Sunday, May 10, 2020

Have you got the Symptoms?




The outbreak and spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought about a large measure of panic throughout the world. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the first case was recorded in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and since then it has rapidly extended to multiple other countries worldwide, and been declared a global pandemic. It is predicted to have implications upon medical, economical, societal, political and educational spheres on an unprecedented and unparalleled scale.

According to the U.K. National Health Service, symptoms of the virus are similar to those of the common flu, including fever, breathing difficulties, and, in severe cases, pneumonia, and organ failure. The NHS explains that because the Coronavirus is a new illness, there is still much to be learned regarding how it is transmitted, and how it may be treated. As the situation develops, the authorities are continually issuing updates on how best to avoid contamination and respond to signs of infection.

However, there is a disease that is far more concerning and urgent than COVID-19 could ever be; its contamination is more extensive and its consequences are infinitely more extreme. The Bible tells us of a sickness that afflicts every person on earth: "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" Romans 3.23. It is in every single person, for we are all "in sin" from birth, Psalm 51.5. Its symptoms are evident in every aspect of our lives: it infects our thoughts, our words, our actions, our steps, and even the motives of our hearts (see Romans 3.9-19). It is an infection that spreads from head to toe, and it is one that we simply cannot escape from or cure by ourselves, no matter how hard we try. Many people in the world show carelessness and indifference to the seriousness of sin, but this sickness has a one hundred percent mortality rate: the solemn outcome is the same for everyone: "the wages of sin is death" Romans 6.23.

While various treatments and a cure for the Coronavirus are still uncertain and under pressing active research, the Bible thankfully makes it clear that a complete and perfect remedy for the sickness of our sin has been provided. In His death upon the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ "bare our sins in His own body" 1Peter 2.24, and "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" Hebrews 9.26. Even though our sin is the most deadly and dangerous disease of all, the blood of Christ can cleanse us from it all: "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" 1John 1.7. His love was so great that He was willing to give Himself for us, and take the punishment in our stead. The work is entirely finished, and all we must do is trust Him, Who died for us and rose again, as the Saviour of our souls.

However, time is limited. You need to avail of the cure while there is still opportunity. Would you love to know your sins are completely and eternally forgiven? Because "Christ died for us" Romans 5.8, God can forever forgive and save your soul.

Written by a Guest Blogger for FTMP (Assembly Testimony May/June 2020)
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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Important Meetings



It could be said, without fear of contradiction, that a substantial part of life is taken up with meetings. In the last while meetings have morphed into 'virtual meetings' via Skype, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, Zoom. GoToMeeting and the like.


These may be unimportant or they could be life changing. We hear folks say, “We’ll meet to discuss it over a cup of coffee.” I heard one mother say to another, “It’s our son’s birthday on Saturday week and we’ll need to meet to arrange the catering.”
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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Handling Grief






Tragedies happen? "Why?”  Why does God allow bad things to happen? 

Grief is a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which a bond was formed.  Grief is a natural response to loss. It is the emotional suffering one feels when something or someone the individual loves is taken away. Grief is also a reaction to any loss. The grief associated with death is familiar to most people, but we grieve in connection with a variety of losses throughout our lives, such as unemployment, ill health or the end of a relationship. 

Every step of the grieving process is natural and healthy. It is only when a person gets stuck in one step for a long period of time that the grieving can become unhealthy, destructive and even dangerous. Going through the grieving process is not the same for everyone, but everyone does have a common goal; acceptance of the loss and to keep moving forward. The process is different for every person and can involve a wide range of feelings, thoughts, and behaviours. The goal of grieving is not the elimination of all the pain or the memories of the loss. The goal is to reorganise one’s life, so the loss is an important part of life rather than its centre. There is not a right or a wrong way to grieve.  Everyone grieves differently.  

As a Christian, while I grieve I turn to God’s Word to find strength and comfort. The book of Proverbs says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding" The more you know God, the more you will trust God. What is there not to trust? He is completely loving, wise, powerful, and good, but it is one thing to express a belief in God, and another to actually trust in him with all your heart. Trusting the Lord with all your heart means walking out, by faith, on his Word, no matter what consequences or opposition you may face.

Trusting God wholeheartedly also means resolutely refusing to lean on your own understanding. This, of course, does not mean that we are to give up the sound mind and reasoning spirit that God has given us. But it does mean that we are not to rely on our limited knowledge, experience, and emotions to guide us safely through life.

The question to ask yourself is this: do you trust God in precisely those places where your natural inclination is strongest against his leadership or direction or commandments? When the Bible clearly spells out his counsel, will you take it regardless of your personal preferences or preconceptions?

It is precisely at those places where we are least inclined to listen to or follow God that we are most able to show our devotion to him and our trust of him. Is there an area of your life today in which you have the opportunity to trust in the Lord, rather than in your own understanding? If so, cast all your cares upon Him because He's the only One who really does care for you.


Written by a Guest Blogger
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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Someone's looking for you




In this busy world, where so many prying eyes are frequently upon us, it is difficult to escape the surveillance that we are so often under. Transactions carried out, using our credit cards, mean that we can be easily tracked and our movements monitored. CCTV cameras are everywhere and with sites like Google Earth, very little remains secret; complete strangers can visit our homes and move down our streets, undetected. "Big Brother Is Watching!"
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Monday, April 27, 2020

Is your life being refined?





This blog really only applies to those who are saved and trusting in Jesus Christ for their eternal welfare. It may have an application in measure to others in the experiences of life but you can't claim that God is working in your life and seeking to refine you if you don't trust Him for your destiny in the next life.

For many people there is an unanswered question in life. ‘If God really loves us why does he allow storms to come into our lives at all?’ Two reasons. First, we bring many of our problems on ourselves. Someone has said, ‘If you could kick the person responsible for most of your troubles in the backside, you wouldn’t be able to sit down for two weeks’.
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Sunday, April 26, 2020

How to survive in 2020?





There’s only one way to survive in this world today - trust in God! 

Surrounded as they were by aggressive and powerful nations, there was only one way for God’s people, Israel, to survive in the promised land God had given them. The history of the children of Israel is pretty much a dismal record of how they didn’t trust their Lord. In fact their history includes a period in which they were kicked out of their land for persistently refusing to go God‘s way, but the flip side is that it is also an amazing record of God’s patient plans with people who fail big time and of God’s amazing willingness to use weak people who do trust their God. 
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Saturday, April 25, 2020

GPS






Perhaps there are many who do not know what the initial letters used as the heading of this article mean. They are used as a short way of describing the ‘Global Positioning System’. When this device was developed it caused the manner in which directions to desired destinations were found to be rethought. It was very useful on a vast range of journeys, both terrestrial and stellar. The ability to pinpoint a house while riding a bicycle, either in a very large housing estate or a remote rural dwelling, or to know exactly the location of a satellite hurtling through space, is quite amazing.
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Friday, April 24, 2020

The Hand of God






In 1986 during a football match between Argentina and England Diego Maradona claimed to have scored a goal but television replays revealed that he had not headed the ball but had used his hand to hit the ball passed Peter Shilton, the goalkeeper, and into the net.  He celebrated scoring the goal which the referee and linesman allowed.  This caused much controversy and Maradona said that it was 'the hand of God' that scored the goal.  Did Maradona foolishly suggest that he was God or did he state that God allowed him to score the goal with his hand?  It blatantly was an act of deception and even four years later when he sought to apologise to Peter Shilton he would not accept his apology. 

Some people today are asking the question 'Is the Coronavirus a direct judgment from the hand of God'?  Or what is it?  This poses the question whether the virus is the direct will of God or the permissive will of God.  Maradona mistakenly thought that God would use deception in his direct or permissive will.  When Gods hand is seen in judgment it is directed against people who have violated his laws and behaved in gross wickedness.  The fatal effect of COVID19 is global affecting people from every race and creed and born again believers among them so we conclude that it is not Gods direct will.  In Daniel chapter 5 we read of King Belshazzar  in Babylon, celebrating a great feast and using the holy vessels from the temple in Jerusalem to drink wine and exalt his false gods.  He was startled when the fingers of a mans hand was seen writing upon the plaster of the wall .  The translated words were 'you are weighed in the balances and found wanting'.  He died that night.  Jesus said that the finger of God is the Holy Spirit, Luke 11:20, therefore it was Gods hand that pronounced the judgment upon Belshazzar.  

One feels that COVID19 is not the direct judgment of God but rather in his permissive will he is allowing it as a wake up call to all the nations of the world to be aware that he is about to intervene in the world with global judgments, ie the great tribulation.  What we are experiencing today is totally unprecedented.  Throughout the whole world, streets in the main towns and cities are empty of people.  Nations finances have plummeted and borrowing will exceed levels ever seen before.  

Lockdown has restricted travel and the aircraft are grounded leaving hundreds of aeroplanes parked on the tarmac.  People are asking the question 'when will we get back to normal' and 'what will the new normal be'?  

Presently there are two ex British Prime Ministers who are proposing organisations that will bring all governments in the world under one administration.  Gordon Brown called for a global government to deal with the current crisis.  Brown said the proposed global taskfroce should oversee and support the medical and economic elements of the crisis.  He proposed that the G20 should be expanded to include all countries.  He said 'I would need the executive powers to coordinate the response'.  Similarly Tony Blair (Executive Officer of Institute for Global Change) has also suggested that his organisation which has 250 employees in 25 countries is already advising governments to work together to combat these mammoth issues.  

The call for global government reminds me of the two beasts of Revelation ch 13.  It says of the beast out of the sea in v 7 & 8 '…and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.  And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him'  and of the second beast, out of the land it says v16-18 'And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Here is wisdom.  Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six' (666).

Peter makes two references to the hand of God.  The first in 1Peter 3 v 21 & 22 '…by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:  Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.'  The right hand of God reveals absolute authority globally and universally.  Christ will ultimately take control of the governance of the world when he returns to earth after the judgments of God have fallen during the Great Tribulation.  Soon he will appear in the air to take the church from earth to heaven and after that the seven year period of Tribulation will begin.  The seven seals, seven trumpets and seven vials are each judgments from the hand of God upon a world that has rejected him.  Peters second reference to the hand of God is in 1 Peter 5 v 5 & 6 '…for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.' 
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Thursday, April 23, 2020

W-H-Y?




Just three letters: W-H-Y. 

Why? 

Why so much pain? 
Why so much wickedness? 
Why do people suffer?.. 
Why?Why,?Why? 

Have you ever wrestled with this question? Perhaps you've lost a loved one, or maybe you know of some innocent person who has suffered terribly. And just wondered.. Why?

Well, God's Word, the Bible gives the answer. What brought suffering and pain? Yes, it is the result of man's original sin in the Garden of Eden. '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, the Bible. But perhaps you wonder, why did God allow sin to continue? Couldn't He have stopped it at once and destroyed the sinners? 
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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The last casualty - WW1



In November 2020 World War I will have ended one hundred and two years ago. The Armistice was signed early in the morning of 11 November 1918, and came into effect a few hours later, at 11a.m. Sadly, several thousand combatants, from both sides, were killed during that short time interval. The last was a soldier called Henry Gunther, who died only one minute before the 11 o’clock deadline. Acting against orders, he charged with his bayonet towards a group of soldiers on the opposing side, who knew that the ceasefire was about to come into force, and tried to wave him off. However he kept approaching, firing shots, so he was shot, and died instantly.
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Monday, April 20, 2020

Do you know where you are going?




William Franklin Graham, affectionately known as Billy Graham, was an American Christian evangelist, ordained as a Southern Baptist minister, who rose to celebrity status in 1949 preaching in large indoor and outdoor rallies; sermons were broadcast on radio and television, some still being re-broadcast today.
Billy Graham was chaplin to several Presidents; he was particularly close to Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson . During the civil rights movement, he began to support integrated seating for his revivals and crusades; in 1957 he invited Martin Luther King, Jr. to preach jointly at at revival meetings in New York City.
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Friday, April 10, 2020

Easter in uncertain times




Easter in Uncertain Times

This wasn’t how they thought their Sunday evening would be! They’d had plans for today, and for the future for that matter. Plans that were now dashed with no hope of being achieved. Instead, they were stuck inside, fearful of the hidden danger that sought their lives if they were to venture onto the streets. Not only that, they were grieving. The one who’d brought so much joy to their lives had died on Friday. They hadn’t been there then; they couldn’t be with Him now. What was the future going to hold for them when their whole world was crumbling around them?
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Friday, April 03, 2020

COVID-19 - Who can you trust in this crisis?





There’s only one way to survive in this world today - trust in God! And, surrounded as they were by aggressive and powerful nations, there was only one way for God’s people, Israel, to survive in the promised land God had given them. The history of the children of Israel is pretty much a dismal record of how they didn’t trust their Lord. In fact their history includes a period in which they were kicked out of their land for persistently refusing to go God‘s way, but the flip side is that it is also an amazing record of God’s patient plans with people who fail big time and of God’s amazing willingness to use weak people who do trust their God. 
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Wednesday, April 01, 2020

'Right is Right even if nobody does it' - True or False?




"Right is Right even if nobody does it. Wrong is wrong even if everybody is wrong about it."
G.K. Chesterton

I like to listen to and consider what other people say and hear how they think but many people talk without thinking through the consequences of their words and ideas. For instance you will hear people say ‘it’s ok as long as it’s ok for you’. This is a ridiculous statement as it doesn't work in practice when you take into account other people's rights and personal interests. As G K Chesterton said ‘right is right’ and ‘wrong is wrong’. He was of course reflecting what the Bible teaches. 
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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Facing our greatest fears - what coronavirus could do?



May I ask you a few questions:
  1. Are you worried about the past?
  2. Are you fearful about the future?
  3. Are you not happy about the present?
Every list of people’s top worries has certain common items - money problems, health, getting old, relationships and death. It would be good not to worry but most of us do even if it’s only occasionally. 

At this moment in our nation, many people are worried. They fear the unknown! They are not sure what is going on? Who should they believe? How serious is this crisis?

The truth is - it is very serious and the potential for widespread disaster and indeed, death, is immense.

So please read and think about what I have to say today - you may regret not doing so one day.



Christians believe the Bible teaches why we are on this planet, why things go wrong and what’s important in life. The Bible teaches that the solution (salvation) is found in a person, the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the key summary statements from the Bible says this - ‘This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners . . .’, 1 Timothy chapter 1 verse 15.

We believe that the message of the Bible is vital and demands your attention. Everything else will only affect the ‘here and now’ but the gospel of Jesus Christ will also impact your ‘forever’. Listen to this promise found in John’s Gospel chapter 3 verse 16 ‘For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life’. I know that by now many of you may be tempted to discard what I say but give me a minute of your time. 

This is a great opportunity for you to discover the answers to the questions you ask yourself. There are answers, life is not meaningless, God created you for a purpose, BUT

We need a change in life!

We need past sins forgiven!

We need our future safety to be guaranteed!



I am not being melodramatic but we are all in danger. More of us are in danger of God’s judgment (punishment) for our wrongdoing than are in danger of COVID-19. It applies to all of us for ‘we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God’, (Romans 3.23, the Bible). What we have done might be different but none of us is perfect.

We know that the answer that is provided in the Bible works which is why we want to share it with you. 


Thanks for reading this post.

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Friday, March 20, 2020

A letter about Coronavirus






I received this letter today, I thought there was a lot insight in what the author said. Please read it and consider it carefully,

Kind regards, 

Stephen



Hi Stephen,

As ever yesterday I was trying to finish my morning Bible reading on the Tube. Sadly in this secular society, contrary to the call of Jesus in Mark 8:38 to not be “ashamed of me or my words”, I always feel a little embarrassed to get the Bible out and be reading it in public. Well, not yesterday, not in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak. The new confidence I felt was pretty overwhelming. 
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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

COVID - 19 - Finding a vaccine





Do you remember the old adage about waiting for a London Bus, one can wait a long time and 
then two arrive at the same time? We all get affected by delays and changes to expected 
timetables whether on a journey or in an NHS waiting room. The NHS is finding it difficult to 
attain to the 4-hour waiting time in A & E.  

The problem of coronavirus will drastically affect both waiting and admissions at most of our 
hospitals in the UK. The virus has become pandemic approaching 5,000 deaths globally so far. 
In the UK it is expected to peak at the end of May, making the whole population vulnerable to the 
infection that is spreading from continent to continent. The news and views about how long we will be in 
lockdown changes on a daily basis.
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