Saturday, March 30, 2013

Because He lives. . .

The work that Christ did at His crucifixion wouldn't have been complete if it hadn't been for His resurrection. He didn't just die for my sins; He rose from the dead for my justification.

And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it.

His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.

And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.

But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus, who was crucified.

"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." Matt 28:2 - 6. 

Christ's resurrection is one of the best attested facts in history. He appeared a number of times to His disciples. One one occasion, He appeared to 500 people at once.

(You don't believe in Christ's physical resurrection? Have you examined the evidence?)

He ate food with His disciples. He showed them His hands and His feet. "Handle Me and see," He said, "for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have."

There's a beautiful song, written a few years ago, about Christ's resurrection that goes something like this: 

Go ahead, drive those nails in My hands;
Laugh at Me where you stand.
Go ahead, and say it isn't Me;
The day will come when you will see.

'Cause I'll rise again;
There's no power on earth can tie Me down.
Yes I'll rise again;
Death can't keep Me in the ground. 

The wonderful thing is that because my Redeemer was resurrected, one day I will be resurrected too. Not to condemnation, but to the same eternal life that He has. 

Go ahead, and mock My name;
My love for you is still the same.
Go ahead and bury me;
But soon I will be free.

'Cause I'll rise again,
There's no power on earth can tie Me down.
Yes I'll rise again;
Death can't keep me in the ground.

 Jesus said He would rise from the dead. And He did it. He also promised He would come again for His people. He will do that too.

One day, the Bible says, the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of a trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise, then those believers in Christ who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. "And so," says the Scripture, "shall we ever be with the Lord."

Go ahead, and say I'm dead and gone;
But you will see that you were wrong.
Go ahead, try to hide the Son;
But all will see that I'm the One.

'Cause I'll come again;
There's no power on earth can keep Me back.
Yes I'll come again;
Come to take My people back.

What a day! What a prospect!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

History's greatest victory

When Adam and Eve disobeyed in the Garden, it didn't take God by surprise. Right then and there He promised a Saviour.

He told the serpent:

I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise his heel.  Gen 3:15.

The seed of the woman, you will notice. Not the seed of the man. Jesus was to have no earthly father.

From the moment the promise was given, the powers of evil in this world did everything they knew to stop it being fulfilled. They sought to destroy the line from which the Saviour would come.

Cain was persuaded to kill Abel. There was an attempt to prevent Abraham from having a legitimate heir. Pharaoh ordered the death of all male Hebrew children. There were attempts to kill all the children in the royal line. Haman sought to kill all the Jews in the captivity. Herod killed all the young children in Bethlehem. There were attempts on Jesus' life in Nazareth, and on Galilee.

Finally, the Jewish religious leaders plotted His death. Judas agreed to give Him up. Pilate was persuaded to condemn Him.

It's not hard to imagine a colossal number of demons gathered around the cross. Did they say "We've got Him!" as the soldiers hammered the nails through His hands?  Did they say "We've won!" as Jesus gave His last cry and yielded up His spirit?

If they did, they were going to be disappointed.

As we shall consider in the next several days, what appeared to be the greatest defeat in history was about to become history's greatest victory.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The man who wanted to fly

From being a boy, Larry Walters dreamed of going up into the clear blue sky in a balloon. Years went by, but he never lost his dream.

One day, he decided to do something about it. He went to an army surplus stores and bought more than 40 seven-foot wide weather balloons and some tanks of helium. He fastened the balloons to an aluminium garden chair and tethered the chair by two nylon leads to a car in his girlfriend's back yard.

His aim was to go a few hundred feet up, sit and admire the view for an hour or two, then shoot out one or two of the balloons and drift back to the ground.

He packed some peanut butter sandwiches, a large bottle of pop, a CB radio and a pellet gun. He sat in the chair. Friends unfastened one of the leads and the other came loose. The contraption shot up like a rocket, so fast that he lost his glasses.

Up and up it went, until Walters was three miles above the earth. He tried shooting out one or two of the balloons, but lost his gun overboard. He drifted into the incoming flight path at Los Angeles International Airport. A Trans World Airlines pilot and a Delta Airlines pilot saw a man and some balloons floating past at 16,000 feet.

After a very scary time, the flying chair drifted back to earth and Walters was able to get off unhurt. Unfortunately, the balloons tangled with some power lines on the way down and plunged a neighbourhood into darkness.

Asked in a newspaper interview later why he did what he did, Walters is reported to have replied "Well, you can't just sit there."

You know, he's right. Life is short, and time is passing at a surprising rate. Life is over almost before you know it. Then each one of us will have to stand before our Maker.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.  2 Cor 5:10.

Most people imagine they will go to heaven, but the truth is that heaven is perfect, and we are all sinners, if only because we haven't given God His rightful place in our lives.

God has provided for the situation. His only Son lived a perfect life and died an agonising death to pay for your sin and mine.

All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  Isa 53:6.

But God forces His forgiveness on no one. We need to believe on Him, and accept His offer of salvation. Tell Him you're sorry for the wrong things you've done. Ask His forgiveness. Invite Him to come in to your life. Tell Him you'll give Him control of your life, and you'll follow Him.

Don't put it off. Do it now, while you have the opportunity.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A right to kill? Read this and weep

For years pro-abortion campaigners pretended that what was growing inside a mother with an unwanted pregnancy was not a baby. They called it the products of conception, a blob of tissue, or a clump of cells.

With ultrasound technology more common now, they can't do that any more. Ultrasound pictures show clearly that it is a baby, and that the baby is alive.

So now pro-abortion advocates on both sides of the Atlantic are saying clearly that it is a baby - but that it's OK to abort the baby anyway.

One of the latest is Mary Elizabeth Williams. In a post (appropriately titled So what if abortion ends life?) on an American blog she writes:

Throughout my own pregnancies, I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that's what a fetus is: a human life. And that doesn't make me one iota less solidly pro-choice. . .

A fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She's the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always. . . 

I would put the life of a mother over the life of a fetus every single time - even if I still need to acknowledge my conviction that the fetus is still a life. A life worth sacrificing.

So it is a baby, but it's all right to kill the baby if it doesn't suit your convenience.

It really is enough to make you weep.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

A romance that went on and on

Ray and Anne Ortlund met at a prayer group they both attended. "You can learn a lot about a person's heart just by listening to them talk to God," says Anne.

Two weeks after they met, Ray asked Anne out on their first date - a moonlit horseback ride. As they rode along on a lovely mild night, Ray began to sing an old hymn. Anne joined in. She didn't know he could sing and he didn't know she could sing, but the harmony they made together was quite something. That night they fell in love.

Shortly before Christmas that year, Ray proposed. It was 1944. He just had time to hand over an engagement ring before he was posted overseas for 18 months.

On his return, they were married. Their romance lasted for 60 years.

When they were in their fifties, they were eating in a restaurant one day. Ray looked at Anne, put down his fork and began to cry. "What's the matter?" she said. "You're so beautiful," he said.

When Ray preached during his ministry years, he would often lean over the pulpit and  say to Anne "Do you have any idea how much I love you?"

One of the reasons they chose a high-rise flat for their later years was that the building had a lift, and they had realised what lifts were for - for kissing, they said, when nobody else was in the lift.

Ray died five years ago. Occasionally Anne still finds a love note he hid around the house for her to find later. She still talks to him - because she misses him.

She recognises that they won't be married in heaven, but prays they will still be dearest friends. She is aware that the marriage there will be between Christ and His church. "That wedding," she says, "will be off the charts."

More details of their story here.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Tackling teen sex problems

Britain has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe. Rates of sexually transmitted diseases are rising.

School nurses can give out the morning-after pill to teenage girl pupils at some schools in England. Dr Anne Connolly, chairman of the Primary Care Women's Health Forum, has called for all school nurses to be able to give out the pill.

In Scotland, the Sexual Health Lead Clinicians Group has told the Scottish Government that the morning-after pill should be made available in schools there. "Why is emergency contraception not available in schools?" it says. "Why are condoms and contraception not accessible? Why can't pregnancy and. . . STIs be prevented?"

Peter Saunders points out that an American study revealed that making the morning-after pill available free without prescription does not decrease pregnancy or abortion figures, and increases rates of sexually transmitted infections.

A British study found that making the morning-after pill available free of charge did not alter pregnancy rates for girls under 16 but increased rates of sexually transmitted diseases by 12 per cent.

What is needed is not something to encourage teens in a promiscuous lifestyle but something to tackle teens' promiscuous behaviour in the first place.

Dr Saunders suggests that organisations like Love for Life, Love2last, Challenge Team, Romance Academy and Lovewise are getting great results and have a great deal of wisdom to pass on.

The website addresses of these organisations are,,,, and

So why not visit some of these websites and find out what you can do to help?

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Does abortion law discriminate against disabled unborn?

Andy Stephenson, a young Christian from Worthing in Sussex, saw his daughter "flailing around" on an ultrasound screen at 12 weeks into pregnancy. Shortly afterwards he saw a picture of an aborted child of the same age, and couldn't get the picture out of his mind.

As a result, he founded Abort67, a pro-life organisation that is making its mark in the South of England. His aim, he says, is not to harass women, but to help people understand just what abortion involves.

Last week he had a full-page interview in the Brighton Argus. An interesting read. You can see it here.

I have previously described how pro-abortion activists have forced pro-abortion positions and affiliations on student unions at the expense of pro-life students (for instance, here and here.)

Last week Edinburgh University's Life Society won their battle against a motion to renew student union policy to "support a woman's right to choose and affiliate to abortion rights." The motion was defeated after a debate.

Said Life Society president Vanessa Reith: "We at Edinburgh University Life Society would encourage other universities facing pro-choice motions to stand up and be counted. It's scary, and it's daunting, but if you take a stand (and do so with compassion and a thought for the people who are voting the other way) then you are already being a witness to the pro-life movement in the UK."

Fiona Bruce MP has launched a parliamentary inquiry into abortion, with particular reference to whether or not current abortion law discriminates against babies with disabilities.

You might well think that it does. Legal abortion is allowed in Britain up to 24 weeks - unless there is a risk that the baby may be disabled, when abortion is allowed up to birth. Should abortion be easier to obtain if a baby is thought to be disabled? Are the lives of disabled babies worth less than the lives of babies without disability?

You can make a submission to the inquiry by e-mail - but it has to be in by 5pm on March 6, so not much time. You can find details and submission form here (you don't have to answer all the questions), a Christian Medical Fellowship briefing paper here, and a longer briefing paper here.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Saeed Abedini: 'in chains for the Gospel'

Saeed Abedini, who was training to become a suicide bomber, was converted to Christ in his native Iran and became a leader in the house church movement.

In 2005 he moved to the United States and became a US citizen. Last year, on a trip to Iran to visit family and help build an orphanage, he was arrested.

I wrote about him here on the day he was to appear in court in Iran charged with "actions against the national security of Iran." In the event, he was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment. He is now in Teheran's notorious Evin Prison, and is said to heve been tortured.

Recently, his wife received a letter from him. It said, in part:

The conditions here get so very difficult that my eyes get blurry, my body does not have the strength to walk, and my steps become very weak and shaky. . . 

The psychological warfare, almost a year of not seeing my family, physical violence, actions committed to humiliate me, insults, being mocked, being confronted with extremists in the prison who create another prison within the prison walls, and the death threats. . . 

I see all these difficulties as golden opportunities and great doors to serve. .

They are only waiting for one thing. . . for me to deny Christ. But they will never get this from me. . .

Yesterday when I was singing worship songs, the head of my cell room attacked me in order to stop me praising but in response I hugged him and showed him love. . . He was shocked. . .

I Love Him. He is Gracious, Merciful and Righteous to me. I now know that I have not been forgotten and that we are together in this path. God gives me Grace. . .

Pastor Saeed, servant of Jesus Christ in chains for endurance of the Gospel. I love you all.

You can read the whole letter on video here.