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All articles in category Comment

Hiding God’s Word in our hearts
April 2014
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Hiding God’s Word in our hearts

Most Scripture memory schemes concentrate on individual verses that emphasise certain key truths. But I came across a method some time ago, by Dr Andrew Davis, that has a much bigger vision: to memorise not just a verse here and there, but whole chapters and even books. Can we be motivated to such a huge goal? Davis says, ‘Most of Scripture is written to make a case … there is a flow of argumentation that is missed if individual verses are memorised’. I was inspired by this and convinced it was a good thing to do, but it remained as an item on my ‘to...

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March 2014
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A global vision

It has been good to see that the ‘Concert of Prayer’ for revival across the UK, now into its fourth year, has generally maintained a wider, global vision. Prayers have not focussed merely on our own needs in this country, and that is right and proper. Let’s never forget that our concern should be a global one — for the expansion of the kingdom of God worldwide. If we become merely parochial in our concern, we may grieve the Spirit whose passion is to see Jesus Christ honoured to the ends of the earth. Whether or not that global vision comes explicitly to the fore...

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Praying for the wicked
February 2014
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Praying for the wicked

It is easier to call down fire from heaven on notorious sinners than love them enough to plead with the Lord for their salvation. James and John knew what they wanted for the Samaritans who would not welcome Jesus: ‘Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?’ You know what Jesus made of that? He rebuked them sternly and reminded them that ‘the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them’ (Luke 9:54-56). Sodom When God revealed to Abraham his purpose to destroy Sodom, Abraham’s response was...

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Christ’s lordship in 2014
January 2014
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Christ’s lordship in 2014

There are many that call Jesus Saviour who are not willing to submit to his lordship. Their lives are sad evidence that they are still under the bondage of sin. The lordship of Christ is his rightful rule over his people, as his redeemed subjects. It is a spiritual reign established in the regenerated heart and administered, not by force or external means, but by the Word and Spirit where the believer, out of love and godly fear, submits to the will of God. Surrender There is no half-hearted commitment for those who follow Christ, for Jesus says, if anyone comes after him, he must...

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The rest of faith
November 2013
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The rest of faith

The prophet Isaiah reminds us that there is an incessant, persistent restlessness that characterises the wicked of this world. He says that ‘the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt’ (Isaiah 57:20).     What a powerful picture this is! Many of you, like me, have stood on a beach and watched the endless churning and splashing of the ocean as it lashes against the shore. So the hearts of men who do not know God are always seeking something that can fulfil. But the search never ends until a person rests in God’s promises.    Rest,...

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The heir to the throne
September 2013
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The heir to the throne

The birth of the Prince of Cambridge on 22 July brought intense, worldwide media coverage. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Catherine, had a son who is third in line to the British throne. The prince was born at 16.25 hrs, and the announcement was made about four hours later. The next day saw his first public appearance, and a day or so later his name was revealed as George Alexander Louis. The royal baby, wrapped in a shawl in his mother’s arms, looked peaceably asleep and had that mix of cuteness and vulnerability common to all newborn babies. Yet here was no...

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August 2013
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‘I am coming!’

Just a few days ago a sister in Christ shared with Reta and me one of the most heart-warming and touching stories I have heard in a long time. Lula Downs is a member of our church, Bellepoint Baptist, in Frankfort (USA), and it is noticeable that she has a special love for children and gift for working with them. As Reta and I discussed her ministry for children, she shared how God has prepared her for this. It was through her long care for her son, Steven Mitchell. When he was only two days old, he had a medical procedure which caused a blood...

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August 2013
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Engaging with Keller

This article is from the introduction to a new book co-authored by several Presbyterian evangelicals. Engaging with Keller: thinking through the theology of an influential Evangelical (Ed. Iain D. Campbell and William M. Schweitzer; EP Books, 240 pages, £9.99; ISBN: 978-085234–928–1) evaluates the teaching of prominent New York Presbyterian minister Timothy Keller. Although readers must read Engaging with Keller for the issues, they can note here its irenic yet gospel-centred approach. Within a remarkably brief span of time, the contemporary church has been influenced widely and deeply by the distinctive thought of Timothy J. Keller. Evidence of this influence is not difficult to find on...

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Dignity, ‘rights’ and creation
August 2013
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Dignity, ‘rights’ and creation

Earlier this year, the Equality and Human Rights Commission published a document offering guidance to employers relating to religion and belief in the workplace (Religion or belief in theworkplace: a guide for employers following recent European Court of Human Rights judgments, February 2013; equalityhumanrights.com). In this, they stated that they support an ‘individual’s right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion’. In answer to the question ‘How will an employer know if a religion or belief is genuine?’ they answered that, among other things, it should be ‘compatible with human dignity and should not conflict with the fundamental rights of others’. They then went on...

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Changing our society
July 2013
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Changing our society

Wilberforce is famous for the abolition of slavery. But not many people realise that he had an even greater passion — to see a radical change in eighteenth century society, especially among the upper classes.       A year or so after his spiritual awakening, he declared: ‘God Almighty has placed before me two great objectives: the suppression of the slave trade and the reformation of manners’.       In the early years following Wilberforce’s conversion, he felt that if he came out publicly as an evangelical he’d lose the respect and friendship of many important people and feared he would be far less effective. At that...

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A word to pastors
June 2013
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A word to pastors

Self-burial is one of the most effective methods of spreading the gospel. It is said that 19th century missionaries departing from Britain for distant shores would sometimes hold a funeral service before they left. They were going to serve for life and they didn’t expect to return.      Their 21st century equivalents don’t generally hold premature funeral services. Air travel means that they can come back and tell us how they are getting on. Nevertheless, they too go to bury themselves.      They bury themselves in another culture, language, people and history. That becomes their home — and their home becomes a foreign land. They...

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May 2013
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Where we’re at!

Evangelist Roger Carswell writes in his recent prayer letter:   Don’t misunderstand; I am not despondent, nor depressed. Unless the Lord decides otherwise, I am not about to give up. I feel privileged to live and speak for the Lord at this time in history. But please bear with me as I muse on the situation in which we find ourselves at this present time.      Not revival   I refuse to pretend all is well, or portray a scene where everything is idyllic, because I do not believe it is. For years I have been told that Britain is on the verge of revival,...

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