Sunday, December 23, 2012

Watch The Clouds #1.

Watch the Clouds –part 1.

I enjoy watching the clouds as they float or whiz across the skies. They can never be the same, always changing, always appealing. Within the bible clouds tell some important truths.

They surround the very presence of God. In Exodus 19 is the account of the Lord calling the Nation of Israel before Mt. Sinai. It is an awesome sight with lightning, thunder and thick cloud. Was this to create a sense of awe in the Nation? Was it also a way of protecting the Nation from the holiness of God?  To be in His presence unprotected from His holiness would be to self-destruct.

How then can there be any hope for anyone to enjoy the Lord’s company? Only by the Lord God dressing us in His righteousness. This can only be possible by dealing with our sinfulness. In turn we are powerless to achieve any of this. For it to happen the Lord God who dwells among the clouds must come and deal with our sin, inabilities and inadequate ‘clothing’ for His company.

Here is the reason for Christmas. Here is the achievement of Calvary. Here is the message of the Gospel. God has come out of the clouds in Christ Jesus.  He has dealt with our sin, He has dealt with our spiritual inabilities. He has provided garments of righteousness. Now we have the promise, His promise, that one day we will penetrate the clouds surrounding Him. On that day those cleansed and appropriately dressed will see Him face to face.

In Exodus 24:9-18 is an account of a select group with Moses being near God on Mt. Sinai. The cloud of His presence covered them but they saw Him through it. The people at the mountain’s base only saw a devouring fire. Those in the cloud enjoyed the Lord’s fellowship as well as each others. In Revelation 21-22 we see the time when the cloud is lifted. Then we will dwell in His presence unhindered.

Next week. Watch out for the Cloud – part 2.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Strength Renewed by Shirley Corder - Book review.

Strength Renewed by Shirley Corder.
Published by Revell

Why would I agree to review ‘Strength Renewed’? I’m a man and this is about having Breast Cancer and is written by a woman, Shirley Corder, from South Africa. It is in fact a series of 90 meditations which takes us on her journey with this condition. It is an insight into the trial, travail and triumph she experienced.

Cancer casts a dreadful pall over more than the afflicted one. Family, friends, colleagues are all drawn into its gloom. Shirley shares her journey into, through and out of this oppressive dark mist of the soul. She writes honestly, simply and with nice touches of her beloved country of South Africa.

It gave me some insights into the emotional, spiritual and relational roller-coaster the patient endures. It is worth reading by friends of the cancer sufferer to help them handle their own emotions so as to stand with their loved one or colleague. I’m a retired minister and believe this book would be helpful in a pastoral setting. Following a page describing a stage in her journey, three questions are asked. This is for personal reflection. I think they would be very helpful for family members to share in also. Maybe breast cancer support groups could use them to good effect. The time may be rounded off with a short prayer already there and a short, relevant Bible verse.

Life can throw us off balance in so many ways. Then it is easy to lose direction, hope, faith and a sense of personal value. In such times we need some resources and understanding people to help us regain our balance and perspective for living. ‘Strength Renewed’ by Shirley Corder and published by Revell is one such resource especially for breast cancer sufferers. It is out now and available in good book shops. It is also available on an ebook

Reviewed by Ray Hawkins
I was sent this book by the publisher, Revell, to be reviewed.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

No Justice without Righteousness

"We want Justice!"  "Give us our rights!" are the demands of people across the globe. There are forums on achieving it: riots to demand it: letters to the newspapers to plead for it and late night chat shows debating how to achieve it. All this is well and good except for one thing. What is that? As with a coin so with Justice. There are two sides to it.

The Greek word for justice is also the word for righteousness. Strange don't you think that people are not demanding righteousness or rioting for the right to do the right thing. If you tried to cut a coin in two and remove, as it were, the tail, the head would be debased, worthless. This is what happens when justice is demanded but the right to do the right thing is scorned.

Justice and righteousness  require the acceptance, assurance and application of some absolute standard. Without it what is justice for you may well be tyranny for me. I think such things are happening in the so called 'Arab Spring.' Without a framework for righteousness what I might see as unrighteous and harmful could be seen by others as beneficial and enjoyable.

To my mind we are witnessing an increasing clamor for justice, meaning I want what I think is my due, without a foundation of Absolutes. This justifies violence, lies, selfishness and destruction of property as a means to achieve so called justice. Righteousness without a basis on which it can stands becomes subjective and a person becomes his or her evaluator of what is right at any given moment.

No one has come up with a better foundation on which to define justice or righteousness than the Christian Bible. Since society as a whole has rejected its authority and its absolutes we face growing moral breakdown and increasing anger over injustices. But then one man's justice may simply be causing an injustice to another.

I think I'll will stick to standing on the Absolutes declared by the Lord God within the pages of our Bible. Hosea 10:12 said it well: 'Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.'

Ray (Standing on the Absolutes of Scripture) Hawkins

Monday, December 3, 2012

ACRBA Tour Back To Resolution by Rose Dee

3 - 7 December

is introducing 
(Even  Before Publishing November 2012)

About the Author:

Rose Dee

Rose Dee was born in Ingham, North Queensland, Australia. Her childhood experiences growing up in a small beach community would later provide inspiration for her first novel.

Rose, who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree, decided to try her hand at writing two years ago. The result of that attempt is her first novel, 'Back to Resolution'. 
Her novels are inspired by the love of her coastal home and desire to produce exciting and contemporary stories of faith for women.

Rose’s other releases include, 'Beyond Resolution' - the second book in the 'Resolution' series. And ‘A New Resolution’ – the final book in the series.
Rose has also co-written a novel in conjunction with three other outstanding Australian Authors; ‘The Greenfield Legacy’.

Rose resides in Mackay, North Queensland with her husband, young son, and mischievous pup, Noodle.

Book Description:

Back to Resolution

Bay Anders is lost. She enjoys every privilege a wealthy upbringing affords, but the void in her soul refuses to be filled.
Her mother's dying revelation drives Bay to the brink of self destruction, before a move to Australia changes everything. She embarks upon a search for her father that leads her to his island home, into a hazardous melting pot of hostile locals and a mystery – her father's disappearance.
The only person who can help her is a strong, selfassured and intensely magnetic man. Bay must fight an overwhelming attraction to stay focused on her goal.

Flynn McKenna is hiding from the world. A past filled with mistakes drove him to withdraw from society and live in seclusion. But the arrival of a woman he cannot avoid
shatters his solitary existence. As the search for Bay's father unites them, can he resist his desire for her?
It becomes a race against time as developers try to take over the island.

From the glittering streets of LA, to the beautiful
Daintree forest in North Queensland, to the idyllic island `Resolution', Back to Resolution is a romantic mystery that shows how far a little faith can go.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Denying History

Strange don't you think how dictators want to deny history or falsify history for their own evil intent. This has been true in the politcal and religious spheres since Nimrod built Babylon.

The present religious bully boys in the Middle East, the Islamist, are trying to deny history and rewrite themselves into  the vacuum they create. Ancient records engraved in stone and situated in  many archaeological sites by the Assyrian, Babylonian, Medio-Persian and Roman powers bear testimony to Israel's history. These records are outside of the Judeo-Christian Bible's account.

The hatred Islam has towards Israel goes to such depths as denying Israel's history, links with the land and  even its Biblical 'birth.' The tragedy is compounded by the removal and destruction of historical sites in Jerusalem and around the temple mount. Priceless artifacts are made junk and dumped as they try and rewrite hisory.

To me the silence of much of the media and sections of the Christian Church on this is disturbing. To deny and falsify Biblical and Israelitish history ultimately undermines the Christian Faith and the person and work of Jesus Christ.

The Bible however is never caught by surprise. It has included warnings about such warped thinking and action. It also bears testimony to an evil personage who endeavours to change times and seasons.  His coming and his destruction is already recorded in Daniel, 2 Thessalonians and Revelation.

'He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out  the holy ones of the Most High, and shall attempt to change the sacred seasons and the law; and they shall be given into his power for a time, two times, and a half a time.' Daniel 7:25.  Revelation 13:1-18. 19:17-20.

'I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book; if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away the person's share in the tree of life and the holy city which are described in this book.' Compare also Deuteronomy 4:2. 12:32. Proverbs 30:6.

Trying to write out of history the work of God in, to and through Israel is to also plunder the reality and ministry of the Church of Jesus the Christ. It is also calling the Godhead a liar. That's dangerous and self destructive.

Ray (believing the bible's history) Hawkins.