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December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

Joseph — unsung hero of Christmas?

Joseph — the legal guardian and earthly father of the Lord Jesus — is often overlooked in the Christmas story. Matthew’s Gospel however relates the account of the birth of Christ more from Joseph’s perspective than Mary’s. Matthew tells us: ‘Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly’ (Matthew 1:18-19). From the above, if we could picture an...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

A hymn of hope for those in despair

Who wrote this song? The author is most surprising: a Jewish priest who’d been struck dumb for nine months! Zacharias was his name, and the cause of his lack of speech was unbelief. Zacharias just hadn’t reckoned that his elderly wife could possibly become a mother for the first time, even though God himself had sent an angelic messenger to confirm it to him. Now the period of waiting had ended, the miracle baby had arrived, and the name John had been given to him, in accordance with God’s direction through the angel. As the Baptist, John would be the forerunner of the Lord Jesus...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

‘The Word became flesh’

In just these four words John the apostle, in the first chapter of his Gospel, gives us the reason for celebrating Christmas. It is amazing how much can be said in a few words. Four words to describe one of the most significant, amazing and pivotal events in the whole of human history. John is speaking about the birth of Jesus and is telling us that the baby born at Bethlehem already existed before this birth. Indeed, in another four-word statement John tells us that, ‘The Word was God’. In the same way, the first chapter of the first book of the Bible (Genesis) opens...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

Facing the future

Mary’s hopes and dreams for her firstborn son were overshadowed by prophecy, but she never forgot who held the future for Jesus. Last year I wrote about the difficulties facing childless parents at Christmas, when everything seems to focus on ‘family’. This year we will be celebrating our own family ‘miracle’: a son finally granted to us, expected shortly before Christmas Day. While we give great thanks to God for the medical breakthroughs that made this possible, and for God’s protection over us during a testing and traumatic loss of his twin sister Diana at 5 months, we also are full of wonder and questions...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

Mary’s Song

This month people all over the world will celebrate Christmas. For many, it will simply mean time off work to sit back, relax and indulge in chocolates, presents, and elaborate roast dinners. However, the true meaning of Christmas is much deeper. Christians celebrate Christmas to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died and rose from the dead as a sacrifice for sinners. As the Bible says: ‘For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord’ (Luke 2:11). Often the Bible passages which are read out at carol services are accounts...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

A sight for sore eyes

Our eyes are wonderful things! Each one is a slightly asymmetrical globe, about an inch in diameter. The front part of the eye that you see in the mirror contains the iris (the pigmented part), the cornea (a clear dome over the iris), the pupil (the black circular opening in the iris that lets light in), the sclera (the white part), and the conjunctiva (a thin layer of tissue covering the front of the eye, except the cornea). Just behind the iris and pupil lies the lens, which helps to focus light on the back of the eye. Most of the eye is filled with...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Scientific (including creation)

The perils of scientific illiteracy

When Pope Francis addressed the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, he argued that ideas like the ‘big bang’ and evolution are perfectly compatible with the Christian faith (Address on occasion of inauguration of bust in honour of Pope Benedict XV1, Plenary session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 27 October 2014). Astonishingly, he declared: ‘When we read about creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so’. That someone claiming to teach the Christian faith could have made such a statement beggars belief. Job said to God ‘I know that you...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

Angels and shepherds

Tea towel-turbaned children and cosy Christmas card scenes often spring to mind when we think about the shepherds. But what were these first eyewitnesses of the manger really like? Our research takes us to the account by Luke, the historian amongst Jesus’ four biblical biographers. But what would it have been like for Luke to do his research. We imagine a conversation with a shepherd, as Luke interviewed him when writing his Gospel. Luke: I’m glad to find you, because in my research I keep coming across stories about shepherds seeing Jesus in the manger. Shepherd: I’m not surprised. We were so excited that we...

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Article

December 2018
Articles > Evangelistic

A soldier’s story (2)

Gavin Dickson continues sharing his life story (begun in November’s ET ): When the Scots Guards returned to Iraq in 2007 for Telic 7, an insurgency was raging throughout the country. So we had to exchange our berets for helmets and full body armour. In fact, you didn’t travel unless you were in an armoured vehicle. In 2005 we had moved around by driving in snatch wagons or cut-down Land Rovers, which were very exposed to the elements, especially the wind. Yet in 2007 we moved around in the Warrior, a 26-ton armoured fighting vehicle. The full force of the insurgents was felt by their...

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World mission

December 2018
Articles > World Mission > Africa > Eastern Africa > Comoros

Comoros

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