Saturday, December 30, 2017

Can you be born 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?
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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Surviving a New Year



It can be tempting to just see life as purely a physical thing and to ignore the other dimensions that we know in our heart exist. There are some people who would say that unless they can see something they do not believe it exists. This is quite a short sighted argument even on a basic level. I have never been to Australia but I know it exists because people whose judgement I trust have been there and described it to me.
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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Mixed feelings about Christmas!









Joy and sorrow are opposite emotional experiences that probably all of us know throughout our lifetime. Life is like a tapestry of bright and dark colours and often the bright parts shine the brighter when set against a dark background. 


I am reminded of Benjamin Malachi Franklin’s poem ‘Just a Weaver’, 


(1) My life is but a weaving, between my God and me, 

I do not choose the colors, He worketh steadily. 


(2) Ofttimes he weaveth sorrow, and I in foolish pride 

Forget He sees the upper, and I the underside. 


(3) Not till the loom is silent, and the shuttles cease to fly, 

Will God unroll the canvas, and explain the reasons why 


(4) The dark threads are as needful in the skillful weaver's hand 

As threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.


The mining accidents in Chile and New Zealand a number of years ago illustrate both extremes. For the families of the thirty-three miners rescued from their mine in Chile, it was a time of great joy, but for the thirty-three families of the Pike River, New Zealand South Island miners, only two could rejoice and twenty nine were plunged into the sorrow of grief. Further explosions ripped through the mine causing the authorities to pronounce the twenty- nine miners dead and the Prime Minister to say “We are a nation in mourning.” 


A video of an interview with one of the survivors revealed that he had been thrown off his machine by the blast and knocked unconscious, the other survivor picked him up and they went 300 metres to the entrance of the mine and staggered out, battered but alive.


The circumstances at each mine were different, geologically, physically and possibly spiritually. The Chile men were gold mining, the New Zealanders were coal mining with the greater danger of methane exploding from leaks in the fault line hundreds of feet below the coal seem. It was not exploding gas that endangered the miners in Chile; it was a huge rock fall that trapped them for over two months. Jose Henriquez, trapped with his colleagues is an evangelical preacher and kept their spirits up by reading the Bible every morning to them. Every man had a small bible sent down the borehole for them to read and many of them committed their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. Above ground the Presidents Pastor held prayer times with the President and the nation prayed for the recovery of the men. What joy it was when all of them were brought up one by one in a 27-inch capsule inside a new borehole that went down to the chamber where they were trapped. Many of the men wore T-shirts expressing that Jesus Christ is Lord.


We rejoice with those that rejoice, we weep with those that weep, and therefore feel and pray for the Pike River miner’s families.

As one travels five miles south from Jerusalem on the Hebron Road, there is a left hand fork that takes you down to Bethlehem. At that fork in the road is Rachel’s tomb, the place where Jacob’s wife died in child bearing and was buried. “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.” Benoni means ‘Son of my sorrow’ whereas Benjamin means, ‘Son of the right hand’. Both names are an apt description of the Son of God who became the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief at Calvary, but then became the Son of the right hand when exalted in Heaven. Looking from that tomb the short distance to Bethlehem one can see the beyond the city the Shepherds fields and beyond them the mountains of Moab.

Ruth traveled with Naomi from Moab and came to those fields that belonged to Boaz. He became Ruth’s redeemer and married her and they had a son named Obed, the grandfather of King David. Ruth is one of four women named is in the genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew ch.1. Mary is the fifth!

When Mary and Joseph were required by Caesar Augustus’s edict to go to Bethlehem, they could have gone to a Bethlehem which was only five miles west of Nazareth, but that was the wrong Bethlehem, it was the city of David in Judah that they had to go to. Micah 5:2 reads, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

They left Nazareth and made the arduous 70 to 80 mile journey to Bethlehem. Did they travel down the valley of Jezreel or the Jordan valley? We do not know but either way would have been exhausting, especially for Mary, heavy with child. Passing Jerusalem they would arrive at the fork where Rachel’s tomb is. What thoughts would pass through Mary’s mind when she recalled Rachel’s death delivering her baby? Mary had been told concerning the baby she would deliver, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

Regarding the joy of the birth of Christ the shepherds in the fields heard “The angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” When the wise men were seeking the place where Jesus was born, Matthew 2:10 says, “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.” When they saw the babe they worshipped Him.

It was joy for them but sorrow for the mothers that had their children murdered by Herod, “In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” Mary’s sorrow came later at Calvary when she saw Jesus crucified but “Joy cometh in the morning” and on the first day of the week Christ arose from the dead and is alive today, able to save to the uttermost all that come to Him. You too!

Praying that you have much joy this Christmas and the coming year and that sorrows stay away from your door. God bless.

Stan Burditt

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas Lights






It's Christmas. What an exciting time of the year. All the bright lights, the presents, houses decorated and lots of lovely food. Well that is the way it is in our country but I appreciate that for many people it is not that pleasant. 
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Monday, December 18, 2017

The season of goodwill - is it?






The Christmas season is looked upon as the time of goodwill but will it be for many people in different parts of the world, particularly the Middle East? Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, Israel to name but a few. Problems of political contrasts, social and religious divides cause an absence of goodwill. 

Back in July 2011 Dr. James Zogby, Founder and President of the Arab American Institute wrote an article entitled Diminishing goodwill for U.S. Middle East policy. He stated ‘A few months back I had a quick exchange with President Obama about the U.S. standing in the Arab World. When I mentioned that we would be conducting a poll to assess Arab attitudes two years after his Cairo speech, he responded that he expected that the ratings would be quite low and would remain low until the U.S. could help find a way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Well, the results are in, and the President was right. In our survey of over 4,000 Arabs from six countries (Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE), we found that favorable attitudes toward the U.S. had declined sharply since our last poll (which had been conducted in 2009 after Obama's first 100 days in office). ……If anything, the results of this latest poll of Arab opinion demonstrates how precarious the position of the United States is in the Middle East and how important it has become for American policy makers to pay attention to what Arabs are saying. Some may play politics with critical Middle East issues and gloat at their success at having stymied the President's efforts to make peace and restore America's image in the region. But as the results of this survey make clear, their success has come at a price; one that is being paid by the entire country.’ 
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Saturday, December 16, 2017

No accommodation at Christmas - would you exclude Jesus?




I wonder if you have ever thought about how popular Jesus was in his day. The impression we get at times is that he was loved by everyone right up until his rejection by the Jewish authorities, his prosecution by the Roman authorities and his ultimate death of crucifixion.

From the early days of his time on earth the Lord Jesus was excluded and rejected. There is quite a considerable period (from age 12-30) where we have very little information about the behaviour and activities of the Lord Jesus but we do have the commentary of God, the Father, when he publicly spoke from heaven (which was a very unusual thing to do) and said the he was delighted with His Son. This indicated that though there is scant information about these eighteen years there is nothing in that period (or any other period for that matter) that displeased His Father, God.
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Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Christmas Rush



It is all biz at the moment. I am either trying to get my work up to date so that I can enjoy the Christmas break, I am going to Carol Concerts (more than one I must say), being taken out shopping or one of a hundred things that I am expected to do at this time of the year. Why all the pressure, why spend the money, what is this all about?
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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Happiness at Christmas?




'Happy Christmas' A departed friend of mine used to say, ‘Happiness depends upon happenings but joy abides!’ I hear what he was saying because there is a difference isn’t there? Someone has possibly said to one of my readers today, “Happy Birthday!” and I join with them, have a good day, but what about tomorrow or next week?
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Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas in the slow lane?







“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46.10)

Horrendous traffic jams, train network maintenance and flight cancellations have caused headaches for most British travellers this Christmas. [bbc news] We are so used to living in the fast lane, zooming through experiences with little time for reflection and contemplation. The unwelcome delays have enforced a slower pace for many. Thinking time, perhaps? 

The first Christmas was an unhurried experience for most. Mary and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem with all the precaution required by a heavily pregnant mother-to-be. The wise men appear to have journeyed over many months after careful preparation. Only the shepherds ran to the manger that first Christmas night, with joyful enthusiasm and optimism. They encountered no delays – earnest seekers after God rarely get caught up in traffic jams along the way. But once they arrived at the place, hush replaced haste, awe replaced athletics, calm replaced curiosity. It should always be like this when we enter God’s presence.

So if you get held up this Christmas, make the most of it. Read the Christmas story slowly and thoughtfully. Take time out to consider the baby who had that unique name – Immanuel – God is with us. 

   

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Convinced about Christ




Why are Christians are so convinced that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Well you might ask, it's an excellent question.

Our belief is laid on a very solid foundation. First of all we believe in divine revelation not just human discovery. In fact to learn about something outside of our sphere of experience we all accept we need information from a trustworthy source. If you are serious about discovering the truth - check the Bible out. It is a trustworthy source. Read it, check it's sources, speak to those who believe it, look at it 's accuracy in every sphere it touches. There can only be one answer to the question of the origin of a book that was written over one thousand five hundred years by forty different authors, many of whom did not even know each other. The Bible is God's message to mankind.

Secondly check the facts concerning Jesus Christ. There are over three hundred signposts (biblical predictions/prophecies) which point to him. The chances of them all being fulfilled precisely in the life of one person, at the right time, in the right place are mindblowing odds apart from this fact - God planned it and implemented His plan in a person - His Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible predicts the mode of his conception, the place of his birth, his exile into Egypt, the slaughtering of the innocents, the gifts from the magi and lots more.

Finally look at the prediction about the way that Jesus would die. Psalm 22 and Isaiah 52 describe the horrific death of God's Son a cross. Death by crucifixion was unknown when Psalm 22 was written about 1000 years before the death of Jesus but God knew that was the way that His Son would die.

In closing please listen again to the words of the angels who announced the birth of the Lord Jesus 'For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord'. Is he your Saviour? He died 'for our sins'. He suffered 'the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God'. Will you rest by faith on what the Lord Jesus did to save your soul?
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Friday, December 08, 2017

Would you die for a stranger?





On Wednesday the 19th. November 1997, the M.V. Green Lily ran aground on Bressay, near Grut Wick. After loading a cargo of approximately 3000 tonnes of frozen fish, bound for Las Palmas in the Canary Isles, the Croatian-born captain decided to set sail in foul weather, in spite of warnings from the Harbour Master not to leave the port at Lerwick, Shetland. Shortly after leaving the harbour, the ship suffered engine failure in a force 9 gale forecast to reach force 11 imminently and was left drifting in 50ft. waves, eventually running aground off Bressay.

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Friday, December 01, 2017

Can you believe everything that you read?



I once read an article in the Independant Newspaper by a very intelligent man who had become very cynical and opposed to Christianity. The position he took was that there was no truth or logic in the Christian viewpoint. I have reprinted my reply in this blog post. Hopefully it will make you think and bring you to the point where you take the claims of the Bible seriously.

'My imagination was engaged as I started to read your piece on "The Bible Society’s debt to Arthur C Clarke?" You had obviously carried out some good research about the society and highlighted some key statistics which would be very interesting to a number of people. I was then quite amazed that you chose to so violently misrepresent the teaching of the very book that the society has spent so long translating and making available to the world. For example you chose to ignore that the Bible and Christianity has developed more education programs, opened more hospitals and changed more societies for the good than the current world atheistic belief system has ever done. People who have been successful, in theory, in establishing atheistic states have generally produced societies which have been just as corrupt as capitalist ones. Incidentally they have ultimately been unsuccessful because of the corrupt heart of humanity. All of this however only looks at the outcomes of the opposing world views without actually discussing the validity or plausibility of their views.

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Planning for Christmas



I think I am quite a contented person. My Christmas present list is usually non- existent and when asked I struggle to think of things I really need. Maybe this is because I am so well looked after, that I have very little need of anything.

The whole idea of being content poses questions that we would be wise to ask regularly

Am I satisfied with my life?

Is there meaning in my life that is bigger than merely maintaining my existence?

The Bible suggests that we were not placed on this planet for our own pleasure! We are actually most satisfied when living life in the way God designed. Focusing on self is not the best way although it is our natural bias. 

The Lord Jesus Christ is the best example of the right way to live. In fact, He was the only person ever to live up to the exacting and high standards of God as defined in the Bible. In the biblical book, ‘Hebrews’ Jesus is described as 'holy... and undefiled'. BUT in addition to this He lived for the glory of his Father, read John 17:4, and for the good of the people He came into contact with, see Acts 10:38.
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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Are you going up?

Good Tidings from Heaven

GOING UP?




I was going to visit two Christians who were in hospital. It was a high rise building and the people I wanted to see were on different levels. I went to the area on the ground floor, from which the elevators could be accessed and was soon on my way up. After spending a little while with the first person I made my way back to the area where a number of people were waiting for an elevator. Soon it arrived and we were asked, "Are you going up?" This immediately divided the people because some said, "No we’re going down". I got in and was in the company of people, all of whom were going up; the others we left behind and they were going down.
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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Have a good day


Good Tidings from Heaven

Have a Good Day

We all have been the recipient of the greeting, "Have a good day." Did you ever think that you can really have a good day, not only today, but every day?

A GOOD DAY AND A GOOD FOREVER

It is our wish for everyone not only to have a good day, but to have a good forever. How can you have a good day if you are not assured of a good forever? You may try to ignore the future by concentrating on the pleasures of this life. You may be partly successful with this and even say to yourself, "Take your ease, eat, drink and be merry" Luke 12.19. However, if you do not know where you will be when your life is over, thoughts of the future will inevitably return to spoil your present joys.

ONE THING CAN RUIN BOTH

God has provided a way for everyone to have a good forever, but, if you do not avail yourself of that way, then your future is foretold in Hebrews 9.27: "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment". Death and judgment are the results of sin for "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" Romans 3.23. Sin will keep you from having a good forever, and it will keep you from having a good day. If you die in your sins, it will be too late to change your forever, Revelation 20.15.

TODAY CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

Thankfully you can change that future now. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" 2Corinthians 6.2. God, Who is holy and must punish sin, is also a God of love. He has provided a way for sinners to be saved from the consequences of their sin. God is longsuffering toward us, and is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" 2Peter 3.9. In fact, God never prepared hell for man but for the devil and his angels, Matthew 25.41.

THE PRICE HAS ALREADY BEEN PAID

The salvation that God provided does not set aside His holiness and righteousness. It is summed up for us in Romans 5.8: "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Christ, the sinless Son of God, satisfied all of God’s holy and righteous requirements by dying for our sins. God’s wrath and judgment against sin were met by Christ when He suffered the awful agonies of the cross, Matthew 27.46; 1 Peter 3.18.

WHAT IS THE WAY?

Yes, God has provided a way for you and me to have a good forever. This way of salvation is open to all who will confess their sins to God in true repentance, believe that Jesus died for them, and receive Him as their Lord and Saviour. If you trust Christ, the power of death will be broken and there will be no judgment ahead for you because Jesus Christ has said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" John 5.24. Your sins will all be forgiven and your future will be bright and clear with a certainty of being with Christ in heaven.

THE SOURCE OF GOOD DAYS

As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ you will not only be sure of a good forever, you will also be able to have a good day every day. Jesus will never leave you, and the more you fellowship with Him through prayer and reading the Bible daily, the more you will experience His presence in your life. Even when everything around you seems dark and discouraging, God’s presence in your life brings "fulness of joy" Psalm 16.11.

(With permission from MWTB)
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Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Three Things That God Cannot Do!




Three Things That God Cannot Do!

It is commonly believed that God can do anything, but what does the Bible say?

GOD CANNOT LIE

"Ah," you say, "yes, I believe that God cannot lie." This may seem rather obvious or even a trick answer, but nevertheless absolutely true. In God’s own Word we read, "God, that cannot lie" Titus 1.2. God, and God alone, can make that claim.

GOD CANNOT CHANGE

"Oh, sure," you say, "I believe that God cannot change." This is also a rather obvious truth. God tells us in His Word, "I am the Lord, I change not" Malachi 3.6. This is another characteristic which is unique to God alone.
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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Are you worrying? There’s an 85% chance that it will never happen.




Statistics say that 85% of what we worry about never happens. Paul, an early Bible writer and Apostle, once wrote a series of exhortations aiming to encourage Christians in Philippi. In the closing comments of the letter he encouraged them to ‘rejoice in the Lord alway,’ Philippians 4. 4. This is something we all need to be reminded about from time to time. When things get on top of us we often forget to see the blessings that we have.

Next, Paul encourages them, in verse 5, to be gentle and mild in their behaviour. This attitude is beautifully expressed in the translation of the word ‘moderation’ as ‘sweet reasonableness’. To emphasis how important it is to live in this way Paul reminds his readers that the ‘Lord is at hand’. This could mean that the Lord is near (in other words they can be confident that He is with them) or that the Lord’s coming is near (Jesus will come again as He promised). Both statements are true and should affect how we live.

Paul then warns about being anxious and not trusting the Lord. It is so easy to forget that the One who upholds the universe, Col.1.17, is the same One who cares for us, 1. Pet. 5. 7. There should not really be any issues that we are not prepared to bring to Him and to leave in His hands. 

The antidote to worry is prayer. We should pray remembering the greatness of God. We should pray asking Him for help and direction with our problems and we should pray with a grateful heart of appreciation for who God is and what He has done.


We should be specific about our problems when we talk to God as He is interested in every issue that we face. These prayers may be one second prayers, like Nehemiah in the Bible, Neh. 2. 4-5, or they might be more detailed accounts of the issues that we face in life.


All of this will be very strange to you if don’t yet know God personally in your life. Why would you talk to someone you don’t know? The Bible makes it clear that sin separates us from God, Isa. 59. 2,  but that if we ‘repent and believe the gospel,’ Mark 1. 15, we can have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Rom 5. 1.

As you pray you will know the peace of God despite not necessarily knowing the answers.

Five hundred years ago, Michel de Montaigne said: “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened”. Many agree wholeheartedly that we should pray when we are in a state of relative calm but we often feel that we fail bitterly when the pressure is on and we are at our wits end.




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