Little Bobby’s Letters To God

Little Bobby's Letters To God
Little Bobby came into the kitchen where his mother was making dinner. His birthday was coming up and he thought this was a good time to tell his mother what he wanted. “Mom, I want a bike for my birthday.” Little Bobby was a bit of a troublemaker. He had gotten into trouble at school and at home.
Bobby’s mother asked him if he thought he deserved to get a bike for his birthday. Little Bobby, of course thought he did. Bobby’s mother wanted Bobby to reflect on his behavior over the last year. “Go to your room, Bobby, and think about how you have behaved this year. Then write a letter to God and tell him why you deserve a bike for your birthday.”
Little Bobby stomped up the steps to his room and sat down to write God a letter.
Letter 1

Dear God,
I have been a very good boy this year and I would like a bike for my birthday.
I want a red one.
Your friend,
Bobby knew that this wasn’t true. He had not been a very good boy this year,
So he tore up the letter and started over.
Letter 2

Dear God,
This is your friend Bobby. I have been a good boy this year and I would like
A red bike for my birthday. Thank you.
Your friend,
Bobby knew that this wasn’t true either. So, he tore up the letter and started again.
Letter 3

Dear God,
I have been an OK boy this year. I still would really like a bike for my birthday.
Bobby knew he could not send this letter to God either. So, Bobby wrote a fourth letter.
Letter 4

I know I haven’t been a good boy this year. I am very sorry.
I will be a good boy if you just send me a bike for my birthday.
Please! Thank you,
Bobby knew, even if it was true, this letter was not going to get him a bike. Now, Bobby was very upset. He went downstairs and told his mom that he wanted to go to church. Bobby’s mother thought her plan had worked, as Bobby looked very sad. Just be home in time for dinner, Bobby’s mother told him.
Bobby walked down the street to the church on the corner. Little Bobby went into the church and up to the altar. He looked around to see if anyone was there. Bobby bent down and picked up a statue of the Mary.
He slipped the statue under his shirt and ran out of the church, down the street, into the house, and up to his room. He shut the door to his room and sat down with a piece of paper and a pen. Bobby began to write his letter to God.
Letter 5



Prayer In Times Of Earthquakes

Prayer In Times Of Earthquakes
Loving God, we lift our prayers and intentions for all those affected by the earthquake. We often do not understand why these things happen in our world, but we must place our trust in your divine providence and go to you for the help we need, regardless if it is in good times or bad times. Lord, please bless all the affected people, help them to persevere and be strong. Help all affected to see your face in the love and care provided by the rescuers, medical staff, and fellow members of the human family. Please grant strong faith, courage, and healing to all the affected persons. Please also motivate the people of the world to provide assistance and care in all the locations affected by this situation. We pray in the name of your beloved son Jesus, the Good Shepherd of your people. Amen.
O God, who has established the earth upon firm foundations, graciously receive the prayers of Your people: and, having utterly removed the dangers of the shaken earth, turn the terrors of Your divine wrath into the means of the salvation of mankind; that they who are of the earth, and unto earth shall return, may rejoice to find themselves citizens of heaven by means of a holy life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Ocean of Compassion

Ocean of Compassion
If we embark upon a contemplative journey through the different miracles Jesus had performed, we can easily decipher the inner inspiration carved on the surface of their soul. And that is nothing but the Lord’s own compassion for His sheep-fold. None of His miracles was designed for either name, fame or public applause. Instead, each of them was a relentless outpouring of His compassion. His Sacred Heart was like a limitless sky of genuine empathy! And in Him lay spilling over the endless ocean of the same compassion!
It was His hands of compassion that He stretched out as He made the paralytic walk straight, brought the blind to the unseen horizons of sight and fed the hungry with the loaves of love baked in the oven of ineffable providence. It was the same hands of Him that were extended toward the most loathsome lepers as He hugged them close to His breast and opened the eyes of the dead as He restored them to life. Each of His utterances was sweet-coated with compassion and His merciful looks caused Him to weep as He saw the miseries of His people. He wiped off their tears with His kerchief of compassion and rained down relentlessly in their hearts as a shower of lasting consolation!
This same Jesus is the deepest ocean of compassion that incessantly embraces, with its comforting waves, the restless shores of our inner inflictions and carry away into the depths all anxieties, worries and fears that remain there and provides us with instant healing and eternal serenity. Let us daily accompany and imitate Him and there by be filled with this heavenly virtue of compassion.
Let us gather from the fullness of that same ocean a tiny yet divine drop of compassion and preserve it inside the sacred container of our heart. And this little treasure within us will certainly and always guide our steps and help us to be more considerate and kind towards our fellow beings. Blessed are those who are compassionate to others; God will be compassionate to them (Mt. 5:7).
- – - written by Fr. Thomas Pattathilchira, CMF


Am I Handicapped?

Am I Handicapped
Recently I visited one of the institutions where the physically handicapped people are taken care. They are very happy to be recognized; especially when they meet some visitors they feel very happy forgetting their disabilities. On my return, I was reflecting about the spiritual handicaps which we are not aware in our lives.
God created me in his own image, lacking nothing. He has given me eyes to see the marvelous works of God in this creation. I am also able to see Jesus’ face in my brothers and sisters, which gives me tremendous joy when I spent time with them. I can see the mighty God, in the form of bread, in the Holy Communion. I keep my eyes holy by often spending time with My Lord. I know that I should become an eye for those people who are not able to see, and who fail to see the reality. I can see the alphabets very clearly and I go to my spiritual doctor, Jesus for the check up of my eyes thus it remains an attractive one, by which many could be attracted to my Lord.
The tongue, although one, is often powerful than any other parts of the body. I am aware that each word I utter can give life or death to the next, thus forcefully uphold its virtue. I can speak the miracles happened in life daily, and raise God’s praise and pray. The Almighty becomes tangible in my tongue and I experience the divine presence through Holy Communion. I can speak other’s goodness and can encourage the other. Proclamation of the Word is possible through its effective use, and I read the word of God meditatively. If I do spent time with God like the prophet, my tongue could become a powerful weapon for God as well as for the people, and might be the voice of the voiceless as well as sword in the hands of God.
Both hands are given to me to continue the good work of God in this creation, wherever I go. I can be faithful to God by using these hands to nurse others lovingly, to lift others carefully, to embrace others divinely, and to bless others priestly. I can write with these hands. I do praise God by lifting my hands or folding them humbly.
I do find pleasure in walking in the way of the Lord. I can reach out to the people, who are expecting my presence, in the streets, orphanages, neighbors, sick and abandoned. At times God gives more strength, and I walk fast to the altar of the Lord.
I hear the consoling voice of God, especially when I go for confession. My ears are very toned to His voice, and I am able to discern God’s voice which comes through my authorities, friends, parents etc. God is very kind to me and I can lend my ears to those people who are nobody or who are waiting to speak out their inner self. I keep my ears clean thus I will be able to hear the others as well as God’s goodness alone.
If the heart beat stops, whole human being might become still forever. It is very true, if divine love does not bloom in my heart, my spiritual life is ended. I create the union of hearts in me, between and God’s,mine as well as others. I do experience God’s love, especially at times of prayer, Eucharist and sacrament of reconciliation. I know my hearts beats, and I cherish the fragrance of love by being with my Lord, and my brothers and sisters.

My Handicaps

When I sit in front of my Lord who is fullness I see my handicaps in various areas. I could measure it by comparing my heart with my Lord. I wonder the following could become some signs for my spiritual handicaps:
The real innocent nature in me has been lost, and I am not able to have a genuine smile in face. Often I try to smile artificially, which creates even more tension than reducing. To imagine or see the goodness in others has become a terrible dream, thus avoid those people who are good. In spite of appreciating others, watch them with a doubt. However one tries, the words of encouragements or appreciation does not come from heart, but remains only in lips. One does find pleasure in few companions who are able to cop up with their narrow ideologies. One does watch with suspicion even their friends, if they move with any other. One does not want to be challenged even by God.
There is no shortage of excuses in one’s daily life. One cannot sit quietly in front of God for some time. One might not be able to have the prayer of contemplation or meditation. Even if one sets time for prayer, without uttering words or using books one could not continue. Too much conscious about the time often compels one to look at time frequently.
Only a person who receives energy from the true energy, else one cannot give or become energizer. Without receiving the energy continuously, if anybody tries to become life-giving energizers, it will not last, and that might cause the handicap. There are people who are handicapped, in our community, family and society. They might be pretending that they are care takers without acknowledging about their handicaps. Am I also included among them?
- – - written by Fr. Biju Maramkuzhackal SVD


Passing On Our Faith To Children

Passing On Our Faith To Our Children
Passing on our faith to our children may seem discouraging, still each parent can be effective in ways no one else can. Each child has a special bond with his / her parents and it is designed by the creator. Because of this special relationship , parents have a greater opportunity to teach and profoundly influence their children than anyone else. God, knowing this situation or recognizing this situation has commissioned parents with the task of training their children spiritually.
God has given us as parents the primary responsibility for passing on ‘His’ truth and the way of life to our children. Read God’s instructions in Deuteronomy 6;5-7, “ You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart , with all your soul and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way , when you lie down and when you rise up “. St Paul told Timothy “From childhood you have known the Sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 3;15). St Paul in his letter to Timothy says “ I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, which I am sure you have inherited”. ( 2 Tim. 1;5) Thus, the faith goes down to generations.
We catholic parents undoubtedly have a desire to see our children live by the truth taught by our Church. Some may exert pressure on the children to compete with others and shine in ranks, without inculcating in them the ideas and morals they should hold dear and the habits they should follow. We do notice that our society is deteriorating morally. Values taught by religions are not considered very important. Some argue that there is no absolute truth and so truth is considered as relative.That is why our Pope Benedict XVI always talks against relativism that is questioning and destroying traditional values. “ God has not changed in any thing” says Malachi ( Ch 3;6) “Christ Jesus is the same today, as yesterday and for ever.”( Heb.13;8) says St. Paul.
We parents have to do the teaching, guiding and setting the example. We can teach them only if we acquire some knowledge of the Bible and the teachings of the Church through reading and listening to preachings. We may feel inadequate in the task and that is why our priests, religious and competent lay persons give instructions through sunday classes. Very often we hear that sex education will be introduced in school. The parents are the best teachers on the subject because they can tell their children all spiritual aspects involved whereas the secular teaching is purely materialistic and even encouraging spiritually wrong ways to deal with problems.
But the children have to be receptive. “Hear, my child, your father’s instruction and do not reject your mother’s teaching for they are a fair garland for your head and pendants for your neck “ ( Prov. 1;8) Young people have a responsibility and duty too. They need to open their eyes and ears and in a willing attitude learn the truth as their parents are the most reliable teachers. Some children may resist. Mostly it may be due to our wrong approach or their misunderstanding, which can be rectified. When we speak from the heart in love about what is in our hearts from God’s Spirit , it is likely that we will see our children waiting to listen. If any child chooses not to embrace God’s truth and words, it should not be because we parents did not diligently teach them the Word of God and the sacred traditions. As we parents are responsible to teach our children, excuses like lack of time, lack of knowledge, lack of interest for listening and study by children should be overcome suitably.
Parents can play a powerful role in encouraging their children to choose God’s way of life. We may not be highly educated or trained for teaching. When we walk with God, the creator will show the way. Some may be more naturally gifted in teaching, but all share the duty and responsibility We also do affect the faith of our children even if it is only by our example. As parents let us make sure that we follow the divine instructions given in Deuteronomy 6;5-7. If we do our part, we can help our children embrace the true catholic faith. Like Timothy’s grandmother and mother, we too can pass this faith to our children from generation to generation.
- – - written by K. C. Thomas

TO GOVERN IS TO SERVE (On the Royal Wedding)

By Stephen Green
First published in Christian Voice May 2011
Luke 22:25  And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
26  But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
27  For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
It was highly significant that the royal couple William and Catherine should compose a prayer to be read out by the Bishop of London in his sermon on their wedding day.  This is what they prayed:
‘God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.
‘In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.
‘Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.’
They have begun by thanking God, whom they have acknowledged as their Father, for the blessings of their families, their love and their joy.  Then they have prayed to keep their priorities right and to be generous in every way.  Importantly, they have asked God to help them to serve and to comfort the suffering and they have asked it all in the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
The expression ‘comfort those who suffer’ reminds us of Jeremiah’s prophecy of the return ofIsrael:
Jer 31:13: Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.
Paul’s words to the Thessalonians:
1Thess 5:14  Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all.
And Isaiah’s prophecy of the ministry of the Messiah:
Isa 61:1  The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Sion, to give unto them beauty for Ashes, the oil of joy for morning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.
4 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
It was the late Sir Edward Heath who said in 1970 from the steps of10 Downing Street, ‘To govern is to serve.’  This is not the place to ask whether he lived up to that declaration; it is difficult not to fall short of our ideals in government. But the sentiment he expressed was most certainly informed by the words of Jesus Christ in Luke 22.
The concept of service is one which our monarch honours not least in the distribution of Maundy money, which finds its origin in our Lord’s washing of his disciples feet. And the paradox that the greatest shall be as the least, the master shall serve, the lowly shall be exalted, the meek shall inherit the earth finds its culmination in our Lord’s words in Matthew:
Matt 20:28: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
God gave himself for us, as a perfect design example of the greatest becoming the least and through that act of service being restored and glorified again.  Christ’s sacrifice echoes a theme which runs all the way through scripture. In Mary’s song of praise God hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree (Luke1:52).  Our Lord was not inventing a new doctrine. The psalm says:
Psalm 37:11: But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
It could be difficult, humanly speaking, for the Duke and Duchess ofCambridgeto have the humility to come down from their lofty position and fulfil the hopes of their prayer. But that is precisely why they have prayed and we believe the grace of God will enable them and that God does indeed answer prayer.
Psalm 37:5: Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
The Bible is particularly keen to impress the virtue of humility on leaders. Paul in Romans 13 places the King under the authority of God. He is the minister of God, Paul writes.  Human authority derives from Almighty God. Those were radical words at the time and they are radical words today.
King David in his last recorded speech remembered this:
Sam 23:3: The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over mean must be just, ruling asin the fear of God.
WhenIsraeldemanded a King, Samuel warned them of the tendency of Kings to oppress. No doubt he had in mind the warnings given to the future king in Deuteronomy not to multiply silver and gold, not to lift up his heart above his brethren, and above all to learn to fear the Lord his God by copying and studying the law of God (Deut 17:17-20).  The king who keeps God’s commandments, we read, will prolong his days and those of his children.
In many ways, the Royal wedding service has come from a more traditionalist point of view than is fashionable amongst the ruling class today. Indeed, the concept of service itself is not exactly the flavour of the month. The evangelical awakening fostered Victorian philanthropy and our duty to serve became part of the Protestant work ethic.  This Godly philosophy spread throughout the whole of society.  Our civil service was the envy of the world and copied throughout the Commonwealth.
Until very recently we still thought we could rely upon those in public service to serve. Perhaps the only place where the ideal of service still persists is in the process of being elected to public office.  Those seeking positions as members of parliament and especially as councillors find that to be voted in, particularly when trying to overturn another party’s majority, it is usually necessary to spend the four-year term leading up to the election making themselves available to the local community, taking uop local issues, helping with housing benefit, agitating for the fixing of street lights and paving stones.  To be the chief in the community it is necessary to be among the people as one who serves.
But for permanent publ;ic sector staff, sadly, when the neo-conservative enthusiasm for targets moved in across theAtlanticlike a storm, it replaced the virtue of service by self-interest. What will benefit the community swiftly became subservient to that which would benefit the Department as the meeting of targets brought financial rewards to the organisation.
Social service used to be done in the community by middle-aged women, who gave their time as freely as William and Catherine prayed they would give theirs.  Today, social services is a career and people seem only to care when they are paid to do so.  Of course those same middle-aged women were able to give their time so freely because their husbands brought home a living wage and taxation was much lower than it is today.  Arguably, the unpaid social workers of yesterday delivered a more understanding and compassionate service than the university-educated, politically-correct employees of County Hall.
Needless to say, the biblical injunction to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God (Micah 6:8) has gone with the idea of service in our brave new secular world where everyone is out for himself, a law unto himself, there is no such thing as a society, and the family  has been redefined to be two or more individuals who share a fridge.
That is why we can be thankful and enthusiastic about the recent Royal wedding on so many levels. There were the three most influential leaders declaring and proclaiming the beauty and solemnity  of marriage. We heard arguably the greatest Christian church in our land outside the cathedrals ringing with praises to God. We heard prayers made in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And above all, we heard the second in line to the throne and his bride pray in the spirit of Jesus Christ to serve the people and comfort those who suffer.  We saw in that moment a declaration of faith from a man and a woman who will God willing one day be King and Queen.  May the Lord uphold them, deepen and quicken their faith, bring those alongside them who will teach and encourage them, and bring their noble prayer to fruition.


By Stephen Green
First Published in Christian Voice June 2011
John 15:7  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
The last few months have been something of a challenge to me. Three dear friends for whom Judy and I were praying to be healed have gone to be with the Lord.  And we were not the only ones praying.  Christians with stronger faith than us were believing for restoration and healing for these precious servants of the Lord.
The words of our Lord are as clear as can be.  “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” Clearly there is either something wrong with the promise or with our prayers or with us.  And it cannot be that there is something wrong with the promise.
Andrew Murray, in his book “with Christ in theSchoolofPrayer” cautions against inserting a condition to qualify the words of our Lord.  He observes that many believers add the expression “If it be the will of the Lord”. Murraysays that to add such a condition has an outward show of piety but diminishes the power of God and the force of the words.   It is not what our Lord actually said.
Faith is obviously a key.  Many times in the Gospels we hear our Lord commend people for their faith.  “Thy faith hath made thee whole,” he told both the woman with the flow of blood and the blind man.  I often feel like the man who cried out to him, “Lord I believe; help thou my unbelief.”
Perhaps a university education in the dark, satanic, rationalist mill of one of our oldest seats of learning did not help me to see beyond the physical to the spiritual reality.  If the friends for whom I was praying depended on my prayers for their healing I should not be surprised if they and I were disappointed.
It has been said, “Never spoil a good prayer with a bad confession.” How many times do we catch ourselves, having prayed as fervently as we will for some positive outcome, turning away after the final powerful amen and thinking to ourselves, “I’m not sure the Lord is going to do that.”  Both Christ in Mark 11:23 and Paul in Romans 10:9 speak of what can be done if you “believe in your heart.”
Please don’t get me wrong.  I have prayed for people and they have been healed.  I have witnessed miracles of healing.  It is just that three deaths in as many months, three times in which prayer has gone unanswered, can be something of a spiritual setback.  I can blame my lack of faith for the lack of results.  And yet, as I say, there were believers with far greater faith than mine praying for these brothers and our sister.
In one of the chapters of “with Christ in theSchoolofPrayer”,Murrayobserves that confidence in the promise is only as good as confidence in the promiser.  That leads me to wonder if I should be focusing more on the Lord himself than on what he can do for me.
Were we praying for ourselves when we prayed for our friends to recover, or was it for the glory of God?   Yes, knowing that God is likely to answer prayers that he be glorified, and wanting to see him glorified in any case, we naturally prayed that God would be glorified in the return to health of the sick.  But in our hearts, was it our benefit or the good of the Kingdom which occupied our minds?  In John15:16the Lord links our requests to the father with the bringing forth of fruit.
John 15:16  Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 
Let us not forget that, aside from the Lord’s prayer, the only specific thing Jesus told his disciples to pray for was for labourers to be sent into the harvest field.  Such a prayer is a prayer for mission, it is a prayer for the Kingdom.  Perhaps prayers for the terminally ill to recover can be made because we do not want to see them go from us rather than because their recovery will be for the good of the Kingdom, or possibly even good for them.
After all, do we not console ourselves by expressing the thought that the departed are in “a better place” . A funeral can be more about us marking a rite of passage for the benefit of our frailties than about the departed.  In the same way, although we may stand beside the sickbed pleading with God to be glorified in this person’s healing, we may be thinking of how much we should miss them should they go.  Looking at their achievements for the Kingdom and how they had exercised their talents, it could be that these two men and one woman of God had faithfully done all their duty and were now called home to rest.
When all else fails it is good to go to the Psalms.  There we find all our human hopes and fears, our misery and our joy, the depths of the soul and the glory of God expressed in a way which can lift our spirits.  To pick up again onMurray’s recommendation that we concentrate more on the giver than the gift, we can ease ourselves into that frame of mind by this verse from Psalm 37:
Psalm 37:4  Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
We can read this verse looking to the promise in the second half, but perhaps to delight in the Lord is an end in itself.  A couple of weeks ago I had the great privilege of taking part in a house group study on the first Psalm.  The first two verses say this:
Psalm 1:1  Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  2  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 
If we look to the Hebrew, the second verse can be translated: “but his delight is in the Torah of Yahweh.” We see the same expression over and over in Psalm 119.  The very first verse says:
Psalm 119:1  ALEPH.  Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. 
Again the expression “the law of the Lord” is really “the Torah of Yahweh.”  We find an echo in the verse with which we opened, where Christ said: “if my words abide in you”.  In truth we find the character of God expressed in his word.  Christ is God incarnate so every word of Scripture is a word from the Messiah himself.  To delight in the Lord is to delight in his instruction.  In order to pray with the mind of God we must know the mind of God, and we shall find the mind of God in the Scriptures and above all in his Torah.  Then we can say with the Psalmist:
Psalm 40:8  I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. 
It is said of Rhys Howells then he reached the point where he would pray for the sick and the Lord would reveal to him whether they would be healed or not.  To have something of the Spirit the Lord placed in Howells would be an undoubted advantage.  It would certainly save time in prayer if we knew what the will of the Lord was for each individual for whom we prayed.  That being said, I really cannot envisage putting myself through what that man endured for the sake of his closer walk with God.  Thank God we serve a Lord who knows our frailties, generously deals with us as individuals and meets us at the point of our need.
Solomon asked merely for wisdom from on high in order to discharge the duty the Lord had laid upon him.  He did not ask for riches, wealth or honour.  The Almighty, hearing his prayer, granted him wisdom, and because he had only asked for that, gave him riches, wealth and honour as well (2Chron1:10-11).  In the same way I believe that as we concentrate more on, or as the Bible puts it, “delight in” the Lord, in his law and in our duty towards him, the desires of our hearts will be added.  Not that we will stop articulating the desires of our heart in our prayers, consoling ourselves rather with the thought that the Lord knows what we need before we ask.  No, we shall still ask, over and again if necessary, but we shall have things in a right perspective.
I have found that as I pray to know God more deeply, and back up that prayer by fasting, such prayer is answered.  Unexpectedly at such times the Lord has also granted me other encouragements, things which I was scarcely aware I was praying for.
So the events of the last three months, the disappointments, the anguish, the sadness, have spurred me on to seek the Lord more in prayer and in his word, to delight in him, and to strive to be in a place where I know the mind of God and attain by his grace a deeper faith in the one who promises that if we seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness then all else will be added.

SERVING GOD AND MAMMON (On the Conservative Christian Fellowship)

By Stephen Green
First Published in Christian Voice August 2011
Matthew 6:24  No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Last months’s Christian Voice newsletter carried an article about David Cameron’s party for gay activists in10 Downing Street.  We also reproduced the full text of his speech.
Mr Cameron’s determination to force sodomy onAfricawas also printed in Pink News, which was understandably delighted, and in the London Evening Standard.  The Press Association syndicated the story world-wide, so it hardly suffered from inadequate or biased reporting.
Whatever one’s view on the rights and wrongs of using foreign aid to co-erce the governments of poorer nations to legalise vice, or indeed to change policy in any direction, the bare facts were undeniable.
Mr Cameron’s declaration of intent has led us to call a meeting next month (6th September) at the Emmanuel Centre in Victoria, to record a video and post a petition, all with a hope that the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at the end of October will tell Mr Cameron that the white man does not know best and that his neo-colonialism is not acceptable in the modern world.
We circulated details of the video, petition and meeting by e-mail to our members and supporters and wider afield, in the hope that there would be an international reaction against what we see as David Cameron’s cultural imperialism.
One e-mail recipient, a member indeed of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, decided to complain closer to home, and e-mailed its leadership, hoping to elicit their support in bringing some prophetic witness to bear inside the Conservative Party itself.  He received the most extraordinary response.
A spokesman from the Conservative Christian Fellowship replied:
‘Sadly the report you refer to is both sensational and unhelpful.  As I understand it the British Government’s approach to supporting Human Rights inAfricahasn’t changed since the 1948 UN Declaration Human Rights. Something I am sure all Christians can comfortably sign up to.’
Our correspondent, taking this plain if ungrammatical denial on trust, then understandably berated Christian Voice:
‘Where did you get your information?’ he fumed.  ‘If it was from the homosexuals, I would beware of listening to people who are against both the Gospel and the Conservative party.’
I dislike having to criticise fellow Christians in public, and would not do it at all without first having e‑mailed the CCF myself. Nevertheless, an organisation which its Patron, Gary Streeter MP, says has ‘made an impact’ and ‘stood up for Christian values’ and which claims to be ‘a vibrant Christian witness within the Conservative Party’, turns out to be less committed to Christian values and the cause of the Gospel than to the Conservative Party in whose headquarters it is based.
In point of fact, it is so dedicated to putting a brave face on the less-than-Christian antics of the Coalition Government that it is prepared to twist the truth.  Fair enough, to describe a report as ‘sensational and unhelpful’ is not to say it is untrue.  But to go on to say that British Government policy towards homosexuality has not changed in sixty-three years and that the Government is doing only that which Christians cannot fail to support is a barefaced, risible, outright lie.
True enough, we do not know what the leaders of the CCF have been saying privately to Mr Cameron.  They may, for all we know, have been protesting with all their strength.  But their public response hardly gives an inkling that they have any misgivings about his pro-gay foreign aid policy whatsoever.  Denying it actually exists, following a well-publicised and undisputed speech from the Prime Minister himself is certainly not a promising start.
It may be that some aspiring young things see their membership of the CCF coupled with enthusiastic support of their party as a stepping-stone to eventual membership of the House of Commons.  ‘When I get there, or when I become a minister, or when I become Prime Minister, then I’ll speak out and make a real difference,’ they might think.
But it doesn’t work like that:
Luke 16:10  He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
We are tested on our faith at every stage.  By working hard to advance our employer’s or the party’s cause by honest means, by making ourselves useful, being diligent at every turn, we can certainly earn the right to be listened to.  That is how we advance, not by defending the indefensible.  By putting God first, seeking first his kingdom and righteousness, all else will be added (Matt6:33).
But when we put the demands of God, his kingdom and righteousness second, the problems start.  Not only can we not serve God and another master at the same time, but the Apostle James points out:
Jas 1:8  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
Jas 4:8  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
And indeed, as James suggests, that kind of thinking, ‘Just wait till I get into power then I’ll show them,’ leaves out the power of God to raise up one and pull down another.  It forgets his power to bestow favour in the eyes of men.
Joseph certainly did not think like the CCF appear to.  He did not flinch when his boss’s wife tried to seduce him.  Today that would be seen as a forgivable bit-on-the-side but the Godly men of old viewed adultery as a betrayal.  For resisting wickedness Joseph was thrown into prison, and that might have been the end of him, had not the Lord granted him favour because of his faithfulness first with the prison governor and then with Pharaoh himself:
Gen 39:21  But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.
Acts 7:10  And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.
Joseph was not the last to be granted favour by God for his faithfulness to the Law of the Lord.  Samuel was not afraid to tell Eli that the Lord’s judgment was to fall on his house.  Despite this, or because the Lord knew what kind of fearless young man Samuel was to be, in the previous chapter we read:
1Sam 2:26  And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men.
Daniel stood up for righteousness, refusing to eat meat dedicated to idols.  He managed by diligence and study and willingness to learn to make himself useful in the service of the king, but without compromising his beliefs.  So we read:
Dan 1:9  Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.
God bestows favour on the faithful.  Proverbs says:
Prov 12:2  A good man obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.
And in the Gospels we read:
Luke 2:52  And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
Peter risked unpopularity by standing up on the Day of Pentecost and giving his great sermon with all its condemnation of those who crucified Jesus and encouragement to turn to the risen Jesus and be saved.  It was straight-down-the-line no-holds-barred full-frontal evangelism.  And it was honoured by God, in the numbers saved and bestowing of favour with men.  The believers, we read, were:
Acts 2:47  Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
When we look at the example of the prophets we see men, even men in the Court, who risked their lives by telling kings things they did not want to hear.
Nathan admonished David for his adultery and murder of Uriah: ‘Thou art the man’, he told him, chillingly (2Sam 12:7), in what I believe was a public rebuke, in the light of the public consequences which Nathan said would follow.  It is certain that David’s sin was public knowledge and Nathan’s condemnation of it was more than a quiet word in private.
The prophet Isaiah did not shrink from public condemnation of national sins.  Even as a young man, he was denouncing the princes in king Uzziah’s administration for taking bribes and perverting judgment (Isa1:23).  And despite this (or because of it once again!) we see the Lord giving Isaiah a glittering career in the heart of government even under unrighteous king Ahaz (2Chr 28:1) and being unafraid to pronounce judgement on king Hezekiah for his stupidity in showing the Babylonian ambassador all his wealth (Isa 39:6).
Not all the prophets were as high up as Nathan and Isaiah, but not one of them flinched from his duty to tell it as God saw it.  They were well-versed in the scriptures, meditating in the law of God (Josh 1:8, Psa 1:2, 119:15 &c) and through that knowing the mind of God.  They were not men-pleasers but devoted to God.  They and the Apostles set their sights, not on climbing the greasy pole of earthly preferment, but on what the Epistle to the Hebrews describes as ‘a better resurrection’ (Heb11:35) and Paul portrays as a ‘crown of righteousness’ (2Tim 4:8).
We cannot serve both two masters, and these events sadly show that when we try, truth falls alongside faithful witness.  That ought to be a lesson to us all.

EVIL IN THE CITY (On the riots) Stephen Green
First Published in Christian Voice September 2011
Amos 3:6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?
Acres of newsprint, hours of speech and gigabytes of internet have been devoted to finding a cause for the riots inEnglandthat flared up at the end of August.
In natural terms, as David Cameron correctly observed, the lawlessness sprung from ‘a lack of responsibility, which comes from a lack of proper parenting, a lack of proper upbringing, a lack of proper ethics, a lack of proper morals.’
He was right, although it is a pity that he failed to acknowledge how the British Government itself has contributed to the very evils he identified.  No-fault divorce-on-demand, introduced in theUKin the 1960′s, and amoral sex-education from the 1970′s are just two of a raft of measures made in hell which drove our nation into sin and sowed the social wind which would become a whirlwind in the future.
Liberal Elite Forced Evil Onto the Poor
All the legal disorder of the sixties and seventies undermined the basic morality and the familial foundation of our society.  To make it worse, not one of the laws of the permissive society was demanded by the people.  Every single one was a creature of the political class, the civil servants, politicians and opinion-formers of the liberal elite.  Naturally, all the immorality and its consequences bore and still bears most heavily not on the wealthy men who forced it all through, but on the poorer sections of our society.
With an almost total absence of responsible men, let alone fathers, on many of our council estates, with children there knowing ‘their rights’ and the phone number of Social Services if any discipline if so much as mentioned, is it any wonder that those estates have been terrorised by gangs for years now, even before the riots and looting happened?
To be blunt, it would have been a miracle if the riots and looting had not happened, in natural terms.  It was, to use the popular expression, ‘waiting to happen.’
Lest anyone think I am being too acerbic against our rulers (the political class, as I called them above) just look at what the Prophet Amos says about the wealthy women ofSamaria:
Amos 4:1  Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink. 2  The Lord GOD hath sworn by his holiness, that, lo, the days shall come upon you, that he will take you away with hooks, and your posterity with fishhooks.
He calls them ‘cows’, which many might say is not too loving.  Amos names these wealthy women as oppressors, and his heart is for the poor and needy upon whom the policies of their husbands were bearing heavily.
God Brings the Disaster
However, Amos does not see things in the naturalistic way in which a majority even of Christians might see them.  At the start of Chapter Three he asks a series of nine rhetorical questions.  Each of them requires the answer ‘No.’  Here are the first seven:
Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
4 Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing?
5 Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin is for him? shall one take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all?
6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?
In a very Hebrew way, Amos starts with the uncontroversial and builds to a climax.  It would be nitpicking to say that on occasions the hunter might catch nothing in his snare; a practised trapper would certainly expect to find something there.  In the same way, the expectation is that the people will be afraid if they hear the warning trumpet.  Lastly, if disaster or calamity befall a city, says Amos, it did not just happen by chance; the Lord did it.
The context may be argued to mitigate the conclusion.  Amos has systematically laid out the sins ofSyria,Gaza,Tyre,Edom,Ammon,Moab, Judah and, lastly,Israel, his principal focus and burden.  For their mounting transgressions God ‘will not turn away’.  It may be possible to say that some disasters are specifically the doing of the Lord, in particular, those against nations whom the prophet has specifically identified.  Others, it could be said, come out of nowhere, or that there is a naturalistic explanation for them, which was the proposition with which we opened.  The reader must judge the sense of Amos 3:6 in its context.
Even in its context, Amos would tell us that deeds of violence and destruction at least against the nations he identified came from the same loving heavenly father who removes our transgressions from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12) and who desires not the death of a sinner but rather his repentance (Ezek 33:11).  Calamity is coming from the very God who became one of us in the Lord Jesus Christ and endured the horror of the Cross to save mankind, or as many as would put their faith in him, from the consequences of their sins.
Righteous Perish with the Wicked
It is a hard thought to take in, especially as there must have been, among nearly 3,000 souls who perished in the Twin Towers ten years ago last month, a good  number who feared the Lord.  The same would be true inNairobi, in August 1998, where 247 people died and 5,500 were injured in a bomb attack on the United States Embassy.  One year ago, in June 2010, around Whitehaven inCumbria, a gunman killed twelve.  Did God visit these atrocities upon those cities?  On Boxing Day 2004, almost a quarter of a million lives were lost in the Asian Tsunami.  The one inJapanearlier this year was believed to account for over a thousand lives.  The insurers might call these ‘Acts of God’ but are we seriously willing to blame God for these inundations?
In London, on 7th July 2005, there was a smaller-scale terrorist assault than that in New York which still killed 48 innocent bystanders as well as the four bombers and left 700 injured.  Is that the Lord at work as well?  Two weeks later, a similar attack failed when the bombers made a mess of it.  Many Christians, including me, gave thanks to God for protecting the city.  But, in all honesty, should we give God the credit for savingLondonfrom death this second time but not recognise that he allowed the first offence to proceed to its deadly end?
After all, the Psalmist said: ‘Except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain‘ (Ps 127:1).  The implication is that the Lord may have ill intentions against that city.  Job asked his wife: ‘What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?’ (Job2:10)
God Destroys Nations and Kingdoms
Jeremiah was given a mission to his countrymen:
Jer 18:11  Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.
The prophet is as certain as Amos that in this instance at least God himself is the one sending the disaster, or the ‘evil,’ as the KJV translators put it.  (The same Hebrew word is used as in Amos 3:6: ra’ah, meaning moral evil or an affliction or calamity.)  That verse comes after God’s declaration in the famous potter’s house of his ability and intention to reward nations for their obedience and for their rebellion from his righteous laws:
Jer 18:7  At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;
8  If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.
9  And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;
10  If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
The Lord Jesus himself pronounced judgment against the towns of Corazin,BethsaidaandCapernaum(Luke10:13-15).  A while later, when asked about the Galilaeans slaughtered by Pilate, the Lord Jesus did little to gainsay the understanding that such disasters are warnings or judgments from God:
 Luke 13:1  There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose  blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2  And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
3  I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
4  Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
5  I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
The Lord appears to be saying that there was sin inGalileeandJerusalemwhich did indeed deserve judgment, even though the unfortunate individuals on the receiving end of these particular terrible events were not necessarily those responsible for the judgment.
How Long Shall the Wicked Triumph?
And then Jesus immediately uses these two incidents to issue a warning to his hearers to repent, on pain of perishing in the same way.  Indeed, when the Romans sackedJerusalemin AD70, the destruction was total and the loss of life immense.  Even thoughJerusalemandJudahdeserved the demolition that was to come, the Lord still cried out in anguish over what was to come:
Luke 13:34  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!
God is full of lovingkindness and compassion, but that must also involve judgment on the wicked, either in this world or the one to come, and as nations cannot be called to account in the next world, they must be dealt with in this.  It is not loving to let sin abound, even if grace abounds much more (Rom 6:1).  No father stands by while his children trash the backyard.  No Almighty God can let injustice and evil flourish for ever.  The Psalmist cried out, ‘How long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?‘ (Psalm 94:3).
There is also a sense of collective responsibility.  We are all responsible for the sins of our nation.  Folk may be born again, but if they do not sound the trumpet of warning, Ezekiel says God will require the blood of the wicked at their hands (Ezek3:18-21, 33:2-7) .  The righteous always have a prophetic duty to lift up their voices like a trumpet and warn about the sin in the land (Isa 58:1).  The understanding that the Lord can either protect a city or a nation or bring judgment against it places upon us a huge responsibility as ‘strangers and pilgrims’ in the land:
Jer 29:7  And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.
The text presents prayer and seeking peace as two separate activities, so the Lord requires more of us than just praying for peace.  If we truly wish to see peace in our nation, then we must seek the Lord as to what would make peace with him and then witness that prophetic word (prophetic in the sense of forthtelling the word of God) to our leaders.   As God has clearly set out what he expects of nations in his word, it is not difficult for mature Christians to seek the Lord in the Bible and proclaim that word ‘in the great congregation’ (Psalm 40:9).
It Could Get A Lot Worse Yet
I often hear Christians suggest that our national situation and/or that of the world in general is so bad that the Lord Jesus is set to return any day soon.  If we accept the pre-millennial eschatology behind the suggestion for the sake of argument, one trouble with the view expressed is that Christian campaigners were saying exactly the same in the nineteen-seventies.  They thought it was bad enough then.  Another possible problem is that if the source of the evil for which God would bring judgment originated in the nineteen-sixties, then seventy years from then, rather than fifty, may be the time of judgment.  Either way, it could get a lot worse yet if there is no change in policy in our nation.
The proportion of Scots in favour of gay marriage has risen from 41% to 61% in just nine years, from 2002 to 2010.  How long will it take until we are likeSodom, where righteousness was turned completely on its head?  I am more concerned for our future now than at any previous time. I really believe that unless Christians stand up quickly a time is coming when no man can work (John 9:4) and very few of us will be saved out of the trial to come.  Ezekiel was moved to suggest that only the three most righteous men he could think of would be saved when the Lord stretched out his hand against the land:
Ezek 14:20  Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.
The ministry of Christian Voice may be summed up in these words: ‘Working for Godly government; praying for national repentance.’  If Amos, Jeremiah and the Lord Jesus spoke words which are applicable today, then unless our nation repents, we can expect more and worse disasters in the years to come.  The people of the Lord, Ezekiel’s watchmen, have an awesome duty to perform in any age.  The prophet Amos says:
Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
The word of God is clear.  Even without a specific prophetic warning, the secrets of the Lord have been revealed in Holy Scripture.  We know what God requires of us.  We need to have our own lives in order and we must be active in building the Kingdom and in speaking out against evil.  The final two questions posed by Amos are these:
Amos 3:8 The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?
Dear friends, I am sorry this is such a solemn article, but I have to speak it as I see it.  The very survival of our nation could depend on whether Christian men and women like us rise to the challenge before us.  The Lord Jesus calls us do a very simple thing in proclaiming his word.  If we do this simple thing, we can depend on our mighty God to do the clever stuff, indeed to do the miraculous.  It is not over yet!  Can we rise to the challenge?


By Stephen Green
First Published in Christian Voice November 2011
1 Corinthians 2:16  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
John 15:7  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Joshua 1:8  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
I hope we can take it as a given that every Christian wants to know more of the Lord. Especially in prayer our desire should be to pray with the mind of God.  The Apostle Paul claimed to have the mind of Christ. It is tempting to think from the use of the word ‘we’ that all Christians of whatever level of spiritual maturity have the mind of Christ.
However, that apparently did not apply to the church inCorinth. In the very next chapter the Apostle upbraids them for being carnal rather than spiritual.  They had some way to go before they would have the mind of Christ.  Clearly there are no shortcuts to the throne-room.
Conditions to Be Met
The Lord Jesus laid down a number of conditions which need to be met before prayer will be answered in the exact way hoped when it was made.  One of these conditions is given in the verse above: ‘If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you.’
Prayer at its best is a two way street. We set out our needs before the Lord and attend to his response.  But there are occasions when we cry to the Lord for a particular outcome, and on those occasions especially we need to be praying with the mind of God himself lest we ask amiss, as the Apostle James puts it (Jas 4:3).
So I want to suggest that the place to find the mind of God is quite simply in the word of God. And since our Lord Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the mind of God is the mind of Christ and the word of God is the word of Christ.  Now we can bring the words with which we opened from first Corinthians and the Gospel of John together.  Having the mind of Christ is the same thing as abiding in him and having his words abiding in us.
Prosperity and Success for the Lord
Turning to the quote from the book of Joshua, we all want to be prosperous and successful.  But the context is that Joshua had a job to do.  He had been commissioned by the Lord to take the people ofIsraelinto the promised land.  And he was successful at it precisely because the book of the law did not depart out of his mouth.  He meditated therein and then did exactly what he had been told to do.
It is interesting to note that the ‘book of the law’ was Joshua’s Bible.  All he had was the five books of Moses.  With our complete revelation, we should do a lot better, although we have more to read and more to meditate in.  However, by using the Christian Voice Bible reading plan it is possible to read right through the Bible in one year with a time investment of less than 20 minutes per day.
More of that later, but the point I’m trying to make is that Scripture is teaching us that only by knowing the word of God, meditating in it, and having it never far from our mouths will we know the mind of God well enough to make our prayers heard, our way prosperous and our doings for the Lord successful.
Revelation of the Spirit
A couple of verses earlier in his letter to the church inCorinth, the apostle Paul wrote:
1Cor 2:9  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
We see here that to have the mind of Christ on any given subject we must not just search the Holy Scriptures but also listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us through them.  The Holy Spirit has to soften our hearts and illuminate our minds to make us receptive to the word of God.  Too often we have baggage from the world which has to be cast off to make way for the spirit of God:
Eph 4:22  That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
Just before his famous word about how the Lord Jesus humbled himself to become one of us, the Apostle Paul wrote:
Php 2:5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
For the Holy Spirit to speak to us through the Biblical witness, we need to humble our hearts as Jesus humbled himself for us.  There is no point reading the word of God only to dismiss it as irrelevant or not in accordance with our preconceptions or experiences or an inward voice or a dream we just had or the spirit of the age.  If we filter the Scriptures through our own sinful prejudices we shall never have the mind of Christ.  We need instead to filter our prejudices through the Scriptures and receive the whole counsel of God in humility.
The Power of the Word of God
There is power in the Scriptures which we can only dimly discern.  The Lord Jesus refuted the suggestions of Satan through his knowledge of the Scriptures, in point of fact through verses from the book of Deuteronomy.  Satan was sent away with his tail between his legs.
At other times in his ministry, our Lord took those who were contending with him right back to the scriptures:
Matt 12:5  Have ye not read in the law?
Matt 19:4  Have ye not read?
Matt 21:16  Have ye never read?
Mark 12:10  And have ye not read this scripture?
Mark 12:26  Have ye not read in the book of Moses?
Luke 6:3  Have ye not read so much as this?
The Prophet Isaiah wrote this:
Isa 8:20  To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Word of God in our mouth
Joshua was told that the book of the Law should not depart out of his mouth.  It seems a curious expression.  The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews recalls Jeremiah’s word from the Lord; ‘I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people’  (Heb8:10cf Jer 31:33).
We are rather more used to the word of God being in our minds and our hearts than in our mouths.  Isaiah too speaks of a people who keep the law of God in their hearts, and he gives them a promise which we shall gratefully receive:
Isa 51:7  Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.
But the word of God being in our mouths? What is that about? Is it something to do with the great Hebrew word, the Shema of Deuteronomy?
Deut 6:6  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Speaking and Praying the Word
Teaching and talking constantly of the scriptures, about the scriptures, sharing and discussing the things of God, or being ‘ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear’ (1Peter 3:15).  Having the word of God so close to our mouths that we are as ready to give an answer to unbelievers as our Lord was to Satan only comes from studying the Scriptures and meditating prayerfully, just as Joshua was instructed.
Paul told the Ephesian elders:
Acts 20:27  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
A lifetime of study, prayer and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit was behind that assertion.
There is another place where the Scriptures can usefully be in our mouths, and that is in the place of prayer.  It is good to pray the words of God, firstly because there is no better way to be in agreement with God than by praying the word of God.  The Psalms, the Lord’s Prayer, Jeremiah’s Lamentations, all these are powerful prayers straight from the mind of God.  Secondly, in prayer for a specific matter, it is good to remind the Lord of his word in Scripture.   ‘Lord, your word says …’  And how shall we do any of this except by knowing his word in the first place?
Read the Whole Bible Next Year
I just hope and pray that each of our members will begin really to get into the Bible; and perhaps the best time to start doing that will be on New Year’s Day.
Our Lamplight Bible‑reading plan was one of the first things we published when Christian Voice was formed fifteen years ago.  We published it out of a simple desire to help our members read the word of God, so they could discern the will of God and pray with the mind of God.
What makes the Lamplight Plan different is that we read two chapters of the Old Testament with a chapter or part of a chapter of the New Testament on each day.  The Old Testament is chronological, with the Prophets set in their context.  The order of the New Testament is theological so we start with the Gospel of Luke, follow that with Acts, and end up in John’s Gospel, letters and Revelation.  Unlike some other reading plans, no Scripture except John 1:1-18 is repeated, and Psalms and Wisdom words are interspersed through the year, often alongside relevant OT or NT Scriptures.   So the Lamplight Plan is as good for reading through the Bible the first time or the twenty-first.

‘God can heal today’ say MPs
Three prominent Christian MPs have challenged the Advertising Standards Authority to produce evidence to support their assertion that God cannot heal, reports Total Politics.
The ASA ruled on 1st February 2012 that Christians in Bath may not say in an advertisement:
“NEED HEALING? GOD CAN HEAL TODAY! … We’d love to pray for your healing right now! We’re Christian from churches in Bath and we pray in the name of Jesus. We believe that God loves you and can heal you from any sickness”.
In a letter (on the Total Politics link above) to the Chairman of the ASA, Lord Smith of Finsbury, the MPs, Gary Streeter MP (Con), Gavin Shuker MP (Labour) and Tim Farron (Lib-Dem), from the all-party group Christians in Parliament, mention the prayer that has gone up for Fabrice Muamba and ask if those praying for him are wrong.
The openly-’gay’ Chris, Lord, Smith of Finsbury who is also a vice-president of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, spent his years as an MP doing just that.  In 2009, the ASA cleared the atheist bus ads which claimed there was no God.
As the MPs point out, a belief that God can heal today is based on ‘two thousand years of Christian tradition and the very clear teaching in the Bible’.
The Lord Jesus said: Mark 16:17  ‘And these signs shall follow them that believe; … 18 … they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.’
The Apostle James said: James 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
So James lays down some
One of the claims made by the ASA is that belief that God heals might stop people going to the doctor.  In fact, none of the Bath Christians would advise against medical assistance.  Christian theology views medicine as a gift from God and being a doctor or nurse as a vocation.  One of the evangelists, Luke, was a doctor.  No Christian is going to tell a man with gall stones not to have the operation.
But just as God did not step in to save the Israelites from the advancing Egyptian army in Exodus 14 until they had exhausted all human ideas, and the woman with a flow of blood in Luke 8 had seen all the doctors before she came to Jesus, so it is often when the efforts of medicine can do no more that the miracle comes.
At other times, as in Fabrice Muamba’s case, prayer covers the whole pattern of events, such that an operation and healing go more swiftly and smoothly than anyone could imagine.  And then the doctors speak of ‘a miracle’.
Faith is also important. Both the Lord Jesus and the Apostle James tell us not to doubt.  The ‘double-minded’ will receive nothing from the Lord, says James.  We must not pray and then say to ourselves ‘I don’t think the Lord will do it, but it’s worth a try.’  And prayer has to be fervent, from the heart.
Just put “miraculous healing” into any search engine, be encouraged, and confound the ASA!

Tesco – now it’s mice infestations

It doesn’t get any better for Tesco, who have seen their ‘big price drop’ flop, sales and profits drop, the worst perfomance of the ‘big four’ over Christmas, their share price plummet, their UK operations CEO sacked, their local management in a spin, all since announcing a £30,000 gift to London Gay Pride in November 2011.   And only days ago we reported on a Tesco manageress in Gravesend calling the police because one of our members was giving out our ‘Boycott Tesco’ leaflets outside her store.
Now it’s an infestation of mice in Tesco’s flagship Tesco Metro in Bedford Street in London’s Covent Garden.  The store has been closed by Westminster Environmetal Health Department.
This is not the first time mice have been found in Tesco.  Just over a year ago, in December 2010, a shopper in Birmingham was horrified to see baby mice fall out of crisp packet she picked off the shelves in Tesco’s Aston store.
Customer Liz Wray told the Daily Mirror: “There were half a dozen of them crawling out of different holes in the crisps and we couldn’t believe our eyes. All staff did was put a ­cardboard box over them and close aisle six.
“I’m not sure if they were inside the multipack or if they were just in amongst the packets.
“But there were a lot of holes in the bag, they’d obviously been at them.”
She was astounded that staff did not close the store.  To let mice feed in the store would be bad enough.  For mice to be allowed to build a nest in the stock betrays a lack of seriousness over hygiene and general cleanliness.
And the same inability to distinguish between right and wrong is behind their decision to support ‘gay pride’.  Philip Clarke was elevated to CEO and the recently-departed Philip Brasher to UK Chief in March 2011.  It has all goine wrong since then.  Tesco’s only hope is to put their trust in God.  Repenting of the ‘Gay Pride’ decision will be part of that.
Support : ch2day Website
Copyright © 2011. Iam-Christian - All Rights Reserved