Monday, January 30, 2012

Would you die for what you believe?

I heard this week of a young man in Iran who has been taken to court and prosecuted for being a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. This young man is faced with a stark choice of either denying what he passionately believes and saving his life or standing for his faith and potentially losing his life.
If you were faced with this choice what would you do? Do you have such strong convictions that you would risk your life to stand up for them?
The whole idea of anything being so important that you would risk your life for it is quite foreign to the current western way of thinking. For most of us the issues that we deal with are not life threatening. What if, however, we were faced with this type of choice? How would you evaluate things in your life? From a top down view how would they rank in priority? 
Health, Wealth, Relationships, Family, Beliefs, Car, House, Comfort, Safety etc. If you had to decide what were the most important things in your life and had a choice about what to keep and what to let go I wonder what your priorities would be?
I suppose if we are realistic it might depend on our circumstances when the question was asked. For instance - if you were ill you would not be so focused on your house, car etc. If you were in a plane which had developed problems with its landing gear you would be more interested in getting a parachute than being in the first class section!
Now stop and think for a moment. Your body will die but you, the real you will never cease to exist. The Bible says ‘it is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgement’ (Hebrews.9.27). This is one of many statements from the Bible that teach that there is life after death and that we are accountable to God. God sent His Son, Jesus into the world to pay for our wrong, sin and evil by His death on the cross. Jesus rose from the dead three days later so that the message of ‘the forgiveness of sins’ could be made known to the world.
Now if you really believed all of this you would soon realize that there is nothing in life that is as important as knowing God. All other matters only relate to this life and have no relevance to the next. So if pushed a Christian realizes that to lose their life in this world only opens the door to the next. As they are already forgiven and heading for heaven there is nothing to gain by recanting their faith. The one they believe in, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the only one who can save them in this life and secure their destination in the next.
If it was you. What hope would you have and where would your loyalty lie?
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Friday, January 20, 2012

How old is the earth?

I met a guy today when I was in Liverpool City Centre at lunch time. My friend and  I were handing out leaflets about Christianity and a young man asked me if I believed that the earth was only 5000 years old. I am not sure where he got his figure from but if you take the chronology of the bible literally you do come to a figure of roughly 6000 years. I am not really into arguing these kinds of issues as my knowledge in this area is limited. I know Christians who believe that the earth is millions of years old. They think that geology can prove this. Others take the bible literally (as I do) and feel that God created a mature earth that looks, feels and appears to be very old but has only been around for a more limited period of time. You see when God made the earth it was formed to be inhabited, the trees would have looked mature (they were not all young saplings), the plants, the rivers, the landscape did not grow to maturity, it was mature when created.

Think about the first man and woman, Adam and Eve. They were not born as babies, young children or even adolescents, they were created as a mature man and woman. We are not told their ages but we are told that they were capable of being responsible for their actions. This is why when sin came into the world that God held Adam responsible for his actions (Genesis.3.11). He then addressed Eve. Both were accountable for what they had done. By the way things are no different today - we will be held accountable for our beliefs, behaviours and words. The holy scriptures record God's assessment of what happened the day that sin and evil entered the world: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans.5.12) .

I couldn't argue the case for an old earth/young earth from an intellectual point of view but I do know this - the bible is true. Sin and death are here. We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans.3.23) and the wages of sin is death. I do however love the rest of this last quotation - "the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans.6.23).

Adam brought sin (Romans.5.15/1.Corinthians.15.22) but the Lord Jesus brought the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. He (Jesus) purchased salvation through his death and came back from the dead so that we can be right with God.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Testing, Testing

Everyone gets excited these days about Health and Safety. We all like to be safe but we don't like the hassle that the modern world puts us through to get there.

Health - no one wants to be ill, we don't really want to die prematurely if we can help it! But no one likes the check ups and the don't eat this and don't eat that regime that seems to go with good health.

Fitness - fat and flabby. Don't call me that you say! No one wants to be unfit but the discipline doing exercise seems to be more than most people can manage.

And so on.............

Spiritual health - I don't really think it's that important just now. Wait until you are dying you will then! What if your life is cut short will you wish that you had paid more attention. I hear lots of people regret not trying harder at school, not giving more attention to their first marriage but it's too late now. These issues are important but not as important as your eternal destiny.

The Bible advises - Prepare to meet your God.

The truth is if you seek the Lord He will be found, if you call upon Him, He will hear.

The Bible says - whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

Get fit, seek life and pursue it.

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Friday, January 06, 2012

What is a Christian?

Can you be born a Christian?

Do you need to live to a certain standard and struggle to prove you qualify?

Can your parents make you a Christian?

Does the fact that you are born in a Christian country (so called) mean that you are a Christian?

Does going to Church or reading the bible make you a Christian?

Did I just make these questions up – no, I was asked them today by a girl in Liverpool when I was “street preaching’. She had been told that you became a Christian when you were christened and that if you are born in England you must be a Christian because it is a Christian country (that’s debatable!).

The bible actually says that a person is born into the family of God upon believing. The disciple John wrote in his gospel (John.20.31) ‘these things are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ: and that believing you might have life through his name’. I would prefer to trust the teaching of a man who knew and loved Jesus than all the tradition that has built up over the years since then.

What about you, are you a Christian in the Bible sense of the term? It’s vital that you have the right answer!

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Sunday, January 01, 2012


The Oxford English Dictionary says of gratitude, ‘The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness’.

It is commonplace in many homes at this time of the year for children to write their thank-you letters to family and friends for the recent gifts received. It is courteous to show gratitude for the generosity of those who think kindly of us and give us an acceptable gift out of love and friendship.

Material value of the gift should not necessarily flavour the receiver’s thoughts about the giver, but rather that someone had expressed their thoughtful feelings towards us, and that for this we are most thankful.

Paul wrote to Timothy and said that in the last days, “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.” (2 Timothy 3:2) There are some ugly characteristics in that list of behaviour, selfish to the core with never a kind thought to anyone else. Unfortunately, this is the day that we are living in, so we should be more grateful for those who wear their heart on their sleeve and express their love in kind ways.

Being thankful and appreciative is not restricted to a particular season but should be daily seen as part of the makeup of our life.

I am so grateful that back in 1957 a man was prepared to cycle fifteen miles from Luton to the RAF station at Henlow, Bedfordshire, to come to Billet 454 and tell us airmen about the Bible, about the Son of God who came to bring salvation to sinners such as us. That man saw eight out of eighteen men that lived in that billet converted to Christ. Some of those men (including me) saw their wife saved too. That preacher’s name was Gordon Brind and he is in Heaven now. Down through the years I have thanked the Lord many times for Gordon’s selflessness and love for sinners, and failingly tried to emulate him.

Anyone that reads my column ‘Light Reflections’ in The Light newspaper will observe that every article is 454 words long, a weekly acknowledgement of what took place in Billet 454. Praise God!

George Hodge assured me that he had not edited one word out of the articles I send him, even though my grammar is not right on some occasions. To do this for me for 21 years deserves a public mention of gratitude to him for this good thing.

Looking in the Bible at the term ‘good thing’ I discovered that the first mention is in Deuteronomy 26:11 and says, “And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house” God is good and His character is to give, He gave His only begotten Son to die for us, that is the extent of His giving, there is nothing greater than this. When people receive Him as their Saviour their house and family becomes a joyous place to be. James 1:17 reads, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” There is no inconsistency with God, He is reliably good, never changing, One to whom we can trust for our souls salvation.

In John ch.9 we read of a man that was born blind. I will pause there to ask the question, “Do we ever thank the Lord for the precious gift of sight, and other faculties that He has given us?” The poor man that John tells us about had never been able to see, he had not lost his sight because of disease. He did not know colours or distances because he had never been able to see anything at all, he lived in permanent darkness. How blessed it must have been for him when Jesus sent him to the Pool of Siloam to wash the clay from his eyes that He had put on them. The man went, he washed and came back seeing. As that man stooped to wash his sight came, and the first thing he saw was his own face. He saw himself as he really was. That is what happens when we do what God tells us to do, we see things as God sees them and we see ourselves as we really are. He got his precious sight and wended his way home and the neighbours first saw the change in him, but some could not believe that Jesus had done this miracle. His parents told the Jews, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.” The religionists excommunicated him, but “Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.” That man showed his gratitude to the Saviour in that act of worship, and there are millions of people since that have done the same.

Paul wrote to the Thessalonians “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

What would Paul himself thank the Lord for? Top of his list would be his life changing experience on the road to Damascus, and then the many people who he led to Christ when he preached the gospel in so many places. Each of the Apostles would have cause to thank the Lord for, even being counted worthy to suffer for the name of Christ.

If we could ask William Carey what he continually thanked the Lord for, would it be for the ability to translate the Bible into thirty-five languages in order that thousands might believe and be saved.

How would George Muller show his gratitude to the Lord for providing means for thousands of orphans to be housed, fed and educated in the ways of God? Or Livingston for opening up Africa to the gospel. Each with composer A.P.Gibbs could say,

O Lord, from my heart I do thank Thee For all Thou hast borne in my room, Thine agony, dying, unsolaced, Alone in the darkness of doom, That I, in the glory of heaven, Forever and ever might be - A thousand, a thousand thanksgivings, I bring, blessed Savior, to Thee!’

HAPPY NEW YEAR and may the Lord bless you through 2012.

Written by Stan Burditt

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