A fitness course for Christians. March 27: Breathing

Reading Acts 12:1-17
Gospel Matthew 7:7-14
At the end of today's Gospel, Jesus encourages us to enter the narrow gate. Though at times it may be hard to keep on the narrow path, we do not do it on our own, we walk it with Jesus. Our journey can be tough and hard. In Acts 12, things were getting tough as there's been some persecution.Not a very nice context. Steven was stoned, James was beheaded all executed by the local state. The guards are beheaded for dereliction of duty. Today persecution continues. More died for their faith in the twentieth and current centuries than in previous centuries. (1) Herod who was an eccentric put Peter in the slammer, a very secure place, no cost spared, sixteen soldiers to guard him; meanwhile, the church (v.5) was praying. They were concerned, worried and behind locked doors. And God answered their prayers. He sends an angel, the chains fall off, the gate opens. (There is no messing with angels) Peter does not realise he is free until he is out breathing fresh air, then he knocks on their door. While the others are committed to prayers, Rhoda hears the knock and tells them Peter is there. Somehow they do not believe her. So what happened? They got faith and were praying but their eyes won't open.They weren't ready for God to do the unexpected. Jesus has already told them: ask.., seek.., and knock.. (Luke 11:9). Sometimes, God has initiated the answers to prayers even before we have prayed. That brings us into a relationship with Him. God reveals himself and we relate to him. We are not to twist God's arm like a nagging child who goes on until he gets what he wants. Matthew 6:7. God wants us to trust him, to acknowledge that he is Lord. Reading his Word provides our nourishment, we feed on his Word. We are praying in the Spirit to the Father in the name of Jesus. It is a spiritual activity and we need the expectancy. Prayers flow from the word of God.
Note: Just as we cannot live without breathing, we cannot live without prayers. Without this live-giving force, we would shrivel and die spiritually.

Rev. S.A.
(1) Justin D. Long emphasized the startling fact that more people have died for their faith in the Twentieth Century than in all of the previous centuries combined. “During this century, we have documented cases in excess of 26 million martyrs. From AD 33 to 1900, we have documented 14 million martyrs.”


Jesus, You are everything

All I know is
Every day is filled with hope
You are everything that I believe for
And I can’t help but breathe you in
Breathe again
Feeling all this life within
Every single beat of my heart
You are
You are
Jesus, You are
You are everything
by Matthew West

I've just found this powerful song and I hope you will enjoy listening to it as much as I do. Blessings.


Mr and Mrs Blue Tits

Thanks to a lovely weather, spring is bursting out everywhere. Imogen realised that one of the trees in the High Street was in full blossom and declared: how did I miss that? And in our garden, for the great pleasure of the boss, Mr and Mrs Blue Tit visited an empty bird house and after a thorough exploration decided it was fit to move in!
Photo, courtesy of Rev. S. A.

Watchman Nee

The other day while reading Authentic Christianity I came across the name of Watchman Nee. I never heard of him before so I googled it and here is what I found about him. 
Nee Shu-tsu, whose English name was Henry Nee, was born of second-generation Christian parents in Foochow, China in 1903. His paternal grandfather,Nga U-cheng, born in 1840, became the first Chinese pastor among the Congregationalists in northern Fukien province. Nee Shu-tsu had been consecrated to the Lord before his birth. Desiring a son, his mother had prayed to the Lord, "If I have a boy, I will present him to You." The Lord answered her prayer, and soon afterward Nee Shu-tsu was born. 
 Yet Nee Shu-tsu, acquainted with the gospel since childhood, had the deep realization that if he received Jesus as his Lord for salvation he must also serve Him. In 1920, after a considerable struggle, seventeen-year-old Nee Shu-tsu, still a high school student, was dynamically saved. At the moment of his salvation, all his previous planning became void and his future career was entirely abandoned. He testified, "From the evening I was saved, I began to have a new life, for the life of the eternal God had entered into me". Later, after being raised up by the Lord to carry out His commission, he adopted the new English name Watchman and the new Chinese name To-sheng, which means "watchman's rattle," for he considered himself a watchman raised up to sound a warning call in the dark night. Nee's method of church planting was to begin with a small group of people meeting in a house. From then on, they would hold both home meetings and meetings in the building. They would invariably train indigenous leadership for these groups. Nee also received a bachelor's degree during this period from Trinity college in Foochow. Later on he married Chaing Pin-Hwai, a family friend who had graduated in literature from the famous Yin King University. Her knowledge of literature would assist Nee in his writing and translation work. In 1947, Nee was restored to leadership in the Little Flock church in Shanghai, and again was active in church-planting and training of Christian workers. In 1952 he was imprisoned for his faith; he remained in prison for 20 years until his death in 1972. After Watchman Nee's death, when his niece came to collect his few possessions, she was given a scrap of paper that a guard had found by his bed. What was written on that scrap may serve as Watchman Nee's testament: Christ is the Son of God who died for the redemption of sinners and resurrected after three days. This is the greatest truth in the universe. I die because of my belief in Christ. His words remain an abundant source of spiritual revelation and supply to Christians throughout the world. 
  • The Spiritual Man
  • Spiritual Authority
  • Mystery of Creation
  • Gospel Dialogue
  • The King and The Kingdom of Heaven
  • Interpreting Matthew
  • Come, Lord Jesus
  • The Better Covenant
  • Aids to Revelation
  • The Overcoming Life
  • The Normal Christian Life
  • The Breaking of The Outer Man and The Release of The Spirit
  • The Song of Songs
  • Authority and Submission
  • Christ the Sum of All Spiritual Things

What an amazing life serving the Lord! If you have you read any of his books do let me know! It's getting late and I am exhausted so I will say to you good night and God bless. Yours in Christ. N.
Sources : http://www.watchmannee.org and wikipedia.


Bringing the gospel to others at work...

Is it feasible? risky? Would you lose your job? Some time ago, I heard a minister saying that it was like being undercover. However I reckon the more you practice, the better you become! Easy said than done, you could answer! Have you tried?
God has put each one of us where we are for a purpose. If you are in a particular job, it is because God has put you there to reach others who work there.
I am now in the middle of chapter 4 of Authentic Christianity by Richard Taylor, an amazing book that I recommend!
Maybe you hate your job...maybe you feel that the people you are working with would be totally unreceptive to the Gospel...
I must say that those thoughts have come across my mind and brought frustration. Perseverance is a must, prayers are essential. Help from the Holy Spirit is vital. Blessings


Coptic Christians struggle in Egypt

Thousands of Coptic Christians have taken to the streets to demand more protection after Islamist extremists torched and destroyed a village church near Cairo .  A mob of up to 4,000 Islamists exploded gas cylinders inside the Church of St George and St Mina in Soul village on Friday the 4th of March then demolished it over the course of Saturday...
To pacify the Copts, Field Marshall Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, issued a statement that the torched church would be rebuilt by Easter, at the expense of the army.
Copts are still uncertain about the future in an emerging post-Mubarak Egypt. Since the popular uprising earlier this year, several monasteries have had confrontations with the army: at least three monasteries have tried to erect security fences around their property, which have then been torn down by the military. In Wadi Al-Natroun, soldiers used live ammunition to repel monks who tried to protest.
The country's new Prime Minister, Essam Sharaf, has reportedly begun a dialogue with Coptic leaders and further meetings are planned. 
Join me in asking God to protect Pastor Hoshea and other members of the Church of St George and St Mina. Let us pray that their faith will be strengthened through this ordeal and that they will indeed have a new building soon.
Also, let us pray for Egypt's new Prime Minister, Essam Sharaf, as he grapples with the task of helping to shape a new Egypt where religious liberty for all is a priority. In Jesus-Christ we ask. Amen. 


belief in God makes you happier and healthier...

this is what Tom Knox claims in the Daily Mail. Last Tuesday, when our group met up for the 4th part of the preparation  of the Start course , Joan told us that she'd stapled the article in Hixon church entrance. So I decided to check it on the website. Mr Knox has discovered that '.. a growing yet largely unnoticed body of scientific work, amassed over the past 30 years, shows religious belief is medically, socially and psychologically beneficial.
In 2006, the American Society of Hypertension established that church-goers have lower blood pressure than the non-faithful. 
Likewise, in 2004, scholars at the University of California, Los Angeles, suggested that college students involved in religious activities are more likely to have better mental and emotional health than those who do not. 
Meanwhile, in 2006, population researchers at the University of Texas discovered that the more often you go to church, the longer you live.'
I must say that he also has a sense of humour, I quote: 'All of which means that, contrary to expectation, it is the atheists who are eccentric, flawed and maladaptive, and it’s the devout who are healthy, well-adjusted and normal. 
Certainly, in purely evolutionary terms, atheism is a blind alley. Across the world, religious people have more children than non-religious (go forth and multiply!), while atheist societies are the ones with the lowest birth rates.
Finally, let us pray that as this journalist is looking for key answers, he keeps knocking on the door and that he meets Jesus.  Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7 Or as the psalmist says I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34: 4 Blessings, yours in Christ. N.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1358421/The-tantalising-proof-belief-God-makes-happier-healthier.html#ixzz1Gze9IiV0


Authentic Christianity

Spending those few days in Italy with Camille was truly delightful! Spending the night in Milan airport to catch the 6:15 Ryanair flight to EMA was a nightmare, unlike Stansted airport, there was no comfortable seats but everybody apart from me seemed to know that and were cosy in their sleeping-bags! I had two hours sleep and spent the rest of the night reading The diary of a Country Priest by Georges Bernanos: le Journal d'un curé de campagne. A very interesting read!
I wanted to sort out all the photos but somehow I have ran out of time!
Tonight, Steven has cooked a casserole with chicken livers, herbs and various beans, a tasty winter warmer (I know spring is coming) that is if you like liver! The other day, he did a similar version with chicken thighs! Delicious.
After diner, I picked up Authentic Christianity by Richard Taylor. I have just read the first two chapters called The Losses in the Garden Choices and found them to be edifying and encouraging. I like what I read! Let me quote you a powerful message: ..the real purpose of attending church is to be equipped for the work of the ministry that will take place when we leaver the safe confines of the church building. In other words, every Christian should be doing outreach. Then I ask myself this question, do I do this? Something to meditate! Blessings, Yours in Christ. N


I am the light of the world

In Revelation 3:20,  Jesus is saying to the occupant of the house
 "Here I am, I stand at the door and knock.
 If anyone hears my voice and opens the door,
 I will come in and eat with him and he with Me."
 This is an amazing promise. 

Jesus is offering Himself as one willing to come in
 and take control of our lives, if only we will allow Him to do so. 
Blessings, yours in Christ. N.