Saturday, June 30, 2012

Spectacular Events

In recent weeks there have been some spectacular events taking place in and around London. The Diamond Jubilee Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth 2nd’ ascension to the throne were unforgettable days of pageantry and splendour. The four days of celebration began on Saturday 2nd.June by the Queen and Prince Philip attending the Epsom Derby.

The Daily Mail reported on Sunday’s ‘Big Lunch’, The Queen and her family will attend a City of London Livery companies lunch at Westminster Hall - The Livery Companies of the City of London originated in medieval times as Guilds responsible for trade regulation, including checking the quality of goods, weights and measures and training…. Some 700 guests representing the companies’ abundant trades and professions, ranging from grocers and gunmakers to fruiterers and fishmongers, will join for the tribute.’ Afterwards there were a 1000 boats on the River Thames as a Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, the Queen and her Consort were in the Royal Barge, forming the centre piece of the flotilla.

Monday was Day 3 and there was a concert outside the Palace, but the following day was the pinacle of celebration. The following are extracts from the Palace’s official website,’ Diamond Jubilee Weekend, Day 4: The Procession The final day of celebrations included a service at St Paul’s Cathedral, a Carriage Procession to Buckingham Palace where there was a Balcony appearance, Flypast, and Feu de Joie. The BBC reported that there were one and a half million people from all over the world, lining the Mall that runs from Admiralty Arch to Buckingham Palace, waving flags and cheering H.R.H. as she went passed.  In all it was a fitting expression of gratitude and affection by multitudes of people to Her Majesty for her long and faithful reign.

The Queen’s official birthday is celebrated with the Trooping of the Colour Parade in Horse Guards Parade. The Trooping of the Colour website provides the following information. ‘The custom of Trooping the Colour dates back to the time of Charles II in the 17th. Century when the Colours of a regiment were used as a rallying point in battle and were therefore trooped in front of the soldiers every day to make sure that every man could recognise those of his own regiment. In London, the Foot Guards used to do this as part of their daily Guard Mounting on Horse Guards and the ceremonial of the modern Trooping the Colour parade is along similar lines. The first traceable mention of The Sovereign's Birthday being 'kept' by the Grenadier Guards is in 1748 and again, after George III became King in 1760, it was ordered that parades should mark the King's Birthday. From the accession of George IV they became, with a few exceptions and notably the two World Wars, an annual event. This impressive display of pageantry is now held on the occasion of the Queen's Official Birthday. It takes place in June each year to celebrate the official Birthday of the Sovereign and is carried out by her personal troops, the Household Division, on Horse Guards Parade, with the Queen herself attending and taking the salute. Over 1400 officers and men are on parade, together with two hundred horses; over four hundred musicians from ten bands and corps of drums march and play as one. Some 113 words of command are given by the Officer in Command of the Parade. The parade route extends from Buckingham Palace along The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and back again.’ It is a splendid sight of colour, sound and precision.

The annual All England Tennis Club’s championship at Wimbledon is an event that attracts royalty and sporting stars to witness the skills and athleticism of men and women from across the globe, and is a foretaste of the imminent Olympic Games that will have its own pomp and ceremony.

Two spectacular events in the Bible that will soon take place are:

1.the imminent coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to the air to take His Church to Heaven and then seven years later
2.the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

When Christ comes to the air it will be a private coming, private in the sense that He will come alone and only those who are born again will respond to His call to meet Him in the air. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:16
, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” If you are not born again you will not participate in this spectacular event, nor will you see it.

When Christ returns to earth it will be public, every eye shall see Him coming with His saints. John said, in Rev.19, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”  Those participating in the first event will also be there at the second, with Christ in the outshining of His glory however any who have never believed in the Lord Jesus Christ will face the judgement of God which will be executed by His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

God bless you this week.

Written by Stan Burditt for Stephen G Baker

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Weekly Update

As many of you know I have been away in Wallingford for nearly two weeks now. I have been working in schools and with Christians in the local Gospel Hall telling people about the need of a relationship with God, about the person of Jesus Christ and his claims. It is amazing to have the opportunity to speak to such a wide spectrum of individuals about the one message that can meet all of our needs.

In one day I spent some time with a tramp called Morris, he was a poor soul, and I was able to help him a little as well as tell him about the fact that God cares for him and sent his Son, Jesus to die for him. The same day I spoke to a group of parents and mums, who were fairly well to do, about the same message. Different people, different perceptions of who they are and how they relate to God but the same message applies to all and is needed by all. Later in the day I was able to speak to a couple of ladies about what I was doing in Wallingford. They were professionals and again most likely didn't see the need of God and forgiveness as my friend Morris did.

I wonder about you? How do you see life? Self sufficient! No apparent need of God! Don't feel guilt or the need for forgiveness? Maybe you see all that as weakness and in fact inapplicable to you!

Could you do me a favour? Read 2 Peter 3 in the Bible and see what you think of that. In that section of the Bible God warns us that this world will not last for ever. Read 2 Thessalonians 2 -  God warns of the disastrous consequences of our refusal to listen to him and believe what he says.

Be wise, prepare to meet your God. This life is not all there is.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

My week in Wallingford

I have been in Wallingford in Oxfordshire this week. A lot of the week has been spent in schools as well as giving public talks in the evenings about some of the big questions we ask in life. We have tackled issues such as: Why trust the bible? Who is God? Who are we? And last night, looking at life through God’s eyes! I don’t know about you but I feel that we need to discuss these questions as they are about the biggest issues we face in life. Don’t get me wrong I believe that there are many other massive issues that we face as a civilization such as terrorism, clean water, famine, HIV, cancer but there is a difference between the questions we have been dealing with and these other issues. The other issues are issues of natural and physical survival but we have been talking about matters of eternal survival. If we solve all the problems that we face on this planet (which would be incredible and worthy of a euphoric response) we are still left with these issues. Issues such as when life is over, what’s next? What if God holds us accountable for our choices and behavior? Who was Jesus, did he really come to tell us about God and to make the ultimate sacrifice to clear our guilt and give us eternal life? Why such intricate and detailed design in our universe if there is no original intelligence i.e. God.

I believe that God has spoken in His word, the Bible. It is not just the writing of men (2 Peter.1.21/2 Timothy.3.16) but the word of God which lives and abides for ever (1 Peter.1.23). It claims (and does) make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy.3.15).

As I close let me tell you about two sessions I had this week with teenagers about The Media and the Christian. As part of their class work they were asked if it was ok to mock and laugh at Christians. To my amazement the majority of them felt that it was not appropriate to mock a Christian's beliefs. They might have been saying that for my benefit but it was an opportunity to explain to them why I am not offended when people mock Christianity. I feel it gives me the opportunity to challenge what they say and to explain what I believe. It was a great opportunity to share the Christian gospel with these young people.

All in all, a very good week.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Published: June 8th, 2012
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Along with the rest of the country, I spent the long weekend watching the various events marking the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and celebrating with friends and family.
The crowds lining the streets each day showed the incredible affection that the British public have for their Queen and all that she represents. It’s like we all suddenly remembered what it means to be British.
There has been a lot of talk in the media in recent years about the erosion of our national identity, with many suggestions made as to how this has happened and how it can be restored.
There is no doubt that during the 60 year reign of Queen Elizabeth II, British society has undergone huge changes. A few figures tell the story:
When the Queen ascended the throne, abortion was illegal. Now there are nearly 200,000 a year in England and Wales alone.
4.8 per cent of children were born outside marriage in 1952; the figure is now 46.8 per cent.
In 1952 there were roughly 7 marriages per 1000 people; in 2010 that figure had nearly halved, to just under four marriages.
The divorce rate in 2010 was over three and a half times that of 1952, with the number leaping from 33,922 to 119,589.
Our society has become fragmented, confused and disillusioned. The Diamond Jubilee gave us a taste of hope; hope of some kind of recovery for us as a nation, some kind of unity and a renewed sense of community and confidence (just take a look at the pride on display in the media over the following few days).
I believe that there is a longing amongst the British people for this kind of hope.
This hope is only possible through the restoration of what made us a nation, and of which our Queen stands as a representative: the central place of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Before Christianity came to Britain, this island consisted of mutually hostile tribes. It was not united and it was not a nation. It was only the Gospel that provided a point of unity and which provided a basis for law and government that allowed this nation to grow and flourish.
The Christian foundations have been slowly eroded with devastating results, some of which I have already mentioned.
We risk becoming as fragmented and hopeless as we once were if we do not once again recover a love for Jesus and remain loyal to Him.
At her coronation, the Queen promises to “maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel”.
The Queen and her role in our country remind us of times of greater security, happiness and community – times when the place of Jesus Christ at the heart of our nation was recognised and embraced.
Our nation’s progress lies in returning to Him once again; He never turns anyone away, even those who have turned their back on Him.
Let us praise God that we have a Queen who acknowledges Jesus as Lord and pray for her as she seeks to remain faithful to the promises she made at her coronation.
In truth, what she stands for is not Britain’s current reality. The celebrations on the street this weekend demonstrated, however, that it is the kind of reality we are longing and searching for.
God save the Queen and God save us.
Written by Andrea (Christian Institute)

Friday, June 01, 2012

Going for Gold - Winners not losers!

It is countdown time for the London Olympic Games and athletes from all over the world are finalizing their training to reach peak condition to compete and be a winner of a coveted gold medal. Ask any of them if they anticipate being a loser of their event and they will give you a resounding NO! Commitment, dedication, concentration and discipline has been part of their life for many months with the sole objective of being first past the winning post, and standing on the top of the podium.

The “All Poetry website” states the following. ‘Edgar Albert Guest was born in Britain but grew up and spent most of his life in the U.S.A. He was a product of "small town" America and the values and lifestyle he had as a boy permeates his writing both prose and poem. He worked most of his adult life as newspaperman, syndicated country wide and is reputed to have had a new poem published in a newspaper every day for over 30 years’. My estimation of that man is that professionally he was a winner; I take my hat off to him. One of his poems was given to me many years ago when I was working with a Gospel Van in Cornwall, it goes,

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done, But, he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn’t," but he would be one Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin on his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing that couldn’t be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you’ll never do that; At least no one has done it";
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat, And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin, Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done, There are thousands to prophesy failure
There are thousands to point out to you one by one, The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle it in with a bit of a grin, Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing That "couldn’t be done," and you’ll do it.

It is far better to have a positive mind about things, whether in sport, commerce, industry or any other field of expertise, application is the first step of achievement. I sometimes wonder why there are so many failed marriages today. Could it be that negative selfish behaviour takes over and then everybody loses? The biggest casualties among children does not come from war-zones throughout the world, but a war-zone in the home where battles for self -advantage rage. This is a sad fact of today’s society, but there is something far sadder. When it comes to spiritual things regarding God, the Bible, Salvation, Heaven or Hell, as one looks around there are losers in every direction. Not many souls are seeking the Lord, there appears to be a total disinterest in the things of God. People will talk about the weather, money or current sporting activities, but speak to some about their soul and silence pervades.

When you read the Bible you will find that there are winners and losers from cover to cover. Adam disobeyed God and lost out, he was driven out of paradise because of his sin. His son Cain was also a loser; he murdered his brother and suffered the consequences. When you get to the last Book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, we read from chapter six to nineteen the wrath of God falling upon a godless world. I met a Chinese lady in Wales and she told me that she was reading Revelation chapter fifteen. She was angry with God and said that she did not want to be a part of that. I told her of the events that she was reading about and asked if she intended continuing reading the Book. She said “Yes”, so I directed her to chapter nineteen which is about the marriage of the Lamb. I told her that this is what she needed to be a part of, part of the Church, the Bride of Christ, and that she needed to be born again to be part of the Bride at that marriage in Heaven. If she has placed her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ since then, she is a winner, if not she will miss out and be a loser.

Paul used the imagery of the Athenian Games, he said in Philippians 3:13, “This one thing I do, forgetting those thing which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” He wanted to be a winner in the Christian faith; he had the winning line in front of him. Earlier in v.8 he said, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” That is how he started and continued to live for Christ, and when the end was near he said to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:24 “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Later when his end was near he said in 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” That is winning, but ‘To lose one’s wealth is much; To lose one’s health is more but to lose one’s soul in Hell is such that nothing can restore.’ Be a winner, receive Christ now and run a good race for Him. God bless.

Written for Stephen Baker by Stan Burditt June 2012

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