The future for the believer is BRIGHT!

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Why a Christian can look to the future with confidence.

  1. The future belongs to Christ and he is Lord of it (Romans 11:36, Matthew 28:18, Revelation 5:5). Fear NOT!
  2. All things work for our good and for us (Romans 8:28, I Corinthians 3:22).
  3. We will never be tempted (or tested) beyond our strength (I Corinthians 10:13).
  4. Christ leaves us his peace* (John 14:27, Philippians 4:6,7). We trust his sovereign wisdom and will.
  5. We are blessed people and that for ever (Psalm 21:6).
  6. When we depart this life we go to be with, to thank, to praise and to admire in love the one with whom we have had fellowship since we were born again, even our only Saviour Jesus Christ (Luke 23:43, John 17:3).
  7. When he returns to earth on the last day our dead bodies will be raised, we will be reunited with them and be forever with the Lord and with all our saintly brothers and sisters and with the angels for ever in the new heavens and earth where there will be no more sin, sickness, sorrow or death.  We will see Christ’s just vengeance on all his , and our, enemies. Surely the future is BRIGHT for the believer! Proverbs 4:18, “ But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Hallelujah!

R.I.P.

Unbelievers singly, and as they are represented in the media almost always assume that when someone dies they can say R.I.P after them. But is this true?

“The righteous shall rest in their beds” (Isaiah 57:2). This is figurative language that refers especially to what becomes of the bodies of the righteous. They may not even be buried. Perhaps they are left to the fowls of heaven or burned at the stake. But the picture is that the body in the grave is resting, as it were, in its bed.

What does this mean? It means that as far as the body is concerned, the righteous are at last delivered from the battle, all trouble, and all suffering. They are resting from the struggle to hold to the path of uprightness. Further the emphasis of the figure is upon the idea that their stay in the grave is temporary. A rest is always temporary. The dead rest according to the body, but only for a time. Thus the emphasis in the figure is upon the fact that the righteaous go to their graves in hope! When they rest, they hope to awaken and rise up. When the righteous go to their graves, they do so in the hope of a glad awakening in the everlasting morning of the day of the Lord.

The righteous, then, are taken away before the evil that is to come, and unto the everlasting good.

In contrast, always and again the word of our God is, “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”

From Redeemed with Judgment by Homer Hoeksema. See here.

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The question you must ask yourself is, ” Am I righteous by faith in Christ or am I wicked?” Only the righteous have the right to R.I.P.

Some lessons from the Emergency Department.

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Casualty is an old name! So is A and E! (Accident and Emergency) Why because we see more than casualties and there is no such thing as an accident! We are the Emergency Department!

Some lessons for the church: Quoting from a recent College of Emergency Medicine newsletter…

” An environment of openness, where the senior doctor (s) is (are) approachable and interested, creates a supportive junior environment.”

“It is a strength not a weakness to be open and ask for help.”

“An environment where staff feel supported creates a better experience for the people working within and accessing the service.”

Kingdom of God and the Old Testament

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The Minor Prophets-Obadiah.

Overview:

Edom, the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother would be destroyed (by the Babylonians) because of their pride (vv1-9) and their glee at Israel’s captivity (vv10-16). Salvation will come to Zion (vv17-21).

The coming kingdom of God will destroy Edom (v18).

The coming kingdom will possess their land (v17b) and indeed all the lands (of Canaan v19).

The kingdom is the Lord’s.

The wrong interpretation of this which characterised first century Jews, particularly the leaders (Pharisees), was that Rome would be defeated and there would be a reinstatement of the Jewish kingdom. Pre-millennial dispensationalists today also think wrongly that this kingdom with its centre in Jerusalem, the rebuilt temple and all the twelve tribes is still future when Christ returns.

The correct (A-millennial) interpretation of this is that Christ and the church will judge the wicked, the kingdom is the church possessing the new heaven and earth and Christ is king. All O.T. prophecy and typology MUST be interpreted through the “glasses” or perspective of Christ and the apostles’ teaching.

 

Peace?

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“In God there is never any disagreement, any conflict, or any friction; the three (persons of the Trinity) agree in perfect unity. In all of his thinking, willing, and acting, there is only eternal and mutual peace with God. That relation of friendship, wherein the three persons live in the one being of God in the most absolutely perfect agreement, is God’s covenant within himself.”

What a contrast to the almost inevitable fighting and bickering that happens within families especially at this time of the year!  (time of goodwill!?) The only way to know and experience peace with others is to have, for starters, peace yourself, with God, that is your sins forgiven and a new heart.

This covenant of peace within himself, God chooses to reveal with his people. God sovereignly makes a covenant of peace with them through the atoning death of his Son. Only those who believe in the Son will know the Father and enter into this covenant of peace with God. The place to seek him is in the Scriptures (Bible) and a true church.

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redeemedwithjudgment

Quote above from this book.

Available here.

The universe and the unique earth had to have a Creator!

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Beautiful sunrise over earth-can you make out Scandinavia and Italy

 

Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God

The odds of life existing on another planet grow ever longer. Intelligent design, anyone?

By

Eric Metaxas

Dec. 25, 2014 4:56 p.m. ET

 

In 1966 Time magazine ran a cover story asking: Is God Dead? Many have accepted the cultural narrative that he’s obsolete—that as science progresses, there is less need for a “God” to explain the universe. Yet it turns out that the rumors of God’s death were premature. More amazing is that the relatively recent case for his existence comes from a surprising place—science itself.

Here’s the story: The same year Time featured the now-famous headline, the astronomer Carl Sagan announced that there were two important criteria for a planet to support life: The right kind of star, and a planet the right distance from that star. Given the roughly octillion—1 followed by 24 zeros—planets in the universe, there should have been about septillion—1 followed by 21 zeros—planets capable of supporting life.

With such spectacular odds, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a large, expensive collection of private and publicly funded projects launched in the 1960s, was sure to turn up something soon. Scientists listened with a vast radio telescopic network for signals that resembled coded intelligence and were not merely random. But as years passed, the silence from the rest of the universe was deafening. Congress defunded SETI in 1993, but the search continues with private funds. As of 2014, researches have discovered precisely bubkis—0 followed by nothing.

What happened? As our knowledge of the universe increased, it became clear that there were far more factors necessary for life than Sagan supposed. His two parameters grew to 10 and then 20 and then 50, and so the number of potentially life-supporting planets decreased accordingly. The number dropped to a few thousand planets and kept on plummeting.

Even SETI proponents acknowledged the problem. Peter Schenkel wrote in a 2006 piece for Skeptical Inquirer magazine: “In light of new findings and insights, it seems appropriate to put excessive euphoria to rest . . . . We should quietly admit that the early estimates . . . may no longer be tenable.”

As factors continued to be discovered, the number of possible planets hit zero, and kept going. In other words, the odds turned against any planet in the universe supporting life, including this one. Probability said that even we shouldn’t be here.

Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life—every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart. Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby, whose gravity will draw away asteroids, a thousand times as many would hit Earth’s surface. The odds against life in the universe are simply astonishing.

Yet here we are, not only existing, but talking about existing. What can account for it? Can every one of those many parameters have been perfect by accident? At what point is it fair to admit that science suggests that we cannot be the result of random forces? Doesn’t assuming that an intelligence created these perfect conditions require far less faith than believing that a life-sustaining Earth just happened to beat the inconceivable odds to come into being?

There’s more. The fine-tuning necessary for life to exist on a planet is nothing compared with the fine-tuning required for the universe to exist at all. For example, astrophysicists now know that the values of the four fundamental forces—gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the “strong” and “weak” nuclear forces—were determined less than one millionth of a second after the big bang. Alter any one value and the universe could not exist. For instance, if the ratio between the nuclear strong force and the electromagnetic force had been off by the tiniest fraction of the tiniest fraction—by even one part in 100,000,000,000,000,000—then no stars could have ever formed at all. Feel free to gulp.

Multiply that single parameter by all the other necessary conditions, and the odds against the universe existing are so heart-stoppingly astronomical that the notion that it all “just happened” defies common sense. It would be like tossing a coin and having it come up heads 10 quintillion times in a row. Really?

Fred Hoyle, the astronomer who coined the term “big bang,” said that his atheism was “greatly shaken” at these developments. He later wrote that “a common-sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology . . . . The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

Theoretical physicist Paul Davies has said that “the appearance of design is overwhelming” and Oxford professor Dr. John Lennox has said “the more we get to know about our universe, the more the hypothesis that there is a Creator . . . gains in credibility as the best explanation of why we are here.”

The greatest miracle of all time, without any close seconds, is the universe. It is the miracle of all miracles, one that ineluctably points with the combined brightness of every star to something—or Someone—beyond itself.

Mr. Metaxas is the author, most recently, of “Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life” ( Dutton Adult, 2014).

Scientists begin perhaps to recognise the truth.

Recognition

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The thought came to me while jogging, as they often do, about real recognition. We all want to matter to others, to have some significance in this life, and some would want to lay up treasure and reward for the next. Is your main aim in life to be recognised? To be a top sportsman or win “X factor” or even be well known in the church world? Here’s what I call real recognition….check out these words of Scripture,” And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” (Acts 19:15). The demons in their prison know Jesus and they knew Paul, because both were used of God to plunder the kingdom of darkness and bring people into the light of eternal life. Our Lord Jesus and his faithful messenger Paul were known in hell! That is real recognition. That is the recognition to aim at!!

To whom do you submit?

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Christ the king, rules from heaven and took his throne via the cross. In a sense he still rules from the cross which is the means by which he takes his rightful place as king having redeemed, sanctified and glorified his people by the Holy Spirit.

Years ago as a young Christian believer I sat under the ministry of Rev. Eric Alexander in St.George’s-Tron Church, Glasgow. When speaking on church membership in one sermon he addressed those who were “church-hoppers” or mavericks who thought they could be upright believers without joining a fellowship, his question to those in that situation was, “To whom do you submit?”

Submission to authority in a church is a basic necessity in Christian discipleship. Christ submitted to his Father. Wives submit to husbands, Citizens submit to those in authority. The writer to Hebrews states,” Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever…. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:7,8,17).

The position of Chief Shepherd of the flock is Christ’s but he delegates to under-shepherds (elders) the rule in instituted churches-that is why all believers in obedience to the word of God, must needs be members of true churches with oversight. Hence this article in our church creed..

Belgic Confession Article 28

Hiprunner

Hiprunner

Hi parkrun UK
I suspect I am not the only parkrunner to have had a hip replacement, in fact, there is now a website called HipRunner for all such runners. There is much debate about whether people with artificial hip should run; most orthopaedic surgeons say ‘no’ to all high impact sports including running but many totally ignore this advice and do marathons… run from John O’Groats to Land’s End… amongst other things. One possible side effect of running is loosening of the implant but I need to do more research to see how much evidence there is for this. In the meantime I continue to train, run more on the balls of my feet and do low or non-impact cycling or cross-training if my hip aches.
Regards,
Dr Julian Kennedy

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE INCARNATION?

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It’s the time the godless world celebrates an event it really has no saving interest in. It never entered God’s timetable and the true church just barely puts up with it. The only truth is what it is meant to celebrate (see below) but even if Christians jump on the bandwagon in their liberty to do so, nothing in the whole commercial mess is worthy of the one who is purportedly at the centre. Almost everything bar the Biblical facts is wrong!
What Biblical word would best captures the essence of the incarnation of Christ? What theological term is at the heart of the celebration of the birth of the Eternal Son of God into the world of men? The Hindu theological term for the morphing of deity into humanity is “avatara” which means “descent”. However, the Pauline word *KENOSIS*, the anglicized transliteration of a Greek word found in Philippians 2:7, is a much more profoundly pregnant word, a richer, word sublime lexeme which gives us a glimpse into the glorious Eternal Reality that God became man. This term dates back to 8th century Homerian classical Greek, denoting the “emptying” of a thing such as a cistern, for example. “What is meant is that the heavenly Christ did not selfishly exploit His divine form and mode of being, but by His own decision emptied Himself of it or laid it by, taking the form of a servant by becoming man. The subject of ἐκένωσεν is not the incarnate but the pre-existent Lord. There is a strong sense of the unity of His person. The essence remains, the mode of being changes—a genuine sacrifice” (1).

Glory, Hallelujah. At the time of Christ’s physical conception and birth, the Second Person of the Godhead literally poured out Himself, divested Himself of all external, conspicuous radiance and effulgence of Glory, Honor, and Preeminence. He deliberately opted to be born to a poor Davidic family, so poor that Blessed Mary and Joseph had not the means to offer a lamb for His dedication and circumcision and rite on the eighth day after His birth (Luke 2:22-24), but were forced to humbly offer only two pigeons or turtledoves, a proviso in the Levitical covenant reserved for only the most destitute of Hebrew families (Lev. 12:8). Let these sayings sink into your ears. There was no room for Him to be born in a lodge, His Holiness being forced to be born in a manger suitable not for men but animals, as if to say that animals are more worthy of Him than sinful men. He came unto His own, and His own did not receive Him, so a star (whether it was a planetary conjunction or a supernova has some have conjectured, or a purely supernatural phenomenon is immaterial) appeared in the East to the Magi and they came bearing gifts and homage, as a portent that the Gift of the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon the Gentiles and that the force of all nations would pay tribute to the Great King, the Jews judging themselves unworthy of eternal life, save a remnant according to the election of grace. What is man that You are mindful of him? You came once, and we desire You to come again, as you promised to not leave us as orphans but to come to us again. Even so, Marantha, Lord Jesus.

Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
~Philippians 2:5-11

~ (1) Vol. 3: Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964- (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (661). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

 with thanks to Daniel Stephen Courney