Early lessons in the life of faith

“I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications” – Psalm 116:1

When a very little child, so young I can remember nothing earlier, a severe thunderstorm passed over our home. Terrified, I ran to my mother, who placed my hands together, and pointing upward repeated over and over again and the one word “Jesus”.

More than fifty years have passed since that day, but the impression left upon my child-mind, of a Being invisible but able to hear and help, has never been effaced.

The most precious recollections of early childhood are associated with stories told us by our mother, many of which illustrated the power of prayer.

One that made a specially deep impression upon me was about our grandfather, who as a little boy went to visit cousins in the south of England, their home being situated close to a dense forest. One day the children, lured by the beautiful wild flowers, became hopelessly lost in the woods. After trying in vain to find a way out, the eldest, a young girl, called the frightened, crying little ones around her and said: ‘When mother died she told us to always tell Jesus if we were in any trouble. Let us kneel down, and ask him to take us home’.

They knelt, and as she prayed one of the little ones opened his eyes, to find a bird so close to his hand that he reached out for it. The bird hopped away, but kept so close to the child as to lead him on. Soon all were joining in the chase after the bird, which flew or hopped in front or just above, and sometimes on the ground almost within reach. Then suddenly it flew into the air and away. The children looked up to find themselves on the edge of the woods and in sight of home.

With such influences bearing upon one at an impressionable age, it is not surprising that I came even as a very little child to just ‘tell Jesus’ when in trouble.

Through the mists of memory one incident comes out clearly, which occurred when I was six or seven years of age. While playing one day in the garden, I was seized with what we then called ‘jumping’ toothache. I ran to my mother for comfort, but nothing she could do seemed to ease the pain.

The nerve must have become exposed, for the pain was acute. Suddenly I thought, ‘Jesus can help me’, and just as I was, with my face pressed against my mother’s breast, I said in my heart: ‘Lord Jesus, if you will take away this toothache right now, now, I will be your little girl for three years’.

Before the prayer was well uttered the pain was entirely gone. I believed that Jesus had taken it away; and the result was that for years, when tempted to be naughty, I was afraid to do what I knew was wrong lest, if I broke my side of what I felt to be a compact, the toothache would return. This little incident had a real influence over my early life, gave me a constant sense of the reality of a divine presence, and so helped to prepare me for the public confession of Christ as my Saviour a few years later, at the age of eleven.

About a year after my confession of Christ an incident occurred which greatly strengthened my faith, and led me to look to God as a Father in a new way.

When Easter Sunday morning came it was so warm only spring clothes could be worn. My sister and I decided at breakfast that we would not go to church, as we had only our old winter dresses. Going to my room, I turned to my Bible to study it, when it opened at the sixth chapter of Matthew, and my eye rested on these words: “Why take ye thought for raiment …. seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you”.

It was as if God spoke the words directly to me. I determined to go to church, even if I had to humiliate myself by going in my old winter dress. The Lord was true to his promise; I can still feel the power the resurrection messages had upon my heart that day so long ago. And further, on the following day a box came from a distant aunt, containing not only new dresses but much else that might well be included in the ‘all these things’.

An unforgetable proof of God’s loving care came to us as a family about this time, when my parents were face to face with a serious financial crisis. Isaiah 65:24 was literally fulfilled: “Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear”.

At that time, it is necessary to state, we depended on a quarterly income, which came through my mother’s lawyer in England. Unusual circumstances had so drained our resources that we found ourselves, in the middle of the quarter, with barely sufficient to meet a week’s needs. My dear mother assured us that the Lord would provide; that he would not forsake those who put their trust in him. That very day a letter came from the lawyer in England, enclosing a draft for a sum ample to meet our needs till the regular remittance should arrive. This unexpected and timely draft proved to be a bonus, which did not occur again.

Rosalind Goforth (Mrs Jonathan Goforth)

Missionary in China

From Rosalind Goforth, How I know God answers prayer, Philadelphia, The Sunday School Times Company, 1921, pages 6-10

Rosalind Goforth (1864-1942):

Rosalind Bell-Smith Goforth was born near London, England, and moved with her parents to Montreal, Canada, three years later. Her Dad was an artist, and Rosalind graduated from the Toronto School of Art in 1885. In 1887 she married Jonathan Goforth. They served together as missionaries in China and Manchuria. They were married for forty-nine years and had eleven children (Gertrude, Donald, Paul, Florence, Helen, Grace, Ruth, William, [Amelia] Constance, Mary, and [John] Frederick), five of whom died as babies or very young children. She was the author of How I Know God Answers Prayer (1921), her husband’s biography, Goforth of China (1937), and Climbing: Memoirs of a Missionary’s Wife (1940).

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Macrobiotics refuted

Introduction

Macrobiotics (from the Greek macro ‘great’ + bios ‘life’) is a dietetic medicine-philosophy founded in the 1920s by a Japanese educator named George Ohsawa. It is a way of eating (but also a way of life), through which – it is said – man can find happiness and peace and live a long life on the earth.

Macrobiotics is based on the Chinese concept of yin and yang. According to the Chinese philosophy, all aspects of life, therefore even man’s metabolism, are governed by the opposing but complementary forces of yin and yang. Yin – representative of an outward centrifugal movement – results in expansion, while yang – representative of an inward centripetal movement – produces contraction. Yin is cold, while yang is hot; yin is sweet, yang is salty; yin is passive, yang is aggressive. According to macrobiotics, the forces of yin and yang must be kept in balance in order to achieve good health and happiness. The macrobiotics diet, therefore, attempts to achieve harmony between yin and yang. Now let me explain to you why our health and happiness – according to macrobiotics teachers – depend on the macrobiotic diet. Foods also are governed by yin and yang, and some foods tend to make us contractive and aggressive (yang), while other foods tend to relax us. And since the modern diets have produced in man an imbalance between yin and yang, and this imbalance has had harmful effects on man for it has produced many nervous and mental diseases which make man unhappy, it is necessary for man to restore a balance between yin and yang so that he might become healthful and happy. Macrobiotics experts, therefore, affirm that health and happiness depend on an harmonious balance between yin and yang. So foods are classified into yin and yang categories, according to their tastes, properties, and effects on the body. As a result, some foods are recommended while some others are forbidden. For instance, brown rice, barley, millet, oats, corn, rye, whole wheat, buckwheat, fresh vegetables, beans and sea vegetables, are highly recommended; while flesh and dairy foods, vegetables or fruits out of season, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants (aubergines), imported foods from a long distance, foods produced using pesticides and chemical fertilizers, are all forbidden and must be avoided. Furthermore, macrobiotics principles also govern food preparation and the manner in which food is eaten. Recommendation in this area include: avoid using a microwave oven to prepare food; cook rice in a pressure cooker; eat only when hungry; chew food completely, and so on.

Refutation

To begin with, let me say that the Chinese concept of yin and yang is not scriptural. The Scripture affirms that the devil (or Satan) is the prince of this world, that is to say, he who rules and oppresses this world. The devil does this through the principalities, the powers and the rulers of the darkness of this age, and the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places, which are all evil spiritual beings. Men are unhappy because they are under the power of Satan, because they serve this evil being doing what displeases the Lord. In other words, men are unhappy because they are slaves of sin, which is a work of the devil, which repays them with death (cf. 1 John 3:8; Romans 6:23). Their unhappiness, therefore, is not due to the modern food or nourishment, but on something else, that is, to their rebellion against God. To confirm this, I want to point out that in the days of Paul, even though there were not these modern foods we eat today which are produced using pesticides and chemical fertilizers and are treated and preserved using chemical products, men were unhappy and corrupt just as they are today, for they served sin rather than God. But let me speak also of Adam and Eve, who lived on the earth about four thousand years before the apostle Paul. Now no one can affirm that in the days of Adam and Eve there were adulterated foods, for all foods were wholesome. There were no pesticides or chemical fertilizers or chemical preservatives, and Adam and Eve fed only on vegetables and fruits (man did not yet fed on meat at that time). Yet, after they disobeyed God, they began to live an unhappy life and to live in fear. This confirms that the reason why man is unhappy is that he rebels against God, he serves sin! Therefore, even if a man’s nourishment were the most wholesome, if he is slave of sin, he is unhappy, miserable, blind and naked. Let us look at the condition of those men who are without God and feed on unadulterated foods only. They are unhappy, and it could not be otherwise, for as I said before, man is unhappy because he breaks God’s commandments and not because of certain foods he feeds on. Therefore, what man must do is not to achieve harmony between yin and yang (in order to restore a balance between body and spirit), but to achieve that harmony which existed between man and God before the fall of man. In other words, man must be reconciled to God, who created all things. Therefore, we say to men, ‘Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 – NKJV). How can a man be reconciled to God? There is only one way, that is, by repenting of his sins and believing in the Son of God. Then will he become another person, for he will become a kind, quiet, and happy person, for he will be born again, in that the Holy Spirit will come into his heart and will transform him.

While the experts on macrobiotics affirm, ‘Would you like to become like the vegetable you are examining?’ and say that by eating certain vegetables one acquires the character of those vegetables (which is a nonsense), we who preach Christ say to all men, ‘Do you want to become like Christ, that is, do you want to be conformed to the image of the Son of God, and thus to be meek, peaceable, full of love, etc.?’ Eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, for He Himself said: “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him” (John 6:56 – NKJV). Know this, that the flesh of Jesus is food indeed, and His blood is drink indeed. If you feed on them you will become happy, peaceable, and you will have eternal life, the great and true life, an abundant life which will last forever, even after death. However, you must understand that the words of Jesus are spirit and life, and they refer to the faith in Him and to the observance of His commandments (cf. John 6:40, 54, 56; 15:4,5; 1 John 3:24). That’s the Way which leads to Life: Christ Jesus. All other ways, including macrobiotics, which claim they lead men to life are false ways and thus are vanities.

Someone will say to me, ‘Are you not in favour of a wholesome nourishment then?’ Yes, we are in favour of a wholesome nourishment, that is to say, we prefer unadulterated foods to those foods which are produced using pesticides or chemical fertilizers or somehow adulterated by man, and we rejoice in the Lord whenever the Lord gives them to us to eat. However, if these kinds of foods are missing we eat the food which is sold in the shop, giving thanks to God for providing it for us. Our happiness does not depend on the food, but on the observance of the commandments of God, as it is written: “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:28 – NKJV), and among the commandments of God there is no commandment which forbids us to eat certain foods, for the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking (cf. Romans 14:17). The only things we are not allowed to eat for our good, for this is what the Holy Spirit has commanded us, are these: things polluted by idols, strangled things and blood (cf. Acts 15:19, 20, 28, 29). But as for all the other foods, we are allowed to eat them all – of course in moderation (or else we will suffer) for God wants us to be self-controlled (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:12) – giving thanks to God through Christ Jesus. Therefore the macrobiotic commandment which forbids people to eat tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants (aubergines), meat and those foods which are produced using pesticides and chemical fertilizers is a precept which makes the Word of God of no effect, and thus it must be rejected (cf. 1 Timothy 4:1-3). Neither does our health depend on what we eat (I mean it is not by abstaining from certain foods that we will enjoy good health), but on the observance of the commandments of God, for Wisdom, after telling us to be good and truthful, to trust in God with all our heart, and to depart from evil, affirms: “It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones” (Proverbs 3:8 – NKJV). Of course, among the evil things we must depart from is also the immoderate use of food.

Brothers, I conclude by telling you these things: you are free in Christ to eat all things. You are no longer subject to precepts concerning foods, such as ‘Do not eat this food for it has harmful effects on the spirit or the body,’ for these commandments are part of those basic principles of the world from which you have been delivered through the blood of Christ. Your heart is strengthened by the grace of God, “not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them” (Hebrews 13:9 – NKJV). Beloved, give thanks to God for He has set you free.

Giacinto Butindaro

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The death and the resurrection of Jesus

In the fullness of the time Jesus Christ (the Son of God, who was in the bosom of the Father before He came into the world) died “for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25).

As for His atoning sacrifice, it was foretold centuries before by the prophet Isaiah in these terms: “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. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:5-12). As you can see, according to the Scripture, Jesus had to die that He might make atonement for our sins through the offering of His body. Perhaps you are wondering why His sacrifice was necessary for the atonement or remission of our sins. Well, the reason was this. Divine justice – God’s holy law – requires death as the penalty for sin. God chose to bind Himself by the principle of death for sin, thus without the shedding of blood (the giving of an innocent victim) there could be no release from this penalty and no restoration to fellowship with the Holy God. That’s why according to the law sins were atoned by the blood of animals, as it is written: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11), and those animals had to be perfect and pure in order to be accepted by God. However, those atoning sacrifices (or sin offerings) were only a shadow of the perfect atoning sacrifice of the Messiah – that’s why the blood of those animal sacrifices could not take away sins –, who was the Innocent Victim, that God foreordained before the foundation of the world. So Jesus of Nazareth, being the promised Messiah, had to shed His own blood for the atonement or remission of our sins. The death of animals was not sufficient to remit our sins, because we are much greater than they in that we were created in the image of God; neither could an ordinary person suffer the penalty in our place, for each one deserves eternal death for his own sins. Only a sinless person could atone for our sins, but there was none. So God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, who existed with Him in heaven from eternity and who was pure and innocent, in order to provide a suitable substitute. Jesus Christ was without sin for He was born without sin and lived a sinless life, and thus He could be a perfect substitute. Thus God provided a substitutionary sacrifice for our sins through the death of the sinless man Jesus Christ, as John wrote: “He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10 – NIV). Jesus was the “lamb without blemish and without spot, who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:19-20) but was sacrificed in these last times for us, so that through His precious blood we might obtain the remission of our sins. His perfect sacrifice, in laying down His life for us, has fully met the holy and just requirements of God’s law. Christ suffered the penalty of sin on our behalf. God inflicted the penalty for sin on Christ, so that through His atoning death we might be forgiven and reconciled to God. He did not become a sinner, but He became the sin bearer, the sin offering, the sacrifice for our sins, as it is written: “So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28 – NKJV), and again: “For He [God] made Him [Jesus Christ] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21 – NKJV). In the light of what the Scripture teaches, therefore, the death of Jesus Christ was the manifestation of the love of God toward us.

As for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it also was foretold by God centuries before it occurred, for David said concerning the Christ: “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [Hebrew: Sheol; Greek: Hades]; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:8-11). It is evident that David did not speak of himself but of the Christ, for the patriarch David died and was buried and saw corruption; but Jesus Christ, whom God raised from the dead, did not see corruption. David, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne; He foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. But why was the resurrection of Jesus Christ necessary to our salvation? To answer to this question I need to speak about certain things the High Priest had to do on the day of atonement with the blood of the sacrifices he offered for his own sins and for the sins of the people of Israel. Now on that particular day the High Priest had to offer some animals to make atonement (through their blood) for his own sins and for the sins of the Israelites; here is what is written in the law of Moses: “And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself: And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not: And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat” (Leviticus 16:11-15). Now, as you can see, the blood of both animals (the bullock and the goat) had to be brought by the High Priest within the veil, that is, into the Most Holy Place and sprinkled upon the mercy seat and before it. Those sin offerings, of course, were a shadow of the sacrifice of Christ, only a shadow, for the law has a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things (Hebrews 10:1). And in fact the blood of those sacrifices, which were offered year by year, could not take away sins from the conscience of the worshipers, while the blood of Jesus, which He offered once for all for our sins, can take away sins from the conscience of those who believe in Him. But let’s go back to the place where the blood of the sin offerings had to be brought by the High Priest after the killing of the goat of the sin offering and the bull of the sin offering on the day of atonement. The law says that the blood of those sin offerings had to be brought into the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary, which was a man-made sanctuary. Therefore, as the High Priest had to bring the blood of both the bull and the goat into the Most Holy Place, so Jesus, the High Priest of good things to come, after having offered Himself as a ransom for our sins, had to enter the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary which is in heaven (which is not man-made and of which the sanctuary on earth was only a copy), not by means of the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, to obtain eternal redemption for us. So He had to enter into heaven itself to appear in the presence of God for us. It is evident therefore that if Jesus after His death had to enter into heaven by means of His own blood in order to finish (or to complete) His work of redemption, He had to be raised from the dead as well. And that is what happened after three days; then after forty days He was taken up into heaven at the right hand of the Father. The Scripture says: “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:11-12 – NKJV), and again: “For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:24-26 – NIV). That’s why the Scripture declares that the resurrection of Jesus took place “for our justification” (Romans 4:25), and also that if Christ has not been raised – as some say – our faith is vain and we are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17).

Therefore Jesus Christ bore all our sins in His own body, and through His death we have been reconciled to God. The Just suffered for the unjust “that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). As Paul says to the saints of Colosse: “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Colossians 1:19-22). So it is very evident that if a man wants to be reconciled to God he must believe in the blood of Jesus Christ, as it is written that God has set forth Jesus Christ “to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:25-26). There is no other way for a man to be reconciled to God, I say it again, no other way. A man can be reconciled to God only through faith in Jesus Christ, for it is only by faith that a man is justified.

Giacinto Butindaro

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A special jacket

Here is what is taking place in some Korean Churches.

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Granger Community Church likes to play games like Simon during church

Granger Community Church audience plays Simon on 50 foot screen as part of the Viral Effect weekend series. Participants used light sticks in the dark to follow prompts on the screen.
This shows very clearly what many Christians have become: worldly. They do not seek holiness, but have immersed themselves in worldly amusements.

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Buddhist monks attack Sri Lankan Christian center

Jesus Never Fails Good News Centre is situated at No.351, Kaduwela Road, Koswatta, Battaramulla. The Chief Pastor is A.J. Joseph. In this video recorded on November 2009, you will see the centre attacked by a mob lead by Buddhist monks. Let us remember to pray for our brothers who are persecuted for the sake of Christ.

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Beware of Benny Hinn & Manasseh Jordan

These two preachers are not servants of Christ, but servants of Mammon. They are impostors. Beware of them.

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