Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Daily Devotionals : Silence

Our spiritual well-being is important to our overall well-being. When our spirits are calm and at peace, our bodies benefit.

The Bible tells us, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Inspirational music, reading, and praying out loud can all help us do that, but there should also be times when we commune with the Lord in silence. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

The goal of this spiritual exercise is to bring peace to your spirit by taking 10 or 15 minutes for silent reflection.

Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. You may want to read a Psalm or listen to or sing a hymn or gospel song to clear your mind of other business and help you “enter into His courts with praise.” Then reflect on one or more of the following thoughts.

From the world of sin and noise
And hurry I withdraw;
For the small and inward voice
I wait with humble awe:
Silent am I now and still,
Dare not in Thy presence move;
To my waiting soul reveal
The secret of Thy Love.
—Charles Wesley

Relax and let go of everything as you enter into the awareness of God’s presence. You can relax and let go of everything, precisely because God is present. In His presence nothing really matters; all things are in His hands. Tension, anxiety, worry, frustration all melt away before him, as snow before the sun. —James Borst

Be earth, with all her scenes, withdrawn;
Let noise and vanity be gone:
In secret silence of the mind,
My heaven, and there my God, I find.
—Isaac Watts

There is hardly ever a complete silence in our soul. God is whispering to us well-nigh incessantly. Whenever the sounds of the world die out in the soul, or sink low, then we hear these whisperings of God. He is always whispering to us, only we do not always hear, because of the noise, hurry, and distraction which life causes as it rushes on.
—F. W. Faber



Psalm 46:10 ESV - “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 62:5 ESV - For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.

Proverbs 17:28 ESV - Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Exodus 07 --- God provides signs, and the plagues begin

Read Exodus 07

- Do you think the signs from God were for Pharaoh’s benefit, for the benefit of Moses so that he would trust in God’s power, for the benefit of the Israelites who would have heard about these miracles, or all of the above?

- V1, Moses was God’s representative. Do we realise how today, we are the closest that some people have to knowing God? Do we recognise that we represent Him whether we are aware of it or not, and that the idea of there being a God, and what His character is like, is being observed through how we act?

- V2-5, why do you think this plan to rescue Israel was taking so long? Could God not have set a ‘sign’ to successfully convince Pharaoh the first time? Is this explained by proving that Pharaoh’s had freewill, or is there a bigger perspective which clarifies why the 10 signs were needed and beneficial for the Israelites? - V7, is anyone too old to be mightily used by God?

- V11, 12, & 22, Have we ever considered how the story of the Exodus wasn’t just about the freedom of the Hebrews physically, but also about spiritual warfare against Satan and some powerful adversaries?

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Bible Devotion : What Does God Desire?

Does God desire a company of people who will obey the ten commandments, give ten percent of all their income to Him, and faithfully attend worship services each week?

NO!

That was the Old Covenant. If God was happy with what was happening then, He would have never instituted a New Covenant.

If that was all God desired, He could have stayed with the Old Covenant. Why bother with Jesus dying to bring in a New Covenant?

God said the New Covenant is NOT like the Old Covenant.

JEREMIAH 31:32 NET
32 It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt. For they violated that covenant, even though I was like a faithful husband to them," says the LORD.

The Old Covenant was primarily dependent on human effort. The New Covenant is primarily dependent on what God has done through Jesus Christ. That is why the Old Covenant was weak. Humans are fallible, but God is not.

God does not change, but His covenants do change.

God wants to live in you, and be able to express Himself through you (2 Corinthians 6:16, Colossians 1:27). God wants you to give yourself to Him unreservedly, just like He has given Himself to you.

Would you be satisfied if your spouse visited you once or twice a week and gave you ten percent of their income? What kind of relationship would that be? Would you want a part-time spouse that you shared with several others? Maybe one that just visited you on Sundays? God gave you His all, His best. God made a total commitment to you and His desire is for you to reciprocate His love and commitment.

Jesus did not die for you so you would give Him ten percent of your money or your time. Jesus expressed His love for you by giving His all. Nothing less than giving your all to Him is a decent response to what He did for you.

Does this mean you must give everything you own to a church, or to the poor? No. But it does mean you should be ready and willing to trust Jesus and obey whatever He guides you to do.

SAY THIS: God desires for me to love Him just like He loves me.

Exodus 06 --- God repeats His promise to the Israelites

Read Exodus 06

- V9, does ‘anguish’ sometimes get in the way of our belief in God’s promises? For example, does pain and suffering cause us to doubt God’s care?...Does the evil we see in society cause us to doubt God’s justice?...Does ridicule and mockery cause us to doubt God’s existence?

- V30, Do our weaknesses cause us to doubt whether God can use us?...or do we use our weaknesses as an excuse not to serve and obey?

- If faith and trust in God can overcome all these doubts, how would it impact our lives?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Bible Devotion : Be Content With Food And Clothing?

1 TIMOTHY 6:8 NKJ
8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
The word translated "content" here does not mean to accept and be satisfied with lack, and give up on any effort to improve our situation. It means "to be strong enough and have enough to help others."

If all we have is food and clothing we should not see ourselves as poor, for God is our Father and source of supply. We have His promise to take care of us. That gives us the sufficiency to look outward and help others.

We should be thankful if all we have is food and clothing. But we should not be lazy and accept lack as being God's ideal either.

We cannot be satisfied when others still have unmet needs. Yet to truly help others as we should, we must have more than we need. So accepting poverty is a selfish act, not a loving act.

It is wrong to love money. But it is not wrong to have money. The more money we have, the more people we can help.

If being wealthy is evil, then God would be the most evil one of all.

SAY THIS: Because of my union with Christ, I always have enough to help others.

http://adevotion.org

Announcement

Old Testament 150 Reading Challenge within 7 months, reading just 5 chapters per week: Look out for it at the Church website.

Territorial Music and Arts School: Date: 15th - 20th September 2014, Age group: 13-30 yrs. Fees: RM100.00, Closing Date: 19th August 2014, Venue: Kin Tick Orchard Village Bukit Bentong

Music Class Date: 23 July 2014, Time: 8:00pm Venue: Worship Hall

Thank you all who help out in the Flag Day collection.

Prayer Points

1. Please pray for victims, family and friends who are affected by the MH17 tradegy

2. Please pray for Bro Soon Bee and Family

3. Please pray for one another in your prayer, especially those that are not feeling well.

4. Please pray for various ministry that going well bring forward fruitful result

5. Please pray for up coming event - Explore Weekend at Johor, Penang Open Day

• Pray for our Territorial leaders, Cols Lyndon & Bronywn, Lt Cols Paul & Evelyn, as they direct and lead God's Army into the battle field.

• Stand in the gap for Majors Bo & Christina as they settle and begin their new appointment in Myanmar.

• Capt Ken and Neva will be pioneering work in Thailand. Ask God to strengthen them and seek Lord for His will for this startup.

• Thank God for Col Lyndon, Major Kong Yee, the Cadets as they start a new journey today into the Second Year of Officer Training.

• Pray for all Salvation Army Churches in Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar. Pray God for faithful Local Officers and pray for God to raise up more Salvationist who will commit to ministry.

WORLDWILE PRAYER MEETING
http://smm.salvationarmyspirituallife.org
Facebook: Spiritual LifeDevelopment.SMM

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Bible Devotion : The holy spirit is your helper 2

JOHN 15:26 NKJ
26 "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.

Never forget that the Holy Spirit's desire and purpose is to help you -- not to hinder you.

Also, remember that the Holy Spirit is a person, and should be treated with the utmost respect.

Here are some ways the Holy Spirit desires to help you, and will help you when you allow Him to.

Teaches Us All Things

JOHN 14:26 NKJ
26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things . . . .

Tells Us Things To Come

JOHN 16:13 NKJ
13 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, . . . He will tell you things to come.

Abides With Us

We are not facing life all alone -- as an orphan would. The Holy Spirit is with us continually -- living with us. When we need help He is never far away, but always right with us, waiting for us to call on Him for His help.

Empowers Us To Be Witnesses

ACTS 1:8 NKJ
8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

Brings Life And Healing To Us

ROMANS 8:11 NKJ
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Encourages Us

ROMANS 8:16 NKJ
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

2 CORINTHIANS 13:14 NKJ
14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

SAY THIS: Thank You Holy Spirit that You are my Helper! Thank You for helping me!

http://adevotion.org

International Conference of Leaders Welcome Meeting to be Streamed Online

SALVATIONISTS and friends from around the world will be able to share in worship and celebration with Salvation Army leaders – including General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries), the Chief of the Staff (Commissioner William A. Roberts) and Commissioner Nancy Roberts (World Secretary of Women's Ministries) – through the live-streaming of the welcome meeting to the International Conference of Leaders in Singapore. The meeting, to be held at Singapore Central Corps (church), will take place at 4.45 pm local time on Sunday 20 July 2014.

The service will be live-streamed through the International Headquarters (IHQ) website at sar.my/2014icl, which will also be the address for updates from and information about the conference. The page includes a helpful countdown clock so that international viewers can see what time the event will start where they live.

David Giles (Web Manager, IHQ) says: 'The live-stream will be an interactive event. I would encourage online participants to add prayers and comments throughout the meeting.' These can also be made on Twitter, using the hashtag #2014ICL – which will continue to be the hashtag used in social media updates throughout the conference.

The last ICL took place in Toronto, Canada, in 2012. During the past two decades, ICLs have also been held in London, UK (2009), New Jersey, USA (2004), Atlanta, Georgia, USA (2000), Melbourne, Australia (1998), and Hong Kong (1995).

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Bible Devotion : The Holy Spirit Is Your Helper

JOHN 15:26 NKJ
26 "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.

The Holy Spirit's desire and purpose is to help you -- not to hinder you.

The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity of God. It is difficult for humans to understand how there can be only one God, as the Scriptures teach, yet He can reveal Himself as three persons. So do not let it be an obstacle for you.

The Holy Spirit is a person, not just a force. He should be treated with the utmost respect and shown the utmost gratitude.

Following are a few of the ways the Holy Spirit desires to help you, and will help you if you allow Him to.

In Prayer

ROMANS 8:26 NKJ
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

One weakness of humans, compared to God, is in our limited knowledge. We do not even know what is happening on the other side of a wall, let alone the other side of the country. We also do not know what people are planning to do, but the Holy Spirit knows everything. And He will help us to pray accurately and effectively.

One way the Holy Spirit helps us in prayer is by giving us utterance in a language for prayer which we have never learned. Thus we can bypass our minds with their doubt and lack of understanding of what is best, and pray according to the perfect will of God.

Guides Us

The Holy Spirit will, if allowed, guide you in every area of life; from the words you should speak, to the spouse you should marry, to the investments you should make.

JOHN 16:13 NKJ
13 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you . . . .

SAY THIS: Thank You Holy Spirit that You are my Helper!

http://adevotion.org/

All Change

Transformers. They are ‘robots in disguise’, able to take the shape of a truck or a supercar or a helicopter. But some things never change and in 'Transformers: Age of Extinction' - the fourth instalment of the film series, released at cinemas on Thursday (10 July) - the good transformers, Autobots, are still trying to save humanity from its enemies.

The leader of the Autobots, robot-cum-truck Optimus Prime, has passed many a test of his courage in battles with the evil Decepticon transformers. But when he is discovered in truck guise, broken down and gathering dust in a ruined building, he looks as if he would struggle to pass his MoT.

Not realising the truth about the truck, off-the-wall robotics inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) takes it home to his workshop to see what he can make of it. He is amazed when - to the consternation of his angsty daughter Tessa and his slacker employee Lucas - the vehicle turns out to be an Autobot. Suddenly, there’s a lot to get angsty about. Having Optimus in his workshop alerts a CIA black ops team, which arrives in force.

Optimus is not in the mood to submit. He hits the road. The CIA’s interest in him is not friendly. Although the Autobots have defended humanity, maverick CIA man Harold Attinger is fed up with Transformers coming here, fighting battles, living on our planet. He wants them to go back where they came from. And he’s in cahoots with Joshua Joyce, a fanatical businessman who wants to use the programmable matter known as Transformium to monopolise the robotics industry. Harold’s vision is to create a US Army of Autobot-like soldiers that will rule the world.

Optimus and his fellow Autobots decide to help Cade, Tessa and her boyfriend Shane stop Harold and his gang from doing something stupid. It seems that the Autobots need to save humanity from itself. As one Autobot asks: ‘What’s wrong with you humans?’

The answer is: quite a lot. They care too much for power, they are happy to deceive others and themselves and are terminally selfish. They - rather than the Autobots - need to be transformed. It’s no wonder the Autobots talk in terms of humanity needing atonement.

Despite all the ways in which the Transformers story imaginarily alters the world as we know it, there’s no disguising the reality of its theme that humans are capable of causing mayhem for themselves. It has been obvious for centuries that we need to change. It is why one Bible writer urges readers: ‘Be transformed by the renewal of your minds’ (Romans 12:2 Revised English Bible).

The Bible insists that God revealed his life-changing love for us through Jesus, who pointed out the direction in which we need to take our lives but also, when he was murdered by the state, demonstrated God’s willingness to forgive us for what is wrong with us. As another of the Bible’s writers says: ‘He is himself a sacrifice to atone for our sins’ (1 John 2:2).

The message is that if we put our trust in God, a new future begins to take shape. He will transform us.

UK & Ireland War Cry 12 July 2014

Exodus 05 --- Moses approaches Pharaoh and, as predicted, the King refuses to let the

Read Exodus 05

- V1-3, was Moses asking Pharaoh to let the Israelite slaves go completely free?...or something for much less demanding?

- V22, Moses already had God’s promise, and yet here he seems to be doubting God’s timing. Do we do this today?...aware of His promises, do we sometimes doubt His timing?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Bible Devotion : Into All Truth

JOHN 16:12-13 NKJ
12 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
13 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

"Into all truth" in verse thirteen is translated "into the full truth" or "to the complete truth" in other Bible translations.

At the very end of His earthly ministry, Jesus told His disciples there were many things He still needed to teach them. Then Jesus told them the Holy Spirit would guide them into a full and complete understanding of the truth after He left.

It took me a long time to understand this. But I finally realized that because Jesus ministered under the Old Covenant, He was not able to communicate everything we need to know about the New Covenant during His earthly ministry. Only after His death and resurrection, which brought in the New Covenant, was the Lord able, through the Holy Spirit, to explain all He had accomplished for us.

So if we believe Jesus, we must realize it is impossible to be led into all truth by reading and studying only the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

This is not to say the four Gospels are not truth, for they are. They are very important for they reveal Jesus to us. But they do not, and cannot, give us the complete and full picture of truth. For Jesus plainly said the Holy Spirit would guide His disciples into all truth only after Jesus left them -- and the four Gospels primarily cover the earthly ministry of Jesus.

So it is only in the Letters (also called Epistles) to the Church (Romans through Revelation) that we finally get the complete picture of the New Covenant and understand what Jesus has accomplished.

Jesus did not give us the full, complete truth during His earthly ministry. Without the revelation of what Jesus accomplished through His death and resurrection, we don't have the whole picture. This information was only given to us after Jesus' resurrection, and is found only in the Letters written to the Church.

The Letters to the Church in the New Testament are also the words of Jesus, speaking to us from Heaven through the Holy Spirit, and written down by His apostles.

It is right for us to honor the words of Jesus recorded in the four Gospels, but it is a mistake to think we should place them on a higher level than the revelation Jesus gave His church after His resurrection.

What we have in the Epistles are not just the words of men, but the Words of God, written down by the Apostles of Jesus. This is where we must look to be led "into all truth" which Jesus promised His disciples would be revealed after He left them and sent the Holy Spirit.

If you are going to understand truth fully, you need divine illumination. You need help from God. Human effort and study is not enough. You need a "Guide" to lead you into all truth.

SAY THIS: The Holy Spirit will guide me into the full picture of truth by giving me understanding of the New Testament Letters to the Church.

http://adevotion.org/

Is God To Blame?

A week is a long time in politics. Thirty seconds was the start of eternity for more than 200,000 people killed in an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale in Haiti on 12 January 2010. Sadly, such massive casualties are not unique. In a matter of minutes on Ascension Day 1902, the entire population of about 30,000 people in St-Pierre, Martinique, died when Montagne Pelée volcano poured a cloud of burning ash and gases across the town. To complete an unholy trinity of earthquake, fire and flood, on 12 November 1970, 500,000 people drowned when the Bhola cyclone hit the Ganges Delta region of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Although seemingly the most mundane of disasters, floods are the world’s biggest killer.

What can we say in the face of such mind-numbing statistics? For Christians, they raise the insistent question of why an all-powerful, loving God can allow such disasters to happen. For secularists and atheists, they challenge the self-confidence that, in this technological age, humankind can control its environment. Despite an explosion in scientific knowledge, the numbers of people affected or killed by disasters is increasing relentlessly. It is likely that before long an earthquake will occur that kills more than one million people. Since 2010, more than half the world’s population has lived in cities, where people are extremely vulnerable to disasters.

We are accustomed to calling such catastrophes ‘natural’ disasters, as if humans play no part in them. Yet once we scratch beneath the surface, it becomes clear that almost always it is the actions, inactions or neglect of humans that turn natural processes into disasters. To this extent, ‘natural’ disasters is highly misleading.

Far from being unwelcome intrusions, earthquakes, volcanoes and floods are essential to the wellbeing of this planet. They are what make the earth a fruitful, habitable place where humans, and indeed the whole biosphere, can thrive. Without them, Earth would be a barren planet without life as we know it.

If there had never been any volcanoes on Earth, then the main geological source of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be missing. The likely result is that the planet would have been frozen for most of its history. Volcanic eruptions - explosively fatal to humans caught up in them - produce volumes of minerals essential for life. Volcanic islands, such as Hawaii, are some of the most biodiverse areas on the planet.

Floods distribute fertile soils. For millennia, it was the annual flood of the Nile that enabled Egypt to prosper. When the Nile flood failed in 1784, one sixth of the population died.

Without earthquakes there would be no plate tectonics or mountain ranges. The continual building and erosion of mountains provides a steady supply of nutrient-rich sediments that allows life to thrive. Mountains also trigger rainfall, which makes the surrounding areas fertile. The Himalayas cause annual monsoons that provide water for one billion people in India.

Although natural processes are beneficial in generating a suitable home for humanity, when humans interact badly with them, an otherwise beneficial natural process can turn into a disaster. Unfortunately, it is often the actions of humans that make the scale of disasters worse.

An identical earthquake to the one that killed 200,000 people in Haiti occurred 20 years earlier in Loma Prieta, California. Yet it killed only 57 people. California had building codes that required buildings to be earthquake-proof. In contrast, people died in Haiti when their poorly built concrete slab houses situated on landslide slopes collapsed on top of them. It is no coincidence that Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. It could be argued that 99.98 per cent of the Haiti fatalities were due to human factors - largely derived from decades of endemic corruption, misrule and poverty.

In Hurricane Katrina, a disproportionate number of those Americans killed were infirm, elderly or poor. A report by the University of Louisiana concluded that ‘failure of the NOFDS [New Orleans flood Defence System] was a predictable, predicted, and preventable catastrophe’, and that ‘this catastrophe did not result from an act of “God”. It resulted from acts of “People”.’

The common factor in these disasters is that it is the poor and voiceless people who suffer most. That is also true for one of the most pervasive causes of disasters that humans are wreaking on the Earth - global climate change. Many disasters are directly or indirectly related to climate change, including heatwaves, floods, droughts, landslides and changes in weather patterns that have an impact on agriculture and may lead to famines. Those of us in the high-income countries who have benefited from burning cheap fossil fuels - thereby causing global climate change - have a moral duty to help those in low-income countries, who largely are the people who suffer from climate change. At the very least, they deserve our assistance to help them adapt to the inevitable changes that result.

The problem of suffering is one which has exercised humanity from the earliest times. There are no easy answers. But there are some things we can usefully say about disasters that may help us to respond to them. The first is that ‘nature’ is not a force separate from God. As John Wesley wrote when reflecting on the 1755 Lisbon earthquake: ‘What is nature itself, but the art of God, or God’s method of acting in the material world?’ Natural processes occur under the overarching sovereignty of God, and so too must natural disasters.

Some Christians have tried to get round the apparent problem of natural disasters by saying that processes such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and floods did not occur before the Fall, when humans chose to disobey their Creator. But this is not borne out by the evidence. There is no doubt from geological evidence that all those events occurred on Earth long before humans first walked on it. Indeed, it is those very processes that have made - and continue to make - the Earth habitable.

At the Fall, humans chose to put themselves - rather than God - first. As a result, they broke their intimacy with their Creator and spoilt the relationship between themselves and the rest of creation. It became toil to wrest food from the land. In Genesis 1:28, God gives humankind dominion over all living things. He sets humans to rule over the Earth on his behalf. In the present age of environmental degradation, species annihilation, widespread pollution of the sea, land and air, of all the changes wrought by unprecedented rapid global climate change, our misrule is not hard to see.

As we contemplate disasters, it might be helpful to see how God responded to the trials of Job. Job was a righteous man. Yet he suffered grievously at the hands of Satan, losing all that was most dear to him, including his possessions, flocks, family and even his own health. Some, at least, of the disasters were due to natural processes, such as the wind that blew down his eldest son’s house and killed all his ten children (see Job 1:18, 19). Job’s friends tried to rationalise the disasters that had befallen him, as being the result of some sin or failing on his part. Job rightly rejected those suggestions, but still he wanted an explanation from God.

When that day finally came, and God spoke to Job ‘out of the whirlwind’, he didn’t give any tidy explanations. Instead, God spoke majestically of his power over all his creation, the stars, the sea, the weather and all the animals. Perhaps most tellingly, God showed himself to be sovereign over the most fearsome of animals, the Leviathan. Humans could not deal with Leviathan: ‘When it rises up, the mighty are terrified’ (41:25 New International Version). It is likely that the Leviathan represents Satan himself. Yet God had complete control over him. God’s power is unsurpassably greater than that of Leviathan. We can be reassured from the story of Job that God knows all there is to know about evil, that he constrains its reach and is ultimately sovereign over it.

Though God vindicates Job and indeed praises him, Job finally understands that God’s purposes cannot be thwarted and that God’s knowledge and wisdom are far beyond anything to which Job could aspire.

The lesson for us, perhaps, is that this side of Heaven we should not, and cannot, expect to understand all of God’s dealings - but we can, and should, hold on to God’s faithfulness and goodness, however dire our circumstances seem to be. Though we may not understand fully why disasters happen, or what God’s plans in them might be, we can hold on to the certainty of God’s sovereignty over this present world and that in the fullness of time this creation will be renewed.

The Kingdom of God to which Christians look forward is not just a psychological prop or wishful ‘pie in the sky’. It is a reality that can inform everything about the way we live in the here and now, including our attitude and response to the disasters which plague this world. We are living in the in-between times - between the first coming of God to earth as the man Jesus, and his return, when all things will be renewed in a new creation. That is, when he will make this world the place he intended it to be, free from all death and mourning, free from all that has been made twisted and out of order by the rebellion of humankind against its Creator.

It is natural to wish that disasters wouldn’t happen. But humankind has the capability to construct earthquake-proof buildings. We can detect and track storms, typhoons and hurricanes. We can monitor and predict volcanic eruptions. We should be able to prevent the great majority of casualties from these natural processes. It is a sign of God’s goodness that the world is stable and understandable and that we can use the fruits of science and technology for the good of others. We could prevent disasters and alleviate or lessen the harmful effects of some of our actions, such as burning large quantities of fossil fuels. The fact that we don’t do so as much as we could or should is a sign of our selfishness - what the Bible calls ‘sinfulness’.

The Christian perspective sees the reality of the brokenness of this world and the reality of God’s sovereignty over it and of his ultimate plans for a new creation. That does not mean that we need not strive to improve things now. Rather, it should drive us towards a better scientific understanding of disasters, an enabling of communities to build resilience against them and a striving to remove the unjust disparities in wealth and resources that mean it is so often the poor who suffer the most.

Even though we may not be able to prevent every last casualty of the next disaster, there is an enormous amount we can do from our present understanding of natural processes to reduce the impact of disasters.

• Bob White is Professor of Geophysics at Cambridge University and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He is also Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, Cambridge. His book, ‘Who is to Blame?’, is published by Monarch

UK & Ireland War Cry 12 July 2014

Exodus 04 --- God becomes angry at Moses’ reluctance!

Read Exodus 04

- V1, “What if…?”, is this a question which sometimes stops us from doing the things we should? Why? And what can we do about it?

- V8, can you imagine what impact these signs might have on you if performed today?

- V10-17, why do we highlight our weaknesses as an excuse to not do what God asks? Do you find it easy to tell people about Jesus and what He has done for you, and what He can do for others? How did God respond to God’s reluctance and what can we learn from this?

- V13, does this request sound familiar to you?...does it demonstrate the extent of our trust in God’s power?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Bible Devotion : What You Say Is What You Get

MARK 11:23 NKJ
23 "For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, `Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says.

Jesus said that you will have whatever you say -- dependent on believing and not doubting. Think of that. What you say determines what you get in life. It did for the children of Israel. And the Bible says the things which happened to them are lessons for us.

NUMBERS 14:28 NKJ
28 "Say to them, `As I live,' says the Lord, `just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you:

PROVERBS 6:2 NKJ
2 you are snared by the words of your own mouth; you are taken by the words of your mouth.

Words can get you in trouble. And words can deliver you (see Revelation 12:11 and Romans 10:10). Words control your destiny.

All of us face trouble in life and it can sometimes be tempting to wonder why God does not help us sooner and in greater measure. While there is much that we don't understand, we must, on the basis of what Jesus said, realize we are responsible for what happens because of the words we have spoken.

SAY THIS: Jesus said I will have whatever I say if I believe it.

http://adevotion.org/

Help Is Available When Going Gets Tough

What do we do when faced with a crisis? Go into panic mode? Put the kettle on? Phone a friend? Everyone has their own way of dealing with emergencies, whether big or small. Newspapers and magazines are full of stories about people who get caught up in serious and life-threatening situations. We can only wonder how they survived to tell the tale, and thank God that it wasn’t us.

The writer of Psalm 46 had his fair share of troubles and disasters. Like us, he lived in turbulent and uncertain times. Unlike us, he didn’t have the benefits of modern technology to update him when circumstances had improved.

The one sure and constant thing in his life was the awareness he had of his Creator. It was this that enabled him to say with confidence: ‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging’ (Psalm 46:1-3 New International Version).

The psalms were written by ordinary people who voiced their feelings of joy, sorrow, frustration, anger and fear. Their circumstances and lifestyle may have been very different from ours, but their feelings and honest reactions were not. That’s why their words often speak volumes at life’s big occasions, such as weddings and funerals.

Bad things such as earthquakes and floods do happen. They always will. We can’t understand or explain them or make them go away any more than we can always understand why friends fall out, relationships break down or families separate.

The psalm writer puts these things in perspective, asserting: ‘The Lord Almighty is with us… He says, “Be still, and know that I am God’” (46:7, 10). In other words, we would do well to concentrate on appreciating the positives, rather than bemoaning the negatives. God hasn’t left us. He is in control.

UK & Ireland War Cry 12 July 2014

Exodus 03 --- Moses speaks with God at a bush which is on fire but which doesn’t burn up!

Read Exodus 03

- V1, Moses’ father-in-law seems to be known as both Reuel and Jethro…is this legitimate, or is it a contradiction?...can you think of anyone else in the chapters we have read so far who was known by 2 different names?

- V2, was the angel of the Lord in the bush, or in the fire?

- V10-11, do we sometimes respond this way when God asks us to go and tell people about how they can be saved from the slavery of sin?...what was God’s response?

- V16-21, from God’s eternal perspective, did the Pharaoh have any freewill?...what is the difference between something being ‘pre-known’ and something being ‘pre-destined’?