Spirit to move in your Church.

Study by Don Fallon

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Tracts for Download and Printing

If anyone would like to use these tracts which I have written myself they are very welcome to do so.  You may leave my details in there, edit them out and leave them blank, or replace them with your own contact details, as you wish.

The tracts are set to print out two per A4 page, in an A5 size folded in the middle like a greetings card.  Most printers can take 160gsm paper or card which seems to work best.

In Microsoft Word 2010 and the document itself, there ought to be no need to change the settings.  Enable the print preview box, so that you can check that they will print out properly.

Some printers will print double-sided (duplex) automatically and others are manual, so please refer to your printer manual for instructions.  If you run into difficulties, you could try Googling your printer name with “print double-sided” and it is likely someone will have posted the print settings that will work.

If you have an earlier version of Microsoft Word the settings should work fine but may need some minor adjustments.  To convert .docx to .doc files download the Microsoft Office files converter, or convert free online here: http://www.freefileconvert.com/.

Just click to download:

Tract 1 – The evidence is overwhelming

Tract 2 – Down from His glory

Tract 3 – Because He lives

Tract 4 – True happiness

Tract 5 – Here is Love

Tract 6 – Satan’s biggest lie

Tract 7 – Sam as therapy

Tract 8 – The wondrous story

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How To Experience and Maintain Personal Revival

  1. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any unconfessed sin in your life.
  2. Seek forgiveness from all whom you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you. Make restitution where God leads.
  3. Examine your motives in every word and deed. Ask the Lord to search and cleanse your heart daily.
  4. Ask the Holy Spirit to guard your walk against complacency and mediocrity.
  5. Praise and give thanks to God continually in all ways on all days, regardless of your circumstances.
  6. Refuse to obey your carnal (worldy) nature (Galatians 5:16,17).
  7. Surrender your life to Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Develop utter dependence on Him with total submission and humility.
  8. Study the attributes of God.
  9. Hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6).
  10. Love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37).
  11. Appropriate the continual fullness and control of the Holy Spirit by faith on the basis of God’s command (Ephesians 5:18) and promise (1 John 5:14,15).
  12. Read, study, meditate on, and memorize God’s holy, inspired, inerrant Word daily (Colossians 3:16).
  13. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
  14. Fast and pray one 24-hour period each week. Prayerfully consider becoming one of the two million Christians who will fast for forty days before the end of the year 2000.
  15. Seek to share Christ daily as a way of life.
  16. Determine to live a holy, godly life of obedience and faith.
  17. Start or join a home or church Bible study group that emphasizes revival and a holy life.

Bill Bright
Campus Crusade for Christ

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Satan’s Biggest Lie – “You shall NOT surely die”

I want to expose the biggest lie ever to have been fabricated in the history of mankind. A lie which deceived Eve in the garden of Eden, a lie that succeeded in convincing Eve that she was immortal.

The deception and the consequent disobedience resulted in the fall, Adam and Eve’s punishment by Almighty God, their being banished form the Garden of Eden and their ultimate death and a curse coming upon the whole world. We see how serious and damaging the consequences of the deception of one person. We all suffer today the consequences of one person being deceived by Satan’s lie that man is immortal.

This lie was in direct contradiction to the clear unequivocal statement of the only true God: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou may freely eat:” Genesis 2:17 “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it YOU SHALL SURELY DIE.” [Heb: dying thou shalt die] (Genesis 2:16)

God warned Adam that if he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he would surely die. Satan’s plan to deceive was accomplished when he simply added one small word to God’s Holy word, the word “NOT.”  I believe that Satan is still saying “not” to every promise of a Holy Faithful God whose word cannot be broken. So let us remind ourselves that, “No matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘yes’ in Messiah. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:20) 

As we have seen the first person to teach the immortality of man was the father of lies himself Satan, who Jesus said had been a liar from the beginning. Yet his outrageous and crafty deception in contrast to the clear unambiguous word of God has been swallowed by millions if not billions of people.

Holy scripture makes it cleat that “only GOD has immortality.” (1 Timothy 6:16)

If man is to become immortal he must seek for it as Paul told the believers in Rome: “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life.” (Romans 2:7)

And as Paul told the believers in Corinth – corruptible, mortal man must put on incorruption and immortality: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15:53)

“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54)

Immortality can only be obtained though the gospel: “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:10)

When Satan deceived Eve, he also attacked the character of a Holy, righteous and just God. “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’”

Satan here implies that God is preventing Adam and Eve from enjoying the fruit of every tree in the garden – Satan implies that God is strict and hard and ungenerous and is keeping Adam and Eve from being like Him by misleading those created by God in His own image.

“For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”: Genesis 3:5  “You will NOT surely die” declares Satan.

And this deception still attacks the character of a Holy God, implying that He is a liar, ungenerous legalistic and hard, and doesn’t want the creatures He has created in His image to be like Him.

Satan uses his teaching that man is immortal to plant the error of eternal torment in the heart of man, so implying the God is heartless and cruel, infinitely worse that Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini all rolled in to one, for they could only torment human beings while they were alive – but God is going to torment weak and lost human beings for the whole of eternity. See how Satan has used his false teaching that man is immortal to attack the character of a Holy God.

The story that is most often used to support the doctrine of eternal torment is the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke Chapter 16, but please note that the word ‘eternal’ is never once used in this story to describe the length of the rich mans sufferings. We need to remind ourselves that the story was spoken to the Pharisees, and scripture tells us that Jesus never spoke to them without a parable and the His purpose in using parables was to hide truth from them. (Matthew 13:10-15)

The Pharisees revered Abraham, isn’t it interesting therefore that in the story of the rich man and Lazarus that Abraham refuses the appeal to send Lazarus to preach eternal torment, and he dismissed the appeal with the simple statement: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them listen to them.”

The rich man said “but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.” Abraham replied, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” (Luke 16:30-31)

Here Abraham is saying that if they didn’t listen to Moses and the Prophets they wouldn’t believe if someone rose from the dead (as Jesus in fact did).  So Abraham said if they didn’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they wouldn’t believe if someone rose from the dead (Jesus) which of course turned out to be quite true, they didn’t.

It is beyond refute that nowhere in Moses or in any of the prophets is eternal torment taught. The problem the Pharisees had was that they didn’t know Moses and the prophets properly and therefore swallowed the false teaching of eternal torment brought in by Greek philosophy.

In Moses we read that:

God said, “You will surely die.”  Satan said, “You will NOT surely die.”

I know who I believe. Who do you believe?

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The Wondrous Story

I like to play the song “I Will Sing the Wondrous Story” on my piano accordion, you may have heard me playing it.  Can I give you just a few reasons why I love this song?  My reasons are based on the Holy Scripture and below the passages are given for you to check them for yourself.

His Wondrous StoryThe first verse says: “I will sing the wondrous story of the Christ who died for me; How He left His home in glory for the cross of Calvary.

The most wondrous story ever told is that Christ died for us: Romans 5.8 and 1 Corinthians 15.3-4.

In order to do this, He left His home in glory: Philippians 2.5-8.  And His death upon the cross of Calvary is the means by which we have redemption from our sins: 1 Corinthians 1.18-21.

Verse two says that we should sing it because we were lost but Jesus found us “I was lost, but Jesus found me, Found the sheep that went astray; Threw His loving arms around me, Drew me back into His way.” All responsible human beings are lost because they have sinned: Romans 3.23, 6.23.

But just as a shepherd goes in search of his sheep that has gone astray and brings it back, so Jesus is the good Shepherd who came to seek and save the lost: Luke 15.4‑5, 19.10. And the means by which He draws us back into His way is the teaching of the gospel message, which we must believe and obey: John 6.44-45

Verse three says that we should sing it because Jesus healed us when we were bruised. “I was bruised, but Jesus healed me; Faint was I from many a fall; sight was gone, and fears possessed me, But He freed me from them all.”

Jesus is also pictured as the great Physician who came to heal those who are spiritually sick: Mark 2:16-17.  When we are in sin, we are pictured as spiritually blind: 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. However, He can cure us because He frees us from the sins that cause this condition: Romans 6:17-18.

Verse four says that we should sing it because Jesus is with us when days of darkness come over us: “Days of darkness still come o’er me, Sorrows paths I often tread, But the Saviour still is with me; By His hand I’m safely led.” Even Christians who have been saved by the blood of the Lamb, as long as we live on this earth will have their share of darkness and sorrow: Psalms 90:10. However, during all our trials and difficulties in this life, Jesus has promised to be with us as we do His will: Matthew 28:18-20. Therefore, we can trust Him to lead us by His hand: Psalm 139:9-10.

Verse five says that we should sing it because He will keep us until death “He will keep me till the river rolls its waters at my feet: Then He’ll bear me safely over Where the loved ones I shall meet.” “The river” here refers poetically to death; quite often in religious poetry death is symbolized as standing between us and heaven as the Jordan River stood between the people of Israel and their promised rest in Canaan: Joshua 6.13-17.

Everyone who has turned to Jesus in repentance and faithfulness, can have great assurance that one day they will be with Jesus for eternity, as St Paul told the believers in Thessalonians.

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.  For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.   Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

 

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Sam and Pets as Therapy

Often people come up and speak to my dog Sam.  I love it when they do this and so does Sam, he loves meeting people.  Sam is a therapy dog which means he is happy to show lots of love and friendship to anyone who likes dogs.

Sam

When my wife and I were assessed as therapy dog handlers, the assessor told us a wonderful story about how she had taken her therapy dog into a home to visit the residents. 

One of the residents had suddenly lost her sight and became completely blind in her middle age and as a result of the shock of that happening, she stopped talking completely. Well when the therapy dog brushed her leg she reached out and started stroking him and in no time at all was talking again.  Yes, we are convinced that therapy dogs can bring special benefits to those they meet. But the question remains is that therapy enough? Sam cannot restore someone’s spiritual blindness, but the LORD Jesus Christ can heal both physical and spiritual blindness.

Jesus in His first recorded sermon said: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Isaiah 61:1-2)

We all need a saviour because as the Bible says: “We all like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)

Sin separates us from a Holy God, but when the Lord Jesus Christ the sinless Son of God poured out His life’s blood on the cross of Calvary He took the punishment for our sin on Himself, and made a way for us to live with Him for eternity. This beautiful passage from the prophet Isaiah written before the crucifixion tells how Jesus bore our pain and suffering that we may live with Him for eternity:

“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.”

Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3-5)

For when I turned to the LORD Jesus Christ in repentance and faith, He not only forgave all my sins, but gave me abundant life – a life with meaning and purpose and a hope to live with Him for eternity in Paradise, where “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (See the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation Chapter 21 Verse 4.)

 

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Here is Love – Vast as the Ocean

One of my favourite hymns is “Here is Love, Vast as the Ocean,” which describes what the Lord Jesus Christ did for mankind when He gave His life’s blood on the cross of Calvary.

Love Vast as the OceanThe hymn tells that “Through the floodgates of God’s mercy, Flowed a vast and gracious tide.”

Being a Christian is about grace; it’s about sensing God’s mercy and His grace for ourselves.

The second verse of the hymn speaks of “Heaven’s peace and perfect justice, Kissed a guilty world in love.” Experience of God’s love transforms the lives of those who receive it and it transforms their relationships with others.

The third verse declares that the ways of God’s Kingdom should be the ways of God’s people; if we do not act in peace, justice and love, then we are not God’s people.

The good news for all mankind is that “Christ died for sinners”  And we can experience the love of God for ourselves, by confessing all our sins to God; removing all doubtful things from our lives; submitting to the Holy Spirit and by confessing Jesus Christ as LORD. Because only as we give ourselves completely to God can we truly experience the love of God which is vast as the ocean.

Here are the complete lyrics for the song:

Here is love vast as the ocean
Loving kindness as the flood
When the Prince of life, our ransom
Shed for us His precious blood
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten
Throughout Heaven’s eternal days

On the Mount of Crucifixion
Fountains opened deep and wide
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide
Grace and love, like mighty rivers
Poured incessant from above
And Heaven’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love

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True Happiness

The Good book, the greatest best seller of all time, the Bible, is also the true and real ‘Happy ever after book’.  When we read the last book of the Bible, we read of a time when God will create a new Heaven and a new Earth.  We read of the Holy City the new Jerusalem coming down from Heaven to Earth, and that God is going to live on Earth with His people, and will himself will wipe away all tears from their eyes; and that there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. What a wonderful hope for all who turn to Jesus in repentance and faith, deny themselves, and take up the cross and follow the LORD Jesus.

True HappinessBut we can experience true Happiness today.  We know this because the Lord Jesus Christ had a lot to say about Happiness.  In one sermon alone, the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus uses the Greek word ‘makarios’ meaning supremely happy no less than nine times. To sum up the sermon, Jesus was giving his followers the key to real and lasting HAPPINESS.

A dear Christian friend, Marjorie Lear wrote a poem based on the Sermon on the Mount which can be sung to the tune “Stand Up Stand Up For Jesus”. These are the words:

How happy are the people, whose God is Christ the Lord;
Who fix their eyes on Jesus; who seek for His reward.
How happy are the people with humble spirit, poor;
God’s earthly kingdom seeking; This kingdom they secure.

How happy are the people who mournfully repent;
Who turn from sin to Jesus; The Comforter is sent.
How happy are the people with meekness in their heart;
The Earth they shall inherit; God’s presence will not part.

How happy are the people who thirst and hunger too,
God’s righteousness to fill them; this work in them He’ll do.
How happy are the people who will God’s mercy show;
God’s mercy in their own life; on them God will bestow.

How happy are the people whose hearts are pure and clean;
With joy they’ll meet the Saviour; God’s face will soon be seen.
How happy are the people who’re always making peace;
For they’ll be called God’s children; their joy God will increase.

 How happy are the people who suffer for Christ’s sake;
For righteousness they suffer, and persecution take.
How happy are the people reviled by evil men;
Accused, for Christ’s sake, falsely,
In Satan’s wicked den.

Yes happy are these people who suffer in this way;
God’s righteousness is in them; rejoicing they will say:
“We are a happy people; we are exceeding glad,
We have Christ’s joy within us; and in His strength we’re clad.

Yes, happy are the people whose hope is in the Lord;
That blessed hope are looking, exceeding great reward.
To him that over cometh a crown of life shall be
He with the King of Glory shall reign eternally.

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Because He Lives

Today, millions of people love southern gospel music, and a big reason is the popularity of the Bill and Gloria Gaither Homecoming concerts and videos. For more than 40 years, the Gaithers have been writing and performing Christian songs. “He Touched Me,” “There’s Something About That Name,” and some 600 others are featured in many church hymnals. But “Because He Lives” is perhaps the best known song.

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In the late 1960s, while expecting their third child, the Gaithers were going through a traumatic time. Their firstborn, Suzanne, was 4, and her sister Amy was three months old. The timing for another baby wasn’t ideal. On top of that, Bill was recovering from a bout of mononucleosis. The breakup of the marriage of Bill’s sister, Mary Ann, had left his family devastated.

What’s more, a close friend’s accusation that Bill and Gloria were using their ministry just to make a buck blindsided the couple and plunged Bill into a deep depression.

Gloria also remembers it as a time of fear and sadness. The educational system was being infiltrated with the “God is dead” idea, while drug abuse and racial tension were increasing. The thought of bringing another child into the world was taking its toll.

But after a simple prayer by one of Bill’s close friends — a prayer that commanded the devil to back off — both Bill and Gloria recall that the strength of the Holy Spirit seemed to come to their aid. Christ’s resurrection, in all its power, was reaffirmed in their hearts. They were assured that the future, left in God’s hands, would be just fine.

In July 1970 a healthy baby, Benjamin, was born. Inspired by the miracle of their son’s birth, “Because He Lives” poured out of the Gaithers’ grateful hearts. The song clearly affirms the hope believers have in Christ. We can face tomorrow, with all its uncertainty, as we realize that God holds the future and makes life worth living.

How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he gives
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain days because He lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, All fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living just because He lives!

God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal, and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Saviour lives.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, All fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.

And then one day I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain.
And then as death gives way to victory,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives.

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The Evidence is Overwhelming!

What would you think of a judge who passed sentence without examining the evidence? You may reasonably say, “Not a very good judge!”

It’s reasonable to ask, “How can anyone make a right judgment without first examining the evidence?” The truth is no one can, and that’s why concerning the most important question “Why am I here?” we must examine the evidence for the meaning and purpose of life.

The evidence for God is all around us – but His word the Bible gives us overwhelming evidence for its truth.

The  Evidence is OverwhelmingUnique among all books ever written, the Bible accurately foretells specific events in detail centuries before they occurred. Anyone can make a prediction. Having them fulfilled is another story.

Bible prophecies foretold in detail the persecution and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

1. That Jesus would be betrayed by a friend was prophesied in Psalm 41:9 about 1000 years before it happened, in 1000 BC.

2. That Jesus would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver was prophesied in Zechariah 11:12-13 about 500 years before it happened.

3. That Jesus would be spat upon and beaten was prophesied in Isaiah 50:6 about 700 years before it happened.

4. That Jesus would be silent before his accusers was prophesied in Isaiah 53:7 about 700 years before it happened

5. That God’s servant would die for our sins was prophesied in Isaiah 53:4-6 about 700 years before it happened.

6. The fact that Jesus would be pierced was prophesied by Zechariah 12:10 about 700 years before it happened.

7. That Jesus would be “numbered with transgressors” was prophesied in Isaiah 53:12 about 700 years before it happened.

8. That God’s servant would be buried in a rich man’s tomb was prophesied in Isaiah 53:9 about 700 years before it happened.

Professor Stoner and his students examined these eight prophecies according to the science of probability. The chance of ONE Man fulfilling ALL 8 prophecies is 1 in 10 to the 17th power. How BIG is that number??

If you covered the ENTIRE state of TEXAS with silver dollars, then dropped in a single marked dollar? And then mixed them all up? Your chance of finding that marked dollar, on your FIRST try, WEARING A BLINDFOLD would be 1 in 10 to the 17th power. This very large number is: 10,000,000,000,000,000.

Isn’t it amazing? God came to earth in human form to save you and me. To redeem us from the sin that separated us from God.

Peter the great Apostle of Christ preached on the day of Pentecost and this was part of his message: “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do to be saved?”

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2: 36-39)

The righteousness that is by faith says: “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:8-10)

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The Hope of Israel – Pt 1

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The Hope of Israel – Pt 2

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