Monday, March 05, 2018

History of Hymns: “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior” by C. Michael Hawn

"Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior"
Fanny J. Crosby
The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 351
Fanny J. Crosby

Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
here my humble cry;
while on others thou art calling,
do not pass me by.

Fanny Jane Crosby (1820-1915) “set the standard for the ‘successful’ writing of gospel hymns,” according to UM Hymnal editor Carlton R. Young. She was the author of over 8,500 gospel songs.

Blind at six weeks of age, Crosby began composing texts at age 6. She began her study at age 12 at the New York School for the Blind, a school she later served as a teacher. A friend of several presidents, Crosby became one of the most important advocates for the cause of the blind in the United States, addressing a session of Congress on the topic.

Her texts were set to the compositions of some of the most prominent gospel composers of the day including William Bradbury, William Doane, Robert Lowry and Ira Sankey. Crosby composed under a number of pen names. She married blind musician Alexander Van Alstyne, and British hymnals insist on using her married name, Frances Van Alstyne.

“Pass me not” (1868) first appeared in Songs of Devotion for Christian Associations (1870), a collection compiled by William H. Doane (1832-1915). The late hymnologist William J. Reynolds discovered that the inspiration for this hymn was the result of a visit to a prison by the poet during spring 1868. He notes: “After she had spoken and some of her hymns had been sung, she heard one of the prisoners cry out in a pleading voice, ‘Good Lord, do not pass me by’; Following Doane’s suggestion, she wrote a hymn that evening incorporating the line, “Pass me not, O gentle Savior.”

The hymn gained international recognition when introduced by Dwight L. Moody and Ira D. Sankey during their London revivals. According to Dr. Young, “This is Crosby’s first hymn to win worldwide acclaim.”

The text would seem to have a biblical basis on the blind beggars’ plea to Christ: “And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David. And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David” (Matthew 20:29-31; See also Mark 10:46-52 and Luke 18: 35-43).

“The hymn has been rightly criticized for its faulty exegesis,” says Dr. Young. “It is contrary to the scriptural account to suggest that Jesus Christ, God’s universal gift of salvation (John 3:16), could, should, would—and in this instance did—pass anyone by. These complaints were exacerbated, not diminished, when the poet changed the refrain from ‘while on others thou art smiling’ to ‘while on others thou art calling.’”

Crosby, a lifelong Methodist, demonstrates in other hymns that she is aware that God’s grace is given to all. Note, for example, Crosby’s hymn, “To God be the glory” (UMH 98) where the author concludes the first stanza with: “[Christ] yielded his life an atonement for sin,/and opened the life gate that all may go in.” The universality of the gospel was at the core of her faith and songs.

Gospel songs are not known for theological subtlety, and on occasion, skirt the edges of heresy to make a personal point. It is likely that the plea of the prisoner in Manhattan conflated with the passage of scripture, distorting the nuance of the biblical message. Indeed, many suffering souls have been passed.

Putting herself in the place of the suffering and disregarded, Crosby understood that some had been so rejected that it took faith to realize that Christ is the one who would never pass anyone by. His actions in so many cases bore witness that he cared for those forgotten by others including women, Samaritans and lepers, to name a few, who were deemed to be outcasts in their day.

The Romans Road By David J. Stewart

       “The Roman's Road” is popular method of presenting the Gospel using only Scriptures from the Biblical Book of Romans. It is certainly an effective soulwinning tool which every believer should be well familiarized with. It is called the “The Roman's Road” because it uses Scriptures from the book of Romans, the sixth book in the New Testament.
Before I say another word let me WARN YOU that the Roman's Road is a false plan of salvation if you leave out the Gospel, which according to 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 is the DEATH, BURIAL and RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ. I realized recently that many versions of the Roman's Road tract does not even mention the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I am not against using the “The Roman's Road,” but you need to understand that it is not the Gospel unless you include Christ's death on the cross, His burial and bodily resurrection three days later. This is “the Gospel” by which we are saved if we believe it.
The Romans Road should include Romans 10:9-10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Certainly, a lost sinner can be led to the Lord through many other Books of the Bible, but the Book of Romans is rich in doctrine and a masterpiece of divine literature. Thank God for the wonderful Book of Romans!
I was saved at the age of 13 in Chicago. I remember my first soulwinning experience while going door-to-door soulwinning with other members of our church youth group. An adult women answered the door and after a brief introduction, I asked her, “Do you know for sure if you died this moment that you would go to Heaven?” She replied, “No.” I asked her if I could share the Gospel with her and she agreed. I was stumped and didn't know what to say. I froze. So I read to her the Gospel tract in my hand, which was called “The Roman's Road.” I couldn't explain anything more to her other than what I was reading.
I remember feeling frustrated and ill-prepared. I recall telling her that she could call my pastor if she had further questions and I pointed out the church's phone number on back of the Gospel tract. I went away sad because I had the opportunity to win someone to Christ but didn't understand it enough myself to explain it. I went home that afternoon and memorized The Roman's Road and was determined to be prepared the next time I went out soulwinning.
Although I was saved at the early age of 13, I didn't receive the blessed assurance of my salvation until I was 20-years old. I lived in constant fear, and cried myself to sleep many nights, wondering if perhaps I didn't have enough faith or maybe I had missed something. I was so afraid of going to Hellfire. Looking back, I now realize that it was my woeful ignorance of the Scriptures and God's plan of salvation that caused me so much emotional fear, worrying and doubt. I was saved, but didn't understand it, and so my mind was filled with many doubts and fears.
As a result of my painful ordeal, I wrote a book called, SALVATION, so I could share with others the wonderful truths which God gave to me to settle the assurance of my salvation. I have never doubted my salvation since. I now fully realize that I am saved, not by my own self-righteousness, but by HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” It's not a prayer that saves us, but our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is of the Lord. I was focusing on an experience, the words I spoke when I prayed, the degree of my faith, et cetera. I was really worried. Thankfully, those days are forever gone and I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that my name is written in Heaven in the Lamb's Book of Life.
Also, may I kindly say, you are not saved by repenting, you are saved by placing your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Albeit, no one has ever believed who didn't repent. Repentance is simply a change of mind unto the Gospel itself. Repentance is simply admitting that you are a sinner in the eyes of a holy God, thus seeing your need for the dear Savior. The very moment that you place your trust (faith) in the Lord, receiving His sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins, believing that He was buried and bodily raised up from the dead three days later, you are immediately and forever saved (i.e., born-again).
Here is The Romans' Road . . .
  1. All Have Sinned. Romans 3:10 states, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” And again in Romans 3:23 we are told, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 5:12 tells us, “Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” When Adam sinned, he brought the curse of sin upon all mankind. This is why everyone is born with a nature to sin, it has been passed down since Adam.
  2. There is a Penalty for Sin. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Death is the penalty for sin, Physical Death and a Second Death. Most people confuse spiritual death with the Second Death. We are born spiritually-dead. Adam and Eve died spiritually the moment they sinned, and all of their descendants since have been born spiritually-dead. This is why a person must be born-again spiritually. God's Holy Spirit is that spiritual life. The Bible also speaks of a Second Death, which means being cast into the Lake of Fire forever as punishment for our sins. Just as a person is paid wages for work performed on the job, so does God payback sinners in the Lake of Fire.
  3. Jesus Died, Was Buried, And Rose Three Days Later. Christ died for our sins! Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” What a precious Scripture! God in His love decided to give mankind a chance to escape the wrath of God's judgment. Jesus came and laid down His life for us, knowing just how sinful the human race is. God expressed His love for humanity, paying men's sin debt, knowing that we are so undeserving.
  4. Call Upon the Lord Jesus to Be Saved. Romans 10:13 promises, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” The word “call” means “to appeal unto.” Lost sinners who come to Jesus for forgiveness of sins, believing that He is the Christ, the Son of God, will be saved. How much faith do you need to be saved? Just enough faith to obey Romans 10:13 and trust upon the Lord Jesus for salvation. Romans 10:9-10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Jesus DIED on the cross, was BURIED and bodily RESURRECTED. This is the “Gospel” according to 1st Corinthians 15:1-4. If you receive the Gospel as payment for your sins, then you are saved immediately, irrevocably and eternally.
Salvation is the simplest thing in the world, but men can make it so complicated. Some people say that faith in Christ is insufficient to save a lost sinner. They claim that a person must depart from their sinful lifestyle and commit their life to live for God. That is a very complicated requirement for a person who's been living in sin their entire life. Old habits are not easily broken.
The truth is that salvation is a free gift that God offers to humanity. Salvation is receiving, not giving. Notice once again the words of Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” All God requires of us to receive the free gift of eternal life is that we come by way of faith in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Amen!
The Romans Road is a simple presentation of the Scriptures, which soulwinners can use to lead lost sinners to the redeeming Savior. I encourage every believer reading this article to become a soulwinner. If you're already a soulwinner, please keep up the good work! If you've never been saved, then now is the time to believe upon the name of Jesus, the Christ, that your sins will be blotted out forever and you can know that your name is written in Heaven. END

Saturday, February 24, 2018

10 reasons to believe that Christ rose from the dead.

1. A public execution assured His death.

During the Jewish feast of Passover, Jesus was swept away by an angry crowd  into a Roman hall of justice. As He stood before Pilate, the governor of Judea, religious leaders accused Jesus of claiming to be the King of the Jews. The crowd demanded His death. Jesus was beaten, whipped, and sentenced to a public execution. On a hill outside of Jerusalem, He was crucified between two criminals. Brokenhearted friends and mocking enemies shared in His deathwatch. As the Sabbath neared, Roman soldiers were sent to finish the execution. To quicken death, they broke the legs of the two criminals. But when they came to Jesus they did not break His legs, because from experience they knew He was already dead. As a final precaution however, they trust a spear into His side. It would take more than resuscitation for Him to ever trouble them again.

2. A high official secured the grave site

The next day, religious leaders again met with Pilate.  They said Jesus had predicted He would rise in three days. To assure that he disciples could not conspire in a resurrection hoax. Pilate ordered the official seal of Rome to be attached to the tomb to warn off grave robbers. To enforce the order, soldiers stood guard. Any disciple who wanted to tamper with the body would have had to get by then, which would not have been easy. The Roman guards had good reason for staying alert -- the penalty for falling asleep while on watch was death.

3.In spite of guards, the grave, was found empty.

On the morning after the Sabbath some of Jesus' followers went to the grave to anoint His body. Yet when they arrived, they were surprised at what they found. The huge stone that had been rolled into place over the entrance to the tomb had been moved, and Jesus' body was gone. As word got out, two disciples rushed to the burial site. The tomb was empty except for Jesus burial wrappings, which were lying neatly in place.  In the meantime, some of the guards had gone to Jerusalem to tell the Jewish officials that they had fainted in the presence of a supernatural being that rolled the stone away. When they had woke up, the tomb was empty. The officials paid the guards a large sum of money to lie and say that the disciples stole the body while the soldiers slept. They assured the guards that if the report of the missing body got back to the governor they would intercede on their behalf.

4. Many people claimed to have seen Him alive.

About AD.55, the apostle Paul wrote that the resurrected Christ had been seen by Peter, the twelve apostles, more than five hundred people (many of whom were still alive at the time of his writing), James, and himself  (1st Corinthians 15v5-8). By making such a public statement, he gave critics a chance to check out his claims for themselves. In addition, the New Testament begins it's history of the followers of Christ by saying that Jesus "presented Himself alive after His suffering by the many infallible proofs, being seen by [the apostles] during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God"  (Acts 1v3).

5. His apostles were dramatically changed.

When one of Jesus inner circle defected and betrayed Him, the other apostles ran for their lives. Even Peter, who earlier had insisted that he was ready to die for his teacher, lost heart and denied that he even knew Jesus. However the apostles went through dramatic change. Within a few weeks they were standing face to face with the ones who had crucified their leader. Their spirit was like iron. They became unstoppable in their in their determination to sacrifice everything for the one they called Saviour and Lord. Even after they were imprisoned, threatened, and forbidden to speak in the name of Jesus, the apostles said to the Jewish leaders, "We ought to obey God rather then men" (Acts 5v29). After they were beaten for disobeying the orders of the Jewish council, these once cowardly apostles" did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as Christ" (Acts 5v42).

6. Witnesses were willing to die for their claims.

History is full if martyrs. Countless men and women have died for their beliefs. For that reason, it is not that significant to point out that the first disciples were willing to suffer and die for their faith.  However it is significant that while many will die for what they believe to be the truth, few if any will die for what they know to be a lie. That psychological fact is important because the disciples of Christ did not die for deeply held beliefs about which they could have been honestly mistaken.  They died for their claims to have seen Jesus alive and well after His resurrection. They died for their claim that Jesus Christ had not only died for their sins but that He had risen bodily from the dead to show that He was like no other spiritual leader who had ever lived.

7. Jewish believers changed their day of worship.

The Sabbath day of rest and worship was basic to the Jewish way of life. Any Jew who did not honor the Sabbath was guilty of breaking the law if Moses. Yet Jewish followers of Christ began worshiping with gentle (non Jewish people) on a new day. The first of the week, the day on which they believed Christ had risen from the dead, replaced the Sabbath. For a Jew, it reflected a major change of life. The new day, along with the Christian conversion rite of baptism, declared that those who believed Christ had risen from the dead were ready for more renewal of Judaism. They believed that the death and resurrection of Christ had cleared the way for a new relationship with God. The new way was based not on the law, but on the sin bearing, life giving help of a resurrected Savior.

8. Although it was unexpected, it was clearly predicted.

The disciples were caught off guard. They expected their Messiah to restore the Kingdom to Israel. Their minds were so fixed on the coming of a messianic political kingdom that they did not anticipate the events essential to the salvation of their souls. They must have thought Christ was speaking in symbolic language when He kept saying over and over that it was necessary for Him to go to Jerusalem to die and be resurrected from the dead. Coming from one who spoke in parables, they missed the obvious until after it was all over. In the process, they also overlooked the prophet Isaiah's prediction of a suffering servant who would bear the sins of Israel, being lead like a lamb to the slaughter, before God "prolong[ed] His days" (Isaiah 53v10).

9. It was a fitting climax to a miraculous life.

While Jesus hung on a Roman cross, crowd mocked Him. He helped others, but could He help Himself? Was the miracle suddenly coming to an end? Is seemed like such an unsuspected ending for someone who began His public life by turning water into wine. During His three years ministry, He walked on water, healed the sick, opened blind eyes, dead ears, and tongue tied mouths; restored crippled limbs; cast out demons; stilled a violent storm; and raised the dead. He taught profound truths with the simplest of comparison. He confronted hypocrites with words that expired their cover-up. If all this true, should we be surprised that His enemies did not have the last word?

10. It fits the experience of those who trust Him.

The apostle Paul wrote "If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead swells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you" (Romans 8v11). This was the experience of Paul, whose heart was dramatically changed by the resurrected Christ. It is also the experience of people all over the world who have 'died' to their old ways so that Christ can live His life through them. This spiritual power is not evident in those who try to add belief in Christ to their old life. It is seen only in those who are willing to 'die' to their old life to make room for the rule of Christ. It is apparent only in those who respond to the overwhelming evidence for Christ's resurrection by acknowledging His Lordship in their heart.

You're not alone if you find yourself honestly unconvinced about whether Christ rose from the dead. However keep in mind that Jesus promised God's help to those who want to be right with God. He said, "If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether My teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own" (John 7v17).

If you do see the reasonableness of the resurrection, keep in mind that the Bible says Christ died to pay the price for our sins, and those who believe in their heart that God has raised Him from the dead will be saved. (Romans 10v9-10). The salvation Christ offers is not a reward for effort, but a gift to all who in light of the evidence put their trust in Him. To accept God's gift of forgiveness and everlasting life, you can pray something like this:- 
"God, I know I'm a sinner. I know I cannot save myself. I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I believe He rose from the dead to live His life through all who believe in Him. I now receive Jesus as my Savior. I accept Your offer of forgiveness and everlasting life. Thank you Father. In Jesus name I pray Amen"

If you made a decision to put your trust in Christ, let us know by email

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Emma's Story-

   At one minute past eleven o'clock on the morning of
Wednesday 15th October 2014, a tragic car accident on a small
country road just outside Coleraine claimed the life of Emma
Scott. She was just 17 years old.  This is her story of
eternal hope the result if getting onto the road to Heaven! It
is a story which Emma would wanted you to know.

     The Downward Road

   Emma started along the road if life on Wednesday, 28th May
1997, in Ballymoney, when she was born into the family of
Richard and Sally Scott. As her parents are Christians, they were
keen that Emma and their two older children, Christopher and
Victoria, should hear the Gospel. This message of the love of
God has transformed many lives and changed eternal destinies.
Although Emma lived a good life and never caused any trouble,
The Bible teaches that she was born a sinner and needed her
sins forgiven in order to be in Heaven. God's Word states that
'there shall in no wise enter into it (Heaven) anything that defiled." 1
Emma needed to understand that, just like everyone else, she
was born on the downward road leading to Hell and the
judgement of God . 'For there is no difference for all have sinned,
and come short of the glory of God 2

   The upward road

   Emma knew  the Gospel message and perhaps appeared to
others to be a Christian.  However she had never repented of
her sin and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, for he 
said, 'I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the
Father, but by me3  In February 2013 Emma attended gospel
meetings in Buckna, near Broughshane. At these she heard the
text, 'As I live said the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of
the wicked, but that the  wicked turn from his way and live  turn he,
turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?4 Emma realized
that she was not a Christian! At 2am on Tuesday, 26th March
2013,  having read in the Bible that the Lord Jesus 'wounded
for our transgressions, (and) bruised for our inquities, 5  Emma
trusted Him as her Saviour in her bedroom at Risky Park,
Aghadowey. She simply accepted that on the cross Christ died
for (her) sins.6  At that moment Emma started on the upward
road leading to Heaven. Later Emma underlined the Bible text
Thy faith hath saved  thee, go in peace, and next to it wrote, 'The
verse that gave me assurance!'

   The Onward Road

   From that time Emma lived to prove the reality of her faith. On
Saturday; 13th April 2013, shortly after her salvation, Emma,
along with her sister, Victoria, and two other young people, was
baptised by immersion. A large crowd of people witnessed
these four teenagers obey the Lord's command in Killykergan
Gospel Hall, near Garvagh. The next day Emma was received
into fellowship at Moneydig Gospel Hall where she became
very involved in the Sunday School. At the end of 2013 Emma
started going out with Neil Moore, a teenager from Buckna. As
Neil and Emma were both Christians they looked to the Lord to
guide their future. Emma was keen to make onward progress in
her Christian life and be used by God.

   The Everyday Road

   In her everyday life Emma was very enthusiastic and had two
beautiful Labrador dogs, Molly and Lily. For Christmas 2009 she
was given a pet donkey, which she named Holly. Over the
years Emma also had a variety of other pets, hens, ducks, and

   As a young child, Emma attened D.H. Christie Memorial
Primary School in Coleraine and then transferred to Dunluce
School in Bushmills. Both staff and teachers spoke highly of her
Janice Williams, Secretary of D.H. Christie Memorial Primary
School, remembered her as a very capable office prefect, and a
lovely, lovely girl, a ray of sunshine, who was sparky,
effervescent and fun, but could be trusted with anything.

   Liz McIlveen, Vice Principal at Dunluce School , related that
Emma was creative and artistic; all her work was beautifully
presented with attention to detail. However, it was her cheerful
disposition, her positive attitude and helpfulness that we will
remember the most. She was a girl that could be relied on, a
pupil who was always pleasant and courteous. She approached
each day the same - with a smile on her face.

   Upon leaving school, Emma took up employment in the family
business of Sydney B. Scott and Sons, where she was always
cheerful, greeting customers and friends with her ready smile
and a friendly 'hello'. Her keenness and enthusiasm in her
telesales job was infectious to all who met her or spoke to her.
It was, however, what she did for God that brought the greatest
pleasure to Emma.

   The Useful Road

   From the moment she turned to Christ for salvation Emma
desired to be useful to and used by God in bringing family and
friends to hear about the Lord Jesus as the only means of
salvation. Having passed her driving test on 4th September
2014, Emma was able to use her little red Mini ti bring children
to hear the gospel.  Like the apostle Paul in the Bible, her 'hearts
desire and prayer to God [was] that they be saved'

   The last two weeks of her life saw her taking two children to
two series if children's meetings in Ballyintagh and Portrush
for three nights each week . As Emma sat with the children she
would help them by whispering answers to questions, as well
as give a friendly pat on the shoulder to those who were a little
too boisterous! One chorus that they sung every night in those
meetings was titled 'Eternity, Eternity'. The children's attention
was drawn to three words that occur once in the Bible -
'Eternity', 'Calvary', and 'Coffin'. It was pointed out that when
we are in our coffin', where we will spend eternity is
determined by what we do with the Lord Jesus who died on
Calvary's cross! Little did anyone know that within six days of
the last children's meeting dear Emma's body would be lying
In a coffin. Emma however, is safe for eternity in Heaven
because she trusted in Christ who died at Calvary. When we are
placed in our coffin the only thing that will matter is if we like
Emma , have had a definite moment when we trusted Christ for

   The Road to Heaven

    On the morning of Wednesday; 15th October 2014, Emma left
work at Loughanhill Industrial Estate at around 10.50 in
order  to attend a dental appointment in Ballymoney, scheduled
for 11.30. However as she drove  her car along the Cloyfin Road
and turned right onto the Creamery Road, she was unaware
that her destiny would not be to see her dentist but her
Deliverer - the Lord Jesus! Halfway along that road at 11.01.
Emma's soul was transported in an instant from the overcast
skies of Coleraine to the cloudless splendour and golden street
of Heaven. Today Emma's family and Christian friends rest in
The certain knowledge that Emma is in Heaven where there is
fulness of joy (and) pleasures for evermore'

   At the funeral service  held at Killykergan  Gospel Hall, approximately
one thousand mourners paid their respects to the lovely young lady whose
 short life had touched so many . It is hoped that as you read this story of
her life you too will have been touched, not just with Emma's life but more
importantly that you come to know her Saviour - the Son of God, the Lord
Jesus Christ - your Saviour too.Emma's Story

1.Revelation Ch21v27
2. Romans Ch3v22 & 23
3.. John Ch14v6
4. Ezekiel Ch33v11
5.Isaiah Ch53v5,6
6.1st Corinthians Ch15v3
7. Luke Ch7v50
8.Romans Ch10v1
9.Psalm 16v11

Monday, January 08, 2018

"The Gospel of Our Salvation" Adlai Loudy

"Now I am making known to you, brethren, the evangel which I bring to you, which also you accepted, in which also you stand, through which also you are saved, if you are retaining what I said in bringing the evangel to you, outside and except you believe feignedly. For I give over to you among the first what also I accepted, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was entombed, and that He has been roused the third day according to the scriptures."
"For not ashamed am I of the evangel, for it is God's power for salvation to everyone who is believing -- to the Jew first, and to the Greek as well. For in it God's righteousness is being revealed, out of faith for faith, according as it is written: 'Now the just one by faith shall be living.'"
"In Whom you also -- on hearing the word of truth, the evangel of your salvation -- in Whom on believing also, you are sealed with the holy spirit of promise (which is an earnest of the enjoyment of our allotment, to the deliverance of that which has been procured) for the laud of His glory!"
"The nations are to be joint enjoyers of an allotment, and a joint body, and joint partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus, through the evangel of which I became the dispenser, in accord with the gratuity of the grace of God, which is granted to me in accord with His powerful operation."

(1 Cor. 15:1-4; Rom. 1:16-17; Eph. 1:13-14; 3:6-7) 

The Scriptures describe the grace, calling, blessings, expectation, allotment, destiny and glories of this gospel in many ways, which may be summarized for our understanding and faith as follows:
 First, it is termed "the gospel of God" (Rom. 1:1; 15:16), because it is "concerning His Son, . . .Jesus Christ, our Lord," and the "righteousness of God through Jesus Christ's faith, for all, and on all who are believing" (Rom. 1:3; 3:21-26; 4:6; 10:4; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9).
 It is called "the gospel of Christ" (Gal. 1:7; 2 Cor. 10:14), because it makes know His great sacrifice in "giving Himself for our sins, so that He might extricate us out of the present wicked eon, according to the will of our God and Father," thus revealing His great love for us, and because He is the sole Object of our faith (Gal. 1:3-4; 2:15-16, 20-21; Rom. 5:5-9).
 It is also termed "the gospel of the glory of Christ" (2 Cor. 4:4), because it makes known to us how Christ, Who was preeminent in glory, "being inherently in the form of God, deems it not pillaging to be equal with God, nevertheless empties Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming to be in the likeness of humanity, and, being found in fashion as a man, He humbles Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore, God highly exalts Him, and graces Him with the name that is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should be bowing, celestial and terrestrial and subterranean, and every tongue should be acclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God, the Father" (Phil. 2:5-11; Eph. 1:5-12, 17-23).
 It is termed "the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24; Titus 2:11-14), because it saves and justifies freely, or "without a cause," through the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus, through faith in His blood, wholly and apart from law, covenants, commands, ordinances or works of righteousness which we do (Rom. 3:21-30; Gal. 2:15-16; 3:5-14; 5:1-6; Eph. 2:8-9; Phil. 3:8-9; Titus 3:4-7; 2 Tim. 1:8-12).
 It is called "gospel of your salvation" (Eph. 1:13-14) because it is god's power for salvation (that is, the full and complete deliverance from the condemnation of sin, with justification, God's righteousness reckoned to the sinner, and the promise of eonian life), to every one who is believing (Rom. 1:16; Gal. 3:2, 11-14; 1 Cor. 15:1-4).


Saul was the "chosen vessel" or "choice instrument of God, to bear His name before both the nations and kings, besides the sons of Israel" (Acts 9:15; Gal. 1:15-16). He was "separated" or severed for the work to which he was called (Acts 13:2), and became Paul, the "minister" or dispenser of "the gospel of God, . . . concerning His Son, . . . Jesus Christ, our Lord, through Whom we obtained grace and apostleship for the obedience of the faith among all the nations, for His names's sake" (Rom. 1:1-5; 15:15-16). Being the apostle, herald and teacher of the nations in knowledge and truth (Rom. 11:13; 15:15-16; Gal. 1:15-16; Eph. 3:1-3; 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11), his WELL-MESSAGE or "gospel" is specifically termed "the gospel of the Uncircumcision" (Gal. 2:2, 7). Paul makes frequent reference to it , saying,
"For I am making known to you, brethren, as to the evangel which is being brought by me, that it is not in accord with man. For neither did I accept it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal. 1:11-12).
 According to the Scriptures, the gospel of the Uncircumcision, heralded by Paul, was "not in accord with man. For neither did he accept it from a man, nor was he taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal. 1:11-12). Consequently, it being a revelation, he takes pains to explain and make it know in clear detail for our understanding and faith in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, saying,
"Now I am making know to you, brethren, the evangel which I bring to you, which you accepted also, in which you stand also, through which you are saved also, if you are retaining what I said in bringing the evangel to you, outside and except you believe feignedly."

  2. according to the Scriptures,
    and that  
  3. HE WAS ENTOMBED ("buried")

  4. and that  

  6. the third day according to the Scriptures.


. . . Let us remember and hold clearly in mind, that our offenses (of the enmity, hatred and ill-will of the heart) and our sins (of the seductive and wicked desires, lusts, passions and the will of the flesh), stand in relation to God, and or these CHRIST DIED, to commend God's love to our hearts, as the following Scriptures certify and confirm for our faith.
"For I give over to you among the first what I accepted also, that CHRIST DIED for OUR SINS according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3).  "For Christ, while we are still inform ('without strength'), still in accord with the era, for the sake of the irreverent, DIED. . . . yet God is commending this love of His to us, seeing that, while we are still sinners, Christ DIED for our sakes."
 "For if, being enemies, we were conciliated to God through the DEATH of His Son, much rather, being conciliated, we shall be saved in His life" (Rom. 5:6, 8-10). "Consequently, then, as it was through one offense (Adam's) for all mankind for condemnation, thus also, it is through one just award (for Christ's obedience unto death) for all mankind for life's justifying. For even as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam), the many were constituted ('made') sinners, thus also, through the obedience of the One (Christ), the many shall be constituted just" (Rom. 5:18-19)l.
 "For the One not knowing sin, He makes to be a sin offering for our sakes that we may be becoming God's righteousness in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21).
 " . . . the Lord Jesus Christ, Who gives Himself for our sins, so that He might extricate us out of the present wicked eon, according to the will of our God and Father" (Gal. 1:3-4).
These Scriptures make it unmistakably clear and plain for our understanding and faith that through Adam's disobedience and offense we were constituted ('made') sinners or "missers," and enemies under the condemnation of sin and estranged from God, with death as our end apart from anything we have done or may do. Therefore, for our salvation -- our deliverance from the condemnation of sin through God's free or gratuitous justification -- we must believe in our hearts the WELL-MESSAGE, "good news" or gospel, that Christ DIED for OUR SINS. Then, believing in our hearts that Christ DIED for OUR SINS, He DID, and our condemnation is gone, because He bore the curse for our sakes, and through faith in His blood, we become the righteousness of God in Him (Rom. 3:21-26), and "Nothing, consequently, is now condemnation to those in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1).  
Dear Reader, have you believed in your heart this glorious truth and promise of the gospel of your salvation? If not, won't you believe it now and trust in it with all your heart? for, through the obedience of faith -- believing in your heart God's promise in the "good news" or gospel -- you will receive the spirit of "adoption" or sonship, in which you will cry "Abba, Father!" Then with the love of God filling your heart, you will have the witness in your heart that you are a child of God. And, being His child, you are a heir and joint partaker of all His promises of righteousness, holiness, honor, glory and life in Christ Jesus, our Lord (Rom. 8:15-17; Eph. 1:13-14; 2 Thes. 2:13-14).


The second essential fact and truth of the gospel to be believed in our hearts for salvation, is, that CHRIST WAS ENTOMBED or "buried." Christ, having borne our sins in His accursed death on the cross, was then entombed or buried, in token that they have been put away. Yet how few believe in their hearts with assuring, settled, unwavering faith this glorious truth of the "good news" or gospel of our salvation? Nevertheless, God has assured us of His great love in the "good news" or gospel, by making Christ, Who knew no sin, to be a sin offering for our sakes, that we may be becoming God's righteousness in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). Therefore, as Christ DIED and canceled "our sins" in relation to God, consequently, then, in His burial or entombment, they were put away to be remembered nevermore!  
Dear Reader, have you believed in your heart these wonderful promises of God in the "good news" or gospel of your salvation, that in Christ's DEATH, the "curse" for your sins in relation to God, has been fully borne, and in His ENTOMBMENT, your "condemnation"has been put away never to be remembered anymore? If not, let me entreat you, in the love of God, our Savior, which He has so graciously and unmistakably manifested in the accursed death and burial of His beloved Son, for canceling and putting away our sins, that you respond to His love, believing and trusting these blessed promises of the gospel, now in your heart, and God will bless you with the blessing that fills.


The third and climaxing fact and truth of the glorious gospel to be believed in our hearts for salvation, is, that CHRIST HAS BEEN ROUSED or "raised" the third day according to the Scriptures.  This is "good news" indeed! Yet how few apparently realize and exult with heart assuring faith in the grand and glorious blessing of the gospel which God has provided for us in the resurrection of Christ from among the dead? And while Christ's resurrection from among the dead by the powerful operation of God was the characteristic appeal of Paul's preaching, how seldom we hear it preached and how little it is really believed today! Nevertheless, it is the climax, the culmination, the ultimate of all that has gone before in God's mighty demonstration of His love for us in the glorious gospel of our salvation. And the clear understanding and heart belief of God's promise in His powerful operation of rousing Christ from among the dead on our behalf will bring that blessed assurance, joy and peace, otherwise not possible to know and realize. The glorious truth is so clearly stated in Romans 4:23-25, that all who desire to know and be assured in their hearts may read and understand and believe for the righteousness of God to be reckoned to their spirits for the blessing of joy and peace. It reads,
"Now it was not written because of him (Abraham) only, that it (righteousness) is reckoned to him, but because of us also, to whom it is about to be reckoned, who are believing on Him Who rouses Jesus our Lord from among the dead, Who was given up because of our offenses, and was roused because of our justifying."
This is so clear and plain as to need no explanation. Just sincere, heart-faith to believe it. And what a wonderful Promise of "good news" to believe -- Christ was ROUSED or "raised" because of our justifying!  


At this point in our study, the important question to be clearly settled for our assurance of understanding and faith, blessing and joy, is the true, scriptural meaning of justification.  First of all, it is supremely important to readjust our thinking to recognize that justification does not mean "pardon" or "forgiveness of sins." Such unsound teaching has beclouded, befogged and belittled the glorious gospel of our salvation sent to us from God, our heavenly Father, through Paul.
 Justification is the gracious act of God reckoning the sinner to be just and righteous through the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus, through faith in his blood, with the assurance of being maintained and vindicated against all that may attack or indict until the day of deliverance (Rom. 3:21-28; 4:3-12, 23-25; 5:1-2; 8:30-34; Gal. 2:15-16; Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30).
 This reveals that in the glorious "good news" or gospel of our salvation, namely, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, God has accomplished a complete and finished work of righteousness through Jesus Christ's faith (for He kept faith with God, even when He accursed Him for our sins), and it is for all and on all who are believing, for, through the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus, God can be just and a Justifier of the one who is of the faith of Jesus.
Dear Reader, have you believed in your heart this blessed promise of the gospel of your salvation? If not, believe it now, in your heart, and receive, by faith, the full blessing of God's promise in the "good news" or gospel of your salvation, as it is written,  
"Being, then justified by faith, we may be having peace toward God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have the access also, by faith, into this grace in which we stand, and we may be glorying in expectation of the glory of God" (Rom. 5:1-2).


The one demand of the gospel of our salvation is clear and plain, namely, the OBEDIENCE OF FAITH, which is, believing God in our hearts concerning the full and complete deliverance He has made in Christ Jesus for our sakes, and all His promises in the "good news" or gospel concerning our salvation (Rom. 1:5; 3:30; 4:5; 5:1-2; 10:9-11; 1 Cor. 15:1-2; Gal. 3:2, 11-14; Phil. 3:9).


We are now to consider the most important phase of our study, namely, the meaning of salvation. And for the sake of truth and the blessing that fills, I press the fact that salvation is not religion. The importance of recognizing this distinction cannot be over-emphasized. The scriptural meaning of religion is "DREAD-demonism," and denotes the superstitious veneration and worship of "devils" or demons, motivated through dread and fear (Acts 17:22-23; 1 Cor. 10:20). In contrast with all this we learn by the Scriptures that salvation is of God, the basic meaning being the rescue or deliverance from that which endangers, injures or destroys, with the assurance of safety and security, as from disease (Mat. 9:22), from imprisonment (Phil. 1:19), from sins (Mat. 1:21), from their penalty (Rom. 5:9), and from death (Heb. 5:7).


The Scriptures reveal that salvation is the free for gratuitous gift of God on belief of the gospel (Eph. 2:8-9; 2 Tim. 1:9-10; 2 Thes. 2:13-14; Rom. 1:16-17; Eph. 1:13-14). However, it is most helpful and assuring to know and realize that God's gift of salvation is progressively received and experienced by the believer in its dispensation, transformation and realization, in the following order,  
  1. In its dispensation, Christ Jesus, . . . became to us . . . from God, . . . righteousness, holiness and deliverance.
  3. In its transformation, God's saving power is received and experienced by the believer in the following order, namely, it is recokoned in spirit, imparted to the soul, and implanted in the body.
  5. In its realization, the blessing of salvation brings joy, peace and glory.


God's salvation of man covers the three tenses of time -- the past, present and future -- and reveals three progressive experiences in his deliverance from sin, namely:
  1. We were saved -- from the condemnation of sin -- on believing the gospel of our salvation;
  3. We are being saved -- from the power of Sin -- in our daily experiences, through our persistence in the faith, and not being removed from the expectation of the evangel which we hear;
  5. We shall be saved -- from the presence of Sin -- with the deliverance or glorification of our body.
Now, keeping the order of these statements in mind, we will consider the scriptural revelation of how God works them out in our spiritual experiences, in delivering us from the condemnation, the power, and the presence of Sin and Death, bringing us to light and life and glory in Christ Jesus, our Lord.


  1. We were saved -- from the condemnation of sin -- on believing the gospel of our salvation (Rom. 1:16-17; Gal. 3:11-14; Eph. 1:13-14; 2 Thes. 2:13-14).
    1. In its dispensation, God's righteousness is reckoned to us in Christ Jesus, Who became to us . . . from God, . . . righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30).
    3. In its transformation, God's salvation began in spirit, in which we were "sanctified" or hallowed by the Spirit of God (2 Thes. 2:13-14), then justified in spirit on believing the gospel (Rom. 1:16-17; 5:1-2; 8:1-14; 1 Tim. 3:16), when God's righteousness was reckoned to us, through the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus, through faith in His blood (Rom. 3:24-25, 28; 4:3-12, 23-25; 8:1-17), and we received the spirit of "adoption" or sonship, in which we are crying "Abba, Father" (Rom. 8:15-17; Gal. 4:5-7; Eph. 1:5), and in one spirit we were baptized into one body (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:4), and were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise to the deliverance of that which has been procured (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30).
    5. In its realization, if fills our spirit with joy for the day of deliverance (Eph. 1:13-14).


  3. We are being saved -- from the power of Sin making its home in our bodies -- "since surely you are persisting in the faith, grounded and settled, and are not being removed from the expectation of the evangel which you hear" (Col. 1:23; 1 Cor. 15:2; 2 Thes. 2:13-17).
    1. In its dispensation, God's holiness is imparted to our soul -- our feelings, emotions and dispositions -- for conforming us to the image of His Son, Christ Jesus, Who became to us . . .from God, . . . holiness (1 Cor. 1:30).
    3. In its transformation, God's Spirit, making its home in the believer, will be providing the invigorating power for "quickening" or vivifying our mortal bodies, thus enabling us to be "reckoning ourselves to be dead, indeed, to Sin, yet living to God in Christ Jesus, our Lord (Rom. 6:11-14).
    4.  This is the process of our salvation, in which we are being saved from the power of Sin making its home in us. "For one who dies (to Sin) has been justified, (freed, liberated) from Sin" (Rom. 6:6-7). Consequently, then, "being freed from Sin, yet enslaved to God, we have our fruit for holiness" (Rom. 6:22). And the power of this teaching in our lives will be manifested in our soulish disposition being conformed to the disposition which was in Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:5-8). "For the disposition of the flesh (the soulish desires and practices of the body) is death, yet the disposition of the spirit is life and peace" (Rom. 8:6; 6:21). Therefore, conforming our disposition to that which was in Christ Jesus, we will be living and walking in accord with spirit and putting the practices of the body to death (Rom. 8:1, 4, 9-14). Pressing this truth still further concerning our behavior, Paul entreats us to be "stripping off the old humanity together with its practices, and putting on the young, which is being renewed into recognition, to accord with the Image of the One Who creates it" (Col. 3:9-10).
       In the second phase of the transforming experiences in the process of our salvation, it is supremely important to know and hold clearly in mind, that each new revelation of truth realized in our spirit and perceived by the eyes of our heart, will be tried for producing endurance, testedness and expectation, as the following Scriptures make know and confirm for our understanding and faith.
      "Wherefore also, lest I should be lifted up by the transcendence of the revelations, there was given to me a splinter in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, that he may be buffeting me, lest I may be lifted up. For this I entreat the Lord thrice, hat it should withdraw from me. And He has protested to me, 'Sufficient for you is My grace, for My power in infirmity is being perfected.' With greatest relish, then, will I rather be glorying in my infirmities, that the power of Christ should be tabernacling over me. Wherefore I delight in infirmities, in outrages, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake, for, whenever, I may be weak, then I am powerful" (2 Cor. 12:7-10).  "No trial has taken you except what is human. Now faithful is God, Who will not be leaving you to be tried above what you are able, but, together with the trial will be making the sequel also, to enable you to undergo it" (1 Cor. 10:13).
       "Yet not only so, but we may be glorying also in afflictions, having perceived that affliction is producing endurance, yet endurance testedness, yet testedness expectation" (Rom. 5:3-4).
       "For I am reckoning that the sufferings of the current era do not deserve the glory about to be revealed for us" (2 Cor. 4:17).
       ". . . and this from God, for to you it is graciously granted, for Christ's sake, not only to be believing on Him, but to be suffering for His sake also" (Phil. 1:29).
      Therefore, realizing that our daily experiences, in the process of our salvation, are for conforming and hallowing our soulish disposition to that which was in Christ Jesus, and for trying, testing and proving our faith and faithfulness in our devotion to God, how prayerfully, reverently and devoutly we should meet every experience, enduring it with all patience and joy, without murmuring and complaining, lest we fail and lose the weight of glory which it was graciously granted from God to produce in us and for us. What a source of strength and grace and encouragement all this should be to our hearts, to know and realize, that when our heavenly Father, in His love, designs to graciously grant us increasing reserves of glory in the real life of the on-coming eons, He curtails some of our soulish delights and joys in this life, by sending the momentary light afflictions! Some one, recognizing the meaning of God's gracious providence in sufferings and trials, has wonderfully expressed encouragement and expectation for our hearts in the following verses:  
      "There is a day of sunny rest 
        For every dark and troubled night, 
      And grief may bide an evening guest, 
        But joy shall come with morning light."   "For God hath marked each sorrowing day, 
        And numbered every sacred tear, 
      And heaven's long eons of bliss shall pay 
        For all His children suffer here." 
      Therefore, in the process of our salvation, we are being saved from the power of Sin making its home in us, through God's Spirit making its home in us, and vivifying our mortal bodies, thus enabling us to be reckoning ourselves to be dead, indeed, to Sin, yet living to God, in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Then, by putting off from us, as regards our former behavior, the old humanity which is corrupting in its seductive desires, and being rejuvenated in the spirit of our mind, and putting on the new humanity, which, in accord with God, is being created in righteousness and benignity of the truth, thus God's holiness is being imparted to our soulish disposition as we are being conformed and transformed into the image of His Son from glory to glory (Rom. 6:11-14, 22; Eph. 4:20-25; Phil. 1:27-30; Rom. 8:18-23, 28-39; 2 Cor. 3:18).  
    5. In its realization we have the peace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 4:6-7).


  5. We shall be saved -- from the presense of Sin -- with the deliverance or glorification of our body (Rom. 8:23-24; Phil. 3:20).
    1. In its dispensation, our rescue or deliverance from this wretched body of death and the presense of Sin will be effected through Christ Jesus, Who became to us . . . from God, . . . deliverance (1 Cor. 1:30).
    3. In its transformation, the consummation of our salvation will be realized when Christ's image is implanted in our bodies, when they are transfigured to conform to His body of glory, by the powerful operation of God in resurrection and vivification, changing them from corruptible to incorruptible, from mortal to immortal, from soulish to spiritual, from soilish to celestial bodies (Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:42-55), thus giving us our "house not made with hands" which we shall enjoy, eonian in the heavens (2 Cor. 5:1-10).
    5. In its realization, we will be snatched away to our realm which is inherent in the heavens, there to be with and like and for Christ, our Lord, in all His ineffable bliss and glory (1 Thes. 4:13-18; Titus 2:13-14).
What a glorious gospel is our to believe! What a wonderful Savior to Love! What a blessed salvation to enjoy! What a good and happy expectation to anticipate!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Who is That Baby? by Ray Pritchard

Hebrews 1:1-3
We live in a day when Christmas has become a controversial holiday. If you doubt that statement, just try putting up a manger scene on public property. Or try saying “Merry Christmas” instead of the ubiquitous “Happy Holidays.” Sometimes it seems as if there are more lawsuits than Christmas carols. Every year more and more people get offended by what were once considered innocent displays of Christmas cheer. To be sure, sometimes Christians can be offensive in the way we share our faith, and we do not disagree with those who argue for not subjecting others to unnecessary embarrassment. But at the heart of the matter is this truth: Some people are unhappy with Christmas because they want nothing to do with Jesus Christ. They’ve heard enough and seen enough, and like Ebenezer Scrooge, they say “Bah Humbug!” to the baby who “sleeps in heavenly peace” in the manger.

Alas, some people aren’t happy about Christmas. I wish it were not so, but it is, and there is very little we can do about it. By that I mean that unhappy people are unhappy in themselves and until they change on the inside, nothing we do or say will make much difference. I mention this not to deride anyone or to deny people the right to their unbelief. Certainly unbelief has a long and honored history in the western world. For that matter, the first Christmas was met with indifference, unbelief, and (in the case of King Herod) outright hostility. So perhaps it is true that the more things change, the more they stay the same. There are still those who would devalue Jesus Christ by making him simply a good man, a teacher of morality, a religious leader, or perhaps one among many Saviors of the world. The practical effect of this devaluing of Jesus is always the same. If you can reduce Jesus to something less than God in human flesh, then you can put him in a box and forget about him. After all, if he’s just one more ancient teacher of morality, then perhaps his words should be studied in a classroom but they can hardly be taken as definitive, and certainly we don’t need to trouble ourselves with the need to worship an “ancient teacher” or sing songs in honor of his birth.

Back to the Bible

With that in mind, I propose that we revisit the birth of Christ to ask an all-important question: Who is that baby in the manger? On one level, we know who he is. He is Jesus Christ, born of the virgin Mary. This we know and this we believe and this we proclaim with all other Christians. But that hardly exhausts the answer. Who is that baby? And who is he to us? What is our answer to the postmodern reductionism that turns Jesus into something less than “the Word made flesh?”

It should be clear at the outset that our only reliable source for answering these questions is the Bible, the Word of God. And if we go to the Bible, we quickly discover that it will not allow us to reduce Jesus in any way whatsoever. Who is that Baby? He is truly and completely God. If we disagree with that, then we disagree with God himself.

But is the Bible really so categorically clear on this topic? I answer yes and could prove it to you from 20 different passages. But for this message we will limit ourselves to just one—the majestic opening verses of the epistle to the Hebrews. In just three verses we discover that Jesus is God’s final word to humanity and lest we misunderstand, the writer gives us a sevenfold description of who Jesus really is.

    In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven (Hebrews 1:1-3).

I. He is the Heir of All Things.

“Whom he appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2). God has appointed Jesus as heir of all things. I understand this from a personal point of view. When my father died in 1974, I found out that my name had been written in his will. That meant that along with my brothers and my mother, I shared in my father’s estate. It also meant that I received a nice black and white checked sports coat he used to wear. I received it because I was an heir to what my father possessed. The same is true for my three sons—Joshua, Mark and Nicholas. They are named in my will. And after I’m gone, they can go through my clothes and take anything they like. It’s fine with me because I’m planning on a new wardrobe when I get to heaven.

To say that God has appointed Jesus heir of all things means that God has given everything to his Son. The deepest oceans. The farthest stars. The darkest corners. The highest mountains. It all belongs to him. Today it doesn’t appear that everything belongs to Jesus because Satan is a squatter who illegally claims the earth as his domain. But in the end Satan will be overthrown and Jesus installed as the rightful king of the universe. This means that when you come to the end of everything, Jesus is there! It may seem from a brief glance at the scoreboard that Satan is winning in the cosmic struggle between good and evil. But as they say in the election business, those are just “partial returns.” When all the votes are counted, those who stand with Jesus will find themselves on the victorious side. As Isaac Watts put it in his great hymn written in 1719, “Jesus shall reign where ’ere the sun, doth its successive journeys run; his kingdom spread from shore to shore, till moons shall wax and wane no more.”

II. He is the Creator of the Universe.

Through whom he made the universe” (Hebrews 1:2). Jesus is the agent of creation and the Lord of the epochs of history. At the Father’s command, he brought the universe into being and he wrote the script for the unfolding ages. Through him God made everything. There are really only two choices a person can make as he studies the universe. Either you believe that everything is the result of infinite time plus blind chance or you believe that the universe is the result of God’s divine design. This means that all true science leads back to God. All true biology leads to God. All true botany, all true chemistry, all true physics, all true geology, and all true astronomy leads back to God. The Father delegated to his Son the work of bringing the universe into being and nothing was made except through him.

Think for a moment about these first two great statements. Jesus Christ is the Agent of Creation and the Heir of All Things. He was there at the beginning and he will be there at the end. And he is the Lord of everything in between. Truly he is the Alpha and Omega, the Creator, the Lord, the King.

Everywhere you turn, you run into Jesus. You have to shut your eyes to keep from seeing him! This is why atheism is the most unnatural philosophy in the world. We are made in God’s image, with an inborn desire to know God, and with the knowledge of God streaming in on every side. You have to deliberately reject the truth to become an atheist.

Let’s make this more personal. Not only did the Lord Jesus create the universe, he also created you and me. Psalm 139:14 says that we were “fearfully and wonderfully made.” We owe every part of our physical existence to the Lord Jesus Christ. As one simple example, consider the intricacies of your own blood. Leviticus 17:11 declares that “the life of the flesh is in the blood.” Here is a statement made 3500 years ago that scientists now tell us is 100% accurate. Blood is truly the fluid of life. Your blood is made up of cells and plasma. As the blood flows through the heart, it is pumped through arteries, veins and capillaries to every part of your body. The blood delivers oxygen and nutrients and removes waste products. Adults have about 5.3 quarts of blood—almost a gallon and a half. A little over half is plasma, which contains electrolytes, nutrients and vitamins, carbohydrates, cholesterol, hormones, clotting factors, and proteins such as albumin and immunoglobulins which are really antibodies that fight infection. The cellular portion contains red blood cells (carry oxygen from the lungs), white blood cells (fight infection), platelets (help clot the blood so you don’t bleed to death). Plasma (the liquid portion of the blood) is 90% water, yet the 10% of material dissolved in it is absolutely crucial for proper bodily function. These various elements are pumped by the body as directed by the brain to the places where they are needed most. Plasma also contains substances called electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, calcium and magnesium. These vital chemicals help in such things as fluid balance, nerve conduction, muscle contraction, and blood clotting. At the same time the plasma removes waste and sends it to the kidneys and to the lungs. All during this never-ending process, there is pressure from the heart that sends the blood outward and there is pressure inside the vessels produced by proteins in the blood that keep the blood level constant and the pressure rightly adjusted. When you take medication, it is the blood that rushes it along to the place where it is needed.

The blood flows into the right side of the heart and then goes to the lungs where it deposits carbon dioxide and picks up oxygen. From there the blood goes back to the left side of the heart and then out to the various parts of the body. The average adult heart beats 72 times per minute. In the course of one day the heart beats over 100,000 times. In one year the heart beats almost 38 million times, and by the time you are 70 years old it has beat 2.5 billion times! An average heart pumps 1.3 gallons per minute. In other words it pumps 1,900 gallons per day, almost 700,000 gallons per year, or 48 million gallons by the time someone is 70 years old. That’s not bad for a ten-ounce pump!

And this just scratches the surface of what the blood does and how it works. And blood is only one part of your body. How can anyone study the complexity of the human body and think that it all happened by chance? It takes more faith to believe that than to believe that your body was divinely created by God.

Jesus is the Lord of your blood. He created it just for you. Every drop comes from him and every drop is precious to him.

III. He is the Radiance of God’s Glory.

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory” (Hebrews 1:3). The word for radiance was used for sunlight streaming from the sun. Jesus is the blazing radiance of the glory of God. What sunlight is to the sun, Jesus is to God. It would be easier to try to separate sunlight from the sun than to separate the Son from God.

If you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus. He is not some grimy, blurry image of the Almighty. He isn’t the sun peeking through the clouds. He is the blazing, magnificent revelation of God himself. Jesus is a clear picture of God. He radiates the glory of God. Theologians have a word for this. They say the Son is “co-essential” with the Father. That means the Father and the Son share the same essence. The Father is God and the Son is God.

IV. He is the Exact Representation of God’s Nature.

“The exact representation of his being” (Hebrews 1:3). The phrase “exact representation” comes from the Greek word charakter, from which we get the English word “character.” Jesus shares in the character of God. This word was used for the impression made by an engraving tool when it was stamped into metal in order to make a coin. The image on the coin was precisely the image on the engraving tool. So Jesus is stamped with the image of God. This is why Saint Athanasius declared, “Jesus whom I know as my Redeemer cannot be less than God.”

He is the “radiance of God’s glory” and the “exact representation of his being.” These two expressions taken together are a powerful statement of the Son’s full deity. Theologians refer to Jesus as the “only-begotten.” That term means “one-and-only.” We can truly say that not only is Jesus the Son of God, he is also God the Son. When we see Jesus Christ, we have seen as much of God as it is possible for us to see.

V. He is the Sustainer of All Things.

“Sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3). A recent issue of U.S. News and World Report says that the United States will soon launch a space station into orbit in an attempt to define gravity. That’s an interesting thought. We’ve known what gravity is for hundreds of years, but we don’t know how it works and we really don’t know what it is or where it comes from. There is a vast movement in science today seeking to discover what makes the universe hold together. What is the power behind the power behind the power? What is the Ultimate Force in the universe? Our text makes clear that the answer is not a what but a who. What makes the universe hold together? Jesus Christ is the power behind all power. He holds the universe in place by his powerful word.

Note that this is a present tense. Even now Jesus is “sustaining” the whole universe. All things hold together in him and for him and by him. His power is greater than nuclear power and his force is mightier than the mystical Force of the Star Wars movies. His might is mightier than the might of all the mighty men on earth.

Think of it. Were he to say the word, Oak Park would be no more. Just a word and we would all perish. Do you realize that if Jesus stopped thinking about you, you would cease to exist? You owe your next breath to the fact that Jesus Christ is thinking about you. He sustains you so that you can breathe. Without him, you would not be reading these words.

It is ironic to consider that even atheists must use the power he provides to deny his very existence. They shoot their cannons of unbelief on the ground he has provided. The atheists owe their existence to the One they so vigorously deny.

Jesus is the nucleus of creation and “the glue of the galaxies.”

VI. He is our Savior.

“After he had provided purification for sins” (Hebrews 1:3). The King James version adds the words “by himself” after the word “he” and I think it is correct. Note the tense. It is “had provided,” not “will provide” or “is providing.” He died once for all time. His death on the cross was the complete payment for our sins. That is why he cried out, “It is finished.” He purged us from our sins. I was dirty … he was clean. He become dirty … that I might be made clean. I’m never going to face purgatory because he purged me from my sins. I’ve been purged from my sins through his death. My “purgatory” happened 2000 years ago when Jesus died on the cross.

This means that all efforts at self-reformation as a means of salvation are doomed to failure. You can clean yourself up if you like, but it will not help you gain merit with God. It is only by Jesus’ atoning death that we are forgiven by God. To add anything else to the work of Christ is nothing less than blasphemy. Biblical salvation means trusting Jesus Christ so completely that if his death is not enough to take you to heaven, you aren’t going to go there.

Jesus died that he might save us. This is why the angel declared in Luke 2:11 “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” In these pluralistic days when the world wants to water down what we believe, let us declare the truth very plainly. Jesus is not a good way to heaven or the best way to heaven. He is the only way to heaven.

VII. He is now seated at God’s Right Hand.

“He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven” (Hebrews 1:3). He sat down when he returned to heaven because his work was done. Nothing can be added to the work Christ accomplished on the cross. When it comes to salvation, there is no room for self-cleansing, for penance, or for human merit. God is fully satisfied with the sacrifice of his Son. Nothing can ever be added to the merit of his blood. Until you come to the end of your striving and trust in him, you can never be saved. Until you are satisfied with what Jesus has done, you are still in your sins.

He sat down at the “right hand” of God. This is the place of highest honor. Jesus sits today at God’s right hand because it is the highest honor God could give his Son. If there were another crown, he would wear it. If there were another honor, he would have it. But the “right hand” of God the Father is the highest honor in the universe. That’s where Jesus is today.

We may therefore say with confidence that Jesus is at the very center of the universe. He is Lord and he is King. He is where God is. We all want an inside source, a friend in high places, someone who can help us when we are in trouble. Sometimes reporters talk about a “highly-placed source” who gave them certain information. The higher the source, the closer you come to the seat of power. Since the Son is at the Father’s right hand, we have a friend in heaven who dwells eternally at the throne of God. When we pray, we are talking to One who is at the very center of all things.

Even now Jesus reigns from heaven. Even now he reigns over the devil. He reigns over the elements of nature. He reigns over the past, the present and the future. He reigns over cancer and heart attacks and over death itself. Someday soon he will return to the earth and reign visibly from David’s throne in Jerusalem.

God has given him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (cf. Philippians 2:9-11). Today we confess this by faith. One day the whole universe will bow—willingly or unwillingly—to openly declare that Jesus is Lord.

Who is that Baby? Let us heed the answer of our text. He is …

The Heir of All Things.

The Creator of the Universe.

The Radiance of God’s Glory.

The Exact Representation of God’s Nature.

The Sustainer of All Things.

Our Savior.

Now Seated at God’s Right Hand.

That’s who Jesus is. That’s the One whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. This is the true identity of the baby born to Mary that night in Bethlehem 2000 years ago.

To the architect he is the chief cornerstone.

To the banker he is the hidden treasure.

To the baker he is the living bread.

To the builder he is the sure foundation.

To the doctor he is the great physician.

To the educator he is the master teacher.

To the farmer he is the Lord of the harvest.

To the florist he is the lily of the valley.

To the geologist he is the rock of ages.

But who is Jesus to you? Do you know him? Do you know this Jesus? Is he your Savior?

This week a friend sent me an e-mail containing the following poem. It seems to summarize some of the truths we’ve talked about in this message:

The Word of God became flesh.

The Son of God became man.

The Lord of All became a servant.

The Righteous One was made sin.

The Eternal One tasted death.

The Risen One now lives in men.

The Seated One is coming again.

As we come to the close, let me encourage you to think carefully about who Jesus really is. You don’t have to take my word for it. Check it out for yourself! This is far too important an issue to decide lightly. And you don’t have to believe what I am saying just because I said it. Take the time to check things out. Read the New Testament. Make up your own mind. But whatever you do, don’t be casual about Christ. What you believe about the Babe of Bethlehem is a life and death matter with eternal implications.

In just a few days Christmas will be here. Then all too soon we will launch into another busy year. Before you take down the ornaments and put away the Christmas music for another year, take time to discover who Jesus really is. Don’t walk away from the manger this year without coming to grips with the tiny baby who sleeps there. Who is he? Where did he come from? Why was he born? And what difference does his coming make to you? Find out if what the angels said is true. And if it is true, make this a time to get to know him better. There is no more important quest in all the universe! If you will truly seek to know God, you will eventually be led by the Holy Spirit to Jesus Christ.

All that God has to say to us can be wrapped up in one word: “Jesus.” And not just any Jesus, but only the Lord Jesus Christ revealed in the New Testament. He alone is the Lord from heaven. He alone can save us. All that God has for you and me is wrapped up in his Son. No matter what difficulties we face or the decisions we must make, in the end God leads us back to that simple one-word answer: “Jesus.”

In an interview with David Frost that was broadcast on PBS, Billy Graham said he hoped the last word he uttered before dying was simply this: “Jesus.” We can’t do any better than that.

Our Father, we thank you for the Lord of Glory. We do not have words to set forth the wonder of the coming of the Son of Man. We stand amazed that the eternal God should enter our world as a helpless baby in order that one day he might die to set us free from our sins. We thank you for it. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming to earth. Thank you for dying on the cross and rising from the dead. Loving Father, grant that our hearts might be filled with joy this Christmas season. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Savior, Amen.

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Touch of the Master's Hand

The Touch of the Master's Hand

'Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarely worth while
To waste much time on the old violin,
   But he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folk?" he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?
"A dollar - a dollar - then two, only two -
  "Two dollars, and who'll make it three?
"Going for three" - but no -
From the room far back, a grey-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
  Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loosened strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
    As a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
  With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, "NOW what am I bid for the old violin?"
  And held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars - and who'll make it two"
"Two thousand - and who'll make it three?
"Three thousand once - Three thousand twice -
"And going - and gong,"  cried he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
  "We do not understand.
"What changed its worth?" Quick came the reply,
"The Touch of the Master's hand."

And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap, to a thoughtless crowd,
  Much like the old violin.
A "mess of pottage" - a glass of wine,
A game - and he travels on:
He is going once - and going twice -
He's going - and almost gone!
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
   Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that's wrought
By the touch of the Master's hand.
                                             by Myra Brooks

The Master's hand is the only hand that
can tranform the soul. The very moment
the Lord Jesus Christ is waiting to turn your
darkness into day, your sorrow into joy.

Hear His call: Come now, and let us reason
together.... though your sins be as scarlet, they shall
be as white as snow."1

Have more wonderful words ever been spoken?
God wants to cleanse your life from sin and give
you a new life of hope and joy. He does not ask you
to change your life yourself. He ask you to come to
Him just as you are. His Word promises: "The
blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin."2

But first you must trust totally upon God's mercy.
You cannot depend on your "good works" to gain
entrance into Heaven. For before God we are all
sinners. "There is none righteous no not one.... 
For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God."3

There is only one way, one door through which we
can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus said: "I am
the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be

Jesus made the way for you and me by dying on the
cross for our sins: "He was bruised for our
iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon
Him; and with His stripes we are healed."5  You can
receive the risen victorious Lord Jesus Christ by faith now.
Why hold back any longer? Come to the Master today.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in
Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
  For God sent not His Son, into the world to
condemn the world; but that the world through
Him might be saved.
John Ch. 3 vs 16, 17.

Bible references 1. Isaiah  1v 18.
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord:
though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as
snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
                2. 1 John. 1v 7.
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have
fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his
Son cleanseth us from all sin.
                 3. Romans  3v 10,  23.
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
                 4. John    10v 9.
9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,
and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
                 5. Isaiah  53v 5.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for
our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and
with his stripes we are healed.

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Testimony of Rachel Sara Lindsey Hill

ME.... Rachel    

I was born on 21st june 1986 to a very loving Christian family. I am 1 of 4 kids and I'm 2nd eldest. I was taught about Jesus from the day I was born and brought up knowing right from wrong. I went to church twice every Sunday and Sunday school on a Sunday afternoon. I got saved at a young age during one of the Sunday school classes. Everything was great. I had Christian friends at school and they all knew I was a Christian. I didn't find it hard to "fit in" at all. I listened to lots of people's testimonies in church and always though to myself "I don't really have a good testimony"..never say that to God!
When I turned 18 I met Chrîs. We started going out and I quickly knew he would be my one. Life then began to change a bit, I didn't get into drink or drugs but I knew I wasn't following the Christian path. On 1st September 2005. We were both in a very bad car accident. Before we crashed we passed a church. The sign outside read "Prepare to meet Thu God". I will never forget that sign. We rolled down the dual carriageway 8 times and only by the Grace of God did we end up the correct way up in the only layby on the road. We both walked away from that accident. Even the police said it was a miracle. The sign continued to play in my mind. I knew I wasn't right with God

Chris and I got our first house when I turned 20 and I was engaged at 21. We planned to get married 3 years later in April 2010.
When I think about the "worst days of your Life" I can think of 4 days and 17th April 2010, exactly a week before my wedding was one of those days. My amazing uncle Wesley died from bowel cancer. He was only 45. That week was a blur between wedding and funeral plans.

After the wedding I fell pregnant quite quickly, just 11 weeks in though I suffered from hyperemesis (constant sickness which required hospital stays and if drips) I could be sick up to 30 times a day. This lasted my whole pregnancy right through until delivery. So i did not enjoy my pregnancy at all,However on my due date 4th Feb 2011 my beautiful wee man Micah entered the world after a bit if a traumatic labour and I was overjoyed and knew that being a mummy was my purpose in life. At just 3 days old Micah ended up back in hospital severely dehydrated and jaundice. I was feeding him myself and didn't know that I wasn't producing enough milk. I felt awful and so guilty as I watched doctors try to get a vein that wouldn't collapse. In the end they had to shave his hair and place a drip into his head. It was heartbteaking. Micah stayed in for 3 days under a purple light and being tube fed. He eventually was able to stomach enough milk to use a bottle and we finally got home

Micah was a brilliant baby, he ate and he slept. He was sleeping right through the night from 6 weeks so when Micah was 9months Chris and I decided we would try for another baby.

We we thrilled to learn we got pregnant again straight away.
At around 9 weeks One morning I woke to some slight bleeding.i phoned the hospital who told me to go on bed rest and not to worry as it wasn't too heavy but to come in if any change. The next day it was a little worse so we went to hospital where they did a scan and we saw baby and its heartbeat. Doctors told me to continue bed rest just incase. I felt a lot better after seeing baby was ok. The next morning would be my 2nd worst day of my life. On 16th Jan 2012 I woke to what looked like a massacre. We rushed to hospital, I had another scan... I waited for what seemed an eternity when the nurse turned to us and said I'm so sorry but there's no heartbeat. I knew I had lost my baby. I was heartbroken. A couple of weeks passed and after suffering infection and constant bleeding due to the miscarriage I just wanted it all to be over .

We knew we wanted to try again. The doctors advised waiting for one full cycle before trying again. We did so and again fell pregnant straight away. I was so anxious this time and didn't want anything to go wrong. We were booked into the early pregnant unit due to the previous miscarriage. I had an early scan where they found the sac. I went home happy knowing all was as it should be. We were booked in for another scan in a few weeks. The weeks went by and we went for our next scan but things were measuring behind our dates. We were told not to worry and to wait another 2 weeks and come back. They were 2 very long weeks. I prayed so much that everything would have caught up. We had another scan. This time there had been some change but not very much....i knew then that i had lost this baby too. We were sent away for another 2 week wait just to be sure. On the morning of that scan I just knew that there wouldn't have been any change. I was right. We were told that baby didn't make it either. I was asked if i wanted to miscarry naturally or of I wanted an operation to remove the "contents of pregnancy" I hated that term so much.. that was my baby! I opted for the d and c as I didn't want to suffer for weeks with the chance of infection being high too. This was the 3rd worst day of my life.. 26th June 2012 I went in for my d and c... I was heartbroken again.. We both were. We knew we wanted more children and spoke about trying again. This time I was absolutely petrified. I thought what if it happens again, could I cope with another loss? Maybe we are only meant to have Micah here... but I longed for another baby.

We got prayed for one night in church and the word given to us was that we would have another child and that I would havs a safe and happy delivery. We knew this was from God so we decided to try again. Again I got pregnant straight away! I was sent back to the early pregnancy unit and scanned every week until 13 weeks. This baby was growing well even though u was terrified. Again the hyperemesis hit me at 6 weeks and I was admitted to hospital for iv drips. I had it right up until delivery again. One night during my pregnancy I had a dream about Chris' granny Sadie who had passed away the year we got engaged. In the dream she was holding a baby boy he was mine and she called him Judah. I woke the next day and told Chris about it and told him that the baby would be Judah if it was a boy! Judah means praise.. on 31st may 2013 my due date I gave birth naturally to a baby boy at 8lb 12oz. My labour was perfect and so was my baby Judah. My gift from God my rainbow after my storm and born to give Him praise. I was so in love with my 2 boys.
A few months passed and Life became hard. There were many days I didn't get up out of bed, didn't talk to anyone, blocked and deleted everyone on my phone because I couldn't face talking. I pushed Chris and my family away and everyday was a struggle. Depression and anxiety had taken a very strong hold on my life. I was terrified to do anything, go anywhere. I was so scared that something would happen. I didn't want my family to go out incase something happened to them too. Everything was terrifying to me. When Judah was 5 months old I knew I needed help. Chris and mum made me a doctors appointment and I was quickly seen by the mental health team. I was in denial when the doctors told me I had depression.. I thought to myself "how on earth could a Christian be depressed?" I was totally ashamed and I didn't want anyone to know i had this label as I felt like a failure and that people would see the diagnosis and think I don't love my kids or my family when in fact they are my whole world. I now know that people never thought that of me. I felt like such a failure and an embarrassment so I hid away again in my depressive state. Not wanting anyone near me. Of course there were times when I wore the "happy mask" and when I did see people I never let them know how I really felt .

25th April 2014 was the 4th worst day of my life..the day after my 4 wedding anniversary I lost my beautiful granny to dementia. This hit me so so hard. I was already in a dark place and this was the tip of the iceberg. I was sent to cbt and tried lots of different drugs each with varying terrible side effects.

After a couple of years seeing psychiatrists and finally being out on my now stable medication etc I really wanted to help myself. My lovely friend Carol Mckee had been asking me to join her choir for over a year.. singing is my thing, my getaway. (Even now if in stressed or annoyed Chris will send me up to our room so I can just sing my heart out 😂) eventually I agreed to join Carol and Alive community choir. Even there I was able to hide my depression and anxiety and never told anyone why i didn't work and how I really felt ( i was permanently signed off work and lost my job in 2015 due to my mental health...again I felt like a failure) I just told everyone that I wanted to be a stay at home mummy (which is true too).
At choir i kept hearing people talk about this group GLOW (Giving Life opportunities To women) Maxine convinced me that it was something I should go along to as I would benefit from it... They all raved about it so much and how it changed their lives that i was really intrigued. I was willing at this point to try anything to help myself no matter how scary it seemed.
I went online and signed up!... I was terrified even sending the request because i knew I would have to speak to someone i didn't know.
Chara replied and asked me to come down to city life centre to fill in a few forms. Everything within me wanted to reply "nah you're ok it doesn't matter, just leave it." because of the anxiety but I prayed for strength because deep down I knew I needed to do something.
I had not been out alone in my car since the depression diagnosis in 2013 yet in April 2016 here I was driving to a new place alone to meet someone new.. I know that this was all God's strength because there is no way I could have done that alone.

I met the lovely Chara and instantly felt at ease and knew this personal development course was right for me at that time. Each week I made it my mission to drive there alone (with someone on the other end of the phone on speaker the whole way there and wee comfort blanket) and each week I did it. I felt so proud. I became part of a close knit group and started to make friends. I was learning so much about stinking thinking and how it can hinder every part of your life. We were taught new ways to think positively. We were stripped right down and each of us shared our stories. It was SO nice to know I wasn't alone and other people thought how I thought.
My absolute turning point was the weeks we went to the Belfast activity centre. The first week we were challenged to try the climbing wall..however my goal was to simply get on the minibus. I wasn't in control of driving and that scared me so much. I had to put my trust in someone else. Gemma got us all there safely. I managed my goal of getting there. I thanked God on the spot. Out of nowhere I got the nerve to try the wall.. I expected to make a few steps up and that would have been totally fine. Another goal in itself .. instead with the encouragement of the girls and the strength from God I climbed right to the top! I felt like super woman!! The feeling stayed with me all week Until we returned again the BAC. Fear set in again when I saw what was planned this week. The leap of faith..there was no way I was doing that!! I got off the minibus (my goal of getting there achieved once again) and watched as some of the girls made it to the top of the pole. It was my turn.. I was shaking like a leaf. I thought I should give it a try. I climbed up, praying the whole way. I reached the top and realised that I had to have faith in the equipment to jump into thin air. The ledge was wobbling like mad. I prayed continually and then I did it. I jumped! I made it.

When Im reminded of my fears now I think back to that day and remember that I just have to have faith. With it i can overcome. Nothing bad happened to me because everything was in control. My promise verse from my baptism is Jer 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future" God has been constantly in control of my life. He has never left me. Even at my darkest he was there. He put people in my path to help and direct me. I'm
so thankful to Chara and to Glow for helping me when I needed it most. They are still helping and supporting me today.
It's not an easy ride now, there are still hard times but I'm getting there. Right now I'm just praying for direction. Even if I stumble I will get back up. God isn't finished with me yet.

Yes it's so hard to know that you're not alone when lots of things don't be spoken about. This is why I want to share my story. For a long time I was ashamed and embarrassed and there is simply no need to be. I'll still have my down days whixh aee srill as hard and there are times when even now I push people away but I'm learning and know one day I will overcome this all forever. But for now I just want people to know that they have me to speak to and I'll help anyway I can 💛💙

If you feel down, depressed or anxious please know you are not alone. It's nothing to be ashamed of. If you need to talk please pm or message me. I'm always here 💜💛