Friday, August 27, 2010

Why does suffering exist?

I was just thinking and praying for the miners in Chile. What a predicament to be in! Or the poor folks in Pakistan; we wonder why we have problems and difficulties but it's nothing compared to what millions are facing today in that country.

Most of us will question why these things to happen? Some will conclude that if there is a God then he would stop bad things? Others might feel that evil exists because of the behaviour of humans. President Obama recently said that we are now in the age where natural disasters often exist as a result of human action and bad management of the planet.

What do you think I would be interested to hear? I will post what I feel the bible teaches about this in a couple of days.

Have a good weekend

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back to work

Most people find going back to work a bit of a drag. Getting away on holiday seems to take an awesome amount of energy. By the time you have arranged where to go, washed, packed your cases, packed the car (you would think that I did all of this; I have a wonderful wife who does most of it but I do play my part!) and then travelled to your destination most of us are quite exhausted. The next part is actually getting relaxed enough to enjoy the break. Years ago I was told that busy people should take a three week break (the advice was from a health professional). One week to wind down and two weeks to relax. For most of us that would be great but then we have three weeks of e-mails to come back to or maybe not if we are naughty and are permanently tied to a blackberry or similar type of phone.

Suddenly its all over and we are back to the grindstone. The holiday is somewhere in the dim and distant past.

I am glad to be back as I have the most fantastic job in the world. My work is to tell people that there is a happy future. That they can have peace in their heart. That life is about more than what you acquire. The only downside of my job is I must warn of a Day of Judgement, of accountability for our words, beliefs and actions. That God cannot accept our sin.

BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS.....God's Son, Jesus came into the world to save us. He died to pay what we owe. Sins can be forgiven because of Jesus' death on the cross.

Why am I so sure?

No 1 - Jesus rose from the dead three days after he died. God accepted His sacrifice as payment in full for sin. As the Lord Jesus said himself - 'it is finished'. The debt was paid in full. No more to pay! You have to accept 'the free gift of God' which 'is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord'. You can accept it when you pray to God, confessing your need and your personal guilt and trust Him alone for salvation.

Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University, Dr Simon Greenleaf, was one of the greatest legal minds that ever lived. He believed the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was a hoax and he determined, once and for all, to expose the "myth" of the Resurrection. After thoroughly examining the evidence for the resurrection he wrote a book entitled, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice. In which he emphatically stated …“It was impossible that the apostles could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not Jesus Christ actually risen from the dead. According to the laws of legal evidence used in courts of law, there is more evidence for the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ than for just about any other event in history”

No 2 - I have experienced the blessing of forgiveness and salvation myself.

No 3 - I have seen many others blessed and their lives changed. These people are from all walks of life - professionals, business people, drug addicts, criminals and lots of ordinary folk.

May God bless you and may you receive His Son as Lord and Saviour today.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ways and Means

I do not profess to be an authority or historian regarding the Kings and Queens of England or the growth of the UK Parliamentary system, or the government of the USA , or Canada. There is a common thread connecting each of those realms, inasmuch they have all had or do have a committee of Ways and Means as a legislative arm of government.

Thankful for information gleaned from UK and USA government websites I can set before you a potted version of events of how and for what purpose Ways and Means came into being and what one can gather from the Bible of its message on Ways and Means.

In 1066 William the Conqueror invaded England at Normans Bay near Hastings in Sussex and defeated King Harold. He subjected the realm to a new form of government by dividing the land into areas that his nobles controlled. Further changes came when King John in 1215 signed the Magna Carta introducing new liberties accepting that no freeman could be punished except through the law of the land, a right which is still in existence today, and that the King himself was subject to law.

Magna Carta influenced later institutional documents such as the United States Constitution. So a Parliamentary system was developing, tweaked here and there along the way until the reign of Charles 1st. Charles was not popular because of his close connection with the Church of Rome and raising taxes for himself and the Church. In 1628 Parliament pressured the King to sign a Petition of Right, which denied the King to raise taxes without the consent of Parliament. The following year he dissolved Parliament and began an eleven-year autocratic rule known as ‘The Eleven Years of Tyranny’, in which Puritans were persecuted. They were imprisoned, whipped, ears cut off, noses slit, cheeks branded with a red-hot iron (‘Oliver Cromwell: Freedoms Friend or Foe’ Peter Richards). This led to a civil war between the Roundheads led by Oliver Cromwell and the Cavaliers being the Kings army. Charles lost and was executed in 1649. Cromwell abolished the Monarchy and established a Republic called the Commonwealth of England, which lasted about ten years and reverted to Monarchy in 1660 with Charles the second returning from exile in France to reign.

Wikipedia says, The Committee of Ways and Means, in effect between 1641 and 1967, was the body responsible for proposing changes in taxation to Government. Any Minister could make proposals to the committee. The Chairman of Ways and Means, which was an appointed role, presided over the Committee.

The Committee of Ways and Means was abolished in 1967 and the responsibility for all fiscal matters, including taxation, now rests with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. However, the position of Chairman of Ways and Means still exists since the Chairman may take the place of the Speaker in that individual's absence. Traditionally, the title of Chairman of Ways and Means is conferred on the Deputy Speaker of the House. It is an appointed position resulting from a motion tabled at the beginning of each Parliament by the Leader of the House. The Chairman of Ways and Means has two deputies: the 1st and 2nd Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means. Thus there are three Deputy Speakers who may take the place of the Speaker.

The USA still has a Ways and Means committee that determines how and for what purpose revenue is raised. I have sought to set out some historical facts relating to human government in the matter of raising taxes, whether for King or Country, some of which were despotic and cruel. Space forbids me to comment upon the future despot named ‘The Beast’ who will have total control of the world’s finances, to the point that no person will be able to buy or sell without his mark on their person.

God has His ways and means that differ greatly from man’s ways. Isaiah 55:8 reads, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Men place money as their greatest need whereas God says that salvation from the penalty of sin is their greatest need and He has provided ways and means for this to take place. Sometimes He uses Creation to speak to people to make them aware that the Eternal God of Heaven and Earth exists and that we are accountable to Him. Other occasions He speaks directly through His Word, the Bible, and folk discover how to be saved. The Holy Spirit works in the World convicting men and women about their sin and brings them to Christ. All these ways lead to one way, the only way of salvation, which is Jesus Christ. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”.

The means that God uses to reconcile sinners back to Himself is by the sacrifice of His own Son on the cross, Romans 8:32 says, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” If we come God’s way, through Christ, and believe that His death is sufficient to deal with all the guilt of our lives then at that moment we belong to a new realm, we become the children of God and enter the Kingdom of God.

God’s ways and means are impeccable; they bring sinners who are far off from Him into a close, personal and eternal relationship with Himself. Never to be succeeded, or need to be changed, because they are perfect.

2Sam.14:14 says, “For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him.” God bless.

Written by Stan Burditt, Northampton

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