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    • By Keith Hobkirk in Keith Hobkirk's Blog
      The A and the Z

      (by DeWitt Talmage)

      Christ is the A and the Z of the Christian ministry. 

      A sermon that has no Christ is a dead failure. The 
      minister who devotes his pulpit to anything but Christ 
      is an impostor. Whatever great themes we may discuss, 
      Christ must be the beginning and Christ the end. 

      A sermon given up to sentimental and flowery 
      speech is as a straw flung to a drowning sailor. 

      What the world needs is to be told in the most
      direct way of Jesus Christ, who comes to save
      men from eternal damnation.

      Christ the Light,
      Christ the Sacrifice,
      Christ the Rock, 
      Christ the Star, 
      Christ the Balm, 
      Christ the Guide. 
      If a minister should live one thousand years, 
      and preach ten sermons each day, these 
      subjects would not be exhausted. 

      Do you find men tempted? 
      Tell them of Christ the Shield. 

      Or troubled? Tell them of Christ the Comfort. 

      Or guilty? Tell them of Christ the Pardon. 

      Or dying? Tell them of Christ the Life. 

      Scores of ministers, yielding to the demands 
      of the age for elegant rhetoric, and soft speech, 
      and flattering terms, have surrendered their 
      pulpits to the devil.

      May Christ be the subject of our talk; 
      Christ the inspiration of our prayers; 
      Christ the theme of our songs; 
      Christ now, and Christ forever!

      Philosophy is nothing; 
      denominations nothing; 
      conferences nothing; 
      assemblies nothing; 
      ourselves nothing,
      Clowns entertaining the goats!

      (Charles Spurgeon)

      "Feed My sheep." John 21:17 

      A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats!

      "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge:  Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth, and turn aside to myths!" 2 Timothy 4:1-4
    • By Keith Hobkirk in Keith Hobkirk's Blog
      "God does not come to us in nicely defined, rationally 
      explained, thought categories. (He) does not fit Himself into 
      our theological textbooks.... He is near, yet transcendent; 
      clothed in human form, yet holy; more terrifying than can be 
      imagined, yet compassionate; invisible, yet revealed; 
      judging, yet merciful; sovereign, yet humble...."
      ~ S. Moen
      NORTH AFRICA: Captain on Trial for Throwing Migrants Overboard
      Source: Christian Today

      The Mediterranean Sea.
      Photo: Wiki Commons / Andreas Meck
        A boat captain faces a prison sentence of up to 90 years after being charged in Spain with the murder of six Christian migrants by allegedly throwing them overboard. According to the indictment against him, the captain and a colleague attacked the six Nigerian Christians because they believed the passengers' prayers had provoked a storm during the voyage from North Africa.
      The inflatable boat had about 50 migrants aboard when it left Morocco in December of 2014 to make the 14-kilometre voyage to Spain. Police state in the indictment that the attackers pulled back slats and beat the Christians, then threw them into the "raging sea" where they were lost. One body was found a few days later off the coast of Granada.
      The captain, named as Alain N.B. from Cameroon, has denied all charges. He was one of two men arrested in connection with the incident; the second man died before the start of the trial. Prosecutors in the Spanish city of Almería have requested 15 years for each of the six offences. If convicted of all charges, Alain will be serving 45 of the total 90 years behind bars.
      So far this year, more than 300,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean Sea in order to reach Europe, after fleeing countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Nigeria. Another 3,000 died while attempting to make the crossing. (For a report on a similar incident involving the persecution of migrants, click here.)
      Please pray for the grieving families and friends of the six Nigerian Christians whose lives tragically ended while at sea. May they continue to sense God's comforting presence and strength. Likewise, let's uphold the loved ones of the many other migrants who perished while crossing the Mediterranean Sea in their attempts to seek refuge. In addition to praying that justice will prevail during the upcoming trial, please intercede on behalf of the accused captain who is, from an eternal perspective, spiritually lost and destined to perish unless he genuinely repents and turns His life over to God. May Alain experience our Lord's unconditional love and, as a result, receive His mercy and salvation.
      PHILIPPINES: Fatal Gunshots Fired by Motorcyclists
      Sources: VOM Australia, Release International
      A dedicated church elder from Sultan Kudarat, Philippines, was brutally murdered by two men on September 11th. Witnesses say Perfecto Padilla, 52, was resting outside his house in a hammock when two militant Muslim men came by on motorcycles and began firing what was believed to be a 45-calibre pistol from about five metres away. Perfecto was struck by seven bullets in his chest, thigh and other parts of his body. The assailants quickly fled the scene.
      Perfecto's daughter Naomi ran to her wounded father, crying and screaming for help. A pastor was nearby, visiting a church member, when he heard the screaming and promptly came to assist. Noting the seriousness of Perfecto's wounds, Pastor William borrowed a tricycle so he could immediately take him to the hospital, but the wounded man died on the journey. Perfecto is remembered for his dedication to the church and desire that more people come to know Christ.
      Perfectos' two children, Naomi (12) and Joseph (10), are now left alone without parents. Since their mother went to work overseas many years ago, they have lost contact with her. Our local ministry partner immediately tended to them after being informed of the tragedy. VOM is providing financial assistance for the children so they can receive necessary care, rebuild their lives, and have a hopeful future. More on the persecution of Christians in the Philippines isavailable here.
      Thank you for joining us in praying that Naomi and Joseph, who are deeply grieving the sad loss of their loving father, will experience the compassionate care, comfort and provision of their Heavenly Father who longs to meet their every need. Ask Him to strengthen their faith so that as they grow and mature, they will be able to build on their deceased father's spiritual legacy. May there be an end to the tensions between Christians and militant Muslims in the Philippines, particularly the Sultan Kudarat area, so that land disputes will be resolved and people can live in safety and harmony.
      LAOS: Young Persecuted Christian Now Trains Teachers
      Source: icommittopray.com
      A young Christian woman who was disowned by her parents because of her faith is now visiting churches in Laos this month to train Sunday school teachers. After becoming a Christian at the age of 14, Sonxi was beaten by her parents, denied food, and locked away in her room -- all in an attempt to prevent her from attending church.
      When the abusive parents realized that none of these punishments was able to weaken Sonxi's faith, they threatened to force the young teen into a life of prostitution. As a result, she ran away from home and was eventually disowned by her parents. The Voice of the Martyrs ministry has since come alongside the abandoned girl, making it possible for her to receive practical skills training in sewing and, later on, with the required assistance to attend Bible school.
      We are thanking God that today Sonxi vibrantly shares her faith and is involved with the training of new Christian teachers. May He wonderfully bless her life and ministry, granting her more opportunities to reach out to others and -- in His perfect timing -- even her unsaved family.
      If you would like to post a prayer of praise or petition on behalf of our persecuted family around the globe, visit VOMC'sprayer wall.

      The Persecution & Prayer Alert is a ministry of:
      The Voice of the Martyrs Canada, P.O. Box 608, Streetsville, Ontario, L5M 2C1
      Tel. 905-670-9721 Website: www.vomcanada.com             PRAYER RESOURCES     https://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/14672/KE       http://prayercast.com/china.html       http://prayercast.com/maldives.html             SPECIAL SERMONS       http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopupvideo.asp?SID=122141514431       http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopupvideo.asp?SID=111015159353         http://www.sermonaudio.com/playpopupvideo.asp?SID=11241515310
    • By missionarymikew in missionarymikew
      The Psalms of Ascent or Pilgrim Psalms include 15 Psalms, 120-134 in the English Bible.  Each Psalm possibly represented 1 of the 15 steps that “ascended” or went up to the Temple in Jerusalem.  While there are a few varying concepts as to the purpose of the Psalms and when they were written, in general these were sung by the Levites as they walked up these steps.  The Jews returning from captivity possibly sang these songs, as they got closer to Jerusalem, or as they came to the 3 annual Feasts in Israel.  

      4 of these Psalms were written by King David: 122, 124, 131, 133.  One was written by King Solomon: 127.  Perhaps not written for this explicit purpose, they were gathered together for these pilgrimages.  Each Psalm has its own theme, which includes exalting God, prayer for God’s help and blessing, as well as cries of joy, repentance and praise to God.  Today, these are still sung in Jewish congregations as well as many Christian churches.
      These Psalms were sung to focus on the LORD and express His holiness as one went up to Jerusalem and then up to the Temple.  Do we understand the holiness of God as we go up to Him in prayer?  Do we focus on Him as we "go to church" each week?

    • By Donald James in Donald James
      To the crowd
      gathering in His midst,
      "I am the light".
      And darkness tries to hide.
      He offers,
      opening the palms of His hands,
      a way in
      from the shadows.

      To the crowd
      is promised
      no more darkness.
      Separate your hearts
      from the world of sin.
      No longer
      should the shadows be loved.
      Your deeds are already shown,
      is yours to accept.

      To the crowd
      bathed in beatitudes
      on the side of a hill,
      "You are the light."
      Hide nothing of God,
      place His light where it may be seen,
      light the world
      with Him
      and darkness will cringe.

      Inspired by John 8:12 & Matthew 5:14

      Donald P James Jr (2016) http://scarletrobecreations.blogspot.com/ http://scarletrobescriptureverses.blogspot.com/
    • By Ragamuffin_John in Ragamusings
      When I’ve stumbled
      I have sometimes felt
      beyond Your grace,
      oddly outside myself.
      Yet, neither life nor conscience*
      may long delay
      that which sovereign love
      has for us laid.
      The jewishness of Jesus
      is what holds
      new pact promises
      within the old,
      from beginnings
      to the streets of gold,**
      what we didn’t see nor haven’t
      resonates in souls.
      And the grafting-in***
      is to gentiles, gold,
      sweeter than honey
      and the honeycomb,****
      appetite for mercy
      granted by the Lord.
      What is from Spirit is spirit,
      what is of flesh is flesh.+
      If we discern His body,
      remembrance heals and rests.++
      Often humbled,
      I have felt
      His bonds of blessing
      within myself.
      * Romans 8:38-39
      ** that is, from events as described, from Genesis to Revelation
      *** Romans 11:16-26
      **** Psalm 19:9-10
      + John 3:6
      ++ 1 Corinthians 11:26-32
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